Friday, July 12, 2024

Church cornerstone in Springfield Twp. 100 years ago and the "Dog House"

The above postcard is of the "Dog House" which was a very popular eating place in the 40's, 50's etc. From what I understand the business stood on the north side of Baltimore Pike near Bishop Ave. Looking for an address, what business is there now and when it closed etc. Thanks

keith106@rcn.com


NOTE: With the large growth of Delaware County in the 1920's churches sprang up everywhere and many are celebrating their 100 anniversary this decade. Many older churches were rebuilt or added onto. It was a big decade for construction in Delco.




CHESTER TIMES 

 August 4, 1924 


LAY CORNERSTONE FOR SPRINGFIELD CHURCH

          Impressive exercises marked the cornerstone laying of the new Springfield Methodist Episcopal church in Springfield at 11 o’clock yesterday morning, when the congregation marched in a procession from the old meeting place in the Old

Central school house to the building site at Saxer and West Springfield Road, and held the dedication services.

          Rev. W. A. Ferguson, secretary of the extension society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, made the dedicatory address, which was followed by an historical address by the pastor, the Rev. Harry P. Dempsey.  An address was also made by James Egleson, Philadelphia attorney.

          A sheaf of papers containing a pan of the new edifice, and a list of the contributors to the church, an American flag and a Bible were placed inside the cornerstone, as well as copies of various newspapers.

          The committee which has charge of the building includes Warren Carter, chairman; J. W. Calder, C. B. Bolles, C. W. Brookes, T. S. Hurlock and G. F. Kurtz.

  

Friday, July 5, 2024

"The most memorable epocha in the history of America, July 2" ??

  

The 1724 Courthouse from c.1855 in the 400 block of the Avenue of the States in Chester. It was hear on July 4th that residents had the Declaration of Independence read to them. The above picture is from 1c.1855. The courthouse was modernized in the 1870's and 50 years later was remodeled again to look like it did originally.


July 2nd, the greatest day in American History!!!



    It is hard to imagine today what really happened almost 250 years ago with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The state delegates  met for several weeks the document before finally taking a vote to free themselves from British rule. The day the vote was taken was July 2nd, 1776. The next day, July 3rd was spent deciding how to announce the vote to the American People and also getting printed copies of the Declaration of Independence for people to see. On July 4th the official announcement was made and copies of the Declaration of Independence passed out.
    It was not signed till August by a just few delegates and over the next few years the rest of the delegates signed. For a number of years after July 2 was considered the day of independence when the vote was taken not July 4th when the official vote was announced.
   Below is part of a letter John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail on July 3, 1776.
 JU"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding  generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward to forevermore"..

Friday, June 28, 2024

100 years ago Delco was the place Phila. went for vacation!! Especially Springfield Twp.!!

 

The Zimmerman Log Cabins at Baltimore Pike and Leamy Ave. about 1940. Springfield Twp. "was a go to" place for summer vacations for Philadelphia families 100 plus years ago.


Note: It is hard to imagine today but Delaware County was the place to go for vacation for Philadelphia families, .Delco had hotels, lakes etc. for swimming and boating. Golf courses and other game places. One could go horseback riding etc. A great place to go!!



RECORDS SHOW TOWNSHIP WAS “VACATIONLAND OF YESTERYEAR”

          More than a century ago, Springfield was recognized as the vacationland of Philadelphia, for the peaceful rolling countryside offered abundant woodlands and wide cool streams to the harried residents of the big city.

          Horse drawn carriages, the old “Toonerville Trolley” which wound its way along the Pike from Angora, and the railroad excursion trains to Secane station offered means of travel to the holiday minded folks.

          At one time, the “Ye Highlands Inn”, which is shown on early maps as being on a hilltop site near Bellevue and Homestead Avenues, featured an observation tower which offered a view of the countryside.  A Boardwalk leading from the inn went to a pond, and nature trails wound through the Harris Woods where ranch type homes now stand on North Avenue.

          Gay Victorian splendor was exhibited in the elaborate summer estates that were built on the Pike before the turn of the century.  The John McConaghy mansion is now a secretarial school and the Thomas Marshall home is now a nursing establishment not far from the Blue Church.  Time has not been kind to the grandeur of “Stoneton” to the north across the highway, and other summer abodes have been removed in that area.

