Emma C. Patterson wrote "Your Town and My Town" for the Suburban & Wayne Times from 1949 to 1958. It was written during a time when Wayne's founders were still around to reminisce about the area's development. The articles are a wealth of information, with many names and places referenced.

The same way historic photographs of Radnor can tell us a great deal about their subjects, Ms. Patterson's writing draws a vivid picture of Radnor's history as seen from the lens of the mid-20th Century. At that point venerable institutions that no longer function were still alive in full swing, longtime residents who could remember back to Wayne's agrarian past could still share their memories, and there was enough community interest that the Suburban was willing to print such extensive and descriptive columns week after week for nearly a decade.

Locked in fading newsprint, tucked away inside crumbling scrapbooks for fifty years, each article by Emma C. Patterson is reproduced here in full, in an easy to navigate searchable blog format.

Browse an index of all articles

Finley House, other old buildings – Radnor Baptist Church (1st Baptist)

Another farm which Joseph M. Fronefield, Jr., describes in his chronicle of early Wayne days from which I quoted at length last week, is the Ramsey place, which has been mentioned earlier in this column. Situated in North Wayne on what is now Bellevue avenue, the lovely old farm house remains, much as it was when it was built in 1789. Occupied by Miss Dorothy Finley, one room is now the headquarters of the Radnor Historical Society.

Miss Finley tells me that when her family acquired it in 1889 the original old barn was then standing. Her father had it torn down but the stone in it was used to build the addition on the north side of the house. The room which houses the treasures now being acquired by the Historical Society was the basement kitchen of the original old house.

Of the Ramsey place, Mr. Fronefield writes “North of the railroad was the Ramsey farm, the house now being the home of W. H. Finley. Its entrance was from Eagle road. Many times during the winter Eagle road was so blocked with snow that the occupants of this farm had to cross the railroad tracks and the Jones farm to the Lancaster Pike.”

“There was also an old stone farm house standing at what is now the corner of Walnut avenue and Oak lane. The spring house on the property is now in the rear of the home of Dr. Smith.” (This property is now owned by C. W. T. Stuart and the spring house is clearly visible to the passerby as he turns off Walnut avenue onto Oak lane.)

Of the old buildings of that period Mr. Fronefield describes the Radnor Baptist Church as “a rectangular building, with its sheds close by on the corner of Conestoga road and Hall lane. This building was replaced after some years by the present building and the name changed to the First Baptist Church of Wayne.” Although long vacant now, the old church building still stands on Conestoga road. Even before the original building became a church, Mr. Fronefield states it was a public hall known as Radnor Hall. From this building Hall lane took its name. As it went in a northeasterly direction from the old church the lane “passed over the ground where Lienhardt’s store and La Dow’s drugstore now stand, crossed Lancaster Pike diagonally, passed over the ground upon which the Presbyterian Church now stands and terminated at the station which was close to the point where the back of the Waynewood Hotel now stands.” (La Dow’s drugstore is now the Sun Ray Store, and the Waynewood Hotel is now called the Wayne Hotel).

“The old presbyterian Church was standing on the east side of the station road with its sheds on the west side” according to Mr. Fronefield. This first church building still stands to the east of the present Presbyterian Church and is known as the Chapel. In 1870 it was given to the charter members by one of Wayne’s most distinguished citizens, J. Henry Askin, whose home “Louella House” has already been described in this column. The present church building was erected in 1890 and the present Church School was added in 1922.

Other buildings of that early period included “the Radnor Lyceum Hall, a frame building which stood on the north side of the Lancaster Pike, east of the point where Pembroke avenue now crosses it. This old building can be credited with the birth of Radnor Library (afterwards known as the George W. Childs Library and the Wayne Library), the Wayne Building and Loan Association and the Merryvale Athletic Association, afterwards changed to the Radnor Cricket Club.”

Mr. Fronefield’s description continues “a fine old, stone house, known as the Manley House, stood on the eastern end of the Louella grounds and near the railroad. This house was occupied by J. H. Askin before building Louella House . . . it was subsequently torn down.

“The large farm barns, of which there were two with the Askin farm, stood on the north side of Lancaster Pike, one about where Hale’s garage now is and near the Pike, with the other back about where Love’s garage now is. A harness room facing the pike was the place at which William P. Sassaman started his Wayne career when Wayne was in its infancy. These barns were used as a boarding and livery stables and housed some of the finest equipages in this country.

“Just east of the barns was that gem of the neighborhood, a grand little old white-washed, rose-covered clapboard, story-and-a-half tall house, sheltered by a couple of enormous willow trees and no doubt built about 1792, when the Lancaster Pike was laid out. Davis Whiteman, the local shoemaker, occupied it and repaired shoes while his good wife collected the toll. This house made way for improvements in the very early days. Near it, and in the meadow north of the Lancaster Pike, about back of the house of A. L. Weadley, stood a square stone house over a spring . . . this also departed in the early days.”

