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Cobbs Creek Oral History Project

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Julia Chinn

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Starting in 2015, the Philadelphia Water Department's Public Engagement team began recording conversations with members of the Cobbs Creek community.

The goal?

To better understand how people feel about Cobbs Creek—one of Philadelphia's seven major watersheds—and what they want to see for the neighborhood, the park, and the stream.

Currently, the City is building a network of green stormwater tools in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood and communities across Philadelphia through the Green City, Clean Waters program. These green systems add new green space to the landscape and reduce stormwater runoff and sewer overflows, which represent the biggest sources of pollution for Cobbs and other other urban waterways.

The stories collected through this project help the community document the immense value of Cobbs Creek.

Below, you'll find two of the interviews recorded. Stay tuned for more. 

  Note: the recordings below feature excerpts edited to form a narrative. 


 

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Julia Chinn's Story

Julia Chinn moved to Cobbs Creek from North Philadelphia with her husband and young daughter in 1953 to grow their family. Her story shows Cobbs Creek as a natural place that enriched their family life and neighborhood. She also talks about racial tensions, crime, the death of her son and what drew her to community activism. Today, she is still a community leader active with numerous community groups, boards, and a local block captain’s organization.

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Deborah Roebuck's Story 

Deborah Roebuck shares her late husband's intimate connections to the creek, their dream of owning a home across from the park, the positive impact of the Cobbs Creek Recreation Center, and why a sense of ownership in the land is so important. She also remembers iconic civil rights moments from Philadelphia in the 1960s.

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Subscribe to see when new interviews are posted!

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Want to help protect the Cobbs? Sign up for Rain Check and get a free rain barrel or discounted green tool for your home:

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Take the Cobbs Creek Virtual Walking Tour and learn about new stream-protecting green tools coming to Cobbs Creek Parkway:

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Learn About Getting Green Tools with Rain Check

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