More Wayne baseball / Kelly’s Dam (Natatorium)

The last two articles in this series have been devoted to baseball in the Main Line League, and particularly as it was played by the Wayne team in its early days. Then, in the first part of the twenties, local interest lagged and Wayne withdrew from the League. It was not until 1946 that Wayne rejoined, this time under the managership of Tommy Arena, for many years a catcher for the Wayne I. A. C. team. At the close of the season Wayne was in fifth place in the league.

The next season, that of 1947, Wayne took the title after a most exciting series of games. With “Mickey” Gavin as manager, Wayne, in an 11-team league, won the western-half title, going on from there to gain the championship in a thrilling seven game series with Drexel Hill. A general riot marked the fifth game in this final play-off series when Ray Edelman bowled over Larry Aigeldinger, Drexel Hill shortstop, while sliding into second base. The riot was eventually quieted down, and Wayne not only won that game, but eventually took the series.

Although Wayne was not the final victor in the 1948 series, the team did get into the playoffs, defeating Narberth in the semi-finals, only to be defeated by Manoa in the final game of the seven game series. According to my informant, “Johnny Byrne starred on the mound in two of the games for Wayne. In the sixth game Wayne was losing 10-0 going into the last inning. They scored nine runs and left the bases loaded before the final out was made in the ninth inning.”

Last season Wayne beat their arch-rival, Narberth, in the seven-game final series, thus winning the championship. “In the fourth and fifth games”, to quote again one more versed in baseball ligno than this writer, “the locals lost by lop-sided scores, but in the final two games received great pitching from Jim Covello and Jim Morrissey.”

Paying tribute to some of the men who have brought the name of Wayne to the fore in the local baseball world since it rejoined the Main Line League, there is Mickey Gavin, under whose guidance our team has won two championships and has played in the finals the third year. During his term he has sent several players to the minor leagues, some of whom are still playing. Among them are George Brown and Norm Swigler of the 1947 team; Pete Caniglia, outfielder, and Andy Schultz, a fine young left-hander of 1948; Vince DiMagistris, who returned to Wayne in 1949; Ed Skladany, Temple University star of the ‘48 team and John Maiden and Walt Lownes, of the 1949 team.

Attendance at these games was probably at its best in 1947, when over 1000 fans were drawn to each of the first two Sunday games against Narberth. Television may be in part the cause of smaller attendance since then. Be that as it may, Manoa and Ardmore have withdrawn since the close of the ‘49 season, which was such a successful season for Wayne.
Just a year ago this month when this column was but a few weeks old, the writer devoted the major part of one article in the series to the story of Kelly’s Dam, a body of water down in the hollow near the railroad tracks in the general vicinity of what is now Willow avenue. In its beginnings it was just a good old “swimmin’ hole”. Then an interested group took over by renting the rights to Kelly’s Dam and installing equipment and building dressing rooms. A high wooden fence made for privacy for the swimmers. Wayne was one of the first localities in this section to have such an outdoor swimming pool.

Since first writing of Kelly’s Dam, some interesting additional data in regard to it has come the way of this writer. It was in May, 1895 that a charter was applied for by the Wayne Natatorium Association. The incorporators were John P. Wood, president; Richards H. Johnson, vice-president; Christopher Fallon, Esq., secretary and Julius A. Bailey, treasurer. Also among the incorporators were T. Stewart Wood, Herman Wendell and Frederick H. Treat. A charter was granted on June 10, 1895, by Acting Judge William B. Waddell. Kelley’s Lake was then little more than a muddy pond, ranging in depth from about eight inches to eight feet. Its water supply was from the creek which ran from Leaming’s Wood through North Wayne. The R. H. Johnson Company was awarded the contract for excavating and constructing a pool about 500 feet long with an average width of about 100 feet. A fine clubhouse was built, the first floor being used as a ladies’ dressing room and the second floor as living quarters for the manager. A men’s dressing room was built midway of the pool.

At the formal opening of the pool in July, 1895, a large crowd of amateur swimmers, representing the Philadelphia Swimming Association, the New York Athletic Club, the University of Pennsylvania and a number of other organizations was present. It was indeed a gala occasion! The first swimming instructor was Charles Holryd, a Yorkshireman “with an accent so thick one could cut it”. He was later succeeded by George Kistler, who at that time was the champion mile swimmer of the world. After leaving Wayne he became swimming instructor at Houston Hall at the University of Pennsylvania, and for many years coached Red and Blue championship teams.

