~ Some History of Glenolden ~
Standing (left to right): Paul Gaffney, Ann Marie Cicola, Gwen Skalish, Ted Bathurst, Treasurer, Dot Dorman, Sarah Dougherty, Marie Hunter, Denise McCarthy, Tom OıConner, Al Kelley, William Reese, Jr., George Dorman, Secretary. Seated (left to right): Ruth Ewing, Lee Flocco, Karen Carlucci, Co-Chairwoman, Ann Kelley, Chairwoman, Helen Loyko, Evelyn Anderson, Barbara Orr.
Glenolden Borough Council
Standing (left to right): Richard C. Tinucci, Esq., Solicitor, Joe Selfridge, Council, Karen Carlucci, Council, William J. Reese, Sr., Council, Ted Bathurst, Mayor, Fran OıNeill, Council, Al Kelley, Council, Charles J. Catania, Sr., Engineer. Sitting (left to right): George E. Hassel, President, Sarah Dougherty, Secretary, Denise McCarthy, and Vice President.
The History Committee of the Glenolden Centennial Celebration did the research that made this booklet possible. They are Chairman Tom OıConnor, Jack Neilson, Gwen Coronway, Gail Reese, Barbara Orr and Keith Lockhart.
The following people contributed pictures and information For this booklet:
Peggy Bell, Ardsley, Pennsylvania
Marion Brooks Vespe, Little Maren, Pennsylvania
Ellen Enderle Gray, Texas
Marian C. Hulse, Virginia
Alice M. Keeler
Anita Langley, South Carolina
Mrs. Thomas Marshall
John J. McVeigh, III
Edith Sparks Myers
Rich Miller, New Jersey
Bonnie & Bob Neave
Joe Neilson, Washington State
Bert & Louise Parker, Jr.
J. Marshall Willie, Media, Pennsylvania
Harry Werner, Haverford, Pennsylvania
In the late 1980ıs, three former residents, now deceased, contributed much to this booklet by personal interviews. They are:
Mildred Scott Olmstead
The following credits are also in order:
James A. Fawcett of Bethel, for the maps of Glenolden Avenue, the golf course and picnic grounds.
Photographer Robert Megill of Glenolden, for the photos of the Borough employees.
The Grist Mill and Saw Mill about 1890. This view was taken from the South (Darby Creek) side. Note the water wheel in the center, it operated both mills.
Originally this property of twenty-one acres was owned by Swedish settlers and passed into the hands of Luke Nethermark, the son of an early settler. Nethermark, one of the last of the Swedes in the area to speak Swedish, died in a riding accident in 1755.
Thomas Shipley, a miller by trade, bought the twenty-one acre site and in 1774 added another 43 acres plus a grist and saw mill. Shipley left the property to his daughter Ann Shipley who had married a John Jones. Jones sold the house, grist and saw mills to Caleb Phipps of Chester County and in 1808 Caleb passed the property on to his son, Elisha Phipps.
Elisha kept his small sloop named "Ye Dusty Miller" parked on the Muckinipatus Creek. One day about 1810, he loaded his sloop with flour and left his wife Elizabeth and children to sail to Philadelphia. Phipps never returned and his frantic wife finally gave him up for dead.
Almost five months later she was stunned to see the sloop, "Ye Dusty Miller", sailing up Muckinipatus Creek. Phipps walked up to house and calmly asked his wife what was for dinner. He explained his disappearance by admitting that he had changed his mind at the last minute and instead of going to Philadelphia he sailed for the West Indies where he sold his flour and picked up sugar and rum and other goods which he sold at a nice profit when he returned to Philadelphia. History doesnıt record his wifeıs reaction.
Although Phipps was a straight-laced Quaker, he was a good fiddler nonetheless and in violation of Quaker doctrine, he often held dances at the mill. Phipps was also known to race his sloop on the Delaware River.
In 1812, Halliday Jackson, a Quaker who lived in what is today Sharon Hill, bought the sixty-three acre mill property. He rented the mill to Ephraim Inskeep, (1795-1881), a New Jersey-born miller.
On March 5, 1815, Inskeep married Mary Olden (1795*1875) from New Jersey, a widow with a daughter, Margaretta.
