History of the Grays Ferry Triangles

Since the time of William Penn Grays Ferry Avenue has been the southerly gateway into the City of Philadelphia.  Originally
Grays Ferry Pontoon Bridge decorated for Washington's arrivalthe path of the Lenne Lenape Native Americans to the Schuylkill River, it connected the ferry over the Schuylkill with Philadelphia proper.  George Washington rode down it when entering the City to be inaugurated as the first US President.  
 
Grays Ferry Pontoon Bridge decorated for arrival of General George Washington
 
At the turn of the 20th Century, Miss Catharine Thorn bequeathed money to the Women’s Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsCatharine Thorn Fountain 1936 for the installation of a drinking fountain in the large open space created where South Street, 23rd Street, and Grays Ferry converge.  Erected out of one solid piece of granite in 1901, the fountain basin, roughly 7 feet in circumference, provided drinking water to horses; underneath was for dogs. On hot days it would whet the whistles of hundreds of horses.
Catharine Thorn Fountain in 1936
 
 
Grays Ferry was two-way traffic at the time.  The City eventually installed curbs, trees, and plantings around the fountain in the late 1970s, which neighbors have carefully tended since.  For 38 years and running, the Triangles have been home to the Odunde festival, an African street festival in honor of the river goddess, Oshun, of the Yoruba people, since the festival’s inception in 1975.  More recently, thanks Plazapalooza Spring 2012to stewardship and leadership of the Triangles on Grays Ferry Avenue Gateway project, it has hosted the annual PlazaPalooza festival, as well as numerous other community events such as jazz concerts, movie nights, and more. 
 
 
 
Plazapalooza 2012