In October the Historical Commission designated the first local historic district in Tacony. The Disston-Tacony Industrial Waterfront Historic District recognizes the important role Henry Disston & Sons’ Keystone Saw Works played in the early development of Tacony. The Tacony Community Development Corporation nominated the district.

The company operated along the waterfront from 1872-1955. It transformed the saw and tool making industry in Philadelphia and the United States.

In the 1840s, English immigrant Henry Disston began making saws to meet a demand for local, well-made tools and building materials. By the Civil War, the company was the largest saw manufacturer in the country. As the company grew, it continued to develop new products and manufacturing methods.

In the early 1870s, Henry Disston bought a large tract of land in Tacony to move his company there. He saw Tacony as a place that could host a large manufacturing plant and provide a family-centered environment for its employees. He envisioned good, affordable housing and the amenities of a small town or suburb.

By the 1920s, the manufacturing plant covered more than 50 acres and had 3,000 employees. The Disston family’s concern for their workers fostered loyalty and turned Tacony into a company town.

This historic district recognizes the site of the Henry Disston & Sons’ Keystone Saw Works as a unique industrial area in Philadelphia. Designation provides preservation protections for buildings and landscape features that played an important role in Philadelphia’s manufacturing history and the heritage of Tacony.

Many U.S. cities and towns have adopted historic districts as parts of their planning, economic, development, and historic preservation programs. Local historic districts promote community pride and a sense of place.

Curious about other historic sites in Tacony?

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