On July 27, 1828, Inskeep bought the mill for himself for eleven thousand dollars. When an industry survey was made of Delaware County in 1830, it was found that the Grist Mill was only being used "occasionally".
However, the Grist Mill was popular with New Jersey farmers who did not have streams and creeks in the state that were powerful enough to provide the water power they needed. They would sail "one stickers" (one sail) boats from New Jersey across the Delaware River and up Darby Creek to the Muckinipatus. At high tide the boats could easily come up to a wharf at the Mill.
the Saw Mill was cutting over 200,000 board feet.
Excerpt from August 31, 1846 - Diary of Thomas P. Cope:
"August 31st. -- Took tea today with our neighbors Ephraim Inskeep & wife, a couple of querities. She condemns all modern improvements on the dwellings of our forefathers. The house in which her daddy dwelt should never be altered, it is disrespectful to his memory. Her husband has his notions. He put up a fence & commenced, as of right he should, in the old of the moon, but other duties called him off when the fence was half done & he could not go at it again until a new moon happened. He then finished the other half. The ground was the same on the whole line; the posts & rails the same; no difference & the same care bestowed on all. The posts planted in the old of the moon remained firm in their places to the last; every one of the rest sank down in the earth & soon required resetting."
(Diary of Thomas P. Cope)
About 1833 Ephraim Inskeepıs stepdaughter Margaretta married William Ridgeway (c 1805-1849) of Chester County. Ridgeway lived at the mill for a while, but in 1839 he moved back to his hometown in fallow field, Chester County. It is believed Ridgeway built the large white frame house at the foot of todayıs South Avenue. Now it is an off-white stucco private residence.
In August 1849, Ridgeway went to the Philadelphia Alms house on business and contracted cholera which he transmitted to his wife Margaretta on his return home. They both died.
By 1850 the four Ridgeway children, George K., William O., Ephraim I. And Mary were living with their grandparents, the Inskeepıs, at the Inskeep Mill. Both George K. and William O. Ridgeway served in the Civil War and after the war they both moved west along with their sister. This left Ephraim I. Ridgeway to run the family mill. Sometime in the late 1860ıs, Ephraim I. Ridgeway (1835-1913) named the mill Glen-Olden. The Glen was for the valley of the Muckinipatus Creek and the Olden was for his motherıs maiden name.
In 1876, Ephraim Inskeep sold the mill for one dollar to Ephraim I. Ridgeway, his namesake and grandson. The Grist Mill was eventually converted to a bobbin factory in the 1870ıs. Both the Grist and Saw Mill burned to the ground in February, 1896.
The Glenolden Mill complex about 1909 from a postcard, which incorrectly identified the property as Norwood, Pennsylvania. The mill buildings themselves all stood in todayıs Folcroft. This view was taken from South Avenue looking up todayıs Delmar Drive which is in the center of the picture. Top left is the Ridgeway Home originally built in the 1760ıs. The ruins of the mill itself are just across the bridge. The building behind the ruins is the Ridgeway barn.
Ephraim I. Ridgeway married Hannah Painter in September, 1862, and they had one daughter, Mary Ridgeway (1863-1941).
Mary married G. Howard Lundy (1864-1938) and lived in the old homestead until they sold part of it to the H.K. Mulford Company. Both the Lundys went into real estate development and part of the mill property became "The Manor". Mary Lundy was one of the main organizers of the Glenolden Library and after her husbandıs death, she moved to New Jersey where she died in 1941. The Lundys had no children.
CONVEYANCING FIRE INSURANCE MORTGAGES
G. HOWARD LUNDY
SUBURBAN REAL ESTATE
PHONE, SHARON HILL 154
129 S. CHESTER AVE
"Knowlesboro", photo of the original section, dated to about 1725. Originally brick, the house was later stuccoed. Remodeled probably in the 1880ıs by Louis Dalmas. The house featured 12 rooms with an open staircase up to all three floors. Another feature was a secret tunnel that went from a second floor bedroom closet downstairs thru the house walls. The tunnel went under the kitchen and east out into Glenolden Park. Dalmas closed off the tunnel when it began to collapse. Grays Avenue was the driveway for "Knowlesboro" and the house itself stood in the Interboro High School girlsı hockey field off South Avenue.
