Opera House (Lyceum Hall) fire, Post Master Milton J. Porter, Welsh & Parks Hardware Store, more fires, The George Clay Fire Company

In the early morning hours of December 30, 1914, Wayne experienced its worst fire since the one that in March, 1900, burned the Bellevue Hotel to the ground. This time the conflagration was in another of Wayne’s early landmarks, the Opera House, built in the early 1870’s on ground donated by Henry Askin, one of the founders of this suburban community.

The building known as Lyceum Hall, when it was first erected, was originally used for lectures, debates and amateur theatricals. In 1889 the Wayne Estate enlarged the small stage, adding a new proscenium and scene shifts. At about this same time the third floor was renovated to serve as quarters for Wayne Lodge No. 581, F. and A. Masons, which was instituted there in 1890.

Then again in 1903 the building itself was remodeled and enlarged, provision being made at that time for the housing of the Wayne Post Office. Thereafter, it became the center of community activities for Wayne with the Euterpean concerts and other events of sociaJ and musical interest being given there. And not long before the time of the fire, the Messrs. Allen began to show their moving pictures at the Opera House, that being the flrst motion picture theater in Wayne.

The fire of December, 1914, started in the second story of the Gas Company’s office next door to the Opera House at about 1:30 in the morning. A call to the Radnor Police Department brought a quick response by the two engines of the Radnor Fire Company. Otis Hunsicker recalls that the first fire engine to be built by the Hale Company was in the shop, complete except for paint. So dire was the need for it that it was called into use just as it was, soon after the onset of the fire. In addition, a hurry call was sent to Berwyn, Devon, Bryn Mawr and Merion No. 1, aIthough the latter did not actually get into service.

At one time eight streams of water were playing on the fire, which soon worked its way up under the eaves of the Opera House, where it could not effectively be reached by the firemen because of the height of the building. Indeed, a number of firemen had a narrow escape from death on the top floor of the building when the “back draft” so much dreaded by all fire fighters, exploded. Dense clouds of smoke nearly asphyxiated these men before they could reach the steps.

Milton J. Porter, who was postmaster at that time, with the help of his employees and of volunteers, saved not only all the moveable furniture in the post office section of the Opera House, but also all mail, stamps and records. Miss H. Ada Detterline, of the post office force, had a miraculous escape from death when she was struck by a falling cornice and severely injured as she was assisting in the removal of these records. Temporary quarters were immediately set up in the Wayne Title and Trust building, and by 11:00 o’clock the following morning the outgoing mail was gotten off.

Practically the entire stock of the Welsh and Park Hardware Store was ruined by water. Less than two hours after the onset of the fire, Mr. Welsh had leased a vacant store in Union Hall and by noon had given an order to the Supplee-Biddle Company in Philadelphia for new stock, the first load of which was brought out by Herbert George in his truck that evening.

The Allens moved their motion pictures to St. Katharine’s Hall, where they were shown for some time thereafter. Their screen and piano were burned up in the fire, although the motion picture machine was saved. Andrew J. Martin, of the Wayne Plumbing and Heating Company, estimated their loss at about $3,000, with a large quantity of tools destroyed and the main office and cellar flooded by water. In the Gas Company’s office all the papers and records of John L. Mather were destroyed. These records covered his entire term of service with the Electric Light Company and the Wayne Steam Heat Company, as well as with the U. G. I. However, books of the company were in the fireproof safe.

Wendell and Treat estimated their loss at about $30,000, while the Wayne Lodge suffered a loss of some $2,000 in the way of furniture and fixtures. That the office of the Wayne Estate was saved was due to the good work of Charles R. Kennedy and of Otis Hunsicker.

According to the account of this spectacular fire as given in “The Suburban” of January 1, 1915, “nearly everyone in Wayne and St. Davids was there. . . all fire companies did fine service with especial credit due to the Hale Motor Company engine in charge of Charles J. Young.” The slate roof of the Presbyterian Church next door to the Opera House was probably the only thing that saved it from destruction since a continuous shower of sparks swept that way. Indeed, that anything in the general vicinity was saved seems miraculous in view of the limited fire fighting facilities of Wayne and its neighboring communities in 1914 as compared to those of the present.

