Emma C. Patterson wrote "Your Town and My Town" for the Suburban & Wayne Times from 1949 to 1958. It was written during a time when Wayne's founders were still around to reminisce about the area's development. The articles are a wealth of information, with many names and places referenced.

The same way historic photographs of Radnor can tell us a great deal about their subjects, Ms. Patterson's writing draws a vivid picture of Radnor's history as seen from the lens of the mid-20th Century. At that point venerable institutions that no longer function were still alive in full swing, longtime residents who could remember back to Wayne's agrarian past could still share their memories, and there was enough community interest that the Suburban was willing to print such extensive and descriptive columns week after week for nearly a decade.

Locked in fading newsprint, tucked away inside crumbling scrapbooks for fifty years, each article by Emma C. Patterson is reproduced here in full, in an easy to navigate searchable blog format.

Browse an index of all articles

The Saturday Club, Part 1

“The Suburban” this week begins publication of a series of articles under the caption “Your Town and My Town”, written by a well-known resident of Wayne, who has been for many years an integral part of our community life. “Your Town and My Town” will give the historical background of the cultural associations which have made Wayne and Radnor township famous along the Main Line. The writer’s commentaries on these various institutions should prove interesting alike to our older and newer residents.

The Saturday Club

In April, 1890, what is now the most powerful and influential organization of women in the world was founded – the General Federation of Women’s Clubs with a membership at present exceeding three million women in America alone. Affiliated membership in foreign countries raises the total to more than five million women.

The Saturday Club of Wayne was already more than four years old when it became one of the first groups to enter the General Federation. Founded in February, 1886, it was the second Departmental Club in Pennsylvania, the first being the New Century Club of Philadelphia. When the State Federation of Pennsylvania Women’s Clubs was organized in 1895, a charter member of the Saturday club, Mrs. Ellis Campbell, now Mrs. William Henry Sayen, became its first president. Mrs. Sayen, one of the founders of the Saturday Club was also one of its early presidents and during the past sixty-tree years has always maintained an active interest in the Club for whose existence she was so largely responsible.

The Junior Saturday Club was founded in 1907 as one of the first Junior organizations, not only in Pennsylvania, but in the entire United States.

The names of the first members of the “ladies organization,” which was later to become the Saturday Club of Wayne, are still legible in a well-worn, black bound book. They are written in an exquisitely fine hand on age-yellowed leaves with an ink now dim with time.

“On February 16, at four in the afternoon, nine of the twelve ladies invited to be present, met in the library room, Wayne Hall, where after some formal remarks, Miss Markley was invited to preside.” But even before this “on a sunny Saturday afternoon, there gathered in Mrs. Sayen’s parlor several bright congenial women, who, over steaming cups of tea, dared discuss the subject of Women’s Clubs – then almost a tabooed subject.” (From an article written for the SUBURBAN of March 29, 1907, by Mrs. A. A. H. Canizares on the occasion of the 21st Saturday Club Birthday Party.)

The first order of business at the meeting of February 16 was the election of officers for the temporary organization. Mrs. James Campbell was elected president with Anna Markley and Mrs. P.W. Ver Planck as vice presidents, Mrs. G. E. Abbott as secretary and Miss Helen Erben as treasurer. In addition to these officers, others, who made the original twelve were Mrs. W. H. Sayen, Miss Phillips, Mrs. Peterson and Mrs. Henry Pleasants, Jr. A little later “there were nominated for membership six other ladies all of whom gave great vitality to the infant club. They were Miss Matlack, Mrs. Stocker, Mrs. E. L. Campbell, Miss M. Rogers and Mrs. Fallon.”

So great was the enthusiasm that club meetings at first took place even during the summer months. Programs were usually in the form of papers written by the members. In one meeting Mrs. Abbott had prepared a paper on chemistry, but “there being so few present it was decided by motion to give the paper into the hands of the entertainment committee to be used again.”

Different “sections” of the club work included science, art, music, literature and household. There were papers on such diversified subjects as “Climatology,” “Materialism,” (so popular it was repeated a second time by Dr. Abbott) and “Geology of the Surrounding Country.” There was also the reading of a few extracts from a book, “Plumbing and Doctors,” and there was a lecture on “Emergencies” by Dr. Egbert and one on Nursing,” by Dr. Wells.

There is an occasional mention of tea, the first at the meeting of October 9, 1886, when “The Club meeting was called to order by the president while presiding at a table, laden with pretty little china cups from which was to be sipped the fragrant tea.”

To be continued

The Saturday Club – Red Cross Emergency Hospital for Influenza patients

The Saturday Club

At the annual meeting held in April 1887, it was voted to reduce the dues from three dollars to two dollars. However, “All men becoming life members pay $3.00 and this gives them a membership for life.” Apparently not many availed themselves of this opportunity, for at a meeting held a year later it was “moved that the money be refunded to these gentlemen who have paid their dues for this year and that those who have assisted us be elected honorary members.” Dr. Egbert and Dr. Abbott being the only ones who had paid these dues, the secretary was instructed to return $3.00 to each one.

