1912 Labor Day: Refreshment stand on Wayne School field, decorated autos

17_image01As this columnist reminisced with Otis Hunsicker over a number of old pictures, in preparation for last week’s story on Wayne’s 1912 Labor Day celebration, both recognized at once the man in the picture, shown above, as Philip DeMarse, Wayne’s well-known and popular barber. It is only a few years since Mr. DeMarse retired from active business, after well over 40 years of serving Wayne’s citizens, both as children and as adults. As the writer can full well testify, probably none hold Mr. DeMarse in greater esteem than the mothers of children, with whose antics he always showed such infinite patience.

This Labor Day celebration of 1912 was also, in its way, a personal celebration for Mr. DeMarse, since it was just four years before, on Labor Day, 1908, that he himself first came to Wayne to make his home and to begin his business career. Born in Italy, he came to America when he was seven years old, first settling with his family in New York and later coming to Philadelphia.

His first job in Wayne was with Clement Grasch, who had a cigar store and barber shop on Lancaster avenue. After that he worked in various locations, the last being a shop in the Anthony Wayne Theatre Building, the ground for which he had sold to Harry Fried for the erection of his motion picture house.

The advertisement on the shed back of Mr. DeMarse seems to show that he was selling Crane’s ice cream and soft drinks to the Labor Day crowds.

Mr. DeMarse has identified the small boy standing between the two little girls as his own son, Francis, now Dr. Francis DeMarse of Chicago. The first woman on Mr. DeMarse’s left is Mrs. Edward Fritz, with her daughter, the other little girl being a niece of Michael McVeigh, the proprietor of the shoe shop then located at the rear of the fire house. While he could not name the woman at the end of the table, Mr. DeMarse believes that the one next to her is Mrs. Lynn Fritz.

The wooden shed, just back of the refreshment stand, was one in which the tire company kept various odds and ends. The fire house, without its present additions, is the building next to the shed, facing on what was then known as Audubon avenue, recently changed to South Wayne avenue. The picture clearly shows the rear door which opened onto the school field, thus giving exits both to the east and west for the fire engines.

Mr. Hunsicker recalls, with amusement, the very early days of the fire company, when the horses to pull the hose reel and combination chemical wagon had to be brought from the stables of the R.H. Johnson Company before the apparatus could get under way.

The building to the rear left of the picture is the old Coffee House, which stood on the approximate site of the present high school gymnasium. The building to the rear right is easily recognizable as Masonic Hall, which now houses the Wayne Red Cross Branch on its first floor.

17_image02The picture shown above is that of the elaborately decorated automobile of Dr. J.M.L.Ward, one of Wayne’s best known citizens, as it was driven in the Labor Day parade by Dr. Ward himself. Of this parade, “The Suburban” of that week said, “What it lacked in numbers, the parade of automobiles made up in the beautifully decorated machines which participated. Trimmed with bunting and festooned with the choicest floral offerings, hydrangeas, scarlet sage, asters, etc., most of the automobiles were veritable bowers of beauty. When all were so charmingly adorned it would seem almost invidious to make special mention of any particular one. There were several unique features, however, that attracted attention. One, especially, was a float on which was seated Dr. Norman Sinclair, Harold Stilwell and Herbert Lienhardt, representing respective political candidates, Woodrow Wilson, Colonel Roosevelt and President Taft. Another machine which created the greatest amusement was that driven by Douglas Wendell. On the front of it was a gigantic moose head typifying the Bull Moose party. Seated in the auto in addition to the driver, who was dressed as Uncle Sam, was George Long, who gave an excellent characterization of the strenuous Teddy; and Huber Stilwell, who was simply great in his take off of the Common People, the famous cartoon character that Herbert Johnston exploited in the ‘North American.’ ”

(To be continued)

1912 Labor Day: Town carnival; T. T. Worrall & Sons grocery delivery trucks

In writing this column each week, there are often two stories involved. One story is the published story; the other is the unpublished background which concerns the means by which the information and the pictures for the column have been obtained. Pictures and information are rarely supplied together. More frequently, the writer must seek to relate one to the other. This second “story” is often as interesting as the final combination of pictures and story, as it appears in “Your Town and My Town.”

