Friday, June 2, 2023

The Hills and Dales of Central Delco 115 years ago!! A nice trolley ride

A rare picture of a trolley at the corner of State and Orange Sts. c.1900

Note: Delaware County has changed so much in the last c.115 years. There were hardly any cars then and trolleys was the way to go and back then trolleys went everywhere. This is a little article about a trolley ride from Swarthmore to Media. Enjoy!


July 18, 1907 


 Nature’s Own Treasures and Numerous Delights Seen in a Trolley Ride in the Suburbs

          Now, while Nature holds her carnival, is the time to put the nickel in the slot and enjoy the vision, says a writer in the Philadelphia Record.  It comes but once a year, compensating and rejuvenating those who journey out to see.

          City people must pay double, which seems extortionate, but the extra fare is necessary to reach the suburbs; then you tear off another ticket to see the sights.  Yes, there are country sights.

          In town, where we must daily go to earn our bread and butter, the seasons are marked chiefly by calendars, thermometers, shop windows and headgear, whether felt or straw, determining the period.  But in the country, whence our food, raiment and shelter have their source, all coming originally from the great heart of Mother Nature, we have the revelations wonderful.

          Replacing the cold and early dark of winter with its wind and sleet and snow, each a part of Nature’s various language, we have the blossom time.  Both great and small, all things have answered the first bird call, spring’s reveille.  Trees garlanded for the annual reception, decked and perfumed for their feathered colonies, overshadow modest wayside flowers.  It is well this season of beginning is short or we might play truant to duty.

          Boarding the trolley at Swarthmore we ride on Yale Avenue, passing the High and Preparatory schools, each with its quota of athletes practicing or playing match games in the open.  In view, though a short distance up Chester Road, stand the college buildings.  In silent dignity Parish Hall overlooks the magnificent campus, dotted here and there with coeds, variously engaged.

          Back of the buildings and shielded by them from this view in Whittier Field, where thousands gather annually to see opposing teams contest in the season’s sports.

          Now we run swiftly down grade for a while, crossing Crum Creek, below Beaver Falls.  High above, with its gently sloping grounds meeting the water’s edge, is the inn.  Long ago this was the home of Mr. Leiper who came from Scotland in this country in the eighteenth century.  He operated snuff mills at Avondale, but a few rods away from the home he built on the hills, naming each for beloved spots in his native land.  These old mills will stand, the buildings being used as tenements for Italian laborers in the stone quarries.  A peep into the picturesque settlement delights the artist’s eye, for all is so quaint and seemingly remote from the rush of life.

          Now we go gradually up and up.  For we are headed for Media, the highest point in Delaware County.  Passing on a level stretch we see Springhaven County Club with its far-reaching links.  There are poultry farms, woodlands and fine estates along the way.  The Pennsylvania Orphanage in spacious grounds is pleasantly situated at Wallingford.  Then comes Moylan Inn and station.  Here we cross Rose Valley Lane, but the impulse to get off must be combatted until another day.

          Through South Media, then up Olive Street to the Court House, for Media is the county seat and here the majesty of the law is upheld in this venerable building surrounded by its pleasant grounds enclosed by iron fencing.  Across the street from the Courthouse stands the “jail” - uninviting, as are all such structures, yet well filled with short-term people and those awaiting trial.

          Streets lined with stately trees make an attractive picture.  In a spacious lawn on West Washington Street may be seen one of the last trees of the primeval forest – a gigantic oak, sheltering under its branches large trees of other growths.  Christ’s church, now about to celebrate its golden jubilee, is worth a visit.

          The time has swiftly flown, our car back is humming its call.  The cares that infest the day have been forgotten in the new thoughts suggested by the outing.

          Should you be inclined to spend more time and another precious nickel an extension line will take you out to Elwyn School.


Friday, May 26, 2023

Chester City Fashion 100 years ago, "Look Older" ??


This picture is of a group of people at the dedication of a new ship launching at Sun Ship c.1925. I have a group of pictures from the same day and I'm hoping a reader might recognize someone. Thanks!! Please look at the skirt lengths!!

