Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Suburb of Roses, Sunshine and Good Fellowship aka Drexel Hill !!! Events at the Colonial Plantation!!


Above is part of a real estate brochure for Drexel Hill in Upper Darby Twp. from the 1920's. One of the big things realtors promoted was the "elevated railway" aka the trolley line from Phila. as a big reason to move to Drexel Hill. Another page of the brochure is below. Below that is a newspaper ad for Drexel Hill from March of 1922.

Note: Delaware County Real estate was selling like crazy in the 1920's especially in eastern Delaware Co. Places like Upper Darby were especially hot. Below is a newspaper advertisement, advertising Drexel Hill.  .


 Drexel Hill

                Own a home in Nature’s Playground 

 Drexel Hill 

  The Suburb of Roses, Sunshine and Good Fellowship 

 This Slogan is Going to be Very Familiar Before Our Campaign is Completed

                It epitomizes the advantages of DREXEL HILL, as you folk know them, in a manner that will attract the attention of hundreds of desirable people, who, during the coming months will be seeking homes outside the city.

                The results already secured, this early in the year, are most gratifying; and but indicate what the future has in store for DREXEL HILL,

                Every pleasant Sunday or Saturday afternoon, DREXEL HILL is going to be the Mecca of hundreds of city residents, who come to look, skeptical perhaps of the advertised beauties of our suburb, but many of whom will remain to purchase and to residue here, as soon as a home can be provided.

                The beautiful streets of DREXEL HILL, with their wealth of trees, shrubbery, well-kept lawns, the air of contentment and prosperity that pervades the community, have their effect on the first-time visitor.

                On Aronimink Tract work is being rushed as fast as human ingenuity will permit.  Our new office building is ready for occupancy, the larger quarters will permit us to increase our facilities for handling this rapidly expanding business.

                The road from Aronimink Station to State Road has been temporarily closed that it may be surfaced, just as soon as the sewer and water pipes are laid.  Woodland Avenue, north of and paralleling the Media Short Line, has been graded, ready for early surfacing, from School Lane to our new office building.  On this street, five houses are already in process of completion.

                Over $300,000 worth of property has been sold in Aronimink Tract.  A number of properties in the restricted business section have been sold, and in a short time several stores, among them a modern drug store, will be erected.  In about ten days’ time, operations will begin on the Hipple Place, now known as Aronimink Gardens.

                A very gratifying feature of the development of DREXEL HILL is the return of former residents.  Mr. William C. Patterson, formerly of Maple Avenue, has bought close to $30,000 worth of property on State Road, where he will soon be occupying a new home.  Mr. Washington Cope, formerly a resident of Turner Avenue, is going to build on Woodland Avenue.


 Homes Like These Make Drexel Hill Delightful
Let’s All Boost for a Bigger and Better DREXEL HILL
Harry W. Koch


2021 SPRING EVENTS at the
Colonial Plantation!

Spring fever will be upon us soon enough! We are asking Mother Nature for a beautiful spring so we can all be safely outside and enjoy history, nature and our exciting spring activities! The Plantation reopens on Saturday, March 27th! Free member reservations and tickets are available online now! We are looking forward to welcoming you back to some new programming and new additions to the Plantation!
March 27th-Opening Day
Join us on Saturday, March 27th for the opening of our 48th season. There will be hearth cooking, woodworking, long rifle demonstrations, spinning, weaving, working with flax, colonial music, candle making and seed planting. The ox will be yoked and the horse harnessed so some farm work can be completed.
April 10th-Historic Timeline
Join the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation as you travel through over 300 years of American history. Come and meet our earliest settlers and then travel to the Civil War on up to the Second World War.
Sunday Story Time-New this year! Join us the third Sunday of every month from 12:00pm until 2:00pm, we will be reading from a children's book, the children will then do a hands on activity, go on a behind the scenes farm tour and then you are welcome to picnic in our grove! Children will also receive an activity book to take home! Member reservations and tickets may be purchased on our website.

