Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Spooning" ??? Not in our town!!!!! and tavern talks


The intersection of Hinckley Ave. and Sellers Ave. about 1930. The building in the background is the old Ridley Park Train Station.

 


NOTE: With the car becoming more popular 100 years ago for young couples and "dates" one local Delaware County police force cracked down.
 

"Spooning" aka "Making Out"

 
With World War One over, men and women wanted to celebrate and what better idea than to take a ride in dad's car in Delaware County. Not so fast!!
With the car being used for casual travel, one local police department cracked down heavy. Speeding fines ran ten to twelve dollars in 1919 but getting caught "spooning"?? Fines were over 100 dollars!! One man from Philadelphia was livid and told the Chester Times he and his wife had done nothing wrong. They had been sitting in their car, "just talking" when two policemen ran up and stopped them. Please understand depending on the department, police walked on foot and did not use cars for patrol till the late 1920's or early 30's. Local Police would stake out spooning spots and charge higher amounts for couples who were not married. Police told some couples if they went to court they would have to reveal who they were in the car with, so many couples just paid the fines without ever going to court. Couple caught kissing were charged with disorderly conduct which covers all forms of illegal behavior. After word began getting around on what this unnamed police department was doing, the department was sued in civil court by several people who wanted to expose "the system". These couples considered the police were just "holding them up" for the money. The chief and local magistrate who found everyone guilty and issued the fines soon found themselves in court. The Chester Times stated in one year this local department collected fines of over $15,000.00 dollars!! Remember most fines were under $7.00 dollars. After a few more articles and lawsuits it was once again safe to park and go "spooning" in Delaware County!!
 

Tavern Talks 2018 and "Chocolate and Courtship" The Chadds Ford Historical Society’s Tavern Talks will kick off its third season on Thursday, February 15th from 7-9 p.m. with "Chocolate and Courtship." If you are looking to bring dating back to the basics 300-year-old basics then you will not want to miss out!
Guests will have the opportunity to watch chocolate-making demonstrations by Mars’ AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate’s very own Chocolate Historian David Borghesani, receive courtship advice from General George Washington (portrayed by Carl Closs), learn about dating in the Colonial period from historical novel writer Susan Holloway Scott, delight in historical chocolate pairings, and more!
Tavern Talks is a monthly experience (not a lecture!) aimed exclusively for adults 21 and older that focuses on unexplored aspects of early American history and culture. Guests will experience history with hands-on activities, food and drink tastings, demonstrations, and more. Tavern Talks takes place at the Chadds Ford Historical Society’s Barns Brinton House, an historic 1714 tavern, located next to the Chaddsford Winery at 630 Baltimore Pike. Admission is $20 for non-members and $15 for members. Tickets must be purchased in advance over the phone, in person or online as space is limited. All attendees must be 21 and older. Be sure to mark your calendars for other Tavern Talks we will be doing throughout the year, including:
March 15 Mind Your Pints & Quarts
April 12 Law & Order May 17 To Market, To Market
June 21 Enlightened!
September 13 Liberty or Death
October 11 Fermented & Tormented
November 8 Sugar & Spice Purchase a year subscription to Tavern Talks and save! A year’s worth of Tavern
 

Monday, January 15, 2018

 

The above picture of the 1724 Courthouse on the Ave. of the States in Chester is from about 1855. It is one of the first pictures taken in Delaware County. The courthouse is the oldest public building in the United States.