When Mrs. Stocker was elected president in 1891, she said in her inaugural address, “The Club movement for women is a factor for modern progress. It has stimulated an intellectual and social life without in the least detracting from the duties of wifehood and motherhood. On the contrary, the conscience as regards these duties has been quickened, the ideas broadened and activities stimulated. It is impossible for men to comprehend the narrow groove in which the majority of women have ben forced to live, more and have their being in the past. Club life has revealed women to each other; it has established fellowship on purely human foundations and has opened the doors for a new Heaven and a new earth in which all differences are melted in a simple gospel of unity.”

Club House Built

On October 17, 1898, the board authorized the president and secretary to sign a contract with J. D. Lengel of Wayne for the building of a club house on a lot purchased from the Wayne Estate. Mrs. Ralston C. Ware was chairman of the building committee. David Knickerbocker Boyd was the architect and the total cost of lot and building was $5,145! Then in June, 1912, during the presidency of Mrs. Marshall H. Smith, the contract for alteration to the club house was signed with Mrs. Parke Shoch as chairman of the building committee. These alterations included changes in the basement to provide a dining room and the erection of a stage at the west end of the building. This is the building as the community knows it now, except for the enclosure of the porch which was done in 1930. It is the oldest Woman’s Club House in Delaware County and one of the oldest in the state.

In October, 1907, the twelfth annual meeting of the State Federation of Pennsylvania Women’s Clubs was held at the Devon Inn with the Saturday Club as hostess club. Some four hundred women from all parts of the State were in attendance. Mrs. Sayen (then Mrs. Campbell) was State president at the time.

Aids War Effort

During the years of World War I, the Club devoted much time to Red Cross, to talks on food conservation, to canteen luncheon, to Liberty-Loan programs. In October, 1918, the Club House was turned into a Red Cross Emergency Hospital to care for influenza patients who could not gain admittance to regular hospitals. The children’s ward was in a large tent outside the Club House.

Again in World War II, the Club dedicated itself to the Red Cross by giving the use of its building as an emergency hospital which was also used for all Blood Donor days; by having surgical dressings classes and by maintaining membership in the Wayne Camp and Hospital Committee.

Today the Saturday Club functions as a departmental club with membership in the Delaware County Federation of Womens Clubs, the Pennsylvania State Federation and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. With a membership of more than 200 it meets each Tuesday, October through May, alternating stated meetings with departmental work. Now more than ever before, the Club House is the center of much community activity. Here the First Church of Christ Scientist of Wayne holds its meetings; the Wayne Footlighters give their plays and various dancing groups are in session throughout the week. In addition other community groups meet here less frequently from time to time.

Presidents of the Club during its sixty-three years of its existence include in the order of their terms of office: Mrs. Jane Campbell, Miss Anna Markley, Miss Buxton, Mrs. George R. Stocker, Mrs. E. L. Campbell, Mrs. Charles B. Stilwell, Mrs. Henry Birkenbine, Mrs. Stilwell (2nd term); Mrs. W. B. McKellar, Mrs. George M. Wells, Mrs. C. W. Ruschenberger, Mrs. R. C. Ware, Mrs. E. L. Campbell, Mrs. W. A. Nichols, Mrs. Clarke J. Wood, Mrs. M. W. Orme, Mrs. Parke J. Schoch, Mrs. Marshall H. Smith, Mrs. Henry Roever, Mrs. Smith (2nd term); Mrs. W. Allen Barr, Mrs. John J. Mitchell, Jr., Mrs. Walter H. Dance, Mrs. C. H. Howson, Mrs. Henry Roever, Mrs. F. A. McCord, Mrs. E. E. Trout, Mrs. W. W. Crawford, Mrs. T. Magill Patterson, Mrs. H. H. Kynett, Mrs. F. A. Wallace, Mrs. J.S. freeman, Mrs. A. E. Livingston, and Mrs. Richard Howson, the current president.

Louella Mansion and early Wayne – Cleaver’s Landing, Lyceum

Over a cup of tea in the pleasant living room of Miss Josephine Scott’s home in Louella Court Apartments, one afternoon recently, we fell to discussing the old building which housed us. It was built more than eighty years ago, Mrs. Scott said, by J. Henry Askin, as a home for his family and was called Louella House, thus combining the names of two of his daughters, Louise and Ella.

It was a truly beautiful estate with its mansion house and its various cottages. Only the main part of the building as we now see it was built originally, the east and west wings having been added at a later date. Around the south, west and north sides of the mansion, the wide porch extended continuously. Miss Scott visualizes the parlor in the front part of the house as a very elegant and formal room with its heavy hangings, its massive furniture, its steel engravings on the walls and probably its wax flowers under glass on its pier glass tables!

Louella House, with the old Presbyterian Church and the Lyceum formed the nucleus then of the little hamlet first known as Cleaver’s Landing, later as Louella and now as Wayne. The Lyceum, later called the Opera House, is the large old building on the northeast corner of Lancaster avenue and North Wayne avenue which now houses several stores and apartments. Back in 1867, when Louella House was completed, there was no North Wayne avenue. West from the Lyceum on the turnpike was the Cleaver farm and past that the Tom Jones estate.