Among the smaller, but yet important fires of the period when Wayne had but the two fire engines, was that on the G. L. Warner place, a short distance from Martin’s Dam, when in March, 1913, the barn was completely destroyed although all the horses and cattle were saved. When the alarm was sounded Chief Wilkins with Guy Hallowell., E. J. Wendell and Otis Hunsicker made a quick run in Mr. Wendell’s automobile.

When they found the barn a complete mass of fiames on their arrival they immediately set to work to save the rest of the buildings. The first step in this direction was to build a dam across a small creek that ran near the barn, using fence ralls, stones and sod in its construction. When the rest of the firemen got there they found plenty of water for their pump. in this dam. For three hours Chief Wilkins with 15 of his men worked successfully to save the surrounding buildings.

The first big residential fire after the acquisition of the two automobile engines was that of the Edward A. Schmidt residence at Radnor in September, 1909. The nearest water was from a lily pond about 900 feet from the house. When the pumps had exhausted that supply their chemical apparatus was brought into play, putting the fire under control after two or three hours’ time.

On the way to the Isaac H. Clothier, Jr. estate in the bitter cold weather of November, 1917, both of the Radnor engines broke down. However, they eventually joined the Bryn Mawr Fire Company, the Merion Fire Company, and the George W. Clay Company from Conshohocken at the scene of the destruction of the old fashioned stable where the flames spread so quickly that a number of prize winning hunters and a pony belonging to the Clothier children perished in the flames.

A few months later, in May, 1918, I the Radnor Fire Company was called to the J. J Kearsley Mitchell place on Spring Mill road, where the garage, which also housed the chauffeur’s family, was already a mass of flames when they arrived. Despite their most valiant efforts the 16-months-old baby of the chauffeur was burned to death in sight of several of the Wayne firemen, who got ladders up to the I room in which the crib stood, only to be beaten back by the violence of the flames. Together the George Clay Fire Company and the Radnor Fire Company pieced out 2000 feet of hose to stretch to a pond from which they pumped water in relays in order to save several greenhouses and other buildings, since there was no other water on the hilltop on which these buildings were located.

(To Be Continued)

Villanova College fires, Elmer Stable fire

The first of three disastrous fires which Villanova College has experienced within the past 40 years occurred on January 10, 1912. Many of the dramatic details of that bitter cold day, when the clothing of the firemen froze as soon as water touched it, have been told to your columnist by two of the old time firemen who were in the midst of the fight against a blaze, which for a time, threatened several other buildings on the campus, in addition to St. Rita’s Hall. These two are Charles E. Clark and Otis G. Hunsicker. Probably there are many others in the community who, either as firemen or spectators, remember the occasion.

The burned structure was the ” oldest of the College group, having been erected in 1808, almost 40 years before it was purchased for use as the original monastery of the Augustinian Order. At the time of the fire St. Rita’s Hall was occupied as a dormitory by students preparing for the priesthood.

The fire, which broke out about two o’clock in the afternoon, was first fought by the students themselves before alarms were sent in to the Radnor Fire Company, the Bryn Mawr Fire Company, Merion No.1, the Autocar Company and the Union Fire Company of Bala and Narbeth.

The Radnor boys got the first water on the blaze, although very shortly afterwards four other streams were playing on it. The structure of the building made the fire exceedingly difficult to fight. However, Radnor soon got its line of hose right into the midst of the flames, pouring thousands of gallons of water where it was most effective.

Even Tolentine Academy, which, was only some ten or fifteen feet away from St. Rita’s Hall did not catch fire, which, according to the account in “The Suburban” of January 12, “was due to the intelligent work of the volunteer firemen.”

Although none from the Radnor Fire Company was injured, several from other companies had to be treated in the College Infirmary and by doctors and nurses sent in, the ambulance from Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Charles Clark still recalls that when his frozen clothing had to be removed, the only other available garments at the moment were priestly ones!

