Wayne’s “Wayside Drinking Fountain,” Wack’s Pharmacy, winter pastimes

Following printing of a picture of Wayne’s “Wayside Drinking Fountain” in the November 8 issue of this column, the writer received several communications in regard to it. With a bit of information picked up from each, a considerable amount has been added.

Several people remembered that the fountain was a gift to the community from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Wayne. The fountain stood directly in front of the present Wack Pharmacy, then owned and operated by Dr. H.C. Hadley. It was moved from its site on Lancaster Pike more than 30 years ago, probably in the 1920’s.

One story goes that the members of the Board of Commissioners, whose duty it was to see that the water pipes to the fountain were disconnected in the early fall, forgot to have the job done. In consequence the pipes froze and the fountain split. The matter was referred to the Board, and the old fountain was ordered to be hauled away. Apparently this was to parts unknown, as all trace of the fountain’s history seems to be lost from that point on.

Another report states that it was badly cracked by various wagons that bumped into it as their drivers rumbled along the Pike, or stopped to water their horses.

Up to this point, information had dealt mostly in generalities. But one day, in the course of Christmas shopping for her grandchildren, the writer stopped at Halligan’s, where Jack Scherr, its proprietor, remembered many things in connection with the old fountain. He could call by name many contemporaries who hung around the fountain in their younger days, or who sat on the stone wall of the Wayne Presbyterian Church, directly opposite.

One of their favorite winter pastimes, it seems, was to make snowballs and to try to hit the church steeple with them! Occasionally they were successful, more often not. In milder weather, a favorite sport was to throw each other in the fountain – one that probably did not end until each youngster had been properly dunked!

To prove that wayside drinking fountains are not entirely a thing of the past, your columnist received a letter from Mrs. R.I. Heim, Jr., of Bloomingdale avenue, which says in part, “Many a time our horses stopped at Wayside watering fountains and they knew just where they were. They needed no pull on the rein to turn to one side…” Then Mrs. Heim goes on to tell that only that week the old drinking fountain where Lancaster avenue meets Market street, near 32d, Philadelphia, had been removed. This was in preparation for rerouting traffic while Chestnut street bridge is being rebuilt. There are a number of commission houses along Market street and every day hucksters would stop at that fountain to water the horses.