Sunday, June 28, 2020

Prospect Park Fire Co. is 125 years old! Colonial Plantation opens!

The above picture was taken about 1910 probably for the 4th of July celebration. This was the first firehouse building at 10th and Lincoln Aves.  it was replaced in 1964 by the current building.

NOTE: When two houses burned to the ground in the 700 block of 13th Ave. then known as Carolina Ave. plans began to organize the Prospect Park Fire Co. In the early days all boro men were expected to be members of the fire co. whether they actually "ran" with the fire company or not. They were expected to support it financially. The first fire house was in a stable at 11th and Lincoln Aves.


PROSPECT FIRE COMPANY FACTS 

Birth of a Movement of Citizens That Led to Present Organization

                Twenty-eight years ago a fire destroyed two houses owned by George Badgley on Thirteenth Avenue, Prospect Park.  This was the first and last total loss by fire in that borough.  While the embers from these buildings were still aglow, W. C. B. Gilmour, James H. McFall, James Quigley, Andrew McGirr and several others were holding a curbstone conference just across the street from the smoldering ruins.  This conference gave birth to a movement of citizens which crystallized in the formation of the present very efficient Prospect Park Fire Company.
                Henry Cox became the first president, and at that period a combination hose carriage, purchased from Indiana County, and which had originally been donated by Hamilton Disston to the Shaffer Hose Company of Philadelphia, was the extent of its firefighting facilities.
                But it might be interesting to know that this Badgley fire was contested by a bucket brigade in its initial stages, but when it was seen the blazed was getting beyond control a pond pump “engine” possessed by the village of Morton arrived amid cheers and did heroic, if futile service.
                The charter of the Prospect Park Company bears date of 1895, and its present membership numbers 526, though but 40 of this large membership are rated as active association membership, the remainder being classified under the head of club house members.
                The imposing home of this company was erected in 1909.  It is of stone and brick and cost approximately $25,000.  There is practically no indebtedness on the building or apparatus.  Probably it is no exaggeration to assert this fire house is one of the finest arranged and furnished in Delaware County.  Its interior is particularly attractive and reflects an atmosphere of comfort and refinement.
                The lavatories, pool room and heating system are systematically arranged in the basement, while a club and working room, borough council chamber and firefighting apparatus are housed upon the first floor.  The club and reading room, in finishing, and furnishings, reminds strongly of feminine tastefulness in general arrangement and influence is strongly metropolitan.  A commodious auditorium takes in the entire second floor.  The janitor’s quarters are at the rear of the fire house proper in a sort of annex dwelling apartment removed from the fire house proper.
                The apparatus consists of a Garford truck and Boyd pump with capacity for 1,400 feet of hose, and funds are now being raised to purchase, in addition, a chemical truck.  There are both electric siren and bell fire alarm systems.
                In giving a series of articles of the sixty odd volunteer fire companies in Delaware County, the first impression might prevail, the reviews would follow along a forced cut-and-dried channel of thought and expression.  However, such an impression, if formed, would be entirely wrong.  While admittedly all these firefighting units are fundamentally organized after the same code of formalities, yet the setting of each one is vastly different.  This difference is created by local flavor, such as incidents connected with their organization and since, of course, almost all the fire companies have a relief association, as is well known, a goodly portion of the funds for this beneficial object is derived from the State tax on foreign insurance companies.  In this connection it might be interesting to mention the sum of 29 cents was carried upon the borough treasurer’s books on account for thirteen years before a relief association was formed.  Under the provisions of the relief association $150 is paid to the heirs of a deceased member.  There are no benefits for accident nor sickness, though some such arrangement is under advisement and will probably be formulated at an early date.
                The officers of the Prospect Park Fire Company are as follows:  President, Jesse Z. Rush; vice-president, Jacob F. Mansure; treasurer, John C. Tulloch, secretary, W. E. Wunderlich; chief, Alexander F. Bordiahan; first assistant chief, Charles D. Hart; chief engineer, A. Heald; assistants, J. C. Maller, Robert G. Browning, A. Mansure and Albert Harper; surgeons, Dr. J. B. Haynes and Dr. R. Owens.
                There are three departments in the company, truck, salvage and police, which are functioned as follows:  Truck, Captain B. Green; salvage, Captain Robert Hagerty, and police, Captain George Orr.
                Since its organization six members have occupied the president’s chair, these being:  Henry Cox, John C. Apgar, Edward Dobeldower, C. Scott Rickards, Dr. E. S. Boice and Jesse Rush, the present incumbent.
The Ladies’ Auxiliary which flourished during the period, efforts were being made to raise funds to erect the fire house, is given unstinted praise for the unflagging interest and generous support given by its membership toward the movement.  The men even now admit without this support the clubhouse project might have been delayed several years.  Among those who were prominent in the auxiliary at that time were:  Mrs. Broomall, Mrs. Samuel Sill, Mrs. George W. L. Butler, Miss Ruth Butler, Mrs. John C. Tulloch and Mrs. C. Scott Rickards. enry  Cox