Coffee and sandwiches were served to the fire fighters as the afternoon wore on, and it became more and more evident that the flames were under control. At one time it was feared that St. Thomas of Villanova Church and many of the other buildings might be imperiled. That they were all saved was due not only to the heroic work of the several fire companies, but to the help of college students as well. At one time a number of the latter were kept busy wheeling soft coal in wheel barrows from the basement of the main building to supply the Bryn Mawr steamer.

By six o’clock that evening the fire was under control. With most of the contents except those on the fourth floor saved, the loss was still estimated at approximately $75,000 by the Reverend Doctor E. G. Dohan, then president of the College. Many of the firemen stayed on until midnight, in order to watch smoldering embers that might burst into flames again.

Returning to the fire house in Wayne, where they put their equipment in shape, the firemen had but a few hours sleep before the siren sounded again. This time it was a call to the stable and garage on the John A. Brown place near Devon. In spite of their weariness, the fire laddies were on the scene within seven minutes after the alarm was sounded. It was necessary to keep the fire in check with chemicals at first, until the Radnor Fire Company could borrow additional hose from Berwyn, since the stables were about 1500 feet from the source of water supply.

Back at the Fire House again, the firemen did not even have time to thaw out their hose before John Purnell, who was working for Dr. Elmer at the time, rushed across the street to say that the second floor of the Elmer stable was on fire. Awakening from sleep, Purnell had found his bed on fire from a nearby coal oil stove. First carrying the stove outside, he had then run across Audubon avenue to summon help from the fire company.

About a dozen members of the company who were still attempting to thaw out their hose, soon brought the fire under control, thus saving not only that property, but the George M. Aman stable as well, since it practically adjoined that of Dr. Elmer’s. The Aman house was then situated on the site of the present Post Office building.

Thus ended about 36 hours of almost continous duty for Wayne’s firemen in the sub-zero weather of January, 1912.

In May of the same year Radnor Company firemen, under Chief Wilkins, made a quick early morning run to the William T. Wright estate south of Wayne, only to find the stables already beyond saving. Due to a mistake in sending out the alarm from the Wright home, the fire already had almost an hour’s start on the firemen. They worked heroically to save the other buildings, knowing that at any moment there might be a terrific explosion from a quantity of dynamite and boxes of fulmination caps and fuses stored in the garage, in addition to a large tank of gasoline under the fioor of the building.

Tons of water were thrown on the blaze by the combined forces of the Radnor and Bryn Mawr Fire companies, their source of supply being a 36,000 gallon reservoir recently constructed on the Wright property. Dense smoke and intense heat almost suffocated the firemen who handled the nozzles in relays, being able to work between the buildings for only a minute or two at a time.

Although horses, carriages, harness and other equipment were saved earlier by the neighbors and by servants on the Wright estate, the stable, a building which had been remarkable for its architectural beauty, was a total loss, with a value of about $50,000 placed on it. Most tragic of all were the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. James Stewart, employees of the Wright’s, who lived in the second fioor apartment of the stable. Mr. Stewart was carried from the flaming building while still alive, although he died later in the Bryn Mawr Hospital. After hours of patient search, all that remained of Mrs. Stewart’s body was found in the ruins of the fire by Otis Hunsicker, of the Radnor Fire Company.

(To be Continued)

1911 Fifth Annual Convention of the Delaware County Firemen’s Association and parade, the historic Darby Ram, local fires, local entertainment

The second division of the parade held in Wayne on Saturday, June 10, 1911, to celebrate the Fifth Annual Convention of the Delaware County Firemen’s Association, was made up solely of representatives from the county fire companies. This was in contrast to the first division, as described in this column last week, which was comprised of representatives from Malvern, Berwyn, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Ardmore and Norristown. In addition to these, the historic Darby Ram had a place of honor as the oldest piece of fire fighting apparatus known to be in existence anywhere.