April 18th-How a Shirt Grew in the Field
May 16th-Homespun Sarah
June 20th-The Pen that Pa Built
July 18th-Charlie Needs a Cloak
April 24th-Slavery & Servitude in Colonial Pennsylvania
Come and see how work was accomplished on our farm. This will be a day for children and adults alike. There will be hands on activities such as candle making and planting in the garden. Ned Hector will address slavery in the colony with his “Imaginary discussion with George Washington”. This 1:00 presentation is designed for grades 3 and up.
As well as a discussion on slavery, our volunteers will portray indentured servants, redemptioners, cottagers and poor free laborers. The blacksmith, rumored to have been a convict in his youth, will make and repairs items for the farm. Women will spin and knit to make some extra funds for their Quaker households. The farmers will take part in demonstrating a working ox and horse. It promises to be an educational enjoyable experience.
May 8th & 15th-Sheep Shearing & Textiles
Come and see our rare breed sheep lose their fleece. We will have Eva Mergen, one of our farmers, explain how to shear and then demonstrate the skill by using hand shears. We will also have people demonstrating most of the steps for turning that wool into cloth for clothing, and visitors will have an opportunity to card wool. We will explain how to care for sheep, what they eat, and the advantages of various breeds. There will also be a chance to learn about our other farm animals including our horses, ox, pigs, chickens, geese, and turkeys. There will be hearth cooking, garden, farm, and house tours. Check website for shearing times. Enjoy a day in the country that is very close to home.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Upland Boro scene of a 1915 move, "On Bitter Creek"


    This covered bridge on today's Race St. between Upland and Chester Twp. was blown up for a movie  in 1915. The covered bridge was being replaced by concrete and the Lubin Family making the movie "On Bitter Creek" got permission to blow the bridge up with dynamite.

Note: Siegmund Lubin [1851-1923] began making movies in 1896 and quickly became one of the top movie makers in America. He worked out of Phila. and by 1908 was one of the top producers of movies. He built 18 theatres in 6 states for his company. He built studios in Florida and California and everything was going great till WW1. The war hurt his company and a fire at his Phila studio cost him. By 1916 he was bankrupt. Lubin made other movies in Delco.

CHESTER TIMES  February 4, 1915 


Wooden structure in Chester Township Made the Scene of a Climax in a Thrilling Moving Picture Play

The old covered bridge, which for years has furnished a crossing over Chester River, between Upland Borough and Chester Township, is to be the settling for a thrilling moving picture photo play.  According to the plans of the Lubin syndicate of Philadelphia, the climax of the story, which has been woven about the scene, requires the actual blowing up of the structure, which will be accomplished, it is expected on Saturday, by the use of dynamite.

Under the supervision of Edgar Jones, leading man and general manager, two camera men were busy yesterday taking preliminary views, and this morning seventy-five people were brought to Chester to take the various parts of the play that it to be enacted.  They went to the bridge shortly after 9 o’clock, directly from the Imperial Hotel, in auto cars.  In the party are actors who have appeared in hundreds of reels on the market today.  Two young women are in the cast.

The Lubin management heard but a few days ago that a new concrete structure is to be erected across Chester River, and at once arranged with Frazer Brothers, contractor for the work, for the privilege of taking views, and gave them the contract to do the dynamiting.  A picture of the old structure was taken and sent to the company’s scenario writer, who in about three hours had woven a pretty little love story around the old crossing.  The author is Emmott Campbell Hall of Glen Echo, Md., and the title is:  “On Bitter Creek.”  The story will involve also the new structure that is to be erected.

UNUSUAL OPPORTUNITY – Mr. Jones, the chief in charge, told a Times man this morning that it is not often that an opportunity is offered where the syndicate can come across such an old discarded structure.  “If we wanted such a story, however, we would build a bridge for the purpose and blow it up.

“The work today,” he continued, “will involve some of the love scenes, but a real Kentucky feudal battle will take place on the bridge this afternoon.  We shall be here Friday and Saturday, making scenes, but I do not think the bridge will be blown until Saturday as that is the climax of the story.”

Before leaving the hotel those who were to take the parts in the plan, “made up” in their costumes at the hotel.  They attracted widespread attention, and scores of people were attracted to the old covered bridge that is seldom used in winter except by the farmers and those having necessary business through that section.

STORY OF THE PICTURE – “On Bitter Creek,” opens with the somewhat well-to-do Youse family and the less fortunate Kirby clan residing on either side of the river.  The Youse’s built the bridge and opened it free to the public.  A sister of the head of the former household falls in love with one of the Kirbys; they meet at the bridge, in a dignified manner of the olden time and exchange notes, by placing them in the love box hidden in the bridge.  The two become engaged.  Youse demands a kiss to seal the bargain, when the girl discovers her brother has heard the entire conversation.  He demands an explanation.  A feud ensues shots are exchanged, men and women are wounded.  After the Youse’s erect a toll gate and declare that the toll thereafter shall be a kiss from any of the Kirbys who desire to pass over the structure.  The grand finale comes when some of the opponents of the Youses are crossing and the bridge is destroyed by dynamite.  Twenty years later the two principals meet in college and are married later, and return home to old scenes and find a modern structure erected on the site of the wooden viaduct.