All fire companies had very active ladies auxiliaries back in the day. The ladies ran dinners and fund raisers to help their fire companies. Above the Prospect Park Fire Co. Ladies Auxiliary from about 1910 taken on the second floor of the firehouse which was a large meeting hall.


Colonial Plantation opens!!



As Delaware County enters the "green" phase of reopening, the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation will be allowing visitors at the site starting Saturday, June 27th and continuing on Saturdays in July from 11am-4pm.

In order to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors, we have modified our operations in response to COVID-19 and we invite you to review the details below to help you plan your visit.

Pre-Registration Required
We look forward to welcoming you back to the farm! In order to limit the number of visitors on site at any given time, we will be selling tickets in half-hour time slots. Please plan to arrive five to ten minutes before your time slot. We strongly encourage you to purchase tickets in advance to avoid being turned away at the door.


During Your Visit
All visitors are required to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible, and at all times when interacting with our staff and volunteers. Only the first floor of the historic house will be open. Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the site, and handwashing is available in our restrooms. Only one household group is permitted at a time at any one activity/demonstration. All demonstrations will be held outdoors or in open-air structures, with six-foot areas roped off around each demonstrating staff member.


Before You Leave the House, please remember to bring your:
Proof of your pre-registration. Printed tickets recommended but you can also show your ticket on your cell phone.
Mask or face covering.
 
Tickets can be purchased on our website at http://www.colonialplantation.org
 
 
Jennifer L. Green
Executive Director
Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation
Ridley Creek State Park
610-566-1725 / colonialplantation.org

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Tri-colored signals, Automatic or manual?? Historic Sites opening soon!!

West Chester Pike looking east from Highland Park, c.1915


NOTE:  In the mid 1920's with eastern Delco. becoming the new suburban area of Phila. and more cars being driven, country roads being widened and paved, everyday traffic control became very important. In 1925 red, yellow and green lights were introduced in Delco. and the problem of automatic or manual control of the lights was discussed. See below.


 TRY NEW SIGNAL SYSTEM ON PIKE 

Sergeant Kauffman Pleased With Results on First Day

          Traffic was regulated on the West Chester Pike, opposite the Sixty-Ninth Street Terminal yesterday by a new tri-color lighting signal that will be operated at all dangerous intersections in the township next week, according to Chief of Police Earl Kauffman, who seems very much pleased with the first day’s results of the new lights.
          All during the day policemen operated the signal by hand from a small shed on the southwest corner of Sixty-Ninth Street Boulevard and the West Chester Pike and in the evening Chief Kauffman spent a few hours operating the lights himself, studying the results of his labor as he worked.  Many motorists ran past the signals during the course of the day but the local policemen stopped all of the offenders and reminded them that the new lights were in operation.  No arrests were made, however, because Superintendent Kauffman thought the motorists should have an allowance until they become acquainted with the new signals.
          After the new system has been established Kauffman says the lights will be worked automatically during the middle of the day when the traffic is not so heavy.  The police chief is of the opinion that hand-operated signals will better regulate traffic during the rush hours in the morning and evening.  An officer will always be on duty whether or not the lights are being operated by hand.
          Motorists who run past the new signals will not be able to alibi that they did not see the lights because the equivalent of 400 candle power shines through each of the three lenses and the lights can be seen several hundred yards distant.  When the signal is being automatically run the green light will shine for West Chester Pike traffic for 40 seconds while automobiles traversing Sixty-Ninth Street Boulevard or making right-hand turns into the terminal will be given the “go” signal for 30 seconds.  Vehicles will be permitted to make lift-hand turns for a 20-second period.
          Traffic signals over the intersection of West Chester Pike and Darby Road and West Chester Pike and Township Line Road in Haverford Township, were also operated yesterday for the first time since the new system in that township was introduced by Charles Smith, chief of police.
          Haverford’s lights work similar to Upper Darby’s new system.  The former township has also had considerable experience in experimenting with automatic traffic regulation systems and has at last adopted the three-light method having a special signal for left hand turns.  All day yesterday the lights in the smaller township were automatically operated.  The exact timing of the lights has not yet been definitely decided upon and this problem is the one Chief Smith is trying to satisfactorily solve now.
          Lansdowne police have been instructed to regulate traffic at the intersection of Baltimore Pike and Lansdowne Avenue by hand.  The authorities in this borough have also found that traffic can be more efficiently handled in rush hours by hand operated signals than by automatic lights.

