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Friends of Narberth history
Friends of Narberth History
Views of Narberth Past

Forrest Avenue, about 1905

Image source: The World Postcard Co., Philadelphia, Pa.; collection of David M. Lockwood

Addresses in view: 113 Forrest Ave., 117 Forrest Ave. (†1949)

modern view of the historical image seen from the same viewpoint

Looking up Forrest from Haverford Avenue, early downtown Narberth appears quite green and open in contrast with today's brick, stucco and parking lots. On the right, front to back, the 1908 YMCA has not yet been built; the lookout tower is the fire house/Elm Hall (1899). The A. H. Mueller house (1891) can be seen though the trees. Forrest Avenue dead ends a short distance beyond at the property of E. M. Richards, a line that had existed since the 1700s, until the 1880s the farm of Edward R. Price. Woodbine and Forrest were extended to their current intersection between 1908 and 1913.

4 women in identical-looking long white dresses standing on the sidewalk under the trees; an early automobile is parked next to them.
Detail: four "Forest ladies" in long white dresses next to a flivver.

Forrest or Forest?

Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed the postcard's title "Forest Ave", with one 'r'. Eight Main Line atlases from 1896 through 1961 use this spelling; only the 1900 edition says "Forrest". Perusing Our Town through the years reveals both spellings, but seems to lean more to "Forest". One is inclined to be persuaded by the A. H. Mueller atlases (1896, 1908, 1913 and 1920) which name the street "Forest". Not only are these maps detailed, beautiful and accurate, Mueller lived on this very street at #117 for 35 years and was elected our first mayor. Indeed, the November 1895 incorporation map bearing his signature that hangs in Borough Council chambers indicates "Forest". Who would know better?

John Jacob Ridgway, maybe? After all, Ridgway (1843-1924) named these streets. The 1889 and 1893 editions of "Map of Philadelphia and Environs" published by G. William Baist show Ridgway's Narberth Park development. Depicting streets both opened and proposed, they include Forrest Ave.

Today, we are firmly in Ridgway's camp, officially settled on "Forrest".