Thursday, December 14, 2017

Delco's Garnet Industry 110 years ago

A rare view of the Garnet Mines from about 1910. This picture would be in the area of Garnet Mine Rd. and Rt.322. The area has changed a lot
Note ; All of us have been on Garnet Mine Rd. some history


Large Deposits Recently Discovered, but Minerals Have Small Value as Gems

   Under date of Media the New York Herald prints the following concerning Delaware County’s garnet mines:

   Pennsylvania promises to take the lead in garnet mining, according to the rich yields that have already been reported in sections of Delaware County and the discoveries recently made.  The Boothwyn garnet mines were the first to prove financially successfully some five or six years ago.  Before these had become practically exhausted the winding veins of rich garnet had let the miners with their tracks and hand cars a mile or more into the hillsides in various directions.
   Then more profitable garnet was discovered along the Brandywine Creek, beyond Boothwyn, and Lansdowne next reported rich finds and still more recently reports of garnet discoveries promise to attract considerable attention to one of the most picturesque of the historic sections of Delaware County’s beautiful old Sycamore Mills.
   Singularly enough, this is the section of the State where the value of anthracite coal as a fuel was first practically demonstrated, according to an early report of the Pottsville Board of Trade.  At that time the present Sycamore Mills section was known as Bishop’s Mills several mills at that time being dotted along the Ridley Creek in the locality and utilizing its abundant water power.
   A grist mill, a saw mill and an iron mill were in operation at the time of the cost test.  According to the early records, this occurred after Thomas Bishop, the younger had acquired absolute ownership of the property.  His ownership began in 1786, and a frame third story and an overchute were then added to the mill, the eastern end of the latter resting on three stone piers, the public road passing underneath.  It is further recorded that during Thomas Bishop’s ownership of the mill many changes of management took place.  He himself operated the mills until 1802, when Francis Bishop began operating them.  In 1817 Thomas was again conducting the grist mill, while in 1811 he operated the saw mill and Amor Bishop the grist mill.
   Tradition says that the employer, in charge of the furnace of the Delaware County Rolling Mills, when the load of anthracite coal first came to the works late in the afternoon, threw into the fire a considerable quantity of the material with the oft expressed opinion that the “boss had been fooled,” an opinion which became more and more confirmed when the coal refused to ignite, although frequent attempts were made to kindle it.  Late in the evening the fireman gave up in despair and went to bed.  An hour or two later, being restless, he arose and went to the mill, when he found the furnace door red hot, the building intensely heated and the woodwork almost ready to burst into flame.  There had never been such a fire in the mill before.  From then on Enoa Helms was sent to Mauch Chunk with a five-horse team and hauled the fuel for the rolling mill from that place.  The coal cost $2 A TON AT THE MINE.
   According to recent predictions a profitable industry may be established here if the garnet finds continue.  The garnet which has been discovered here is of excellent quality, on the gem order; but if it should later be mined in paying quantities it will probably be utilized as the other garnet of Eastern Pennsylvania – for the manufacture of a fine grade of sandpaper and the best of emery for polishing purposes.  None of the garnet mines so far discovered in Delaware County have yielded valuable jewels, like those of Cornwall and Bohemia, although some of the deep red stones taken from the Boothwyn and the Lansdowne mines and along the Brandywine are so perfect when cut that they closely resemble the most expensive rubies.
   The mining of garnet in Eastern Pennsylvania is an industry of which little has been heard so far, although large profits have been secured by the owners of the various mines for several years past.
   When a rich vein is struck the big profits are not derived from the so-called gems, but from the superior grade of garnet for the manufacture of the best polishing papers.
   It is true that the workmen in the mines are ever on the lookout for the big flawless stones, and that they preserve the best of the brilliant, glistening specimens as valuables; but the majority of the large stones are shoveled into the buckets with the “garnet dirt” without the slightest ceremony,  and ground up with the inferior ones.
   In preparation of the garnet for commercial purposes, after the heavy buckets of garnet are wheeled from the different caves on hand care, they are lifted from the mines by derricks and swung in the washing troughs, where the worthless soft dirt and the garnet in the mass is then transferred to the grinding machines, where it is ground to the desired degree of fineness.  There is abundant water power at the Sycamore mills for establishing the machinery for utilizing the garnet if it is discovered in paying quantities.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Messicks Chester's #1 "Haberdashers"