As Mr. Askin stood on his wide front porch and looked up the hill to the south he saw the Mifflin farm located in what is now the Upland way section. Almost across the turnpike from Louella House Fr. Askin could see the pumping station, while slightly to the southwest up the hill was the reservoir which supplied Louella House and all of its buildings with water. On the former site St. Mary’s Church was built in 1889 and slightly to the east of the latter site Windermere Court apartments now stand.

As Mr. Askin looked east from his porch following the line of the turnpike he saw the Louella stables, a barn and various other small buildings. Beyond that was open country as far as the Presbyterian Manse, later bought for a home by Mr. Lofland. The original Presbyterian Manse still stands facing south in the block between Pembroke avenue and St. Davids road. The gracious old house set well back from the highway now belongs to Walter Lister, managing editor of the Evening Bulletin.

Later on in its existence Louella House became Louella Mansion, advertising itself in an attractive little brochure of which Miss Scott has a copy, as “A Care-Free Summer Home for You.” It was open from June first to October first, but guests were urged to come early as “a steam heating system with radiators in each room insures comfort on chilly days.” The “premises” were described as “four hundred feet above sea level, and fourteen miles from Broad Street Station, Philadelphia, on the Main LIne of the Pennsylvania Railroad. More than ten acres of beautiful grounds, old trees, shrubbery, rose garden, walks, drives and tennis courts, surrounding Louella Mansion, a three-story massive stone building; a three-story stone and brick cottage and a two-story frame casino. The shaded boardwalk extends directly (six hundred feet) between the P. R. R. Station and the main building. The porch extends continuously along the south, west and north sides of the main building.”

“Table” is described as “plenty of the best grade brands, an experienced chef and staff, and proper service, while under “house-keeping” the brochure states “there are white maids and waitresses enough to keep the house clean and in order.” There was “an abundant supply of sparkling spring water of guaranteed purity, furnished by pipes in all the buildings, and there is no restriction or limitation as to its use by guests.” While both electric and gas lights were provided, lamps and candles were furnished upon request.

There is a very cheery note in the paragraph on children which states: “A hearty welcome for the little ones; play rooms away from the grown folks, and an experienced kindergarten teacher to direct the play.” And harking back to a day long past, there were “accommodations and special rates for children’s nurses, lady’s maids, coachmen, etc.”

There was certainly no lack of amusement at Louella Mansion as the Casino contained “shuffleboards, a pool table and gymnasium apparatus. The mansion itself contains library, smoking and music rooms, orchestral music every Saturday evening. Extensive room for dancing.” then there was ample provision for “equipages” in the way of “a public livery stable, and accommodations for private horses on adjoining premises, subject to telephone orders.”

Later still the original Louella House became the Armitage School for Girls. Now known as Louella Court Apartments, it contains a number of apartments, all with the high ceilinged rooms reminiscent of the gracious living of a past era.

Early Wayne, Railroads – Cleaver Farm, Conestoga Rd. & Lancaster Turnpike

The story of Louella House as given in last week’s Suburban was founded upon information gathered from various sources by Miss Josephine W. Scott for a paper she read several years ago for a group from her Church Missionary Society. In this meeting the members of the society were assembled in the same large room in Louella Apartments which was described in last week’s article as the formal parlor of Louella House. Fortunately the notes for this talk were preserved and from them has been drawn the description we give you for this week of the Wayne of an earlier day.

Back in 1868-70 when Louella House was built, most of what is now Wayne was rolling farm land, where cattle grazed as they stood in the shade of chestnut, hickory and oak trees. On the site of what was known until very recently as the William Wood property on the north side of West Lancaster avenue, the Cleaver Farm was located. The Cleaver house, built in 1775, was sold by that family to J. Henry Askin, who in turn sold it to W. D. Hughes. Later it became the property of William Wood.

The first railroad station took its name from the Cleaver Farm. This station was called “Cleaver’s Gate” or “Cleaver’s Landing,” since trains stopped there to take on milk. The Pennsylvania Railroad company, originally known as the Lancaster and Columbia Railroad Company, had built double tracks along the Main Line in the early 1860’s. Later, “Cleaver’s Landing” was known as Louella and then as Wayne.

The first station was a large square wooden pillar laid on its side where passengers sat while they waited to flag the train. An old wagon bed which too the place of this pillar was burned one Fourth of July. Then a small box-like station was built with a house attached in which the ticket agent lived. This house is still standing on its original site, considerably to the south of the present tracks, however, as the road bed was moved a one time. It is now used by the Wayne Hotel as sleeping quarters for employees. Even a casual glance easily identifies it as a one-time railroad station! A path past the old Presbyterian Church led to the station in its early days.

North of the railroad there was but one farm. On it was a lovely little lake and many beautiful trees. Later this property became the home of Dr. George Miles Wells. The Wells home still stands on its original site on Walnut avenue, though it has now become a small apartment house. The spacious ==== lots on which many homes have been constructed, some facing on Poplar avenue, some on North Wayne avenue and some on Walnut avenue.

The two main highways of Cleaver’s Landing in the 1860’s were Conestoga road and the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike. At that time the former had already been in existence for more than a hundred years, having originally been an Indian trail from the Delaware River to the Susquehanna River. The latter was the first turnpike built in the United States, dating back to 1792-93. With its toll gate it went from Philadelphia to Lancaster and points West. What is now West Wayne avenue was the Wayne road, built in 1808. It was but 33 feet wide.

