The 1912 Harvest Home Fete, part 4- Charles E. Walton; Bailey, Banks & Biddle; Neighborhood League; Campfire Girls

One feature of the entertainment at the Harvest Home Fete, held on the Charles E. Walton estate in mid-October, 1915, that was not hampered by the downpour of rain on two successive afternoons, was the dancing on the porch of the big mansion house. There were two sessions, one from 4 o’clock until 6 in the afternoon, and the other from 7:30 until 10:30 in the evening. Mrs. Thomas Theodore Watson, assisted by more than 40 aides, was in charge of the dancing which featured “Lucky Numbers” and “skill” contests. Music was by the well-known Herzberg orchestra. “Lucky number” prizes were awarded to Miss Edith Watt, of Wayne; Miss Sarah Barringer, of Haverford, and William K. Holman, of St. Davids. The ladies’ prizes were orders for ten dollar pumps, presented by Stelgerwalt’s, while the man’s prize was a ten dollar order on the Edward C. Tryon Company. Two consolation prizes were presented to Mrs. George Boles and Miss Eleanor Verner.

In the competition dances, the first prize, a silver cup from Bailey, Banks and Biddle, was won by John Watson, of Wayne, and Miss Sarah Meyers, of St. Davids. Second prizes consisting of ribbon rosettes from Dreka’s, went to Miss Martha Walton and William Wiedersheim. Still another prize, this time for “the most attractive young lady among the dancers” was presented to Miss Gladys Jameson, of St. Davids. This was a ten dollar order on Bailey, Banks and Biddle, given by Frank H. Bachman. Judges for these contests were Miss Skethy, and Miss Gibbs, of Philadelphia.

A “clearing up Sale” seemed to be the answer for what merchandise was still left after two rainstorms. And so on October 23 all unsold articles were displayed once more, this time at the Saturday Club. There were great bargains to be had that day!

With centrally located quarters in the Jones Building, the Neighborhood League was now increasing the scope of its original activities. Experience having proved that “neither long walks, the use of a horse and carriage, nor generous volunteer help with private automobiles” were practicable in meeting the growing demands of a large field, an automobile was purchased with money raised by special contributions. Activities were varied. During the year just past 137 families had been assisted by the League.

One of the innovations was school attendance work for Radnor School District. School gardens and playgrounds were also under the supervision of the League. There was the Savings Club, with both adults and children as members. Problems of housing and sanitation were taken up. Friendly Aid Conferences were held, sewing clubs were organized as were a group of Camp Fire Girls.

The visiting nurse was continuously busy, as shown by her report that in a four month period she had made 521 “walking visits” befor the League’s automobile was purchased.

Cooperating physicians sought the help of the League for their patients. Red Cross affiliation had just been secured in the field. One of the League’s growing problems was that of finding quarters for transients, who might be stranded in Wayne overnight.

In all these branches of its growing work the League needed much financial assistance. The gift made by the Harvest Home Fete was put to immediate good use by a Board headed by Dr. G. L. S. Jameson, of St. Davids, as president. Other officers included Miss Mary L. Walsh, of Wayne, E. Lewis Burnham, of Berwyn and C. W. Wayar, of Paoli, as vice-presidents; Charles S. Walton, of St. Davids, treasurer, and Dr. Marianne Taylor, of St. Davids, secretary.

In closing this series on the Harvest Home Fete, your columnist wishes to acknowledge the loan of the complete records kept by Miss Grace Roberts, general chairman. To her, more than to any other person, was due the thanks of the community and of the Neighborhood League.