At one time in the early 1770ıs the Knowles Family owned nearly all of todayıs Glenolden. Their property was originally part of a 350 acre land grant given by William Penn to England-born Obadiah Bonsall.
Bonsall never lived there but rented the property in 1725 to Thomas Tatnall, and he and his wife Ann bought the property the same year. Tatnall, a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly in the 1740ıs, added another 150 acres to the property. He died about 1750 leaving his property to his only child Elizabeth and her heirs.
Elizabeth had married John Knowles, son of an English immigrant, and Knowles inherited the entire estate upon her death around 1775.
Knowles continued to add more property to the farm and by 1776 it totaled over 650 acres. He was then the largest landowner in the area.
John also owned property in Springfield Township where he had built a mill. An enterprising man, Knowles charged his widowed mother-in-law, Ann Tatnall, rent.
John Knowles died about January 1778. His will provided that his three children, James, John and Hannah, be taken to land he owned in Berks County, "there to dwell and reside during the present troubles in British America." (From the will of John Knowles - 1777 and on file at the Chester County Historical Society)
John Knowles put his children in the trust of John and Hannah Crozer, and they cared for the children for the next five years. Crozer was a carpenter who lived on the Glenolden Knowles Farm and John Crozer and the Knowles Family remained close - so close, in fact, that there were intermarriages on both sides.
Although John Crozer had helped raise him, James Knowles Sr., (c. 1770-1830) was outraged when his daughter Sallie L. Knowles (1800-1882) married John P. Crozer (1793-1866), son of his temporary guardian.
The marriage took place on March 12, 1825 and James Knowles Sr., believing that John P. Crozer would never amount to anything, never spoke to his daughter again.
Sallie Knowles Crozer, shown on the left in a photo from 1860, never returned home after her marriage until the time of her fatherıs death.
James Knowles, Sr. died unaware of the great success his son-in-law Crozer would achieve in the textile business and that his grandson would become founder of Crozer Hospital.
John Knowles divided his estate between his three children, James, John and Hannah. Not until the American Revolution was over in 1783 did the three children divide the estate.
Hannah Knowles received 160 acres and married Joseph Shallcross. Together in 1788 they built the house called Poplar Hall at Shallcross Ave. in what is today Folcroft.
John Knowles II received 160 acres that covered what would be all of todayıs Glendale Heights.
James Knowles received 160 acres and the family mansion. James married Margaret Gray, one of 10 children of George Gray for whom Grayıs Ferry is named. Grays Avenue in Glenolden is named for Margaret Gray.
George G. Knowles (1806-1899) was born at "Knowlesboro" during a snowstorm. He lived in Glenolden all of his life.
He ran a 73-acre dairy farm until he retired in the 1880ıs. He lived at "Cherry Hill" and later on Chester Pike.
A non-drinker, he was known as a meek and quiet man.
He founded the Glenolden Presbyterian Church.
James Knowles had 5 children, two of whom, James G. and George G., stayed on the family farm. James added property to the farm and his sons James G. and George G. married first cousins with George marrying Martha Knowles and James marrying Ann Knowles, both daughters of their Uncle John Knowles.
James Knowles died about 1830 and his two sons, James and George, inherited and then divided his estate which ran roughly from South Avenue to Oak Avenue between Chester Pike and MacDade Boulevard.
James G. (1798-1876) took possession of the family mansion, "Knowlesboro", and George G. (1806-1899) took a house at Knowles Avenue and the B. & O. Railroad. The house was known as "Cherry Hill".
"Cherry Hill" the home of George G. Knowles. Probably a tenant house for the Knowles family in the 18th century, George enlarged it in the 1830ıs covering the brick walls with wood and made it his home. The house stood at Knowles Avenue and the B. & O. Railroad where the electric-sub-station is today. Knowles Avenue was originally his driveway to Chester Pike. In 1886 the B. & O. Railroad crossed his property. It left Knowles a tunnel to get back and forth to his farm. "Cherry Hill" was torn down in the late 1930ıs after being empty for many years.
