"Welcome to Media" Baltimore Pike coming into Media from Middletown c.1950
Media 125 years ago
Note: This is a long article on Media and what it was like business, home life etc. from 125 years ago, It is a very long article and this is part one
The borough of Media the county seat of Delaware County, by the establishment of the trolley road has been brought very close to Chester. Chester looks upon Media as a sort of a little sister, and younger, more sedate and pretty. Media, however, can no longer be called “little,” for it has attained a population of over 3300 and with the impetus given it ought to grow rapidly in the future. The Media of 2000 will very likely be a much larger place than the Media of today. Although it has no big mills or industrial establishments, it has more than kept pace with other towns in improvements and the Media of today is a far different place from the Media of a decade ago. The improvements of the past five years include electric lights, well paved streets, improved water works, a well-equipped fire company and a new borough hall, and last and most important of all is the connection with Chester and Marcus Hook by the trolley road built by the Union Railway Company. The road, opened on March 6th, has been liberally patronized and is already proving a big thing for both Media and Chester.
NO BARS OR SALOONS – Media became incorporated in 1851, about the time it was made the county seat by the removal of the Court House. The charter granted by the State prohibited the sale of liquor as a beverage anywhere within a mile of the borough. This has never been changed, although it has been talked of several times, and Media can lay claim to being one of the few prohibition towns in the State. The prohibitory clause in the charter is strictly enforced, no liquor of any kind being sold for “drinking” purposes, and the result is one of the most orderly and peaceable communities probably in the land.
AS A SEAT OF LEARNING – The town is known as a center of information and research and there are few towns of the same size anywhere with better facilities for mental culture and progress. The schools, both public and private, have a wide reputation, and pupils come here from all over the land.
The Delaware Co. Institute of Science, an institution as old as the borough, comprised of an association of citizens of the county having for its object the dissemination of scientific information among the people, meets every Saturday evening in its building on South Avenue for that purpose. It has a large membership which includes some of the most prominent and intelligent citizens of the county. The building of the institute has recently been modernized in the interior and now contains a tasteful and commodious hall for its lectures and entertainments, a cabinet and curio room and museum and library. Ex-Judge Broomall is president of the institution, and included in its roll of membership are Collector T. V. Cooper, Dr. Daniel Brinton, Graceanna Lewis, Dr. Isaac N. Kerlin, Henry C. Howard, Captain Isaac Johnson, Dr. S. D. Risley, A. Lewis Smith and many others equally as prominent.
THE COURT HOUSE – The Court House is the largest and the most prominent building at Media. When the Prothonotary's office is fitted up with metallic furniture and shelving, similar to the new offices of the Recorder of Deeds and Register, it will be one of the most complete public buildings in the State and will serve the county for many years to come.
The building, with the new annex, makes a most imposing structure. It is situated in a pretty shaded enclosure occupying a whole square of ground. The Court House Square is the public park of the town, and the County Commissioners have kindly placed seats here where, in summer time, the way worn traveler, visitors to Media by the trolley or the tired citizens about town, can rest in its cooling shades.
The offices at present in the Court House are occupied by men who understand their business, and have, for the most part, been elected for their ability and business qualities.
Judge Thomas J. Clayton presides in the big room on the second floor and deals out law and justice here from the bench at the regular quarterly sittings of Court. He has a handsome private office in the new annex, just in the rear of the bench.
The present officials occupying the various offices are as follows: Prothonotary and Clerk of the Quarter Sessions Court, William L. Mathues; Recorder of Deeds, John H. Kerlin; Register of Wills, William H. Hall; High Sheriff, John D. Howard; Commissioners, Harry L. Hipple, W. Lane Quinn and James Clark.
HIGH AND HEALTHY – The beauty and health of the town is well known to hundreds of Philadelphian’s who reside here during five or six months of the year with their families. A great part of the permanent population is also made up of former residents of Philadelphia, professional and businessmen, who, pleased with the locality, have built or purchased homes here. A feature of the place is the large summer hotels, one of these, Idlewild having a patronage among the best people of Philadelphia and other big cities.
