Ashmead’s History of Delaware County, part 1 – Wendell, Childs, Drexel,

In the Spring and Summer of 1949, when this column was just getting under way for a reading public that has since shown its consistent interest in the history of Radnor township, the writer described from time to time the appearance of Wayne in its early days. She wrote of the first roads and of the farms which bordered on them, and of Louella House, completed in 1867, which with the Presbyterian Church and the old Lyceum formed the nucleus of the little hamlet, first known as Cleaver’s Landing. She told, too, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which succeed the old Lancaster & Columbia Railroad Company, and of the double tracks laid in 1860 by the former. And then she wrote at length of the Wayne Estate houses, built by Wendell and Treat on 600 acres of land, purchased by George W. Childs and A. J. Drexel, of Philadelphia.

But it was not until recently, when a copy of Henry Graham Ashmead’s “History of Delaware County” came into her possession through the courtesy of its owner, Richard W. Barringer, that this same writer could clearly visualize for herself the appearance of Wayne in the middle eighties, when “the little hamlet” had grown into a Main Line suburb. The “History” contains a concise description as given in the “Germantown Telegraph,” under date of July 2, 1884. According to this newspaper article, “a new town, or rather an aggregation of delightful suburban residences, is rapidly springing up within easy travelling distance of the city of Philadelphia, either by rail or Pike.” At that time not less than fifty “elegant residences” had been completed and occupied with about $600,000 invested in them, and others were under way by the owners, Drexel and Childs.

Writing in the first person, the author of the “Germantown Telegraph” article says that he proposed to describe a visit he recently made there, and state just what he saw. At the end of the half-hour ride from Broad Street Station he emerged from the railroad car and started along Wayne avenue. This was evidently to the South since he soon came into sight of Wayne Lyceum Hall (now the old Opera House, the future of which has recently been the cause of much discussion). On either side of Wayne avenue were “several beautiful cottages,” although “cottages” certainly seems a misnomer for three story homes. What remains of them may still be seen in several of the stores on this street.

Wayne Lyceum Hall is described as three stories high, built of brick and plaster, and costing $30,000. It contained at that time a general store, a drug store, the post office and the superintendent’s office, in addition to the larger auditorium above. On the corner now occupied by the Cobb and Lawless store was “the cottage” of J. Henry Askin, former owner of the land sold to Drexel and Childs. The Askin “cottage” is described as built of brick with a “spacious porch and a neat lawn.”

Near Mr. Askin’s home was the cottage belonging to a Mrs. Patterson, “a fine brick building.” North of Mrs. Patterson’s was “the large and substantial cottage” of Mr. Israel Solomon, of the Bingham House. Immediately adjoining Mr. Askin’s home to the west was a cottage occupied by Mr. William J. Phillips, “ex-superintendent of the Police and Fire Alarm Telegraph.” Next to Mr. Phillips’ place was the beautiful old home, surrounded by several acres of land, belonging to Mr. William D. Hughes. This estate has already been described in detail in this column.

Next to the Hughes property was the famous Bellevue Hotel, a good description of which the writer has not found until now, although she has made numerous references to the hotel. To quote from the description of the roving reporter of 1884:

“We now come to the beautifully situated Bellevue Mansion on Lancaster avenue. The mansion has been leased by Mr. Childs to Miss Mary Simmons and her sister, and is a charming summer resort. It has one hundred rooms, and each room has a private porch. Four porches run entirely around the mansion, and the building and surroundings cost over eighty thousand dollars. The mansion stands in the centre of a beautiful lawn, and is approached by a fine macademized road. The parlors present a most luxurious appearance, and the large and elegant dining room is where the ‘Aztec Club’ took their annual dinner before the death of General Robert Patterson. A handsome billiard-room or hall is near the mansion, and there are ice-houses, servants’ quarters, stables, gas-house, etc. The mansion is well supplied with fire-escapes, and the heating arrangements are excellent. There are a smoking room, card room, private parlors, etc.”

This fine old hotel, so popular over the years with summer visitors from Philadelphia, was burned to the ground on a bitter cold night in the winter of 1900. It was located on what is now the intersection of Lancaster Pike and Bellevue avenue (named for the hotel) on the property now occupied by the A&P store and the Anthony Wayne Service Station.

