WATER DEPARTMENT crews uncovered coffins yesterday on the property of an elementary school in North Philadelphia, according to reports.

The workers, digging a drainage ditch behind William Dick Elementary School, on Diamond Street near 24th, discovered the coffins about 2 p.m. Several news organizations reported that human remains were found in the coffins, which were said to date to the mid-19th century.

Police at the 22nd District couldn't confirm the discovery last night, but said the Water Department and members of the Pennsylvania Historical Society had begun an investigation.

Online grave records show that the property was once the Odd Fellows Cemetery, which was shut down in 1951. The land was acquired in that year by the city, property-tax records show.

Some of the cemetery's graves were moved to other sites in the city and Montgomery County at the time of the transfer, the online grave records show.

- Vinny Vella