Sunday, April 11, 2021

125 years ago a school was not a school and a special event from the Delco Historical Society!!

This one room school house stood on Fairview Rd. in Woodlyn from the 1850's till  the early 2000's. It closed as a one room school when Woodlyn School was built in 1912. The teacher lived on the second floor.
 


Note: When the Penna. School Law came into existence in 1835 one room school houses were everywhere in Delaware County. The schools were originally "subscription" schools built  by local subscribers who raised money and elected their own school board. As the population of Delaware County increased more teachers were hired. It was not unusual for two teachers to teach in a one room school house. Prior to 1910 a teacher was considered a school. As weird as it sounds today that's the way the State of Penna. did it. When I first began working on Delco School histories I could not understand why there were so many schools until I realized that is the way schools were counted in the old days. A school was a teacher NOT a building.



SOME SCHOOL FIGURES.

What It Costs to Teach the Young Ideal How to Shoot.

                There are 31 school districts in Delaware County and 236 schools.  They are taught by 18 Male and 226 female teachers, for which an average salary of $6,087 is paid to the males and $4,319 to the females.  Last year the total receipts of the districts, including $18,655.54 as State appropriation, was $276,445.34, of which $258,090.60 were expended.  Of this amount the teachers received $100,215.78, new buildings and improvements cost $64,070.14, and fuel, collectors’ fees and other expenses cost $93,780.67.  The number of boys enrolled last year was 6,067; girls, 5,987, or 12,054 pupils in all, with an average attendance of 7,708.  The cost per scholar per month was $1.17.

                Chester City has 65 schools, 2 male teachers and 63 female teachers.  The number boys enrolled is 1,583; girls, 1,735, of a total of 2,260, with an average attendance of 90 per cent.  The total receipts last year were $64,457.69 (of which $6,036.02 was from the State) and the expenditures $64,029.17.  The amount paid for teachers’ salaries was $27,420.50.

                South Chester expended $8,143.50 for the salaries, or a total of $24,037.86 for the expense of maintaining the district.  The State appropriation was $1,268.28 and the receipts from other sources, $23,863.98.  The enrollment is 482 boys and 465 girls, with an average attendance of 82 per cent.

                The cost per scholar per month in Chester is 96 cents, and in South Chester $1.17 per pupil.  The tax in Chester is 5 mills and in South Chester 7 mills.

 Fully two fifths of our school houses are miserable, ill-contrived structures, and are wholly unfit for school purposes.  It is sad to have to report so many worthless buildings in Delaware County – a county too that is abundantly able to have her school affairs in the best condition possible without imposing an undue burden upon her people.  In no district of the county can there be found four such wretched specimens of school architecture as in Darby Township.  The school rooms of these are not only rough, uncouth and destitute of all refinement, but are as ill-adapted to teaching as can well be conceived.  The buildings, however, are better than the furniture, (if furniture it can be called.)


Women's Journey to Equal Rights 
live online conversation event hosted by Delaware County Historical Society

About this Event

This live conversation event will include Constitutional Law Professors Jim May and Alicia Kelly, both from Delaware Law School and equally instrumental in getting the state of Delaware to ratify equal rights for women. The event will be moderated by DCHS Board member, Stefan Roots. The three panelists, Dr. Merle Horowitz, Honorable Linda Cartisano and House Minority Leader for PA, Joanna McClinton will each talk about their career paths – challenges of being a woman in their various professional work arenas.

This event is free and open to the public. Please contact Delaware County Historical Society (DCHS) with any questions, info@padelcohistory.org or 610-359-0832.

To learn more about DCHS, make a donation or join as a friend, visit padelcohistory.org.






Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Darby Boro Library needs your help

The Darby Library at 1001 Main St. in Darby from about 1905. The library is still in the same building which opened in 1872.