          The Shillingford express once shuttled from Morton to other such hotels as the Lamb Tavern on Springfield Road, Springfield Inn on Baltimore Pike, and Turf Villa Inn at Springfield and State Roads.

          It is interesting to note that in 1860 the population of Springfield was listed as 534 males, 551 females, nine colored males and 15 colored females, with area statistics listed as 4319 improved acres and 594 unimproved acres.

          For the sightseers there was an active lumber yard near the Oakdale School and a brickyard near Morton.  Prior to 1894, when H. I. Ackerman Took over the old Judge Morton brickyard, north of the railroad, hand-dug clay was pressed into molds for sun and wind drying.

          In later years, under the supervision of A. a. Ackerman, his son, machinery replaced the hand labor with a huge crusher preparing and shaping the bricks.  The kilns, re-located south of Yale Avenue in the early 1900’s, fired as many as 180,000 bricks at a time, and when the 10-arch ovens were built, both salmon and red bricks were produced simultaneously.

          Mr. Ackerman’s son served as a Township Commissioner for years and is now a member of the Civil Service Commission.

          Blacksmith and carriage shops were numerous in the early days, and there was a time when religious groups held summer meetings along the creek at Woodland Avenue to baptize their members.  An ornate iron gateway at Leamy Avenue and the Pike offered a well planted estate with lake on which the owner never built his home.  This land also was used in later years by a religious group for summer programs.

          At the turn of the century, early vacationers could well have thrilled at the Wild West movies that were once filmed along Darby Creek and at the old Saxer Avenue quarry.  Daredevil feats along the rocky cliffs and winding woodland trails were taken by the old Lubin Picture Co., of Philadelphia.

          Digging Indian treasures could well have been a summer diversion, for Springfield was known as “Indian country”, and even today it is possible to find arrowheads and artifacts of the Redmen.

          The old “Buzzard’s Roast” at Woodland Avenue and the Pike was operated by a merchant named Mason who kept a cigar store at the turn of the century.  Many a tall yarn was spun here by the “country folk” who entertained the city visitors during the summer months.

          A small general store in the Plush Mill area, operated for over 50 years by Mrs. Nellie Woodhead, was established when nearby Crum Creek was not bridged and animals on the way to the Drove Yard near Gray’s Ferry forged the stream.

          That was the time when sugar sold for five cents a pound, and flour and sugar came in large wooden barrels.  Her merchandise included such items as shovel gloves, straw hats, shoes and farm items, not to mention black molasses and table syrup in handmade wooden buckets.

          Through the years, kindly Mr. Woodhead was remembered by the children as being the one to celebrate her birthday every September by giving them free candy.

Please Come!!

Reading of the Declaration of Independence July 8, 2024 starting at 1 pm. 412 Avenue of the States, the 1724 Courthouse Chester, PA 19013 Followed by a wreath laying at John Morton’s Grave At Old St. Paul’s/Old Swedes Cemetery






          An old windmill once spun on the site where Springfield’s new township building stands on Power Road.  In the mid-1800’, a 1-room house and barn of the Bennett farm covered the knoll where the present low, sprawling brick building has been constructed.

 

Friday, June 21, 2024

Chester Pike towns and their Expansion, Please check out "History Mystery" in Sunday's Delco times!!

 

The above postcard is a 2 lane view of Chester Pike about 1920 in Ridley Park. You are standing in front of today's Taylor Hospital looking east toward Prospect Park.  Leedom School would be at the top of the hill on the right. Morton Ave. is on the left. Chester Pike expanded to 4 lanes starting in 1921.


Note: a special thanks to Todd Zachery of the Williamson Trade School who took the time to identify and properly locate all my pictures and postcards of the school. Luckily many of the original buildings are still standing. I need help with another project my pictures of Elwyn School.  I have pictures and postcards of the original buildings from 100 years ago and they are gone. I was given the name of a historian but can not find him. If there is anyone out there who can help please email me at keith106@rcn.com 

"History Mystery" is be coming very popular it is now in Delco Times Sunday paper
This week postcard is of a street in St. David's a tough one!