Delco Historic Sites will be opening soon!!!

Please visit the Delaware County Historic Preservation Network
Website and Facebook for opening updates and join or site!!






Sunday, June 14, 2020

Upper Darby Twp selected as "model twp." Lincoln Banner restored!!

The original Upper Darby 69th Street Trolley Station about 1910 shortly after it was built. Note the horse and wagon in the picture.

Note: The Chester Times selected Upper Darby Twp. as the "Delco Model Twp." for all the improvements the Twp. was making 110 years ago!! At a time when Upper Darby and most of Delco were still farms some of the "model improvements" are very funny! Please read!! DCHS has restored the Abraham Lincoln Banner used by him in Media when he was running for president in 1860. Pictures are below, a great piece of Delco History Saved!!



UPPER DARBY A MODEL TOWNSHIP 


Mounted Police Appointed and Plans for Installing Lights and Fire Plugs Underway

                Within a few weeks the township of Upper Darby will have municipal improvements which will keep pace with the progress of that rapidly growing district.  These improvements will consist of street lighting police protection and fire protection.  At the meeting of the Commissioners on Tuesday evening at the Fernwood Mansion at Fernwood, four policemen were appointed who will go on duty in a few weeks, giving the people in the different towns in the township proper police protection.  The officers will be mounted and will wear uniforms similar to those of the police of Lower Merion Township.  The officers will receive $80 per month, but they must buy and keep their own horse out of their salaries.
                The Commissioners also made arrangements to install an electrical bureau over Davis drug store in Fernwood, where a thorough police and fire alarm system will be located.  This system will be installed by the Bell Telephone Company, and an operator will be on duty at all times.
                TO LIGHT THE HIGHWAYS – At a former meeting of the Commissioners contracts were awarded for the installation of electric and street lighting throughout the township, and street lighting throughout the township, and the two companies which have the contracts are now busily engaged in erecting the electric light poles, stringing the necessary wires and the gas company is putting in iron posts for Welsbach gas lights.  Fire hydrants will also be installed within a short time.
                The meeting was presided over by President Joel B. Jones, and Messrs. Frank Shee, John Taylor Wolfenden, William Shepley and George Wadas, members of the Board of Commissioners were present.  A. F. Damon, Jr., of Darby, was elected township engineer.  This is also a new office.  All these things go to prove that Upper Darby has a well-governed municipality with men at the helm who are wide awake and alive to what is needed for the people.  To accomplish these improvements has cost the Commissioners many hours of mental labor and they are being complimented for their service by the taxpayers of the township.
                The officers appointed are:  Tomas Duffin of Fernwood; John Leighton of Garrettford; William Wogeman of Cardington and Daniel Logue of Keystone.


