The North Hills community has a deep history dating back to the 1700s. According to historical records, slaves freed from Richard Morrey’s plantation in 1772 originally settled just southeast of this area at Willow Grove Avenue and Limekiln Pike. In 1885 the North Hills train station opened. By the 1920’s, there were approximately six homes in the North Hills neighborhood, near present day North Hills Manor. They were occupied by African American families from the South who had come to Philadelphia and moved here to work in Edge Hill quarries and other local employments. (Information obtained from The Story of Greater Glenside, Including the Towns of Ardsley, Edge Hill North Hills and Weldon. Prepared by Robert S. Camburn for The Glenside Free Library, 1977. pp. 4-5,50.)
Maps often tell a story of how communities transform over time. Below are map images of the North Hills neighborhood, also referred to as Edge Hill Land Association in North Glenside. The images are from 1871, 1893, 1916, 1938 and 1949. Click on the map below to see an expanded view and learn what has changed and what has remained the same. Thanks to the Fort Washington Historical Society, for providing access to these informative images.
Currently located at Chestnut and Logan Avenues, Antioch Baptist Church has a long history beginning in 1904 as a prayer meeting group in the home of Mrs. Birdella Tolson on Furnace Row in Edge Hill. As the church's documents say "Founded 1904, Organized 1906, Chartered 1908." The church moved several times over its early history until it found its present day site. In 1906 a small church was built on Chelsea Avenue through a loan for lumber from Mrs. Ann Minor. By 1911, services were being held next to Mrs. Minor's home at Limekiln Pike near Linden Avenue. In 1912, property at Limekiln Pike and Ruscombe Avenue was purchased for a new structure however, facing racial opposition at that location, the church then moved to its present day site. Antioch Baptist Church, often referred to as the "little church on the hill" has seen several structures erected on its current site, the first structure in 1915 and then a new structure in 1931. In 1979, the church expanded its building at its current location. The church has been led by eight pastors throughout its history; its current pastor is Reverend Doctor John Edward Douglas. (Information obtained from the Antioch Baptist Church archives and The Story of Greater Glenside, Including the Towns of Ardsley, Edge Hill North Hills and Weldon. Prepared by Robert S. Camburn for The Glenside Free Library,1977. pp. 75-77.) Thank you to Antioch Baptist Church for providing its history through its "100th Year Anniversary" and "46th Anniversary" programs as well as numerous photographs from its archives.
For approximately 86 years, the structure at 212 Girard Avenue has served as a community anchor of the neighboring largely African American community, first as a school and later a community center. According to author Robert S. Camburn, in 1928, the structure opened as North Glenside School for first through eighth grades; later Kindergarten was added. Enrollment was approximately 285. It closed in 1965 when the students were transferred to Sandy Run Elementary School as part of desegregation. In 1967 the building, owned by the Upper Dublin Township, became the North Hills Community Center under lease to the Community Opportunity Council of Eastern Montgomery County. It had an active menu of services including: health care for babies and prenatal care, family medical center, drug and alcohol counseling services, day care and Head Start, Neighborhood Youth Corp, job counseling, recreational programs, legal and referral services for citizens. A branch of the Upper Dublin Free Library was there was well. The location was the only health facility in Upper Dublin Township; services were free and available 60 hours a week. Currently, the center offers health services, Head Start, summer camp and afterschool programs during the school year. (Information was obtained from Images of America Fort Washington and Upper Dublin by Historical Society of Fort Washington Arcadia Publishing 2004 p. 22. and from The Story of Greater Glenside, Including the Towns of Ardsley, Edge Hill North Hills and Weldon. Prepared by Robert S. Camburn for The Glenside Free Library, 1977. pp. 100-101,112,178.)
North Hills Manor was built in the early 1950's by the Montgomery County Housing Authority. It is comprised of 50 apartments/townhomes for income eligible households in one, two, three and four bedroom units. "The Manor," as it is often referred to, remains fully occupied today. The images below represent plots of land near North Hills Manor. They are of unknown date, but are prior to the development of North Hills Manor. Click on the image below to see it expanded. The first is on Walnut Avenue looking from Logan Avenue to Linden Avenue. The second is on Chelsea Avenue at Summit Avenue looking toward Walnut Avenue. The images are from the Montgomery County Housing Authority's archives.
The recreation area between Logan and Linden Avenues and centered around Summit Avenue, now known as the Evelyn B. Wright Park and Community Pool, was developed between 1969 and 1971. The namesake of this park, Ms. Wright, was the North Glenside School's teacher and then principal from its opening until it closed in 1965. The park was later improved as a ball field as well. (Information obtained from Images of America Fort Washington and Upper Dublin by Historical Society of Fort Washington Arcadia Publishing 2004 p. 21.)
Generations of families live in this community and are the foundation that carry its history and traditions forward. We are committed to honoring this history throughout the scope of the investment efforts at North Hills. Please share your memories, history and ideas about how we can honor and preserve the treasure of this community's history moving forward. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share memories, stories and/or photographs.
Please email us at email@example.com to share memories, stories and/or photographs.
August 29, 2017 5-7 PM
Antioch Baptist Church
200 Logan Ave, North Hills, PA
Individuals, Subcontractors, Suppliers for construction of North Hills Manor