   Before Radio, Tv., computers and cell phones, libraries were the place to go. Libraries were the place to go for information, research or just to meet and talk. Ben Franklin founded the first library in Pennsylvania in 1731 and the Darby Library Co. was founded 12 years later in 1743, On May 10, 1743 some 30 men met to organize the library and the first official meeting was held just 2 days later electing John Pearson as the first librarian. The men came from  as far away as Ridley Twp to start the library. John Sketchley, step father of John Morton, was an original founder. The original books of the library from the 1740's the Darby Library still has on display. It cost three dollars a year to join the library. The problem was getting books for patrons to read. A list of 43 books was selected to start the library but there was no way to get the books in America. There were no businesses in America printing anything at the time and the books had to be bought an shipped from England. Darby Library board member, John Bartram, had a friend in London, England Peter Collinson. Collinson bought the books the library wanted and shipped them to them, something Collinson did for years. The first library building was at the home of the first librarian, John Pearson at 934 Main St. up until the mid 19th century the home of the library was in the home of the librarian were a room was set aside. The current library building at 1001 Main St. opened in 1872. The building a Darby Landmark needs help a lot of work to bring it up to date structurally. The Library is applying for several grants to get the work done, but that does not mean they will get them. The library is a 501[c]3 organization were donated money is tax deductible. Please take the time and help a Delaware Co. Landmark thru a rough time.


   HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Established in 1743, the Darby Library Company has continually provided library service to Darby Community and beyond. It is a 501 c3 Corporation with the id number of 23-1396790.

PLEASE HELP PRESERVE THIS HISTORIC LIBRARY

The current home was built in 1866 and now needs major improvements.

·        First and most important, the bricks are crumbling and bowing.

·        It needs a new roof and better management for water runoff.

·        Lighting needs to be up graded to LEDs.

We are constantly applying for Grants to solve the building’s problems but as of today, we have not been the recipient.

You can help in two ways:

Write a letter in support of the Library and its importance to you and the community. Letters can be sent to Darby@DelcoLibrary.org or mailed.

Donate towards our capital fund. Checks can be made out to the Darby Library  1001 Main St. Darby PA  19023

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!



April 3 and Onwards!
Come and meet our new pig mom-to-be!
Thank you to all those volunteers who joined us on our opening day on March 27! We had a tremendous turn out of both volunteers and visitors, and even Mother Nature smiled on us!
Come and join us in the months ahead - Volunteer sign up now permits sign up up to the end of May!

The Plantation cooks are back, and this Saturday for the first time in over a year we were able to share the fruits of out labor with other volunteers!

See all our farm animals especially our new Leicester Longwool sheep, Hog Island sheep, and Tamworth mixed breed pig. There will be hearth cooking, woodworking, long rifle demonstrations, spinning, weaving, working with flax, colonial music, candle making and seed planting. The ox will be yoked and the horse harnessed so some farm work can be completed.

**************
SPECIAL EVENTS SPRING 2021

New this year - Sunday Storytime!
Join us the 3rd Sunday of every month from 12:00pm until 2:00pm we will be reading from a children's book, the children will then do a hands on activity, go on a behind the scenes farm tour and then you are welcome to picnic in our grove!

April 10th - Historic Timeline
Witness history throughout the ages from Europe to the Americas and from the 16th century to modern times.

April 24th - Slavery and Servitude in Colonial Pennsylvania
Come and see how work was accomplished on our farm. This will be a day for children and adults alike. There will be hands on activities such as candle making and planting in the garden. Ned Hector will address slavery in the colony with his “Imaginary discussion with George Washington”.