1860 Lincoln Banner Update!
Dear Friend of DCHS,

We hope this message finds you and your family well. At a time when we are all inundated with troubling news, DCHS is pleased to share a few positive updates with our friends.
Thanks to the hundreds of supporters, DCHS is thrilled to announce that our financial goal for the restoration of the 1860 Lincoln Campaign Banner has been reachedLaunched on President’s Day weekend of 2019, our fundraising and awareness campaign sought to raise the funds required to fund a long overdue and urgent restoration of our presidential campaign banner used by Abraham Lincoln right here in Delaware County during his 1860 and 1864 campaigns. Below is a photo of the delicate banner as it stands today.
 The goals of the Lincoln banner project are not only to restore and preserve the banner for future generations, but to also make it accessible to the public by displaying it at the Historical Society. All of us at DCHS greatly appreciate each and every one who contributed to this important project. The banner will be sent to a historical restoration company in September and we plan to unveil it to the public in early 2021, once we have reached our preservation goal.
The mission at DCHS is to collect, protect, and preserve the shared history of Delaware County and its people. The banner is one of the most unique and cherished artifacts of our County and of our Country, and we thank you for your support in helping us fulfill our mission and beyond.
As a community, we are currently experiencing greater resonance in the importance of family and history. History is the road from where we’ve come, a road map of the present moment and the foundation and truths we need to understand to build a better future.
During these difficult times, funding from our friends and donors is so very valuable, even crucial, for the continuation of our work. Please consider donating to DCHS, either online at padelcohistory.org or by mail.
 Despite the fact that our (physical) doors are closed, DCHS is continuing to work diligently to bring history to life through a new video series showcasing items from our collections, as well as a Covid-19 Memorial time capsule project, which we will be launching this Summer. "Recollections of the COVID 19 Pandemic" will share experiences, memories, lessons learned, emotions, and more, from our community residents all of whom have been deeply impacted by this unprecedented event in history.
When DCHS reopens to the public, we hope you will visit our Research Library, Museum Gallery, and our Children's Education Center or attend an event. In the meantime, we encourage you to stay connected and updated with us online via Facebook, Instagram (@padelcohistory), and our website.

From all of the staff, board members, and volunteers at DCHS, we send our care and wishes for your safety. Thank you for your dedication in protecting local history.

Sincerely,
Laurie J. Grant, Executive Director


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Jacob Reese, Sharon Hill inventor and new Sports book on Delco!!


The Jacob Reese home at Chester Pike and Cherry St. still stands. Sharon Hill was home to many large estates that faced Chester Pike. The Reese Estate ran from Calcon Hook Rd. to Cherry St.


NOTE: Although largely forgotten today, Jacob Reese, patent and inventor, was a major force in the American Steel Industry in the late 19th century as you will see below. Sharon Hill was the home of many prominent men whose large estates faced Chester Pike. Among the homeowners was Isaac Clothier of Strawbridge and Clothier. Please check my 1909 map of Sharon Hill at delawarecountyhistory.com to see the Reese Estate and others.




AGED INVENTOR DEAD AT SHARON HILL 

Jacob Reese, Who Invented Over Three Hundred Patents Passes Away at the Age of 82 Years

          Jacob Reese, aged 82 years, an inventor of over 300 patents which have made the iron and steel business what it is today, and, with his father, the maker of the first “bloom” by the boiling process in the United States, which revolutionized the iron industry, died late Monday night at his home on Chester Pike, Sharon Hill, after an illness of only a few days.  Death was due to apoplexy.
          He had just returned to his Sharon Hill home after having spent the fall and winter with his wife at his Florida resort at Daytona.
          Mr. Reese’s father lived to be 104 years, and his grandfather, 113.  Mr. Reese is survived by six children.  The interment will take place in Pittsburgh on Friday.
          Mr. Reese’s life is a story of achievement and shows him to have been of self-made man in the fullest sense of the term.  He was born in Lianelly, Wales in 1825.  At the age of 9 years he received his earliest impressions of the iron trade, while spending most of his time with his father, who was engaged in erecting a blast furnace fifteen miles from Huntingdon.  In 1825, his father moved to Bellefonte, where, with the aid of his two sons, Jacob and Isaac, he built a furnace and introduced for the first time the “boiling” process for the Vallentines.
          Mr. Reese built and operated some of the first oil works in Western Pennsylvania.  In 1862, he built the Fort Iron Works; in 1864, the Fort Pitt Steel Works, and the next year he erected the South Side Rolling Mill and Tube Works.  In all of these Mr. Reese introduced his many inventions and became immensely wealthy from his inventions, but in 1877, by a series of disastrous fires, explosions and litigations over his many patents, he lost every dollar of his immense fortune.  He began over again and started to lay the foundation of a second fortune, which, although not as large as the one he lost, was a very comfortable one.
          He was the inventor of the basic process for the manufacture of steel, to which, after a vigorous contest before the United States Patent Commissioner, it was decided that he was entitled to credit.  The last patent on this was issued only last year, and will not expire until 1923.  Mr. Reese was a member of Franklin Lodge, No. 221, F. and A. M. of Pittsburg, for over fifty years.




Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Delco Landmark is gone!!

A view you might not have seen of the Third Presbyterian Church at 9th and Potter Sts. This was taken about 1910. Another Delco landmark gone.

