Oak Lane Community Action Association (OLCAA)
of East Oak Lane
A Brief History of East Oak Lane
This neighborhood of green space, cultural diversity, and rich architecture was settled in 1683 by William Penn---his first. Penn's vision was to create a pastoral oasis for city dwellers.
East Oak Lane, Olney, Logan, Fern Rock, and West Oak Lane were originally considered Bristol Township. A European settler, Quaker Samuel Carpenter, acquired the land from Penn. Along with other settlers he transformed it from forest into farmland and small villages at major intersections.
In the 18th century, mills producing manufactured goods sprang up along the creeks of Bristol Township. Many of Philadelphia's top citizens built fine homes with elaborate architectural designs and beautiful landscaping along these waterways.
In 1854, Philadelphia County incorporated all the townships, districts, and boroughs into the City of Philadelphia. With this development, large estates were lost and waterways forced underground. Construction of large arterial roads and expansion of the railroad allowed for the emergence of Philadelphia's merchant class. These were the inhabitants who built many of the large family homes that lend East Oak Lane its unique flavor.
Some consider East Oak Lane the "Northern Gates" of the City of Philadelphia. The beauty of the historical architecture, canopy of tree-lined streets, and passion of its residents for a distinctive and peaceful quality of life continue to attract many of Philadelphia's great talents and like-minded citizens.
For more information, read Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan by Marita Krivda Poxon, Rachel Hildebrandt, and the Old York Road Historical Society (Arcadia Publishing, 2011).