Under the excellent training of these two men not only the youngsters but many of the oldsters of Wayne were taught to swim. In the winter the pool was used for skating, with many a carnival held under the bright lights with which the enclosure was illuminated.

For a number of years the Natatorium was a great success. Then the bicycling craze reached its height, and attendance dwindled while former patrons of the pool took off on long “hike” trips. Then at about the turn of the century a general drought made it necessary for the Wayne Water Works Company – a local concern, to sink a number of artesian wells to augment its supply. This dried up several large springs along the creek which fed the pool.

And so after several years of struggling against adverse conditions, Kelley’s Dam was sold, and on its site were built the houses on the South side of Willow avenue.

Great Main Line baseball players – from the Main Line League

In writing of young baseball players who obtained their start in the Main Line League in its early days, the late A. A. H. Canizares, from whose articles I quoted in last week’s column, tells first of Jimmy Dykes, who attained fame with the Athletics and the White Sox. “Round and oratorical,” as the sports writer described him, Dykes played first with Frank Zeiss’ Oakmont (or it might have been the Delmar) team, and afterwards with Jack Seashotz’ Ardmore team. And Jack Lapp, one of the best catchers Connie Mack ever had, obtained his early training with the Pirates of Berwyn. His successor on the latter team, “Help-Me-Lord” Duffy Lehman, was afterwards a ground-keeper at Shibeshire for many years.

Lehman, maskman on the Berwyn team, Mr. Canizares described as “a wizard behind the plate and as a batsman.” Since he was terribly afflicted with St. Vitus dance, both his teammates and the spectators wondered how he could catch or bat. His secret was that he held his breath as the pitch was made which “Stopped his shaking nerves and left him as steady as the ordinary player.” Mr. Canizares considered Lehman one of the best catchers who ever played along the Main Line, a player, indeed, who would have gone far had it not been for his affliction.

Other great outfielders in the Main Line League in addition to Leo Murphy, of Wayne, whose prowess was mentioned in last week’s column, were “Big Ed” cording to our scribe, “hit like Lou Joe Evans, of the Wayne team, and Joe Cullinan who played with Ardmore. “Big Ed” once went through one entire season without dropping a fly ball and could, according to our scribe, hit like Lou Gehrig or Joe Di Maggio.” Joe Evans could wait until the ball was hit, and then, “with the grace of an antelope would gallop across the field and snag the old spheroid.” Joe Cullinan “could hit ‘em a mile, and had an arm of steel and rarely missed one in the outer garden.” And one of the hardest hitters in the Main Line League was Joe Dorsaneo of Wayne, who “didn’t hit the ball so far, but when he smashed one to an infielder, it nearly took off an arm or leg.”

Continuing his amusing reminiscences, Mr. Canizares wrote of a small riot in Strafford one hot summer afternoon when a game between two bitter rivals, the Ardmore team and the Strafford team, was on. The score was tied when the decision of the umpire on a close play at the plate precipitated a riot. In those days, Jack Pechin, “Mayor of Strafford,” was chief rooter for his home town team, while the woman publisher and editor of an Ardmore newspaper led the cheers for Ardmore. Mr. Pechin was about six feet tall and weighed about 275 pounds while the lady in question was a featherweight about five feet in stature. Nevertheless she hit him vigorously over the head with her parasol until further hostilities were stopped by Constable George Morris!

Still another incident involves a Labor Day morning game in Narberth, in 1913, when Wayne was all set to win the Main Line League pennant. The game was scheduled for ten o’clock. But when that time arrived Wayne’s twirler, “Big Ed” Smith was not on hand and Manager Charles Sullivan had only eight other eligible players with him! But when the umpire was about to forfeit the game to the Boroughites, Ed arrived, a large “shiner” on his left eye. Since the game must go on, Manager Sullivan sent the big pitcher onto the mound after a severe tongue lashing. Due to this reprimand, or otherwise, “Ed twirled the game of his life, whiffing 22 of the Narberth sluggers and allowing them but three puny singles.” Writing some twenty-five years after that game, Mr. Canizares stated that that strike-out record still stood in league circles. It was equaled, however, by Herbie Pennock, afterwards famous Yankee star, who “twirling for Cedarcroft Academy, shut out St. Luke’s School, fanning 22.”