Note: Sadly the Third Presbyterian Church of Chester is gone. The Church built in 1896 had closed in 1986 and the Chester Historic and Preservation Committee had taken it over in 2015, and was in the process of restoring it. They had the church placed on the National Register of Historic Places in November of last year. The article below is from 1895 when the church construction started. There have been some mistakes in the news and this tells the early history of the church.


THE THIRD CHURCH 

 A Picture of the Handsome New Edifice The Church’s History The Happy Realization of Years of Patient Effort by Pastors and People

            The TIMES today prints a picture of the handsome new edifice of the Third Presbyterian Church, as it will appear when completed.  The TIMES is indebted to Isaac F. Pursell, the architect, and the Building Committee, for the handsome perspective view of the church, to Mayor John B. Hinkson for the historical date, and to George D. Howell, C. E., for the description of the structure.
            On September 17, 1875, a preliminary meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a Presbyterian congregation in the northern part of this city.  Those present were:  William V. Black, Adam C. Eckfeldt, J. Frank Black, Theodore Hyatt, Henry B. Black, John C. Lindsay, William Hinkson, Samuel Black, Lewis Ladomus, Stephen Parsons, John R. Sweney, J. Elwood Black, John B. Hinkson and James Stephens.  On September 20, Adam C. Eckfeldt, Stephen Parsons and Theodore Hyatt were appointed a committee to present to the Presbytery the application for organization.  ON September 30, a petition signed by fifty-three persons, was presented to the Presbytery of Chester, and the prayer of the petitioners was granted.  The Presbytery appointed Reverend Messrs. Bowers, Hodgkins and Lawson a committee to organize the new congregation.
            THE CHURCH ORGANIZED – On October 16th, 1872 the church was organized, the elders being Adam C. Eckfeldt and Stephen Parsons.  On October 31st, the elders were increased to four, H. B. Black and John B. Hinkson being elected.  The number was again increased to six.  The present elders are:  Henry B. Black, John R. Sweney, Maxwell Ocheltree, B. Frank Beatty, John B. Hinkson and J. Frank Black.  On November 29th a charter was granted to the congregation.
            On February 12th, 1893, at a congregational meeting, at which Rev. James W. Dale, D. D., presided.  Rev. Charles F. Thomas was elected the first pastor.  The pulpit up to that time had been supplied by Rev. E. R. Bowers.  On May 7th, 1873, the first election of trustees was held, when Theodore Hyatt, Adam C. Eckfeldt, John B. Hinkson, James Stephens, J. Frank Black, Lewis Ladomus, Henry B. Black, Samuel Black and William Hinkson, were elected.
            The present trustees are:  William Hinkson, President; John B. Black, Secretary, John C. Hinkson, Treasurer; William R. Murphy, Jr., John B. Hinkson, James E. Cardwell, George D. Howell, H. C. Farson and I. Engle Cochran, Jr.
            THE DEDICATION – On October 5, 1873 the church at Twelfth and Upland Streets was dedicated.  Previous to this the services had been held in Fulton Hall at Broad and Upland Streets. February 28, 1878, Rev. C. F. Thomas resigned and on May 31 of the same year, Rev. Thomas McCauley was called to the pastorate and served until June, 1893.  November 8, 1893, Rev. M. J. McLeod, the present pastor was called and installed the same month.
            The total number of members of the church including those on what is known as the Reserved Roll, is 439.  The number added to the membership during the past year is 87.  The Sabbath schools have always been flourishing, and the number of scholars in both schools is now about 550.  Maxwell Ocheltree is superintendent of the Sabbath schools and Miss Mary H. Volkhardt is teacher of the Infant school; Ridgely G. Hinkson is librarian.
            The congregation now numbers more than 500 which exceeds the comfortable capacity of the building and the Sabbath schools, which are held in the church room, being also cramped for room, it has been decided to erect a new building with appropriate Sabbath school rooms and other apartments on the lot recently purchased on the north side of Broad Street, west of Potter Street.  The land cost $15,000 and has been paid for.  The building with all its appurtenances and fixtures will probably cost $40,000 more.
            THE NEW BUILDING – The contract for the building has been let to William Provost, Jr., and it is now in course of erection.  The Building Committee are William Hinkson, Henry B. Black, J. Frank Black, M. Ocheltree, Geo. D. Howell and I. E. Cochran, Jr.
            In its general style the building is gothic.  The doorways and cloisters surrounding the auditorium, being broken by spires and projections, enhance the effect of the dome issuing out of its classic setting and give dignity and grace to the whole structure.
            The main audience room is octagonal, the supporting roof trusses rise from heavy pillars and meet in the center, high over the heads of the audience.  The chords will be of hardwood, worked into a fine finish and together with the other complimentary parts will give an audience room unsurpassed in our city.
            The pulpit is in the northeast corner in full view of the chapel, classrooms and cloisters, as well as of the main room.  Behind the pulpit will be the pastor’s study, lavatory, etc.  To the left of the pulpit the organ and choir will be ensconced, there being room for a grand organ and fifty singers.  The pews are to be circular, centering on the ascending from the pulpit so that every one of the 700 listeners will have an unobstructed view of the speaker.  Surrounding the main room on the south and west are the vestibules and cloisters.  There are three main entrances and two private ones.  These spaces will accommodate 200 extra sittings.
            SUNDAY SCHOOL ROOMS – The Sunday school rooms are easily connected with the church proper by disappearing doors and when all is thrown into one the speaker in the pulpit will stand in the center of a large chamber capable of comfortably seating eighteen hundred persons.
            The adult and infant school rooms are so arranged that the whole gathering will be under the control of the superintendent.  The ladies have a cozy parlor, kitchen and dining rooms.   The building will be of Avondale marble trimmed with Indiana limestone and roofed with Conosers terra cotta tile.  The outside dimensions are 116 feet front by 149 feet deep.  The structure will be set back 20 feet from the new building line of Broad Street.  The front of the church proper is 85 feet, the remaining width being occupied by the Sunday school building and porte cochers.
The aim has been to avoid all unnecessary expense in the shape of heavy ornamentation, but rather to sacrifice everything to the comfort of the audience, and utility for the work in hand.