The 1912 Harvest Home Fete, part 3 – “Walmarthon”, The Log Cabin, Tuskegee Institute singers, Men’s Club of Wayne

As a community project the magnitude of the Harvest Home Fete held on the Walton estate in October 1915 is difficult to envision after the years have passed. The enthusiasm which went into the planning of the great event is the only thing that made it possible. That so many people and so many groups shared this enthusiasm is almost incredible. Probably no organization except the newly-founded Neighborhood League could even have inspired it. In the writing of it afterward “The Suburban” said: “Perhaps no other event ever brought the people of the neighborhood into such pleasant and harmonious relations as this Harvest Home Fete . . . good feeling prevailed everywhere, as shown, for example, by the closing of many of the stores to allow employes to take part in the holiday, and by the suspension of the regular schedule at the Wayne and St. Luke’s Schools, in order to give all the boys and girls an opportunity to flock to ‘Walmarthon’.”

With the beautiful grounds in readiness, with all decorations in place, with all booths and other attractions prepared, all that was needed was a fine warm day, bright with sunshine. And during the first hour or two just such weather conditions prevailed. Early comers saw a picturesque and fascinating scene as they wandered from the real gypsy fortune tellers, in their tents near the entrance, on to the many other attractions scattered throughout the vast grounds. For the moment everything gave promise that the Fete would be one of the most memorable and successful affairs in all the history of the Main Line. And so it was, in spite of almost overwhelming odds.

For the Fete had not been in progress long when the clouds gathered and the rains came. Tremendous damage was done almost at once to the gay booths, which could not be protected in time. But, of course, there were the other attractions. Dancing went on merrily on the porches of the Walton mansion, while supper was served to hundreds of people at the log cabin. Throughout the evening the brilliantly lighted grounds were thronged, although there were few chances to make purchases at any of the booths.

Plans were made to reopen the following day, and when two o’clock came the scene was again a gay one, with a promise of a large attendance. In addition to the booths, there were many other attractions, such as the “Plantation House” at the little log cabin on the grounds. Here Mrs. Walton herself had provided for singing by students from Tuskegee Institute, whose concerts were proving of such popular appeal throughout the country. The furnishings of the log cabin itself were such as to suggest plantation life. And then there was the “lemonade well”, which was built in one of the pergolas near the porch of the Walton house. Representing the Bryn Mawr Hospital Social Service, Mrs. William R. Philler was in charge of the “well.”

Punch and Judy shows were run during most of the afternoon and evening in the Thomas E. Walton garage, under the direction of John Diver. The Live Stock Exhibition and Sale, under the chairmanship of Miss Lena Newton, featured ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, and kittens. Even a donkey was on sale! The Dog Show had 133 entries, including those for pomeranians, pointers, chows, fox terriers, pekinese and airedales. There was even a prize for “the fattest child showing the fattest puppy!” This was won by Miss Eleanor Croasdale and her bull puppy, Midland II. Judges for the show were Alfred Delmont and Dr. Charles W. Reed, Jr.

Moving pictures were provided by the Men’s Club of Wayne. The Mandolin Club of Central Baptist Church played in the patio under the direction of John T. Whitaker. Among well-known musicians of the group were Gordon Mackey, Francis Adelberger, James Kromer, R. W. Houck, James W. Price, Orville Dunn, Harold Lawrence, John Newton and Archie Morrison. There was music also by the Band of Gulph Mills Boy Scout Troop 1. The Home and School League, with Louis Jaquette Palmer as chairman, sold balloons to small fry. The W.C.T.U. sold waffles and sausages.

Had the rain not interfered, supper would have been served not only in the log cabin, but on the tennis courts as well. Mrs. Charles G. Tatnall was in charge of this feature of the fete, which was well patronized in spite of the inclement weather. She was assisted by Mrs. S. S. Thornton, Mrs. Marshal Smith, Mrs. C. R. Kennedy and Mrs. Henry Roever. No less than 70 young women aides were also on hand for serving the many delicacies provided for the occasion.

