Fox Chase, Philadelphia
Fox Chase is a neighborhood in the Northeast Philadelphia section of the United States city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The origin of the name is the Fox Chase Inn, which opened in 1705. It throve on the Turnpike trade, but it also catered to the affluent who wanted to hunt fox, thus the name "Fox Chase".
Fox Chase was originally part of Lower Dublin Township, also known as Dublin Township, a defunct township that was located in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. The township ceased to exist and was incorporated into the City of Philadelphia following the passage of the Act of Consolidation, 1854.
Philadelphia’s elite once flocked to opulent vacation homes built in the lush fringes bordering the city. The area's character changed with the arrival of the railroad in 1876. Many of Philadelphia's aristocracy began to discover the attractiveness of suburban living, and built mansions here, using the railroad for convenient transport into the city.
Location and Surrounding Areas
One of many parks located within Fox Chase is Pennypack Park. It is composed of woodlands, meadows and wetlands. The banks of the Pennypack Creek runs through the park from Pine Road in Fox Chase all the way to the Delaware River. The area also includes playgrounds, hiking and bike trails as well as bridle paths for horse back riding. The Pennypack Environmental Center on Verree Road is also located within the neighborhood.
Many historic structures are still intact throughout Fox Chase. The Verree House on Verree Road was the site of a raid by British troops during the American Revolutionary War. The trained eye can rediscover abandoned railroad grades, remnants of early mills, mill races and other reminders that generations of mankind have gathered in the "Green Heart" of Northeast Philadelphia.
Fox Chase Farm is one of the few remaining active farms in Philadelphia County, and is used extensively by the School District of Philadelphia. It began as a land grant from William Penn to Lord Stanley and then passed to the McVeigh family for over 200 years. Later, the Wistar family developed it into a self-sufficient farm until it became a Gentlemen's Farm owned by two different gentlemen farmers, Lorimer and Butler. Friends of Fox Chase Farm, an all-volunteer group, currently assists in maintaining and preserving this pastoral treasure for present and future generations.
William Rhawn, president of the National Bank of the Republic in 1879, built a summer residence here. To design the project, he chose no less than Frank Furness, whose work is synonymous with the mansions and public buildings of the Gilded Age. The banker’s country estate includes a carriage house and gatekeeper’s house. He called the estate “Knowlton” because it resembled Knowles’ estate in England. It has since been converted into a catering establishment.
Ryerss Mansion is also located in Fox Chase. The house was built by merchant Joseph Waln Ryerss in 1859 and dramatically overlooks Burholme Park, one of the highest vistas in Philadelphia. The mansion is home to a massive and eccentric collection of artifacts and antiquities from around the world, collected during the Ryerss family's extensive travels and exotic sojourns, from Europe, to Africa, to the Far East.
The largest employer of Fox Chase is the internationally known Fox Chase Cancer Center, a unique facility that merges cancer research with the treatment of cancer. Its researchers have won Nobel Prizes for their contributions.
Among the historic properties located in this neighborhood are:
- Knowlton Mansion, designed by Frank Furness
- The Verree House, site of a raid by British troops during the American Revolutionary War
- Ryerss Mansion, home of Joseph Waln Ryerss
Fox Chase Academics Plus is a public school of the School District of Philadelphia. Located at 500 Rhawn Street near the library, it serves children grades K to 5.
Fox Chase United Methodist Church is located at 201 Loney St. at the intersection of Filmore and Loney Sts.
St.Cecilia Roman Catholic Church, 535 Rhawn Street, also has a school with grades from kindergarten to eighth grade. The "new" church opened in 1955 and the first church was located just to the west of the "new" church. It was built underground with the expectations of adding an upper level, but the depression in 1929 and World War II caused this addition to be held off until 1955.
St. Stephen Orthodox Cathedral, 8598 Verree Road (next to Pennypack Park).
Fox Chase's boundaries are:
- Northeast/East, Pennypack Creek (Bustleton, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
- West/Northwest, Filmore St (Rockledge, Pennsylvania and Abington, Pennsylvania)
- Southwest, Township Line Road (Cheltenham, Pennsylvania)
- South, Cottman Avenue (Philadelphia, Cheltenham Township and Elkins Park, Pennsylvania)
- East, Dungan Road (Rhawnhurst section of Philadelphia)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fox Chase, Philadelphia.|
- A map of the neighborhood from Windows Live Local can be viewed here.
- Fox Chase Homeowners Association
- Fox Chase Soccer Club
- Fox-Rok Athletic Association
- Rieker's Prime Meats
- Historic Photographs of Fox Chase, PhillyHistory.org