Going old school with one Fallser’s pics and memories from the old neighborhood.
Stanton street’s own John Lennox shares some childhood memories in this edition of Fallser Flashbacks – tales from back in the day from those who lived it.
When did you live in the Falls?
I was born in the Falls and lived there til I was eight (on Stanton mostly, but also on Calumet) — 1951 until about 1960. We moved to Roxborough after that, but we always went back every Sunday (and holidays) for the family dinner at my grandparents’ Stanton street house. East Falls was the perfect place to grow up. I really hated to leave it and I miss it to this day.
How long has your family been in the neighborhood?
My family (the Lupinaccis) moved to Stanton street about 75 years ago from Calabria, Italy. My aunt Lisa told me the house was owned by a guy named Roke Patrone before that.
My dad Jack Lennox and my mother Ida lived at the bottom of Skidoo street in an apartment. There are condos there now (next to the railroad tracks). We also lived for a while on Calumet street. My entire family lived in the Falls at one point. Sadly, most are now gone.
You said your family owned stores on Midvale?
My uncles (Tom Keane & Lucky Lupinacci) owned the Midvale florist shop directly across the street from McIlvaine’s funeral home. Later, Lucky opened another flower shop farther down Midvale (where East Falls Family Dentistry is now) – I remember the two beautiful metal gates that cover the front doors. Glad they’re still there. They were hand-cut in the shape of flowers and pots – made especially for Lucky — by a talented guy named Phil Black from northeast Philadelphia.
Earliest memory of the neighborhood?
One of them is my Pop Pop who was a WW1 veteran. He was a night watchman at the projects, which were one of Philly’s first public housing buildings. He had a BIG DOG and didn’t take any nonsense from anyone.
Huge family dinners at my Pop Pop and Nana’s house on Stanton street, where the entire family would gather. It was a very deep property, going back a long way. My grandparents always planted a HUGE garden on one side (where the driveway is now) the other side had a grape arbor with a very big table where we’d all eat. My Italian Family on Stanton Street will always be a special memory for me.
What were your favorite haunts?
We played at Gustine Lake and all over the Crick (Wissahickon Creek)…swimming, fishing, hiking etc… if our parents knew what we were up to, they would have had a heart attack!
I particularly loved fishing. I caught lots of rainbow trout from the Crick. The limit was 8 and I always caught my limit. When I fished the river in East Falls, I’d get catfish and carp.
How were winters then? Lots of snow?
Winters were TOUGH — lots of snow. If you think hills are a challenge walking up now, try putting a couple feet of snow on them.
Were there a lot of cars in the neighborhood then?
Cars were scarce. I’ve got a picture of my Dad (Jack) leaning on my uncle Lucky’s 1947 Buick Special in front of our house on Stanton. (You could see St. Bridget’s school in the background.) He was KOOL!
Three things you love about the Falls?
- Selling Christmas trees in front of the flower shop on Midvale with my childhood friend Ray Stackhouse (also a Fallser). They were priced from $8-$20. We cut the bottoms, trimmed branches, sometimes nailed a stand to the bottom, and then tied it to the car — a .50 cent tip was a big deal in 1964!
- Family dinners on Stanton at my Nana’s house with our entire family.
- Fishing in the river.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I wish all the new families that now call East Falls home all good things.
Send us your flashbacks!
What are your memories of the Falls? Favorite places? Childhood friends? Unforgettable moments? We’d love to share your story with our neighbors! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.