NOTE: I know nothing about woman fashion at all period. This article from a 100 years ago, seems serious in 1920's terms, but is fun to read today about woman's thoughts in 1920's fashion. Please read and share!!


 September 25, 1922


Wearers Seem Desirous of Appearing Older Than They Really Are

               Although autumn arrived officially Saturday afternoon at 4:00 o’clock, not one woman on Market Street noticed it.  The eyes of all were turned not to the incoming season but to the incoming styles.

               The “flapper” has grown up overnight.  She has done something to her sheared tresses so that they now look like a big girl’s and she has lengthened her skirts to the extent that the ultra-fashionable are not going to be accused of joining the sidewalk-sweeping forces.  If any proof of the demise of the knee-length dress is wanted by the incredulous let it be recorded here that the youthful grandmothers have given up wearing short skirts.

               The fall “flapper” doesn’t “flap.”  She lolls.  She looks consciously blasé.  She has an air of wishing to appear much older than she really is.  Market Street discovered that yesterday.  Not only the skirts of the majority are of extreme length.  Most of them were neither long nor short.

               But just the same, each and every “Colonel’s lady and Judy O’Grady” was looking to see just how long were the skirts of her sister.  “Look at that skirt!” was the remark most often heard in passing.

               Several costumes furnished eyefuls, especially so those draped affairs that somehow resembled in their general effect a statue covered for the summer when the family goes away.  In length they seemed to show a desire to get into contact with the sidewalk.  Panels and points gestured concrete award to such an extent that the shorter-skirted sisterhood registered signs of envy by pretending to be amused.

               The warmth of the day didn’t keep the furs at home.  There they were – blonde furs and brunette furs, some red and others black, many gray and others blue; stoles, chokers, collars and “animal skin” effects.  Many were tossed over the right shoulder with studied jauntiness.  But many of the larger pieces were carried at half-staff in the crook of the elbow, as autumn was but autumn in name and the almanac.

               In addition to the furs, others fall wraps made their appearance in large numbers.  Most were capes or coats cut in such a way that their sleeves were hidden by folds of cloth.  Some were so befringed that they displayed a certain kinship with Carmen’s native land.

               Were there fall hats in the autumn parade?  Of course.  But it must be remembered that a woman puts on her winter bonnet in the latter part of August, so there is little to tell on that score.

               Man played an inconspicuous part in the parade.  One was discovered wearing spats, but they were obviously too much work by him last season.  Another had on a topcoat and yet a third wore white shoes.  But not an off-colored derby could be found.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Media Armory being built, now the home of Trader Joe's

The Media Armory on State St. from the 1920's. The building today is the home of Trader Joes. 

June 25, 1908

 Chester Times


               The Times today presents to its readers a good picture of the new Armory in the borough of
Media, as it will be when completed, the future home of Company H. N. G. P.  This new structure which is in the course of erection, is located at the corner of State and Church Streets, in one of the most prominent points in the borough for a building of this kind.  The good citizens of Media who interested themselves in raising the $5,000 necessary to secure the Stat appropriation for this purpose are being congratulated on all sides.  The building will be a credit to the town when completed, which will be in the near future.  If nothing unforeseen happens the Medial soldier boys should be comfortably ensconced in their new home before the snow falls.

               Major Frank G. Perrin was one of the active spirits in bringing the new armory to the borough, and he is doing all in his power to give to the soldier boys whom he formerly commanded one of the coziest homes in the State.  The Media company has the distinction of having the addition to Major Perrin, Charles Lawton, who is Battalion Sergeant Major.  The officers of the company are:  Captain Walter R. Johns; First Lieutenant, William Wescott; Second Lieutenant, Robert F. Engle.

               The officers and men are hard at work at present to make a good showing at the coming annual encampment.  It will be no fault of Captain Johns if the company does not receive a high rating on inspection.