Where the Saturday Club now stands there was a little bridge coming from the Cleaver Farm. Church road, going from Five Points to Old St. David’s Church, was built in 1863 and like Wayne road, was 33 feet wide.

So much for roads. As to the pavements, they were originally of “the kind of mud where overshoes lost in the Fall, reappeared only when the frost came out of the ground in the Spring!” Later there were boardwalks, the loose boards of which were apt to spring up at unexpected intervals and tip the unwary. Then followed cinder paths, later stone slabs and still later, concrete walks.

On the corner of Conestoga and Wayne avenues there stood at the time the old Radnor Baptist Church, organized in 1841, through the untiring efforts of Mrs. Emily Worthington Siter. The original building was destroyed about 1889. Back of the church building was one of the first schools in the community. On Conestoga road, near what is now Wayne-St. Davids station of the Philadelphia and Western Railway, was the famous old Conestoga Potteries.

Fire protection, even in the early days of Wayne, was considered very essential. Each householder was provided with a fire horn three feet long, to be blown when the occasion demanded. The horn call is described as something like a sick cow! A fine of five dollars was imposed for any unwarranted blowing of a horn. Early records also state that a bucket of water was behind the front door of each home, also that householders took nightly turns in patrolling the neighborhood. The present Radnor volunteer Fire Company, chartered in 1906, represents the consolidation of several small fire companies which served various parts of the community earlier.

Early Wayne residential fires, sports – NWPA, WPSA

Since writing in last week’s column of fire protection in Wayne in the early days of our community, further information on the subject has come to me from George W. Schultz, of Reading, Pa., though his daughter, Mrs. Robert W. A. Wood. In telling of the formation of Protective Associations “on both sides of the village,” Mr. Schultz describes organized fire fighting as one of their chief objects. As Wayne’s population began to increase in the late eighties, these Associations became necessary in the absence of any municipal government. They were supported by dues paid by property owners and had several noteworthy purposes in addition to fire protection. These included the improvement and beautification of properties, the maintenance of street lights and of sidewalks and the guarding of public health and safety. Among their manifold duties were those to provide for the collection of ashes and of garbage and to remove snow from the pavements in the winter.

The North Wayne Protective Association, formed in 1885 by seven residents of North Wayne and the Wayne Public Safety Association organized in 1890, have both functioned continuously since their inception, each, at this time, with a large membership still interested in all civic problems.

Mr. Schultz describes in amusing fashion two of his own youthful experiences as a volunteer fireman. “When my parents settled on Walnut avenue, North Wayne,” he writes, “a committee called and announced that in event of emergency, all young men were expected to turn out and act as volunteer firemen.

“Sure enough, it was not long before my brothers and I were awakened one night by ‘Fritz’ Hallowell’s ringing a dinner bell. Tumbling out in the dark, we followed some running forms to John P. Wood’s stable where we were ordered to ‘man the pumper!’ We had never seen the machine nor had any drills. It was a 500 gallon hogshead of water on two wheels and a hand pump attached. Some grabbed the ropes tied to the tongue of the ‘engine’ and others pushed. It ran all right down hill, but the fire being located by glare in the sky as up on a steep hill on Chamounix road, St. Davids, it was a strenuous effort to get the apparatus to the scene, egged on by raucous yells of the fire chief.

The house appeared to be vacant in the late fall and the blaze was, of course, stimulated by the amateur fire fighters breaking the rear windows with axes. A brave fireman climbed the porch and the helpers worked hard on the lever. The only result was a garden hose –am squirted into a second story broken window. The house burned to the ground!

Next year we were called out again in the night to operate on a fire on middle Walnut avenue. One of the young men rushed around battering in doors and with smoke rolling out, dashed upstairs and threw out of windows mirrors, –ures, pitchers, bowls and any other loose articles, all of which were smashed on the lawn. Charley Gleason, and Tony peterson emerged triumphantly bearing two piano legs that had been chopped off instead of being unscrewed. The loss was total!”

Mr. Schultz is an authority, too, on the sports and recreations of early Wayne. He tells of an organization, first called “The Merivale Club” and later “The Radnor Cricket Club.” It was housed in a frame building near the railroad in North Wayne, which later burned down. In its early days it had a baseball diamond and a board backstop, surmounted by a pavilion reached by stairs from the rear. The Club had two tennis courts, billiards and bowling. Among the young men who were members were Robert Hare Powel, Henry Baring Powel, Jack Claghorn, Morris Wetherill, Frank Howley and George and William Schultz. Some of this group later started a golf club on the Francis Fenimore land in St. Davids.

In addition to sports on their own grounds and to their Club house, some of the Merrivale Club members took to early Sunday morning hikes, the group eventually being known as “The Walkers.” Among them were David Knickerbacker Boyd, the architect; Billy Brown, son of the then publisher of the Wayne Times; Charles Gleason, Lee Harrison, Bill Everly and the Schultz brothers. the rambles of these hikers took them cross country towards King of Prussia, a section that was mostly woods and farms then. If unobserved, they were not above taking a little refreshment from stone spring houses in the way of “a dipper of rich cream off a crock in the cold spring water!”

