Mill Creek

see c. 1880 photo and c. 1870 engraving

In the mid 1800's, the Mill Creek, which ran approximately down 43rd Street, was redirected into a new sewer culvert, built about 30 feet under 43rd Street. The 20' x 20' combined soil sewer/creek culvert is one of the largest in the city, and carries the storm water for 2/3 of West Philadelphia.

The creek has its headwaters in Lower Merion, and it (and the sewer) dump into the Schuylkill on the far side of the University of the Sciences campus near 43rd Street and Woodland Avenue, where the Breyer's plant formerly stood. (Originally, the creek first dumped into a pond which is the bowl of Clark Park.) The Mill Creek was the largest of the many creeks which ran through West Philadelphia, such as the Sandy Creek, which ran down 34th Street, and dumped out near the South Street bridge.

In the late 1960's during a heavy storm, a whole block stretch of 43rd Street, between Sansom and Chestnut streets, collapsed into the creek, taking away trees, and even a car. At that time, the City rebuilt the culvert south to Spruce Street. Below Spruce, however, is the original brick culvert.

You can find more information on the creek at this site.

--Greg M

Read more about sewers in Philadelphia: From Creek To Sewer: A Philadelphia Story by Adam Levine.

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"" target="_blank">From Creek To Sewer: A Philadelphia Story by Adam Levine.