St. Martin’s Church, part 2

In the spring of the year 1887 a separate parish was organized near Radnor station at what had, up to this time, been the Mission Chapel of the Church of the Good Shepherd, now for many years known as St. Martin’s Church, Radnor. Consent for the organization of this new parish was obtained from the rectors of the Church of the Good Shepherd, of St. David’s Church in Radnor and of Calvary Church in Conshohocken. These were the three parishes nearest to the former Mission Chapel.

The consent of the corporate authorities of the Church of the Good Shepherd was also necessary, as well as the promise of the conveyance of the lot of ground and of the chapel building to a new corporation to be formed, subject to certain conditions. These conditions were: “First, that the said corporation should conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Second, that all sittings in the church of said corporation should be always free and unappropriated, and third, that the property should revert to the grantor if the services in the church were not regularly maintained.”

Articles of association of St. Martin’s Church, Radnor, were then entered into and the first vestrymen chosen. This original vestry was composed of the following nine men, all of whom had been active in the building of the Mission Chapel and the organization of the new parish: W. W. Montgomery, Daniel S. Newhall, Theodore D. Rand, Joseph C. Egbert, William H. Badger, F. Linwood Garrison, Charles F. Hinkle, George W. Righter and George Stuckey.

Among others who came on to the vestry in the early days, when any of the original members left, were Charles F. Hatch, Robert H. W. Koons, Leonis W. Stroud, Moses B. Paxson, W. T. Robinson, P. Randolph Kirk, Charles Stilwell Eldredge and W. W. Montgomery, Jr. The latter served as Rector’s Warden from October, 1900 until his death in August, 1949.

A charter of incorporation was granted to the rector, church wardens and vestry of St. Martin’s Church by the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County on June 22, 1887. The deed of conveyance was then executed, subjected to the conditions provided in the gift. The parish was admitted into union with the Diocese during that same year.

The first services in the newly-organized St. Martin’s Church were held on May 1, 1887, when the Rev. A. B. Conger, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, preached in the morning and celebrated the Holy Communion. In September of that year the Reverend Percival H. Hickman, formerly of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, was elected the first rector of St. Martin’s Church. On October 5 the Church was consecrated by the Right Reverent O. W. Whitaker, Bishop of the Diocese.

Of this consecration the “Standard of the Cross”, in its issue of October 15 of that year, wrote as follows: “On Wednesday, October 5, the Rt. Rev. Bishop of the Diocese consecrated St. Martin’s Radnor, to the worship of Almighty God. This parish, formerly a mission of the church of the Good Shepherd, Radnor (Rosemont Station) was admitted into union with the convention in May last. During the summer a handsome tower was erected by an anonymous benefactor of the parish, while a carpet laid recently by the Ladies Guild, completed the internal arrangements of the building. This is entirely of stone, with a slate roof; the tower carrying a bell, the gift of members of the parish. A stone wall encloses the lot. The organization of the parish was completed by the acceptance of the rectorship by the Rev. Percival H. Hickman, lately of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, in time to sign the instrument of donation. This was presented to the Bishop by Mr. Daniel S. Newhall, rector’s warden, and the Sentence of Consecration was read by the Rev. George A. Kellar, rector of St. David’s, Radnor. The Biship preached from the text I Kings 8:27 and celebrated Holy Communion. Besides the clergy named, there were present, and participating in the service, the Rev. Arthur B. Conger, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, and the Rev. Messrs. Byllesby, of Media; Haughton, Boyer, Moore, Bishop, Thomas and Ricksecker, with the Rector. The handsome decoration of the church by the ladies of the parish, the excellent music and the beauty of the autumn day conjoined to make a very enjoyable occasion. This was further promoted by an admirable collation spread in the Lindenwood house.

“The offering on this occasion was very appropriately set aside for the Rector Fund, and amounted to the handsome sum of $202.34.”

The Parish House was started in 1895 and finished soon thereafter. It is to the west of the church building on Glenmary road and contains the Sunday School rooms, the Library, offices, dining rooms and kitchen.

The present stone chapel on the South side of Conestoga road, Ithan, replaces a frame structure built in 1894 in Ithan. The new chapel was begun in 1918 and completed in 1920. It was the gift of the well-known Philadelphia architect, Theophilus Chandler, and was deemed to the Diocese of Pennsylvania and given to St. Martin’s Church to be its property as long as operating and repair expenses were met. Services have been held there continuously since its completion.