After the Cricket Club came the Swimming Club, located at the famous Kelly’s Dam in North Wayne. Then there was the Bicycle Club, with its Club House located on the pike north of the post office and later still there was the organization which was to develop into the St. Davids Golf Club.

From time to time all of these sports groups of Wayne’s early days will be described in this column.

Swimming holes, Bicycle Club

With spring in the air and summer not far off, the thoughts of many a Wayne resident, young and old, turn to those warm days when swimming in nearby pools will furnish much welcome recreation. They will gladly go their ways to Martin’s Dam or Colonial Village Swimming Pool or the Mill Dam, little realizing that once upon a time Wayne swimmers of another generation did not have so far to go. For in the early nineties they did their swimming at Kelly’s Dam, a body of water down in the hollow near the railroad tracks in the general vicinity of what is now Willow avenue!

As a matter of fact, Wayne was one of the first localities in this section to have an outdoor swimming pool. In the beginning it was just a good old “swimmin’ hole.” Then an interested group rented the rights to Kelly’s Dam and began to make some improvements. A dressing room was built on piles and there were diving boards, a slide and other equipment. This was enclosed by a high wooden fence to make it private, with a boardwalk along one side of this fence. the diving board was at the deep end of the pool while the shallow end had a wooden bottom. The creek along Willow avenue did not run directly into the pool as there was some sort of filtering system to keep the water clean. In winter when the pool froze over there was skating by lantern light with a stove for heat in the small club house. Yearly dues entitled members to both swimming and skating privileges. Among those early members were the Wendells, the Heilners, the Spiers, the Conkles, the Hallowells, the Fulweilers, the Reginald Harts, the Canizares, Frederick Jones, Louis Erben, Charlie Maguire and the large John P. Wood family and many others, whose names are not now available.

Swimming Taught

Activities at Kelly’s Dam were under the supervision of Kistler, their swimming coach, who later became an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. At the opening day races, Osgood Sayen upheld the prestige of Wayne by winning the 60-yard novice race against a large field. At that time the Australian crawl stroke was a new sprint idea. From time to time quite large swimming meets, considering the size of Wayne, were held here. In the light of present-da methods of teaching swimming those of that early period are interesting by way of contrast. A telegraph pole was sunk in the ground at each end of the pool, with a heavy wire cable stretched across the water. To this was added a rope on a pulley with a belt attached at the water line. The pupil was strapped into the belt and thus taught the art of swimming without danger of going down!

As time went on the young people began to go to Fenimore’s pond in north St. Davids for their swimming and skating. “Billy Pump,” who took his name from the fact that he ran the pumping station for the Pennsylvania Railroad, was in charge there. He was part Indian and considered quite a character. Be it said to his great credit, that while he could not swim himself, he patrolled the pond in his row boat so conscientiously that he never had a drowning!

Many christenings took place both at Kelly’s Dam and at Fenimore’s Pond. Some still remember the time when the crowd watching one of these christenings at the former place was so great that the boardwalk gave way and the spectators themselves were tumbled into the water! Many remember, too, the white-robed figures and the loud screams when baptisms of one of Wayne’s colored churches took place at Fenimore’s Pond.

Bicycle Club Formed

In the late nineties the bicycle craze struck Wayne with the result that a bicycle club was formed with headquarters on the pike north of the post office. There Karl, the German steward, provided excellent meals for members and their guests. One particularly noteworthy one was a terrapin supper, Maryland style, prepared by Bob Martin, assisted by Dr. Kueri, of Philadelphia, and by Paul D. Chaillu, the African explorer. Their combined efforts produced a banquet worthy of the name! And after an evening of good eating and much merriment, the guests rode home on their bicycles! Among the leading spirits of the club in addition to Bob Martin, were Francis Fenimore, Julius Bailey, “Goostav” Bergner, “Der Goos” Gallagher, Tony Peterson and “Demon” Schultz, and this is to mention but a few!

(In my information for this week’s article, I am indebted both to George W. Schultz, of Reading, and to a member of the John P. Wood family.)

This is a picture of the original Saturday Club house, built in 1898, as described in "Your Town and My Town," in a recent issue of The Suburban. The wagonette at the left has been identified as that of the late John W. Yeatts, of St. Davids. Identification of the other vehicle would be interesting. Information would be appreciated by mrs. Patterson, Wayne 4569, for use in her column.
This is a picture of the original Saturday Club house, built in 1898, as described in “Your Town and My Town,” in a recent issue of The Suburban. The wagonette at the left has been identified as that of the late John W. Yeatts, of St. Davids. Identification of the other vehicle would be interesting. Information would be appreciated by mrs. Patterson, Wayne 4569, for use in her column.

Cricket and Golf in Wayne & St. Davids

In this column an early Wayne Country Club and a somewhat later Cricket Club have already been described, The former was the Merrivale Club, situated in North Wayne near the railroad tracks. It had a baseball diamond, tennis courts, billiards and bowling. This later became the Radnor Cricket Club, during the days when the center of English cricket in the United States was Philadelphia.