Media is known far and wide for its splendid homes, beautiful situation, shaded streets and handsome drives. It is situated at an elevation of 400 feet above tidewater, and from almost any point the eye is greeted with an endless variety of hills and dales, copse and forests, and on a clear day from upper windows the city of Chester and the white sails of passing vessels on the Delaware are plainly visible.
The health of the place is proverbial, and such a thing as malaria or hereditary disease of any kind is unknown. The water is of the best and comes from the upper portion of Ridley Creek. The principal streets are wide and well paved, and are fringed in summer time with the most luxuriant shade trees; and are the pride of the town and the admiration of all visitors.
MEDIA’S HOME LIFE – Few people are better housed and live in more cozy and comfortable habitations than do the residents of Media. They are better housed, fed and clothed than probably falls to the lot of most communities. Then the working classes, and there are some of them in Media, live in clean and comfortable homes, and have every convenience to make life pleasant. Media is emphatically a town of homes.
There are many pretty and neat and some very costly houses in Media, and its environments, Moylan and Wallingford, being included in the latter. There are no finer building sites to be found that some of those in this locality and they are generally in the hands of men who are willing to sell the property at a fair price, nothing more.
POLICE THAT PROTECT – Media’s police force is not a large one but it is all that is necessary to keep in the straight and narrow path 3000 orderly people. It consists of Chief Jesse J. Hoopes and assistants John Campbell and Frank Smith. The force is in charge of Burgess George Stiteler.
The town contains few lawless characters and there are few places of its size during the past decade with fewer burglaries and other depredations committed, and the credit of this is largely due to the efficiency of the police force. The town has been especially fortunate in the selection of her guardians of the peace, and there is no denying the sober fact that a vigilant police force can and does prevent crime.
THE NEW TOWN HALL – The new town hall upon which contractor Flounders is now putting the finishing touches is one of the most important public improvements in Media’s history. It is an imposing and substantial structure. It has a front of 40 feet on State Street and 75 feet on Jackson and is of pressed brick, laid in white mortar and relieved by carved sills of Indiana limestone. The base at the pavement is of Leiper and Lewis’ stone. In the State Street front the three doorways disclose at once the character of the building, or at least the first floor of it. The central entrance leads to the stairway to the upper floors, while those at each side of it are for the use of the fire apparatus. The fire company is about to move into its splendid quarters here and will occupy all the first floor with the exception of a small room at the northwest corner which will be used as an office by the Chief Burgess.
On the second floor is the Council chamber in front, and be firemen’s parlor and two offices in the rear. The third floor is a large room for lodge meetings e. Four lodges, the Golden Eagles, the Knights of Pythias, the American Mechanics and the Patriotic Sons of America are already in possession and meet on their respective nights weekly. The town lockup is in the basement where drunken and disorderly persons are sent by the Burgess. Electric lights, marble-top washstands, toilet rooms and all modern appliances and conveniences are to be found in the building, and in the County chamber there is a large and handsome fireplace with a hearth of fancy tile.
The tower at the corner is a feature that adds to the beauty of the structure, as well as to its usefulness; for while it is tastefully ornamented to please the eye, it ends above in a belfry, out of which will peal the alarm and call for the firemen to get together in case of fire.
The building is well planned and well-made, and reflects great credit upon Architect Yarnall and Builder Isaac L. Flounders.
MEDIA’S PERFECT LIGHT – The people of Media have no cause for complaint in regard to the electric light furnished by the Media Electric Light Company. They live in one of the best, if not the best lighted towns in the State.
The plant of the Media Company was erected nearly four years ago. The present officers are F. T. Downing, president; W. Rodger Fronefield, secretary and treasurer and William J. Alexander, superintendent. The system used is the Wood of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the arc and the Westinghouse incandescent alternating current for house and store lighting of which there is no better. Compared with the light of other systems in nearby towns, Media’s light outshines them at least twenty five per cent.
The company has about seventy five miles of wire furnishing light as far away as Swarthmore. Moylan and Wallingford and the pretty modern homes in that locality all use the Media light. Thirty arc lights are kept going all night to light the streets of Media, and they have in use 6500 incandescent lights for house and store lighting.
