Sunday, August 14, 2016

Essington the "Party Town" 115 years ago!! DEBAUCHERY !!!


Various views of Tinicum Township from over 100 years ago! Recognize anything?

NOTE. Tinicum aka Essington is not considered a big "party town" today but 115 years ago, Essington was the place to go for gambling, drinking etc. Gamblers etc. from Phila and Chester came here because it was isolated from major roads and had fulltime few residents then. For about 6 years Essington was the place to go till a special force led by the Delaware County D.A. shut it down. Read below to get an idea of what Essington was like. Articles like this appeared monthly in the Chester Times.

August 3, 1900 – CHESTER TIMES

                THE BOOKIES HAVE FOUND A GOOD THING Race Track Gamblers Playing the Game above Essington 

 The “Bow Creek Club”

                Things are once more “wide open” from the viewpoint of the gambling element which follows the horses, for another place has been found where racing pools can be made, contrary to the laws of the Commonwealth, but without fear of arrest, says the Philadelphia Press.  This time the sports, with their usual faculty of finding “good things,” have chosen a pretty, rural spot, a short distance below Bow Creek, on the line of the Southwestern trolley road, and there for nearly a month with the knowledge and protection of the Delaware County police officials who are also wise on winners, the Quaker City admirers of the swift-going equine, have been placing their bets at a pace which recalls to the memories of the vets the days when Gloucester had the merry-go-round.
                “Mum” has been the word passed along the line, and as the result the talent of the front rank have been the only ones admitted to this sylvan poolroom, which bears the euphonious title of “Bow Creek Club.”  The directors, although they keep their identity a close secret, have established a rule close secret, have established a rule that only those having tickets can enter the wicket and in this way the expected to make the “organization” very exclusive.
                They manage, however, to see that all those having a good-sized “roll” are not left in ignorance of the poolroom’s existence.  This has been done through the instrumentality of a man named Carroll, who, since the place opened, has established himself in clubs and hotels patronized by the sporting fraternity, and placed himself in communication with the “elect,” who were left to tip off such second-raters as would keep the matter under cover.
                In passing the word Mr. Carroll never forgot to mention two things, one of which was highly important.  First, the police, he gave out, were “cinched to death,” and secondly, the place was in such beautiful country that visit there was a veritable picnic, from the viewpoints of pleasure and profit.
                As the result many business men were drawn to the poolroom.  Restaurant keepers, cigar dealers, saloon keepers, lawyers, and other professional men sought the poolroom by the creek, and it became necessary for a reporter to go also.
                Years ago, it appears, a photographer tried to anticipate the tide of civilization and went down the Neck to raise pictures.  It is the relic of his rashness – a tumble-down shack – that is now used as a poolroom.  A high board fence cuts off the shanty front public gaze, and a gate has been out, though which the faithful walk.
                “Where’s your ticket?” asked the gatetender, when the reporter went ill.
                “Why I didn’t connect until today, and I didn’t have time to get one,” was the reply.
                “Well, you’ll have to get one before you come in,” the gatetender said in pensive tones.
                Once before the “persecuted” gamblers had a poolroom in a field out in Manayunk, and mention of this proved the open sesame.
                “Well, if you went there I guess you’re straight,” said the wicket man.
                Inside the place was full of bustle.  It was evident that the proprietors of the joint, wished to make their patrons comfortable, for an awning was spread out from the house, and when the betters got real warm they came out and made themselves at ease in this shaded spot.
                In the shanty the gamblers were doing a big business.  A glance inside, brought to sight a heavy volume of cigar smoke and at least fifty betters orating on the value of the “good thing” they have picked.  A blackboard showed the odds on the horses, and a ticker in a corner was rapidly clinking off, the doings at the track.
                It seemed as if several corners had lost those who kept them warm.  All the men in the room were “vets.”  In the game and their presence indicated that it was a good, well-protected “on the level joint,” at that.
                Somehow, those inside didn’t share the sentiment of the gatetender in regard to the reporter.  When he showed himself inside the room, a man who appeared to control the situation came forward and said:  “How are you?  Can we do anything for you today?”
                “Oh, nothing particular.  I came down to look over the field,” was the answer, “is anything good on tap?”
                “Nothing today,” said the man, suppose you call again.  We’re busy now and you haven’t any ticket.  The club men don’t like strangers about.”
                Although not a particular stranger to some of the “members,” the reporter left and it is likely that the joint will not be opened again.

