Sunday, December 9, 2018

Radnor Post Card Identified! Thanks Phil Graham

This postcard from 1908 of Wayne has been a mystery for years. I had no idea where it was and it is among unknown pictures on my website. Phil Graham of Radnor finally found it.

NOTE: I have over 4000 Delaware County postcards and a number are unidentified. I have some on my website on the pictures page. Please take a look. One mystery has been solved.

Unknown postcard view mystery solved

Keith: I think I may have identified this “unidentified” post card on your website. It’s not actually changed as much as you may think, though the stone walls have long gone. The actual property address is 699 King of Prussia Rd., formerly known as ‘Brookhurst’, and although Google Maps are a couple of years out of date (so it’s hard to see the pond in the center) the pond has very recently been dredged, making today's view much more the way it was. I passed by there today, and I suddenlly twigged! Here’s a link that shows the spot from the road. The 1900 map (attached below where American Ave. is now called Berwind Ave.) shows the pond, and stream that feeds it, next to the driveway entrance. The post card shot would have been taken a few yards up the driveway looking back at that bend ahead on KoP Rd:

If I get a chance I’ll drive in there and take a shot from the correct angle.

Best regards,

Phil Graham.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Trash and Treasure in the eyes of the beholder

I worked for the Ridley School District during the summer while going to college, right after the merger with Eddystone and Ridley Park. We were cleaning out the office of the old Junior High School and these were going into the trash. I grabbed a few of the programs. My friends thought I was crazy


Saving and Protecting family and local history

  As they say, "One man's trash is another man's treasure!" You see it everywhere from what people collect, family heirlooms and local history. Some people preserve, others toss. You never know.
I always look around on trash days it amazes me what people toss out. Years ago I kept seeing boxes of trash at the end of my street, the original owner had died and his son was cleaning the house out. I knew his dad had been active in the local civic association, so I stopped to have a look. There were parade pictures, meetings groups etc. As I was loading the stuff into my car the son came out. He was surprised that I wanted that "junk". He invited me in his house to show me some other stuff. What he had were all the booklets for the Leedom Civic Association from 1944 thru 1968 complete. I was thrilled to get them! so was the son. He was happy to have another set of arms to carry the "trash" out.
    A friend of mine came over last year with his "find". On trash night he had seen these metal storage boxes in nice shape and wanted them for his garage. The boxes were loaded with family pictures. The father had died and the son was throwing out everything. I could not believe all the family pictures of father and son that were in the trash. But what I was happy to get were all the building pictures. The father had been a building contractor and had taken tons of before and after building pictures, I loved them. His family had no interest.
   No one likes everything of course. But instead of trashing the stuff, ask around. Is there another family member who would like them? Someone interested in them? Have a yard sale! Or if the items are local history, give them to your local historical society. Make a call!
   I interviewed a lady on local history. Her father had been a bartender at the Colonial Tavern in Crum Lynne. She had pictures of the place inside and out, plus a picture of boxer, Jack Dempsey who had trained there on his way to the heavyweight championship. I asked her if I could copy them but her answer was No. After she died I asked a friend of the family if I could make copies of them. The family no longer had them, they had gone in the trash.
  So make sure what is important to you gets saved and preserved. Give it to the right family member or organization. One mother I know took no chances. She had all the family stuff, scanned and copied and all of her children got copies of everything! Take no chances!
  Preserve! and don't forget to write on those pictures, who they are and where they are!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Doing Local History, not always easy

This picture from 1897 is simply titled Bryn Mawr Ave. The exact location is unknown


Note; Every local society is run  different and has their on way of doing things. In over 40 years of visiting local societies some funny stories on how things work 