The Delaware County Historic Preservation Network has put together a virtual Tour Tour of Delaware County Historic Sites. I'm president but Kate Clifford has done so much work to make our site the best. The link for the tour is below.

     Hopefully you've seen the list of Virtual Heritage Tourism, but if you haven't, check it out here: https://delcohpn.wixsite.com/dchpn/virtual-heritage-tourism and if you create or have something that should be added to the list, please let us know. We would love for all municipalities to be represented. Even a short YouTube video of your site on a smart phone giving visitors a sneak peek as to what you have available could get you more visitors when you are able to be open. Keep your websites and social media up to date as to what your plans are and any postponed events will keep your audience engaged virtually until it is safe to open.      

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Ridley Township's first school still stands. May is history month!! Take a tour read below!!

The first school built in Ridley Township about 1885. The school stands in the 300 block of W, Chester Pike in Ridley Park Boro. The school opened in 1800 and closed in 1872 when Leiperville school was built. The school district abandoned the school and Harriet Stowe pictured above moved in and after 25 years claimed the school as her own. Today it is a private home.



Note: One room school houses have always interested me and many still stand as homes. People pass this building everyday and have no idea it was a one room school. This was built as a "subscription" school. Local farmers "subscribed" or gave money to have the school built. The Penna. School Act did not become law till 1835 when school districts etc were formed.