James had two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth married Henry N. Bruner, who owned a clothing mill in Philadelphia. By 1880, James G. Knowles (1798-1876) had died, leaving his estate divided between his two daughter Elizabeth K. Bruner and Mary S. Knowles. Both the Bruners and Mary lived in the Knowlesı homestead "Knowlesboro".
Mary inherited "Knowlesboro" and 48 acres.
Elizabeth Bruner also inherited 48 acres which comprised all of Glenolden on the west (Norwood) side of South Avenue. The Bruners later sold their property and moved to Chester.
About 1880, Mary Knowles met Louis Dalmas (pronounced Dalma). Louis, born in Philadelphia, had moved with his parents, Charles and Anna Dalmas, to a 17-acre farm on Oak Avenue in todayıs Primos.
On November 23, 1882, Louis Dalmas, just nineteen, married Mary S. Knowles, age 39. Mary died in January, 1884 from complications during childbirth leaving Louis a widower with one daughter, Helen K. Dalmas. Louis attended business school, and he married an English immigrant, Marian G. Benson.
Besides Glenolden real easte, he was active in national and international business affairs. An early member of Glenolden Borough Counclil, he was active in Christ Episcopal of Ridley Park.
Marian Benson Dalmas
Second wife of Louis Dalmas. An English immigrant, she mairred Dalmas about 1885. Both photos are from 1910 when they celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary.
In December, 1887, Louis Dalmas petitioned the Delaware County Orphans Court to sell part of his daughter Helenıs estate to proved for her support. The Orphans Court approved and in April, 1888, the town of Dalmas was born. Dalmas had a small train station at South Avenue on the B. & O. Railroad and went down to Chester Pike and east toward Glenolden Avenue about 100 yards till it linked up with Henry Scottıs Llanwellyn development.
GLENOLDEN - OWN YOUR HOME
Where you will be within a half hour of Hog Island, Westinghouse Mfg. Co., Baldwin Locomotive Works and other large industries on the Delaware River in and around Chester.
Single trolley fare to Darby and Chester. Every convenience, gas, Springfield Water, electric light, sere connection, cement pavements, good streets, churches, schools, stores.
Beautiful country, fine surroundings. We will build you a house of your own kind and arrange all financing for you if you have a small amount to invest.
Real Estate and Trust Building or Glenolden Penna.
"When we moved to Glenolden in 1888, we bought property in the Dalmas section. The only builder in town then was Sam Urian. Sam built nearly all the houses on the even side of Marshall Avenue (now unit block of Knowles Avenue). The first house I built was for Mr. Mallack, 100 Knowles Avenue. After that things got quite busy. We built a house on Ashland Avenue at the B. & O. Railroad and then the first three houses on Glenolden Avenue below the station. Glenolden Avenue was a very pretty street then with a double row of trees on both sides.
(1889) the Scott (Llanwellyn) tract was laid out. We built Oliver Hammerickıs
home, #1 West Glenolden Avenue, later owned by Charles Eggleston. We built
the twin home at 218 & 220 South Avenue and many others in the area."
(Interview with John V. Meckert, Builder, c. 1921.)
Avenue above Chester Pike about 1907. Scott Avenue would be on the right And
you are looking toward MacDade Boulevard.
- Ad for Llanwellyn about 1887
Louis Dalmas served on Glenolden Borough Council and was active in investing in the townıs development and also in his own personal business projects overseas. He lived at "Knowlesboro" until his death in 1926. His wife Marian died in 1927.
"Knowlesboro" Mansion was burned by arsonists in December, 1928, marking the end of over 200 years of ownership by the Knowles Family. The undeveloped property in the tiny town of "Dalmas" eventually became the Interboro High School Athletic Fields and part of Glenolden Park. In the early 1950ıs the last of the vacant land between MacDade and the B. & O. Railroad was developed and two of the four streets were named for Louis Dalmas and Marian Benson, but by then the little town of Dalmas was long forgotten.
In late 1886 Henry J. Scott (1855-1932) bought 50 acres of land from George G. Knowles. Scott, a University of Pennsylvania graduate, was an attorney with an office on Washington Square, Philadelphia.
Scott laid out several streets on his new land and opened two the them: Scott and Llanwellyn Avenues. He called the development "Llanwellyn" which is Welsh for "Spring has come". Scott improved the property by planting Lombard poplars on all the streets and in August, 1887, he made the development available for sale.