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Local historical societies

  Every local historical society is different in how they look, what they have and how it is organized. But what they do and how they handle visitors differs greatly from group to group. I'm not going to name any groups but do want to give some samples.
  I obtained some glass plates of a local township that were over 120 years old, most I could identify but several I could not. I went to the societies face book page and asked three different people to call me, I had some questions. These are people I know personally. I asked all of them several times on different occasions to call, they promised they would. That was over 6 months ago and I'm still waiting.
    Phone calls can be  a waiting time too. Many local societies are run by volunteers and have no home so you do not expect a quick answer. No problem. I was calling a local society that has a paid librarian, home and staff. NOT DCHS. I called several times over 2 weeks and heard nothing, so I had another friend call. NOTHING. My friend knew the president personally and called her. I received a call the next day from the societies, director/librarian. She apologized for no one not getting back to me. She told me the volunteer who handles the phone calls and answers etc., had been out sick with a medical emergency for over a month. I said how sorry I was and then asked why another volunteer had not answered the phone messages. The director explained that it was the sick girls job and no one wanted to step on her toes, so no calls would be answered till she came back. It was her job alone!! I almost cracked up laughing!! someone is out sick and no one picks up the phone, her job?? RIGHT
    Answering phones is important! I got a call from a lady who lives out of state. She left a message on my phone saying she had some history questions, so I called her the next day. We talked for awhile and I asked her what I could do for her and she said it was about what she could do for me. She had been calling a local society and asking them to return her calls. She did not want anything she wanted to DONATE a large collection of family pictures, booklets pamphlets etc. These were not just family pictures, the family had owned several businesses in Delco and the collection included pictures of them and local landmarks. It was a great collection! I got it all because I simply returned a phone call.
   Emails are even worse. I was at another historical society one day and the director, a friend, was showing me an email she had received. She wanted to know if I could help the emailer. What shocked me was the dozens and dozens of emails on the computer that had never been opened going back weeks.
   Going to some historical societies can be weird too. When I go to a society I like to sit in a corner away from everyone and concentrate on what I'm doing. One historical society I was at one day was like a party the volunteers were all laughing and joking making noise etc. The man next to me doing work said" Is it always like this?" all the noise etc. I had no answer. I was at a historical society one day working minding my own business when a friend of mine came in and said my name. At the mention of my name a man talking to the societies librarian came over and asked if I was "Keith Lockhart the historian" I said yes. He was having a local history problem and the librarian wasn't sure what to do. Luckily it was a question I could answer and I took 5 minutes got him started looking in the right books and he found what he was looking for, He was very grateful. All good right?? NO  After he left the librarian came over to me and said I had no right to intervene with her helping a patron. HUH? I said the man came to me and asked me questions, what was I suppose to do? She said I should have sent the patron back to her, I should not have " intervened". Right
    I was at an auction one day and saw a family album a local society would die for!! It was from a prominent family and had pictures, booklets, programs pasted inside. The album was 4 inches thick! I got it for a steal, $35.00!. I showed it to the society I thought would like it, they were thrilled! They wanted it for their collection, I said NO problem, I showed them my receipt for $35.00 dollars and told them that was all I wanted. They said HUH? They told me it was their policy they only accepted gifts they never paid for anything. I was surprised, this society has money and owns several buildings. I still have the album.
   Finally, I was helping a local society several years ago as a guide. When going over their handout something about one of the buildings did not seem right. I checked some maps and I was correct. I want to the courthouse and titled searched the property and got all the correct information. There was no time to change the handout, so when people came to where I was a guide I told them the society "had misprinted" the information by mistake and told them the correct information I had researched. The president was furious, I was making the society look bad. I told her I told visitors it was just an accident the society printed the wrong information. The president told me I should not have said anything but should have told the visitors the information in the guide and left it at that. Who cares if the information was correct or not??? DUH

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Lansdowne to Media 0n the West Chester R.R. Line, 140 years ago

Does anyone recognize this building? I bought a number of glass plates of Clifton Heights years ago. This picture was identified as the "Davison House" looking for a location. Thanks Keith

NOTE: Came across this newspaper article from 140 years ago, talking about a train trip and the sites you would have seen 140 years ago. To all my readers have Happy Thanksgiving!!