               An excellent account of the armory is published in a current issue of “Our State Army and Navy.”  The following is the description of the building”

               The structure is being built of local stone, and the purpose of the building is at once expressed by its heavily buttressed walls and low flanking towers.  The walls are surmounted by broken battlements of stone.

               The building when complete will provide ample quarters for the officers and men, with a Drill Hall at the rear, open for the entire height of the structure. This hall will have between walls a clear space of ninety by sixty feet.

               The basement, which will extend under the entire Armory, will provide for ammunition vaults and camp storage for the Company.  Here also will be placed the kitchen, toilet room and heating plant.

               The space under the Drill Hall will at some future date be fitted up for a modern rifle range, with space reserved for bowling alleys, etc.

               Upon entering the building one passes through the Sally Porte directly into the Drill Room.  Opening upon this corridor and adjacent to the Drill Room, is the locker room, which will provide lockers and accommodations for sixty men.  The lockers installed here will be of pressed steel pattern with arrangement for ventilating.

               At the front of the building on the right, will be placed the officers’ quarters, while o the left-hand side will be the company library or reading room.

               On the second floor will be located the quarters for the quartermaster and first and second sergeant.  Next to these and extending across nearly the entire front of the building will be placed the Company Room.

               At the end of the Drill Hall at the second floor level will extend a spectator’s balcony running the full width of the Drill Hall.  As this will be directly hung from the trusses above, no inconvenience at the drill floor level will result from supports underneath.

               The building will be finished with all modern improvements and will be heated with steam and lighted with electricity and gas.

               The interior finish will be of hard wood.

I still have a few copies of my Prospect Park Centennial book for sale/ Contact me thru Facebook if you want one. Cost is $20.00.

Friday, May 12, 2023

The town of Stonehurst in Upper Darby and a talk this week


The Stonehurst Apartments are still there close to 100 years old. The address today is 2 Copley Rd.

NOTE: Many names from the 1920's of small towns and developments have been lost and forgotten over the years. Other names like Stonehurst have stood the test of time.


August 2, 1922 


One of the Many Beauty Spots of Upper Darby Described

               For the information of those who have never experienced the pleasure of a visit to Stonehurst it might be well to mention that this community nestles just across the pike from the 69th Street Terminal Station in Upper Darby Township.

               The Philadelphia newspapers persistently strive to steal Stonehurst from Delaware County and locate it in West Philadelphia.  The residents of Stonehurst themselves are in no wise sympathetic with this journalist attempt.  They are too proud of Stonehurst to wish it within the boundaries of Philadelphia, though many of them commute into the city in which they have important business connections.

               Probably the reason Stonehurst is so pretty from a residential viewpoint is because its name was conceived by a woman.  A committee from the Stonehurst Improvement Association labored tremendously for six long months to discover a rightful and proper name.  Finally, in utter despair, this committee accepted a suggestion from a feminine resident that Stonehurst would do.  But the men folk adamantly refuse to admit Stonehurst is just fitting.  However, the women are perfectly satisfied – and Stonehurst it remains and forever will, probably, so long as woman’s will prevails – and it does at Stonehurst.

               And the name Stonehurst seems, after a visual perspective, eminently proper.  As stated above, Stonehurst is a pretty community.  It certainly is and more.  But as stone predominates in the architectural design of the commodious and prettily situated homes of its residents, the conception of Stonehurst is by no means far-fetched.  It fits in rather appropriately and without extreme stretching of imagination.

               But there is much more at Stonehurst than a name and a setting of homes.  There is perceptible a strong civic spirit and community pride, energetically pictured by the membership in the Stonehurst Improvement Association.  This organization is almost as old as the community itself.  It was organized some four years ago, with Charles Gillingham as its first president, who was succeeded by Norman Hayes, both well-known Philadelphia business men.  W. H. Metcalf, Republican nominee for the assembly, is now presiding over its destinies; Preston V. Lee, is vice-president; A. T. Brown, treasurer, and Russell H. Bleakley, secretary.