The Records of Ridley Township's First School




            The records are well preserved, although yellow with age.  The writing is plain and legible and can be read without difficulty and bears the date of July 25, 1800.  It was on that date that the deed of trust and conveyance of the ground in Ridley Township was made by Caleb Davis and wife to Abraham Trimble, Jeremiah McIlvain and Nathaniel Worrall in consideration of the sum of five shillings for the use of the inhabitants of the township and its vicinity in the education of the youth.
            THE SUBSCRIBERS – The deed of indenture is witnessed by Isaac Eyre and Hannah Semmens and endorsed by twenty-six residents of the township who subscribed money for the school building.  The subscribers to that fund were:  William Paul, $20; Jeremiah McIlvain, $20; Abraham Trimble, $30; John McIlvain, $30; James McIlvain, $30; Aaron Morton, $20; Jacob Pointer, $30; James Maddock, $5; Nathaniel Worrall, $30; Hugh McIlvain, $5; Henry Trimble, $5; Isaac McIlvain, $10; Caleb Davis, $40; Thomas Price, $5; William Beatty, $5; Michael Rowe, $5; Rachael Effinger, $5; Isaac Worrall, $5; George Jordan, $25; Peter Revel, $5; Daniel Lampleigh, $5; Robert Ravanport, $5; Jesse Worrall, $6; total $346.  James Barnard was Recorder of Deeds at that time and his name is attached to the acknowledgment of the deed.
The minutes of the first meeting held to take into consideration the erection of the school house show that twelve of these subscribers were present.  William Paul was chosen president and Aaron Morton was elected secretary.  A resolution was adopted that after having taken into consideration the property of building a school house on the lot of ground granted by Isaac Culin for that purpose they considered it unfit for that purpose, whereupon Caleb Davis, Esq., proposed to give forty-two perches of ground on the North side of the great road adjoining the lot now occupied by Peter Norbury, which was unanimously agreed by said meeting to be accepted.
THE SCHOOL IS BUILT – At an adjourned meeting held on the seventh month, 1800, three managers to build the school house were chosen by ballot, those elected being Caleb Davis, William Paul and John McIlvain.  These managers were authorized to build the school house of the size and construction they saw proper.  Five trustees to the school were also appointed at this meeting, their names being Peter Hill, Caleb Davis, William Paul, Abraham Trimble and James McIlvain.  The trustees were authorized and enjoined to employ a suitable tutor for the school and furnish him with a list of the names of the subscribers to the school house and such others as they thought proper.  They were also instructed to visit and examine into the state and decorum of the school once a month and keep a record of the visits and if the tutor did not suit to discharge him.  It also decided that if there was any surplus after the building was erected, it was to be used to purchase books for the use of the poor of the school.
THE TEACHER’S TROUBLES – The minutes show that the first teacher employed to teach the young ideas of Ridley Township how to shoot was Jacob Fenton, A.B., who presented a diploma from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.  His salary was $2 a quarter for each scholar and he began his duties on the 20th day of the 10th month in the same year 1800.  He was also allowed a reasonable charge for wood and ink, the minute’s record.
            At the next meeting off the trustees it is stated that complaint was made that the tutor sent his bills to the subscribers before they became due and that he had overcharged them for the amount of schooling.  The teacher was interviewed, admitted his mistake and things went along all right for that quarter.
            When the proposals for the second quarter were sent to the teacher he rejected them and intimated that he would run the school in defiance of the trustees and refused to give up the key.  A meeting of the subscribers was called and the outcome was the election of another teacher in the person of William Fairlamb.  His connection with the school was of short duration and from a casual perusal of the minutes there is every indication that the teachers of those days did not have a very smooth road to travel with the farmer’s boys.  Samuel Lytle was the next teacher employed and thirty-six scholars were enrolled.  His mode of teaching did not please the trustees and they said of him:  “We cannot entirely appropriate the conduct of the Master.”  The last teacher recorded is a Mr. Burrows and the attendance of scholars was dwindled down to fifteen.


Note: In doing research on schools, I was always confused by the number of school buildings in Delco and teachers etc. Things never added up. Reading this article straightened me out. Can you see what I'm talking about?


February 2l, 1891, Chester Times

SOME SCHOOL FIGURES.
What It Costs to Teach the Young Idea How to Shoot.
                There are 31 school districts in Delaware County and 236 schools.  They are taught by 18 Male and 226 female teachers, for which an average salary of $6,087 is paid to the males and $4,319 to the females.  Last year the total receipts of the districts, including $18,655.54 as State appropriation, was $276,445.34, of which $258,090.60 were expended.  Of this amount the teachers received $100,215.78, new buildings and improvements cost $64,070.14, and fuel, collectors’ fees and other expenses cost $93,780.67.  The number of boys enrolled last year was 6,067; girls, 5,987, or 12,054 pupils in all, with an average attendance of 7,708.  The cost per scholar per month was $1.17.
                Chester City has 65 schools, 2 male teachers and 63 female teachers.  The number boys enrolled is 1,583; girls, 1,735, of a total of 2,260, with an average attendance of 90 per cent.  The total receipts last year were $64,457.69 (of which $6,036.02 was from the State) and the expenditures $64,029.17.  The amount paid for teachers’ salaries was $27,420.50.
                South Chester expended $8,143.50 for the salaries, or a total of $24,037.86 for the expense of maintaining the district.  The State appropriation was $1,268.28 and the receipts from other sources, $23,863.98.  The enrollment is 482 boys and 465 girls, with an average attendance of 82 per cent.
                The cost per scholar per month in Chester is 96 cents, and in South Chester $1.17 per pupil.  The tax in Chester is 5 mills and in South Chester 7 mills.