May 8th & May 15th - Sheep Shearing and Textiles
Come to the Plantation on Saturday, May 8th or Saturday, May 15th, and see our rare breed sheep lose their fleece. We will have Eva Mergen, one of our farmers, explain how to shear and then demonstrate the skill by using hand shears. We will also have people demonstrating most of the steps for turning that wool into cloth for clothing, and visitors will have an opportunity to card wool. We will explain how to care for sheep, what they eat, and the advantages of various breeds. There will also be a chance to learn about our other farm animals including our horses, ox, pigs, chickens, geese, and turkeys. There will be hearth cooking, garden, farm, and house tours. Check website for shearing times. Enjoy a day in the country that is very close to home. To purchase tickets or make a free member reservation

May 29th - Militia Muster and Lock, Stock and Barrel Display
Join us on Saturday, May 29th for a discussion by local historian Chris Reardon as he presents an in-depth look at the evolution of hunting and military arms from the beginning of European settlement in the Delaware Valley, to the Valley's impact on the arms used as the eastern settlements push westward. There will be a small colonial muster. In colonial times, a muster was the gathering of local farmers to drill, work, and socialize with good food and music. The muster will include long rifle demonstrations, fire starting, hearth cooking as well as farm chores and our farm animals.

LET US KNOW if you plan to come out by signing up ABOVE - this is important! Please plan to be set up and ready to go at 11am, since this is our most popular time slot and visitors are typically raring to go!

The house and farm have all been spring cleaned, and Kevin and Eva have the place in better shape than ever! However we know it won't stay that way for long! Moving forward we will be asking that one of the weekend volunteers sign up to arrive upto an hour earlier to give the house a sweep, and clean the dead bugs and spider webs off the window sills. This will be particularly important once we start to allow more visitors into the house


Please Note - No one is to park along the lane. We have had many trees removed due to lantern flies and the cars are now visible to the public.


2021 Policies for Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation regarding Covid -19

The Plantation plans to be open for public visitation starting March 27, 2021 on weekends, Saturdays and perhaps Sundays if staffing is available and interest is again high. We have just a couple of live school visits scheduled and all are small groups. If permitted, the Plantation will operate a summer camp (to start no earlier than June 20, 2020). We will develop a similar policy for camp likely in May.
The number of visitors on weekends will be limited to ensure proper social distancing. For now we would like to increase the total capacity of people on site to be 75. All but a few of them again will be outside. We expect this number to rarely, if ever be exceeded.

We will open the farmhouse and stone cabin similarly, as we did last year. Windows and doors will be open throughout the visited areas and visitors will be allowed in family groups. If an interpreter is demonstrating inside (such as spinning, sewing or weaving) we will ensure that there is adequate distancing. There will be an inside cook in the kitchen but we are able to distance adequately there. Food will be prepared and eaten by just volunteers, as in the past. Any meal will be eaten outside and there we be no eating in groups. Any outdoor demonstrations and activities will allow six foot separation between the demonstrator and the public, and staff will be on hand to discourage different groups of visitors from congregating or getting too close.

All outdoor activities such as plowing, gardening, animal care, blacksmithing, woodworking and interpreting the well, will be demonstrated by a single staff member in an outdoor location. If help is needed by another staff member social distancing will be maintained. Only visitors that arrived together (for example, members of the same family or household unit) may watch a demonstration at one time.

As long as the state recommends it, visitors over the age of two years will be required to wear a mask on admission and keep it on during their stay, and all employees will wear masks while required by state law/DCNR law. Hand sanitizer stations will be available at the entrance/exit, near the restrooms, and at all regularly trafficked areas.

The restroom will be open at all times (once the park turn the water back on) with good ventilation when the site is open for the comfort of the Plantation’s visitors and to give full access to handwashing. Restrooms will be disinfected regularly throughout the day while the site is open and at the end of the day after closing.


  

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Chester's Masonic Hall aka Temple opens 100 years ago!!

 

A postcard of the Masonic Temple in Chester on 9th St. at Welsh St. shortly after it was built. 

NOTE: Chester's Masonic Temple  was one of the prettiest building in Chester when it was built in 1921 and still is today. I had the pleasure of speaking there several years ago and was struck by the beauty of the building on the inside. Truely a Chester landmark.


