When:  Saturday, February 6, 2016, 10 am to 12 noon
Where:  David Library of the American Revolution

 Pier 53: The Ellis Island of Philadelphia (Click link for printable flyer)


Learn about "The Pier 53 Project," a historical study of Pier 53 in South Philadelphia.  Known as the "Ellis Island of Philadelphia," Pier 53 has welcomed over a million immigrants into America.  Collectively, the project describes immigrants' histories from their time of arrival at Pier 53.  Descendants of immigrants tell their ancestor's story, and then receive a passenger tag and a T-shirt, becoming members of the "Pier Group."

Some of the information is gathered from public record, but many of those stories are accounts told by the immigrants' descendants.

Part of the presentation will include some historical context.  Washington Avenue Green/Pier 53 was a shipbuilding site during the American Revolution and the War of 1812; it was the country's first Naval Ship Yard, and during that period was a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Civil War soldiers.


McAninley headshot 



Susan McAninley


I'm a Philadelphia native.  I have a B.F.A. from University of the Arts, and have worked as an art director, designer, and teacher, with a brief stint as a writer and a radio talk show producer.  Although a graphic artist by profession, my interest in genealogy goes back decades.

The Pier 53 Project is something I started in 2012 when the Washington Avenue Green Park was officially opened.  I live seven blocks away in Pennsport in South Philadelphia and became interested in the local history of the waterfront.  I was delighted to find that both my grandfathers first set foot in America on Pier 53.

I've been collecting stories of some of the million or so immigrants who arrived between 1876 and 1926, using publicly available records and accounts from descendants.  Each story is a core sample of history from 1876 until the mid-1920's, chronicling the history of Philadelphia and the immigrant experience in America.


Photos from the meeting are available here: Feb 2016 Meeting & Program - Pier 53: The Ellis Island of Philadelphia