               The chairmanships of its functioning committees include:  Charles R. Dinam, improvement; Preston V. Lee, executive; H. C. McIlvaine, membership; Percy C. D. Ralston, publicity; g. T. Kilner, tennis; Gartley G. Wright, entertainment.

               The objects of the Stonehurst Improvement Association are entirely civic in scope and character.  Politics are sternly frowned down.  Only property owners are eligible to membership.  Even the most rabid nonconformists admit this organization wields a wonderful influence for community uplift.  Before its inception there were no street lighting nor garbage system at Stonehurst.  There are efficient ones now.  It has secured carrier mail delivery and then went after the installation of mail boxes, and these boxes are coming by fast freight from Washington.  The streets were at one time improperly cleaned up.  Now they remind one of those in Spotless Town.  The policing department became somewhat loose.  It isn’t now.

               It opposed Mitten’s Amusement Park golden egg scheme.  This amusement park hasn’t arrived as yet.  And most wonderful of all – almost unbelievable – there is no kicking at Stonehurst over the tax rate.  Every property holder appears to harbor the idea the tax rate is quite equitable.

               What more could the Stonehurst Improvement Association be expected to accomplish; but it is maintaining its hewing practice, and when it hews; the strokes of the axe are aimed against those things which creep into communities that should not creep.


Friday, May 5, 2023

Springfield Twp. becomes first class township 100 years ago!!!


A early 1920's postcard of Powell Rd. You are standing at Woodland Ave. looking east. Note the dirt road and no people.

Note: many townships and Boros became incorporated or first class in the 1920's. There was a lot of growth and building in Delco 100 years ago. even with all that work a good portion of Delco was still farm country.


 July 28, 1923 


 Magic Growth of Development and Progress Experienced

          Springfield Township which has been in swaddling clothes so far as a local governing body is concerned since Springfield was Springfield, is known to don the robes of a first-class township.

          Springfield, like Upper Darby Township and other sections in the northeastern section of this county, has felt the magic growth of progress and development, until now it is absolutely that the citizens of the township, take steps to have its own legislative body, for the purpose of making such local laws as provided in the act of assembly which relates to townships of the first-class and which will be the means of better building, health, sanitary and other regulations which commissioners of the townships of the first-class have the power to enact.

          At the September primary election, candidates will be nominated for five commissioners, school directors, constables, township treasurer and other municipal officers.

          Springfield Township being overwhelmingly Republican, naturally, Republicans will fill the offices.  At this time the good citizens of the township are already concerning themselves about the caliber of men and women who shall represent them in the board of commissioners and school board.  The names of men are already being advanced for some of the offices to be filled.

          There is little doubt that the greatest care is being taken by the citizens of Springfield in selecting candidates to represent them in their coming township government.

          It is generally believed that only men of business experience will be selected, because it will take careful business men to govern the rapidly growing township who will have many details to work out which will include the spending of the citizens’ taxes.

          Here are a few names of prominent business men who are being very much talked of at this time for office to represent the new township government and who are being urged to become candidates by the best people of the township:

          Harry C. Marshall, Dr. George C. Speirs, Maltchi S. Pancoast, Joseph S. Keller and A. Ackerman, are much talked of as logical material for commissioners.

          Mr. Marshall is a resident of Rolling and State Road.  He has been a resident of the township for a number of years.  He is a successful business man, and a member of the firm of Marshall Brothers, coffee roasters of Philadelphia.

          Dr. Speirs has been a resident of Springfield for twelve years.  He is conversant with the needs of the township and he is a successful dental surgeon of Philadelphia.

          Mr. Pancoast is a farmer and builder.  He is at present a supervisor of the township, and a lifelong resident of the township.  He has seen the township grow from a sparsely settled farming district until it now has a population of about 2,500.

          Mr. Ackerman is one of the successful business men of the township.  He is also a lifelong resident of the township and at present supervisor.

          Much pressure is being brought to bear on Joseph S. Keller.  Mr. Keller has lived in the township many years.  He is at present a member of the school board.  He is president of the Pratt Food Company.