(To be continued)

St. Martin’s Church, part 1

The dull gray of the stone exterior of St. Martin’s Church seemed softer than usual in the mistlike rain of a morning last week as this writer walked along King of Prussia road from Radnor station. The brilliance of red roses growing in magnificent clumps at each of the two main entrances to the church was almost startling in contrast. These gorgeous splashes of color only served to bring out the quiet serenity of walls that have withstood the elements for more than 70 years now. Much of their surface is ivy colored, the deep green of the leaves blending with their gray. The church building stands close to the road on two sides, its boundary on both King of Prussia and Glenmary roads marked by a low gray stone wall, almost as old as the church building itself.

On February 15, 1877, the lot of ground on which St. Martin’s stands was conveyed by John Stacker and his wife, Mary, to the rector, church wardens and vestrymen of the church of the Good Shepherd in Radnor. The following month, according to the old Record Book of St. Martin’s, “a society was organized among persons who were in the habit of attending Sunday evening services held in the public school house by the rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd or his assistant, for the purpose of accumulating a fund for building on the lot above mentioned.” But it was two years later before the first excavations were started and still more than a year after that before the corner stone was laid. This was on October 4, 1880.

According to a brief history of St. Martin’s Church, written by the late W. W. Montgomery, it was intimately connected in its early days with the Church of the Good Shepherd. The latter was established in July, 1889, after which the congregation worshiped for some months in the old Wayne Hall on Lancaster Turnpike in Wayne. Later on these services were transferred to a room in the old Morgan’s Corner Hotel, a few hundred yards from where St. Martin’s Church is now built.

Even after the first church building of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont was completed, these services in the old Hotel were not abandoned. Though held irregularly for a few years, they were continued “for the benefit of such persons living near Wayne and Radnor stations as desired to attend the services of the church, but found it impracticable or inconvenient to get to the Church of the Good Shepherd.” These services were usually held but once a week, and then on Sunday evenings. From 1871 until the summer of 1881, the use of the neighboring public school building was given to the congregation of the Radnor Mission. After that time its use was withdrawn.

The first plans for establishing a building fund for the Church that was to be later called St. Martin’s, were made at the March 1877 meeting in the school house. At that time “a small society was organized for the purpose of accumulating a fund by monthly contributions of the members, and other gifts for the purpose of erecting a chapel building.” These first payments, “one dollar and fifty cents in the aggregate”, were received on March 13, 1877, by the Rev. B. R. Phelps, the first treasurer, who was the assistant to the rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd and in special charge of the mission.

Original plans for the building, which were eventually followed throughout, were the gift of a prominent Philadelphia architect. During the spring of 1879 part of the excavation for the foundations and basement were made by voluntary labor. For want of further funds, nothing more was done until the end of September of that year, when additional gifts had brought the fund up to almost $1,000. With part of this the facing stone was bought. By the early part of 1880, the work of building was actively under way. And it was on October 4 of that year that the corner stone was laid.

Early plans called for only the erection of the walls and the roof of the building at first. But once actual work was begun, contributions began to increase, thus making it possible to do the plastering and the glazing of windows very soon after this building was under roof. even before this, however, the first service in the chapel was held. This was on Sunday evening, August 14, 1881, the day after the use of the school house was withdrawn. To quote once more from Mr. Montgomery’s history: “The walls had not been plastered, nor the windows or seats of furniture of any kind put in, but some chairs and lamps were borrowed in the neighborhood for the occasion. A slight thundergust coming up, the wind blowing between the boards on the window spaces, put out some of the lamps, which had been set on the window sills for want of any other places to rest them.

Before the end of the year 1881, some of the pews were put in place, as were the chandeliers for lighting the church. For two years a large stove was the only means of heating the building. Then in December 1885 furnaces were installed for more adequate warmth. in 1884 the organ screen, robing room and chancel wall were built. In 1885 the basement room for Sunday School and for library finished. The following year six carriage sheds were erected and the grading of the property was completed. Work on this by voluntary labor had been going on for some time.

In 1887 the outside woodwork of the church and the carriage sheds were painted and the inside walls of the church tinted. Important additions were those of the tower, the bell and the porch hood. The stone wall was built, the japonica hedge was put in and other planting done. These things came chiefly as gifts from friends and members of the congregation. Thus had the building of the church and the beautification of the grounds gone on slowly and steadily over a period of almost nine years, “according as the Building Committee had the means to do it.” Only once during this time was any debt incurred, and then but for a small amount and for a few months.

