1935 Highway signs: Ithan

33_image01A little more than two years elapsed between the organizational meeting of the Wayne Committee on Civic Improvement, held on November 1, 1933, and the formal presentation of the roadside markers to Radnor township, a ceremony held on Saturday, December 14, 1935.

But these two years were not idle ones for the Committee. For one thing, their original ranks were augmented by representatives from several Township organizations not on the first roster. In addition, the original sponsoring groups added to their representation, increasing the total of active members on the committee.

Besides those named in last week’s column, the American Legion Auxiliary added Miss Margaret Cornog to the list, while the Neighborhood League did the same with Adolph G. Rosengarten, Jr. Matthew Randall joined the original three for the North Wayne Protective Association, as did Dr. A.J. Culver for the Wayne Public Safety Association.

The Wayne Art Center, the originator of the project, added Dr. Addison S. Buck and Frederick Richardson to its representation. Mrs. W.N. Stilwell became the second member from the Saturday Club. Three other groups showed their interest in the proposed objectives of the Committee by sending representatives to the meetings. These included Mrs. Edward W. Higgens and Mrs. E. Bisbee Warner from the Musical Coterie; George L. Harrison from the Wayne Library and A.A.H. de Canizares and M. Lester Vail from the Wayne Chamber of Commerce, and finally there were three members at large, Joseph M. Fronefield, 3d, Frank Paul Kane and Horace B. Montgomery, Jr.

These were the men and women who met together, during a period of several years, to discuss how the organizations they represented might cooperate in beautifying Radnor township, in particular its business district, which all felt compared disadvantageously with the residential districts.

Not all that they attempted to initiate was accomplished. But as time went on, their first ideas met by Arthur Edrop, a resident of Radnor, who is well known as an illustrator thoroughly conversant with military uniforms and accoutrements of many countries, and of many periods of history.

From these designs Wayne Martin, former art instructor at Radnor High School, painted the two signs which hung in the St. Davids section, while Mr. Edrop painted the remaining six. “Though each one of the signs”, according to Mr. Edrop’s account, “has a different inspiration, the entire eight are similar in shape and are swung from a uniform set of red cedar posts.

“These have been designed by Herbert S. Henderson, an engineer and artist. Each is topped by an heraldic Welsh dragon. This engaging reptile proclaims that the original settlement of Radnor township, as well as much of the rest of the Main Line Section, was made by the men of Cambria, on land purchased by one Richard Davies from William Penn in 1681”, said Mr. Edrop. Mr. Henderson is still a resident of Wayne, and now lives on Brookside avenue.

33_image02The first picture in today’s column shows a jolly British officer taking his exercise on a gray steed, while in a coach in the background rides a belle of the period, and attended by coachman and footman. This picture is entitled “Colonial Days”. The second picture is of a more serious type, showing a Continental officer, mounted on a bay charger, against a background of troops and Conestoga wagons, all half hidden by a swirling snow-storm. Its title “On to winter quarters at Valley Forge” is particularly interesting, in view of the re-dedication in June, 1950, of an old stone marker commemorating the march of the American army under General Washington along Conestoga road, following the Basttle of the Brandywine.

Legend has it that it was on the last day of Washington’s march to Valley Forge in December, 1777, that he passed along Old Conestoga road. Legend also has it that the last night of the encampment of his troops along the way was spent in the meadow near where the present overpass of the Philadelphia and Western Railroad crosses Conestoga road.

(to be continued)