A train trip Lansdowne to Media 140 years ago

Lansdowne, or the old Darby Road Station, is about three-quarters of a mile below Fernwood.  It has undergone many and striking improvements in the last five or six years.  The railroad house at the station has been enlarged and improved, and the grounds more neatly arranged.  Fine summer residences have been recently built here and the surrounding acres much beautified.  Joel J. Baily, the Philadelphia merchant, has a fine summer residence at Lansdowne, and nearby is the residence of Mr. Samuel Harlan, of the shipbuilding firm of Harlan & Hollingsworth.  Messrs. James P. Scott, the son and Howell W. Bickley, own and occupy handsome villas and about a mile and a half further south, towards Darby, is “Woodburn,” the summer residence and park of Colonel Scott, where he died in May last.  Mr. Harry Peale, of the firm of Thomas A. Biddle & Co., stock brokers and Rene Guillou own properties at Lansdowne.  Ten acres of the Dunk property, nearby, have just been purchased by a Philadelphia gentleman, for a thousand dollars an acre, most probably for immediate building purposes.  Real estate near Lansdowne brings from one to two thousand dollars per acre.
                Kellyville is a small station further west.  There are several fine residences nearby, and a number of valuable bustling properties, principally woolen mills.  A new shoddy mill, the property of Sellers Hoffman, is in course of erection.
Clifton proper has been increased by the addition of a number of houses, one or two churches have been built, and the place wears a thriving, prosperous look.  Here are the Glenwood Mills, owned by Samuel C. Lewis & Sons; the Clifton Mills by Randolph & Jenks and the Union Mills, by Thomas Kent.  Among the recent sales of property at Clifton were about twenty acres of land belonging Oborne Levis’ estate, to Wm. Longstreth of Philadelphia, for about $16,000.  Few building improvements or land sales have been made at Oak Lane recently.  Here is situated Dr. Given’s Inebriate Asylum.
                Property is in demand at Spring Hill.  W. J. Howard, Esq., has just purchased a farm of fifty acres on the north side, near the station.  Mr. James D. Rhodes occupies a fine residence on the hill.  Many old time mansions and landmarks are to be seen hereabouts.
                Morton station is conspicuous by reason of a handsome pressed brick railroad house, one of the neatest along the road.  Several buildings, principally private residences or annexes thereto, are being erected.  Thomas T. Tasker owns 600 acres here, with a fine residence and barn.  J. H. Irwin has just purchased 80 acres at Morton for about $300 per acre, and has erected a new hotel near the station, fitted up with has, &c.  At the time of his purchase Mr. Irwin owned 70 acres, nearly adjoining the new territory, and has a large machine shop there.  H. A. Bregoard is another large property owner at Morton.  He owns one hundred acres thereabouts, which he is daily improving.  Dr. Kingston Goddard, ex-Coroner of Philadelphia, owns a handsome property lying near the railroad.  The J. Edgar Thomson estate owns about 160 acres near Morton, fronting on the Delaware County Pike and near the railroad.  Handsome residences, built after the Swiss chalet style of architecture, adorn nearly all of the properties named, which have undergone vast improvement within a few years.  The old Morton homestead stands back some distance from the railroad station.
                Swarthmore is the name of the next station on the West Chester Road.  The college is the most conspicuous public object hereabouts.  The spirit of improvement shows itself about the institution as well as generally along the road, and during the last two or three years important changes have been made, notably the long and broad sweep of pathway running from the railroad to the college building. 
The high hill in the distance is dotted with several handsome new stone houses, the residences of a number of the college professors.  The West Hill Land Company has purchased two hundred acres adjoining the college property on the east.  Their acreage is all high and health land.  The company is effecting many improvements in the vicinity of Swarthmore. On the hill a large water works is being erected.  Thomas Foulke, Prof. Beardsley and S. Kent occupy fine houses at Swarthmore, and Sylvester Garrett is erecting for himself a valuable residence.  Nearly all the property lying hereabout belongs or originally belonged to the John Ogden family.  J. H. Linville, President of the Keystone Bridge Company, and President of the new Southern Maryland Railroad, has a fine residence on the south side of the road.  So also has Mr. Callender I. Leiper, of the firm of Leiper & Lewis, who own the stone quarries near Swarthmore, of the stone of which nearly all the new houses in the neighborhood are built.  An interesting relic of other days is built.  An interesting relic of other days is the old cottage on the college grounds, which was the birthplace and for many years the home of the painter, Benjamin West.  It is in the center of a small orchard, and has every appearance of age.  Real estate at Swarthmore ranges in value from $500 to $1000 per acre.  East of Swarthmore Charles Ogden has built tow handsome residences, and Henry Ogden has a fine residence on the Delaware County Turnpike.
                Wallingford is distinguished for its many fine residences.  Directly opposite the station, on the north side, is the residence of Horace Howard Furness, Esq.   The mansion is very large and handsome.  Mr. Furness’ property embraces some 65 acres, and contains another residence besides that named.  Three acres were recently purchased by Mr. Furness at the rate of a thousand dollars per acre.  S. D. Hibbert has a handsome house with a new stable at Wallingford.  Among the other fine properties or new residences here are those of D. B. Paul, President of the Third National Bank; James Spear, the stove manufacturer of Philadelphia, who has just purchased thirty additional acres has just purchased thirty additional acres from Samuel C. Lewis; C. W. Godfrey, of the firm of Drexel & Co., who occupies a handsome stone house, with a tract of eighteen acres; Henry P. Dixon, of the firm of Thomas S. Dixon & Sons, who has just purchased nine acres of the Miskey property for $15,000.  Two acres of an adjoining property were recently sold for a thousand dollars an acre.  Louis Drake has eleven acres near Wallingford, with a modern style of house; Isaac Lewis, proprietor of the Wallingford Mills, has a farm of sixty-four acres, worth, it is said, $500 per acre; J. Howard Lewis owns six hundred acres fronting on the pike, which, at this point, is about a mile to the south of the railroad track.  Samuel C. Lewis, George C. Howard, J. Edward Farnum, ex-President of the West Chester Road, Isaac L. Miller and M. Kershaw own properties varying in size, lying at or near Wallingford.  Many of these properties front on the old Providence Road, which runs from Chester due north to Media.  This road was laid out by William Penn’s Commissioners in 1682, and many old line marks are still standing.  Nearly all of the properties named are undergoing improvements of some kind or other, and, with the growth of this popular station, proportionately increase in value. 
                From Wallingford to Manchester, and indeed to Media, are many desirable building lots, with high and healthy grounds, large water power from Ridley Creek, and many other local advantages.  Prices hereabouts range from $400 to $800 per acre.  One of the largest landowners near Media is Sam Bancroft, proprietor of the Todmorden Mills.  Several large sales of available building slots have recently been made in and about Media for good prices.
                Along the line of the road, even as far as West Chester, the march of improvement is marked at times, but the chief improvement in recent years has been between West Philadelphia and Media.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