The “Germantown Telegraph” reporter in his wanderings found out about seven cottages just opposite the Bellevue Hotel, some of which were already under construction. They were described by him as “elegant” and “would contain twelve rooms, open hallways, parlor, dining room, library and kitchen on the first floor; four chambers and bathroom on the second floor, and the same on the third floor, and elegant wide porches . . . they are finished in imitation of hard wood, and built of brick and stone, with slate roofs, have hot and cold water, and are papered in the latest style.” Lots were one hundred feet front and three hundred feet deep.

These houses are still standing and in constant occupancy. In addition to the seven described, Mr. Abbott of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company built “a fine cottage” in this same development, and according to our reporter, who seems to have known something of the personal affairs of Wayne’s residents, Mr. Abbott planned to spend his honeymoon there.

(To be continued)

The Spread Eagle Inn

From time to time various members of the Siter family, of which there are still descendants in Wayne, were associated with the Old Spread Eagle Inn. It was in 1825 that Edward W. Siter became owner of that famous tavern, and remained its landlord until 1836 when Stephen Horne, who had been associated with the place for some time, leased the Inn.

Two years before this a most exciting incident occurred in the vicinity of Siterville, as the small settlement around the Inn had come to be called. The excitement was caused by the descent of James Mill’s balloon, which had started from Philadelphia at half past five in the afternoon and some two house later had descended in a field near the Inn.

The aeronaut’s description of the incident is as follows:

“Warned by the increasing obscurity of the world below, I began to descend and at six o’clock and 20 minutes reached the earth in a fine green field, near the Spread Eagle Inn on the Lancaster Turnpike, 16 miles from Philadelphia. As I descended very slowly, two young gentlemen and Dr. M., of Philadelphia, came ot my assistance, and laying hold of the car in which I remained, towed me about a quarter mile to the tavern, where I alighted, balloon and passenger safe and sound.

“Before discharging the gas, several ladies got successively into the car and were let up as far as the anchor rope would permit. The gas was let out and the balloon folded. In doing this a cricket was unfortunately included, and having to cut his way out he made the only break in the balloon which occurred on this expedition.

“Mr. Horne, of the Spread Eagle, treated me with great kindness, and Dr. M. politely offered me a conveyance to the city, which I reached at one o’clock in the morning.”

A far cry indeed to the days, only some hundred years or so later, when the whirr of one airplane or many as they go over Strafford scarcely causes any one to even look up in the sky!

As we stated in last week’s column, the decline of the Spread Eagle Inn as a popular hostelry began with the completion of the old Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad, and as time went on it had practically no patronage except that which was local.

However, there was a short period during the Winter when some of the old gaiety was renewed in sleighing parties of young people. Musicians were on hand for the dancers who arrived by the sleighload for open house, which was held all night upon occasion. However, by the latter part of the 1870’s these parties became a thing of the past.

As it became less and less of a good investment, the ownership of the Spread Eagle changed hands many times before coming into the possessin of George W. Childs, of Philadelphia, who is said to have bought it to prevent anyone from obtaining a license for the sale of liquor so near is large building operation at nearby Wayne. This was probably in the very early eighties.

Soon after acquiring possession of the property, Mr. Childs gave its use to the Lincoln Institute of Philadelphia as a summer home for the large number of Indian girls who were being trained and educated by the institution.

Since the managers of the school feared the effect of the hot city on their Indian children they were glad to accept Mr. Childs’ offer. Although no rent was charged, it is said it cost the school more than a thousand dollars to make the hostelry habitable and suited to their use. Soon, almost a hundred girls were established in their new home in what proved a highly successful venture.

One of the most interesting events of the Indian girls’ sojourn at the old tavern was an entertainment given on the evening of September 24, 1884, at Wayne Hall. According to Mr. Saehse’s description, as given in his book to which we have made frequent reference, the program “consisted of a series of twenty-two tableaux, illustrative of Longfellow’s beautiful powem of Hiawatha.

“The Reverend Joseph L. Miller, chaplain of the institution, read the portion of the poem descriptive of the scenes as presented by the dusky children. There were ten characters represented on the tableaux.