After several years of activity, the original Cricket Club house burned down, and a second club was started on the Francis Fenimore land at St. Davids. For several years matches were played here with other cricket teams around Philadelphia. Tom Credican was the professional for the local team, which was so good that one season they won all matches except that against the Merion Cricket Club.

Uniforms consisted of white flannel trousers and shirts with light blue blazer coats and small blue caps to match. On the later were the yellow initials, “St. D.” The club house was a one story frame building painted yellow, with a main room and lockers. A pleasant tree-shaded porch overlooked the nearby ponds.

Match days at St. Davids were well attended by the ladies, all in their best attire, adding greatly to the gala effect of the typically English country sport. On one such occasion two horseback riders stopped on a distant knoll to watch the match. The batsman made a tremendous hit out of bounds and the ball landed on the rump of one of the horses! Both riders were thrown to the ground and when last seen by the cricket spectators they were chasing their runaway mounts, waving their riding crops as they ran. The fact that they were attired in the wide breeches, bowler hats and russet boots of the horseback riders of that day, only added to the mirth of the onlookers. For a time the cricket game was abandoned!

After a time, local interest in cricket waned and activities ceased after the club house burned to the ground during a fire which started in the long grass after a dry spell. Then came the organization of the St. Davids Golf Club, one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the United States.

At this point it is interesting to quote George W. Schultz, from whom my information has been obtained.

“One Sunday in the spring of 1896 A. J. D. (Tony) Peterson came to my house carrying a small white ball and a club with a bent iron on its end and, chuckling, he began tapping the ball on the lawn. He said he had been to Devon the day before by invitation of a friend who introduced him to a Scotch game called “golf,” started by summer residents of Devon Inn.

“It seems that Edmund McCullough, president of the Westmoreland Coal Company; Edward Ilsley and others had laid out a nine-hole course on the spacious land around the hotel. In so far as I know, this was the beginning of golf in Pennsylvania. Tony Peterson arranged for me to be allowed to play on the course the following Saturday with some clubs lent to him.

“Later on Louis D. Peterson, William H. Brooks, Dr. G. L. S. Jameson, Herman Wendell and I decided to organize a golf club at St. Davids, on Francis Fenimore’s extensive lawn holding – it was largely due to Mr. Fenimore’s genial nature towards young men that we were able to use his land and form a club on the economical basis of $5.00 initiation and $10.00 annual dues.”

The former cricketers now became golfers and by their own enthusiasm attracted many others to this original group. The moving spirits of the project laid out the nine hole course “which had natural hazards rather than artificial bunkers.” It could certainly have been called a “sporting” course! Since they could afford no laborers, the original small group armed themselves with picks, rakes, and shovels for their job and they built their own tees and mowed their own grass!

At first the players were all men, as at that time few women were given to outdoor sports. These men were sticklers for good form, observing the courtesies and rules of the game according to St. Andrews tradition.

At that time a golf ball was made of solid Gutta percha with either checker or pebbled moulding. When hit, a distinct “click” was heard, quite different from the “mushy” sound of the later Haskell rubber-cored ball. It was seldom that the longest drive exceeded 150 yards. All the players were self-taught, many learning how to play by reading booklets of instruction. Dr. G. L. S. Jameson was elected the first president of the original St. Davids Golf Club.

Miller’s Store, early Post Office, Central Wayne – Cobbs & Lawless

For some months now the center of interest for Wayne citizens, young and old, has been the re-modeling of the old building located at the northwest corner of Lancaster and North Wayne avenues, long known as Miller’s Store. Commuters hurrying home in the dusk of the evening have taken a moment in passing to glance at what progress has been made since they left in the morning. School children as they crossed the pike under the vigilant eye of Officer Botts have looked across at what has been for many years the most interesting store in all Wayne to all of its small fry. Housewives have glanced up from marketing lists to speculate on how the new store would look when it was on street level. For there are few in this vicinity who have not at one time or another climbed the well worn steps that led to the variety store established by William A Miller in 1921.

Mr. Miller, and later his widow, somehow had the happy faculty of keeping in stock many of the small articles for which one searched in vain elsewhere. And for twenty-eight years Wayne’s children bought their lollipops, their ice cream cones, school supplies, comic books, toys and games at the corner store. The death of Mrs. Miller early this year marked the passing of one of Wayne’s real landmarks.

Today Cobb and Lawless have the formal opening of their large electrical appliance and floor covereings shop in the remodeled Miller store and in the store just to the west of it which they have now occupied for some time. Joined together and placed on street level, the two shops now form a spacious whole with large show windows on both Lancaster and North Wayne avenues.

Like many another Wayne shop of our time, this was once an attractive and spacious home. The original red brick house was built about 1890 (perhaps before) when Wayne was just coming into its own as one of the first suburban communities in the country. Lancaster turnpike with its toll gates had then been in existence almost two hundred years – years full of change and development. North Wayne avenue from the pike to Eagle road was the first street built in Wayne by A. J. Drexel and George W. Childs.