The business of the Media Company is constantly growing and expanding. They started with but 500 lights in December ’89, and twice since have had to increase their facilities to keep up with the demand. At present they are putting in two new dynamos and a 150 horse power Corliss engine, and one additional 1200 horse power boiler. When the new plant is in working order the service will be the best in the country. The gentlemen at the head of the concern are progressive and ever on the alert to adopt anything that would tend to make their light the best, and they have managed and conducted the business so as to gain the approval of those who have tried the new light.
MEDIA FIRE COMPANY NO. 1 – Media at present has the best precautions against loss by fire. Its fire company is one of the best equipped in the State, everything being new and of the best approved order. The management is in good hands, for the rules of the company exclude objectionable parties altogether from membership. The present officers area: President, Terrence Reilly; vice president, James H. Sweeney, recording secretary, Thomas J. Dolphin; financial secretary, H. R. Greenfield; treasurer, Ralph Buckley; directors, William H. Carey, John J. Rowland, Jr., Townsend F. Green; foreman, J. Harris Sloan; assistant foreman, George F. Fisher; chief engineer, George W. Carey; assistant engineer, Samuel P. Rush, J. E. English, Benjamin Broadbelt, Edward Nolan.
The equipment consists of a LaFrance steam fire engine, one Bailey & Gleason hook and ladder truck, two hose carts, sixteen hundred feet of cotton hose, the property of the borough; fire hats, rubber coat and boots and fifty dress uniforms for parade. The value of the company’s personal property is nearly $500.
The company was organized in 1880 after a meeting of citizens called to discuss means to secure better protection from fire. It has now over 150 members among whom are some of the best-known citizens. The Media fire lads not only have the best and most approved equipment, but in their new quarters in the new town hall they occupy a department built especially for them, and is as near perfect as it can be made. But they deserve it all.
BURGESS AND COUNCIL – The county seat of Delaware is possessed of a plethoric title. Its charter calls the corporation, the Burgess and Town Council of the Borough of Media. The first named official is a sort of figure head. Many duties are assigned to him by the exclusive Act of Assembly, but he possesses no power to carry them out. In the Town Council, as the charter says, rests the sole power of the municipality. But there is generally a cordiality existing between the seven rulers, the Chief Burgess and his Council, and he is seldom called upon to cast a deciding vote, which he has the power to do when the six are at sixes and sevens. The present Board has the honor of having been in power when improved highways were laid and the trolley system inaugurated between Chester and Media. It is looked up to with veneration. It is a good looking body of men, with six or seven exceptions, and way down to hard pen in business matters. It is also what might be called a live and let live, home industry concern, and if the seven men were penned up in the town there would be no necessity for any but the Burgess to leave it, except, perhaps, for bathing and fresh air, tubs of which are within walking distances at the Rose Tree Inn and on the Black Horse Hills. Burgess George J. Stiteler sells shell fish and fish with scales and with skins, for these he has to depend on the outside world. He always hides his stabber when he has official callers. T. Edwin Rorer is the grocer of the board; he sells to home trade, he says, and stays at home. Charles B. Jobson sells beef, so he says, and everybody believes him. Frank I. Taylor builds houses out of home-made bricks, while George E. Darlington and E. H. Hall dole out homemade law and plenty of it to the rest of the board. Dr. Thomas D. Young is the only medical man in this august body, and he can write a prescription for home-made drugs – when necessity requires it – that goes at any alchemist’s in the town. Junketing is never indulged in by the board and free passes are tabooed. The only perquisites that have been known to be accepted are free seats at the circus, side show included, when it comes to town.
THE KEELEY CURE – The history of Media’s leading institutions and enterprises would be incomplete if it did not contain some reference to the now well-known and well-established Keeley Institute at that place. It is one of the many institutes now established throughout the United States for administering the Keeley double chloride of gold remedies for the treatment of inebriety, and to those addicted to the use of opium, cocaine and other narcotics.