And in conclusion, one last, and amusing word, about the so-called amateur standing of players in the Main Line League. There was for instance, according to our scribe, the case of Charlie Coryell, former University of Pennsylvania star, sometimes with the Wayne team, sometimes with the Narberth one. At this particular time he was third sacker for the latter, known as the “Boroughites,” led by “Flick” Stites. The latter found a way to evade the amateur rule. “He simply bought a checker from Charlie every Saturday,” writes Mr. Canizares, ‘paying’ therefore a ten dollar bill – which is some price for a checker in any man’s language.” And may this present writer add it would still be “some price” even in these days of the high cost of living!

Early baseball in Wayne – Main Line League

With one gray day succeeding another as they have so often this month, we are all doing a bit of wishful thinking along the lines of sunshiny days, with more warmth and less of dampness in the air. And with robins in everyone’s yard, and Easter but a few days off, we can say hopefully with the poet, “Ah, Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring then be far behind?”

Among other things, spring brings baseball, both of the sandlot variety and otherwise. Because of the great popularity of the game not only in professional but also in amateur circles, it is often called the national sport of the United States. Baseball really originated in this country, the final outcome of a number of similar games, particularly of town ball. Colonel Abner Doubleday (afterwards a general in the U. S. Army) has been credited as its originator since he devised the diagram of the bases and positions for players in 1839.

Wayne has always been interested in baseball, having had much to do with the Main Line League in its beginnings. In those early days probably no one was more interested in that sport locally than the late A. A. H. Canizares, one-time president of this League and for many years a baseball writer for “The Suburban” and other newspapers in this vicinity. In going over the old giles of “The Suburban,” this writer has come across some anecdotes of Mr. Canizares that should prove of interest to old-timers in the community. They may well be of interest to others than old-timers too, for Wayne’s continued participation in baseball is attested to by the games that go on almost nightly throughout the summer on the school field.

Mr. Canizares listed as the most amusing incident he could recall one that occurred when the Boroughites and Hib Steele’s Ithan team were in the midst of a hard fought struggle for the championship of the Main Line League. The “Old Fox,” as Mr. Steele was often called, was in a bad way, when his regular moundsman developed a charlie horse. Although the League was supposed to be of strictly amateur standing, it was not above paying for the services of a good player when the necessity arose. So in this emergency Mr. Steele hired “a twirler who had been beating all the sandlotters in sight,” to quote Mr. Canizares. “Hib, of course, with the other managers, had long before submitted his list of eligible players to the league secretary. There were one or two on the list who had never appeared in his lineup, and consequently, were not known to the fans. Hib proposed to substitute his twirler for one of the unknown, but unfortunately for him, he hadn’t a copy of his list with him, and couldn’t think of an eligible player’s name. As a result, the game was played under protest, and if memory serves, eventually was forfeited to Narberth.”

Another story concerns the occasion when Mr. Canizares, as president of the League, had to call a special meeting to decide whether “Lefty” Craig, a mounder of note, should play with the Wayne or the Bryn Maw team, the latter then managed by Sam Wisler, the former (according to Mr. Canizares’ best recollection) by Marc Hellner. For it seems that “Lefty” had signed with both teams! The managers of the other teams would not vote in open meeting on the question. After several such meetings, Mr. Canizares sent to each manager a secret ballot to be marked and sent to Secretary Charlie McCrea. The vote was 5 to 3 in favor of Wayne and that was where Charlie played!

Still another story concerns local baseball during World War I. So many of Wayne’s members had enlisted in various branches of the service that there were not enough left to form a team. Among the Marines stationed in a detachment near Paoli was Eddie Collins, one of the greatest second basemen the game has ever seen. He organized a team and brought it to Wayne to play out the league schedule. While the team didn’t last long, it did show the community some great baseball. And “incidentally,” Mr. Canizares wrote, “Eddie hit the longest home run ever made on the school grounds, slamming the spheroid over the tennis court in right field and ending up on Dr. Elmer’s lawn!”

And speaking of home runs, on several Wayne occasions “Cy” Cornog and “Doc” Wallace put the ball on top of the gymnasium in center field.