 
 

The 1724 Chester Courthouse

 
 
After having been used for 127 years as a Court House, the old landmark was abandoned by the county in 1851 and was purchased by the borough of Chester.  It was fitted up for use by Council, and the borough officials and a public subscription of the citizens provided the money for the erection of the steeple which graces the front gable of the building, and a clock and bell were installed.  The old cupola in the center of the roof was removed and the bell which hung there, a small one which bore the inscription “Chester 1729,” was removed.  It is said to have been taken to the old schoolhouse which stood at Fifth and Welsh Streets at the time, but it has disappeared.  An old bell which was there was afterward taken to the Oak Grove School on Twenty-Fourth Street but it does not hear any inscription and is not likely the same.  The old bell from the Court House, which was cast in England and brought here only five years after the Court House was erected, would be an interesting relic if it could be found.
The picture shows the walls of the building as they appeared until in 1870, the city built the structure adjoining the old Court House to the north.  Tis was used as a post office for a long time and afterward as a store, being converted into offices about twenty years ago.  The building really fronted to the south, toward the old prison, which stood where the Masonic Hall now stands.  There were two doors there, with stone steps, but these were filled in and made windows about twenty-five years ago, and a new door was cut in the front by enlarging one of the windows on the Market Street side, the old court room being divided up into offices at this time.
The offset on the north side of the building where the judges sat still remains, but is hidden by the small building which now provides a stairway to the upper floors.  The lower part of this space is used as an ante-room from the present police court room and the upper part is included in the old Council Chamber.
There are still some of the older people about the county who can remember the old Court House when it looked as it died when the picture was taken.  It would be interesting to know who the figures are standing on the pavement.  Chester will have a fine historical relic to show visitors when the contemplated restoration is accomplished by the city, the State Historical Commission, and the public-spirited citizens, and with an open space on either side and a new city office building erected in the rear of the plaza, the town will have a civic center which will not be surpassed in picturesqueness and interest.
 
 

For immediate release
Tavern Talks 2018 and "Chocolate and Courtship" The Chadds Ford Historical Society’s Tavern Talks will kick off its third season on Thursday, February 15th from 7-9 p.m. with "Chocolate and Courtship." If you are looking to bring dating back to the basics 300-year-old basics then you will not want to miss out!
Guests will have the opportunity to watch chocolate-making demonstrations by Mars’ AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate’s very own Chocolate Historian David Borghesani, receive courtship advice from General George Washington (portrayed by Carl Closs), learn about dating in the Colonial period from historical novel writer Susan Holloway Scott, delight in historical chocolate pairings, and more!
Tavern Talks is a monthly experience (not a lecture!) aimed exclusively for adults 21 and older that focuses on unexplored aspects of early American history and culture. Guests will experience history with hands-on activities, food and drink tastings, demonstrations, and more. Tavern Talks takes place at the Chadds Ford Historical Society’s Barns Brinton House, an historic 1714 tavern, located next to the Chaddsford Winery at 630 Baltimore Pike. Admission is $20 for non-members and $15 for members. Tickets must be purchased in advance over the phone, in person or online as space is limited. All attendees must be 21 and older. Be sure to mark your calendars for other Tavern Talks we will be doing throughout the year, including:
March 15 Mind Your Pints & Quarts
April 12 Law & Order May 17 To Market, To Market
June 21 Enlightened!
September 13 Liberty or Death
October 11 Fermented & Tormented
November 8 Sugar & Spice Purchase a year subscription to Tavern Talks and save! A year’s worth of Tavern Talks is $110 for CFHS members and $150 for non-members. Follow the link to get yours: http://bit.ly/2Bt80Fd
 
 



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Norwood Park up for Sheriff Sale!!!!




     The Upper Norwood Park at Chester Pike about 1910.


NOTE. When realtor, John Cochran started the town of Norwood in 1873, he gave the Upper Park by Chester Pike to the town, "forever".  Cochran was sued in 1878 and the 3 large parks lots were sold by order of the court and then sold to several people who began to build houses. It took a number of years but the Boro finally won the park back. The story and judge's decision from 1897 is below.





NORWOOD’S PARK

 Judge Waddell Confirms the Report of the Master, David F. Rose, Esq.