CHESTER TIMES 

 June 23, 1924 

 BEAUTIFUL HOMES ON CHESTER PIKE 

 Ridley Park  Darby Stretch Keeping Step With Progress

          Retaining to some degree its rural beauty and at the same time leaving nothing unfinished in the way of being adequately supplied with business, civic and educational improvements, The Chester Pike end of Delaware County, comprising the area from Darby to Ridley Park has kept pace with the remarkable advance in homebuilding by other suburban communities in the county and now looms as one large concerted residential development.

          Although not among the newest of the county’s suburban territories the Ridley Park – to – Darby strip occupies a position well up front when it comes to the building of high-class homes of the most modern design and make up.  Proper sewage, lighting and modern facilities are in abundance and have played their part as a drawing card for the erection of more than a thousand homes in the area within the past few years.

          Collingdale, close to Darby, has been improved with approximately four hundred new residences in the last few years, and the amount of residential construction under way at present would indicate continued activity in home building in this section for an indefinite period.

          Ground at Clifton and Ash Avenues, Collingdale, was acquired recently as the site for a large church.  A high school is under construction at Parker and Clifton Avenues; eleven houses are under way at Woodlawn and Andrews Avenues; ten homes are being built on Lincoln Avenue north of Parker Avenue, eight dwellings are being erected at Clifton and Bartram Avenues.  These are a few of the improvements under way or in contemplation in Collingdale.

          An operation of attractive residences is rapidly being completed in Sharon Hill by George M. Dunlap Jr., and embraces some of the most artistic houses to be found anywhere in the suburbs.  The operation is immediately off Chester Pike, and is being built on the single and semi-detached plans of operative construction.  Other operations of artistic design and substantial construction are in progress and around Sharon Hill.

          In the vicinity of Collingdale and Sharon Hill, Glenolden is holding its own, in a building sense, with other sections and has in the course of construction many beautiful homes, the majority of which are of the suburban type.

          Glen-Nor Park is a development of beautiful homes between Glenolden and Norwood.  The Glen-Nor High School in this section, which was completed recently, compares favorably with institutions of a similar nature erected recently in large cities.

          Darby, the closest of these sections to Philadelphia, has also been conspicuous in the recent building boom and has underway or completed many excellent dwellings.  Darby, like Philadelphia, is doing considerable building of rowhouses, with an exceptionally pretty operation on Greenway Avenue.

          A large brick building, which will be used as a distributing station by the Supplee-Wills-Jones Milk Company is being erected at Ninth Street and Summitt Avenue, Darby.  It was designed by Clarence E. Wunder of Philadelphia.

 


Friday, June 14, 2024

The Origins of the names of the Townships in Delaware County



It is hard to imagine today that 100 years ago places like this  where everywhere. Today there are less and less places like this. The above picture is from a postcard about 1910 of Chester Creek in Thornbury Twp.


Note: The names of the townships in Delco and their origin are interesting. Most names are know but some have been long forgotten and are unknown. Please read below and have a Happy Father's Day



THE ORIGINAL TOWNSHIPS OF DELAWARE COUNTY

         Delaware, County, as a separate political division, was created on September 26, 1789, by an Act of Legislature, which was passed in response to a petition from the people living in the eastern part of old Chester County, who asked that a new county be formed with Chester as the county seat.

         Although Chester County was the older political unit, Delaware County was older as a settlement.  The Swedes who settled there in 1643 called it New Sweden.  When the Dutch took over the Swedish territory, a small settlement was growing up where Chester now stands, which was called Oplandt or Upland by the Dutch and Swedes, to distinguish the land up the river from the settlements downstream.  When the Duke of York took over the Dutch territory, three courts of justice were established on the Delaware River.  One called Upland Court had jurisdiction from C Christina River to the head of the Delaware at Trenton.  This district was called Upland Co., a name still in use when William Penn arrived in 1682 to take formal possession of his new province.

         According to tradition, Penn asked his friend Pearson, who had accompanied him on the voyage, what new name he would suggest for Upland.  Pearson came on the “Welcome”, and that Penn himself used the name Upland in heading his letters until Dec. 16, 1682, when he wrote Chester alias Upland, said to be first use of the name.  Ashmead quotes from a letter written by the vestry of St. Paul’s Church in 1702:  “This county is so called because most of the inhabitants came from Cheshire”.  Perhaps this is the true origin of the name.