At the time Mr. Canizares was writing his articles, Leo Murphy, playing on the Wayne team, was considered the best outfielder who ever played along the Main Line. “He had an uncanny knack,” Mr. Canizares wrote, “of seeming to judge from the crack of the bat just where the spheroid was going to land, and he was generally on the spot. I recall him more than once hurdling the fence that used to be in deep left field and making catches that would have been impossible for the ordinary outfielder. And he had an arm of iron, throwing with uncanny accuracy right into the catcher’s mitt, and snaring at the plate many an ambitious runner trying to score from third after a putout.”

(The conclusion of this article in next week’s issue of “The Suburban” will tell of some of the men in the Main Line League who afterwards became famous in professional baseball.)

“The Old Main Line” part 2: Life in the “60s” – Wildgoos Boarding House, sports,

It was in the sixties, according to Mr. Townsend’s book “The Old Main Line”, that Philadelphians, seeking to escape the heat of the city’s summer, began to come to that section west of the City Line that was later to be known as the “Main Line”. The Wildgoos Boarding House near Haverford College was one of the favorite resorts and one of which Mr. Townsend evidently knew a great deal personally. It was probably very much like Wayne’s Louella Mansion and the Bellevue Hotel, though these two did not reach the height of their popularity until a slightly later date.

“Wildgoos boarders were,” according to Mr. Townsend, “a jolly, good natured crowd, living all summer like one large happy family. Rooms could be engaged only for the entire summer, and were in such demand that there was always a waiting list”. However, to the modern youth, the pleasures of Main Line summer life would probably seem very dull with no automobiles, no movies and no sports as they know them today. Even in Philadelphia itself, there were only two or three theatres and these featured neither comic opera nor musical comedies. And even if they had, there were no evening trains by which to go into the city.

Most of the houses in the country had only coal oil and candles for illumination in the evening. Weather permitting, this part of the day was usually spent on the porch or the lawn. On stormy nights, summer boarders were crowded into the parlor from music or games. Among the latter was one of “Familiar Quotations” played like “Authors”. “It consisted”, according to our Main Line historian, “of cards having about 100 quotations from both ancient and modern authors and was a liberal education in itself to those who played it, making a lasting impression of the best thoughts of the best authors. It was issued and sold for the benefit of the great “Sanitary Fair”, held in Logan Square during the War . . . the selections were made by a well-known Philadelphia woman, Mrs. Lydia Hunn, the grandmother of Mrs. Charles Baily, of Strafford. “She must have read everything and remembered the best of it.”

Other favorite evening entertainment consisted of charades, rebuses and conundrums. The latter were most frequently derived from the Bible, as most people were familiar with it. Spirit mysteries were much in vogue then as witnessed by the popularity of “Planchette”, predecessor of the Ouija Board. It was “a small, thin, heart-shaped piece of wood standing on little revolving rollers and one leg was a short lead pencil. A large piece of paper was placed on a table, with the Planchette board on top of it . . . one or more participants placed the tips of their fingers on it. It soon began to more, and the pencil naturally traced on the paper the semblance of words that were in an operator’s mind.”

So much for indoor amusements. As for outdoors, there was driving in the little carriages built for tow designated as “buggies”. In our historian’s opinion “buggy driving was more sociable than modern motoring, as the horse did not require constant or undivided attention, having sense enough to turn when the road turns, which the motor car has not. The horse could also be guided with one hand, when the driver’s intentions were serious and reciprocated. On long drives, the horse had to be rested frequently and roadside berries, with which the Main Line then abounded, were an agreeable accompaniment.”

Picnics were sometimes organized, occasionally even as far as to Valley Forge, though that was a long, tiresome drive with horses. A popular picnic spot and a more nearby one was Morris’ Dam on Roberts road. Wildgoos boarders and neighbors joined in these, some coming from as far as Overbrook. Moonlight hay wagon rides were another form of amusement among the older people as well as the younger. However, all of these pastimes and amusements were for six days of the week only, for “Sunday in the Sixties was very different from that of today.” Church going, walking and visiting were the order of the day. Those who took long drives were often frowned upon by their more religious neighbors. Sunday evenings were mostly spent in hymn singing. There were, of course no Sunday newspapers. The Pennsylvania Railroad ran but one train and that was from Philadelphia at eight in the morning. None went into Philadelphia. Mr. Townsend tells of an early report of a committee of the railway company’s stockholders which devotes five pages to the “iniquity of the company’s doing nay business on Sunday.”

