Wayne in 1922: St. Katharine’s Hall opens, War Memorial dedicated

In this column there are frequent references to Wayne happenings as chronicled in past issues of “The Suburban”. Sometimes these stories of people and events have been picked out at random from the old files because of their special interest. Sometimes they have been used in a particular series, as when various spectacular fires were described in the story of the Radnor Fire Company.

Recently, in pulling out these heavy bound copies of “The Suburban” from their places on the shelves, your columnist decided it might be interesting to select one volume, and to present a composite picture of Wayne for one year of its past history. Perhaps because 30 seemed a good round number, she has sleeted the year 1922. And while that may seem “but yesterday” to many of us, it is still three decades ago.

Early in January of that year the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners held its reorganization meeting. Those present were William S. Ellis, Henry P. Conner, Frederick F. Hallowell, John Kent Kane and William T. Wright. Miss Margaret Rugg was secretary of the Board at that time. The oath of office was administered to Mr. Conner and to Mr. Kane by Justice of the Peace Harry C. Hunter, since they had been re-elected to the Board at the November election. Mr. Ellis was named president and Mr. Kane vice-president, while Miss Rugg was re-elected secretary, Charles F. DaCosta was appointed solicitor and S. Hibbard Steele, road foreman. Captain Edward J. Sweeney headed the police force at that time.

The report of Township Treasurer William H. Crawford showed that the various departments had kept well within their budgets for the year 1921, with a pleasant surplus with which to start 1922. For that year the chief expenditure had been for road maintenance which, according to Mr. Crawford’s report, had amounted to $41,732. The Police Department came next with $20,277, while administration cost $3,818; Board of Health, $2,580; Radnor Fire Company, $3,000 and street lights, $5,556.

The Men’s Club, now defunct, was at the height of its popularity 30 years ago. Arrangements had been completed for the use of the Masonic Hall auditorium for club purposes on practically any night of the week. It was agreed that this “would fill a long felt want and would make the club the ideal meeting place which it is intended to be”.

At the regular January monthly meeting, which was a general get-together, or “Neighbors Night”, as President Lamson phrased it, A. K. Higgins, of St. Davids, “one of the moguls” of N. W. Ayer Advertising Company gave a talk on “The Making of Advertising”.

At a forum held in the auditorium that same week Richard S. McKinley spoke on “The Desirability of Starting a Bank Account”. Other activities of the Men’s Club for early January included a Pool-League Game at the Fire House; a bowling contest of the Sharp-shooters vs. Radnorites and a Bowling League game of the Men’s Club at Radnor.

The 1922 annual meeting of the Neighborhood League was held at the Saturday Club in January, with Dr. Jameson presiding. A report of the Christmas Committee showed that under the able direction of Mrs. E. W. S. Tingle her group had been unusually active during the 1921 holiday season, with “many houses made brighter by well-stocked baskets, toys and useful articles”. The Well-Baby Clinic, a then newly-organized activity of the League, was proving a great success, with “60 babies having been enrolled and started on the road to health”. At this point A. J. County had aptly remarked that “there are few situations in life from the cradle to the grave in which the Neighborhood League does not stand ready to step in and lend a helping, or if necessary, a restraining hand!” After the Rev. Crosswell McBee had made the address of the evening, League directors for the ensuing year were elected as follows: Mrs. Charles S. Walton, Louis Jaquette Palmer, William Townsend Wright, A. J. Drexel Paul, Nathan Hayward, William Paul Morris and Robert G. Wilson.

The Wayne Public Safety Association, at its January meeting, reported a membership of 314, then the largest to date in the history of the organization. At that time Henry Roever was president; Dr. Charles D. Smedley, secretary, and W. L. Margerum, treasurer. Directors then serving were the Rev. W. G. W. Anthony, the Rev. J. W. Elliott, and John Turner, George M. Aman, Ira V. Hale, G. P. Singer and John L. Mather.

The St. Davids Building and Loan Association was running large advertisements in each issue of “The Suburban” in 1922. Its officers at that time were Dr. H. C. Hadley, president; Allan C. Hale, vice-president; Charles M. Davis, secretary; A. M. Ehart, treasurer and Louis Jaquette Palmer, solicitor. Directors included David H. Henderson, Ira V. Hale, E. E. Trout, A. J. Martin, P. J. Wood, Louis S. Natale, F. P. Radcliffe, E. J. Wendell, Dr. R. P. Elmer, Norman A. Wack and William P. Cochran.