The house at the northwest corner of these two roads was purchased in 1897 by Lizzie Pugh Fronefield, its present owner, from Christopher Fallon and Emma L., his wife. At that time it was a residence with the post office at the rear of the building, facing on Wayne avenue. Theodore F. Ramsey and his wife, Sallie Pugh Ramsey, were the postmasters from 1889 to 1893. J. M. Fronefield, Jr., succeeded them, his term lasting from 1893 to 1897.

About 1900 the post office was moved and the former residence was remodeled into two stores, one on Wayne avenue, and the other on the corner. The latter was leased by Mr. Wemmer, who operated a drygoods business known as the “Wayne Mart.” About 1910 he sold out to Mr. Stafford, who continued the business under the same name until 1921 when a third store was built facing on Lancaster avenue. This third store was occupied by N. P. Pechin aas an electrical shop.

About 1905 an addition had been made on the Wayne avenue side, which was occupied until 1915 as a tailor shop by Louis De Louis. In 1915, David H. Henderson moved into this location which he operated as a fish market until his death about two years ago, when it was taken over by Earl Frankenfield, whose widow now operates the business.

Back in 1890 the original house stood at some distance back from the pike, since that road was only a narrow thoroughfare then. There was room for a lawn and a picket fence while the house itself had porches. It was surrounded by both business and residential properties. The Wayne Title and Trust Company was founded in that year. The old opera house had been standing for some years on the northeast corner of the pike and North Wayne avenue. Neighbors then and later on Wayne avenue included among others the George W. Browns, the I. H. B. Spiers, the W. A. Pattons and Dr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Egbert.

To the west of the pike on the present site of the Anthony Wayne Theatre, was the home of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Cook who came there in 1888. They were the parents of Mrs. Walter Peirson, who now lives in the Kingsway apartments. Next door to Mr. Cook lives his business partner, William D. Hughes and his family, in what was later to become the William Wood property. Next to the Hughes home was the old Bellevue Hotel which burned to the ground in a spectacular fire in the winter of 1900.

In reminiscing about her childhood in the old Lancaster pike home, Mrs. Peirson recalls a family whom many old timers in Wayne will remember, the William T. McNeelys. They lived in the Wood home in the summer with their four children: George, Wilson, Helen and Katherine, who were lively playmates for the neighborhood youngsters. Wilson, it seems, had a pony cart in which he took many of them for rides in the country, But on many occasions he also left them there to find their way home on foot!

For the information in today’s article the writer is deeply indebted to Joseph M. Fronefield, 3rd, to Mrs. Walter Peirson, Jr., and to the 1948 edition of the History of Wayne.

St. David’s Golf Club, continued

The following is the conclusion of the article on St. Davids Golf Club which appeared in this column on April 22:


By 1899 so many building lots had been sold on the Fenimore land that St. Davids Golf Club, then in the beginning of its fourth year, had to seek a new location. The sites committee interviewed Miss Martha Brown and Mrs. Chew in regard to a lease on a large tract of land along both sides of Lancaster pike between St. Davids and Radnor. These two ladies were amenable to a reasonable lease, provided there was no liquor served in the old farmhouse which was to be used as a clubhouse. They also objected to Sunday golf. A compromise was reached on this when club officers stipulated that there was to be no playing before 1:00 o’clock, so that there should be no conflict with any church services.

The outside of the old farmhouse was improved by the addition of a long, wide porch; rooms were papered and painted. A caddy and professional’s house was also built. Much of this was done at the personal expense of some of the members. Members also did much of the manual work of improving the links and of keeping the clubhouse and grounds in order. The eighteen-hole course was very attractive, with plenty o hills and shade.

Initiation fees and annual dues were still kept low, but the club prospered because officers saw to it that they lived within their income. In addition to doing much of the work on the property and on the course themselves, members contributed the cups for which contests were held. Tournaments and matches then were popular and well attended.

Another early president, in addition to Dr. G. L. S. Jameson, was Lewis Neilson, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. George W. Schultz, to whom this column is indebted for much of its information on the club, was an early vice president and chairman of the Greens Committee. Some of the club champions and lowest scorers included George Crump, Gus Gallagher, William Moorhouse, Gus Bergner and Herman Wendell.

Later on, a number of women joined the ranks of players, becoming very active members of the club. Various professional teachers were employed from time to time, among the most popular being Jimmy Govan, who was a skilled clubmaker. His output was in demand from some of the best players in other clubs.

By 1900 golf as a game had attained such popularity that a National Amateur Championship tournament was held at the Atlantic City Golf Course. It was won by an Austrailian, Walter J. Travis, who was one of the very first column writers on golf. His long approach putts with anew kind of aluminum putter did much to bring the championship his way.

St. Davids’ only entrant in the tournament was Gus Gallagher who qualified, but was soon beaten. Rodman Griscom, of Merion, lasted up to the fourth round. A year r so later Harry Vardon, the great English pro, gave his first American exhibition on the Philadelphia Country Club course. Many St. Davids members who were gallery spectators, were greatly impressed by his skill.

St. Davids Golf Club remained in its pike location until 1927, when it removed to its present sit on Radnor and Gulf roads, purchased a few years earlier from A. J. Paul and Paul D. Mills. Donald Ross, famous golf architect, laid out the new course, which was constructed by Fred A. Canizares, president of the R. H. Johnson Company, of Wayne. A farmhouse on the property served as the first clubhouse.