(To Be Continued)

Cleaver Farm, W.D. Hughs estate – hobos

In addition to the farms already described in this column as making up Wayne as Joseph Fronefield knew it when he came here in the early 80’s, there was the Cleaver place.

Of it Mr. Fronefield writes: “The old Cleaver farm house, a fine old stone house on a well-kept lawn, owned and occupied by William D. Hughs, situated on the north side of Lancaster Pike, was scrapped some years later to make room for the home of William Wood.”

Since the Wood place, with its handsome stone house surrounded by spacious lawns and trees is soon to be converted to commercial purposes, it seems a matter of general interest at this time to go more fully into the story of what was originally the Cleaver farm.

In the course of a pleasant evening’s conversation with Mrs. Malcolm G. Sausser in her apartment on Walnut avenue, she gave me much first-hand information about where she and her two sisters and her brother spent their childhood. The brother, Owen Hughs, is now dead, but the three sisters, Mrs. Frederick H. Jiggens, Mrs. William A. Scott and Mrs. Sausser, all have apartments in what for many years was the home of Doctor and Mrs. George Miles Wells on Walnut avenue, now known as the Humphries Apartments. Mrs. Sausser has been largely responsible for the organization and rapid growth of the recently formed Radnor Historical Society.

The original Cleaver house was built in 1775, Mrs. Sausser tells me. In looking up old records in the office of the Recorder of Deeds in Media, she has raced its ownership as far back as 1854, when it was sold to Hiram Cleaver and his wife, Sarena D., by Morceau Delaus and his wife, Sarah.

The next owners were J. Henry Askin and his wife, Louise, who purchased the house and 199 acres from the Cleavers. On April 6, 1878, Mr. Askin sold the property to William D. Hughes, Mrs. Sausser’s father.

Old pictures in the possession of Mrs. Sausser and her sisters show the home as a large stone one of two stories in height, long and rather narrow, with very thick walls.
It graced Lancaster Pike on a site slightly north of the present William Wood house. On the west side were two doors, side by side, a very puzzling matter to itinerant peddlers, who knocked first on one door and then on the other, convinced that the house must be a two-family affair! The big kitchen contained an old-fashioned bake oven. Three sets of staircases throughout the house connected the spacious first and second floors.

The old pictures show, too, the tall windmill on the west side of the house which brought water up from the springhouse. Except for the wind-driven wheel at the top, the entire frame unit was covered with wisteria, with its lovely hanging lavender flowers.

The springhouse was located to the south of the house and near the Pike, with several paths leading to it, not only from the house, but from the road. Many people from far and near came to use the punt as the water from the spring was supposed to be exceptionally pure – even tramps trudging along the Pike stopped to drink there.

The springhouse, as shown in an exceptionally clear picture, was a picturesque one with its shingled roof covered with moss. All around it were tall sycamore trees of great girth. Mrs. Sausser recalls vividly the pump and the trough into which the clear water gushed, and the inner part of the springhouse which was kept locked, since all the milk from the farm was set there to cool. It was also a wonderful place in which to chill watermelons. The remains of the old springhouse are still on the front lawn of the Wood place, the site being marked by a large clump of rhododendrons.

On the place was also a cider press, since there were so many apples from the orchard from which to make cider. At the back of the house itself stood the ice-house, the front door of which was tightly closed after enough ice had been packed into it so that it was more convenient to take it from the back door.

The site of the Wood house is just about the former site of the old Hughs ice-house. Then there was the big barn which housed the farm animals and the pets of the Hughs family, including two donkeys, two goats and a pony. One picture shows clearly the donkey cart, drawn by two of the faithful small animals.

Mrs. Sausser recalls the endless pleasures their pets gave, not only to the Hughs children, but to their young friends as well. Tramps passing along both the railroad and the Pike often asked Mrs. Hughs’ permission to sleep in the barn. This permission was usually given, provided the overnight guests gave all their matches into Mrs. Hugh’s possession until morning!

(These reminiscences and descriptions of the old Cleaver farm, after it had passed into the possession of the Hughs and Wood families, will be continued in next week’s column.)

Hughs estate (cont.), William Wood house, “Caesar”

The old Cleaver farm house where Mr. and Mrs. William D. Hughs lived so happily with their young family after they purchased it from Mr. and Mrs. J. Henry Askin in 1878, remained very much as it was at the time of the purchase until about the year 1887. At that time several additions were made to the house, including a third floor and a large porch, which was open in summer and enclosed in winter with many growing plants to add to its cheerfulness.

A modern architect building onto a lovely old house such as the Cleaver one, would keep to the simplicity of the original structure. However, this particular architect was carried away by the more ornate tendencies of the eighties and the new third floor had the mansard-type roof! Mrs. Sausser tells me that this spoiled the charm of the old house to some extent, though its comfort still remained. With the third floor addition the house had twenty-five rooms in all.