          It will be seen if the above five men consent to become candidates and be elected to form the first legislative body of the township under its coming form of government.  Springfield’s future as a successful township will be assured.

          William A. Allison, present tax collector is being urged to become the candidate for the township treasurer.  Mr. Allison is a man of ability and careful business judgment.

          Charles G. Cope has been put forward as a candidate for school director to succeed D. Britton Chambers.  Mr. Chambers is a widely known and successful real estate dealer and business man.  Mr. Britton has declined to be a candidate for re-election because of the press of business.  Mr. Britton is a man who has always taken a deep interest in the success of the township’s development and while he will not be a candidate for any office, he will be interested in the future success of the township.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Mill entertainment at Aston Township's Yorkshire Mills !!

A postcard c.1906 of part of the Yorkshire Mills water/power system. The exact location is unknown.

NOTE: Aston Twp. was the home of more mills than anywhere else in Delaware County. Mill work whether it was food aka flour etc. or textile aka cotton was long hard work. It is generally thought and true that mill owners worked their employees hard with little enjoyment or benefits. There were exceptions and Yorkshire Mills was one.



November 29, 1918 


 Reception and Celebration at Rockdale Enjoyed By Hundreds of People

               About three hundred people assembled at the Yorkshire Worsted Mills, Lenni, on Wednesday evening, in response to an invitation from the firm, and participated in a grand reception and thanksgiving celebration.  The Yorkshire firm has just completed the erection of a large addition to the extensive mills, a brick building 52 x 100 feet, two stories high, and took his method of dedicating it to the prosperity of the town.

               The celebration opened with an address of welcome by Horace S. Griffith, of the Penn Tapestry Company, after which there was a minstrel performance, of which Job Baldwin was interlocutor; William E. Griffith, Bones; and Edwin Brown, Tambo.  The ballads were as follows:  “When I Gathered the Myrtle With Mary,” John Heavens; “A Fool there Was,” Mrs. George Wilson; “Peg O’ My Heart,” Joseph Murphy; “Cross the Mason Dixon Line,” W. E. Griffith; “Last Night Was the End of the World,” Miss Katie McTammany; “What Do You Say, You’ve Lost Your Dog,” George Wilson; “If the Rose Could Tell Its Story,” Miss Annie Murphy; “A Garland of Old-Fashioned Roses,” Fred Cole; “Sailing Down the Chesapeake,” Edwin Brown.

               The firm of Miller & Pleet, which operates the Yorkshire Mills, is one of the most progressive in the textile arena. It is their custom to share with the employees, in the largest measure possible, the great results of their continued success.  Other manufacturers and representative and business men of the community were present as invited guests and the now building and various other departments of the plant were alive with mirth and enjoyment all night.

               The details and executive part of the celebration were well looked after by the committee of arrangements, which was composed of the foremen of the various departments of the works, with Louis Maiz, the superintendent, as chairman.  This committee worked diligently both before and during the ceremonies, and to them belongs a great share of credit for the success of the occasion.  The members of the committee are:  Louis Maiz William Brady Harry White, Clarence Smith, John Bally William Lomas, William Greenwood William Craner, William Lampert, William Lees, John Diamond, Jr., Joseph Davis, Joseph Albany, Roy Sheldon John McFarland, Job Baldwin Mark O’Brien.  Part 2 consisted of ventriloquist specialties by Harry White, songs by Mrs. Edward Schwartz, a recitation by Mrs. George Wilson and monologue songs by Job Baldwin.

               Immediately following the entertainment there was a grand march of a hundred couples, led by William H. Brady and Miss Daisy Hopkins, and dancing was indulged in until early morning.  The music of the entire performance was furnished by the Pipe Line Orchestra of Lenni, Samuel H. Lees, director.

               Coffee, sandwiches, ice cream and various other kinds of refreshments were liberally supplied by the firm, and it was an occasion long to be remembered by all who were fortunate enough to be present.

Note: My Ridley Creek State Park booklet has received an award from the county which I will receive next Saturday, May 6. There are still copies for sale at the locations below. It was some great pictures from my collection.