Darby was also chosen to head the second division of the parade, since its fire company is one of the oldest in this section of the country. Chief Lockert, of Darby Company No.1, was at the head of his 62 men in the line of march. They were followed by 45 blue coated fire fighters from Swarthmore, who were accompanied by a band of 23 pieces from West Philadelphia.

The Darby Township Company of Folcroft marched in tan coats and white helmets, while the Glenolden fire laddies wore their new brown uniforms. The uniforms of the Norwood firemen consisted of long blue coats, dark trousers and helmets; those of Collingdale’s 52 marchers wore white duck trousers with blue shirts topped by blue caps. With their band of 25 pieces “many voted this the best appearing company in the line, always excepting Radnor.”

Clifton Heights had the distinction of having the only ambulance in the parade, this being in addition to a complete complement of I’ apparatus. The ambulance is described as “one made according to the newest design, filled with all I the necessities of immediate attention to the sick or injured.” In it rode a physician and a trained nurse. For the occasion of the Wayne parade, this ambulance was decorated with bunting and with flowers, including a handsome floral bell. Clifton Heights’ display was accompanied by the Garrettford Band.

Among other Delaware County companies in the line of march were those from Lansdowne, Ridley Park, Folsom, Highland Park, Morton, Lester, Sharon Hill, Eddystone and Leiperville. Woxpen of the auxiliaries from Folsom, Morton, Clifton Heights and Garrettsford, riding in gaily decorated buses, added a bit of feminine touch

Last in the line was the Radnor contingent, of 45 men dressed in their green uniforms, black gauntlets and shining black puttees, presenting “the finest appearance of any Company in the long line”, according to “The Suburban” account of June 16. Marching wtth military precision, this group was headed by their president, Eugene C. Bonniwell, Fire Chief Charles E. Clark and Fred H. Treat, treasurer. Following them were the auto-engine, driven by George Lentz and the truck driven by Paul Comins, still so new that Wayne could feel very proud of their shining appearance.

Accompanying the Wayne representation was the Bryn Mawr Band of 30 pieces. This constituted the line-up of that Saturday parade of June 10, 1911, in which “were the brain and brawn of Delaware County’s best citizenship, heroes of a hundred fires, the saviors of thousands of dollars worth of property.” At any rate it was, to date, the largest parade the Delaware County Firemen’s Association had ever assembled.

At the close of march, which covered all the main streets of North and South Wayne, all bands, banners and apparatus were massed for a march from Louella avenue along Lancaster avenue to the Opera House corner, and thence to the school grounds, where the ceremonies ended with the playing of “America” by all the bands present.

After the procession was disbanded, substantial refreshments were served to all of its participants from four tables, each about 350 feet long, which had been especially erected on the school grounds for the occasion. Local entertainment continued throughout the evening in the way of a vaudeville entertainment at the Opera House, dances at Union Hall and at St. Katharine’s Hall and a smoker at the Fire House. So ended one of the biggest days in Wayne’s history, and one of its most colorful.

Among several old timers of the Radnor Fire Department to whom your columnist has talked recently has been Otis G. Hunsicker, who came to Wayne from Conshohocken as a young man in 1906 to drive for the late Herman Wendell. At first he was too youthful and inexperienced to do more than “run with the fire company” and to “help gather up the hose”. However, he eventually drove one of Wayne’s two automobile fire engines to a small fire one day, and that night he was voted into the Fire Company.

Mr. Hunsicker, who now lives on Conestoga road in Wayne, remembers vividly many of the occasions on which these two fire engines were called into action. Usually he rode with the pumper, since he “loved to pump the water.” This second piece of fire fighting apparatus to be used by the Radnor Fire Company was indeed “his baby”, as he stilI affectionately calls it.

One of the first large fires to which he was called was that at Villanova College in January, 1912, while another was the blaze at the W. T. Wright estate the following June, when a woman was burned to death before she could be rescued. Of particular local interest is the Wayne Opera House fire, which occurred in December, 1914. Some of these fires of 40 years ago and more will be described to the readers of this column in next week’s issue.