J. Scott (1855-1932)
(photo to the left)
He was the founder and owner of the Llanwellyn Development.
Scott had practiced law for over 50 years.
born in Glenolden in 1890 in what was then the Ridley Township section. Dr.
Jacob Boon was our family doctor. My father, Henry J. Scott, had built a large
house at the northwest corner of Chester Pike and Glenolden Avenue. That house
burned to the ground about 1894 and we moved into a smaller house at Scott
and Glenolden Avenue. My father sold property to friends of his from Philadelphia.
Lawyer Robert J. Williams (Ed. Note - built 330 South Scott Avenue) was a
professional associate. David Caskey (Ed. Note - built No. 4 West Knowles
Avenue.) and William Wilson (Ed. Note - rented 324 S. Scott Avenue) were family
friends. Both my Uncles, Oliver and Winfield Hammerick, lived in Llanwellyn.
Oliver built No. 1 West Glenolden Avenue. They ran a jewelry store in Philadelphia.
Llanwellyn had asphalt sidewalks and poplar tress throughout with dirt streets.
The only store I remember was Sam Hallıs grocery store at Chester Pike and
Glenolden Avenue. I went to school at the Wilson home at 324 S. Scott. Living
in Glenolden could be very hard back then (Ed. Note - c.1896). One winter
my father had to tunnel under the snow from our house to Sam Hallıs store
for supplies. It took hi two days. I was never allowed to go to the railroad
station, bad boys hung out there. In 1899, my father, Henry J. Scott, became
a Philadelphia District Attorney and we had to move back to Philadelphia."
(Interview with Mildred Scott Olmsted, age 96, in December, 1986)
Llanwellyn Railroad Station at Ashland Avenue about 1890. Todayıs Bonsall Avenue would be on the right and the view is looking west toward the MacDade Mall. Llanwellyn had its own post office from March 15, 1890 to August 21, 1911.
Although the Scott Family moved back to Philadelphia, Henry Scott continued to own and sell his Llanwellyn property until his death in 1932. His remaining undeveloped property was given to the borough in 1934 in lieu of back taxes and Scottıs property became the basis for todayıs Glenolden Park.
John Knowlesı (circa 1800-1865) share of the Knowlesı estate consisted of all of Glenolden north of MacDade Boulevard. At his death, the farm was sold and in 1866 Bethel M. Custer (1828-1902) became owner of the entire estate which he called "Peach Hill". Custer, born in Montgomery County, was a dairy farmer and his "Peach Hill" farm was considered one of the finest in Delaware County. Active in local politics, Custer was married twice and had 12 children. His second wife was Martha Holmes, daughter of Richard Holmes for whom the town of Holmes is named.
Custer delivered milk locally and also sold milk in Philadelphia. During the summer months, he made ice cream which he sold only locally.
M. Custer (1826-1902)
His 170-acre dairy farm covered all of Glenolden Avenue north of todayıs MacDade Boulevard. He gave up farming in the 1890ıs and went into real estate development.
Like many other area farmers, Custer gave up his dairy farm and went into real estate in the late 1890ıs.
Fire at Glenolden
Destruction of the Custer Homestead
"Last evening during the absence of the family, the Custer homestead at Glenolden, was destroyed by fire and this morning only the blackened walls remain standing. The house was occupied by Isaac R. Custer and family, and was the former home of Bethel M. Custer, father of Isaac. It was a large old mansion standing at the end of Knowles Avenue. Only a portion of the household goods were saved. The loss on both the house and furniture is partly covered by insurance."
family was away from home at the time the fire was discovered and only a colored
girl and one or two of the colored farm hands were on the premises. The fire
gained headway rapidly and though many neighbors responded and did all possible,
its progress could not be checked. The origin of the fire is unknown.?
(From the Chester Times, January 31, 1899)
old homestead was occupied by Isaac R. Custer and family; his father Bethel
M. Custer, having moved to a smaller brick house on Ashland Avenue several
years ago. The homestead was a stone structure and it was improved considerably
some years ago by the addition of a mansard roof. Not long ago the large barn
on the promises was destroyed by fire, entailing a severe loss on Mr. Custer.