As to sports in the sixties, they were practically non-existent as known today. Football, basketball, hockey, golf, squash and rackets were still unknown. In the late sixties, “a so-called bicycle appeared . . . the rider sat on top of a wheel about five feet high with a little wheel behind to steady it. Woe to him if he struck a stone as he took a high header . . . a man was killed in this way on Lancaster Pike. . . when the present form of bicycle came in, ten years later, with low wheels and rubbr tires, they were called ‘safeties’”

Tennis did not appear until the late seventies and although baseball was played in some places it was little known in the suburbs. Cricket came into existence at about this time . . . the Merion Cricket Club had just been organized . . . quoits were played occasionally. But the universal game of the sixties for adults and children alike was croquet! Hours were devoted to it, and although “ there was little exercise in it, at least it kept people out of doors!” But on Sundays “even the gentle croquet mallets rested peacefully in their box.”

“Playing cards” were taboo among the Quakers and Presbyterians, who largely predominated in Philadelphia’s social life. Youngsters played parchesi, jack-straws and Lotto, while their elders joined in on checkers and backgammon. Billiards and chess were other popular games.

In the late seventies when Louella House, in Wayne, became a summer hotel for Philadelphians under the name of Louella Mansion, its owners issued a little booklet setting forth its many attractions. Its Casino contained “shuffle-boards, a pool table and gymnasium apparatus. The mansion itself contains library, smoking and music rooms, orchestral music every Saturday evening. Extensive room for dancing.” So even in a decade or two popular summer hotels of the Main Line began to offer more in the way of amusement than did the Wildgoos Boarding House of the sixties.

(To be continued)

St. David’s Golf Club, continued

The following is the conclusion of the article on St. Davids Golf Club which appeared in this column on April 22:


By 1899 so many building lots had been sold on the Fenimore land that St. Davids Golf Club, then in the beginning of its fourth year, had to seek a new location. The sites committee interviewed Miss Martha Brown and Mrs. Chew in regard to a lease on a large tract of land along both sides of Lancaster pike between St. Davids and Radnor. These two ladies were amenable to a reasonable lease, provided there was no liquor served in the old farmhouse which was to be used as a clubhouse. They also objected to Sunday golf. A compromise was reached on this when club officers stipulated that there was to be no playing before 1:00 o’clock, so that there should be no conflict with any church services.

The outside of the old farmhouse was improved by the addition of a long, wide porch; rooms were papered and painted. A caddy and professional’s house was also built. Much of this was done at the personal expense of some of the members. Members also did much of the manual work of improving the links and of keeping the clubhouse and grounds in order. The eighteen-hole course was very attractive, with plenty o hills and shade.

Initiation fees and annual dues were still kept low, but the club prospered because officers saw to it that they lived within their income. In addition to doing much of the work on the property and on the course themselves, members contributed the cups for which contests were held. Tournaments and matches then were popular and well attended.

Another early president, in addition to Dr. G. L. S. Jameson, was Lewis Neilson, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. George W. Schultz, to whom this column is indebted for much of its information on the club, was an early vice president and chairman of the Greens Committee. Some of the club champions and lowest scorers included George Crump, Gus Gallagher, William Moorhouse, Gus Bergner and Herman Wendell.

Later on, a number of women joined the ranks of players, becoming very active members of the club. Various professional teachers were employed from time to time, among the most popular being Jimmy Govan, who was a skilled clubmaker. His output was in demand from some of the best players in other clubs.

By 1900 golf as a game had attained such popularity that a National Amateur Championship tournament was held at the Atlantic City Golf Course. It was won by an Austrailian, Walter J. Travis, who was one of the very first column writers on golf. His long approach putts with anew kind of aluminum putter did much to bring the championship his way.

St. Davids’ only entrant in the tournament was Gus Gallagher who qualified, but was soon beaten. Rodman Griscom, of Merion, lasted up to the fourth round. A year r so later Harry Vardon, the great English pro, gave his first American exhibition on the Philadelphia Country Club course. Many St. Davids members who were gallery spectators, were greatly impressed by his skill.

St. Davids Golf Club remained in its pike location until 1927, when it removed to its present sit on Radnor and Gulf roads, purchased a few years earlier from A. J. Paul and Paul D. Mills. Donald Ross, famous golf architect, laid out the new course, which was constructed by Fred A. Canizares, president of the R. H. Johnson Company, of Wayne. A farmhouse on the property served as the first clubhouse.