 Opinion of the Court

            In an opinion handed down by Judge W. B. Waddell on Saturday, in the case of Commonwealth vs. William Calhoun, et. al., the report of Master David F. Rose IS CONFIRMED.  This was virtually an action to test whether the citizens of Norwood were entitled to have the use of three lots given by John Cochran in 1872 and 1873 as a place for a public park, or whether the parties who purchased them after they were sold at Sheriff’s sale were entitled to the right title and interest in them.  According to the Court’s decree confirming the Referee’s report the public still maintains the grant given by Mr. Cochran.
            The report of the Referee set out that the three lots in question were owned by Mr. Cochran and that it was his intention that they should be set apart for public use as a park.  No deed of dedication was then made nor has any been made since.  To bear this out a number of sales of lots about the three in question took place and at each Mr. Cochran gave notice that they had been dedicated to public use.  The public character of the lots was recognized by the turnpike assessors, who made no assessment of them for the purpose of taxation.
            In April 1878, Hon. John M. Broomall obtained judgment against John Cochran for $2000.  This was obtained on a judgment note which was marked to the use of George Broomall.  On June 11th, 1883, these park lots were sold under an execution on said judgment and were purchased by George Broomall, to whose use they had been assigned.
            Prior to the Sheriff’s sale a number of the citizens of Norwood, alarmed at the danger of losing the park lots, held a meeting and organized for the purpose of protecting the rights of the park lots.  Mr. Calhoun, one of the defendants in this suit, took an active part in these meetings and contributed to the fund raised to employ counsel.  Then the day of the sale came a notice was read of this action by Mr. Galloway.
            On September 15th, 1891, George Broomall sold the three lots in question to William Calhoun and later he sold part of them to Charles Lynch, B. Mitchell Newbold and Charles K. Swift.  In view of this fact the referee said the question arose had George Broomall notice of the dedication of those lots for public park purposes?  He goes on to cite how this could be obtained and decided that he had sufficient notice.  He decided that the defendants should be restrained from having the use or occupation of said lots and that the costs of the proceedings be paid said defendants.
            OPINION OF THE COURT – Judge Waddell’s opinion says:  “We think the facts found by the Referee are justified by the evidence, and its conclusions are the legitimate result of those findings.  Such findings of fact are conclusive upon us unless clear mistake, misconduct or manifest error be shown.  No such error is apparent here.  It is true his conclusions are not entitled to the same weight and may be reviewed with more latitude by the Court but to reverse the Referee his conclusions must be clearly wrong.
            “We cannot say that of the conclusions of the Referee in this case.  They seem to be properly drawn from the facts found:  Entertaining these views we must dismiss the exceptions filed by the defendants, confirm the report and sign the decree submitted.”
 
1 hope all of you got the message my talk was cancelled last night
January 8. It is now on for this Monday, January 15th
Hope to see you there!
 
 
 

 


Thursday, January 4, 2018

No Drones or ornaments in Swarthmore!!

 

The old Town Hall in Swarthmore was destroyed by fire in the late 1940's. It stood where the Boro Offices and library are today. The fire co. was at the rear.

 
 
 
Note: In the early 1900's many local fire companies were male social clubs, more fun meetings than actual work. Women in the day referred to these all male meetings as "smokers" because men went to the meetings to smoke cigarettes and cigars. Men aka gentlemen 115 years ago did not smoke in front of women.
 
 
 
 