16_image01For some time the writer has had in her possession eight pictures, lent to her by Otis G. Hunsicker, of Conestoga road, one of Wayne’s old-time citizens. Mr. Hunsicker’s memories of the community go back to 1906 when, as a young man, he came here from Conshohocken to drive for the late Herman Wendell.

Recently, Mr. Hunsicker and the writer got together to discuss these pictures, all eight of which obviously portray a big festival of some type, which was held on the school field on a holiday of some year now long past. But what holiday? What year? And where to get more information about one of the largest and most interesting groups of pictures that had recently came our way? Mr. Hunsicker had narrowed the choice of holidays down to the Fourth of July or Labor Day. Beyond that we could not go.

And then came our clue when a magnifying glass showed that the license plate on the grocery and meat delivery truck of T.T. Worrall and Sons was of the year 1912! Your columnist immediately turned to the files of “The Suburban” for that year, and found a complete story that included both the Fourth of July and Labor Day. It seemed that this big, day-long, outdoor event was planned for Labor Day, 1912, because of a feeling of discontent on the part of the townspeople of Wayne that there had been no general celebration of any kind on the Fourth of July.

16_image02During July and early August, 1912, a small article appeared in the columns of “The Suburban” each week, all indicative that come Labor Day, which fell on September 6 that year, there would be a celebration that would more than make up for a quiet and uneventful Fourth of July.

In the August 16 issue of “The Suburban” came the announcement that “all arrangements which had been under way for the big event had been completed by the ladies in charge.” It would be “a day given over to sports, beginning early in the morning and continuing all day… events open to all… handsome trophies now on exhibition at LaDow’s drugstore… in the afternoon, Narberth and Wayne will meet in a regular championship baseball game… special feature of the day to be the fine music rendered by the Bryn Mawr Band, under the leadership of Director Giersch… events of the morning to be principally for the children, consisting of hoop and pushmobile races and a ‘bicycle parade.’ ”

Also there were to be “tennis tournaments with men’s and women’s singles… track sports and midget relay races.” And last, but not least, there was to be “a parade of gaily decorated automobiles,” of which vehicles Wayne, in the year 1912, possessed only a few!

Names of the active workers on the committee for the big celebration are those still remembered 43 years later as among the public spirited men and women of their time. Among them were Mrs. W. Allen Barr, Dr. Joseph C. Egbert, S. Warren Hall, Mr. and Mrs. A.N. Hosking, Walter S. Mertz, Mrs. W.A. Nichols, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Randall, Mrs. William B. Riley, Mrs. Parke Schoch, Fred Treat and Walter Whetstone. The list of judges for the events included such well-known men and women as Eugene C. Bonniwell, Major Duval, General W.A. Wiedersheim, Mrs. Thomas A. Walton and Miss Nina Miel.

And as a final publicity-blurb in the August 30 issue of “The Suburban” – The week before the eventful Labor Day – the following had a prominent place in the columns of the paper:
“If visible movement is an indication of life, we may definitely say Wayne is an active corpse. Everyone seems to have a move on since the Carnival idea sprang up. From little folks to grown-ups, they are all sending in their applications.”

(To be continued)

Antique Auto Club of America: Ted Brooks’ 1912 touring cars, Dr. Smedley’s 1913 Buick roadster.

15_image01The Antique Auto Club of America is now an organization with a membership of well over 5,000 men and women, scattered over the entire United States, extending into Canada and England. When it was founded in November, 1935, it had but 14 members. Theodore B. Brooks, of Windermere avenue, known to his host of friends everywhere as “Ted,” was one of this group.

