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Public Works, Department of
Bureau of Street Cleaning

[Record group 85-5]
Agency Function
This unit was responsible for street cleaning, for removal of debris from sewer inlets; and for ash, rubbish, and garbage collection and disposal.

Agency History
The functions of cleaning the streets of Philadelphia and removing garbage, etc. was originally vested in the Board of Health under the Act of Assembly approved on 18 March 1869. An ordinance of 24 December 1881 removed this responsibility from the Board of Health and placed it within the Department of Highways. Shortly after the creation of the Department of Public Works in 1887 under provisions of the Bullitt Bill of 1885, City Councils passed an ordinance, approved on 6 December 1887, creating a separate Bureau of Street Cleaning within Public Works. The bureau has had a on-again, off-again separate existence from that of the Bureau of Highways. The Bureau of Street Cleaning was merged with Highways in 1907, reconstituted in 1917, abolished in 1920, reconstituted yet again in 1924, merged with Highways as the Bureau of Highways and Street Cleaning in 1937, and enjoyed a separate existence once more in 1950-1951 after which it became one of the divisions of the newly-created Department of Streets.

Archival Records
85-5.1 Annual Report (1948, 1951)

85-5.2 Reports on Street Cleaning and Garbage Removal (1912-1920)

85-5.3 Plans. (1926-1935)

85-5.4 Agreements (1939, 1946-1951)

85-5.5 Specifications for Collection of Garbage (1917, 1921)

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Last updated on November 8, 2000