OMC article missed Know Nothing violence

While your article “OMC Church to Mark 160 Years in Chestnut Hill” [Oct. 29] admirably reflects Our Mother of Consolation’s (“OMC”) spiritual and historic commitment to Chestnut Hill, it mischaracterizes a significant aspect of OMC’s history.

Your article notes that OMC’s first pastor was the Irish-born Augustinian, the Rev. Dr. Patrick Moriarty, who previously served at St. Augustine Church at 4th and Vine streets in Philadelphia, and “though St. Augustine’s first Chapel burned down, (it) was rebuilt in 1848.”

What really happened is that on May 8, 1844, mobs of anti-Catholic, anti-Irish and anti-immigrant Know-Nothings burned down St. Augustine and St. Michael’s at 2nd and Jefferson streets, and attacked convents and Catholics, killing dozens and destroying extensive property, until the state militia intervened.

At least 20 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. These same Know-Nothing forces threatened the construction of OMC, whose parishioners stood armed guard over the Chestnut Hill construction site. The Know-Nothings urged that only native-born Americans could hold public office and that immigrants had to wait 21 years before becoming citizens.

The charismatic Monsignor Moriarty was a strong leader and forceful orator, who vigorously championed Irish independence and ending England’s 800-year occupation of Ireland. He was also a founder and the first President of Villanova University. OMC’s spiritual traditions have strong Irish antecedents.

John Elliot

Chestnut Hill

Happy for Moss Disston coverage

Members of the Rotary Club of Chestnut Hill were delighted to see the photo of our long time member, Moss Disston, on the cover of the Local last week.

For several weeks we heard the details of rappelling, encouraged fundraising for the project, and anticipated Moss’ derring-do. A crowd of cheering Rotarians were present as Moss stepped over the edge of that building. We were proud and grateful to have Moss represent the Rotary Club of Chestnut Hill in this adventure and were especially happy to see him on solid ground again.

Ellen Williams


Rotary Club of Chestnut Hill

A successful G’town house tour

Congratulations to Historic Germantown and Mt. Airy Learning Tree on their successful House Tour: “At Home in the Old German Township,” held on Sunday Oct. 18. More than 250 attended the sixth annual event that was organized by Historic Germantown in cooperation with Mt. Airy Learning Tree. Seven remarkable houses in Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill were on display illustrating magnificent original architectural detail, historic renovation, adaptive reuse, and historic and contemporary design.

Heartfelt thanks go to the owners who opened their homes, welcomed visitors, and provided informed commentary to supplement the tour. The event was enormously successful because of the owners’ generous cooperation as well as the support of the event’s sponsors: Freeman’s Auctioneers & Appraisers; Elfant Wissahickon Realtors; Chestnut Hill Hospital; Ernst Brothers Designers & Builders; Kurtz Construction Company; Cheshire Law Group; Loretta Witt – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Nolan Painting; Hayden Real Estate Investments; Trolley Car Diner; Class Abstract; Chestnut Hill Cat Clinic; and Awbury Arboretum Landscapes. Congratulations and thanks also to the more than thirty volunteers who served as docents in the houses during the tour.

Historic Germantown is a partnership of 16 extraordinary historic houses, destinations, and museums in Northwest Philadelphia that have joined to protect, preserve, and share some of Philadelphia’s prized historical assets.

Susan Harrison


Historic Germantown

He could Tug at your heart

Thank you so much for the article on Tug McGraw (“Interviews with late Phillies World Series hero recalled,” Oct. 29). I was crying and laughing at the same time when I read it. That is because I also met Tug once. I was involved with a charity for kids in the mid-’90s, and Tug showed up, just like he did for the ones mentioned in your article. He was so much fun, and the kids loved him.

We read so much about the professional athletes who do the most terrible things off the field, but Tug was the real deal. He could not have been nicer. He did not take himself too seriously. He shook everybody’s hand, poked fun at himself and signed so many autographs. Charles Barkley has said on several occasions that kids should not be looking to professional athletes to be role models, and obviously that is true in so many cases but not with “The Tugger.”

He really was someone for kids to look up to and emulate. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and he was always showing up at hospitals and places for the handicapped and fundraising events, and he really did pick up everybody’s spirits. I wish all athletes were like Tug. It was a real tragedy when he died so young. Thank you again for remembering him.

Lillian Dumont