The Lighthouse Boys Club

The Boys Clubs have been an important part of Philadelphia for many, many decades. They are spread out in the city and offer an alternative to many of the street activities for which we teenagers often get into trouble.  In our neighborhood, the Lighthouse Boys Club was Located at 152 West Lehigh Avenue. My friends and I would walk from Alleghany Avenue to play basketball, pool, go swimming year-round, and other activities.

Part of the club was Lighthouse Field, located at Front Street and Erie Avenue. I read that the club was started as a soccer organization in 1897. I know my Uncle Bud was a player in the late 1930s. By the time I was going to the field, it included several baseball diamonds, which we used often.

By the time I was a kid living in Kensington (late 1940s and 50s), the Lighthouse Field was best known for hosting the Circus every spring.

The Story I have about the Lighthouse field is not really a happy one. The happy part is in the summer, we used it to play baseball, and in the winter, we played football. We didn’t have any football safety gear, and as kids are apt to do, we still played tackle football. I mean, we were lucky we had a football.

Anyway, I was about 13 years old, and somehow, I got the ball. It was unusual because I was not the fastest runner. That showed when I was hit from behind by two of my friends. It was a hard hit. My back screamed with pain. My friend Bob had played on actual football teams and said he could fix my back. He grabbed me from behind and pulled me upward. Yikes, the pain increased.

For several weeks, I was in serious pain, yet the doctor never got me x-rays. Eventually, the pain decreased, but all my life, I have had discomfort in my lower back. A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis caused by that injury.

That said, The Boys Club and the Lighthouse Field were an important part of growing up in Kensington.

Do you have any Boys Club stories? If so, share them with us.

If you want to view over 1,300 colorized images from the 1930s to the 1980s, visit my website at

Lighthouse Boys Club. Lehigh Avenue, Philadelphia about 1950s.

Kids got to play sports, swim, play pool and do things that kept them out of trouble. Possibly the 1960s. 

View of new field house for the Lighthouse Boys Club at Lighthouse Field.  1949

Group protests sale of Lighthouse Field 1970. Aside from providing baseball dimons, soccar fields, Lighthouse Field was the home of the Circus for years. 

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