Getting to Know Bustleton

The majority of JRA recipients live in Northeast Philadelphia

JRA volunteers work with recipients in all five Greater Philadelphia counties. Our families, over 3,200, live in a wide variety of neighborhoods — each with their own histories and cultures. In this blog, we will be focusing on just one of these neighborhoods: Bustleton — located between Roosevelt Boulevard to the east, the city boundary to the west, Red Lion Road to the north, and Pennypack Park to the south.

A pre-revolutionary war building converted to a train station for the Bustleton/Holmesburg line.

The area that Bustleton occupies was first settled by Swedes in 1645, with the first of William Penn’s Quakers arriving in 1675. Like most of Philadelphia, Bustleton was actually an independent town prior to the 1854 Act of Consolidation which made the City and Counties of Philadelphia coterminous. The Town of Bustleton was mainly a farming community, and most social activities were centered on the Bustleton Tavern, a local bar established before the Revolutionary War.

First mechanized fire truck at Bustleton Firehouse in 1913

Prior to 1944, Bustleton would be largely unrecognizable to most JRA volunteers. It was then that the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, or GI Bill, was passed and enabled a profusion of veterans — many of which were Jewish — to move into this area. This spurred most of the major housing developments that we see today. These communities remained largely static until the 1990’s when a large influx of Russian Jews immigrated to the Northeast — making Bustleton the neighborhood we know and love today.

Want to learn more about Bustleton? Check out some of these articles. And don’t forget to reserve a Bustleton Route for the March 5th distribution.

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