Saturday Club, Bryn Mawr “Record” newspaper and articles

In preparation for the Saturday Club’s “Open House” on Thursday evening of last week, a number of old club treasures, reminiscent of days long past, were dusted off and polished up under the direction of the incoming president, Mrs. J. L. Vosburg, and her hard working committee. Among these treasures was a framed picture of the club house as it looked in 1898 which your columnist had brought to light from some desk corner.

In 1898 J.D. Lengel had just finished the club house architectural plans prepared by David Knickerbacker Boyd. Both men were long time residents of Wayne.

In order to have the picture in keeping with the attractive, newly decorated club house, a reframing job was in order. When the back of the old frame was removed, a folded newspaper, used to keep the picture firmly in place, came to light. It was so brown with age as to be almost illegible and so frail that it crumbles at the touch. The date was May 9, 1891. [This date was corrected in the following issue, 9/24/1954, to May 9, 1901.]

Only part of the newspaper was used and that part does not have the name in full. The only clue is that it was published in Bryn Mawr and that it was “The R…,” the rest of the name having been torn away. The editor of “The Suburban,” whose memory is long one, can give our readers in the following footnote information on the subject.

(The newspaper was the Bryn Mawr “Record,” founded in 1903 by the Suburban Publishing Company, to supplement its chain of Main Line newspapers, which extended from Downingtown to Overbrook. The editor was James E. Dougherty, a former postmaster at Haverford, and later manager of the Bryn Mawr Ice Company. The paper was discontinued in 1906, after “The Suburban” plant in Wayne was destroyed by fire, and further publication became impossible.

Mr. Dougherty was the father of the Very Rev. Joseph M. Dougherty, O.S.A., who became Provincial of the Augustinian Order four years this week.)

The interesting thing to local readers is that this 63-year-old Bryn Mawr newspaper contained so much news of Wayne and of Radnor township. There is a half-column of “Radnor Notes,” a quarter of one entitled “Round About Strafford”… Radnor High School rates a third of a column, as does the Saturday Club… there is a short story about a match between the St. Davids Cricket Club and Huntingdon Valley Country Club cricket teams. Players from the local club included Miss M. Dallett, Miss Benners, Mrs. Bergner, Miss Warren, Mrs. Hallowell and Mrs. Montgomery. This group had a “team total” of two as against their opponents’ team total or 49!

Then there are the Wayne advertisements, including one of the Wayne Title and Trust Company, when Louis H. Watt was president; F.H. Treat, vice-president; Harry C. Hunter, secretary and treasurer, and Christopher Fallon, solicitor and title officer. Another “ad” starts off: “Shall we send our Wagon for your Laundry bundle?” It was placed by the Wayne Laundry Company, which assured the customers that it “will suit you better than any other laundry has done or will do.” Is there anyone among our readers who remembers the Wayne Laundry, where it was located and by whom it was operated?

Various flowery advertisements of the Wayne Estate, as they were written in the 80’s and 90’s, have been reprinted before in this column. None, however, can equal in picturesque detail the one in this Bryn Mawr paper which states that, “Wayne is 14 miles from the city, away from the clang of the trolley, away from the hum of the town, though close enough to feel its contact and to reach its desired amusements by many trains and quick service over the best railroad system in the world; where wild flowers abound, and where the trailing arbutus peeps from behind the rocks on the slopes of the hills; where the air is redolent and invigorating with mountain odor and the recreations enjoyed by the people are innocent, healthful and in touch with the times.”

A front page article concerns a topic as timely today as it was 60 years ago – that of fines for “auto speeding.” But with a difference! For in 1891, Lower Merion was fixing a penalty for “exceeding 10 miles an hour.” This fine would be $10 for the first violation, and would be increased to $25 for the second offense and $50 for the third.

“The same conditions apply to bicycle riders,” the statement continues, adding “under the new ordinance, when a horse becomes frightened at an automobile the driver must come to a full stop.” And the paragraph concludes that “in adopting the new ordinance the commissioners followed the example of the commissioners of the adjoining township of Radnor.” Our township had evidently pioneered along the Main Line in the matter of speeding automobilists. It is interesting to note that even in early May “the departure from the city for the nearby country seats, seashore homes and mountains resorts” had already begun. “Society is leaving the city much earlier this year than in former seasons,” the Bryn Mawr paper continues. “Many homes in the fashionable sections of the city have been closed during the past two weeks, the families having moved to the country for the summer,” as have “Mr. N.F. Folwell and family.” Mr. Thomas Newhall, of Baltimore, “paid a flying visit to Strafford this week” and ”Mr. and Mrs. A. Horwitz are occupying one of the Smith houses.” All these are still interesting names to those among us who are really old timers.

The Strafford column concludes with the information that “the house lately occupied by Mr. Walter Pierson has been much improved and is now ready for the bride and groom, Mr. and Mrs. McCurdy, when they return from their wedding trip.”

(Other excerpts from the old Bryn Mawr newspaper will appear in next week’s column.)