David Wills and A. L. Lewis of Philadelphia are the two official camera men.


 CHESTER TIMES – February 8, 1915 


 Great Crowd Witnesses Destruction of the Structure for Photo Picture Play

At least 2000 persons witnessed the demolishment of the covered bridge at Upland at 11:27 o’clock this morning as the climax to a Kentucky feud motion picture play which has interested the people for the past four days.

The large crowd observed the great structure slowly rise and then all of a sudden collapse and fall into a thousand pieces to the waters of Chester River.  When the signal was given by Edgar Jones, who was in charge of the players, the spark that caused the destruction of the bridge was set off by A. E. Alcutt who is an expert in the handling of dynamite.  The demolition of the wooden structure that has stood for more than seventy years occurred almost simultaneously with the report made by the exploding powder, which was heard for miles about the county.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

How Police work was done in Delaware County 100 years ago.


The James F. Dougherty Fire Co. in the 1300 block of Chester Pike, this fire co. later became the Vauclain Fire Co. The picture is from about 1915. The one room building on the far left in the background is the first headquarters for the Ridley Township Police Department.

Note: Police work was very different in Delco 100 years ago. Officers worked on foot, directed traffic and when in a hurry stopped cars to get a ride. 

Police in Delaware County 100 years ago

   It is hard to imagine today what being a police officer in Delaware Co. was like in the 1920’s. Police patrolled on foot, no cars allowed, some towns allowed horse patrol at night. In Ridley Township which is as big as it is today, they had only one police officer in the early 1920’s. He walked the entire township and would stop cars and ask for a ride if he had to get somewhere fast. In those days a officer usually worked a 12 hour shift, usually 7pm to 7am and they would be on call during the day. In some towns, police were required to punch in at a time clock at night at various stops to prove they were patrolling. Towns built small booths where officers could rest while on patrol and also check in by phone. One of these booths can be seen in Ridley Park at Chester Pike and Sellers Ave. today. It is not a toll booth as some think. Small booths like these could be seen everywhere in Delaware County years ago. Police had no radios then and they would call by phone or stop back at the station to see if they had any calls. Some departments had a police phone system in their township of boro. These phones were placed at various intersections and locked and police had keys to use them. Some of these call boxes can still be seen in Delco. Officers were usually required once an hour to call their station to see if they had any calls.  In other towns in Delco an officer would ask a friend or business if they could use their phone to call in.

  As eastern Delaware County was growing rapidly, police calls came in faster, but by the time an officer found out about a robbery, theft etc. the bad guys were long gone. With robbers using cars and police on foot catching criminals was almost impossible.

  Another problem was traffic control. When traffic lights first appeared in the 1920’s, for the first couple of years they were operated by hand usually by police. In Darby Boro at Chester Pike and Main St. was a small booth that was torn down some 20 years ago. It was built for traffic control and also a place an officer could stop to rest and get out of inclement weather. A number of police officers were killed trying to enforce traffic laws. The police chief of Norwood was killed when he ran out onto Chester Pike and tried to stop a speeding car. He was hit and killed and the car kept right on going.

  It all came to a head in Ridley Park one day.  The boro was being hit hard by burglars and by the time the police found out about the crime and got there they were long gone. The burglars were so brazen they were robbing houses during the day. An officer on foot had no chance to make an arrest. But one day that all changed when an officer was in the station when a call came in that burglars were breaking into a house on West Ridley Ave. The officer was on foot and had no way to get there but to run. Ridley Park Boro had it’s own car for boro business and the officer grabbed the car keys off the Mayor’s desk and jumped in the car. He drove to the house and caught the burglars in the act. Boro residents were thrilled the burglars had finally been caught, but boro council wanted to fire him for taking the boro car without permission. After numerous hearings and meetings the officer was reinstated and Ridley Park became one of the first towns to have a police department with cars. The rest of the county followed quickly.

  But even with cars police still had to call their station at a phone station or stop in to learn what calls they had. The good news came in 1943 when Delaware County created their police radio system!

The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation is open for outdoor Spring on-site field trips!
Can't come to us? We can come to you-Virtually or through our many exciting Outreach Programs!
The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation abides by all recommendations of the CDC and State of Pennsylvania. The safety of our staff, volunteers and guests is of the upmost importance. Strict safety measures are implemented so we can safely host schools and guests outdoors. We understand many schools are unable to visit therefore we do have other options for your students! Call 610-566-1725 or email for more information.
At the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, the past is your present! The 18th century is brought back to life through our weekday field trip programs and other educational offerings. We rely on hands-on "living history" demonstrations and activities to educate our visitors. Our programs are appropriate for groups of all ages from pre-kindergarten to college. Programs can be designed to fit any group size, age, or interest.