         Chester Township was the oldest sub-division of old Chester Co.  Tinicum was an older settlement that Chester but under the Duke of York it had been included with Amosland and Calcon Hook, in a municipal district named for the latter.  All gthree of these names are used locally.  Calcon Hook, in a municipal district named for the latter.  All three of these names are used locally.  Calcon Hook is Dutch for Turkey Point, Tinicum was on Indian name, and Amosland apparently had its origin in the name of a resident who was a celebrated nurse, Amma, being Swedish for nurse.  On old maps it appears as Ames or Amies Land.  The form Amosland is still used for an ancient road in Ridley Township and Morton, which originally ran from Springfield to Tinicum.

        

The land in Tinicum and Calcon Hook proper was held by owners who had obtained title before William Penn came, and no patents were ever granted by him in those districts.
  This was true also of parts of Amosland.

         New townships were laid out as quickly as the surveyors could mark the boundaries.  It was Penn’s intention to run the township divisions on straight lines at right angles to the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, but the plan could not be carried out successfully.  Radnor and Haverford are among the few that conformed to it.

         Most of Penn’s followers had bought land before leaving England, intending to pick out their tracts after they arrived.  Some settled near the Delaware, but many traveled into the back country and made their homes in the wilderness.  Family ties, old friendships and mutual religious beliefs drew people together and led them to settle on adjacent lands.  In time, small communities were named either by an influential landholder or by mutual consent of the residents.  A township name was officially recognized when a constable or tax collector was appointed, or when a petition was presented for official action or approval in such matter as laying out a road or building a mill dam.

         These early settlers had not lightly chosen to take part in a venture which was to carry them to a strange, new land, leaving behind them the homes that were familiar and dear.  To many of them, no future needs could be worse than the persecution they faced the dangers and difficulties that arose, but, though they did not regret their departure they could not forget the land they had left.

         This remembrance of home prompted early settlers to give familiar names to the villages and townships they founded.  Thus, Darby, which included Upper Darby until 1786, was named for Derbyshire, spelled Darbyshire on many of the certificates of good standing brought to America by the founders; Edgmont, also written Edgmond was named by Joseph Baker an early settler, for the town in Shropshire from which he came; Birmingham, originally spelled Brummagem was the town in England from which dame William Briton, first settler in the township; Thornbury was named by George Pearce for his wife’s old home in Gloucestershire; Aston, or Ashton, was called Northley in 1686 when Edward Carter, an early settler, was appointed first constable, but the next year, when a new officer was appointed, the name of the township was given was Aston.  As this was the name of a town in Oxfordshire from which Carter came, it is probable that he brought about the change.

         Haverford and Radnor, in the Welsh tract, had names brought from Wales by the Quakers who built homes in those townships.  Earlier forms of Haverford found on old maps and deeds are Hauerford and Harford.

         Marple, at first written Mar Poole, is “a name wrapped in mystery” according to Ashmead.  Dr. Smith says it is “of uncertain origin”, but as there is an English parish of that name, it is possible that the English emigrants who were the first settlers in Marple brought the name with them.  The secret of its origin may be buried in old family records.

         Upper and Lower Chichester were originally one township, not officially divided until 1759.  An early settlement was made in Lower Chichester by Swedes on the site of Marretties Hoeck, or Marcus Hook.  Later the Dutch made land grants in the townships, and the Finns of the Swedish colony settled on the site of Trainer.  Some of the residents wished to have the name changed from Marcus Hook to Chichester, the name of an English town, but though the township was officially organized as Chichester, the townspeople clung to the old name even after Penn, in granting a charter for a market to be established in the town, had said:  I will the place shall be called Chichester.”

         Tradition connects Marcus Hook with the pirates that infested the Atlantic coast during the 17th century and early part of the 18th.  It is a legend that the notorious Blackbeard and his crew often visited the town, where their noisy revels in a certain street led the townsfolks to call it Discord Lane a name it still bears.

         Ridley Township was named in 1682 by John Simcock who located a purchase of 2875 acres of land just north of Amosland and called it Ridley for the town in Cheshire from which he came, but the name was not used officially until 1687 when a township of that name was organized, including Amosland and Tinicum as well as Simcock’s land.  Calcon Hook had been annexed to Darby Township in 1686.  Tinicum was separated from Ridley in 1780 on petition of the residents.

         Springfield, at first called Ridley-in-the-Woods, was not officially recognized as a township until 1686, though it was settled earlier.  Traditionally the name came from a large spring found on the land of George Maris, an influential early settler.