The fame of Dr. Leslie E. Keeley and his wonderful care has extended over the entire land. It has long ago passed the experimental stage and the demonstrations of its efficiency all around us are sufficient to convince the most skeptical. As the worth of the Keeley treatment became known it was found necessary to extend the field and the establishment of the institute at Media was the result.
THE INSTITUTE BUILDING – It was removed here from Philadelphia about a year ago, and is the only branch of the Institute in Eastern Pennsylvania. It is located in the large old-fashioned Miller mansion at the corner of Front and Orange Streets overlooking the Courthouse Square. The entire building is used in the work of the institute and contains the redemption rooms, laboratory, treatment rooms and the offices of the manager and the physician in charge, all nicely furnished. The patients are not confined in the institute and kept under guard, as is generally supposed. They board at the Charter House, the hotel of the town, or at a private boarding house, as they choose, and go and come to the institute at the hours for treatment, free and unrestrained.
SAME AS THE PARENT INSTITUTION – The Keeley Institute at Media is doing a great work in reclaiming victims of alcoholism. It is in the hands of men who have long ago proved to the skeptical in Media that Keeleyism is a reality. The general manager is Mr. J. N. Burson who has the right to administer the Keeley remedies in this State. A. Kobler is the superintendent and Dr. W. W. Strange is the physician in charge. They conduct the institution upon the same methods and with the same remedies as at the parent house at Dwight, Ill. Dr. Strange, who is a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, has received instruction under the personal direction of Dr. Keeley, consequently there is not the slightest difference between the treatment at the Media institute and that at Dr. Keeley’s home institute.
THE METHOD OF TREATMENT – The remedies only are secret. The manner of treating patients and the method of applying the remedies can be seen by all who are interested enough in the Keeley cure to visit the institution. When a patient first presents himself he is asked a few questions in regard to how long he has had liquor, what kind he has used, and in certain difficult cases he is submitted to a medical examination. Then he is given his first injections, and presents himself daily for hypodermic treatment at 8, 12, 5 and 7:30 o’clock, except in case of illness, when he is treated at his rooms. Lady patients are treated privately. Each patient is given a bottle of tonic to be taken in small doses every two hours during the day and evening, and such laxatives and sedatives as are necessary.
FROM INEBRIETY TO SOBRIETY – The attendance of patients at the institute reaches as high as twenty-five or thirty at one time. It is a study to watch them come up for treatment. After getting well started, there are seldom any late or tardy. As they come into the treatment room and remove their hats and coats, it is noticed that some of the faces are serious; on others there are traces of great suffering, and here and there is an over ripe complexion or a nose that blushes as itself.
But the majority of the faces in line bear not the slightest traces of alcohol. These latter are those of men who have passed into the second or third week of their stay. The whiskey is out of them – every drop. They have been born again, as it were, and the strange exhilaration which comes with freedom and the building up of their depleted systems with natural sleep, not super induced by narcotics, with the bracing air and generous food of Media, and pleasant surroundings and associations have made them into new men.
INJECTING THE GOLD – Dr. Strange takes his place at a cabinet containing the remedies near the head of the line. Each man in turn reaches the cabinet and his left wrist is grasped and his pulse noted by the physician. Each man has removed his coat and each one has a slit cut in the sleeve of his left arm to allow the syringe to reach the flesh.
The needle of the hypodermic instrument is next dipped into the double chloride of gold and is drawn from the little saucers. The long sharp needle is deftly thrust into the upper arm and the few drops from the fountain of sobriety go on their errand of mercy and the patient, if he be a comparatively new arrival, is given a bottle of whiskey, and he, with the others, goes on his way, not rejoicing during the first few days of treatment, for a man cannot get over a long debauch without some physical suffering – but the Keeley remedies and the moderate doses of whiskey, to use the expression of a graduate, “let him down easy.”
HOW THE APPETITE IS KILLED – Manager Burson, in speaking about the mode of treatment and its effects, said, “We first get the patient sober, that is if he comes to us under the influence of liquor. Then we remove the appetite for liquor. During this time we give such whiskey as he requires, but in from two to four days he voluntarily stops using it. He finds that it either nauseates him or that he simply doesn’t want any more. Then the remedies which have been powerfully, yet painfully at work upon his system continue the work of building up those issues which have been caused by alcohol. When we are through with him, which is in about four weeks, he is ready to go out into the world he came into, but without the need for a taste for alcohol. “The craving for it, the appetite – call it what you may – is gone.”