The Colonial Experience
Our flagship program! The Colonial Experience is a 3.5 hour program designed to best serve large groups. This program includes rotations of 6 or 7 activities, albeit shorter and less intensive than our Sampler Workshop activities. Each program will include our popular candle dipping activity and farm chores, in addition to other crafts that will introduce your students to colonial life in Pennsylvania. Each activity is designed to be hands-on and may change to reflect the age of your group and the needs of our farm - just like they would have in 1770! A typical program includes things like a farm tour, chores, toys and games, and spinning. This program features a 30-minute lunch break.

Sampler Workshops
Perfect for the group that wants a more in-depth learning experience, the Trio and Quad Sampler Workshops are the only programs currently offered that feature hearth cooking in our historical kitchen. In all of the Sampler Workshops, your party will be greeted at the entrance to the Plantation by our guides, who will then explain the history of the site and its context in colonial-era Pennsylvania. Please Note: Due to the more complex nature of the hearth cooking activity, the Trio and Quad Samplers are restricted to Grade 3 and older. Younger visitors can still enjoy the Mini Sampler.

Mini Sampler Workshop
The Mini Sampler is perfect for groups that have less than 3.5 hours to visit, or are too young for the Trio and Quad Samplers. The Mini Sampler is a 1.5 hour program that features two hands-on activities: candle-making (our most popular activity) and farm chores. Groups choosing this program will still get a historical overview of the site and the colonial era and see many of our heritage breed animals. Participants will get to take their candles home with them.

Trio Sampler Workshop
The Trio Sampler Workshop is a 3.5 hour program featuring 3 in-depth activities, one of which will be cooking in our colonial kitchen and another being farm chores. The third hands-on activity is up to you (please call for a list of available activities.) At the end of the Trio Sampler, you will get to taste what your group has cooked in the kitchen that day.

Quad Sampler Workshop
Similar to the Trio Sampler, the Quad sampler can accommodate groups of up to 40 participants and includes a total of 4 activities, one of which will be cooking in our colonial kitchen and another being farm chores. The other hands-on activities are up to you (please call for a list of available activities.) At the end of the Quad Sampler, your will get to taste what your group has cooked in the kitchen that day.

This virtual program is an extension of our very popular Colonial Experience program and it brings our farm right to your classroom. While it lacks many of the sensory aspects of our on-site programs, it still delivers in depth knowledge about life in colonial times and demonstrations of the skills people used in the past, all delivered by our excellent educators. We will show you how fire wood was cut and talk about the importance of putting up enough wood to last you through the winter. Did you know that, after you cut up wood, it takes a year before it is ready to burn? We will show you how they got water from the well and talk about the importance of different water sources on the farm. Did you know that water helped to keep food cool in colonial times? We will introduce you to the animals and tell you about their jobs. Just like the humans, animals had jobs that they did on the farm. We will show you around our 18th century farm house and tell you about what it was like to live there. We will show you some of the steps involved in making clothing in the 18th century. Did you know you need about 7,000 yards of yarn for one petticoat?

This program is about an hour long and broken up in to 7 segments. Teachers will receive a lesson plan in advance when you book your reservation. A link can be sent to multiple email addresses if students are broken up in to different classrooms. You also have the option of having an hour long Q & A with one of our educators to join you virtually to answer questions and talk more about life in the 18th century.





February is a month full of love; engagements, Valentine’s Day, and National Wedding month. Delaware County has some of the area’s premier wedding venues, so if you or someone you know is planning to say ‘I do’ be sure to check out this list of locations that will make for unforgettable nuptials.

Delaware County is home to plenty of delicious restaurants and a variety of cuisines, but did you know we also have more than a few budding chefs putting Delco on the map? Meet the faces behind some of the best food around.

February celebrates Black History Month, and Delaware County has quite a few historic places right in our own backyard. Brush up on the past and learn more about sites in Delaware County with ties to the Underground Railroad.

Looking for a way to support local Delco restaurants? Join in on #HopeforHospitalityPA efforts by dining in, taking out or ordering delivery from your favorite local spots. Snap a picture and let us know you’re doing your part to keep our county strong…Delco style.

Why wait to experience Delco when you can do it from the comfort of your own home? Check out the new list of virtual experiences happening in our county. From sports to history and arts, you’re sure to find a way to spend the afternoon experiencing Delco.

Want to know what’s happening in Delaware County? Follow us on our socials for the latest news, happenings, events and more in Delco.



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