Wayne in 1922: St. Katharine’s Hall opens, War Memorial dedicated

In this column there are frequent references to Wayne happenings as chronicled in past issues of “The Suburban”. Sometimes these stories of people and events have been picked out at random from the old files because of their special interest. Sometimes they have been used in a particular series, as when various spectacular fires were described in the story of the Radnor Fire Company.

Recently, in pulling out these heavy bound copies of “The Suburban” from their places on the shelves, your columnist decided it might be interesting to select one volume, and to present a composite picture of Wayne for one year of its past history. Perhaps because 30 seemed a good round number, she has sleeted the year 1922. And while that may seem “but yesterday” to many of us, it is still three decades ago.

Early in January of that year the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners held its reorganization meeting. Those present were William S. Ellis, Henry P. Conner, Frederick F. Hallowell, John Kent Kane and William T. Wright. Miss Margaret Rugg was secretary of the Board at that time. The oath of office was administered to Mr. Conner and to Mr. Kane by Justice of the Peace Harry C. Hunter, since they had been re-elected to the Board at the November election. Mr. Ellis was named president and Mr. Kane vice-president, while Miss Rugg was re-elected secretary, Charles F. DaCosta was appointed solicitor and S. Hibbard Steele, road foreman. Captain Edward J. Sweeney headed the police force at that time.

The report of Township Treasurer William H. Crawford showed that the various departments had kept well within their budgets for the year 1921, with a pleasant surplus with which to start 1922. For that year the chief expenditure had been for road maintenance which, according to Mr. Crawford’s report, had amounted to $41,732. The Police Department came next with $20,277, while administration cost $3,818; Board of Health, $2,580; Radnor Fire Company, $3,000 and street lights, $5,556.

The Men’s Club, now defunct, was at the height of its popularity 30 years ago. Arrangements had been completed for the use of the Masonic Hall auditorium for club purposes on practically any night of the week. It was agreed that this “would fill a long felt want and would make the club the ideal meeting place which it is intended to be”.

At the regular January monthly meeting, which was a general get-together, or “Neighbors Night”, as President Lamson phrased it, A. K. Higgins, of St. Davids, “one of the moguls” of N. W. Ayer Advertising Company gave a talk on “The Making of Advertising”.

At a forum held in the auditorium that same week Richard S. McKinley spoke on “The Desirability of Starting a Bank Account”. Other activities of the Men’s Club for early January included a Pool-League Game at the Fire House; a bowling contest of the Sharp-shooters vs. Radnorites and a Bowling League game of the Men’s Club at Radnor.

The 1922 annual meeting of the Neighborhood League was held at the Saturday Club in January, with Dr. Jameson presiding. A report of the Christmas Committee showed that under the able direction of Mrs. E. W. S. Tingle her group had been unusually active during the 1921 holiday season, with “many houses made brighter by well-stocked baskets, toys and useful articles”. The Well-Baby Clinic, a then newly-organized activity of the League, was proving a great success, with “60 babies having been enrolled and started on the road to health”. At this point A. J. County had aptly remarked that “there are few situations in life from the cradle to the grave in which the Neighborhood League does not stand ready to step in and lend a helping, or if necessary, a restraining hand!” After the Rev. Crosswell McBee had made the address of the evening, League directors for the ensuing year were elected as follows: Mrs. Charles S. Walton, Louis Jaquette Palmer, William Townsend Wright, A. J. Drexel Paul, Nathan Hayward, William Paul Morris and Robert G. Wilson.

The Wayne Public Safety Association, at its January meeting, reported a membership of 314, then the largest to date in the history of the organization. At that time Henry Roever was president; Dr. Charles D. Smedley, secretary, and W. L. Margerum, treasurer. Directors then serving were the Rev. W. G. W. Anthony, the Rev. J. W. Elliott, and John Turner, George M. Aman, Ira V. Hale, G. P. Singer and John L. Mather.

The St. Davids Building and Loan Association was running large advertisements in each issue of “The Suburban” in 1922. Its officers at that time were Dr. H. C. Hadley, president; Allan C. Hale, vice-president; Charles M. Davis, secretary; A. M. Ehart, treasurer and Louis Jaquette Palmer, solicitor. Directors included David H. Henderson, Ira V. Hale, E. E. Trout, A. J. Martin, P. J. Wood, Louis S. Natale, F. P. Radcliffe, E. J. Wendell, Dr. R. P. Elmer, Norman A. Wack and William P. Cochran.

Early in January 1922 St. Katharine’s Hall was opened to the public, immediately adjoining St. Katharine’s Parish School, for the first time with an orchestra furnishing music for dancing for the occasion. In a short address Monsignor Charles F. Kavanagh felicitated the members of the congregation of St. Katharine’s Church on the completion of the new hall, so greatly needed in the parish. Work on the building had begun only the previous September. Seating about 800 people, St. Katharine’s Hall was one of the largest auditoriums in the suburbs.

On January 18, 1922, a meeting of the Radnor Memorial Committee was held at the Saturday Club, with Mrs. Robert G. Wilson presiding. By this time the site for the Memorial and the form which it was to take had been decided upon by the large committee of representative men and women of Radnor township, headed by Mrs. Wilson as general chairman. Miss Mary DeHaven Bright was secretary and Miss Grace C. Roberts treasurer. On ground given for the purpose by the Chew family, of Radnor, from pre-Revolutionary holdings, the monument as it now stands was dedicated on Sunday afternoon, May 28, 1922.

The unveiling ceremony was performed by a little girl and two small boys, all children of men who fell in battle in World War I. The dedication address was given by Senator George Wharton Pepper, who was introduced by Captain Sydney Roberts, at that time commander of Anthony Wayne Post, American Legion, under whose auspices the ceremonies were held. Several thousand people witnessed this impressive dedication.

The passing years have seen succeeding Memorial Day gatherings at the monument, each held in reverent commemoration of those from Radnor township who have given their lives in the service of their country. On Friday of last week, Memorial Day services were again held there just 30 years after the dedication of this Radnor Township War Memorial.

(To be concluded)