Help Get the Tacony-Disston Historic Waterfront District Designated

August 27 2021

Tacony was a small neighborhood with only 12 houses when Henry Disston bought six acres of land for his new Keystone Saw Works Factory in 1871. His factory went up in 1872, and in just under a decade, Disston’s company created a thriving industrial town containing more than 122 rowhomes, a school, a library, a bank, and a park. Now, the original waterfront district where Disston set up shop is up for historic designation at the Philadelphia Historical Commission.

On August 30th, the Committee on Historic Designation will be hosting a virtual meeting in which the CDC’s nomination for the Disston-Tacony Historic District will be discussed. The area in question was the home of Henry Disston & Son’s Keystone Saw Works between 1872 and 1955, and was a major contributor to the industrialization of Philadelphia and the development of the Tacony Neighborhood. Generations of Tacony residents worked in Disston’s Saw Works, forming a strong community that still stands today.

Even now, many of our Tacony neighbors remember family members who worked in Disston’s factory, lived in the homes he built, and saw how one business can lead to the growth of an entire neighborhood. The Keystone Saw Works was one of the largest manufacturing plants in the world, not only advancing a neighborhood but an entire industry! At its peak, the factory sat on 350 acres. Now, about 41 of its buildings survive. Through historic designation, the waterfront district will be recognized and protected by the city of Philadelphia.

The Tacony-Disston Waterfront District was central to the formation of the Tacony we know today, and now it’s time to support its preservation! Those who recognize the significance of Disston & Son’s Saw Works are encouraged to join the virtual committee meeting and speak in favor of historical designation. The meeting will be held via Zoom at between 9:30 AM and 2 PM on Monday, August 30th. For the meeting agenda, Zoom password, and alternative ways to participate, check out this link:

Written by Amarynth Ruch

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