         Bethel and Concord were, for several years, one municipal district known as Concord Liberty until two townships were organized.  Concord was a name chosen to denote the spirit of harmony which prevailed in the settlement.  Bethel is a Hebrew word meaning House of God, probably chosen to denote the holy purpose of the settlers.  Bethel Hamlet was the first settlement, later called Corner Ketch, now called Chelsea.

         Middletown was so named because it was supposed to be the central township in Chester Coc.  This was a mistake, but it is well-named for Delaware Co.  It was settled in 1686 and organized in 1687.

         The name of Providence first appeared on the county records when a petition was presented to the court in 1683 for a highway to Chester, but it was not organized until. 1684.  The name is generally accepted as an expression of gratitude for a safe journey.

Newtown, though not in the Welsh Quakers.  It was laid out with a townstead in the center, called new village.  The earliest purchasers of land in the township were entitled to a certain number of acres in the townstead.  This new town in the center may have suggested the name of the township, for Newtown in Bucks Co. was similarly laid out, but it is possible that the name was brought from Montgomeryshire in Wales where there is a large town of the same name.

         These 21 original townships, all settled and organized before 1688, constituted the whole territory of Delaware Co. when it was first organized as a separate county.  They still exist as municipal districts, but their area has been reduced by the formation of Chester City and 27 boroughs.

 


Friday, June 7, 2024

One Hundred years ago, making roads safe in Delco, an unknown science


Route 320 aka Chester Rd. at Park Ave. looking south toward Chester. The view has not changed much except the R.R. Crossing is now gone.

 NOTE: It is hard to imagine today but 100 plus years ago the state of Pennsylvania along with all others were going crazy trying to build good safe roads. Cars were selling quickly and drivers wanted  safe, smooth roads etc.  Roads were made out of cement, stone etc. Chester Pike was made out of wood for awhile and was known as the "plank road". Not only designing roads, which was a totally unknown science but creating water inlets etc. Also making roads safe by putting in under passes.

         

 CHESTER TIMES

 December 3, 1925 


GRADE CROSSING AT SWARTHMORE 

Council Members to Consider Request of Business Men

          At the last meeting before the newly-elected council members take their places, the present borough council of Swarthmore will meet tonight to take up various current problems, and clean up odds and ends of their year’s work.

          Most important will be the consideration of the request by the Swarthmore Business and Civic Association that they appoint a committee to work with the B and C committee of the question of the elimination of the Chester Road grade crossing.  Sentiment which has been current in the borough for the past several years has been crystallized with the great increase in traffic along Chester Road and which is held up in long lines of several squares as each and every passenger train or freight goes by Swarthmore.  Not only is through traffic to Philadelphia and Chester sadly inconvenienced, but local traffic in and around the business center of Swarthmore materially hampered.

          A petition is now in the hands of the B and C committee signed by a large number of people advocating elimination of the grade crossing.  There are at present two possible plans being considered and other sought.

          The first guns in the definite campaign to remove the crossing were fired two weeks ago when a committee was appointed by the B and C Associations composed of H. M. Buckman, Ellwood B. Chapman, R. Chester Spencer, Frank N. Smith, F. M. Scheibley, Louis C. Emmons, and N. O. Pittenger.  This committee met with Edward B. Temple, chief engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Paul Freedley, chairman of the highway committee of Swarthmore Borough, in an effort to arrive at the most acceptable plan, with the purpose of presenting the matter to the Public Service Commission for action.

          The appointment of a committee tonight would be followed by an immediate joint meeting with the B and C committee, the two groups making a combined effort to get the support of the P. R. R., the County and the State Highway Department enlisted in the appeal to the Public Service Commission.

          Entire unanimity among all in Swarthmore exists as to the wisdom of removing the crossing.  More engineering study will be necessary before a solution satisfactory to all is found.

 

Friday, May 31, 2024

Delco's Poor 100 years ago, Much Improved !! "History Mystery" will appear on Sunday!!

 


The County Poor House in Lima about 1920 this building stood at what is now "Fair Acres" in Middletown Twp. The county had just purchased a large farm next to the home and was planning to expand. Read the article below, times were much different 100 years ago.