(To be Continued)

The 1912 Harvest Home Fete, part 4- Charles E. Walton; Bailey, Banks & Biddle; Neighborhood League; Campfire Girls

One feature of the entertainment at the Harvest Home Fete, held on the Charles E. Walton estate in mid-October, 1915, that was not hampered by the downpour of rain on two successive afternoons, was the dancing on the porch of the big mansion house. There were two sessions, one from 4 o’clock until 6 in the afternoon, and the other from 7:30 until 10:30 in the evening. Mrs. Thomas Theodore Watson, assisted by more than 40 aides, was in charge of the dancing which featured “Lucky Numbers” and “skill” contests. Music was by the well-known Herzberg orchestra. “Lucky number” prizes were awarded to Miss Edith Watt, of Wayne; Miss Sarah Barringer, of Haverford, and William K. Holman, of St. Davids. The ladies’ prizes were orders for ten dollar pumps, presented by Stelgerwalt’s, while the man’s prize was a ten dollar order on the Edward C. Tryon Company. Two consolation prizes were presented to Mrs. George Boles and Miss Eleanor Verner.

In the competition dances, the first prize, a silver cup from Bailey, Banks and Biddle, was won by John Watson, of Wayne, and Miss Sarah Meyers, of St. Davids. Second prizes consisting of ribbon rosettes from Dreka’s, went to Miss Martha Walton and William Wiedersheim. Still another prize, this time for “the most attractive young lady among the dancers” was presented to Miss Gladys Jameson, of St. Davids. This was a ten dollar order on Bailey, Banks and Biddle, given by Frank H. Bachman. Judges for these contests were Miss Skethy, and Miss Gibbs, of Philadelphia.

A “clearing up Sale” seemed to be the answer for what merchandise was still left after two rainstorms. And so on October 23 all unsold articles were displayed once more, this time at the Saturday Club. There were great bargains to be had that day!

With centrally located quarters in the Jones Building, the Neighborhood League was now increasing the scope of its original activities. Experience having proved that “neither long walks, the use of a horse and carriage, nor generous volunteer help with private automobiles” were practicable in meeting the growing demands of a large field, an automobile was purchased with money raised by special contributions. Activities were varied. During the year just past 137 families had been assisted by the League.

One of the innovations was school attendance work for Radnor School District. School gardens and playgrounds were also under the supervision of the League. There was the Savings Club, with both adults and children as members. Problems of housing and sanitation were taken up. Friendly Aid Conferences were held, sewing clubs were organized as were a group of Camp Fire Girls.

The visiting nurse was continuously busy, as shown by her report that in a four month period she had made 521 “walking visits” befor the League’s automobile was purchased.

Cooperating physicians sought the help of the League for their patients. Red Cross affiliation had just been secured in the field. One of the League’s growing problems was that of finding quarters for transients, who might be stranded in Wayne overnight.

In all these branches of its growing work the League needed much financial assistance. The gift made by the Harvest Home Fete was put to immediate good use by a Board headed by Dr. G. L. S. Jameson, of St. Davids, as president. Other officers included Miss Mary L. Walsh, of Wayne, E. Lewis Burnham, of Berwyn and C. W. Wayar, of Paoli, as vice-presidents; Charles S. Walton, of St. Davids, treasurer, and Dr. Marianne Taylor, of St. Davids, secretary.

In closing this series on the Harvest Home Fete, your columnist wishes to acknowledge the loan of the complete records kept by Miss Grace Roberts, general chairman. To her, more than to any other person, was due the thanks of the community and of the Neighborhood League.

The 1912 Harvest Home Fete, part 3 – “Walmarthon”, The Log Cabin, Tuskegee Institute singers, Men’s Club of Wayne

As a community project the magnitude of the Harvest Home Fete held on the Walton estate in October 1915 is difficult to envision after the years have passed. The enthusiasm which went into the planning of the great event is the only thing that made it possible. That so many people and so many groups shared this enthusiasm is almost incredible. Probably no organization except the newly-founded Neighborhood League could even have inspired it. In the writing of it afterward “The Suburban” said: “Perhaps no other event ever brought the people of the neighborhood into such pleasant and harmonious relations as this Harvest Home Fete . . . good feeling prevailed everywhere, as shown, for example, by the closing of many of the stores to allow employes to take part in the holiday, and by the suspension of the regular schedule at the Wayne and St. Luke’s Schools, in order to give all the boys and girls an opportunity to flock to ‘Walmarthon’.”

With the beautiful grounds in readiness, with all decorations in place, with all booths and other attractions prepared, all that was needed was a fine warm day, bright with sunshine. And during the first hour or two just such weather conditions prevailed. Early comers saw a picturesque and fascinating scene as they wandered from the real gypsy fortune tellers, in their tents near the entrance, on to the many other attractions scattered throughout the vast grounds. For the moment everything gave promise that the Fete would be one of the most memorable and successful affairs in all the history of the Main Line. And so it was, in spite of almost overwhelming odds.

