Church History

The Church of the Holy Innocents was the first church in the Disston company town of Tacony. In December of 1867, the rector of All Saints,' Torresdale, conducted services for the many English employees of Henry Disston and Sons Saw Works. The congregation grew large enough to construct its first building in 1869, at the corner of Washington Ave (later Disston St) and Wissinoming St. Consecrated by Bp. Stevens on Aug. 22, 1872, it served until April 1898, by which time a new building had been built (in 1887) at the Tyson and VanDyke location, away from the industry which had expanded around the original church. The first service in the new building was held on Easter, 1898. In 1904, Holy Innocents gained parish status and was admitted to the convention of the Diocese.

St. Paul's Church began in the Aramingo section of the city. Members of St. Mark's, Frankford, started a Sunday School in what was still mostly farmland. Expansion continued as Aramingo developed its own mills and factories. By 1870, St. Paul's was viable enough to be admitted to convention as a parish. During the Great Depression, St. Paul's gained some fame for its soup kitchen, started by women of the parish.

Both parishes were affected by the demise of manufacturing industries. The Disston family sold its firm in 1954, and operations were moved. The parish declined further in the late 1970's and early 80's. St. Paul's was suffering a similar fate in the 1970's. By 1990, Holy Innocents was struggling to stay alive, and a fire destroyed St. Paul's.

After a period of wandering the urban wilderness, St. Paul's found a new home at Holy Innocents' location. The parishes merged on November 18, 1992, eventually making interior renovations and constructing a new addition, fronting Torresdale Ave., in 1998.

In the Fall of 2004, following the closing of St. Bartholomew's, Wissonoming, the bulk of their remaining members unofficially joined Holy Innocents St. Paul's as well.

Throughout its history, Holy Innocents St. Paul's has maintained an ongoing mission and ministry in Tacony and the surrounding neighborhoods, through religious, social, and service events and relationships.

(Lengthier, more colloquial, versions of our history are available through the office.)