November 25, 1921 

NEW MASONIC TEMPLE OPENED TO THE PUBLIC 
THOUSANDS OF Citizens and Visitors Inspect Shrine of the Fraternity

                The beautiful new half-million dollar temple of the Chester Masonic Association was highly admired and commended as a step forward in the history of Chester by the more than ten thousand visitors who inspected the ornate and handsomely decorated and furnished structure on Wednesday night and yesterday.

                Everybody was deeply impressed with the magnificence of the building, the beauty of the interior embellishments and the richly arranged furniture which harmonizes to the fullest extent in all the main rooms and the adjoining features of the temple.

                Masons and their families were entertained on Wednesday evening.  There were concerts and musical programs rendered in the large and spacious banquet hall and also in the main lobby of the club room on the lower floor.  The Cedars’ band discoursed lively tunes in the banquet hall and the Dannaker-McIntyre orchestra played a splendid program in the main lobby.  Dancing was not a part of the program, but was one of the features of the evening.

                William S. Haney, who visualized the new Temple and carried out his plans with the assistance of the fraternity, as chairman of the building committee, presided at the brief opening exercises.  He described the building and emphasized its greatness to the community at large and the Masons of Chester and vicinity.

                OPENING EXERCISES – Dean Francis M. Taitt, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and past master of Lucius H. Scott Lodge, opened the exercises by calling upon everyone to follow him in the recital of the Lord’s Prayer, after which he read a psalm.

                Dr. Taitt, in his address, declared that Chester had a great flood of population and now that the flood is receding, there would follow a more permanent increase of population and prosperity.

                “The Masons of Chester wanted something to remain from what had been and something that would be prepared for what should be in the development and best interests of the community,” said Dean Taitt.  “Therefore, the new Temple is the result of the prosperity that came to the fraternity during the past years and is a preparation for the greater prosperity hoped for in the future.”

                Seated on the platform with Dean Taitt and Chairman Haney were Charles R. Innis, treasurer, and Samuel N. Mitchell, who were the most active workers with Mr. Haney in the building project.

                The new Temple is a very successful study in the modern adaptation of the Renaissance style of architecture.  The main composition of the building is of Indiana limestone here, supporting lofty Ironic pilaster with beautifully carved cups.  These in turn support an attic story in limestone and brick.

                The walls above the limestone base are studied in red tapestry brick, laid in Flemish bond with a large limestone carved with the emblem surrounded by the winged son motive.

                The main composition of the building is that of three stories which compose the main rooms of the building, including the main club rooms on the first floor, the banquet room on the second floor, and the lodge room on the third floor.  At the service side of the building there are six stories, including the three mezzanines, in which are located the cloak rooms, ladies’ retiring rooms, lavatories, kitchens and all the service features of the building.

                On the Ninth Street side there are two ornamental bronze standard lanterns studied in the style of the Italian palaces.  On the Welsh Street side there are two mason bracket lanterns in similar style.

                The building on the two main streets is set well back from the property line, permitting a very effective scheme for parking and planting with tall evergreen trees which front the main entrances of the building and a pivot hedge which completely surrounds the two main fronts.

                The whole composition of the building is conceded to be a most successful design and has been very much admired by all who have seen it.  Ritter and Shay, Philadelphia, were the architects and designers of the interior decorations, the latter being arranged by the Chapman Company of Philadelphia.

                ONE OF THE BEST – The Temple is conceded to be one of the finest in this section of the country.  The interior architectural treatment, as well as the decorative furnishings are unique.  They combine the lofty grandeur of the old world palaces with the simple dignity and comfort that should characterize a Temple of this kind.

                The working equipment of the lodge room was the gift of Albert Wunderlich, a member of the Chester Lodge and departmental chief in the Pennsylvania Railroad.  One of the impressive features in the lodge room is the chair, conforming to the others, presented in the memory of Sergeant Alfred Stevenson, for whom the local Post of the American Legion was named.  The chair is placed in the station occupied by Sergeant Stevenson when he met his heroic death in France.