Swarthmore Firemen

Active $1.00

Ornament $5.00

 
If you want the name of being a fireman and belong to the Swarthmore Fire Company, you must be an active fireman and not an ornament, and if you want to be the latter and belong to the fire company, then it will cost you $5 a year.  This has been decided by the Swarthmore Fire Company, with the result that three would-be firemen or ornaments have resigned from the company.
Swarthmore Fire Company has since its organization, earned the reputation of being one of the best equipped fire companies in Delaware County, besides its firemen have done yeomen work at all fires in the borough so much so that there has not been a disastrous fire in the borough for many years.  But this has been due because the firemen have already been active, with few ornaments which seemed to have developed during the past year.
Several months ago, the firemen in the company that is the active firemen, began to grumble because a certain number of men who were on the active list did not appear at drill night practice, and absented themselves on the nights when the fire equipment was to have been cleaned.  This was finally brought up in open meeting, and the result was that the president of the company, William Bitler appointed a committee consisting of Chief Getz and assistant chiefs Edward Whittaker and Elmer Patterson, to investigate the delinquent members.  The result was that the committee reported back that twenty firemen were on the list who had failed to assist in cleaning fire equipment, or who had been absent from drill nights.  After this report was made another committee consisting of Dr. John Roxby, William Warner and William Place was appointed by President Bitler.  This committee also made a similar investigation and it reported back to the fire company that it would be unable to punish the delinquent members, but it did advise that the by-laws be changed so they could be associate members if they did not desire to be real firemen.  This would mean that all persons who had failed to comply with the requirements of active firemen would have to either be active or become associate members, and this would, of course, also mean to be an associate member.  It would cost $5 annually instead of $1 per year, which the active firemen pay.
President Bitler when interviewed said that it was true that there were members in the company who were on the active list, and who had been very inactive which resulted in the real firemen of the company putting up a kick against the drones.  He said that if any of the members wanted to be ornaments, they could do so by becoming associate members and paying $5 per year, if not they must be active.  He admitted that the trouble caused three resignations and he said that the “house cleaning” was a good move and that there would be more active work done by the firemen.  He said there is always plenty of work to be done after each fire, such as cleaning up the machinery and re-charging the chemical tanks.  “Some of the firemen like to go to fires, but they do not like to clean up when they return from the fire,” said President Bitler.
 
 
 

 



Saturday, December 30, 2017

Delaware Co. Stereo Optic views

This stereo optic view of the remains of a burned house is from the late 1860's. The house was restored and today still stands in Delco with a Pa. State Historical marker. Any guesses where this house is?

 

Stereo Optic Views

 
 
 
       Stereo Optic views of Delaware County are very rare the one above from my collection is quite early from the 1860's. The views became popular right after the Civil War and remained so till the mid 1890's. In some 45 years of collecting I have only collected about 15 views. There is a whole series of Chester City stereo views I have seen advertised for sale. I have never seen one. Lets have some guesses on the one above.!
 
 
 
 
 





Thursday, December 28, 2017

Trainer Boro made automobiles 115 years ago

 

The 600 block of Main St. in Trainer looking west c. 1900

 
 
 

NOTE Some 115 years ago many businesses were trying to cash in on the "new" automobile craze. For about 7 years cars were made in Trainer Boro.

 
 

Fournier-Searchmont Company

of Trainer

 
 
            Negotiations are pending and it is believed that when the Chester Times is issued tomorrow it will be possible to announce the fact that No. 2 mill at Trainer has been leased and that it will be placed in operation as an automobile factory, and that there will be at least 200 hands employed.
            For some time past several Philadelphia and New York capitalists have been looking around for a favorable location for their business and finally got in communication with T. Woodward Trainer and for several days past the negotiations have been on.  This afternoon there will be a meeting of those interested and it will be definitely decided whether the plant will be installed at Trainer.  Those in charge of the enterprise feel confident that there will be something definite done in the matter at the meeting and the outcome will be watched with the utmost confidence by the residents in the vicinity of the mills.
            A CRACK MACHINE – The company which it is supposed will locate at the mill is known as the Fournier-Searchmont Company, and for some time past its plant has been located at 1230 Orkney Street, Philadelphia, but on account of the great increase in business it has been found necessary to secure more commodious quarters, and for that reason the officers have been looking around and finally decided on the mills at Trainer, and if satisfactory terms can be arranged between the company and those in charge of the property, the plant will go to Trainer No. 2 mill
            In the construction of the machines there will be a number of skilled mechanics and there will also be a number of boys employed, but in the greater portion of the work it will require men, and only those who are skilled will be employed.
            MORE HOUSES NEEDED – In the vicinity of Trainer it is rumored that the new company has been buying up a large plot of ground and that it is the intention to erect a number of new houses for the use of their employees, as for some time there has been a scarcity of houses in the village.  A short time ago there were many empty houses, but many of the employees in the iron mills in the western section of the city have found it impossible to secure homes in Chester and for that reason they have gone down to Trainer.
            In speaking of the probable action which will be taken at the meeting this afternoon one of those interested in the project said that he could say but little about it, but in his opinion he thought it would be a go, and that the lease would be closed.
            Those who are interested in the company are principally from Philadelphia and New York and it is asserted that there will be no local capital invested, but at the same time if the meeting should result as expected it will be a great boom to the industries of Chester and its vicinity.
            The older residents of Trainer have felt rather despondent since the Trainer mills were closed down and the prospect of another industry being started I their stead has given them encouragement.
            The Fournier-Searchmont automobile has proven to be one of the most popular machines in the world.  It has made great records for speed and endurance and has had a wide sale.  Its motive power is the gasoline engine.    
 