While the remodeling of their own house was going on the Hughs family went to live with Mrs. Hughs’ father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. George J. Corrie, who resided at that time in the house on the northwest corner of Bloomingdale and Lenoir avenues, now occupied by Doctor and Mrs. Henry G. Fischer. For fifty years Mr. Corrie taught music at Villanova College. He was the organist at the Wayne Presbyterian Church and had a studio in the same building with the Wayne Estate offices. (This is where Wayne Frosted Foods, Inc., is now located).

In 1896 William Wood bought the Hugh’s home and lived there with his large family while his new home was being built on a site almost directly adjoining that of the original house. This handsome home, built in Elizabethan style by the well known firm of Hazelfurst and Huckle, though now unoccupied, still stands on the large piece of ground on Lancaster Pike directly west of the Fried Building. This entire plot of ground is soon to be converted to commercial purposes. In the destruction of the old Hughs home after the building of the new house, the corner stone with its markings of 1775 was unfortunately lost.

In 1894, two of Mrs. William Wood’s daughters were married in a double ceremony in the Wayne Presbyterian Church. This was the first wedding to be performed in the present church building, services up to that time having been held in what is now known as the Chapel, built in 1870.

Mr. Wood’s grounds were always beautifully planted and tended as Mr. Hughs’ had been. There were spreading oaks, giant ginko trees, Japanese maples, chestnut trees and much shrubbery, including many rhododendrons. The famous Bellevue Hotel adjoined his property toward the west, and when this burned down William W. Hearne built the house which still stands on the same site as the old hotel on the corner of the Pike and Bellevue avenue. In the early eighties J. Henry Askin built the house on the corner of North Wayne avenue and Lancaster avenue which has recently been converted into the Cobb and Lawless store. This house was occupied by Mr. Askin and his family after they moved from Louella House.

In the same year that Mr. Wood built his home, the Central Baptist Church, is it now stands, was completed. About this time Dr. Smedley built the very handsome house which still stands just ot the west of Albrecht’s Flower Shop. For some reason the Smedley family never occupied it and it later passed ito the possession of J. M. Fronefield, Jr. Between the Wood property and the Railroad station and leading to the Bellevue Hotel ran a boardwalk built on high stilts. This was for the accommodation of those who wished to keep out of the mud of North Wayne avenue and of Lancaster Pike!

On the old Dr. Wells’ property, where Mrs. Sausser, Mrs. Jiggens and Mrs. Scott now make their home, there is a happy reminder of the days when they were the three little Hughs girls playing on their father’s farm and swinging in the big swing near the old spring house. It is “Caesar” the iron dog, whose first home was Louella House, as shown in an old picture now in the possession of Herman P. Lengel. Mr. Askin later gave “Caesar” to Mr. Hughs to be placed on his lawn. Within the past four years he has been transferred to the yard of the former Wells home. There are many amusing tales told in connection with old “Caesar,” notable that of the time when Mary Hughs, now Mrs. Jiggens, hid the key to her father’s ice house in the dog’s hollow interior, and for some time refused to reveal the hiding place! He is still an object of much interest to all passerby, including children and real dogs, who actually bark at him!

(For information in this article supplementary to that given me by Mrs. Malcolm G. Sausser, I am indebted to Miss Josephine W. Scott.)

Old roads of Wayne – railroad and Wayne Station moved

In continuing the story of Wayne as it was in the early 80’s, it is interesting to note what Mr. Joseph M. Fronefield, Jr., wrote concerning roads in this vicinity.

Country roads were the Conestoga, Eagle, Radnor and Church roads. “The first,” Mr. Fronefield wrote, “Is today in the same location, but the Radnor road left the Lancaster Pike near where Pembroke Avenue is now and crossed the Pennsylvania Railroad diagonally at grade and came through the property now owned by Joseph Rosengaren and struck its present road-bed where it crosses Aberdeen Terrace. The lines may not be followed in some places, particularly near the point where it crossed the railroad.”

Eagle Road was in its present location, excepting it crossed the Pennsylvania Railroad west of Wayne at grade. In this connection it is interesting to remember what Miss Dorothy Finley told me about the mushrooms and wild strawberries that once grew in such abundance along the railroad track on Eagle Road, between Wayne and Strafford stations. Whenever any Wayne housewife wanted either mushrooms or strawberries for the table, it was there she went to pick them. (Miss Finley lives in what was once the old Ramsey farm house on Beechtree lane.)

Church road, according to Mr. Fronefield’s account, “left the Lancaster pike east of St. Davids Golf Links, crossing the Conestoga road at what is now known as Five Points, thence straight to St. Davids Church. The part of this road which passed through the property of William T. Wright was abandoned some years ago.” Hall lane, so called because it led from the railroad to the old Lyceum Hall, once located on the site of the Baptist Church on Conestoga road, has already been described in this column.

So much for roads. As to streets, the first one built by Drexel and Childs was North Wayne avenue, from Lancaster Pike to Eagle road. “At about the same time,” Mr. Fronefield writes, “the railroad was moved from the crest of the hill to its present location and the station located as at present. The road to the old station was closed. The first station at the new location was a frame structure, which some years later was replaced by the present station, since altered. The original one was moved to Strafford, where it still stands.