1911 Fifth Annual Convention of the Delaware County Firemen’s Association and parade

If the weather on Memorial Day, 1908, was so wet that many of the plans for gala housing festivities for Wayne’s two first motor driven fire engines had to be abandoned, the weather on Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10, 1911, more than made up for it.

These were the dates chosen long in advance for the Fifth Annual Convention of the Delaware County Firemen’s Association, to be held in Wayne, with the Radnor Fire Company as hosts. As far in advance as February 24, “The Suburban” announced community plans for “the greatest demonstration of firemen and equipment that has been seen in this county for many years.”

By May 26 plans had developed to such an extent that the paper announced that “the eyes of Eastern Pennsylvania are now on Wayne, for the coming parade promises to eclipse anything heretofore held in this part of the sate, excepting in Philadelphia.” And with the cooperation of other Delaware County fire companies, as well as of many other neighboring companies, this promise was more than fulfilled when both Friday and Saturday dawned clear and bright.

When the first convention of the Delaware County Firemen’s Association was held in 1907, there were but nine companies represented. Four years later membership in the Association had increased to 29 out of a potential 35 throughout Delaware County. The Association was at that time the largest one-county organization not only in Pennsylvania, but in the entire United States. Charles S. Salin, of Ridley Park, was the president.

In charge of local arrangements for the 1911 convention were Charles M. Wilkins, chairman; Martin Mulhall, treasurer; Charles E. Clark, secretary; with George Lentz, Nathan P. Pechin and David Henderson serving on the committee. Eugene C. Bonniwell–now a Philadelphia jurist–was president of the Radnor Fire Company and Fred H. Treat, treasurer, while Charles E. Clark was the Fire Chief.

Early in May a mass meeting, presided over by Mr. Bonniwell, was held in the Saturday Club, to lay tentative plans for the Convention before the community and to enlist interest and support, financial and otherwise. It was estimated at this time that about $2,000 would be needed to made the affair a success.

With the convention lasting two days, it was necessary also to provide for the entertainment of some of the firemen as the guests of the well-known “Main Line Millionaire Fire Company” as Wayne’s group was often called, though the Bryn Mawr Company had originally been so named. Not only was it necessary to plan for the entertainment of the firemen, but also for the members of the Ladies Auxiliaries, who in many cases would accompany them. This responsibility was assumed by the members of the Saturday Club.

Although the parade was not scheduled to take place until Saturday afternoon, the convention opened on Friday night at the Wayne Opera House, with Mr. Salin presiding at the business meeting. Following an invocation by Rev. Joseph F. O’Keefe, rector of St. Katharine’s Church, Mr. Bonniwell gave the welcoming address, followed by the presentation of a handsome floral key to President Salin. The main speaker of the evening was President Judge Isaac Johnson, of the Delaware County Courts.

In his talk on “Civic Duties of a Citizen Fireman”, Judge Johnson compared the work of the volunteer fireman to that of the soldier, since both risk their health and their lives for the preservation of the lives and property of other people. The former even do so, he stated, without any thought of pay or remuneration of any kind. Exercises closed with a prayer by the Rev. H. E. Walhey, of the Wayne Methodist Church.

Both by night and by day Wayne proclaimed its welcome to its visitors by its gala appearance. By night thousands of colored electric lights glowed in the business section and at the arches at the Railroad Station and on the grounds of Dr. Robert P. Elmer’s home opposite the fire house, where a court of honor had been built.

Places of business and residences throughout the town were decorated with flags and bunting for the five-mile march of 1500 firemen and musicians “over the broad, beautifully shaded avenues of Wayne and St. Davids”. The community was “one mass of light and night as well as color by day.”

Members of visiting fire companies began to arrive in Wayne by 9:30 on that bright Saturday morning. They continued to arrive steadily until 2:30 o’clock, when the three special trains chartered from the Pennsylvania Railroad came into Wayne station. All day mounted aides met each company, not only at this station, but at the Wayne-St. Davids station of the Philadelphia & Western. Upon arrival each company was escorted to its place of formation in the parade.