A year later the St. Luke’s School property was purchased, and its principal building utilized as a clubhouse. In 1929, this property was sold to the Valley Forge Military Academy, after fire had destroyed the Devon Hotel property, which was its home. The present clubhouse was built during that year.

St. David Golf Club is considered one of the best courses in the metropolitan area and many championship events have been played on its links. The Main Line Golf Club, a course open to the public, now occupies the site on the pike formerly belonging to the St. Davids club.


(The interest evidenced in this column by so many residents is a source of pleasure to the author and to The Suburban. That all may feel a personal responsibility for its authenticity and full coverage, we invite items of interest of Radnor Township’s development from sources with such material to offer. Edi.)

J.M. Fronefield’s account of early 1880’s Wayne

Among Wayne’s outstanding citizen’s of an earlier day, Joseph M. Fronefield, Jr., who came here in 1881 to establish a small country drug store, contributed greatly to the growth and development of the community during nearly 60 years of residence here.

After his death, in August, 1940, his son, Joseph M. Fronefield, 3d, found in his desk an old stenographic notebook in which is father had written in longhand a vivid description of Wayne as he knew it in the early 80’s. The notebook was tucked away among some books on local history, in which the elder mr. Fronefield had always taken a deep interest. Though a few of the first pages of this account were missing, there is still page after page of facts that are invaluable in re-creating a picture of the Wayne of many years ago.

Old landmarks are listed, forgotten roads and lanes are retraced, old churches, business buildings and houses are described and dated in the pages of a chronicle written by a man who remembered them all vividly. “The little drugstore which brought the writer to Wayne,” Mr. Fronefield notes, “occupied the pike side of a small road on the eastern end of Lyceum Hall. The Childs and Drexel office was in the rear. The second floor was a public auditorium and the third floor a lodge room.”

This was Wayne’s Lyceum Hall before the addition at the western end was constructed. The building on the northeast corner of Lancaster avenue and North Wayne avenue, now occupied by “My Country Store” and several other shops on the pike side, was added later. At one time the building was known as the Wayne Opera House.

This early Wayne Lyceum Hall is described by Mr. Fronefield as “a plastered mansard roof house of a dull, grayish-brown color, occupied on the first floor by a general country store which sold dry goods, groceries, hardware and farming implements, under the proprietorship of J. Harry Brooke, who, many years afterward, was real estate officer of the Merion Title and Trust Company. Mr. Brooke, his clerk and the writer occupied the green room and stage wings of the auditorium on the second floor for sleeping quarters. More than once my cot and rug were used for stage decorations at a time of concerts.

“The building was piped for gas and had a spring feed gas machine which was under my charge. A barrel of gasoline poured into the outside tank, plus the strength of six mules to wind up the machine, made sufficient lights for months and months. This building was later greatly enlarged and its name changed to the Wayne Opera House.”

In describing the immediate vicinity of Wayne Lyceum Hall in the 80’s, Mr. Fronefield continues: “The surrounding country was farm land. I could look out the drugstore door (it had no window on the pike) and see cattle grazing in the meadow where the business block, fire house and school houses now stand. This was part of what was known as the Siter Farm. Its buildings stood on Conestoga road, about where the residence of the late F. A. Canizares now stands. The old Siter home burned in later years when owned and occupied by R. H. Johnson. the spring house was near the rear of what is now the Wayne Apartment house at the corner of West Wayne and Bloomingdale avenues.

“The Izzacki Fritz farm adjoined it and had its buildings near where the Presbyterian parsonage now stands on Audubon avenue. the buildings included some sort of an old stone mill. The Mifflin property lay south of the Siter and Fritz properties and faced on Conestoga road. The buildings were where he home of Mr. Forsythe now stands on Upland Way. It had an entrance lane from Lancaster pike which left the pike at the big tree where St. Mary’s Church now stands.

“The Wilds farm had its building east of where Midland and Pembroke avenues intersect. The old apple trees on the property of Mr. Helms are the last of the family orchard. The spring house was in the rear of the home of Mrs. W. A. Nichols.

“The George farm had its buildings on the north side of Lancaster pike west of St. Davids road, now the home of Mr. Rollin H. Wilbur. The Thomas B. Jones farm on West Lancaster pike near Bloomingdale, was the last to feel the imprint of development, it having been bought from the Jones Estate in recent years by Mr. H. R. Harris, who is developing it.”

The years that have passed since Mr. Fronefield wrote these notes have brought changes in ownership of properties which it may be well to insert here in order to identify locations mentioned.

The F. A. Canizares house on Conestoga road, is now the property of Cornwall Miller. D. C. Mills is the owner of the Forsythe home on Upland Way; the Helms house on Midland avenue is occupied by A. W. Moseley and family. Dr. G. W. Huggler owns and occupies the former Nichols home and the Wilbur residence, long known as “Old Stone House,” is owned by Dr. R. J. W. Kimble.

(I wish to acknowledge my deep gratitude to Joseph M. Fronefield, 3d, for the use of his father’s notes for this and for several other articles which will follow.)

(To be continued)