The homestead was first occupied in 1866 by Bethel M. Custer, who was then
engaged in the milk business."
(From the Chester Times, February 1, 1899)
Bethel Custer died in December, 1902, and after his death his heirs sold the property and the area around Gardner Avenue was developed in the 1920ıs as Glenolden Terrace.
In 1928, the last remaining vacant land of Custerıs Farm was purchased to build a 9-hole golf course. Four men, headed by Bert Parker, Sr., bought the property and created Glendale, a golf course which combined the names Glenolden and Collingdale. Besides Parker, the other men involved in the purchase were Arthur and Fred Wilson and Howard Kilpatrick, all of whom were in the homebuilding business.
The Glendale Golf Club about 1940. Trees and bushes are shown as small circles on the map. The 43-acres later became Glendale Heights.
The 9-hole Glendale golf course opened around 1929 and operated until 1941 when the Federal government expropriated Glendale for government wartime housing. With the Lend Lease Program in full swing then, local housing was a t a premium and houses began to be built on the golf course in late 1941.
After the war the government continued to rent the 250 homes mostly to returning war veterans. In the early 50ıs the federal government offered the homes for sale giving first preference to veterans organizations to purchase the entire property.
When veterans couldnıt come up with the $87,500 down payment, the Glendale Heights Ownership Association decided to buy the property themselves. Each family was asked to contribute $350.00 for the down payment and enough money was raised for this purchase.
Final figure for the mortgage was 3 million dollars for 25 years at 4% interest. The loan was paid off in 1980.
Today Glendale Heights is a non-profit corporation of mutual home ownership that sells shares. Each property owner holds one share in the corporation.
Glendale Homes from an aerial shot from the 1940ıs
A postcard from 1923, showing Chester Pike at Gardner Avenue looking west. All of the houses in this photo are still standing.
THE MARSHALL FARM
The original Marshall home, a log cabin, was built in the 1790ıs. The cabin stood at Logan and Glen Avenues and was reached by a long path that paralleled todayıs Logan Avenue. The picture, a watercolor, was painted by Thomas J. Flaherty n the 1880ıs. Flaherty lived on Glenolden Avenue and painted many local scenes.
As of this writing the Marshall Family has lived in Glenolden for over 200 years. The Marshallıs bought their original farm, a spread of approximately 65 acres, on July 10, 1790. Originally part of the Knowles Estate, the farm was sold to William Ball, a silversmith from Philadelphia, by John Knowles in June, 1777. Ball in turn sold the property in 1790 to Mary Marshall, a widow, and her four sons, James, Aaron, John and Charles. The property was divided evenly among the four sons.
In time, several of the sons moved away and sold their property to others. By the 1840ıs, the remaining property had passed to Thomas Marshall (1795-1863), son of John Marshall and grandson of Mary Marshall. Thomas married Naomi Warner (1795-1872). Shortly after the marriage, he built a frame house in 1832 which still stands on Logan Avenue. Vastly remodeled over the years, today it is 26 Logan Avenue, a privately owned stucco house.
The couple had several children and at Thoması death in 1863, the farm was divided among his heirs.
Thoması son, John Warner Marshall (1819-1901), bought out his brothers and sisters and became the sole owner of approximately 20 acres. John Warner Marshall married Mary Ann Logan of Darby Twp. (1839-1891) on July 16, 1863 and they had one son, John Warner Marshall Jr. (1873-1947).
In the late 1880ıs, John W. Marshall, Jr. went into the home building business. He built numerous homes on his property and elsewhere Glenolden borough.
Ann Logan (1839-1891)
(shown on the left)
Photograph was probably taken in 1863, the year she married John W. Marshall
"The Marshall property, consisting of about thirty acres, fronting chiefly on the pike is rapidly being built upon, and will shortly be one of the finest spots in the borough. The first building erected on it was the house and store of Druggist J. E. Dalton; the second, the handsome new stone school house; and these will be succeeded soon by W. C. Youngıs fine residence, and the two stores and halls of R. J. Williams, Esq.
of the matter, John W. Marshall says he has a number of old deeds relating
to the property, which, until just recently, has not been transferred since
1774. It was first purchased from William Penn by Mr. Knowles, who later sold
it to a Mr. Ball, and then it became the property of the Marshall family."
