Aldan History

With a sense both of responsibility and anticipation, the founding governors of a new town called Aldan met at the home of Mr. F.S. Shisler on October 20,1893, to begin the work of organization. Six members of the borough council and a Burgess took the oath of office before Justice of the Peace Bonsall of Clifton Heights, after which Mr. Wallace J. Cain was elected President of Council. In their first official action, the governing body instructed the Secretary to purchase a journal and a copy of “Prickett’s Borough Laws”. The council met weekly thereafter to make provisions for the orderly development of the new community.
Established as a borough under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on September 22, 1893, Aldan was a part of a flurry of town incorporations which occurred in eastern Delaware County at this time, including Lansdowne, Collingdale, and Swarthmore. Status as a borough gave to these communities an important measure of governmental independence; very significantly, it accorded them the power to tax for civic purposes. The new community often looked to nearby boroughs for models of organization and legislation but in many ways it would exhibit signs of distinctiveness which gave it it’s special character.
Tradition has it that the name Aldan was suggested for the new town by the wife of a council member, she having in mind a River Aldan which flows for 1,300 miles through Siberia. Why there should have been an association with a region so distant in space and culture is hard to imagine. Another more credible tradition holds that a witty local woman developed the name from those of local residents. Her suggestion proved to be much more popular than the other two names proposed– Adamsford and Rabida. In any event, it would appear that Aldan had a “naming mother” as well as “founding father”. Formally part of Clifton the newly incorporated area had been known as East Clifton. The decision to form a separate community was prompted, on the face of it, by a desire on the part of residents in this part of Clifton to have a greater civic independence and to establish their own public school.