A year later the St. Luke’s School property was purchased, and its principal building utilized as a clubhouse. In 1929, this property was sold to the Valley Forge Military Academy, after fire had destroyed the Devon Hotel property, which was its home. The present clubhouse was built during that year.

St. David Golf Club is considered one of the best courses in the metropolitan area and many championship events have been played on its links. The Main Line Golf Club, a course open to the public, now occupies the site on the pike formerly belonging to the St. Davids club.


(The interest evidenced in this column by so many residents is a source of pleasure to the author and to The Suburban. That all may feel a personal responsibility for its authenticity and full coverage, we invite items of interest of Radnor Township’s development from sources with such material to offer. Edi.)

Cricket and Golf in Wayne & St. Davids

In this column an early Wayne Country Club and a somewhat later Cricket Club have already been described, The former was the Merrivale Club, situated in North Wayne near the railroad tracks. It had a baseball diamond, tennis courts, billiards and bowling. This later became the Radnor Cricket Club, during the days when the center of English cricket in the United States was Philadelphia.

After several years of activity, the original Cricket Club house burned down, and a second club was started on the Francis Fenimore land at St. Davids. For several years matches were played here with other cricket teams around Philadelphia. Tom Credican was the professional for the local team, which was so good that one season they won all matches except that against the Merion Cricket Club.

Uniforms consisted of white flannel trousers and shirts with light blue blazer coats and small blue caps to match. On the later were the yellow initials, “St. D.” The club house was a one story frame building painted yellow, with a main room and lockers. A pleasant tree-shaded porch overlooked the nearby ponds.

Match days at St. Davids were well attended by the ladies, all in their best attire, adding greatly to the gala effect of the typically English country sport. On one such occasion two horseback riders stopped on a distant knoll to watch the match. The batsman made a tremendous hit out of bounds and the ball landed on the rump of one of the horses! Both riders were thrown to the ground and when last seen by the cricket spectators they were chasing their runaway mounts, waving their riding crops as they ran. The fact that they were attired in the wide breeches, bowler hats and russet boots of the horseback riders of that day, only added to the mirth of the onlookers. For a time the cricket game was abandoned!

After a time, local interest in cricket waned and activities ceased after the club house burned to the ground during a fire which started in the long grass after a dry spell. Then came the organization of the St. Davids Golf Club, one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the United States.

At this point it is interesting to quote George W. Schultz, from whom my information has been obtained.

“One Sunday in the spring of 1896 A. J. D. (Tony) Peterson came to my house carrying a small white ball and a club with a bent iron on its end and, chuckling, he began tapping the ball on the lawn. He said he had been to Devon the day before by invitation of a friend who introduced him to a Scotch game called “golf,” started by summer residents of Devon Inn.

“It seems that Edmund McCullough, president of the Westmoreland Coal Company; Edward Ilsley and others had laid out a nine-hole course on the spacious land around the hotel. In so far as I know, this was the beginning of golf in Pennsylvania. Tony Peterson arranged for me to be allowed to play on the course the following Saturday with some clubs lent to him.

“Later on Louis D. Peterson, William H. Brooks, Dr. G. L. S. Jameson, Herman Wendell and I decided to organize a golf club at St. Davids, on Francis Fenimore’s extensive lawn holding – it was largely due to Mr. Fenimore’s genial nature towards young men that we were able to use his land and form a club on the economical basis of $5.00 initiation and $10.00 annual dues.”

The former cricketers now became golfers and by their own enthusiasm attracted many others to this original group. The moving spirits of the project laid out the nine hole course “which had natural hazards rather than artificial bunkers.” It could certainly have been called a “sporting” course! Since they could afford no laborers, the original small group armed themselves with picks, rakes, and shovels for their job and they built their own tees and mowed their own grass!

At first the players were all men, as at that time few women were given to outdoor sports. These men were sticklers for good form, observing the courtesies and rules of the game according to St. Andrews tradition.

At that time a golf ball was made of solid Gutta percha with either checker or pebbled moulding. When hit, a distinct “click” was heard, quite different from the “mushy” sound of the later Haskell rubber-cored ball. It was seldom that the longest drive exceeded 150 yards. All the players were self-taught, many learning how to play by reading booklets of instruction. Dr. G. L. S. Jameson was elected the first president of the original St. Davids Golf Club.

