Local media reports there are 10,000+ dead Fishtowners buried underneath garages, homes and a playground in Fishtown.

Where did they come from?  According to local historian Ken Milano, City maps reveal a poorhouse burial ground located at Berks St. and Frankford Avenue that was busy with the burials sometime in the mid to late 1830s.

Here’s the coverage published so far:

Ghosts from Kensington’s Past: The Mutual Burial Grounds of Kensington Lie Dormant Beneath Fishtown

And the Inky.

And The Voice.

So, where’s all these dead Fishtowners?


When Milano learned that OCF Realty developer Ori Feibush was interested in a gas station and garage from the 1920s along Frankford Avenue he filed a nomination petition with the Philadelphia Historical Commission to preserve the site.

The key parcel at issue is a garage and former gas station that lies along Frankford Avenue.  The burial ground however extends far beyond that property all the way to the Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and the Shissler Recreation Center which contains a popular soccer field that is heavily used by neighborhood teams.

So, Are There REALLY Dead Bodies Under My Kids Soccer Field?

There have also been as many as 7 development projects within the burial site within the last 4 years, all of which contain basements.   The Philadelphia Water Department also excavated a large basketball court at the Shissler Rec Center, well within the burial ground area to a depth of 9 feet back in 2014, in addition to two development parcels immediately adjacent to the parcel up for nomination to the Historical Commission.

So far, no one has encountered a human remain when digging.

But it’s fun to think about.

If Ken Milano’s assertions in his Historic preservation nomination is to be believed, today’s Fishtowners are playing soccer, shooting hoops and living on top of 10,000 dead Fishtowners underneath their feet.