“In building Wayne avenue, the road was changed so as to cross the Lancaster Pike at right angles and the old roadbed through Lienhardt’s and LaDow’s (now the Sun Ray store) was abandoned.

“A few years later Audubon avenue and Aberdeen avenue were both built, Audubon starting from Wayne avenue just South of the Lancaster Pike and winding through to the Conestoga road, where now stand the homes of Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson and Dr. Truxal. (The Tillotson home is now owned by A. A. Schley.)

“Aberdeen started from the Radnor road North of the railroad at the entrance of the present Stone property (now the Robert N. D. Arndt house), crossing the Lancaster Pike where St. Katharine’s Church now stands, and running to the Conestoga road, where it established what is known as the Five Points. Windermere avenue soon followed from Audubon to Aberdeen avenue.”

The description of Bloomingdale is probably in the first pages of Mr. Fronefield’s account. The pages were unfortunately lost before the stenographer’s not book in which Mr. Fronefield wrote had been found by his son, J. M. Fronefield, 3d. However, the date of he building of the plastered mansard roof houses on Bloomingdale avenue is given as 1871. They were built by J. Henry Askin and later acquired by Drexel and Childs.

“These houses have all been much improved in the intervening years, though the general architecture is much the same as it was,” according to Mr. Fronefield. Another very old house which he mentions is the J. R. Pinkerton home at the corner of Louella avenue and the Pike. It was the first residence erected under the Wayne ownership of Drexel and Childs. Though it is still standing, it is so obscured by the row of stores in front of it, including the large Acme market, that few passersby ever notice the original house.

With this article I have used all the valuable information in Mr. Fronefield’s story of early Wayne. He has been dead for several years. But he would be glad to know, I feel, that Wayne of this generation can, through what he wrote, glimpse a bit of the picture of his Wayne of the early 80’s and 90’s. His account closes with the following amusing brief paragraph:

“Saturday nights in the early days were great nights. All the farmers and their friends for miles around came into town. Cracker barrel, wheelbarrow and macaroni box seats were at a premium and on many nights the early corners pre-empted the Presbyterian Church sheds to keep their horses in the dry, while the latecomers had to be satisfied with fence posts to which to tie. the same people were back, however, on Sunday morning to Church services.”

Old photos, “Town Fathers” – early businessmen, Mrs. Lienhardt

In a large envelope of pictures of old Wayne, lent to me recently by Miss Beatrice Tees, there are some real treasures, including a booklet published by Wendell and Smith, Home Builders, showing all the different types of houses which we now know as the “Wayne Estate Houses.” Later descriptions from this booklet will answer some of the many questions asked me in regard to the history of these homes.

However, there are three pictures in the lot that are of a time before the Wendell and Smith homes. One is entitled “Commuting in 1870”, and shows the first Wayne station on the Pennsylvania Railroad. It is the building now standing slightly to the west of the Wayne Hotel, and used as sleeping quarters for the hotel workers. The caption of the picture says, “During the summer of 1870 residents of Wayne swished through a cornfield to catch the eight-fifteen to Philadelphia. The smaller building in the picture . . . is the waiting room of the Wayne station of the Pennsylvania Railroad. But J. Henry Askin, one of the founders of Wayne, was not so slow or democratic either for he had a private waiting room for his family in the big house adjoining. The station was located to the rear of the Wayne Presbyterian Church and the picture was taken from the cornfield that is now part of the Wayne Hotel property. Although the cottage still stands, the waiting room building was transported to Strafford.”

The second picture of this lot is called “Hitching Post Days”, and shows the large double building of which the Lienhardt store is still a part. Its caption reads: “The Fronefield building ion the southeast corner of what is now Lancaster Pike and Wayne Avenue, in 1890 had ties in its hitching post to accommodate any number of buggies. The vacant half of the store was occupied by Lienhardt’s Bakery, and this part of the building is still standing . . . For a time the Wayne Post Office was housed there.”

The third picture shows that part of the present business block to the east of the Fronefield building as it originally looked. It is called “Business in the Eighties”, and its caption reads: “Where shoppers park their cars nowadays in the Wayne business section . . . there were trees, grass and shrubbery in the eighties. This picture was taken of the south side of Lancaster Pike, east of the Fronefield building. By the aid of a magnifying glass you can read the curb market sign “Christmas Tress for Sale’. In those days merchants and residents were not troubled seriously by the sidewalk problem. A narrow roadway was all that the horses and wagon traffic demanded. Business had no need of a street canopy to keep the sun out because buyers shopped in comfort beneath ample shade trees.”

Of the “Town Fathers”, one Wayne historian, whose notes have been made available to me, mentions first J. Henry Askin, “the Pioneer of 1865”, who built Louella House, the Bloomingdale Avenue houses, and gave property for the Wayne Presbyterian Church. This same historian describes Joseph M. Fronefield as the “First business man”, opening his drug store in the east end of the Lyceum building in 1882 and later moving across the Pike. James C. Pinkerton was the first president of the Electric Light Company, started in 1886. Incidentally, Wayne was the second town in the country to have electricity. Many office buildings in Philadelphia were still using gas at the time.