NOTE: A special THANKS to Lisa Kingsley a long time friend. She started scanning and copying my history scrap books and is doing a great job!!!.I was very surprised when I was asked if I still bought and collected  Delco. pictures booklets etc. The person had some stuff for sale. I'm still actively collecting Delaware County history items no matter what, Books, pictures etc.




CHESTER TIMES 

September 16, 1922

 CARE OF COUNTY’S DEPENDENT POOR MUCH IMPROVED

 Progressive Directors and Steward Adopt Up-to-Date Methods

               How many persons in Delaware County ever give any thought to the County Home at Lima; how it is conducted and generally managed by the directors of the poor and its steward; the cost of maintenance and the general welfare of the unfortunates who are perhaps spending their remaining days in the institution over he hills?

               For the benefit of the taxpayers who never give the County Home any thought, a Times’ representative made a visit to the institution for the purpose of getting first-hand information as to how the place is being conducted, to observe the condition of the buildings and property in general, and at the same time learn from the inmates how they are faring.

               The visit to the home was interesting, and the writer found many things of interest about the place, and he also conversed with the inmates, most all of them being happy under the circumstances, though some were found not so happy, but this was because they were ill,  or were unable to leave their cots.

               After a careful observation of the buildings, the farm and the manner in which the institution is managed, the writer had an interview with Mrs. W. Irwin Cheyney, James J. Skelly, director of the poor, and J. D. Pierson, the steward.

               It did not take long to ascertain that the time had arrived when old time methods of conducting a county home are obsolete; that the conditions of today demand more careful attention than ever; and that a constructive policy must be established, which will insure as near complete happiness and health for those who must spend their last days at the home, and that the present directors are doing this.

               The county home has two properties; the one on which the home and its buildings are situated, consisting of one hundred acres, and the Crooks’ farm of fifty acres which cost $18,000.  The directors settled for this property on Wednesday.  The purchase of the Crooks’ property was a fine piece of business strategy on the part of the directors.  The home will need more land in the near future and the land values are continually increasing, but aside from this reason, the property is needed for a very important necessity which will be referred to in this article.

               The main building of the county home, a stone structure was erected in 1856.  Originally the county home was located where the present beautiful high school building of Media is situated but when Media was incorporated as a borough in 1849, Media could no longer be the county home site.

               Aside from the main building there is another building built in 1873.  This was the insane department, but it appears that there was some sort of trouble at the home a few years after the insane department was in operation, and this department was dispensed with, and since that time, the county has been sending its insane to either Norristown or to Wernersville asylums.

               In the two buildings referred to, are the directors’ and stewards’ office, quarters for the steward and his family, store rooms, bakery, kitchen, dining rooms for men and women, and sleeping rooms for men and women, as well as a heating plant.

               The barn and other buildings are also an important adjunct to the place.  At present about 80 acres of the land is under production and the crops are growing fine and the stock is in splendid condition.

               This year, Howard Hatton, the farmer, has produced an abundance of crops including a variety of vegetables which are being used to feed the inmates.

               Despite the fact that the present directors are making, and have made some big improvements to the exterior and interior of the main buildings, there are conditions which the directors must face and here is where the purchase of the Crooks farm fits in the problem.

               For a long time there has been a need at the home for the psychopathic treatment of persons who are often picked up on the streets by the police or are brought to the institution suffering from mental disorder.  For instance it will be remembered how a beautiful young girl was picked up by the police at Boothwyn, taken to the county jail where she was detained until finally located by her family.  This girl, it will be remembered, was not a subject for prison but for a place where her mental and physical condition could be observed.

               The big Colonial house on the Crooks farm will be converted into a small hospital for the mental observation of indigent patients and also for the treatment of indigent inmates who cannot get the hospital care at the home.  This colonial house will also have an addition built to it, and the plans for this important piece of improvement will be made by architects almost any time.  It is estimated by the directors that the cost for making the alteration and addition to the Crooks house, will cost approximately $25,000.

               When the hospital is built, Mrs. Cheyney and Mr. Skelly said, the County Home would then be in a position to treat its own indigent sick, place mental cases under observation in the psychopathic department which will be established, and in this way, not only would the sufferers get better treatment, but Delaware County will be saving thousands of dollars annually.

               Mrs. Cheyney and Mr. Skelly both, declared that the county is forced to pay to Philadelphia County annually thousands of dollars for indigent sick who receive treatment in the Philadelphia General Hospital at the rate of 73 cents per patient per day.

