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A Piece of Quaker History Discovered on PAH Campus

Quaker-Meeting-House-PhotosThanks to the discovery and detective work of PAH employee Nick Nastasi, Engineering, an important piece of Philadelphia Quaker history was finally returned to its rightful home. It wasn’t, however, a quick or easy trip!

The stone, dated 1832, was found in the basement of the Farm Journal Building by PAH Engineering staff members. History lover Nick was intrigued and decided to investigate. His efforts helped reveal the stone’s story:  it was from the Orange Street Friends Meeting House. A Friends meeting house is where the Religious Society of Friends – or Quakers – gather to hold meetings of worship.

First built in 1832, the Orange Street House closed after 40 years in 1872.

At that time, the members of the orthodox congregation were folded into the Arch Street Friends Meeting House at 320 Arch Street, the neighborhood now known as Old City. Nick’s sleuthing revealed that PAH’s Farm Journal building at 230 West Washington Square (or Manning Street, between 7th and 8th Street, depending upon which entrance you use) is located on the site of the former Orange Street Meeting House!

Nick sent PAH Curator and Lead Archivist Stacey Peeples the online “evidence” he uncovered, explaining the connection between the two institutions. Stacey contacted Lynne Calamia at The Arch Street Friends Meeting House to inform them of the stone’s discovery and to offer to return the stone. The Arch Street Friends were elated to have a piece of their history thought to be long gone, with them again.

At the end of the summer, PAH Lead Horticulturalist Sam Royer, his assistant Nate Moser, and Stacey met with Lynne at Arch Street Meeting to officially turn over the stone which will be incorporated into a garden on the Meeting House grounds.    

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