George and Joseph Messick's were Chester's #1  "Haberdashers" from 1887 thru the 1920's. Above is an usual advertising postcard from them c.1915

Chester's Haberdashers

Begininng in 1887, the Messsicks store at 530 Market St. and later a second store on West Third St. was the place for Chester men to go for their clothes. A "Haberdasher" was a men's store, where the name originally came from I do not know. The above appeal to women I thought was different and I wanted to add it for my readers.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Zimmerman Park

Zimmerman Park in Delco about 1940

Zimmerman Park

The above park aka tourist home consisted of a colonial inn and log cabins and accommodated over 200 guests. " Spacious grounds under shade trees". This is a postcard I recently picked up. Places like this where all over Delaware County at one time. What surprised me is where the Zimmerman Park was, it was located in south central Delco. Any ideas or guesses?




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Dead Horses & Cows? Who are you going to call? Media # 147!!!!


A Rose Tree Hunt Club Card c.1920

Call Media Telephone #147

Just picked up this postcard a few weeks ago, one I had never seen before. I had to laugh when I saw it was an advertisement for the Rose Tree Hunt Club to pick up dead horses and cows. Just wanted to share it with my readers.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sun Ship 101 Years ago

In the old days it was very common for a major industry to have it's own band. The Sun Ship Band c.1940


Sun Ship Starts 101 years ago

    Formal announcement was made yesterday of a mammoth new industry for this city, the Sun Shipbuilding Company,, which has taken title to the 50 acres of land owned by Senator Sproul and the McClure estate situated on the Delaware River between Ridley River on the east and Morton Avenue on the west.   The Sun Shipbuilding Company is a new organization recently perfected for the purpose of building the shipyard.
            There have been various rumors concerning this project on the street for some time and it was known that interests identified with the Sun Company of Marcus Hook, and with Senator Sproul in the Wetherill Works, were contemplating the establishment of a large shipbuilding plant in this city.
            The active heads of the new shipyard, which will be one of the largest and most completely equipped in the country, will be the Messrs. J. Howard Pew and Joseph N. Pew, Jr., of the Sun Company, who are among the largest independent oil producers and refiners in the United States, and Senator William C. Sproul, who recently purchased the business and plant of Robert Wetherill & Co., Inc., one of the oldest established industries of this city.  The Sun Company will be in control of the new corporation.
            The Wetherill Works will be merged with the new shipbuilding company but will continue on its present line of business and with its present organization, Messrs. Sproul, Klaer and Garthwaite remaining in charge of that branch of the business.  The business of building marine engines and boilers will be added to the present line of the Wetherill plant, and extensions and improvements are likely to be made to that industry.
            CONTRACT FOR BUILDING MATERIAL – The shipyard, which will occupy the desirable piece of ground between the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and the river, and Ridley Creek on the east, and Morton Avenue on the west, will be immediately equipped for the building of large vessels for the ocean trade.  Contracts have been awarded to the Belmont Iron Works for the structures of the property and about 6000 tons of steel will be used in building the various shops.  Work upon these will be undertaken at once.  The principal building, which will contain the iron working departments, will be 640x430a feet in dimensions, and the upper floor will contain the mold loft and some of the other departments of the works.  Other buildings for storehouse, copper and sheet iron work, forges, etc., have also been contracted for.
            At present six concrete shipways, each capable of taking vessel of 750 feet in length, will be constructed.  These shipways will be served by large overhead cranes carried upon steel structures.  There will also be a fitting out dock and extensive wharf improvements, so that the whole plant will be complete in every detail.
            SITE ONE OF THE BEST – The site is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, on the Delaware River, being a firm piece of ground with a dry porous soil and extending out to within a few hundred feet of the deep channel of the Delaware River.  This land was acquired about nine years ago from the Simpson estate by Mr. Sproul and the late William J. McClure, and under the directions of Josiah Smith, Esq., who was interested in the proposition the land was bulk headed and afterwards filled in with clean sand dumped from the river during dredging operations.  It covers about 1500 feet on the river and extends back almost an equal distance to the tracks of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad.
  Among the others interested with the Messrs. Pew and Mr. Sproul in the enterprise are
General T. Coleman DuPont of New York and Wilmington, Mr. S. M. Vauclain of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, Mr. E. V. Babcock, the Pittsburgh lumberman and Mr. J. Leonard Leplogle, formerly of the Cambria steel Company, and who figured largely in the recent transactions with that property.
            Mr. J. Howard Pew and his brother Mr. Joseph N. Pew, Jr., are very well known in this community, they having been in charge of the business of the Sun Company at Marcus Hook, where they succeeded their father, the late Joseph N. Pew, who was the founder of the business.  The Sun Company in addition to its producing and refining of oil, is also largely engaged in the transportation business and owns a large fleet of tank ships.  It has been an important factor in the growth of Marcus Hook, in the past few years and is one of the most substantial industries in the county.  Messrs. Pew have won a high place in the business world and in the industrial community by their success and their fair doings with their employees.
            The new shipyard will occupy the place which was at first selected as a site for the New York Ship yard, now located in Camden, N. J.  Difficulty in securing the title at the time and condition of the land, which had not then been filled in, prompted Mr. Henry G. Morse, founder of the New York Shipbuilding Company to locate in Camden.

