R. H. Johnson home on W. Wayne & Bloomingdale Avenues, Peterson house, Geo. H. Borst, Wayne Station moved to Strafford Station after tracks moved

13_image01Among the most interesting aspects of writing “Your Town and My Town” are the letters and telephone calls that come to this writer as a result of various pictures and stories used in the column from week to week.

The picture of the little railroad station of the 1860’s, as it looked in the middle of the cornfield, as shown in “The Suburban” of March 11, has aroused nostalgic memories among more than the usual number of readers of “Your Town and My Town.” A letter received from Portland, Ore., from one of Wayne’s “old timers” is of such general interest that we are giving it in full in this week’s column.

Mrs. Frederick A. de Canizares, the writer of this letter, lived in Wayne with her husband for many years before his death. She now lives in Portland, with her daughter, Mrs. Alfred Corbett, and her five grandchildren. Before her marriage Mrs. Canizares was Miss Jane Johnson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richards Johnson. (Mr. Johnson was the founder of the contracting firm of R.H. Johnson.) Mrs. de Canizares’ letter reads:

“Your column of March 11, with the picture of the first Wayne Station building, interested me very much. It brought back so many recollections that I felt like writing to you.

“After the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks were moved in Wayne, the building that is now the station at Strafford was moved from the Centennial grounds to the present site of Wayne Station. The little building in your picture, I remember, was for a short time used as Wayne’s first private school.

“This was a long time ago, however. I recall the children that attended the school were the Pinkerton family, the Johnson girls, Anna and Jane (sister Helen had not yet arrived in this world), the Peterson children, Emma and Tony, and the Sayen children, Emily and, probably, Osgood. A sweet little red-haired young lady, Miss Emma Lane, came out on the train each morning to teach us.

“One of the clearest things that stands out in my memory (I must have been between six and seven years old) was our having a blizzard, with the trains not running. No Miss Lane arrived; however, most of the children did. The older children decided that they would conduct the school themselves. Just who took charge, I cannot recall.

“One of the special features of the morning was that the school voted we would have recess every five minutes. It is not hard to imagine what a riot the morning turned into, before our parents appeared and took us home.

“The next private school was started by the Misses Emma and Addie Eldredge, on Bloomingdale avenue. This was an excellent school and extremely convenient for the Johnson and Peterson children.

“We lived on the corner of Bloomingdale and West Wayne avenues, in the home directly back of Dr. John W. Henefer’s present office. All the old trees that are left on the property were planted by my mother, some 73 years ago.

“The Petersons lived directly opposite us on Bloomingdale avenue. This was a wonderful place for children to play. The old reservoir was in the back of where the Chalfant house now stands, and the old Boyd property. We could range around (and we did) with perfect safety.

“When Mother and Father moved to Wayne, in 1879, we lived for a time in the large storehouse that burned down, on the present site of the Lengel home, on Conestoga road. At this date. Wayne was called General Wayne, later changed to Wayne.

“Just one more name added to your list of three…”

In discussing this interesting letter with Mrs. de Canizares’ niece, Mrs. Charles E. Martin, of Bloomingdale avenue, several bits of additional information came to light that will be of interest to present day readers. Of the two sisters of whom Mrs. de Canizares speaks in her letter, Anna married Frazier Bard. Her son, Richards J. Bard, now lives in Sumatra, and her daughter, Katharine Bard, is now Mrs. Charles E. Martin. Miss Helen S. Johnson now lives in Weston, Mass.

The Eldredge sisters, who ran the “second private school” to which Mrs. de Canizares referred in her letter, lived on the corner of Bloomingdale and Lenoir avenues. The old Johnson homestead, of which Mrs. de Canizares speaks as being “directly back of Dr. Henefer’s present office,” was known for many years as the home of the Marshall Smiths. It is now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. George H. Borst.

The Peterson house stood on the northwest corner of Bloomingdale avenue and West Wayne avenue. The “old Boyd property” is now the home of Captain and Mrs. James H. Bones. Mrs. Martin says that the size of the old reservoir is now marked by what she describes as “a big bump,” lying between the Thomas M. Chalfant home and the Bones residence.

“The large stone house that burned down,” as Mrs. de Canizares describes the first home or her parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Johnson, as located, as Mrs. Martin thinks, somewhat to the west of the present Lengel homestead, which looks directly down “Bloomingdale Hill.” She has always heard its location described as being on the site of the rose gardens of the last house occupied by Mrs. F.A. Canizares, before she went to Oregon to live. This house stands just to the west of the Lengel home. The fire which destroyed this “large stone house” was particularly disastrous, since it ruined many beautiful possessions of the Johnsons which they had just brought from Europe.


Mrs. Patterson welcomes letters like the above which she can use in “Your Town and My Town.” A recent one received from Mrs. Isabel Lyons, of Concord, Calif., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John M. Gallagher, long-time residents of Wayne, will be used shortly in connection with a picture of the old Gallagher homestead, on the corner of Lancaster avenue and Conestoga road, which has recently been torn down to make room for a gasoline station.