For the Fete had not been in progress long when the clouds gathered and the rains came. Tremendous damage was done almost at once to the gay booths, which could not be protected in time. But, of course, there were the other attractions. Dancing went on merrily on the porches of the Walton mansion, while supper was served to hundreds of people at the log cabin. Throughout the evening the brilliantly lighted grounds were thronged, although there were few chances to make purchases at any of the booths.

Plans were made to reopen the following day, and when two o’clock came the scene was again a gay one, with a promise of a large attendance. In addition to the booths, there were many other attractions, such as the “Plantation House” at the little log cabin on the grounds. Here Mrs. Walton herself had provided for singing by students from Tuskegee Institute, whose concerts were proving of such popular appeal throughout the country. The furnishings of the log cabin itself were such as to suggest plantation life. And then there was the “lemonade well”, which was built in one of the pergolas near the porch of the Walton house. Representing the Bryn Mawr Hospital Social Service, Mrs. William R. Philler was in charge of the “well.”

Punch and Judy shows were run during most of the afternoon and evening in the Thomas E. Walton garage, under the direction of John Diver. The Live Stock Exhibition and Sale, under the chairmanship of Miss Lena Newton, featured ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, and kittens. Even a donkey was on sale! The Dog Show had 133 entries, including those for pomeranians, pointers, chows, fox terriers, pekinese and airedales. There was even a prize for “the fattest child showing the fattest puppy!” This was won by Miss Eleanor Croasdale and her bull puppy, Midland II. Judges for the show were Alfred Delmont and Dr. Charles W. Reed, Jr.

Moving pictures were provided by the Men’s Club of Wayne. The Mandolin Club of Central Baptist Church played in the patio under the direction of John T. Whitaker. Among well-known musicians of the group were Gordon Mackey, Francis Adelberger, James Kromer, R. W. Houck, James W. Price, Orville Dunn, Harold Lawrence, John Newton and Archie Morrison. There was music also by the Band of Gulph Mills Boy Scout Troop 1. The Home and School League, with Louis Jaquette Palmer as chairman, sold balloons to small fry. The W.C.T.U. sold waffles and sausages.

Had the rain not interfered, supper would have been served not only in the log cabin, but on the tennis courts as well. Mrs. Charles G. Tatnall was in charge of this feature of the fete, which was well patronized in spite of the inclement weather. She was assisted by Mrs. S. S. Thornton, Mrs. Marshal Smith, Mrs. C. R. Kennedy and Mrs. Henry Roever. No less than 70 young women aides were also on hand for serving the many delicacies provided for the occasion.

For those who wanted only light refreshments, afternoon tea was to be served from 3 o’clock until 5:30 at the foot of the terraces near the upper lake. In charge of this was Mrs. J. W. England, assisted by the Misses Helen and Marion Tull, Mrs. George Boles and the Miss Marie Jefferts, Nancy Aman, Margaret England, Helen Boles, Katherine Verner and Martha Walton. A far cry from dainty sandwiches and tea was the Clam Bake run by Mrs. Leonard W. Coleman, aided by Mrs. J. Arthur Standen, Miss Bessie Bailey, Earl Knowlton and various Boy Scouts. This was to be one of the special features of the Harvest Home Fete, as indicated by the advertisement run in “The Suburban” which stated that the price would be 25 cents! Waffles and sausages were sold for the same amount while an entree supper was to be had for what would seem the trifling sum of 75 cents! And tickets of admission to the Fete, which were collected at the gate by members of the Radnor Fire Company, were only 10 cents!

(To be concluded)

The 1912 Harvest Home Fete, part 2 – A.B. Frost, Neighborhood League

The poster drawing which was used in various ways in connection with the printing for the Harvest Home Fete, held on the Charles S. Walton estate in 1915, was the joint work of a world-famous artist, A. B. Frost, and his son, John Frost. It was their contribution to the gala affair which made more than $3,500 for the Neighborhood League, which had then been established only three years. Mr. Frost and his family had become residents of Wayne in 1914, the year before the Fete was given. Posters for the affair, which had a wide distribution along the entire Main Line, were the generous contribution of a Wayne resident, Benjamin F. James, 3d, president of the Franklin Printing Company, of Philadelphia.