Swimming holes, Bicycle Club

With spring in the air and summer not far off, the thoughts of many a Wayne resident, young and old, turn to those warm days when swimming in nearby pools will furnish much welcome recreation. They will gladly go their ways to Martin’s Dam or Colonial Village Swimming Pool or the Mill Dam, little realizing that once upon a time Wayne swimmers of another generation did not have so far to go. For in the early nineties they did their swimming at Kelly’s Dam, a body of water down in the hollow near the railroad tracks in the general vicinity of what is now Willow avenue!

As a matter of fact, Wayne was one of the first localities in this section to have an outdoor swimming pool. In the beginning it was just a good old “swimmin’ hole.” Then an interested group rented the rights to Kelly’s Dam and began to make some improvements. A dressing room was built on piles and there were diving boards, a slide and other equipment. This was enclosed by a high wooden fence to make it private, with a boardwalk along one side of this fence. the diving board was at the deep end of the pool while the shallow end had a wooden bottom. The creek along Willow avenue did not run directly into the pool as there was some sort of filtering system to keep the water clean. In winter when the pool froze over there was skating by lantern light with a stove for heat in the small club house. Yearly dues entitled members to both swimming and skating privileges. Among those early members were the Wendells, the Heilners, the Spiers, the Conkles, the Hallowells, the Fulweilers, the Reginald Harts, the Canizares, Frederick Jones, Louis Erben, Charlie Maguire and the large John P. Wood family and many others, whose names are not now available.

Swimming Taught

Activities at Kelly’s Dam were under the supervision of Kistler, their swimming coach, who later became an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. At the opening day races, Osgood Sayen upheld the prestige of Wayne by winning the 60-yard novice race against a large field. At that time the Australian crawl stroke was a new sprint idea. From time to time quite large swimming meets, considering the size of Wayne, were held here. In the light of present-da methods of teaching swimming those of that early period are interesting by way of contrast. A telegraph pole was sunk in the ground at each end of the pool, with a heavy wire cable stretched across the water. To this was added a rope on a pulley with a belt attached at the water line. The pupil was strapped into the belt and thus taught the art of swimming without danger of going down!

As time went on the young people began to go to Fenimore’s pond in north St. Davids for their swimming and skating. “Billy Pump,” who took his name from the fact that he ran the pumping station for the Pennsylvania Railroad, was in charge there. He was part Indian and considered quite a character. Be it said to his great credit, that while he could not swim himself, he patrolled the pond in his row boat so conscientiously that he never had a drowning!

Many christenings took place both at Kelly’s Dam and at Fenimore’s Pond. Some still remember the time when the crowd watching one of these christenings at the former place was so great that the boardwalk gave way and the spectators themselves were tumbled into the water! Many remember, too, the white-robed figures and the loud screams when baptisms of one of Wayne’s colored churches took place at Fenimore’s Pond.

Bicycle Club Formed

In the late nineties the bicycle craze struck Wayne with the result that a bicycle club was formed with headquarters on the pike north of the post office. There Karl, the German steward, provided excellent meals for members and their guests. One particularly noteworthy one was a terrapin supper, Maryland style, prepared by Bob Martin, assisted by Dr. Kueri, of Philadelphia, and by Paul D. Chaillu, the African explorer. Their combined efforts produced a banquet worthy of the name! And after an evening of good eating and much merriment, the guests rode home on their bicycles! Among the leading spirits of the club in addition to Bob Martin, were Francis Fenimore, Julius Bailey, “Goostav” Bergner, “Der Goos” Gallagher, Tony Peterson and “Demon” Schultz, and this is to mention but a few!

(In my information for this week’s article, I am indebted both to George W. Schultz, of Reading, and to a member of the John P. Wood family.)

This is a picture of the original Saturday Club house, built in 1898, as described in "Your Town and My Town," in a recent issue of The Suburban. The wagonette at the left has been identified as that of the late John W. Yeatts, of St. Davids. Identification of the other vehicle would be interesting. Information would be appreciated by mrs. Patterson, Wayne 4569, for use in her column.
This is a picture of the original Saturday Club house, built in 1898, as described in “Your Town and My Town,” in a recent issue of The Suburban. The wagonette at the left has been identified as that of the late John W. Yeatts, of St. Davids. Identification of the other vehicle would be interesting. Information would be appreciated by mrs. Patterson, Wayne 4569, for use in her column.