Xmas Gifts

 If you are looking to give something different for Xmas All the maps on my site can be reproduced in full color, folio size is about $50.00 dollars depending on the map. I also have over 4000 pictures of Delaware County. Send me an email if interested.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The old time Grand Jury Wheel

The Courthouse in Media from 1906, still at the same location. The building was remodeled and added to in 1914


Note: In the old days a jury wheel was used to pick jurors to serve, Please read and see how it was used  years ago.


The Jury Wheel

There are few people in this county who know how citizens are selected as jurors.  Since the county has been a county it has been a lottery as to who would become a member of the Grand Jury or a member of the Petit Jury.
            The wheel presented in this picture looks like a crude instrument, but yet for nearly a century hands have been going in and coming out of this wheel making the selection of the jurors by lottery.
            But few persons have had the opportunity of watching the operation of drawing the jury in the past century.  The jury wheel now in use was first used in the city of Chester, which was then the county seat.  When the courthouse was removed in Media, the old wheel or a “Cheese box,” as many call it, was some of the relics taken from Chester to Media.  It has done duty ever since.
            For the benefit of those who are not acquainted with the manner in which jurors are selected this article is written.
            In the first instance, the judge of judges upon the bench designate the number of names that are to be placed therein.
            The Sheriff then, under the authority of law, is directed to draw from the historic wheel the number of names designated by the Court within 35 days of the session of the Court.
            On the day set by the Sheriff and the two jury commissioners meet to fulfill this order of the Court.  The old wheel is then taken from the safe, the names of the Sheriff, the Jury-Commissioners and Judge, which were written at the previous drawing, are taken from the wheel by one of the above named in authority.
            Books, which are used in the Sheriff’s office, are placed under the wheel so as to hold it in position.  The Sheriff takes the first draw and is then followed by the Jury Commissioners in order of their party.  These men alternate in drawing from the wheel until the close of the drawing.
            At the close, the names of the Judge and the Jury Commissioners and the Sheriff are written upon a slip of paper, secured by sealing wax and then the wheel is replaced in the safe in the Sheriff’s office.
            Many persons have the idea that they can be drawn as jurors on the Grand Jury or on the Petit Jury just as the officers in charge of the work desire, but this is not the case.  They are drawn in accordance with the law.  The first 34 names drawn from the wheel are known as members of the Grand Jury.  Then the names of the citizens which come out of the wheel are placed in order in accordance with the direction of the Court, whether it be 55, 63, 0r 75 for each week.
            The drawing of the Jury is a feature of the political conditions that few have any knowledge of, but which is one of the most important characteristics of our civil government.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Tax on a gift car? Happy Thanksgiving to my readers