CHESTER TIMES – February 26, 1901


 Pool Rooms are doing a Rushing Business Every Day

 Sports Have Their Parades

            The Essington pool rooms are in full blast again and everything goes at that famous place for the gamblers on horseflesh.

            The headquarters are well known to the sporting fraternity and the Philadelphia plungers are on hand in full force every day.  Upon one of the days last week it is estimated that one thousand persons entered the building where the tickers sing their merry song all day and a large amount of money was staked on the results of various tracks.
            A day or two ago one of the sporting men of Chester went to the rooms to see if the business was really as prosperous as reported and he came away with the impression that not one-fourth had been told in that story of the Essington pool game.
            One of the things that struck the visitor sadly was the number of young men who were there staking their money all to be lost in the shuffle for the agents of the concern were busy moving through the crowd and working their alleged tips to the greenhorns in the business. They found easy victims.
            Beer and whiskey bottles were much in evidence, while money flows freely almost every day.  The major portion of the visitors are Philadelphia men, but some of them are from Delaware County, a few being from Norwood and nearby towns; but the proprietors are afraid of the local people and prefer to deal with the sports from the big city.
            A threat was made a day or two ago by local officials to cut the wires but the rooms have been running without interruption thus far with the list of patrons apparently on the increase.


CHESTER TIMES – August 11, 1904


 Investigation Being Made into the Speakeasy Parties Conducted above Essington by Philadelphia Societies on Sundays in Which Much Debauchery is in Evidence 

 Pay One Dollar and Be a Club Member

            The arrests made at the instance of District Attorney Smith yesterday caused a flurry of excitement in the Darby Creek boat house colony, some of the members of which have been very insistent that no liquor has been sold at any of the boat houses along the stream.  There are about seventy-five houses in the settlement, but as far as the investigation revealed, there is no reason to suspect any than the three places against which action has been instituted.
            It is alleged against the Baker and Kay houses that drunken men were very numerous about their club rooms, that poker was a regular pastime and that scenes of debauchery make the Sabbath a mockery.  All this is averred by the men who made the investigation, notwithstanding the hot protests of the people of the boat house settlement and some of their apologists, that such scenes did not occur along the creek.
            THE PICINC DEBAUCHERY – An investigation has been made into other forms of evil on Tinicum Island, but just what was the outcome will be is problematical, as the ruling of the Supreme court on what is termed the club house decision had hedged the violators of the law so completely that it is difficult to frame a prosecution that will be effective.
            The territory above Essington has been made the resort of picnic parties for a number of years.  The payment of a dollar admission to the officers of the society conducting these parties entitles the person to all of the privileges, which include beer.  At some of these picnics children have been seen in a state of intoxication.
            A week or two ago eight barrels of beer were consumed at one of these picnics, which was conducted by a society from Philadelphia.  Each person paying a dollar was given a blue badge that bore the letter “R” and the wearer was one of the members of the club for the day, so was free to get all of the intoxicants he could pour down his throat.
            MANY PEOPLE DRUNK -   A Chester man who visited the place and paid a dollar says of that picnic:  “Beer was very much in evidence.  When I bought the blue badge, which I still have as a memento of the visit, I was told that I could have anything I wanted.  I saw men, women and children so intoxicated that they reeled and children were helplessly drunk when the party, off of whom were under the influence of liquor, started for home.  The picnic party came from Philadelphia in wagons and brought the beer along.  Those sober enough to play indulged in a game of baseball, but the affair partook of a bacchanalian celebration and I left in disgust.”
            THE CLUB HOUSE RULING – Speaking of the difficult of getting violators of the excise laws convicted, District Attorney Smith said yesterday during an interview with a Times man:  “That decision of the Supreme Court on the club house has resulted in filling the State with speakeasies.  There are clubs of all kinds and many of the boys get their first lessons in drinking at such resorts.  There should be a law defining the term ‘club’.  We have in all parts of this county and in this city these so-called clubs, whereby the payment of twenty cents a month a member can buy beer and other drinks on Sunday and when the man who runs the place is arrested, the plea is entered that he is the treasurer of the club, which in nine cases out of ten is a falsehood, as he is simply the proprietor of a speakeasy den.  If the law will say a club must possess its building, owned by a chartered organization, with privileges prescribed by the act of Assembly, we can get at these illicit places.  Then if we have men in the jury box who are not in sympathy with lawbreakers, we will drive speakeasy keepers out of business by running them into jail.  It cannot be denied that our present rulings of the highest court of the State give free reign to lawlessness along the line of liquor selling.”
CHESTER TIMES – August 16, 1904


