Pennypack Park was established in 1905 by ordinance of the City of Philadelphia to insure the protection of Pennypack Creek and the preservation of the surrounding land. The park consists of 1,600 acres of woodlands, meadows, wetlands and fields.
The rich history of Pennypack Park began with the Lenni-Lenape Indians who hunted and fished along the creek and from whom the park takes its name. In 1683 William Penn acquired the title to this land from the Lenni-Lenape people.
Many historic structures are still intact throughout the park. In 1697 the Pennypack Bridge, one of the oldest stone bridges still in use in the United States, was built on King's Highway, now known as Frankford Avenue. The Pennypack Baptist Church another of the park's historic sites, was built in 1688. The Verree House on Verree Road was the site of a raid by British troops during the Revolutionary War.
The Pennypack Valley was a center of industry throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with many mills and factories dotting its banks. The remains of this era are evidenced by the ruins that can still be located throughout the park with careful inspection.
Today Pennypack Park is a natural recreational area for all to enjoy. Popular activities include hiking on miles of back woods trails, horseback riding, bicycling on the park's nine mile paved bike path, picnicking and fishing in the Pennypack Creek.
Pennypack Park is the green heart of Northeast Philadelphia; a natural world in the midst of urban development. Throughout the park's woodlands, meadows, wetlands and fields you will see many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians which have been native to this area for thousands of years.
More than 150 species of nesting and migrating birds can be seen in the park, such as the tiny Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, the Great Blue Heron, Warblers, the Pileated Woodpecker, several kinds of seabirds, Ducks, Geese, Hawks, Great Horned Owls and the little Screech Owl to name only a few.
Pennypack Park is famous for its large, scattered deer herd but is home to a large variety of mammals, including several kinds of bat, the Red and Gray Fox, Rabbits, Chipmunks, Mice, Muskrats, Woodchucks, Raccoons, Skunks, Opossum and the long-tailed Weasel.
The park is home to many reptile species including several kinds of snakes, Box Turtles, as well as Snapping Turtles and Painted Turtles, Spring Peepers, (a small brownish tree frog), the Common Toad and several kinds of salamanders.
In 1987, several individuals concerned about the decline in the condition of Pennypack Park had a vision to form an organization which would become an advocate for the park and actively improve its condition. It was determined that this would not be a discussion group, but a roll-up-your sleeves and get things done organization. Current activities of the FOPP include: conducting monthly history and nature walks, monthly park clean-ups, monthly meetings on matters concerning the park and environment, and monitoring the quality of the water in Pennypack Creek on a regular basis.
Some past accomplishments of the FOPP include: placing public telephones in the park, repairing and replacing picnic tables and benches throughout the park, placing additional trash cans throughout the park, erecting gates at trail entrances to keep unauthorized motor vehicles out of the park, and installing informational signs at park entrances.