Fred C. Hallowell was instrumental in starting the Wayne Title and Trust Company. T. Stewart Wood and Joseph C. Egbert, members of the early school board, were responsible for the high school in Wayne Henry Pleasants “saved the name of Wayne for the town when there was a strong idea of changing it.” He was also the historian of this section. The name of Herman Wendell, who came here with the Childs-Drexel operation, will always be associated with the improvement and beauty of the town.

R. H. Johnson built most of the local roads and did most of the landscaping which enhanced the charm of Wayne. Theodore Ramsey had a general store in the Lyceum where everything “from a plough to a hairpin” could be purchased.

There must have been many others who deserved the title of “Town Father”, but here the historian’s list ended. She did pay high tribute to “our Town Mother”, however, when she described Mrs. Helena Lienhardt’s place in Wayne history. Mrs. Lienhardt came to Wayne in 1885 and opened a bakery in the same location in which the present one of the same name still operates. “Mrs. Lienhardt”, our historian comments, “was a splendid business woman and an outstanding person of those days, and as long as she lived held a warm place in the hearts of Wayne people. And what a Mecca that store was for children!”

(to be continued)

”Wayne Times”, period descriptions, population, Radnor Panther

Last week I wrote of the “Town Fathers” of early Wayne and of one “Town Mother”, Mrs. Helena Lienhardt. The bakery the latter established here in 1885 is still actively engaged in business in the same Pike location in which it was founded. Several other businesses established at about that time are still in existence, among them Adelberger’s nurseries; L. K. Burket and Brother, coal and feed; R. H. Johnson Company, contractors, and the Joseph Thomas nurseries near Martin’s Dam.

In 1885 the “Wayne Times” was founded by W. Chandler Stewart, W. W. Pinkerton, and F. O. Pinkerton. At a later date its name was changed to the one with which we are all familiar, “The Suburban and Wayne Times.” Among notes of one Wayne historian I find the following: “Fired with ambition to write, W. W. Pinkerton, F. O. Pinkerton, and W. Chandler Stewart started the “Wayne Times”. That was in 1885. Little did they think that small acorn would become the great oak under whose branches the whole population of this day would sit and read.”

In an 1882 issue of the old “Public Ledger”, Wayne had a very prominent place when the paper brought out a full page picture of North Wayne. The photographer climbed to the cupola of Louella House to take the picture. This was a tremendous novelty in the newspaper fashions of that time; indeed, the Ledger’s first venture in that line. The newspaper at that time was owned in part by George W. Childs, who had much to do with real estate development in Wayne in the eighties and nineties. It is said that when his building operation here was pretty well under way, he brought Mr. Harjes, the French member of the Ledger corporation, out to see the houses and the latter was very much impressed.

In 1881 the town of Louella (as Wayne was then called) was listed as having a population of one hundred inhabitants. But is was not long thereafter that it began to expand and to develop from the farming section as it was then. As the development took place, of course it was the obvious thing to have as constable “a strong and valiant man to safeguard the growing town . . . and one Charlie Cressman was impounded for that arduous duty. He had a flea-bitten, rangy mare and a gig. No one ever recalls seeing him walk. He always held the reins up high and jerked them constantly. Charlie had one dominant characteristic-he always chewed! As he jerked the reins and the mare speeded up or slowed down to a walk-so Charlie chewed!

“One night, we are told, when life was very dull in the hamlet and no murders, robberies or kidnappings were taking place, Charlie got desperate and pulled out his pistol. He fired several vicious shots into the the air-but only echo answered.

“When the Lyceum became the Wayne Opera House and we gave ‘The Mikado’ and ‘Patience’ and the famous Euterpean Concerts were held there, Charlie was the janitor and curtain-raiser. And many a timid actor had a hearty slap of encouragement on the back before the curtain was jerked up.”

From another source comes an amusing story of Charlie and the “Radnor Panther.” It seems that there was a rumor that a wild beast had escaped from a circus and was roaming in the dense woods of North Wayne. People were terrified at night by roars and loud screams, but nobody had actually seen the supposed mountain lion. Francis Fenimore and Robert Martin; who lived close to these woods, contributed theories about the animal in amusing chits in the Wayne Times. And then one Saturday when Wayne was bustling with business, Charlie Cressman was seen slowly driving up the Pike holding a long rifle in one hand, while on his lap was the “panther” with claws hanging down, blood dripping from its jaws.

The truth, as it came to light later, was that a couple of local wags had secured an animal rug and stuffed it with straw, with tomato ketchup to simulate blood. The crowds of men and boys who followed the wagon were completely fooled by the practical joke, according to my informant, wo adds, “Those were the days when small things like this afforded the people fun and amusement for days.”

