Oral History Interviews

Listen to our interviews with long-time locals on a wealth of topics pertaining to East Falls’ history.


Oral History

Oral History #34
Stan Gorski

This interview is with Stan Gorski, Director, Paul J. Gutman Library at Philadelphia University (now Jefferson University). Library Director Stan Gorski gives the history of the significant buildings on the Philadelphia University campus.


by efhs_4y4foe • May 3, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #33
Gerald (Jerry) Porto, b. 1928

Jerry Porto, born on Calumet Street in East Falls, talks about his life in East Falls – St. Bridget, Ridge Avenue, making wine at home.


by efhs_4y4foe • May 2, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #32
Robert Freed

Robert shares his memories of Old Academy Players.


by efhs_4y4foe • May 2, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #31
Joe Petrone (1943 – 2015)

Joe’s remarkable memory offers the reader humorous and detailed memories of his life spent in East Falls.


by efhs_4y4foe • May 2, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #30
Edna Woolley, b. 1901

Edna talks about “Methodist Row” on Sunnyside, being a homemaker, and medical care – with details about Ms. Dunn, the local midwife.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 25, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #29
Rose Whittey, b. 1899

Born in East Falls, Rose gives a detailed account of working at Dobson Mills. She also describes her house on Sunnyside, St. Bridget School, and local stores.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 25, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #28
Kelly Sisters

Entertaining interview with the sisters of Grace Kelly reminiscing about their growing up in East Falls.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 25, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #27
David West, b. 1931

Engrossing memories of growing up on Queen Lane and Penn Street: stickball, polio scare, writing a neighborhood newspaper, WWII, John B, Kelly, Sr.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 25, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #26
Mary Webster, b. 1897

Mary describes working at Dobson Mills, talks of the Dobson family, and shares memories of Forest School, doctors, and life in East Falls.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 25, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #25
Lee Snyder, Ph. D. (1921 – 2013)

Dr. Snyder, first Chairman of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at (what was then) Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, talks about his experiences at the College and life in East Falls.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 24, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #24
Joan Specter, b. 1934

This interview focuses on Joan Specter’s years on City Council and her travels with husband Sen. Arlen Specter.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 24, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #22
Catherine (Kitty) and Joe Rocks, b. 1928

Childhood memories of this couple include Gustine Lake, St. Bridget Church, Ace Riding Academy, Ridge Avenue.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 24, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #21
Shirley Shronk (1926 – 2015)

Married to a descendent of one of East Falls’ oldest families, the Shronks, Shirley talks about childhood fun, Breck and Mifflin Schools, 4th of July, etc.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 24, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #17
Jack McNicholas, b. 1931

Raised in East Falls and a postman here, Jack shares memories of sports, D-Day, local stores and factories, the Beneficial Club, golf, and more.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 24, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #23
Jean Rowland, b. 1915

Jean shares her impressions of arriving in East Falls from Scotland as a child, her memories of St. Bridget School and Rowland’s Market on Indian Queen Lane.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 24, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #20
Harry Prime (1920 – 2017)

Detailed, humorous memories by Big Band singer and Falls resident Harry Prime. Includes Kelly for Brickwork, Grace Kelly, John B. Kelly, Sr., holidays, Bathey, Clayton’s Market, more.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 24, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #19
Mae Mohr, b. 1902

Mae gives memories of Falls Presbyterian Church, her involvement with Old Academy Players, and the Stetson Hat Factory.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 24, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #18
Elizabeth Jeffords, b. 1950

This great-great grandchild of John Dobson gives her perspective of the extended Dobson family as well as Dobson Mills and its English roots.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 24, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #15
Alexis Franklin, Re: McMichael Park

Alexis Franklin, founder of the Friends of McMichael Park, talks about the formation of the Friends and activities and maintenance in the park.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 23, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #16
Catherine McBeth

Catherine, a third generation Fallser, talks about St. Bridget, playing on Netherfield, and local stores.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 23, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #14
Robert McClenahan, b. 1944

Bob reminisces about his childhood activities in East Falls, Mifflin School, and Falls Presbyterian Church.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 23, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #13
David McClenahan, b. 1947

A lifetime resident of East Falls, Dave’s interview focuses on Falls Presbyterian Church and Mifflin School.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 23, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #12
Louise Halstead, b. 1892

Interviewed at age 99 in 1981, Louise shares her memories of working in Dobson Mills, attending Forest School, and reminiscing about her father, who was a lamplighter.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 23, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #11
Edith Gotwols (1919 – 2018)

Interview focuses on Edith’s involvement with Old Academy Players and the Falls Presbyterian Church.
She received an honorary plaque from Old Academy in 2014 – text of speech and photo attached.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 23, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #10
Daniel Furman, b. 1935

Daniel’s descriptive memories of growing up in East Falls focus on recreation, sports – especially rowing, and church picnics.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #9
Eileen Flynn & Nancy Ann Sullivan, b. 1930 and 1935

Lifetime residents of East Falls, these sisters share memories of St. Bridget Church, local stores, WWII rationing, and more.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #8
‘Five Fishes’ Oral History with Tom Williams & Keith Shively

Tom Williams and Keith Shively give the background of the installation of the Five Fishes sculpture, located along the Schuylkill River in East Falls.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #7
Ruth Emmert, b. 1907

Ruth shares her recollections, with humor and detail, of coming to East Falls as a bride in 1926. Highlights include a typical day of a housewife, Prohibition years, hucksters, shopping, Old Academy.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #6
Grace Davis & Hazel Stamm, b. circa 1895 – 1900

Memories of two sisters growing up in East Falls, including their recollections of Dobson Mills.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #5
Paul Costello, 1894 – 1986

Interview with the American triple Olympic Gold Medal winner in rowing, who grew up in East Falls and rowed with his cousin John B. Kelly, Sr.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #4
Theresa Altomare Corcoran, b. 1923

Born in 1923, Theresa grew up and raised her family in East Falls. Highlights of her interview include: Stanton Street, St. Bridget, the Depression, Irish and Italian immigrants.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #3
Robert Connolly, 1923 – 2014

Born on Calumet Street, Robert lived in four East Falls locations. This unique “interview” contains six years of email correspondence in which Robert writes vivid, detailed reminiscences of Woodside Park (where his father worked), the Bathey, Breck School, Falls Library, Dutch Hollow, Fourth of July, stores, recreation, and more.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #2
Mary Cashman, b. 1925

Born in 1925, Mary moved to Eveline Street in East Falls in 1947 and never moved.
Interview focuses on St. Bridget Church, stores along Ridge and Midvale Avenues.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018
Oral History

Oral History #1
Ella Boyd, b. 1983

Born in 1893 in East Falls, Ella gives vivid descriptions of stores, institutions, medical care, and people of of East Falls past, including the Dobsons, Kellys, and Hohenadels.


by efhs_4y4foe • April 22, 2018