The Institute at Media has had several hundred graduates during the year. Nearly all professions and lines of business have been represented and of all the cases treated, not over five per cent, have relapsed. In Media, men known for years as inveterate drinkers, and whose thirst was thought to be incurable, have taken the cure and been freed from the thralldom of alcohol. Their wives, children and friends have been made happy and all are glad to sound the praises of Dr. Keeley. “I took my last drink of whiskey,” said one of these graduates about a year ago, and since taking the Keeley treatment I have never felt like wanting another drink and though I have been in all kinds of places amid the most exciting scenes, I have never had the least desire to touch whiskey. I know the cure is sure, positive and lasting.”
IS IT PERMANENT? – The question as to whether the cure is permanent and lasting or not is well answered by John H. Harrison, a prominent attorney of Vincennes Ind. In a letter written by him to the Louisville Courier Journal, of what the following to an extract: “One year ago this month I went to the Keeley Institute. I had known all the paces that one of my temperament usually goes, and I brought up at the end of one of those periodical sprees, which always left me in a dreadfully weakened condition. The physician in charge, received me kindly, and seeing the person’s condition, I was in, offered a drink of whiskey. To say that I accepted is tame language. I slid that drink down the receptacle of thousands of former drinks that would do credit to a streak of lightning. I began the treatment that evening. The next day I was taken up to the club room and introduced to as kind and courteous a body of men as it has ever been my good fortune to meet. There were about forty of them and they deemed to vie with each other in trying to make me feel at ease. I left there with the burden of my life rolled away, and I cannot but recommend all of God’s unfortunates who, like myself, have acquired an appetite which they cannot control, to go there and be cured. Go and avail yourselves of the cure that has come to me, and will come to you like a blessing from God. Gain the strength of your manhood; go in the declining of your manhood; go in the declining years of your life; go when old age be standing over you; go and make wife, mother daughter and sister happy; go and bring happiness and joy of your family; go and fill up” with home and joy and gladness and peace, and God go with you.”
SAMUEL P. RUSH – The oldest harness store in Media, and in fact, one of the oldest and most solid business houses in Delaware County is the store of Samuel Rush, located at 306 West State Street, west of Orange. The business was established by Mr. Rush in the year 1851e, one year after the incorporation of the borough, and it has been carried on very successfully by him for forty-two years. He has occupied two different locations in McHaduring this time, but in 1871 he removed to his present location, where he has one of the most complete and convenient stores to be found in the county. It has 20 feet front and extends to a depth of 50 feet. It has large double bulk windows where five specimens of harness are always displayed.
The store throughout is arranged and ventilated after Mr. Rush’s own ideas, and it is impossible for leather to become damp or moldy while in stock. The whips, traces and hitching straps are all kept in drawers made expressly for the purpose and are easily displayed when a customer calls. The workrooms in the rear are on the same idea, and are fully in keeping with the rest of the establishment. The place turns out some exceptionally fine work and many of the handsome turnouts seen on the streets of Media on a bright summer afternoon are supplied by Mr. Rush. He manufactured nearly every style of harness for farm and road purposes, including Dearborn, carriage and light harness, and keeps on hand a good supply of ready-made stock of his own manufacture.
In connection with the manufacture of harnesses in all its branches and with a large and select stock constantly on hand, Mr. Rush carries on the business of furnishing and recovering of feathers on the goose and chicken; feathers always on hand, and makes bed ticks, pillows and bolsters do order. He also scrapes, repairs, varnishes and upholsters all kinds of furniture in the best manner.
When Mr. Rush first came to Media there were but five or six houses scattered along on what are now known as State and Orange Streets, and he has seen the place grow from a village to a large and prosperous cottage. He can justly claim to be one of Media’s oldest citizens and pioneer business man of the town.