Early in January 1922 St. Katharine’s Hall was opened to the public, immediately adjoining St. Katharine’s Parish School, for the first time with an orchestra furnishing music for dancing for the occasion. In a short address Monsignor Charles F. Kavanagh felicitated the members of the congregation of St. Katharine’s Church on the completion of the new hall, so greatly needed in the parish. Work on the building had begun only the previous September. Seating about 800 people, St. Katharine’s Hall was one of the largest auditoriums in the suburbs.

On January 18, 1922, a meeting of the Radnor Memorial Committee was held at the Saturday Club, with Mrs. Robert G. Wilson presiding. By this time the site for the Memorial and the form which it was to take had been decided upon by the large committee of representative men and women of Radnor township, headed by Mrs. Wilson as general chairman. Miss Mary DeHaven Bright was secretary and Miss Grace C. Roberts treasurer. On ground given for the purpose by the Chew family, of Radnor, from pre-Revolutionary holdings, the monument as it now stands was dedicated on Sunday afternoon, May 28, 1922.

The unveiling ceremony was performed by a little girl and two small boys, all children of men who fell in battle in World War I. The dedication address was given by Senator George Wharton Pepper, who was introduced by Captain Sydney Roberts, at that time commander of Anthony Wayne Post, American Legion, under whose auspices the ceremonies were held. Several thousand people witnessed this impressive dedication.

The passing years have seen succeeding Memorial Day gatherings at the monument, each held in reverent commemoration of those from Radnor township who have given their lives in the service of their country. On Friday of last week, Memorial Day services were again held there just 30 years after the dedication of this Radnor Township War Memorial.

(To be concluded)

The Radnor War Memorial, part 2 – American Legion, Chew Family, WWI

On Sunday afternoon, May 28, 1922, two days before Memorial Day itself, Radnor township’s memorial to its servicemen who gave their lives in World War I was unveiled. The unveiling ceremony was performed by a little girl and two small boys, all the children of men who fell in battle. They were Frances Cotter, daughter of William Powell Cotter, Supply Company, 315th Infantry, who was killed in September, 1918, and Pennington Howard Way and Gordon Townsend Way, sons of Lt. Pennington H. Way, of the 96th Aero Squadron, who was shot down in a fight with eight German planes at the beginning of the St. Mihiel drive. These three children pulled the cords which drew back the veiling flags from the bronze.

This ceremony followed the dedication address given by Senator George Wharton Pepper, who was introduced by Captain Sydney Roberts, at that time commander of Anthony Wayne Post, American Legion, under whose auspices the ceremonies were held. Senator Pepper said in part:

“It seems to me that but little speaking is in order when grateful friends gather to pay tribute to those who did not speak, but achieved. We are assembled here where two roads meet and where the stream of life flows ceaselessly by. Presently we shall pass on and everything will look as it was before we came. But in that brief interval something will have happened that will have changed the spot forever.

“In that brief time, we shall, by dedicating this memorial, have given it a tongue with which to speak. It will bid the traveler pause and listen to the message that this spot is sacred forever to the men and women of this community who offered their lives when their country called. Twenty were taken. Today that 20 are part of the great community of invisible comrades, an army of occupation on that far shore, holding a place there for those of us who prove worthy. Shall we not here highly resolve to lead our lives so that when we join those twenty they will salute us?”

In the bright sunlight of a quiet Sunday afternoon, members of Anthony wayne, American Legion, Bullock-Sanderson Post of Ardmore, and John Winthrop Post, of Bryn Mawr, headed by the Marine Band from the Navy Yard and a detachment of Marines, had marched from St. Davids to the center of Lancaster Pike and Ivan avenue when the war memorial stood ready to be unveiled.

The memorial itself stood on ground owned by the Chew family since pre-Revolutionary days. On behalf of his family, David Chew presented the property to Radnor township “forever” as part of the dedication services. These services were opened with a prayer by the Rev. Richard H. Gurley, chaplain of Anthony Wayne Post, followed by the singing of “America” by the children of the township schools. The report of the Monument Committee was read by its chairman, Mrs. Robert G. Wilson. After Mr. Chew had presented the deed to the property to William S. Ellis, then chairman of the Board of Commissioners, it was accepted on behalf of the people of the township by Mr. Ellis. Following the unveiling, the Marines fired a salute of three volleys and trumpeters played “taps.”

