Andrew McCalla Eastwick

Locomotive Builder

Excerpt from Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography, p. 10 – 12.

 

To none of the men who have helped to make her history does Philadelphia revert with a more just and laudable pride than that with which she cherishes the memory of those captains of industry to whom she owes, in great measure, her international renown. In this group stands the late Andrew McCalla Eastwick, of the firm of Eastwick & Harrison, of world-wide reputation as builders of locomotives. As a citizen Mr. Eastwick was notable for public spirit.

 

Andrew McCalla Eastwick. son of Thomas and Margaret (McCalla) Eastwick. was born September 14, 1810, in Philadelphia. and attended the public schools until his twelfth year. His first employment was in a machine shop, and while working through the day he attended night school. He next entered the service of Philip Garrett, a locomotive builder. of Philadelphia, and ere long was advanced to the position of foreman. At the age of twenty-one, he was admitted to partnership, the firm name being Garrett & Eastwick, noted locomotive builders. In 1835 they took as foreman the late Joseph Harrison, and in 1837, when Mr. Garrett retired, Mr. Eastwick admitted Mr. Harrison to partnership, forming the firm of Eastwick & Harrison. In 1840 two Russian engineers (Colonels Melnckoff and Kroft). travelling in the United States, were so favorably impressed with the locomotives built by Eastwick & Harrison that they carried the plans to their own country, where they were found so satisfactory that the builders were inquired for. After many negotiations, Mr. Eastwick and Mr. Harrison, both of Philadelphia, and Thomas Winans, of Baltimore, entered into contract in the sum of three million dollars with the Russian Government through its agent. Major George Whistler, father of the distinguished artist, James Whistler, to build the locomotives and rolling stock for the St. Petersburg and Moscow railway. This was in 1844, and the same year Mr. Eastwick went to Russia. The success of the undertaking won the favor of Emperor Nicholas, and other contracts followed, but at the end of the first contract, in 1849, Mr. Eastwick returned to Philadelphia. having retired from active business, severing his connection with the firm. He continued, however, to interest himself in business matters, notably in the City Bank of Philadelphia, of which he became president. Always public-spirited, he became, after the consolidation of the city, a member of the Common Council from the Twenty-second Ward. In politics, he was first a Whig and later a Republican, and was one of the original members of the Union League and an active member of The State in Schuylkill. He and his family were members of St. James' Protestant Episcopal Church, Kingsessing, of which he was a vestryman. To his talents as a business man Mr. Eastwick joined those of an inventor. To him the world is indebted for what is known as the equalizing beam which is used universally on all locomotives made at the present day.

 

After his return to the United States Mr. Eastwick was able to fulfill a long cherished desire of his boyhood days, which was to own Bartram's Gardens on the banks of the Schuylkill river. In 1850 he purchased this estate of the descendants of John Bartram, the well-known botanist, and lived in the old Bartram house (built of stone in 1770 and still standing) while he built a modern one to suit the requirements of his family. In this house, which was called Bartram Hall, they took up their abode its 1851, and it was there that Mr. Eastwick spent the remaining years of his life. On his return from Russia he brought with him much statuary, and his widow presented to the city two large iron lions which had been cast in the locomotive works at Alexandrovski, three miles from St. Petersburg. These lions are now in front of Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park. After Mr. Eastwick's death the city of Philadelphia. through Councilman Thomas Meehan, who had at one time been his head gardener, acquired for a city park a portion of the Bartram place. including the old Bartram house and gardens and a few acres surrounding them.

 

Andrew McCalla Eastwick was a man of genial disposition, and his home, Bartram Hall, was the seat of a gracious hospitality. It was there that he breathed his last on February 8, 1879, his widow passing away on December 15, 1890.

 

Mr. Eastwick married, April 12, 1832, in Philadelphia, Lydia Anne James, of Colonial descent, born February 14, 1815, in that city, daughter of John and Maria T. (Quicksall) James. Mr. and Mrs. Eastwick were the parents of fourteen children, ten of whom married and left descendants, as follows:……

 

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Eastwick’s Bartram Hall, Philadelphia  - adjoined Bartram Gardens, 1865 Source: Unknown

 

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Rev. August 2010