Early Wayne residential fires, sports – NWPA, WPSA

Since writing in last week’s column of fire protection in Wayne in the early days of our community, further information on the subject has come to me from George W. Schultz, of Reading, Pa., though his daughter, Mrs. Robert W. A. Wood. In telling of the formation of Protective Associations “on both sides of the village,” Mr. Schultz describes organized fire fighting as one of their chief objects. As Wayne’s population began to increase in the late eighties, these Associations became necessary in the absence of any municipal government. They were supported by dues paid by property owners and had several noteworthy purposes in addition to fire protection. These included the improvement and beautification of properties, the maintenance of street lights and of sidewalks and the guarding of public health and safety. Among their manifold duties were those to provide for the collection of ashes and of garbage and to remove snow from the pavements in the winter.

The North Wayne Protective Association, formed in 1885 by seven residents of North Wayne and the Wayne Public Safety Association organized in 1890, have both functioned continuously since their inception, each, at this time, with a large membership still interested in all civic problems.

Mr. Schultz describes in amusing fashion two of his own youthful experiences as a volunteer fireman. “When my parents settled on Walnut avenue, North Wayne,” he writes, “a committee called and announced that in event of emergency, all young men were expected to turn out and act as volunteer firemen.

“Sure enough, it was not long before my brothers and I were awakened one night by ‘Fritz’ Hallowell’s ringing a dinner bell. Tumbling out in the dark, we followed some running forms to John P. Wood’s stable where we were ordered to ‘man the pumper!’ We had never seen the machine nor had any drills. It was a 500 gallon hogshead of water on two wheels and a hand pump attached. Some grabbed the ropes tied to the tongue of the ‘engine’ and others pushed. It ran all right down hill, but the fire being located by glare in the sky as up on a steep hill on Chamounix road, St. Davids, it was a strenuous effort to get the apparatus to the scene, egged on by raucous yells of the fire chief.

The house appeared to be vacant in the late fall and the blaze was, of course, stimulated by the amateur fire fighters breaking the rear windows with axes. A brave fireman climbed the porch and the helpers worked hard on the lever. The only result was a garden hose –am squirted into a second story broken window. The house burned to the ground!

Next year we were called out again in the night to operate on a fire on middle Walnut avenue. One of the young men rushed around battering in doors and with smoke rolling out, dashed upstairs and threw out of windows mirrors, –ures, pitchers, bowls and any other loose articles, all of which were smashed on the lawn. Charley Gleason, and Tony peterson emerged triumphantly bearing two piano legs that had been chopped off instead of being unscrewed. The loss was total!”

Mr. Schultz is an authority, too, on the sports and recreations of early Wayne. He tells of an organization, first called “The Merivale Club” and later “The Radnor Cricket Club.” It was housed in a frame building near the railroad in North Wayne, which later burned down. In its early days it had a baseball diamond and a board backstop, surmounted by a pavilion reached by stairs from the rear. The Club had two tennis courts, billiards and bowling. Among the young men who were members were Robert Hare Powel, Henry Baring Powel, Jack Claghorn, Morris Wetherill, Frank Howley and George and William Schultz. Some of this group later started a golf club on the Francis Fenimore land in St. Davids.

In addition to sports on their own grounds and to their Club house, some of the Merrivale Club members took to early Sunday morning hikes, the group eventually being known as “The Walkers.” Among them were David Knickerbacker Boyd, the architect; Billy Brown, son of the then publisher of the Wayne Times; Charles Gleason, Lee Harrison, Bill Everly and the Schultz brothers. the rambles of these hikers took them cross country towards King of Prussia, a section that was mostly woods and farms then. If unobserved, they were not above taking a little refreshment from stone spring houses in the way of “a dipper of rich cream off a crock in the cold spring water!”

After the Cricket Club came the Swimming Club, located at the famous Kelly’s Dam in North Wayne. Then there was the Bicycle Club, with its Club House located on the pike north of the post office and later still there was the organization which was to develop into the St. Davids Golf Club.

From time to time all of these sports groups of Wayne’s early days will be described in this column.