Special DCHPN E-Newsletter
May is Preservation Month
Do you have a favorite place in Delaware County? What inspires you about that site? Share your thoughts and a photo (or two) about the site and it'll be posted on the website for everyone to learn more about Delaware County history and what makes us special. Post it yourself (anyone who is a subscriber to the website can post) or email dchpn_planning@yahoo.com with your entry and check back on the website to see what you and others wrote. 

The Virtual Heritage Tourism site page more activities and places to visit remotely during the pandemic. Click on the button below to check out the page:

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Rose Valley Taxes etc. Nothing is open. Check out DCHPN link below and unk. Pic!!

This postcard from about 1910 shows Rose Valley Rd. and how open the boro was at the time. The exact location of this picture is unknown.


Note: This article from 1930 is quite misleading looking to attract people to Rose Valley Boro. Rose Valley is not the smallest boro in Penna. and is not even the smallest boro in Delco, Rutledge is. William Price, one of the founders was a well known and respected architect and had his known ideas
with George Stephens on how to create a boro. They quickly split and Price had his own way. There were no school taxes in the boro because Rose Valley had a private school and residents paid tuition and not public school taxes. No sidewalks etc. to save money were Price ideas.

Another unknown picture from my collection. I believe it is the Aston area. Looking for a location.
Thanks Keith



ROSE VALLEY, SMALLEST U.S. BOROUGH COLLECT TAXES

          The smallest borough in the United States, where there is no public school; where property owners are forbidden to lay sidewalks in front of their property; and where the borough council is composed of very wealthy men, exists in this county.
          Rose Valley, three miles from Chester, with its population of 300, and its background of culture and art, is probably one of the most unique, as well as one of the most beautiful settlements in this State.
          The colored chauffeur, of one of the borough’s wealthiest residents, the latter burgess, is the constable and as such represents the majesty of the law in the town.  Stores are absolutely forbidden, paved streets are banned, and for many years, the taxes collected have remained in a bank unused.
          This modern Utopia was founded as a single tax colony in 1901 by William Price and Frank Stephens, but after several years, a difference in opinion regarding the management of the colony led to Stephens’ withdrawal.  He later went to Arden, Del., and there founded a single-tax colony and carried out his own ideas.
          Price, however remained, a colony of painters, sculptors, and other devotees of the arts.  Two abandoned mills, each almost 200 years old, became the rendezvous for the Rose Valley Folks, as they call themselves, and meetings, plays, and social gatherings were held nightly in the old stone mills.
          One day several years later, Jasper Deeter, a well-known actor, passed through the quaint settlement, and was struck by the beauty of one of the mills, and the idea of producing plays, with artistic rather than mercenary success in view, became imbedded in his mind.
          With $9 in his pocket and countless ideas in his mind, Deeter started the Hedgerow Repertory Group, and in 1923 the first plays were presented to an audience consisting mainly of Philadelphia art lovers and residents of the Valley.  The company has continued successfully since that time, until today it is known throughout the country, and has numbered Ann Harding, Emerson Tracy, Eva LeGalliene, and Paul Robeson, amongst its players.
          The theatre is perhaps the outstanding feature of Rose Valley, today, and the colony has gradually grown up around it, attracting numerous artists who now make the place their home.
          In their efforts to retain the rustic atmosphere, the borough council of Rose Valley banned sidewalks, businesses of any description, and even pave d streets.  There is no public school within the borough limits, the children attending the Wallingford school.  When the residents wish to attend church they also have to leave the borough.
          Arthur Rich, colored chauffeur for Maurice Bower Saul, millionaire attorney and burgess of the borough, is constable and the only law-enforcing officer in the borough.  What Rich does when he makes an arrest is problematical, for there is no magistrate to sentence his prisoner.
          The residents emphatically state that they have no wish to modernize the borough, wishing to retain the quiet peaceful surroundings, which make the place one of the most unique of Philadelphia’s suburbs.


Special DCHPN E-Newsletter
Learn about special online events and resources
Most events have been cancelled or postponed. Many more may be in the coming months. However, the Delaware County Planning Department and Visit Delco PA have compiled a list of 'Virtual Heritage Tourism' opportunities for you to peruse. They include videos of historic sites, virtual tours, online presentations and webinars, and self-guided tours you can do on your own. It also includes history and cultural activities you can do with your children.