"Gallants and Flappers" no walking in Haverford after midnight!!! LOL


The Oakmont Library about 1915, Hopefully couples met here and got rides home.

Note: While doing some other research I came across this article from the Chester Times in the Fall of 1921. This is a real article, trying to stop couples from walking home after dark in Haverford Twp.

No kissing allowed!!!



     Lovers who stroll down shady lands in Haverford township after midnight and are caught at it will probably spend the rest of the night in the police station at    Oakmont.                                                                                                                                                      
     From now on, young men taking girls home from late dances and theatre parties should avoid taking the longest way round and should walk homeward at a brisk, businesslike pace instead of the usual slow, dreamy, strolling gait.
    Such was the advice given yesterday by Chief of Police Scanlin in issuing an order that all persons on the streets after the trolley cars stop running, shortly after midnight, must give an account of themselves to the police.
Should a young gallant be surprised in the act of kissing his little flapper by a coarse, burly policeman, he mustn’t get mad.  Not only must he answer the cop politely, but shades permit the policeman to accompany himself and the flapper to her home.
“The order is not meant only for lovers who let the hours slip past”, declared Scanlin.  “It is meant for everybody.  I figure that few people are there after the cars stop running.  The order is primarily an effort to prevent crime.  If a man halted by a policeman says he has been visiting friends and has missed the last car, he must accompany the officer back to his friends’ house and prove his words.
     Young men and girls on the streets at 1 o’clock in the morning must fie an account of themselves.  If they have homes to go to they will be accompanied there by the policeman.  If they give only vague replies, they will spend the night in cells in the police station.  The cells are clean and airy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Swedish House stolen from Ridley !!! Please help find it. LOL


The Hendrickson House about 1900. The house stood where Crum Creek meets the Delaware River on property now owned by Boeing Vertol Co. The house was built c.1670 by Jacob Hendrickson.