                There were numerous bouquets in the different rooms, including a beautiful bouquet of roses from Prospect Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and the Ladies’ Auxiliaries, Knights Templar of this city and West Chester.

                Masons from all parts of Delaware County and other sections with their wives and lady friends inspected the handsome new temple.  Yesterday the building was thrown open to the general public.

                The first story of the building is given over exclusively to club purposes and will be used by the Keystone Club, a part of the National association, which already has a membership which will exceed the 1000 mark before Christmas.  The part of the building is reminiscent of the old Italian palaces.  The decorated beamed ceilings represent many of the fine old Italian rooms.  Thee furniture is walnut, with red velvet upholstery and the hangings are of the same material.

                The lighting of the main lobby is from a large bronze lantern, studied in Italian style and finished in antique iron and gold.  There are floor standards with parchment shades to harmonize.  The reading room and lounge immediately adjoining on either side, are entered through large columned archways, with Italian Renaissance caps and cornice decorated in blue and gold.  The decorations and lighting of these rooms are very splendidly done.

                The basement is very brightly decorated and will be used as a grill room for the members of the club and also as a game room.  Three3 pocket billiard tables have already been installed and other games will be added.

                The banquet hall is in the French Renaissance style and the fine soft coloring and decorations make this the most attractive I this section.  The stage is done in a sunburst with rich plum curtains and the lights are a brilliant sunburst pattern.  The window hangings are faun.

                The lodge rooms is a study of the old Greek temples and was the real spectacular feature.  The walls are yellowish tone and relieved by a stenciled Greek ornamentation.  The main frieze is decorated with the Walls of Troy motive interrupted by Greek rosette ornaments.  The color scheme of the whole room is inspired by the old Greek mosaics and pottery with the effective use of rich colorings of burnt orange, deep yellow and black and gold tones, all of which is in striking contrast to the gold blue upholstering of the lodge room benches, which are in rich velvet on solid walnut frames.

                There are massive Ionic columns in the station of the Master where there is hung a velvet stole trimmed with gold braids and richly decorated with embroidered emblems in gold and colors.  The massive chandeliers are Greek in character of design and finished in bright ormolu gold with opalescent glass globes.

                A special room is on the sixth floor for the meeting of ladies’ auxiliaries and other affairs.

 


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Essington orgies!!! Tinicum was the partying place for Phila. and Delco a 120 years ago.

 I was very lucky a number of years ago to get some glass plates of Tinicum from c.1900. This one I do not know the location and I have posted it before. It says "Smith's Landing". I have looked at maps, talked to people but still can't come up with a location in Tinicum. Any help would be appreciated.



Essington Orgies!! Baseball, gambling, drinking and??


Note: Tinicum was the place to party 120 years. Technically an island, it was the place to go for gambling, Sunday baseball etc. The problems went on for years till it was finally stopped by enforcement raids by Delaware County and Philadelphia in 1906. Below is an article about some of the problems.


CHESTER TIMES – August 16, 1904

            ESSINGTON CITIZENS PETITION THE COURT TO SUPPRESS ORGIES 

 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.

Colonial Plantation Events


Spring Calendar of Events


Spring Events 2021

New this year-Sunday Storytime! Join us the 3rd Sunday of every month from 12:00pm until 2:00pm we will be reading from a children's book, the children will then do a hands on activity, go on a behind the scenes farm tour and then you are welcome to picnic in our grove!

To purchase tickets, click on a link below:

April 18th-How a Shirt Grew in the Field
CLICK HERE
May 16th-Homespun Sarah
CLICK HERE
June 20th-The Pen that Pa Built
CLICK HERE
July 18th-Charlie Needs a Cloak
CLICK HERE



March 27th-Opening Day- The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation will reopen March 27, 2021 for the opening of our 48th season! See all our farm animals especially our new Leicester Longwool sheep, Hog Island sheep, and Tamworth mixed breed pig. There will be hearth cooking, woodworking, long rifle demonstrations, spinning, weaving, working with flax, colonial music, candle making and seed planting. The ox will be yoked and the horse harnessed so some farm work can be completed. To purchase tickets or make a free member reservation
CLICK HERE




