ef·flu·vi·um \ n, plvia \ often sing in constr orvi·ums [L effluvium act of flowing out, fr. effluere] 1 : an invisible emanation; esp : an offensive exhalation or smell 2 : a by-product esp. in the form of waste

American Weekly Mercury, August 16, 1739

Last Week the Assembly of this Province gave Notice to the Tanners to appear before them, to offer their Objections to a Petition that Pray’d the Tanners might be removed without the Bounds of this City, and no new Tanyards made in it. Notice was likewise given to some of the Principal Promoters of the said Petition, to appear and defend the Allegations therein set forth. The several Parties appearing, the Tanners, on their Part, Alledged, That the Petition was without Foundation; that the Causes of Complaint ought to be charged to the present disorderly Condition of the Dock, which was a Receptacle for all kinds of filth from a very great part of the Town, and in the upper Parts of it without water sufficient to carry it off; abundance of Necessary-Houses on the Dock, and Communicating with it, were specially urged: It was likewise offer’d to prove, by clear Instances, that it was not truly asserted in that Petition, that the Health of the Inhabitants was affected by Tanyards, and especially it appeared that they did not promote contagious Distempers among us, because that when such Distemper ranged with great violence in this City, the Inhabitants who were in the Neighbourhood of the Tanyards were preserved from it more than in other Parts of the Town. Continue reading “American Weekly Mercury, August 16, 1739”


McMahon, Michal. “Publick Service” versus “Mans Properties”: Dock Creek and the Origins of Urban Technology in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia in Judith A. McGaw’s Early American Technology, 1994

Watson, John Fanning. Annals of Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania, in the Olden Time, v. I, 1857, specifically the chapter entitled “The Drawbridge and Dock Creek” pp. 336-349

Levine, Adam. www.phillyh2o.org The History of Philadelphia’s Watersheds and Sewers