NOTE: The Hendrickson House stood out of the way at Crum Creek and the Delaware River for years. From c. 1915 till 1957 it was on property owned by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. Baldwin even paid to have the house restored in the 1920's. In 1957 Baldwin sold the property to Boeing Vertol which was moving to Ridley Twp. Boeing offered the Hendrickson House to the State of Pennsylvania and plans were made to move the house to Governor Printz Park in Essington. The state of Pennsylvania moved very slow and Boeing offered it to any museum etc. that would move the house and take care of it. In a surprise move, Delaware State came and removed the house to Fort Christiana State Park. Local historians were outraged that Pennsylvania let the house slip away.


The Hendrickson House

by Christine Morley

   The old Hendrickson house, locally known as the old Swedish house, stands on the east bank of Crum Creek on a tract of ground in Eddystone, formerly owned by the Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation.  Recently, a transfer of part of the tract for the purpose of industrial development has aroused anxiety among people in the community who are interested in the preservation of old landmarks.
  Their anxiety arises from its present need of extensive repairs, and from its location in a region devoted to industrial uses, which makes its fate uncertain.  Although the Baldwin Company restored it in the 1920’s, time has taken its toll and the ancient structure is likely to disintegrate unless some way can be found to save it. 
   In a pamphlet issued by the Baldwin Company in 1928, this description is given of the old house as it appeared before the restoration:  The house was of stone with a projecting hip-roof, and the overhang was pierced with loopholes through which muskets could be fired in case of an Indian attack.  The window sashes were hand-fashioned and the shingles split from slabs eighteen inches wide.  It adds that sash and shingles were replaced with new.
  The house is two-storied, built of field-stone, and has a shingled hip roof with a chimney at each end.  A rather misleading inscription may be seen about ten feet up from the ground at one end of the building.  Scratched on two stones, one above the other, it reads:  “Built 1620”  This is misleading for there are no records of settlers in this area at that time.  Moreover, if any Dutch or Swedish trader had built a house with a date stone, he would not have used the English word “built.”
   The house has a cellar with an arched opening for air and light.  There are two rooms side by side on the first floor, each with a fireplace.  On the second floor is one large room, reached by a perpendicular ladder built inside a shaft beside the chimney in the larger of the two first floor rooms.  Pieces of wood are nailed to one wall of the shaft near the top, to provide hand holds for anyone climbing the ladder, which ends at the floor level of the upper room.  There the climber must step off the top of the ladder or scramble off on hands and knees.
   This is truly a primitive dwelling without provision for comfort or convenience except the fireplaces, and a well with a pump which was near the back door when the house was restored.
   The land was surveyed to Jacob Hendrickson in 1678, according to the Upland Court record.  Hendrickson first came to the Delaware river in 1646 as a soldier under the Dutch commissary, Andries Hudde, who carried on a long series of disputes with Governor Printz, growing out of the conflict of Dutch and Swedish claims to the river and the right to trade with the Indians. 
   Dr. George Smith in his “History of Delaware County” suggests that Hendrickson “spied out the beauty and richness of this land” while he was here as a soldier, and made it his permanent home after his term of service had expired.  As it was not uncommon for a man to build a house before he obtained title to the land, it seems probable that Hendrickson built his dwelling while the Dutch controlled the area from 1655 to 1664.
  The writer had the privilege of visiting this house in 1953 and afterward sent a letter of inquiry to the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia, asking some questions about the history of the house. 
  The reply contained the following statements from Dr. Amandus Johnson, Colonial expert of the Museum:
“Hendrix (Hendrickz, Hendrickzen, Hendrickson) was a Dutchman, for a time employed by the Dutch West India Company.  He was the first to obtain this grant, though it was a part of New Sweden originally.  Date scratched on stone in house is incorrect (1620).  First section of house was built between 1656 and 1664 and added to later.  Finished in its present form about 1682 or the end of 17th century.  Architecture is Dutch.”
  Since Dr. Johnson is an acknowledged authority on the early Colonial settlements in Pennsylvania, these notes are helpful in establishing the history of the Hendrickson house.  It is to be hoped that some way may be found to save this dwelling from further decay or possible destruction.  Such relics may not seem valuable in themselves but they are links with the past and part of our heritage which we should cherish, for, once destroyed, they cannot be replaced. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

The new town of Bywood in Upper Darby and a Swedish Xmas!!