For those who wanted only light refreshments, afternoon tea was to be served from 3 o’clock until 5:30 at the foot of the terraces near the upper lake. In charge of this was Mrs. J. W. England, assisted by the Misses Helen and Marion Tull, Mrs. George Boles and the Miss Marie Jefferts, Nancy Aman, Margaret England, Helen Boles, Katherine Verner and Martha Walton. A far cry from dainty sandwiches and tea was the Clam Bake run by Mrs. Leonard W. Coleman, aided by Mrs. J. Arthur Standen, Miss Bessie Bailey, Earl Knowlton and various Boy Scouts. This was to be one of the special features of the Harvest Home Fete, as indicated by the advertisement run in “The Suburban” which stated that the price would be 25 cents! Waffles and sausages were sold for the same amount while an entree supper was to be had for what would seem the trifling sum of 75 cents! And tickets of admission to the Fete, which were collected at the gate by members of the Radnor Fire Company, were only 10 cents!

(To be concluded)

The 1912 Harvest Home Fete, part 2 – A.B. Frost, Neighborhood League

The poster drawing which was used in various ways in connection with the printing for the Harvest Home Fete, held on the Charles S. Walton estate in 1915, was the joint work of a world-famous artist, A. B. Frost, and his son, John Frost. It was their contribution to the gala affair which made more than $3,500 for the Neighborhood League, which had then been established only three years. Mr. Frost and his family had become residents of Wayne in 1914, the year before the Fete was given. Posters for the affair, which had a wide distribution along the entire Main Line, were the generous contribution of a Wayne resident, Benjamin F. James, 3d, president of the Franklin Printing Company, of Philadelphia.

The drawing made by the Frosts represented a farmer silhouetted against the setting sun, a sheaf of grain under his arm, a sickle in his hand. This drawing decorated the cover of the attractive little booklet used as an invitation to the fete, as well as the tags given each person upon payment of an admission fee. It was also used on the outside cover of the elaborate programs printed for this occasion. Beautiful pictures of the Walton estate were scattered throughout this booklet, all used through the courtesy of the architect, D. Knickerbocker Boyd, or the landscape architects, Sears and Wendell. Among the former is a picture reproduced in the May 4 issue of “The Suburban” in connection with the sale of “Walmarthon.”

That such an elaborate program paid for itself is witnessed by page after page of advertising inserted by both local and city firms. Many of the former are still in business some 36 years later. Among those that are only memories are T. T. Worall & Sons, grocers; C. W. Lynam, carpenter and builder; Edgar Jones, meats; George Fox, Jr., plumbing and ventilating; Henry B. Walton, caterer and confectioner, of Bryn Mawr; Harry L. LaDow, apothecary; John Harazim, watchmaker and jeweler; Wendell and Treat, real estate; Welsh and Park, Hardware; I. V. Hale, meats and groceries and David H. Henderson, sea food. The present Philadelphia Electric Company was then known as the Counties Gas and Electric Company.

Those responsible for the general decorating scheme for all the booths at the Fete were Mrs. Louis Jacquette Palmer, Mrs. William H. Stone, Mrs. W. H. Robers, Jr., Mrs. Clarence K. Underhill, Mrs. C. W. Lincoln and Miss Margaret Hardesty.

In addition to the booths described in last week’s column there were many others. The Berwyn booth, under the direction of Mrs. William Paul Morris, assisted by an able committee, had “New England Dainties” as its specialty. These included fishballs, doughnuts, pots of Boston baked beans with loaves of brown bread, mince and pumpkin pies and tumblers of crabapple jelly. The Strafford booth, under the chairmanship of Mrs. A. Von Bernuth, assisted by Mrs. Robert S. Brodhead and Mrs. Frederick Jiggens, specialized in canned fruit and jellies, all of the home-made variety. Women from the Central Baptist Church of Wayne, working under Mrs. Thomas E. Walton, had charge of the Infants Booth. Donations for this came in “from Maine to California,” among them “a rare piece of Canton in the form of a Chinese baby’s bath tub, a beautiful antique.” The committee from the Wayne Presbyterian Church was in charge of the candy booth, all of the products of which were of the home-made variety. Mrs. Alvin P. McCarter, assisted by a very large committee, was responsible for this booth.