“All the scenes passed off successfully, and were well applauded by the large audience present. Among the most vivid pictures were ‘The Indian House’, Hiawatha’s ‘infancy’ with an Indian Lullaby and ‘Lover’s Advent’. The ‘Wedding Feast’, with its songs and dances, was the crowning feature of the evening. In this scene the stage was filled with the girls and boys of the Institute, all in striking costumes brilliant in color and beads, feathers, tassels, fringes and other trinkets. A wedding song was sung, then came the dance, after which a chorus of over thirty Indians sang a hymn in the Dakota language.” (Wayne Hall is the big building still standing at the northeast corner of the Pike and North Wayne avenue.)

Public religious services were also held every Sunday in Wayne Hall by the Institution, when “the choir” music and the responses, according to the ritual of the Protestant Episcopal Church, were entirely rendered by the Indian girls.

“As they walked along the stone turnpike, to and from the services, it seemed a far cry from the days when their ancestors roamed this same countryside as they willed among trails of their own making. Visitors at the school included several traveling Indian bands, among them one led by the famous ‘Sitting Bull’, with his band all resplendent in scarlet blankets, leggings and feathers; with faces and hands daubed and streaked with vermillion and chrome yellow”. They must have been a picturesque lot as they sat around the feast prepared for them by the Indian girls. And all of this was happening in Wayne a little more than sixty years ago!

Later the Lincoln Institute purchased ten acres of woodland on South Valley hill, about a mile and half northeast of the old Inn, after several attempts to buy the latter from Mr. Childs. Three large buildings, used as a permanent former school, were knows as “Po-Ne-Mah.”

Eventually the old Spread Eagle Tavern was demolished by Mr. Childs, the stones being used in the construction of the Wayne Estate houses, if this writer’s information is correct.

According to Elise Lathrop, writing in “Early American Inns and Taverns”, the larger home now known as “Spread Eagle Mansion”, was built somewhere between 1836 and 1846 as a private residence. The building somewhat back of and to the East of the large mansion may have originally been the old stables or some part of them, in Miss Lathrop’s opinion, which she has not been able to verify, however.

(To be Continued)

Any information in regard to the present buildings on the Spread Eagle property will be gratefully received by Mrs. Patterson.

“The Old Main Line” part 4: Life in the “60s” – Drexel & Childs

On the way of life in the sixties in the Philadelphia suburban area, Mr. Townsend, in his book, “The Old ‘Main Line’” gives us many brief, but telling insights. Old men and young children alike wore long tail coats and stiff starched shirt bosoms in the morning as well as the evening. “At college”, our historian tells us, “the Sophs forbade the Freshmen to wear high silk hats. Imagine a youth today of any class at college wearing this doubtful ornament. . .” And at that, Mr. Townsend was writing almost thirty years ago, when dress was a little more formal than now!

In the sixties well dressed men often wore leather boots that came to their knees, and into them tucked their trousers on stormy days. For a comfortable evening at home these were replaced by canvas slippers, with “flowers worked on their tops by devoted wives or best girls”. Women’s clothes likewise were far more formal in the sixties than in later days, with wasp-like waists and sweeping trains even on the street! Food, though plentiful then as now, did not have the wide variety that greater transportation facilities and increased refrigeration has made possible. Mr. Townsend writes in nostalgic vein of the delicacies prepared by Augustine, the great Philadelphia colored caterer. He ells of a trip on a Pennsylvania Railroad private car which “was stocked as usual with Augustine’s viands . . . a noted Englishman, who had just landed to visit the Centennial Exhibition of ‘76 was one of the party that sat down to the first luncheon in the little dining room of that car . . . one delicacy after another tickled his Anglican palate as never before and turning around, he whispered, “If this is what you Americans have on a railway car, I wonder what you have at home.” Mr. Townsend slyly adds, “We did not tell him we did not always have Augustine at home.” However, regular dining cars were an unknown quantity in the sixties and seventies. On a trip of any length passengers dined at railway restaurants along the route.

