Oscar S. Dillin of Dillin’s Store, Lindenwood Hotel, Radnor Inn Apartments, amusements of 1880s-1890s

Three of the October columns of “Your Town and My Town” were founded on the reminiscences of Ray Yocom of Long Branch, Calif., whose youthful days were spent in the home of his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar S. Dillin at the Old Store in Radnor.

The columns were illustrated by pictures from Mr. Yocom’s scrap book, including both an exterior and interior picture of the store, as well as one of Frank, the horse, and the store’s delivery wagon. And then there was the picture of the second Radnor School No. 4 as it looked in 1896, with its pupils and teacher standing in front of it. With today’s illustration we are using the last of those scrap book pictures which we feel are of general interest.

27_image01This picture might well be called “a quiet Sunday afternoon” since young Ray is so obviously dressed as he would be for Sunday school and church. “Frank,” the white horse, is enjoying his day of rest after six days between the shafts of the delivery wagon. On the back of the picture Mr. Yocom bas made a notation that he was about 15 years old when this picture was taken, and that the background shows the rear of the store and the house.

27_image02Mr. Dillin, who was proprietor for many years of the store that bore his name, died in 1915. Here he is standing on the loading platform on the side of the Old Store, facing the Lindenwood Hotel, as part of the present Radnor Inn apartments was once known.

In connection with the picture of the old Radnor School, we related the pastimes of youngsters in the 1880’s and 1890’s as given in Mr. Yocom’s notes. We continue today with notes on what these youngsters did as they grew somewhat older.

“We could have fox hunts. The Torpey family had a bunch of foxhounds,” Mr. Yocom writes. “When there was a real fox hunt my Uncle Oscar would close the store for the day… we would get one day a year at Atlantic City, taking the train from Camden, $1.00 round trip. We had everything with us including fried chicken… the only things we had to get there were our bathing suits.

“At home we had clay pigeon shoots and live pigeon shooting matches… ‘Old Maid’ was our game of cards… quite often we could take in a good train wreck on the railroad at Radnor. It would take several days to get these wrecks cleaned up… of course in winter there was sledding and sleighing and skating on Motts Dam… we drank hard cider from cider presses and got almost woozy… we held boxing matches in the field in front of the Dillin Store… we held contests to see who could drink the most water… Dave Casey and Henry Strunkey had a raw egg eating contest… Dave ate 34 and Henry 33. Johnny Gallagher got water-logged from drinking so much water. We had to roll it out of him.

“We would drive Bill Torpey’s milk wagon or the old ‘hack’ at the station… we took J.W. Paul from Radnor to Villanova once, he gave us a tip of two dollars… also we would hire a stage and four horses from Gene Thompson’s livery stable and make trips to Norristown dances, eat and drink beer, and drive home singing some of the old songs like “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie, Meet Me at the Fair,” and “I Wonder If She’s Waiting, the Girl I Left Behind.”

“Well, I guess we had a good time…”

Mrs. Louis Goebel, of Berwyn, telephoned your columnist that she can identify five pupils in the picture of Radnor School No. 4 in addition to those named by Mr. Yocom. These include her brother and herself, Norman and Helen Famous, also Lane Cox, Kate Quigley and Laura Noblett.