April 10th-Historic Timeline-Witness history throughout the ages from Europe to the Americas and from the 16th century to modern times. To purchase tickets or make a free member reservation CLICK HERE
Registration for reenactors is $5.00 for anyone 12 and older through April 1st. After April 1st, the registration fee is $10.00. Registration closes April 8th. The rain date is June 12th.To register as a reenactor CLICK HERE
Reenactor Registration Only (Per Person)

April 24th-Slavery and Servitude in Colonial Pennsylvania- Come and see how work was accomplished on our farm. This will be a day for children and adults alike. There will be hands on activities such as candle making and planting in the garden. Ned Hector will address slavery in the colony with his “Imaginary discussion with George Washington”. This 1:00 presentation is designed for grades 3 and up.

As well as a discussion on slavery, our volunteers will portray indentured servants, redemptioners, cottagers and poor free laborers. The blacksmith, rumored to have been a convict in his youth, will make and repairs items for the farm. Women will spin and knit to make some extra funds for their Quaker households. The farmers will take part in demonstrating a working ox and horse. It promises to be an educational enjoyable experience.To purchase tickets or make a free member reservation CLICK HERE



May 8th & May 15th-Sheep Shearing and Textiles-Come to the Plantation on Saturday, May 8th or Saturday, May 15th, and see our rare breed sheep lose their fleece. We will have Eva Mergen, one of our farmers, explain how to shear and then demonstrate the skill by using hand shears. We will also have people demonstrating most of the steps for turning that wool into cloth for clothing, and visitors will have an opportunity to card wool. We will explain how to care for sheep, what they eat, and the advantages of various breeds. There will also be a chance to learn about our other farm animals including our horses, ox, pigs, chickens, geese, and turkeys. There will be hearth cooking, garden, farm, and house tours. Check website for shearing times. Enjoy a day in the country that is very close to home. To purchase tickets or make a free member reservation
CLICK HERE


May 29th-Militia Camp and Memorial Day Observation-Camp life, flint lock, demonstrations and military history of revolutionary Pennsylvania.



September 25th and 26th-Civil War Battle & Camp- To register as a reenactor, Click here

October 9th and October 10th-Medieval Days- To register as a reenactor, Click here


These are just our highlight events--"Friend" us on Facebook or Instagram to see last-minute additions and seasonal activities!

*Events are subject to change. Please call 610-566-1725 for more information.



Sunday, March 14, 2021

The 1794 "Blue Laws" vs Darby Boro Sunday Baseball Blues!!

 

Both black and white team baseball team members members in Darby Boro  were arrested on a regular basis and across Delaware Co. . Even managers and umpires were sometimes arrested. Most area teams teams moved to Phila. to play Sunday Baseball games in the early 1920's. but some teams continued to defy the sunday ban. Special thanks to Delco Sports Historian, Rich Pagano, for this picture of the Hilldale Baseball team of Darby from the 1920's.


Note: Although the first major league game to be played on a sunday was played in 1917 by the New York Giants there still was a lot of problems. It was different state by state. Pennsylvania was one of thee toughest. In 1926 the Philadelphia Athletics played a Sunday Game in honor of the nations 150 year anniversary. They team wanted to play more and were denied, a lawsuit ensued and the State Supreme Court of Pa. ruled sunday baseball was illegal in 1927 and was "unholy". In 1933 the Penna. State legislature left it up to local jurisdictions to vote on Sunday baseball. That year Phila. voted to finally allow Sunday ball. Locally in Delaware County there was still some problems. Darby baseball players would go to Phila. aka cross Cobbs Creek to play ball. Darby players and managers were regular arrested for playing on Sunday. It was quite a shock when a Phila. Judge ruled in the favor of Darby Ball Players who had appealed their fines etc.


