The old “Wayne Gazette,” part 1 – Wayne Masonic Hall

On the “over size” book shelf of the Radnor Township Memorial Library are two thin volumes containing copies of a Wayne weekly published some years before “The Suburban” came into existence. These bound copies of the old “Wayne Gazette” or “Wayne Weekly Gazette”, as it was variously called, are of the years 1871 and 1872. Whether its publication covered a greater period is not apparent upon a first cursory reading of the two volumes. Your columnist has been told it was published “intermittently”. Perhaps new information may be forthcoming by next week from some of the “old timers” who read this column.

Very different from our present local weekly is the one of almost eighty years ago. Where the title of “The Suburban” now stands in bold, clear type, was a most intricate design in which the name “Wayne Weekly Gazette” is interwoven with three pictures of prominent buildings then standing in Wayne.

On the left is one of the Wayne Hall. Whether this building is still in existence in some altered form is not clear to your columnist. It has been suggested to her that it is the Wayne Masonic Hall, one of the oldest buildings in Wayne. In the center of the design at the head of the weekly is a picture of the Wayne Lyceum Hall, later called the Wayne Opera House. At present it is the center of all attention to Wayne shoppers as the building at the northeast corner of Lancaster Pike and North Wayne avenue that is undergoing such extensive alterations. At the time the “Gazette” picture was taken it faced entirely on the Pike and was much smaller, as it did not have the western addition of a later date.

On the right of the design was a picture of the “Wayne Church”. We of today recognize it instantly as the chapel of the Wayne Presbyterian CHurch, since its appearance has little changed in these intervening eighty years. In these days of many Wayne churches the picture could scarcely carry the distinctive caption of the “Wayne Church”.

The “Gazette”, to all outward appearances, was not a very exciting publication. It was uniformly four pages in length, its type was almost microscopic, and there were no headlines throughout those four pages. Its editors were Charles Robson and Miss Sallie Martin. The front page was made up of poems, essays and short stories. The inside pages contained notices of various kinds, particularly those in regard to the Wayne Lyceum, poems, more essays and some advertisements, though of a very different character from those of the present. A typical one read:

Messrs. Ramsey & Bro.
Bryn Mawr and Rosemont
Every article to be found in a
No. 1 country store
At the lowest city prices
Can be had at either store.


Duncan and Richardson, “Dealers in Lumber, Sand and other Building Materials,” had offices at “Wayne Siding”, which was “immediately East of Wayne Station, Pennsylvania Railroad”, where prospective buyers were invited “to call and examine quality and prices.” It was evidently quite ethical for doctors to advertise, as in the same column with these advertisements of a country store and lumber yard appeared the following:

Dr. William M. Whitehead
Office Hours:
Wayne 7 to 9 A. M.; 6 to 8 P. M.
Bryn Mawr 3 to 5 P. M.
Residence–First House west
of Wayne Avenue, North Side
Lancaster Pike
Dr. Charles S. Seysham
Graduate Pennsylvania University
Office–Newtown Square
Delaware County
No regular office hours

On one of the inside pages there ordinarily appeared a column entitled “Answers to Referred Questions.” THese were no idle queries, either. In the issue of July 20, 1872, one reader asks “What is the Apollo Belvidere?” Another writes to know, “Why are drops of rain or dew upon the leaves of plants generally spherical or globular?” And still another inquires: “What would a body weighing eight hundred pounds upon the surface of the earth weigh when one thousand miles below the surface?” To all three questions comprehensive answers of some length were given.

A column entitled “Humorous and Otherwise” had these two items in this same issue of July 20, 1872.

“A lady entered a drug store and asked for a bottle of ‘Jane’s Experience’. The clerk informed her that Jane hadn’t bottled her experience yet, but they could furnish Jayne’s Expectorant.'”

“There is a place in Maine where they have had no rain for four weeks and no whiskey for six. The consequence is that just now they are the dirtiest and the dryest people above ground.”

(To be continued)