For the information in this article I am indebted to several sources, among them Miss Josephine W. Scott, W. W. Schultz, and the 1948 Historical Record and Business Guide of Wayne.

Old real estate booklets – Wendell & Smith, George W. Childs

“Out in the country Wayne and St. Davids have ready for you today the best homes that can be built.” In bold lettering this statement appears in the center of a 20 by 28 inch circular distributed in 1890 by Wendell and Smith to advertise the “Wayne Estate” houses that are to this day such an integral part of our community.

Built throughout both North and South Wayne as well as in St. Davids, these houses of substantial construction and roomy interior still survive among neighboring homes of newer design and of more modern architecture. They are not beautiful, and yet they have a charm of their own. Their elaborately gabled roofs are one of their most distinguishing exterior features. Most of them are of at least partial stone construction, some are shingled, others pebble-coated. Many originally had a stained-glass window or two somewhere in the house. Other windows are often of heavy plate glass while stairways and mantle places are of massive oak, often elaborately carved.

Alterations, remodeling and additions never disguise these houses, frequently as these changes have been made by succeeding owners. They are still the ornate houses of the 1890 period so aptly described by their original designations, “The Flemish House,” the “New Tower House,” the Round End House,” the “Gables Inn” and the “Pillar House.” The repetition of the same types throughout the community is a source of interest, often of amazement to the newcomer. It is, in fact, one of the most distinguishing features of our community.

Most of the houses have always been surrounded by spacious grounds. Few have been either demolished or destroyed by fire. Sixty years after their construction these Wayne Estate houses still stand serenely in our midst.

Wayne as a town was founded by Anthony J. Drexel and George W. Childs. From 1887 to about 1890 its population increased from 300 to 2500. Much of this increase was due to the large building operation sponsored by Mr. Childs and described in the advertisement which I have already quoted.

These “best homes” have “every city convenience, pure water in abundance, underground drainage, electric light and steam heating. The highways are spacious and substantial. There are good schools, stores and churches, a banking institution, fire department and police patrol.”

Other conveniences as listed included “telegraph, telephone and Adams Express Service, two newspapers, seven daily mails, a town hall for entertainments, a casino for recreation.”

Then, our description continues, “these varied conveniences, unobtainable elsewhere outside of large cities, put these places pre-eminently in advance of all suburban towns, and a salubrious climate, where malaria is unknown, give to home buyers extraordinary assurance for comfort and health. This opportunity will exist for a short time only, for when the ground that is connected with the water and drainage system is built up, each owner will demand a premium.”

“The advantages go to every purchaser and the prices are less than elsewhere, where these conveniences cannot be obtained. Business and professional people have made permanent homes here, which demonstrates that its worth has met with suitable recognition while the wisdom of locating here is acknowledged by the most conservative investors.”

Present day real estate ad writers could well take note of some of this phrasing. And this in not all, as the advertisement of sixty years ago continues, “This locality is far superior to the usual unestablished places in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It has every general improvement in perfect working order and was founded by George W. Childs, of Philadelphia, who is the protector of its prosperity, present and future, and who is personally represented by Mr. Frank Smith, the manager of Wayne Estate, under whose supervision all general improvements are made and maintained and who is always on the grounds to show visitors the properties. His office is now on Wayne avenue, south of the railroad.”

The office referred to is the shop now occupied by Wayne Frosted Foods, Inc. In addition to this Wayne office there was “the new one for the public comfort at St. Davids station.” This is the attractive small stone residence southwest of the station and familiar to all St. Davids commuters.

Wendell and Smith were the builders of these houses which will be described in succeeding issues of this column, since much interesting material has been made available to the writer by Miss Beatrice Tees and Joseph M. Fronefield, 3d.

Original steam heat, sewage – central heating Edison Electrical Light Plant

Safeguards for the future health of home owners of the Wayne Estate houses were listed in one of several booklets printed in the late eighties and early nineties by Wendell and Smith, “Home Builders,” as “Pure Water and Air,” “Thoroughly Tight Underground Drainage,” “Substantial Highways,” “Edison Electric Light” and “Steam Heat from a Central Plant.”

Since the discontinuation of “central heat” only last month after some 60 years of continuous service has been a subject uppermost in the minds of many a homeowner, it is interesting to note how these early booklets advertised it.

One says: “Steam heat will be provided for these country home places for next winter. This is an economical, health-giving, and comfortable warmth fro homes. The regulation of the heat in our houses and the avoidance of too high a temperature in winter would certainly lessen the number of preventable diseases. This opinion is held by practically all physicians and sanitary experts, who agree that steam heat has assumed valuable importance to mankind’s health and comfort. It is only lately, however, that a practical system has been adopted in this country in any save the residences of the wealthy. “The Holly System” which will be in operation here, delivers the heat in the same way that water and gas reach your house, obviating the trouble and annoyance of heater attention.”