SUNDAY BASEBALL NOT ILLEGAL, IS COURT’S RULING 

 Philadelphia Jurist Gives Sweeping Decision Against Blue Laws

          A sweeping decision against too rigid enforcement of the Sunday blue laws, declaring much of the Act of 1794 has been dead 100 years beyond even the power of the courts to revive it, was handed down by Judge Lewis in Quarter Sessions Court in Philadelphia.  The decision rules not guilty three men arrested on a disorderly conduct charge in connection with a Sunday game of amateur baseball.

          In his opinion, which covers twenty-eight typewritten pages, Judge Lewis makes the following points:

          Sunday baseball by amateur teams does not in itself constitute a breach of the peace, provided there is no commercialism or disturbance of neighbors.

          Taking up a collection to defray expenses only, is not commercialization.

          Arrests on Sunday without a warrant are unlawful when there is no breach of the peace.

          Although public peace is still more fragile and brittle on Sundays than on weekdays, the people themselves long ago effected a repeal of the extreme portions of the 1794 blue laws.

          A law which runs counter to the habits and customs of a majority of the people is not really a law.  It is a bugaboo, a scarecrow that cows only the timid and but amuses the bold.”

          In conclusion, Judge Lewis makes seven specific reasons regarding the administration of the Sabbath laws “in order that there may be no misapprehension and as a guide to those concerned, including the police department.”

          The decision was given in the cases of Malcolm McGowan, manager of the Passon baseball team; Edward Sherman, manager of the North Penn Athletic Club, and Tod Voorhees,  an umpire, who were arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct at a baseball game played Sunday, August 3, a Passon Athletic Field, 48th and Spruce streets in Philadelphia.

          All three were sentenced to thirty days in jail by Magistrate Hamberg on refusing to pay fines of $10 and costs each.  Michael Saxe, attorney for Harry Passon, sponsor of the game, filed an appeal which was argued before Judge Lewis.

          After reviewing at length the circumstances leading to the arrests and quoting from decisions of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in other cases bearing on the subject, the opinion of Judge Lewis says:

          “The evidence produced before us as to the conduct of the baseball game on August 3 does not establish that disorderly conduct amounting to a breach of the peace was committed by all or any one of the defendants.  Their arrest on Sunday without a warrant was therefore unlawful, the whole proceeding being without effect and void.”

 


Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Suburb of Roses, Sunshine and Good Fellowship aka Drexel Hill !!! Events at the Colonial Plantation!!

 

Above is part of a real estate brochure for Drexel Hill in Upper Darby Twp. from the 1920's. One of the big things realtors promoted was the "elevated railway" aka the trolley line from Phila. as a big reason to move to Drexel Hill. Another page of the brochure is below. Below that is a newspaper ad for Drexel Hill from March of 1922.


Note: Delaware County Real estate was selling like crazy in the 1920's especially in eastern Delaware Co. Places like Upper Darby were especially hot. Below is a newspaper advertisement, advertising Drexel Hill.  .



CHESTER TIMES March 1922 

 Drexel Hill

                Own a home in Nature’s Playground 

 Drexel Hill 

  The Suburb of Roses, Sunshine and Good Fellowship 

 This Slogan is Going to be Very Familiar Before Our Campaign is Completed

                It epitomizes the advantages of DREXEL HILL, as you folk know them, in a manner that will attract the attention of hundreds of desirable people, who, during the coming months will be seeking homes outside the city.

                The results already secured, this early in the year, are most gratifying; and but indicate what the future has in store for DREXEL HILL,

                Every pleasant Sunday or Saturday afternoon, DREXEL HILL is going to be the Mecca of hundreds of city residents, who come to look, skeptical perhaps of the advertised beauties of our suburb, but many of whom will remain to purchase and to residue here, as soon as a home can be provided.

                The beautiful streets of DREXEL HILL, with their wealth of trees, shrubbery, well-kept lawns, the air of contentment and prosperity that pervades the community, have their effect on the first-time visitor.