At four o’clock, to the music of many bands, the parade got under way with Captain Leonard Haskett, of the Radnor Township Police Department, riding at its head. With Captain Haskett were six of his own men as well as four members of the State constabulary, from the Wyoming Station at Wilkes Barre. Next in line was President Salin of the Delaware County Firemen’s Association. Immediately behind him rode and marched those visiting firemen who were not in the Delaware County district. First of these were 65 volunteers from the Malvern Fire Company in their gray uniforms, drawing the hose cart of their company and accompanied by their 27 piece band.

Next in line were the firemen from Haverford, with their Fife and Drum Corps of 17 pieces, followed by the Bryn Mawr Company, at whose head marched their handsome Chief, Israel H. Supplee, who had previously taken several prizes in other parades as the “largest and best appearing fireman”.

The Bryn Mawr contingent included 62 men in their blue uniforms, with their handsome steamer and combination truck. Then came the Autocar Company of Ardmore, “few in number, but mighty in action”. Merion Number 1 with their auto truck and hook and ladder also sent 20 men from Ardmore. berwyn Fire Company, 30 strong, with the Morstein Fife and Drum Corps of 15 pieces, was also in line.

Among the most interesting pieces of fire apparatus in this First Division of the parade was the “Darby Ram”, said to be the oldest piece of fire fighting apparatus in existence anywhere. With it was an old hand engine and leather hose of many generations past. In contrast to this was the new $7,000 auto truck of the Montgomery Hose and Steam Fire Engine Company of Norristown, which made its first public appearance at this parade, and which formed the last unit in the First Division, the Second being made up of Delaware County Fire Companies.

(To be Continued)

Radnor Fire Company: 1908 Memorial Day Parade, Union Hall festivities

Memorial Day, which feel on Saturday in 1906, was chosen by the Radnor Fire Company for the housing of their first two automobile fire engines, pictures of which were shown in this column last week. This was soon after the purchase of the Knox Waterous gas engine of the two cylinder, air-cooled type. The first piece was the Knox combined automobile and hose wagon, purchased in 1906.

By this time Wayne was very much in the public eye in the entire Philadelphia area because of its pioneering in the field of gasoline driven fire-fighting apparatus. Up to 1906 fire engines throughout the entire United States were horsedrawn. The purchase of that first small Knox hose wagon by Wayne marked the initial step in the transition from horsedrawn apparatus to gasoline-propelled fire engines throughout the country. Small wonder that some 25 engine companies, some from as far away as Delaware, responded with eagerness to invitations sent them by the Radnor Fire Company to join in the celebration of the housing of these two automobile fire engines.

Only the month before, Chief McLaughlin, of the Philadelphia Electrical Bureau, accompanied by William T. Brown, Jr., electrical engineer of the Bureau, and two officials from the Fire Department of Woodbury, N. J., had come to Wayne to inspect the newly-purchased fire equipment. There they had been met by Chief Charles M. Wilkins, who gave them full opportunity to examine the engines. At the suggestion of the Philadelphia representative this apparatus “was subjected to every test and met every requirement”, according to “The Suburban” of April 10, 1908, in an article which goes on to quote Chief McLaughlin as saying:

“After that inspection I am convinced we are away behind in the equipment of our Fire Department. I saw that apparatus send a stream of water an inch thick through 300 feet of hose 125 feet in the air. The pressure from the main was 45 lbs. to the square inch, which the pumps increased by 115 lbs. The engine was of 45 horsepower and was got under way in 90 seconds. It was the most remarkable demonstration I have ever seen.

“We went to inspect the apparatus at the request of Director Clay, who wishes to provide better fire protection for the outlying districts of Philadelphia. With apparatus such as we saw at Wayne located at Germantown, Kensington, Chestnut Hill, Frankford, Tacony and Manayunk, I feel those sections would be well protected, and I shall make such a recommendation tot he Director. The initial cost of $4500 for each truck with its contents. The gasoline costs about $2 a month, according to Chief Wilkins at Wayne, and it seems to me the whole thing is a much more efficient and economical system than the one we now have in Philadelphia.” (Mr. Andrew Fritz tells your columnist that gasoline was then 9 cents a gallon!)