Two of the other booklets speak of the ease with which this heat is controlled by the occupants of the houses. “Civilized Society,” one advertisement states, “demands the best service which science can master in supplying its necessities and to practically minister to its everyday comforts. Steam heat for domestic use is the most modern application to those needs. A plant for this purpose has been erected in Southeastern Wayne, near St. Davids station, from which point the supply will be distributed to the houses of the town.

“Accustomed to the safe and economical city conveniences of light and water, we can hardly realize that invention has provided steam heat for dwelling houses in the country, and at a price about what is regularly paid for the use and care of heater fires. The heat is supplied by a pipe line into the houses, under the easy control of the occupants, and it is thoroughly safe. The system in use here is that of the Holly system which furnishes a remedy for the evils of impure air, excessive heat and bad ventilation, and also obviates the annoyances of heater attention and ashes and their removal.”

And as one who for many years regulated the temperature in her own home by the simple turn of a wheel-like valve just above the floor in the living room, the writer is more than willing to go on record that the system did “obviate the annoyances of heater attention.” In spite of the antiquated features of that Holly system many a homeowner has rebelled at exchanging it for a more modern gas, oil, or coal furnace. Besides which, many houses built for central heating have proved not too adaptable to individual furnaces.

Of drainage, one advertisement states in its opening sentence: “There are no cess-pools in Wayne.” Amplifying this statement another continues: “The perfect sewage system designed and constructed by Colonel George E. Waring, Jr., is in successful operation. It is not only a pride to its projector, but a wonder in the scientific world. To the utility of this system is due the fact that there is not a single cess-pool in Wayne, and that every house is underdrained. The waster from the house passes through sewage pipes into a common main and thence to a point probably a mile and a half from the Opera House, where by a most interesting process it is part purified, part neutralized, and part destroyed.”

So much for Wayne’s early sewage system. The history of the vicissitudes of later systems can be described adequately only by the members of the Board of Township Commissioners, who struggled valiantly with the perplixing aspects of local sewage over the years.

The promoters of early Wayne were obviously very proud of its lighting system, as witnessed by the following paragraph: “Light, after pure water and good drainage, is one of the necessary luxuries which the man of today demands in his search for comfort. No one would wish to live in a suburban town where the necessaries of life only were procurable, and the lack of satisfactory light keeps the residents of most suburban towns home at night. Wayne has a local Edison Electrical Light Plant, which illuminates its avenues and its homes, and no householder need fear a dark or lonely walk, or a gloomy house.”

Descriptions from real estate booklets – Edison Electrical Light Plant

Those who read our column last week know that no householder among those purchasing Wayne Estate homes in the late eighties and early nineties needed to “fear a dark or lonely walk, or a gloomy house.” This was because of the “Edison Electrical Light” plant which was one of the prides of Wayne of the time, and well it might be, since parts of Philadelphia were still lighted by gas. And, indeed, Wayne was one of the first towns in the country to have electric light! Of it another advertisement, in addition to the one quoted last week, states: “The Edison incandescent light is generally used on the avenues and in the houses. The service is entirely satisfactory, and removes the fear of loneliness and makes the night time as pleasant as the day. This modern light has now become as safe and economical as gas for domestic use, while from a health standpoint it is far superior, for it cannot vitiate the air.” This particular advantage may be as novel to many of our readers as it was to the writer!

Of Wayne’s “clean wholesome water” our pamphlet states, “Generally speaking, rain water which falls in remote country-districts is the purest. It is this pure water that finds its way to the springs that abundantly supply the unrivaled water system of Wayne. This water is carefully protected from all local contaminations, and is pumped into the 250,000 gallon brick-lined reservoir, and distributed by gravity to the houses. The water supply of Wayne is absolutely free from deleterious mineral or organic matter; is clear and sparkling to the eye, and cool and pleasant to the taste.”

It must have been shortly after this was written that the original reservoir was enlarged – for a caption on the later one gives the capacity as 1,500,000 gallons. This picture is a most attractive one, showing the large body of water, “clear and sparkling,” entirely surrounded by a white picket fence and bordered by trees. The description reads “The quality of the water furnished to the inhabitants cannot be excelled. The growth of the town necessitating an increased supply, it was procured by means of artesian wells, remote from the built-up portion, and a new reservoir of large capacity was constructed upon a point so high that houses upon the highest hills in Wayne are supplied from it by gravity. The supply of water is ample, and its source being entirely in the control of the Wayne Estate, the amount can be increased as exigency arises, and its purity assured.”

It is not so many years since this reservoir located on the west side of Radnor road on the property now owned by Valley Forge Military Academy, went out of existence.

Among the “Town Conveniences” listed in the pamphlets and not already enumerated in our column are “a well-organized and equipped Fire Department and uniformed Police Patrol – which add to the safety of the town – “ And since these were the days before the advent of the automobile it was important that there was a “Good Livery Stable and Station Conveyances when they are needed. – These advantages, go to every purchaser, and the prices are less than elsewhere, where these conveniences cannot be obtained. – Wayne is thoroughly homelike, without the usual deprivations of country life, and its homes show a practical housekeeping wit in their planning – at no point near Philadelphia is there such activity in real estate, most of the purchases being made before the houses were finished. Business and professional people have made Wayne their permanent home, which demonstrates that its worth has met with suitable recognition. The wisdom of locating here has been demonstrated to the most conservative investors.”