                On Aronimink Tract work is being rushed as fast as human ingenuity will permit.  Our new office building is ready for occupancy, the larger quarters will permit us to increase our facilities for handling this rapidly expanding business.

                The road from Aronimink Station to State Road has been temporarily closed that it may be surfaced, just as soon as the sewer and water pipes are laid.  Woodland Avenue, north of and paralleling the Media Short Line, has been graded, ready for early surfacing, from School Lane to our new office building.  On this street, five houses are already in process of completion.

                Over $300,000 worth of property has been sold in Aronimink Tract.  A number of properties in the restricted business section have been sold, and in a short time several stores, among them a modern drug store, will be erected.  In about ten days’ time, operations will begin on the Hipple Place, now known as Aronimink Gardens.

                A very gratifying feature of the development of DREXEL HILL is the return of former residents.  Mr. William C. Patterson, formerly of Maple Avenue, has bought close to $30,000 worth of property on State Road, where he will soon be occupying a new home.  Mr. Washington Cope, formerly a resident of Turner Avenue, is going to build on Woodland Avenue.

               



WELCOME THESE FORMER DREXELITES 
BACK TO OUR SUBURB
 Homes Like These Make Drexel Hill Delightful
Let’s All Boost for a Bigger and Better DREXEL HILL
Harry W. Koch

 

2021 SPRING EVENTS at the
Colonial Plantation!

Spring fever will be upon us soon enough! We are asking Mother Nature for a beautiful spring so we can all be safely outside and enjoy history, nature and our exciting spring activities! The Plantation reopens on Saturday, March 27th! Free member reservations and tickets are available online now! We are looking forward to welcoming you back to some new programming and new additions to the Plantation!
March 27th-Opening Day
Join us on Saturday, March 27th for the opening of our 48th season. There will be hearth cooking, woodworking, long rifle demonstrations, spinning, weaving, working with flax, colonial music, candle making and seed planting. The ox will be yoked and the horse harnessed so some farm work can be completed.
April 10th-Historic Timeline
Join the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation as you travel through over 300 years of American history. Come and meet our earliest settlers and then travel to the Civil War on up to the Second World War.
Sunday Story Time-New this year! Join us the third Sunday of every month from 12:00pm until 2:00pm, we will be reading from a children's book, the children will then do a hands on activity, go on a behind the scenes farm tour and then you are welcome to picnic in our grove! Children will also receive an activity book to take home! Member reservations and tickets may be purchased on our website.

April 18th-How a Shirt Grew in the Field
May 16th-Homespun Sarah
June 20th-The Pen that Pa Built
July 18th-Charlie Needs a Cloak
April 24th-Slavery & Servitude in Colonial Pennsylvania
Come and see how work was accomplished on our farm. This will be a day for children and adults alike. There will be hands on activities such as candle making and planting in the garden. Ned Hector will address slavery in the colony with his “Imaginary discussion with George Washington”. This 1:00 presentation is designed for grades 3 and up.
As well as a discussion on slavery, our volunteers will portray indentured servants, redemptioners, cottagers and poor free laborers. The blacksmith, rumored to have been a convict in his youth, will make and repairs items for the farm. Women will spin and knit to make some extra funds for their Quaker households. The farmers will take part in demonstrating a working ox and horse. It promises to be an educational enjoyable experience.
May 8th & 15th-Sheep Shearing & Textiles
Come and see our rare breed sheep lose their fleece. We will have Eva Mergen, one of our farmers, explain how to shear and then demonstrate the skill by using hand shears. We will also have people demonstrating most of the steps for turning that wool into cloth for clothing, and visitors will have an opportunity to card wool. We will explain how to care for sheep, what they eat, and the advantages of various breeds. There will also be a chance to learn about our other farm animals including our horses, ox, pigs, chickens, geese, and turkeys. There will be hearth cooking, garden, farm, and house tours. Check website for shearing times. Enjoy a day in the country that is very close to home.