In The Schuylkill’s Weeds


Adam Lutz and Efrain Santiago assist in Al Wachin’s struggle against Eurasian milfoil. | Photo: Ed Hille, for

Adam Lutz and Efrain Santiago assist in Al Wachin’s struggle against Eurasian milfoil. | Photo: Ed Hille, for

  • Floating on a barge in the Schuylkill, above the dam at the Waterworks, Al Wachin, 77, a former rower for Penn, and his two workers scrape the riverbed with a 6-foot steel bar, collecting from it accumulated mounds of Eurasian water milfoil. The invasive species of vegetation has given the Schuylkill River a film of lime-green sludge, clogging engine propellers, tipping kayaks, and affecting regattas. This year’s crop of river weeds is the worst in Walchin’s memory. Jason Nark conveys his Sisyphean task, which will have to do until the Army Corps of Engineers can get the estimated $4.7 million it would need to dredge this cargo-less section of the river. Complete and sustained eradication is hopeless, however Drexel botanist Alfred E. Schuyler contends that the green-lining offers a silver one: at least we know that water quality is improving.
  • Naked Philly considers the proposed conversion of the former Convent for the Holy Name of Jesus Church (1924) at 1420-22 Susquehanna Avenue into nine apartment units, a plan which, having not fared too well against the votes of a density-adverse community last month, is at the mercy of Zoning Board of Adjustments. The blog suggests forgoing Fishtowners’ recommendations, reasoning that the project now on the table is the parcel’s only economical option for the 11,000-square-feet building, which still has much of its “original details, like stained glass windows, woodwork, tin ceilings, and an old staircase”. Short of the necessary variances, demolition, with replacement by two mansions, would seem likely.
  • A moribund U.S. Postal Service announced yesterday that it plans to right-size its operations by closing three Philadelphia post offices in favor of smaller options nearby, reports The Inquirer’s Jacob Adelman. These include the Paschall branch in Southwest Philly, the Schuylkill branch in South Philly, and, most notably, the New Deal-Era William Penn Annex in the Robert Nix Federal Building at 9th & Market.
  • The first four of SEPTA’s 120 Silverliner IV train cars have been repaired and were reintroduced this morning to its active fleet, says CBS Philly. “The transit agency says they hope to have enough cars to return to a normal weekday schedule on the Regional Rails by October 3rd.”
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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