Hughs estate (cont.), William Wood house, “Caesar”

The old Cleaver farm house where Mr. and Mrs. William D. Hughs lived so happily with their young family after they purchased it from Mr. and Mrs. J. Henry Askin in 1878, remained very much as it was at the time of the purchase until about the year 1887. At that time several additions were made to the house, including a third floor and a large porch, which was open in summer and enclosed in winter with many growing plants to add to its cheerfulness.

A modern architect building onto a lovely old house such as the Cleaver one, would keep to the simplicity of the original structure. However, this particular architect was carried away by the more ornate tendencies of the eighties and the new third floor had the mansard-type roof! Mrs. Sausser tells me that this spoiled the charm of the old house to some extent, though its comfort still remained. With the third floor addition the house had twenty-five rooms in all.

While the remodeling of their own house was going on the Hughs family went to live with Mrs. Hughs’ father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. George J. Corrie, who resided at that time in the house on the northwest corner of Bloomingdale and Lenoir avenues, now occupied by Doctor and Mrs. Henry G. Fischer. For fifty years Mr. Corrie taught music at Villanova College. He was the organist at the Wayne Presbyterian Church and had a studio in the same building with the Wayne Estate offices. (This is where Wayne Frosted Foods, Inc., is now located).

In 1896 William Wood bought the Hugh’s home and lived there with his large family while his new home was being built on a site almost directly adjoining that of the original house. This handsome home, built in Elizabethan style by the well known firm of Hazelfurst and Huckle, though now unoccupied, still stands on the large piece of ground on Lancaster Pike directly west of the Fried Building. This entire plot of ground is soon to be converted to commercial purposes. In the destruction of the old Hughs home after the building of the new house, the corner stone with its markings of 1775 was unfortunately lost.

In 1894, two of Mrs. William Wood’s daughters were married in a double ceremony in the Wayne Presbyterian Church. This was the first wedding to be performed in the present church building, services up to that time having been held in what is now known as the Chapel, built in 1870.

Mr. Wood’s grounds were always beautifully planted and tended as Mr. Hughs’ had been. There were spreading oaks, giant ginko trees, Japanese maples, chestnut trees and much shrubbery, including many rhododendrons. The famous Bellevue Hotel adjoined his property toward the west, and when this burned down William W. Hearne built the house which still stands on the same site as the old hotel on the corner of the Pike and Bellevue avenue. In the early eighties J. Henry Askin built the house on the corner of North Wayne avenue and Lancaster avenue which has recently been converted into the Cobb and Lawless store. This house was occupied by Mr. Askin and his family after they moved from Louella House.

In the same year that Mr. Wood built his home, the Central Baptist Church, is it now stands, was completed. About this time Dr. Smedley built the very handsome house which still stands just ot the west of Albrecht’s Flower Shop. For some reason the Smedley family never occupied it and it later passed ito the possession of J. M. Fronefield, Jr. Between the Wood property and the Railroad station and leading to the Bellevue Hotel ran a boardwalk built on high stilts. This was for the accommodation of those who wished to keep out of the mud of North Wayne avenue and of Lancaster Pike!

On the old Dr. Wells’ property, where Mrs. Sausser, Mrs. Jiggens and Mrs. Scott now make their home, there is a happy reminder of the days when they were the three little Hughs girls playing on their father’s farm and swinging in the big swing near the old spring house. It is “Caesar” the iron dog, whose first home was Louella House, as shown in an old picture now in the possession of Herman P. Lengel. Mr. Askin later gave “Caesar” to Mr. Hughs to be placed on his lawn. Within the past four years he has been transferred to the yard of the former Wells home. There are many amusing tales told in connection with old “Caesar,” notable that of the time when Mary Hughs, now Mrs. Jiggens, hid the key to her father’s ice house in the dog’s hollow interior, and for some time refused to reveal the hiding place! He is still an object of much interest to all passerby, including children and real dogs, who actually bark at him!

(For information in this article supplementary to that given me by Mrs. Malcolm G. Sausser, I am indebted to Miss Josephine W. Scott.)