Always a familiar figure in and around Wayne, he is little short of a sensation when he drives his 1912 White touring car. Especially is this true when there are any strangers in our midst. To old timers, Ted’s love of antique automobiles is a familiar thing, dating back to his ownership of a 1913 Buick roadster, given him by the late Dr. Charles D. Smedley.

Even as a youngster Ted was always interested in old cars. He tells us that he came into possession of the Smedley car because he looked at it so often and so longingly, after it had gone into retirement, that the doctor gave it to him. At that time, it was on blocks in the stable at the rear of what is now the Township Building, on East Lancaster avenue. This was Doctor Smedley’s second car, the first having been a two-cylinder Autocar in which he sometimes took Ted and his sister for rides “down the Pike” at what was then considered the breathtaking speed of about 25 miles per hour.

The picture of the old Buick roadster was taken some years ago by Ted Brooks, after be had taken two of his neighbors, Mrs. William Gookin and the latter’s son, Bill Gookin, for a ride. At that time the Brooks and Gookin families both lived on Brookside avenue. His recollections in connection with his first car, include the day in 1935 when he won a prize by covering the distance between Coatesville and Convention Hall in Philadelphia in 59 minutes. He was supposed to have had a motor escort, but somehow connections were missed.

The car was in many parades while it was in his possession, among them Hallowe’en celebrations in Wayne, and a Philadelphia parade for Alfred M. Landon, when the Kansan was Republican presidential candidate.

Among other interesting events in which Mr. Brooks took part were three of the well-known “Glidden Tours” for old automobiles, upon their revival in 1946, after a lapse of more than 30 years. This year’s Antique Auto Club of America tour will take its participants into Canada.

Eventually, the Buick roadster was sold by its Wayne owner to a man in Downingtown, who later took it to Virginia. Mr. Brooks then bought a 1912 Haymes car, in Ambler, for $25. His third purchase was a 1909 Buick, which had belonged to Charles H. Stewart, of St. Davids. In 1941 he acquired his present car, “sight unseen,” from another member of the Antique Auto Club, driving it back to Wayne from New York the night of its purchase.

15_image02This current antique of Mr. Brooks is a handsome car, always kept at its shining best, although used fairly frequently. It is a 1912, six-cylinder White touring car with four forward speeds and 60 horsepower. It can maintain a speed of 65 to 70 miles per hour in fourth gear. Its original cost was $5,000, with the top and windshield as extras. In the picture shown at the head of this column, this impressive old car is shown, with its owner, at the “Dutch Cupboard” in Downingtown, at one of the meets at the Antique Automobile Club of America around 1941.

(To be continued)
While Mrs. Patterson has pictures of other old automobiles on hand for use in this column she would welcome still more from this locality, especially if they are accompanied by descriptions and stories of the cars.

R. H. Johnson home on W. Wayne & Bloomingdale Avenues, Peterson house, Geo. H. Borst, Wayne Station moved to Strafford Station after tracks moved

13_image01Among the most interesting aspects of writing “Your Town and My Town” are the letters and telephone calls that come to this writer as a result of various pictures and stories used in the column from week to week.

The picture of the little railroad station of the 1860’s, as it looked in the middle of the cornfield, as shown in “The Suburban” of March 11, has aroused nostalgic memories among more than the usual number of readers of “Your Town and My Town.” A letter received from Portland, Ore., from one of Wayne’s “old timers” is of such general interest that we are giving it in full in this week’s column.

Mrs. Frederick A. de Canizares, the writer of this letter, lived in Wayne with her husband for many years before his death. She now lives in Portland, with her daughter, Mrs. Alfred Corbett, and her five grandchildren. Before her marriage Mrs. Canizares was Miss Jane Johnson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richards Johnson. (Mr. Johnson was the founder of the contracting firm of R.H. Johnson.) Mrs. de Canizares’ letter reads:

“Your column of March 11, with the picture of the first Wayne Station building, interested me very much. It brought back so many recollections that I felt like writing to you.