With this interest on both the part of the Department of Public Safety of Philadelphia and that of the Electrical Bureau, it was natural that Philadelphia should plan to participate in the Memorial Day celebration in Wayne by sending a prized piece of their historical equipment. This was to be one of the oldest hand engines in the United States. Accompanying this historical piece of fire apparatus would be a detail from the old Philadelphia Volunteers.

Among the other early acceptances to the invitation extended by the Radnor Fire Company were those from the Washington and Brandywine Company, of Coatesville, the Old York Road Company, of Ashbourne; the Atlantic City Volunteers, the Minqua’s Fire Company, of Newport, Delaware, and from the Genside, Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Devon and Berwyn fire companies. In the end some 25 companies from far and near had signified their intention to help celebrate the auspicious occasion in Wayne. The Bryn Mawr Band was engaged in advance and a number of visiting companies agreed to bring their bands with them.

Indeed this parade according to “The Suburban” of May 22, would probably be “the most imposing one ever seen in Wayne”, with nearly 1000 firemen marching in its ranks. For its part Wayne would have its entire equipment in the line, seven pieces in all, including those from the old North Wayne Fire Department. Some of the smaller carts would be drawn by school children.

The parade was to form on Audubon avenue near the former high school building with wings resting on Windermere and Runnymede avenues. Headed by the Radnor Township Mounted Police they would proceed along a route that would eventually cover most of the streets in both South and North Wayne.

The exercises pertaining to the actual housing were to be performed by the neighboring company of Bryn Mawr, with the Old Volunteer Firemen of Philadelphia housing the pumping engine. Luncheon was to be served at Union Hall (now the Masonic Building) with the banquet of the local fire company to be held at the Waynewood apartment house (now the Wayne Hotel).

The festivities were to close with a ball at Union Hall. The ladies of the community were urged to help entertain visitors “in home-like fashion” by sending donations of “cakes, sandwiches, meats or any of the edibles for which the housewives of Wayne are noted” . . . “As for the gentlemen, they may do their part by making small donations of cash for the expenses necessary to be incurred.” Charles E. Clark recalls that Arthur L. Holmes, for many years a resident of Summit avenue, was the first man to make such a donation.

With all plans made for the big occasion, Saturday turned out to be “the very worst day that  the weather man has handed out in many years” according to the story appearing in “The Suburban” the following week. Nevertheless, the engines were housed and the parade was held in spite of the fact that only about seven out of the 25 fire companies who had accepted invitations were able to be present. But when they actually did get under way shortly after 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, the “Radnor boys and the visiting firemen to the number of almost 300 fell into line and went over an abbreviated line of march. Making up in enthusiasm for lack of numbers, David A. Henderson was grand marshal of the parade, “bearing his honors with becoming dignity”.

At the housing itself the Rev. Samuel M. Thompson, at that time pastor of the Wayne Methodist Church, offered the invocation. Members of the Bryn Mawr Fire Company housed the combination automobile-chemical engine while their band played “The Star Spangled Banner”. Franklin Co. No. 1, of Chester, then ran the auto truck into the engine house to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”, played by the Upland Band. Riding in the truck as it was placed in the house were William Wood, M. C. Carey and “Cap” Clark. Charles E. Clark, to whose family “Cap” was not related despite the similarity of the names, recalls him as the “champion life-saver of Atlantic City” and a volunteer fireman with many years of service to his credit.

Following the formalities of the housing, W. W. Hearne, president of the Fire Company, introduced another resident of Wayne, Thodore J. Grayson, Esq., who gave an address apropos of the occasion, in which he paid tribute to the men who had handled the old hand drawn engine and hose carriage “with the same spirit that animates the firemen of today”. Mr. Hearne was also toastmaster at the annual banquet at which there were only about 50 diners at the end of that wet day. Since no mention was made in “The Suburban” account of the ball which had been scheduled as the grand finale of this great occasion, it is assumed it did not take place.

(To be continued)