In those days there were two Presbyterian churches in Wayne, the more recently founded one being the Radnor Presbyterian Church, with its small edifice on the northwest corner of Windermere and Louella avenues, on the site now occupied by the Wayne Grammar school. This church took an active part in the Fete, establishing not only the household booth, but also presenting an “Autumn Leaves Party” by its Primary Class. This was directed by Mrs. W. Austin Obdyke, assisted by Mrs. Harold Freeman, Miss Lyons and Miss Josephine Scott. A list of “smy fry” who participated in this party makes interesting reading at this date! Among them were John Howson, Mary Douglas Lyons, Bun Peterson, Richard Keator, Thomas Willey, Charles Scherr, Ivan Dufur, Marion Schofield, Evelyn and Dorothea Waples, Erica Stahlknecht and Elizabeth Howson.

Dolls and toys were features at the Saturday Club booth with Mrs. A. R. Elliot as its chairman. Among those serving on her large committee were Mrs. Henry Roever, Mrs. William B. Riley, Mrs. W. Allen Barr and Mrs. P. S. Conrad. St. Katarine’s Church chose a “General Attraction Table” with Mrs. Clarence Tolan as the chair-man. The Wayne Methodist Church served ice cream and cake on the lawn near the Log Cabin with Mrs. Charles B. Stilwell in charge. The First Baptist Church had the cake table, under the leadership of Mrs. A. W. Childs and her large committee. The Garden Club of Wayne had a “Gypsy Camp”, where fortune telling was the order of the day. Arrangements for this were mad by Mrs. Charles Quimby and a number of other garden lovers.

“Country Produce” was sold at the booth manned by a group of Friends, among them Miss Sara Thomas, Mrs. J. S. C. Harvey, Miss Mary Hibbard, Mrs. Edwin Thomas and Mrs. Charles Edgarton. Radnor residents operating under Mrs. Isaac Clothier, Jr., Mrs. John Kent Kane and Mrs. George E. Starr, wold flowers at their booth. The W. C. T. U. specialized in waffles and sausages.

(To be continued)

The 1912 Harvest Home Fete, part 1 – “Walmarthon”, Charles S. Walton, the Neighborhood League

The sale of “Walmarthon”, the beautiful 41-acre estate of the late Charles S. Walton, to the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, as announced in “The Suburban” of April 27, stirs many memories among those who have lived in this vicinity since before 1913, the year that the 40-room house was built by one of Radnor township’s most prominent families. Perhaps the most vivid of these to the general public is that of the Harvest Home Fete given on the grounds of the Walton estate on October 14 and 15, 1915, two years after the completion of one of “the lordly castles of the Main Line.” It was the largest affair of the kind that had been given in the vicinity up to that time. And in the memory of this columnist there has never been one since to equal it.

Founded in 1912 by a group of public-spirited citizens with the purpose of improving the health and living conditions i this community, the Neighborhood League was an organization that needed both funds and the support of the community to carry on its fast-expanding program of activities that reached from Radnor to Paoli, out of a meeting in May, 1912. At the home on St. Davids road, formerly occupied by the Charles Waltons, had come the organization of the Neighborhood League. The family always lent its active support. When plans were made for a large money-making affair for the benefit of the League, it was the Waltons who offered the grounds of their beautiful new estate for that purpose. The object of the Harvest Home Fete, as stated in its extensive publicity, was “to aid the Neighborhood League, which is constantly lending a helping hand to the sick and needy from Radnor to Paoli.”

And in spite of inclement weather the Harvest Home Fete turned well over $3500 into the treasury of the league at the end of two days at the walton estate and a third day at the Saturday Club. Never have so many organizations cooperated on one local affair, never have so many individuals worked so faithfully and so long on any one project.