               At the present time and for many years, those who are ill in the home have been treated by a physician who calls occasionally and who is often called to the home to visit the sick.  At the present time Dr. E. Marshall Harvey, the county physician, looks after the physical welfare of the inmates, but Dr. Harvey is unable to give the medical are to those more seriously ill because of the lack of facilities.  However, this condition will be temporarily remedied, because one of the large rooms at the home has been converted into a neat infirmary.  The room will hold four beds at least, and has been painted white and a sanitary mineral floor laid.  The room will be equipped for service by the early part of next week, and this infirmary will suffice until the larger infirmary has been built on the Crooks place.

               There has also been installed at the home a temporary infirmary for older men.  This little ward is in charge of the wife of one of the inmates.  She is giving her service gratis in order that she might be near her husband, who is an invalid.

               NEW DINING ROOM – A new dining room has been finished for the younger women at the home, and their sitting room has also been improved by having the walls scrapped of the hundreds of coats of whitewash and painted in a bright color.  The lounging room for men, several dining rooms and other rooms in the home, which have been brightened with a few coats of whitewash, a few days before the visit of the Grand Jury, have all been painted.   It is said when the caked whitewash was scrapped off, vermin came with the scrapings.

               The old crude way of inmates to bathe their faces and hands by use of a wash basin has also been abolished.  Stationary washstands have been installed in the different departments for both men and women.  Some of the inmates who cannot help themselves are attended to by the nurses.

               The directors are not at all pleased with the present sleeping quarters for the men.  So far as the women’s quarters are concerned, they are bright and clean and splendidly ventilated.  But the men occupy rooms where one, two or four beds are located.  The ventilation in these rooms is very bad, and the directors decided to make changes by adding large dormitories which will be light and ventilated.  To do this, Director Skelly said, the directors plan to Alter the present sleeping quarters of the men which can be done without very great cost.

               A SPLENDID FARM – The directors have a very fine farmer in the person of Howard Hatton.  The farm is under heavy product ion, the old dairy has been disposed of, and a dairy of pure-bred Holstein heifers and a registered pure-bred Holstein sire are now on the place.  The poultry is in fine condition as are the pigs and a very large crop of potatoes have also been raised for the year.

               J. D. Pierson, the steward said that during the months of July and August, three quarters of the food product consumed by the inmates was produced on the farm.  This included vegetables, milk, eggs, etc.

               Both Mrs. Cheyney and Mr. Skelly are very optimistic as to what the farm will produce next year.  These two officials declare that with the extra fifty acres recently purchased, they hope to produce sufficient food products on the place to feed the inmates at the home during the year.  Of course this does not include tea, coffee, flour, rice and meals.

               INMATES WELL CARED FOR – There is no doubt that the inmates are being well fed.  One only has to pass through the wards and loot them over to be satisfied.  The representativew3 of this paper went through the home unaccompanied and inquired of the inmates about their condition and how they were fed.  Walking up to one man well advanced in years who was reclining in a rolling chair, he was asked if he got enough to eat.  “Eat,” exclaimed the man, “I guess we all get plenty.  I have been here for twelve years, but say mister, the eats here since the first of the year are the best we have ever had.”  He also said the inmates get plenty of vegetables, meat occasionally and eggs, and remarked, “don’t forget, we even get butter.”

               Several other groups of men were visited and said that the food at the home was the best ever.

               The women inmates were also interviewed and they also declared that the institution was getting to be more homelike every day.  They said that the food was better and more of it than ever,

and they were c ertainly pleased with Mrs. Pierson, the matron, whom several old ladies declared was so motherly.

               “Yes,” chirped an elderly lady who was knitting.  “Mrs. Cheyney is also a mighty fine lady.  She often comes in and talks to us and makes us cheerful.  Then Mr. Skelly,” continued the old lady, “he is really sunshine to us people.  He always comes in with a smile and he makes us smile whether we want to or not.  And so does Mr. Martin.”

               In another department were more women, and these were also contented and happy, and they did not forget to talk lots about the directors and Mr. Pierson.  One old lady said she had been in the home for fifteen years, but that she is always happy if she only has a minute to talk with Mr. Martin, Mrs. Cheyney, or Mr. Skelly.  This woman declared that the directors, all of them, are so sympathetic.