Several thousand people were present for this occasion, among them the families of servicement for whom special seats had been reserved. Servicement whose names are commemorated on the bronze plaque include those of Norman B. Hallman, William Bateman, Philip Overton Mills, Clinton Van Pelt Newbold, Thomas Roberts Reath, George H. Righter, David Rupp, 3d, William Henry Sayen Schultz, Alec Scott, Joseph Odorisio, William Powell Cotter, William Craig Dickson, Howard Ray Duncan, George Farrell, Thomas Foy, Clarence Patton Freeman, Edward Gallagher and Joseph M. Gardner. Above these names is this inscription:

“To the men and women of Radnor township who served in the World War and to those who gave their lives.”

The bronze bas-relief was the world of Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, of the University of Pennsylvania. In writing of it, Edith W. Powell, columnist of the “Public Ledger,” made some interesting comments. “Dr. McKenzie’s bas-relief,” she says, “shows at the top, forming a freize, a group of soldiers with pointed bayonets rushing up and forward . . . In this tablet the value of space for emphasis is at once obvious. The general design could not be more simple or more forceful and direct in the delivery of its message . . . First of all, in the freize Dr. McKenzie has succeeded in producing a convincing effect of strain and onrushing motion, a most difficult performance . . . it is not hard to realize that the necessity to incorporate a number of their pointed bayonets in a sculptured design presents a problem requiring considerable engineering ingenuity, and a delicate sense of composition. Dr. McKenzie’s management of the bayonets could not be more successful or interesting . . . Consider how their horizontal lines lead to the impression of thrust, and observe how expertly the directions of them are related to each other and to the carved boundary at the bottom.”

Dr. McKenzie himself gave high praise to Louis S. Adams, the St. Davids architect who designed the monument. “Mr. Adams,” he said, “has an unusual sense of fitness. Not only is the monument very fine in design, but it seems to me a matter of particular comment that he has so stained the marble with rusty color that it harmonizes with the field stone of the wall. I feel sure many architects would have been satisfied to leave the glaring white of the marble as it was.”

The beauty of the monument has always been enhanced by the background of trees. The planting of flowers and shrubs on the plot was the especial gift of school children of Radnor township.

The account book of the Memorial Fund, so carefully kept by the treasurer, Miss Grace Roberts, shows that in all $9,610.78 in money contributions was received for the erection of the Memorial. This represents contributions, both large and small, from many hundreds of people. In addition, there were countless gifts other than money, such as the land given by the Chew family, the stone for the wall, plans for the memorial, printing of all stationery, slides for motion pictures, bunting and flags for the dedication, the services of buses, the use of chairs for the dedication and many other items of equal importance. The monument was in truth the gift of the community itself to commemorate its warrior dead of World War I.

Until almost a month after the dedication checks continued to come in. By the middle of August all bills were paid. And on June 7, 1924, more than $1200 was turned over to the Board of Commissioners for the care and upkeep of the memorial, where on each Memorial Day since 1922 homage has been paid to the men of Radnor township who lost their lives in World War I.

(Your columnist is indebted to Miss Grace Roberts for the information contained in these two articles. Miss Roberts has not only kept intact the financial records, but the minutes of all meetings, the correspondence in regard to the memorial and several interesting newspaper clippings.)

The Radnor War Memorial, part 1 – “Society Circus”, WWI, Chew Family

July 4, 1951, passed as quietly in Wayne as many another July 4 of other recent years has done. On Monday, September 3, Labor Day will pass just as quietly. Practically the only outward indication of a holiday on these occasions is the constant flow of traffic from early morning until late at night along our great Lancaster highway. In the past there have been big celebrations in our small suburb, such as the “Society Circus” on Labor Day, 1913, when some 10,000 people gathered on the School Field to participate in a day and an evening of much fun and frolic. And this has been but one of many large holiday celebrations in Wayne.

But Memorial Day is somehow different, perhaps because of the feeling that we who live must never fail to pay tribute to those whose lives have been given for their country. Of late years ceremonies have been small and quiet. But, at least, there is always the decoration of graves and the march to the Radnor Township War Memorial on Lancaster and Ivan avenues. Its dedication on Sunday, May 28, 1922, was a solemn and impressive occasion. At that time it was the memorial to some 20 men from Radnor township who had given their lives in World War I. Within the last few years there has been another dedication added to the men and women of our community who lost their lives in World War II, in the Memorial Library of Radnor Township.

