1890 Wayne Estate office at St. Davids of Wendell & Smith, “House A”

The first office opened in the 1880’s by Wendell and Smith for the Wayne Estate was located on North Wayne avenue in a small building on the site of the southern half of the double building now occupied by the Orange Cleaners.

56_image01In 1890 a second office was established when the building shown in the picture below was erected on the west side of Chamounix road, immediately to the south of the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, near St. Davids station. Later, this building was remodeled into a home which still stands on the original site.

In the 80’s and 90’s it was very advantageous to have a real estate office located as close as possible to the railroad station, since practically all prospective home buyers used that mode of transportation from Philadelphia to the suburbs.

Although horse drawn vehicles were used for pleasure before the advent of automobiles, the trip by train was obviously more expedient. In advertising the location of their two offices, Wendell and Smith stated that they were “right at the station at both Wayne and St. Davids” and that they were open all day. On Sundays, when probably these offices were closed, the new houses that were ready for sale were always “open for inspection”.

To encourage Philadelphians to make the train trip to Wayne, Wendell and Smith printed a complete time table on the back of the brochure from which these pictures are reproduced. It is rather amazing to find that more than 60 years ago there were ten morning trains and 22 afternoon trains from Philadelphia to Wayne. Reversing this order, there were 14 morning and 18 afternoon and evening trains from Wayne to Philadelphia.

A two day excursion ticket cost 73 cents; a monthly ticket for an individual was $7.05 and a school ticket for the same period was $4.70. A 50-trip book for family use was $14.70 and an individual’s three months’ ticket was $19. However, a special note stated that “market baskets, bicycles and baby coaches are entitled to free transportation.”

When this brochure was printed in 1890, many Wayne Estate houses had already been built and occupied in Wayne itself. Plans were under way for a similar building operation in St. Davids, and “the south side, on Lancaster avenue near St. Davids station and the adjoining territory”, already had “half a million dollars worth of houses under way”, according to the advertisement.

56_image02Instead of giving these house distinguishing names as had been done with those built in Wayne these St. Davids houses were to be known as “House A”, “House B”, etc. In addition to “the best of plumbing” all of them were to have “the novel goodness of steam heat… tasty decorations in stained glass and tile work and oak, and plate glass finish for first floors”. By way of special appeal to prospective buyers, the brochure states that “places of so much progressiveness should receive your attention, either for present or for future needs”. That these plans did receive much attention is very obvious, as a most casual tour of the residential streets of St. Davids will testify.

F.L. and W.L. Price, of Philadelphia, were the architects for this house, as they had been for many previously built in Wayne. According to the description it had “a very picturesque exterior with a large porch across the front of the house”. The first floor consisted of “vestibule, spacious hallway, dining room, reception room, library with open grate, mantel and tile work, pantry, kitchen, out-kitchen and back staircase. Hall and stairways connected by archways for curtains”.

On the second floor were “five chambers of good size, three of them across the front en suite… bathroom and nine closets”, while on the third floor were “two servants’ rooms, a large hall and store room. Very special features of this imposing house were an “open grate in lower hall and dining room removed from kitchen odors”, while the library for some intriguing reason had “a private entrance to the front staircase”.

(To be continued)