Among the many things that would seem unsanitary to us of a later day were the prevalence of flies and the lack of screening in the sixties. Stables bred flies by the millions during a time when wire screens were unknown, though, according to Mr. Townsend, “a few houses had flimsy pink mosquito netting over a few windows . . . some householders had canopies of such netting over their beds, some had wire cages to cover each dish on the table, some had a mechanical fly fan in the middle of the table . . . in hotels, the colored waiters, with large palm leaf fans, kept the flies off a part of the time”.

Of medicine in the sixties, Mr. Townsend says that “homeopathy was being experimented with by many, but its small pellets were laughed at by the ‘Old School’, which was then wedded to its searching draughts”. Professional massage, or osteopathy, as it was later known, was not practiced at all in those days. No one had operations for the removal of the appendix or tonsils or adenoids, as their presence, for good or evil, was not recognized then. As Mr. Townsend states it, “If any of these things went wrong, you were blissfully ignorant of it and there was a chance of getting well, or at least of dying a natural death . . .Neither did you have to have your teeth X-rayed and yanked out.”

Telephones were not introduced until the late seventies, and did not become at all prevalent until the early eighties. Even then many hesitated to have them installed. One thing that graced practically every house, however, was the lightning rod, in fact sometimes several of them, and certainly the barn and stable had to have their share also! “The Lightning Rod man was a feature in country life”, our humorous historian tells us, “he went up and down the breadth of the land, persuading every one that life depended upon having lightning rods . . . He was succeeded in his ubiquity by the life insurance man and later by the bond salesman.”

In the absence of automobiles, cattle could safely roam the roads, and they did. Tramps did the same. It is said that cooks in some of the large houses sometimes fed a dozen or more in a day. Private chalk marks made on gate posts by these hoboes indicated “the quality of the fare or the character of the dog”. Conditions were particularly bad before and during the great railway strikes of ‘77. In one nearby Rosemont section a “Relief Association” was started by John B. Garrett when the hungry who were traversing the roads were fed. A business revival in 1879 eased the employment situation somewhat. However, some of the habitual tramps “had become so enamored of the free and easy life that they never could return to work . . . they wintered in the County Poor Houses and with the first robin, would begin their summer wanderings, sleeping in barns and empty houses and feeding at kitchen doors.” Lancaster Pike was of course the best traveled highway of all for these “knights of the road.”

Business along the Main Line in the sixties and seventies was practically non-existent. About all that was necessary was an occasional small country store and a blacksmith shop. Among these old store was the “West Haverford Store”, on the Pike in Rosemont, later occupied by Lippincott and Eadie.

To Mr. Cassatt, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Main Line section owes its township government. As the Suburban communities began to get more thickly settled, he saw that some form of local government would become necessary, especially as regards police protection. And so Mr. Cassatt was instrumental in having the State legislature enact a law for the government of “Townships of the First Class” having a certain number of inhabitants. Lower Merion Township was the first to qualify while Haverford Township followed in a few years. The governing body of such townships has always been a small number of elected Commissioners. In a similar manner the affairs of township schools are in the hands of a school board elected by the voters.

Among the prominent men of the period of which we have been writing were George W. Childs, editor of the Public Ledger, and Anthony J. Drexel, a prominent stockholder in that newspaper and one of the wealthiest men of his time. It was these two men who founded the town of Wayne as a real estate operation. When Mr. Childs was asked one day, according to our historian, why they built their new town so far up the road, when there were numerous properties just as available nearer to Philadelphia, he quickly replied that it was “in order to give the new settlers more time to read the Ledger on the train!” Mr. Childs lived on a large property on Bryn Mawr avenue which was then a new road that had just been laid out southward from Whitehall. His place was called “Wootton”, and because Mr. Childs’ “Herat was as big as his house”, it became “Welcome Hall” for all visitors, whether of distinction or otherwise.

Among other early famous men and large property owners of the Main Line were John Converse, who built his mansion on the Pike at Rosemont; Samuel Vauclain, president of Baldwin Locomotive Works, who built near the Converse place, and T. Wilson Brown, who settled in Villanova. The latter had a large part in the founding and the maintenance of the Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Among many other names mentioned by Mr. Townsend is that of a man well known in our community, since up to the time of his recent death, A. J. County made his home here. Coming to this country as a young Irish lad, he became associated with the Pennsylvania Railroad, eventually becoming one of its vice-presidents.

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!

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.”

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.

”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 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.”