 Paper Now Receiving Signers for a Legal Movement Against the Invasion of Tinicum Island by the Hordes of Sabbath Desecrators, Whose Debauchery Has Aroused the Residents to Action to Protect Themselves Against Scenes of Indecency and Drunkenness in Which the Visitors Indulge – Threats Made Against People in the Crusade
            The residents of Essington are again up in arms against the continued invasion almost every Sunday of an undesirable class of people from Philadelphia, who assemble on Smith’s field, near the tracks of the Southwestern line of the Chester Traction Company and make the Sabbath Day hideous with their orgies.
            Postmaster A.M. Diehl, ex-Justice of the Peace Charles Seiberling, George B. Reynolds, proprietor of the Yacht Restaurant, and other prominent and substantial citizens of Essington began yesterday to get up a petition praying the Court to instruct the officers of the law to live up to their duties, alleging that last Sunday when a crowd of five hundred or more people from the lower precincts of Philadelphia and Chester were violating the law in various ways, the officers of Essington, instead of making any attempt to stop the all-day disturbances, cohorted in a certain degree with the lawbreakers.
            CRAP SHOOTERS IN EVIDENCE – The above gentlemen claim that a number of crap shooters, who were plying their nefarious game along the public highway, were told by the constable to get out of sight behind the bushes along the road.  They further allege that an official, ever accommodating in his manner, hired teams for the conveyance of the crowds from the trolley lines to the scene of the Sabbath Day desecration.  It is also claimed that one of the county officials was also in the vicinity, but made no attempt to make any arrests.
            The head signers of the proposed petition also allege that a full-fledged bawdy house is conducted in a boat house in the locality of Smith’s field, and that among the patrons of the place are well known residents of Essington.
            BASEBALL IN FULL SWING – Among the various attractions on Sunday was a game of baseball between a team managed by Lew Bailey, called the Broadway Club and the National Club the aggregations being composed of pugilists, who find contests on the diamond a pleasant diversion from the slugging that is necessarily infused in the manly art.
            A large number of lewd women were numbered in the Philadelphia crowd and the language that was used by both sexes was unfit to hear by the Essington people who found it necessary to pass the high carnival to and fro from services in the Essington Protestant Episcopal Mission.
            Mr. Reynolds had to secure assistance from neighbors to eject four intoxicated women from the porch of his Yacht Restaurant.  The women finding the porch a refreshing place to sleep off their booze, highly resented the attempts made to remove them and the language used was of the foulest character, being mingled with oaths.
            During the baseball game, a fierce fight ensued between the rooters, one of whom picked up a bat and struck his opponent over the head.  The man lay unconscious on the ground for several minutes.  Other quarrels took place and the air was filled with oaths and ribald talk.
            A GAMBLING DEN – Another place that the people of Essington will file complaint against is the headquarters of a local club not a thousand yards from the railroad station, where it is alleged a gambling den and drinking hole exists.  Sunday is a big day at this place and one walking along the road when the excitement is at its height can hear such remarks as
            “I raise you ten.”
            “I’ll see you.”
            “Let’s have another drink.”
            “Make mine a dark beer,” and other talk of a like character, which pollute the care of the good people of Essington, who are tired of being compelled to put up with this sort of thing and have decided to take the bull by the horns by bringing the attention to Judge Johnson to the Sabbath Day disorder.
            THREATS ARE MADE – The Sunday desecrations boldly enter Charles Seiberling’s pasture field and milk his cows.  He made complaint once, but was told that if “he made too much of a holler” his cows would be all poisoned.
            It is estimated that eleven beer wagons, hailing from Philadelphia and Chester, make weekly trips to Essington and that the beverage is stored ready for Sunday distribution in a boat house along Darby creek and above Essington.


No comments:

Post a Comment