The drawing made by the Frosts represented a farmer silhouetted against the setting sun, a sheaf of grain under his arm, a sickle in his hand. This drawing decorated the cover of the attractive little booklet used as an invitation to the fete, as well as the tags given each person upon payment of an admission fee. It was also used on the outside cover of the elaborate programs printed for this occasion. Beautiful pictures of the Walton estate were scattered throughout this booklet, all used through the courtesy of the architect, D. Knickerbocker Boyd, or the landscape architects, Sears and Wendell. Among the former is a picture reproduced in the May 4 issue of “The Suburban” in connection with the sale of “Walmarthon.”

That such an elaborate program paid for itself is witnessed by page after page of advertising inserted by both local and city firms. Many of the former are still in business some 36 years later. Among those that are only memories are T. T. Worall & Sons, grocers; C. W. Lynam, carpenter and builder; Edgar Jones, meats; George Fox, Jr., plumbing and ventilating; Henry B. Walton, caterer and confectioner, of Bryn Mawr; Harry L. LaDow, apothecary; John Harazim, watchmaker and jeweler; Wendell and Treat, real estate; Welsh and Park, Hardware; I. V. Hale, meats and groceries and David H. Henderson, sea food. The present Philadelphia Electric Company was then known as the Counties Gas and Electric Company.

Those responsible for the general decorating scheme for all the booths at the Fete were Mrs. Louis Jacquette Palmer, Mrs. William H. Stone, Mrs. W. H. Robers, Jr., Mrs. Clarence K. Underhill, Mrs. C. W. Lincoln and Miss Margaret Hardesty.

In addition to the booths described in last week’s column there were many others. The Berwyn booth, under the direction of Mrs. William Paul Morris, assisted by an able committee, had “New England Dainties” as its specialty. These included fishballs, doughnuts, pots of Boston baked beans with loaves of brown bread, mince and pumpkin pies and tumblers of crabapple jelly. The Strafford booth, under the chairmanship of Mrs. A. Von Bernuth, assisted by Mrs. Robert S. Brodhead and Mrs. Frederick Jiggens, specialized in canned fruit and jellies, all of the home-made variety. Women from the Central Baptist Church of Wayne, working under Mrs. Thomas E. Walton, had charge of the Infants Booth. Donations for this came in “from Maine to California,” among them “a rare piece of Canton in the form of a Chinese baby’s bath tub, a beautiful antique.” The committee from the Wayne Presbyterian Church was in charge of the candy booth, all of the products of which were of the home-made variety. Mrs. Alvin P. McCarter, assisted by a very large committee, was responsible for this booth.

In those days there were two Presbyterian churches in Wayne, the more recently founded one being the Radnor Presbyterian Church, with its small edifice on the northwest corner of Windermere and Louella avenues, on the site now occupied by the Wayne Grammar school. This church took an active part in the Fete, establishing not only the household booth, but also presenting an “Autumn Leaves Party” by its Primary Class. This was directed by Mrs. W. Austin Obdyke, assisted by Mrs. Harold Freeman, Miss Lyons and Miss Josephine Scott. A list of “smy fry” who participated in this party makes interesting reading at this date! Among them were John Howson, Mary Douglas Lyons, Bun Peterson, Richard Keator, Thomas Willey, Charles Scherr, Ivan Dufur, Marion Schofield, Evelyn and Dorothea Waples, Erica Stahlknecht and Elizabeth Howson.

Dolls and toys were features at the Saturday Club booth with Mrs. A. R. Elliot as its chairman. Among those serving on her large committee were Mrs. Henry Roever, Mrs. William B. Riley, Mrs. W. Allen Barr and Mrs. P. S. Conrad. St. Katarine’s Church chose a “General Attraction Table” with Mrs. Clarence Tolan as the chair-man. The Wayne Methodist Church served ice cream and cake on the lawn near the Log Cabin with Mrs. Charles B. Stilwell in charge. The First Baptist Church had the cake table, under the leadership of Mrs. A. W. Childs and her large committee. The Garden Club of Wayne had a “Gypsy Camp”, where fortune telling was the order of the day. Arrangements for this were mad by Mrs. Charles Quimby and a number of other garden lovers.

“Country Produce” was sold at the booth manned by a group of Friends, among them Miss Sara Thomas, Mrs. J. S. C. Harvey, Miss Mary Hibbard, Mrs. Edwin Thomas and Mrs. Charles Edgarton. Radnor residents operating under Mrs. Isaac Clothier, Jr., Mrs. John Kent Kane and Mrs. George E. Starr, wold flowers at their booth. The W. C. T. U. specialized in waffles and sausages.

(To be continued)