               On the trip through the home the reporter found a number of men, women and one boy who need medical attention.  Some of them are incurables, and they are receiving the best care possible under the circumstances.  Therefore, the directors are certainly showing progress in the right way by building a permanent infirmary where these particular unfortunates may be properly cared for from a medical standpoint.

               There are at present one hundred and thirty inmates in the home, which shows that it is a problem to give the care which they are entitled to.

               HOSPITAL TOO COSTLY – The directors were asked if they thought it a good plan for the county to build an asylum.  Both Mr. Skelly and Mrs. Cheyney declared it would not be economy for the county to have its own hospital, providing the State continues the present rate for keeping patients from Delaware County.  These two directors pointed out that there are about 330 patie3nts from Delaware County in Norristown and Wernersville hospitals, and that the county is paying about $45,000 per annum for their maintenance.  These two directors also pointed out that to build a hospital and maintain such an institution by the county would entail a very heavy toll on the taxpayers.

               The old system of giving outside relief by the individual directors has been abolished.  The new system is where a case of outside relief comes to the attention of a director, Mrs. Sarah Kerlin, the field worker, makes a thorough investigation.  She reports back to the board of directors and the necessary action is then taken.  This method does away with giving relief on the outside to underserving and unscrupulous persons.

               The directors at this time are doing more than giving outside relief.  Of course this kind of relief is more sought in winter months when it is hard to get employment.  The directors are doing real constructive relief work.  For instance, they are constantly in touch with manufacturers and employees of labor.  They get employment for many who need relief.

               In one case where a widow was receiving relief, her son, who was making but $6.00 per week, was found another position by the directors and it also helped the boy to forge his way ahead.

               Another important thing which the present directors are doing is a new method of handling insane cases.  The practice is to have every case of insanity investigated by the county physician and two other physicians.  In each case, the residence off the patient is first established.  If the patient is a charge of Delaware County, then this county cares for the patient.  If the patient is a resident outside of this county, the patient is then turned over to the proper jurisdiction, thus relieving this county from paying for some other jurisdiction’s insane.

               At the present time the directors are investigating twenty-five cases of persons who are in two State insane asylums from this County. These are cases where the directors believe this county should not pay for their maintenance because they believe that the patients are from other jurisdictions they will be deported.

               Recently the directors caused to be deported from Norristown a young woman who was actually a charge of Camden County, N. J.  This was a case where a woman had been an inmate in the Blackwood Asylum for the Insane in Camden County.  This girl eloped with a man from the institution to New York ended traveled with him for two years.  The man left the girl in Chester during the war.  She was then committed to Norristown.  The directors made an investigation and found that the girl was not a charge of this county.  Camden County refused to accept her, but the matter was put up to the Attorney General of this State, whose opinion proved that Delaware County was not responsible for her and the girl was deported to Camden.

               There is not the slightest doubt as to the progress the present poor directors are making; the county home in the next two years will not be looked upon as a poor house, because the word poor house leaves a stigma which does not easily efface itself from the minds of unfortunates who are forced to live at the county’s expense.

               The present board of poor directors, the steward and others employed at the county home deserve commendation for the able manner in which the home is being conducted, and to the directors especially because they are using the keenest business judgment in the management of the home.

               To be a poor director today one must have business judgment and be abreast with the conditions of today; a person who is kind, gentle and sympathetic, who has at heart the interest and welfare of those unfortunate persons who are forced to spend their declining days at the home.

               In the present directors, Arthur Martin, the president of the board; James J. Skelly and Mrs. W. Irwin Cheyney, Delaware County has three directors who are thoroughly conversant with the needs at the County Home, and they are deserving of the commendation of the taxpayers for the interest they take in their work.

               In Jesse D. Pierson, the steward, the home has an able manager who has done much to bring the home up to the present high standard.  Mrs. Pierson, the matron; Miss Cora Smith, the seamstress; Mrs. Sarah Kerlin, bookkeeper and field worker; Miss Bertha Gill and William Butler, nurses, also are efficient employees.

 

I still have a few copies of my 100th Anniversary booklet of Prospect Park from 1994  price $20.00 I also have copies of  a Chester Pike booklet from the early 1920's celebrating Chester Pike being expanded to 4 lanes and it was no longer a toll road. The booklet gives the whole history of Chester Pike. Price $10.00. If interested please email me at keith106@rcn.com