East Passyunk’s role in America’s first serial killer, Ol’ Blue Eyes & other fun facts

We all know and love East Passyunk for the rich restaurant scene and thriving local businesses. But did you know that an East Passyunk woman is responsible for Sinatra’s nickname (according to legend, anyway), or that a prison once occupied the land where you shop for groceries?


Philadelphia news website Billy Penn compiled a guide to East Passyunk, including quite a few fun facts.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Passyunk predates pretty much every neighborhood in Philadelphia, including Center City.
  • Passyunk is a Delaware Indian word meaning ““a place of sleep,” “a level place” or “a place below the hills.”
  • Frank Sinatra got his nickname “Ol’ Blue Eyes” thanks to a Passyunk woman named Connie Patrone.
  • Pat’s opened more than 30 years before Geno’s.
  • A baseball field and prison occupied the land where the ACME Supermarket is now
  • America’s first serial killer was executed at that prison. Edgar Allen Poe also spent a night there for drunkenness. 

Billy Penn’s full guide to East Passyunk can be found here.

–Taylor Farnsworth, @tfarnsworth3

3 thoughts on “East Passyunk’s role in America’s first serial killer, Ol’ Blue Eyes & other fun facts

  • January 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Charles Bukowski also spent some time in Moyamensing Prison.

  • January 15, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    On the Moyamensing Ave side of the Acme there are still remnants of the prison walls. When I was growing up, we played in that vacant lot and always called it, “The Prison Lot”.

    • January 16, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      You mean the Reed Street side.

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