Most people think of William Penn when they think of who founded the city of Philadelphia but what most do not realize is there was another person who worked with him, Thomas Holme.
His final resting place is located in the Holme-Crispin Cemetery on Holme Avenue. A flagpole was recently dedicated to him near his tombstone.
The Holme Circle Civic Association sponsored the dedication. This project has been on the agenda for the association since it is within their boundaries. It was open to civic members and the public. But the flagpole itself was a donation.
“It was donated by Grainger Inc.,” Civic Association President Elsie Stevens said. “They were so nice to donate it to us.”
Just a few months ago, the cemetery did not look the same as it does today. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a tree had fallen, almost taking out Holme’s tombstone. There was no sign of relief or help coming, so Stevens took matters into her own hands.
“Before we could do anything in the cemetery we had to remove the tree,” Stevens explained. “So my husband, myself and our friend gradually chopped up the tree with a chainsaw. But after that we could work on the cemetery.”
Stevens found poison sumac was growing around the tree, which further complicated the cleanup. Snakes tend to come up from the wooded area located behind the cemetery. And shrubs planted in the cemetery have been stolen on twice.
The cemetery is open to the public, but there are some restrictions. Due to a few instances of vandalism, the gates are locked at night. The HCCA has taken action and installed several surveillance cameras throughout the cemetery.
State Representative John Sabatini Jr. represented HCCA with a dedication citation during the ceremony. This is given out when a site dedication is taking place.
Now the flag will alternate every so often. The American flag will not be removed but the city and state flag will alternate. Philly Pride Lady, Brenda Exon, gave a presentation to enlighten the crowd of the history of our city flag.
“Philadelphia was the first city to have their own flag,” Exon explained. “And even better, it was made here in Philadelphia!”
The next project HCCA is working on is to have welcome signs placed on Holme Avenue. These signs will state, “Welcome to Holme Circle” and be installed in the center median facing bother directions. A few other beautification projects are in the works for the civic association as well.