Heading the organization of the entire affair was Miss Grace Roberts, whose executive ability showed itself in her management of so many groups of people. There were all the churches of Wayne, the Nursing Committee of the Neighborhood League, the Bryn Mawr Social Service, the Garden Club, Saturday Club, the George W. Childs Library, Primary Class, Radnor Presbyterian Church, Friends Meeting, Men’s Club of Wayne, W. C. T. U., North Wayne Protective Association, Wayne Public Safety Association, Radnor Fire Company, Radnor Township Commissioners, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls. Even some 36 years afterwards almost all of these organizations are in existence in Wayne. Two, however, are reminiscent of a time that is past, the Suffrage group and the Anti-Suffrage group! Both did their share at the fete. The Suffrage Party, headed by Miss Anna Atkinson, had charge of the “Baby Rest Tent” while the Anti-Suffrage Party, headed by Mrs. J. Gardner Cassatt, had the “Practical Booth”.

Assisting Miss Roberts on her executive committee were Mrs. Charles S. Walton, vice-chairman; Mrs. N. T. Brent, secretary; Miss Bertha G. Ball, assistant secretary and Dr. A. H. O’Neal as treasurer. Mrs. Louis J. Palmer, chairman of decorations; R. C. Ware, printing; A. M. Ehart, publicity; Mrs. W. H. Roberts, Jr., tickets; Mrs. Charles G. Tatnall, supper, and Mrs. Walter S. Yeatts, program. The long lists given in full in the program booklet of the Harvest Home Fete present a fascinating roster of names to anyone familiar with Wayne of the past and the present.

Advance publicity in the affair as given in “The Suburban”, as well as in the various Philadelphia newspapers of that era tell of many well-laid plans for the success of the big day. A Red Cross tent which had been obtained for the occasion by General T. E. Wiedersheim was to take care of any and all emergencies. Under the chairmanship of Mrs. Robert G. Wilson this would be “a retreat for anybody needing first aid.” Besides Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. John Moyer, Mrs. R. C. Hughes and Miss Lorean Fuller would be in attendance, all wearing the uniform of the different hospitals in which they received their training. Also connected with the Red Cross tent was a soda fountain, where Miss Dorothy Badger, assisted by Miss Dorothy Wolfe and Miss Toland would “dispense cooling drinks for the thirsty.”

“Ye Book Shop” was the name of the table sponsored by the Board of Managers of the George W. Childs Memorial Library, with Mrs. William V. Alexander as chairman, assisted by Mrs. W. W. Hearne, Mrs. David T. Dickson, Mrs. George H. Wilson, Mrs. George A. Shoemaker, Mrs. W. H. Sayen, Mrs. Sheldon Catlin, Mrs. J. Dutton Steele, Mrs. Theodore E. Wiedersheim and Mrs. Louis D. Erben. Here all manner of donated books were on sale.

The Parcel-post booth was in charge of St. Mary’s Church, with Mrs. Matthew Randall as chairman, assisted by Miss Fanny Wood, Miss Nancy Hallowell and Miss Florence Fulweller. “In appearance”, the parcel post station will be a brick building and distinguished from the others on that account” according to some of the advance publicity.

Indeed, so many and so varied were the attractions that an information bureau was set up near the main entrance of Walmarthon to direct visitors to the various booths. Here, too, was a large plan of the grounds, duplicated in smaller space on the back of the attractive programs printed for the occasion. A band of Camp Fire Girls, working under the direction of a committee headed by Miss Agnes Nichols, were to act as guides.

For these many attractions and others that will be described in this column such a large attendance was anticipated that “five large barges” were to be kept in service steadily between the St. Davids station and Walmarthon. Those were the days when both horse-drawn vehicles and automobiles were on the road. Colonel William H. Sayen, the president of the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners, promised “ample police aid–especially in the matter of supervising the parking of automobiles,” which would be accommodated in a field close by.

(To be continued)