It would be interesting to know how many of our readers recognize the picture below of one of the unusual sights of Wayne in the early 1900’s. The postcard from which it is taken is marked “Wayne Sanatorium,” and it is one of a collection of old cards, stored for many years in the basement of Wack’s
The collection was turned over to your columnist by Dr. Wack when he was asked what had become of the many postcards of local interest which had once been on sale at the Hadley Drug Store, predecessor of the present pharmacy.
The Wayne sanatorium was a cottage colony for tubercular patients, located on part of what is now St. Davids Golf Course, when all of that section was known as the Henry Farm. The three-story house shown in the background of the picture faces Gulph road, and was at that time the home of John Henry.
The sanatorium, which was directed by a woman, may well have been patterned after the famous Trudeau Sanatorium, at Saranac Lake, N.Y., an institution pioneering in the use of “curing cottages” for small groups of tuberculosis patients.
A close study of the picture of the Wayne Sanatorium seems to indicate that its cottages were almost tent-like in construction. Dr. Wack recalls that as an errand boy for the Hadley Drug Store, he often went out to the sanatorium to deliver medicine to the patients. On these trips, which were made on a bicycle with a small basket tied to the handle bars, he often saw the invalids sitting in chairs in front of the tents, basking in the sunlight.
For some reason, or perhaps for many reasons, this venture in “curing cottages” was a short-lived one. Perhaps its owner found that the air was not at all the same as at the Adirondack resort, and certain it is that she met with many objections from those who lived in the neighborhood. And so the tuberculosis colony was closed, with this post card perhaps one of the very few records that it ever existed.
As we sat at the desk in Dr. Wack’s office in the back of his pharmacy and looked over these old views of Wayne, we asked him why he had discontinued the sale of local postcards. It was, he answered, a matter of the cost of making them. Some years ago pictures taken locally could be sent to Germany for reproduction at such a low figure that the cards could be sold at retail for a penny apiece. As the years went by the price rose to five cents, with a consequent dropping off of sales, and, eventually, the disappearance of the postcard rack from its familiar place on the counter. What was left of them was relegated to a box in the basement, where they stayed until their recent rescue.
The address side of this particular postcard is marked “The Rotograph Co., New York City. Printed in Germany.” The majority, however, are marked “C.W. Bensinger. Printed in Germany.” The name “Bensinger” brings back to Wayne’s old timers many memories of the small store, once housed on the premises of the present Wack Pharmacy, which was then located where the M-R Shop now stands. For some years it was run by Mr. and Mrs. Bensinger and their daughter, Helen.
Primarily, Bensinger’s might have been called a stationery store, but its stock of small articles was about as diversified and inclusive as that in the Miller store which many, even comparative newcomers to Wayne, remember when it was located in the present Cobb and Lawless site. On the Bensinger counter one could even find firecrackers in the proper season.
After the Bensingers had vacated the shop, the American Stores had a branch there for a short time. They were followed by Master’s Meat and Grocery Store, which suffered a disastrous fire in the ‘30s. The morning after the fire, Norman Wack bought what was left of the building and remodelled it for rental purposes. It was several years, however, before he moved to his new location.
(To be continued)