From the time of the conclusion of World War I, citizens of Radnor township had felt that their township, like many of its neighbors, must commemorate its war dead in some fitting way. Various plans were informally discussed from time to time, but it was not until the fall of 1921 that definite action was taken.

The first meeting of which there are minutes is the one of October 24, held at the home of Mrs. Robert G. WIlson in St. Davids. Those present in addition to the hostess were Mrs. William Henry Brooks, Mrs. Benjamin Chew, Mrs. Adolph G. Rosengarten, Mrs. J. S. C. Harvey, Mrs. Walter S. Yeatts, Mrs. A. A. Parker and Captain Clifton Lisle. Committee members who were absent included Mrs. Louis Jaquette Palmer, Mrs. Lewis Neilson, Miss Grace Roberts and Monsignor C. F. Kavanagh.

The form of the memorial had evidently been decided upon previously, as a large boulder with a bronze tablet and surmounted by a bronze eagle. Later there was an alternate plan for a “doughboy” instead of the eagle.

The big question of the moment seemed to be the selection of a suitable site for this boulder. Mrs. Brooks, as chairman of the committee on location, reported that her committee had made a tour of possible sites along Lancaster avenue from Rosemont to Wayne. As they progressed westward the first location to which they gave favorable consideration was the point where Radnor road meets Ivan avenue at the Pike, on the property owned in part by the Chew estate and in part by S. Deas Sinkler. “This location,” the minutes of the meeting state, “is considered to be the nearest to the geographical center of the township on the highway, and is desirable for the reason of the available space and the improvement it would be to the present dangerous crossing.”

Other possible sites, in the estimation of the committee, included the corner of Pembroke and Lancaster ovenues and the grounds in front of the Library. The triangle in the center of Pembroke avenue where it meets the Pike seemed to present a natural setting. Also this site was close to the center of Wayne. Still another location was brought to the attention of the committee at a later meeting when Oswald Chew spoke of the gold course, with the beauty of its background.

At the next meeting of the general committee, it was unanimously voted to place the memorial on the south side of Lancaster Pike at its intersection with Ivan avenue. The ground for this was given by the Chew family.

The plans for a large boulder were soon abandoned in favor of those for the memorial as it now stands. This was designed by Louis S. Adams, a well-known Philadelphia architect who lived in Radnor township. Appropriately Colonial in style and set against a background of trees, its design called for a low wall of stone with benches of stone in front of it. In the center there was to be a bas-relief of bronze showing a group of soldiers going over the top, bayonets in hand. This was to be the work of Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, of the University of Pennsylvania.

With definite plans in hand the committee set to work to raise the $10,000 which was the estimate cost of the entire project. Some few checks had already been received before letters were mailed to all citizens of the township, giving each one an opportunity to contribute in any amount, however large or small, to a project that was to be one “of the entire township, not of any special organization.” From that point work on the memorial was so steady and so rapid that it was easily ready for unveiling on the Sunday before Memorial Day of 1922.

Mrs. Robert G. Wilson was general chairman of the entire project form its beginning, while Miss Mary DeHaven Bright was secretary and Miss Grace Roberts, treasurer. In addition to those already mentioned in this article the following served actively on the Memorial Committee: Rev. Dr. W. G. W. Anthony, Mrs. Archibald Barklie, Mrs. W. Allen Barr, Rev. J. W. Brooks, Rev. J. C. Burbage, A. W. Canizares, Robert K. Cassatt, Captain Benjamin Chew, David S. B. Chew, Charles E. Clark, William S. Ellis, Rev. J. W. Elliot, Mrs. F. B. Embick, Rev. R. H. Gurley, Miss Nancy Hallowel, C. Willing Hare, Horace B. Hare, Mrs. C. C. Harrison, DeWitt P. Henry, William K. Holman, Dr. G. L. S. Jameson, Dr. Guy C. Lawson, John D. Lengel, Rev. Crosswell McBee, George McFadden, Mrs. Paul Denckia Mills, Mrs. W. A. Nichols, Major M. A. Pugh, Henry Roever, S. V. Rowland, Rev. E. W. Rushton, Rev. Charles Schall, Mrs. Emilie Sayen Schultz, C. C. Shoemaker, S. Deas Sinkler, Mrs. A. G. H. Spiers, Louis H. Watt, W. A. Wiedersheim, 2d, James M. Willcox, Mrs. John P. Wood and William T. Wright.