“After the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks were moved in Wayne, the building that is now the station at Strafford was moved from the Centennial grounds to the present site of Wayne Station. The little building in your picture, I remember, was for a short time used as Wayne’s first private school.

“This was a long time ago, however. I recall the children that attended the school were the Pinkerton family, the Johnson girls, Anna and Jane (sister Helen had not yet arrived in this world), the Peterson children, Emma and Tony, and the Sayen children, Emily and, probably, Osgood. A sweet little red-haired young lady, Miss Emma Lane, came out on the train each morning to teach us.

“One of the clearest things that stands out in my memory (I must have been between six and seven years old) was our having a blizzard, with the trains not running. No Miss Lane arrived; however, most of the children did. The older children decided that they would conduct the school themselves. Just who took charge, I cannot recall.

“One of the special features of the morning was that the school voted we would have recess every five minutes. It is not hard to imagine what a riot the morning turned into, before our parents appeared and took us home.

“The next private school was started by the Misses Emma and Addie Eldredge, on Bloomingdale avenue. This was an excellent school and extremely convenient for the Johnson and Peterson children.

“We lived on the corner of Bloomingdale and West Wayne avenues, in the home directly back of Dr. John W. Henefer’s present office. All the old trees that are left on the property were planted by my mother, some 73 years ago.

“The Petersons lived directly opposite us on Bloomingdale avenue. This was a wonderful place for children to play. The old reservoir was in the back of where the Chalfant house now stands, and the old Boyd property. We could range around (and we did) with perfect safety.

“When Mother and Father moved to Wayne, in 1879, we lived for a time in the large storehouse that burned down, on the present site of the Lengel home, on Conestoga road. At this date. Wayne was called General Wayne, later changed to Wayne.

“Just one more name added to your list of three…”

In discussing this interesting letter with Mrs. de Canizares’ niece, Mrs. Charles E. Martin, of Bloomingdale avenue, several bits of additional information came to light that will be of interest to present day readers. Of the two sisters of whom Mrs. de Canizares speaks in her letter, Anna married Frazier Bard. Her son, Richards J. Bard, now lives in Sumatra, and her daughter, Katharine Bard, is now Mrs. Charles E. Martin. Miss Helen S. Johnson now lives in Weston, Mass.

The Eldredge sisters, who ran the “second private school” to which Mrs. de Canizares referred in her letter, lived on the corner of Bloomingdale and Lenoir avenues. The old Johnson homestead, of which Mrs. de Canizares speaks as being “directly back of Dr. Henefer’s present office,” was known for many years as the home of the Marshall Smiths. It is now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. George H. Borst.

The Peterson house stood on the northwest corner of Bloomingdale avenue and West Wayne avenue. The “old Boyd property” is now the home of Captain and Mrs. James H. Bones. Mrs. Martin says that the size of the old reservoir is now marked by what she describes as “a big bump,” lying between the Thomas M. Chalfant home and the Bones residence.

“The large stone house that burned down,” as Mrs. de Canizares describes the first home or her parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Johnson, as located, as Mrs. Martin thinks, somewhat to the west of the present Lengel homestead, which looks directly down “Bloomingdale Hill.” She has always heard its location described as being on the site of the rose gardens of the last house occupied by Mrs. F.A. Canizares, before she went to Oregon to live. This house stands just to the west of the Lengel home. The fire which destroyed this “large stone house” was particularly disastrous, since it ruined many beautiful possessions of the Johnsons which they had just brought from Europe.


Mrs. Patterson welcomes letters like the above which she can use in “Your Town and My Town.” A recent one received from Mrs. Isabel Lyons, of Concord, Calif., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John M. Gallagher, long-time residents of Wayne, will be used shortly in connection with a picture of the old Gallagher homestead, on the corner of Lancaster avenue and Conestoga road, which has recently been torn down to make room for a gasoline station.