The enterprise of Wendell and Smith, “Home Builders,” is witnessed by the fact that they had offices at both stations, Wayne and St. Davids, that were open all day. Houses could be inspected not only on week-days, but on Sundays as well. All of them were “within five minutes walk of the station.” And to these prospective purchasers these enterprising realtors stated, “Arrangement can be made to build any kind of a house you prefer, but a selection of one of the following plans will be to the advantage of the buyer, in that we will share with you the profit of wholesale building” – And many must have taken advantage of this “wholesale building,” judging by the vast duplication of houses which puzzles newcomers to our town of Wayne!

Period descriptions of N. Wayne houses – Wendell & Smith, W.L. Price

“Wholesale building” of Wayne Estate houses as explained in last week’s column, resulted in much duplication of the architectural plans of which there were, however, quite a number. Some of the first plans had distinctive names. One was the “Gabled Inn,” of which the first were scheduled to be built on North Wayne and Woodland avenues. However, a walk around present day North Wayne shows that this plan must have gained much favor as there are several “Gabled Inns” on most of the streets. 407 North Wayne avenue and its next door neighbor, 409, are examples of this type. Our booklet states that it “has good porches and contains reception room with large square hall and oak stairway, living room with open grate and mantel, dining room, pantry, kitchen and out kitchen on first floor, and five chambers and bathroom on second floor, with a room in the roof for servant’s use or storage purposes. A thoroughly cozy home. Plumbing as good as the best. Stairway of oak, furniture finish. Back stairs.” On a lot 60 x 200 this type house was built to sell for $5,500.

The “Flemish House” was somewhat larger, although planned for the same sized lot os the “Gables Inn.” It sold for $7,000. Its special features seem to have been “a portico on the front,” – handsome effects in colored glass” and a unique mantel. These were originally built on Chestnut and Beechtree lanes and on Woodland avenue. 407 Woodland avenue and 214 and 218 Beechtree lane are examples of this type.

The “Round End House,” designed after “Old English homes” was placed on a lot 120 x 225 and priced at $8,000. “A large open living room with liberal fireplace, yet secluded from hall, is the chief feature of this plan” according to our booklet. Originally scheduled for Woodland avenue, this type house is also found pretty generally throughout Wayne. Number 325 Beechtree lane is one example of this plan.

The “New Tower House” had a 155 foot lot and sold originally for $9,500. Numbers 213 and 131 Beechtree lane are of this type. This merited a very flowery description in the early advertisements. “A very picturesque exterior. Large well shaded portico on the front. A very attractive thirteen room house with carved oak staircase. Hardwood finish on the first floor and home-like corners for your furniture. Tasteful effects in stained glass rundells. The very best of everything in this home.”

Examples of the “Pillar House” may be seen at 310 Oak lane; 129 Walnut avenue and 419 North Wayne avenue. This house was built of stone and brick, “pebble coated to second story” on a lot 113 x 230. Here is the first mention of “Stationary soapstone washing tubs.” There were “two rooms third floor; good closets in every room – A novel effect has been produced by joining the back and main stairways and putting a glass window over both. This is quite a feature in this plan.” The price of this house was $8,250.

The architect for the “Gables Inn” was J. C. Worthington, with offices at 755 Walnut street in Philadelphia. The other four houses were designed by the firm of F. L. and W. L. Price, of 731 Walnut street.

While houses were being sold in North Wayne to the extent of “a half million dollars worth to satisfied purchasers . . . the south side, on Lancaster avenue, near St. Davids station and the adjoining territory, has another half a million dollars worth of houses now under way. Most of them will be ready for the early fall market.” (This is quoted from the September 1890 edition of the advertising brochure.) Plans for “all of these Country Homes, which are on a plateau in Delaware County’s highlands” had been adopted at this time. All were to have “the best of plumbing, with the novel goodness of steam heat and tasty decorations in stained glass and tile work and oak and plate glass finish for first floors. Places of so much progressiveness, with great and meritorious work, should receive your attention, either for present or future needs.”

These houses do not have the distinguishing names that were given to the North Wayne houses. However, the writer has endeavored to identify each of the different types by giving the location of one or more of these South Wayne and St. Davids houses. Here, as in the first houses built by Wendell and Smith, there is the same duplication throughout the sections. Prices are much the same as the earlier ones, but the gratifying phrase “and upwards” is always added! The architects were F. L. and W. L. Price, who designed so many of the North Wayne houses. Presumably the terms of sale were practically the same, “$2,000 in cash, or other terms can be arranged if desired” with title “guaranteed by prominent trust companies in Philadelphia and Wayne, who will give prompt attention to all conveyancing matters entrusted to their care.”

This development on the South side of the railroad will be described in next week’s column.