8 Highway signs designed by Arthur Edrop and Herbert S. Henderson, Anthony Wayne Day parade of 1935

It will be 17 years ago next Sunday, that Wayne celebrated its never-to-be-forgotten “Anthony Wayne Day” with some 2000 people marching in the largest parade this community has ever known.

The eight highway signs which have been pictured and described in this column during the past few weeks had been completed and put in place ready for their unveiling, and for their formal presentation to Radnor Township. Already they had been on public exhibition in the John Wanamaker store, with many miniature wagons and coaches of Colonial and Revolutionary days furnished for the occasion by the Franklin Institute. Now they were in their permanent places on Lancaster Pike and on Conestoga road, each of the eight swinging from a red cedar post, topped by an heraldic Welsh dragon.

The posts had been designed by Herbert S. Henderson, an engineer and artist who is still a resident of Wayne. The eight signs, similar in shape, as were the posts from which they swung, had all been designed by Arthur Edrop, now a resident of Radnor and a recent president of the Wayne Art Center.

Of the eight, six had been painted by Mr. Edrop, while the remaining two were the work of Wayne Martin, at that time an art instructor in Radnor High School. The Welsh dragons which topped the red cedar posts were also designed by Mr. Edrop, chosen by him to commemorate the fact that this section of the Main Line had been originally of Welsh origin.

Two years previous to this occasion a movement originating in the Wayne Art Center had resulted in the formation of the Wayne Committee for Civic Progress. This group, made up of representatives from almost all of Radnor Township organizations had chosen for a statement of its purposes this slogan “To make Wayne as attractive a community to shop in as it is to live in… architecturally in harmony with its Colonial and Revolutionary tradition… to plan for its further development with a proper regard for beauty, dignity, economy and efficiency in all those things affecting its many sided activities… to build for the future rather than for the immediate present.”

Of the various projects successfully undertaken by the group up to this point, perhaps the most noteworthy had been the planting of some 800 dogwood trees by such groups as Valley Forge Military Academy, the Wayne Hotel, the Central Baptist Church, Colonial Village Women’s Club, St. Katharine’s Church, American Legion Auxiliary and the Wayne Presbyterian Church.

Other groups later joined these original ones. And so to the Wayne Committee for Civic Progress goes much of the credit for the profusion of dogwood which blossoms in the spring of the year throughout Radnor township.

All stores in the township were closed on the Saturday afternoon of December 14, 1935, in honor of Anthony Wayne Day. Spectators lined the sidewalks as the various divisions of the parade marched westward along the pike to the stand opposite the Wayne Library. Here the 2000 who participated in it were reviewed by two military notables, Major General Edward C. Shannon, 28th Division, Pennsylvania National Guard, and Colonel Clarence R. Day, chief of staff, 79th Division, U.S. Army.

Heading the parade were the Radnor Township police, with Colonel F.A. Warner and staff; the band and battalion of the 11th Infantry; a company of the 103rd Engineers, the 103rd Cavalry Troop; Battery C, of the 107th Field Artillery; the staff of Valley Forge Military Academy; six army trucks and four cannon, all making up the First Division of the Parade.

In the Second Division were Colonel Horace W. Shelmire and staff; Anthony Wayne Post, American Legion; Bateman-Gallagher Post, American Legion; John Winthrop Post, of Bryn Mawr; Dalton Wanzel Post, of Paoli; Sons of Veterans Squadron, of the American Legion; Auxiliary of Bateman-Gallagher Post and the Auxiliary of John Winthrop Post.

In the Third Division were Lieutenant Richard F. Warren and staff, Colonial and Revolutionary Orders Color Guard. The Fourth Division was made up of the Radnor High School Guard with the High School Band. Comprising the Fifth Division were the Valley Forge Memorial Chapel Washington Guards, District Boy Scouts with Henry Soleliac, commissioner in charge; Rover Scouts, Paoli Troops 1 and 81; Malvern Troop, Berwyn Troop, Devon Troop, Willistown Troop and Rosemont Troop. In the Sixth Division were Wayne Girl Scout Troops 131 and 224; Aberdeen Avenue Boys’ Club and pupils of St. Katharine’s School. The Seventh Division was an equestrian group, while the Eighth Division was made up of members of the Radnor Fire Company, Old Pump Engine, LaFrance engine and various old-time vehicles.

As this huge parade marched along, headed by its chief marshal, Colonel Shelmire, of Wayne, they paused at the site of each of the roadway markers. At each of these posts a guard of Boy Scouts was stationed. Betsy Ross flags, which draped the highway signs, were drawn aside by Girl Scouts and by members of the American Legion Auxiliary as the parade came abreast.

Once the parade was over, spectators and paraders alike crowded into the auditorium of the high school, where a mass meeting was held. Chief feature of the meeting was the formal presentation of the eight roadway signs to the township. The ceremony of presentation was made by the late Rev. Croswell McBee, then rector of Old St. David’s Church, while their formal acceptance was given by Joseph M. Fronefield 3d, at that time president of the Board of Township Commissioners.

Prior to the presentation, the late W.W. Montgomery, Jr., of Radnor, paid tribute to “Mad” Anthony Wayne for his fidelity to the cause of the American Revolution. The afternoon closed with a special music program presented by the combined glee clubs of the High School, the Musical Coterie, the Merriemen of Wayne and a group of Welsh singers in national costume. In the evening Frederick Richardson was host to the reviewing officers at a dinner at St. Davids Golf Club.

At the time of this presentation of the roadside markers to the township, 12 local organizations supported the work of the Wayne Committee for Civic Progress. These were the American Legion Auxiliary, as represented by Mrs. Lillian B. Aman and Mrs. Channing W. Daniel; the Garden Club, by Mrs. Duffield Ashmead, Jr., Mrs. Charles W. Bayliss and the Misses Susan Dorothy and Virginia Keeney; the Musical Coterie, By Mrs. Edward Higgens and Mrs. E.B. Warner; the Neighborhood League, by Miss H. Velma Turner and Adolph Rosengarten; the North Wayne Protective Association, by Dr. Seneca Egbert and C. Laurence Warwick; the Saturday Club, by Mrs. W.N. Stilwell and Mrs. T. Magill Patterson; the Wayne Art Center, by Dr. Addison S. Buck, Charles A. McClure, Frederick Richardson, Clarence J. Tolan, Arthur Edrop and Miss Mary Walsh; the Wayne Chamber of Commerce, by A.A.H. de Canizares and M.L. Vail; the Wayne Library, by George L. Harrison; the Wayne Public Safety Association, by Dr. A.J. Culver and Charles M. Shepler. Members-at-large were J.M. Fronefield, 3d, and Frank Paul Kane. Mr. Edrop was chairman of the Wayne Committee, while Mrs. Patterson was secretary.

An outstanding and unusual organization for the few brief years of its existence, the Wayne Committee for Civic Progress is now inactive. The handsome roadside signs hung from their posts until a few years ago. Then winds and weather made their removal seem advisable.

The posts still stand, the Welsh dragons still atop them. The signs are safely stored in the studio of the Wayne Art Center. Their colors have been dimmed by time. Otherwise they are intact, with repainting their only requisite. It will be interesting to know whether there is enough public interest in these handsome roadside markers to have them swing again from their old posts along two of the oldest highways of America – the Lancaster Pike and Conestoga Road.