With new developments came new schools to take acre all of the new students. Above is an interior picture of a corridor at the then new Bywood School from c.1925



                Bywood, one of the new and rapidly growing substantial residential sections of Upper Darby Township, is having sixty more attractive detached stone houses erected.  These new houses are being built by P. J. Lawler, who was among the first to build up Bywood.
                The new operation will mean an investment of $100,000.  Lawler has just completed forty houses in Bywood, and the new ones will be of the same type.  The houses are of a distinct design and built for real home life, having every convenience, and built on filbertine streets.
                Mr. Lawler expects to finish the new houses before winter sets in.  At the same time, he is going to extend the operation over the entire tract which he purchased.  During the winter months, he will make the necessary excavations and grades for new streets in Bywood, upon which he will build many houses next spring.
                Bywood is one of the convenient suburbs to Philadelphia, being close to the Sixty-Ninth Street Terminal, being the first station out from the terminal, and it is twenty minutes from the City Hall, Philadelphia.  The Merion Realty has also erected 39 fine houses at Bywood, adjoining the Lawler operation, and this concern is still building more.
                SECTION DEVELOPING FAST – There is little doubt that the district in Upper Darby Township, beginning at Sixty-Third and Market Streets, running westward, is bound to be a great new residential section which will house thousands of Philadelphians.
                In order to keep up with the rapid progress of Bywood, Stonehurst and other sections in the neighborhood of Sixty-Ninth Street Terminal, P. J. Lawler, has determined that the rapid influx of people shall be permanent, and that the new comers must have every convenience and pleasure.
                In order to do this, Mr. Lawler is building an immense fire proof theatre building at the corner of West Chester Road and Garrett Road which will seat 2,000 people.  This building will be four stories high.  There will be on either side large stores, and it will cost more than one million dollars.  The foundations for this mammoth structure are now in course of erection.  This great building will not be completed for at least nine months or a year.
                SCHOOL PROBLEM LOOMS – The great building development in the township, with the rapid influx of people, has caused much concern for the commissioners of the township as well as the school directors.
                The school question has been a serious problem, but the school directors are going to meet this important issue squarely in the face.
                The township has already built a new high school building at Lansdowne Avenue, but now comes the need for a grammar school, and the school directors have purchased three acres or more of land in the neighborhood of Long Lane and Garrett Road upon which will be built a school house of commodious size to care for the children of Bywood and the McGlatchey tract, now known as Stonehurst.  The people of the township will be asked to approve a bond issue of $200,000 at the November election to provide funds for the erection of the new school referred to as well as an addition to the Drexel Hill which was built about four years ago.
                The township commissioners are also in quandary – the constructions of roads and extension of sewers.  The progress has been a fast that the commissioners may find that some means must be found for financing the improvements which must be made.

God Jul och Gott Nytt Ar


Come celebrate the holidays Swedish Style at the Trim-A-Swedish-Christmas-Tree Party.   The event takes place at the historic Swedish Cabin located at 9 Creek Road, Drexel Hill, PA 19026 on Sunday, December 2ND, 2018 from 2 PM until 4 PM. 
  Admission is free but donations are always appreciated.   The Friends of the Swedish Cabin invite you to attend a real special event of this holiday season.  They will have Swedish holiday food from their Julbord, beverages, decorations, and Swedish Christmas music!  Help decorate the Christmas tree, Julgran, with apples, heart baskets and straw ornaments.  Tour the cabin
and warm yourself by a roaring fire. Toast marshmallows over the fire!  And shop for gifts at our Butiken, too!   It's fun for all ages!  Start your Christmas Season by stepping back in time with this very special event!