I would like to wish all my readers a

Happy and prosperous New Year!!      



Saturday, December 23, 2017

A "Mere Trifle" and helping some animals at the Colonial Plantation

 

This poor quality glass plate is of a unknown street in Clifton Heights. Looking for a location. Thanks Keith



    "A mere Trifle"





   Although he wrote one of the most popular poems in United States history, Clement Clark Moore never really understood what all the commotion was all about. After all, the poem had taken just an hour to write. A graduate of Columbia University, at the head of his class, he got a job as professor of Oriental and Greek Literature at what is now, New York University. He got the job after the publication of his book, Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language. Moore also spoke German, Italian, French, Greek and Latin.     
    Married to Catherine Taylor in 1813, by December of 1822 they had 5 children and Moore, a well respected scholar at school, liked to compose poetry for his wife and children on special occasions. He promised his six year old daughter, Charity a "special" poem for Christmas Eve of 1822. Going thru several books, including  Knickerbockers, History of New York and  an anonymous book, The Children's Friend, Moore using his own ideas too, wrote, "Twas the night before Christmas" which was read to the family after dinner.
      It was Moore's poem that had Santa coming down the chimney, having stockings hung and naming all the reindeer etc. "Twas the Night before Christmas " did capture, the innocence, wonder and simple belief of childhood  perfectly over 195 years ago as it does today. Charity loved her poem, of course, so much she shared it with a family friend, Harriet Butler of Troy, New York. Harriet loved the story and Charity swore her to secrecy to never tell anyone that her father, Clement Clark Moore, had written it. As a respected professor he would be laughed at, if people knew he wrote children's poetry. Harriet sent the poem anonymously to the editor of the Troy Sentinel newspaper who published the poem in their Christmas edition in 1823. From there the poem took off like wildfire, published in 100's of papers across the country for the next 15 years.
    Moore was horrified and swore his family to secrecy, afraid he would become the laughing stock among his "scholarly friends". When other people began to claim they had written the poem, Moore finally allowed his name to be used as the author in 1837. He was asked to write the poem out in his own hand 100's of times and almost always refused. Only two copies are known to exist in his own writing.  Moore would never understand what all the fuss was about and considered his scholarly works much more important. As Moore himself once wrote to a friend, the poem was " just a mere trifle, one that had been found to afford far greater pleasure than what was by myself, esteemed of more worth".
 
    May all my readers have a wonder and safe Holiday Season !!



13 Days Remain to Donate to our Animal Fund Drive
To colonial people, winter was known as "the starving season." With your help, the Plantation's animal ambassadors will learn, grow and thrive, providing educational opportunities for thousands of school children in the springtime.

We are 80% to our goal, which will allow us not only to provide feed and veterinary care to our animals, but to also provide essential training for our staff in the use of our animals to interpret colonial history. Your donation will help us to preserve critically endangered historic breeds, and remind our visitors of our connection to the land and its creatures. CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION.
From our Plantation family to yours, have a warm, safe and happy holiday.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Green
Executive Director

Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation
Ridley Creek State Park
Media, PA 19063