The Dr. Anna Shaw house in Moylan. Shaw was such a well known national suffragette leader post cards were made of her home. The above picture is from c.1918

NOTE.  National Suffragist Leader Dr. Anna Shaw was given a car by New York suffragettes but when she bought it home to Rose Valley the state and county demanded a tax be paid. Shaw said her main address was New York and did not have to pay a tax.

The Dr. Shaw Car Tax

“Eastern Victory”, the gift automobile of New York suffragettes, is again in the hands of Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and while the peerless leader of suffrage cannot claim to have won a victory in her fight to avoid the payment of taxes, she again has the little yellow car which has been the cause of a great deal of talk and no little amusement.  The car was sold by Constable A. C. W. Matthews of Media, Saturday afternoon at Pierson’s garage, Media, and a hundred or more people gathered to see the fun.  The car was purchased by W. Roger Fronfield, attorney for the Woman’s Suffrage Party of Delaware County, for $230, and a few minutes later was run back to the garage at the Dr. Shaw home in Moylan, from which it had been taken by the constable after the levy on July 9.
The sale of the car followed a refusal of Judge Johnson of the county courts, to grant an injunction restraining the constable from selling it.  A hearing on this application for an injunction was held Saturday morning in court.  Dr. Shaw, by her attorney, W. R. Fronfield, declared that she is a resident of New York and not of Pennsylvania, and that there is no authority for the county to collect by a distrait a state tax of 1914.  He cited the Act of 1913 to sustain this position.
He called Hugh Brannan, assessor for Upper Providence Township, in which Dr. Shaw’s house at Moylan is located.  Mr. Brannan said that he went a number of times to Dr. Shaw’s residence and that he judged from the appearance of the property that it required a substantial income to maintain it.  He was unable to find any resources in this county, but on the strength of appearances he made the assessment $20,000 and the County Commissioners raised this fifty per cent, making a total of $30,000.  He said that several times he was promised that Dr. Shaw would make the assessment herself, but she never did so.
President J. D. Pierson of the County Commissioners, and former Commissioner George W. Allen, now Warden of the county jail, testified that Dr. Shaw was allowed practically three weeks more time than anyone else in Delaware County.  They declared that Miss Anthony appeared before the Commissioners and was given a blank to be filed out, but she did not fill it out and made no appeal.  At that time the Commissioners were not told that Dr. Shaw was a resident of New York.
Miss Lucy E. Anthony, secretary for Dr. Shaw, was called by Isaac E. Johnson, solicitor for the county.  She said that she made the affidavit to the bill asking for the injunction and produced a sworn statement by Dr. Shaw.  This statement set forth that Dr. Shaw went to New York to reside, whereas, Miss Anthony’s affidavit placed the time for going to New York as one year earlier.  Her explanation did not appear to satisfy the County Solicitor.  She gave Dr. Shaw’s residence as Hotel McAlpin, New York City.
Miss Anthony’s attention was called to a magazine article in which Dr. Shaw is quoted as giving her home as Moylan and she professed to know nothing of the article.
A letter was produced by the County Solicitor from Dr. Shaw to Assessor Brannan in which Dr. Shaw said, “Since it is impossible to obtain justice in Delaware County, and since the assessor persists in his unjust and disproportionate assessment, I shall immediately take up a legal residence in New York”.  Judge Johnson commented upon this letter as follows:  “According to that letter she did not move until after the trouble started.  I am not surprised that she did not appear in court today, if she wrote that letter.”  It is probable that this influenced him to refuse the injunction.  He made the refusal at 1 o’clock and the sale was held one hour later.
The first bid made at the sale was by James R. McDowell of Media, who bid $130.  This was raised by Ex-Judge Welliver of Montour County, and several others joined in the bidding, the last bidding being raised a dollar at a time.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!