(From the Chester Times, February 7, 1896)
John W. Marshall (1873-1947) and Amelia Parker Marshall (1869-1948) and their children, infant Thomas, Mary Alice and William W. Marshall. The photo was taken in 1901 probably at 49 Logan Avenue.
49 Logan Avenue incorrectly dated 1865, was actually built much later.
Both Phones Estimates and Plans Furnished
Carpenter and Builder
Jobbing 49 Logan
J. W. Marshall married English immigrant Amelia Parker (1869-1948) and later went into a building partnership with her nephew, Bert Parker, Sr., whom the Marshallıs brought over from England in 1905.
J. W. Marshall, Jr. opened Logan Avenue (named for his mother) in the mid-1890ıs and built nearly all the houses on the street. His nephew, Bert Parker, Sr. struck out on his own as a builder and built many homes in Glenolden and the surrounding vicinity.
Parker, Sr. (1886-1977)
Parker came over from England in 1905 to live with his Aunt Ameli and Uncle John W. Marshall. After a partnership with his uncle, Bert went out on his own. Parker built many in the Chester Pike area. He opened and developed Florence Avenue in Sharon Hill which he named after his wife Florence Griesing. Active in Glenolden affairs throughout his life, he was known for his Christmas holiday displays. His son and grandson still live in Glenolden.
Cornice Work Porch Work Stair Building
Hardwood Interiors Alterations
In the early 1830ıs the area around todayıs Chester Pike and Ashland Avenue was developed into a country crossroads. Although the crossroads had no official name, the community deserves a detailed look. All of this crossroads village was part of the Thomas Marshall Farm which was sold off in the 1820ıs and 1830ıs.
The twin stone homes at #7 and #9 South Chester Pike were bought in March 1852 by Franklin Lloyd. Lloyd lived in one half of the building and used the other side as a country store which he operated until the mid-1880ıs.
improvements consist of a substantial STONE DWELLING HOUSE, 26 feet front
by 17 feet deep, two stories high, divided into convenient rooms, cellared
under, frame kitchen adjoining, 14 _ by 17 _ feet, wash house 10 feet square,
and an excellent well of water with a pump therein. There is 22 _ feet with
kitchen attached, one and a half stories high; stone tenant house, 16 by 23
feet, one and a half stories high, with piazza in front and rear; frame barn,
15 by 32 feet, with wagon house attached 16 by 24 feet, and sheds. There is
on the premises a great variety of fruit trees. This property is beautifully
situated on the Philadelphia and Baltimore Post Road, about two miles from
the Borough of Darby, in a pleasant neighborhood, convenient to schools, mills
and places of worship, and is well worthy the attention of purchasers. Seized
and taken in execution as the property of Franklin Lloyd, and to be sold by
N. J. YARNALL, Sheriff."
(Delaware County Republican, July 15, 1861)
The above sale never took place.
At Stuart Avenue and Chester Pike was the blacksmith shop of the Edward Ingram family. On April 7, 1828 a "certain lot of wood" was bought by Joseph and Jane Ingram.
The Blacksmithıs homestead at 19 Chester Pike about 1920. Todayıs Stuart Avenue would be on the left.
five acre lot was improved and consisted of a frame house, 34 by 16 feet,
6 inches, two and a half stories high, with a porch at the front end 7 feet
wide, frame kitchen attached 13 by 18 feet, two stories high, pump shed at
kitchen door with pump therein, frame barn 27 by 32 feet, 6 inches, a variety
of fruit and shade trees. The yard is beautifully laid out with walks and
planted with evergreens. The fences are good and the buildings in first rate
order. It is beautifully situated on the Chester and Darby Plank Road, about
a mile from Darby Borough. The neighborhood is one of the best in the county,
and the location high and healthy. Seized and taken in execution of Peter
Ingram, and to be sold by CALEB HOOPES, Sheriff.
(Delaware County Republican, January 22, 1868)
The Ingram family had given the property to Edward Ingram, who then opened the blacksmith shop. In September, 1840, Edwardıs son, Peter Ingram, bought the house and five acres for $550. The blacksmith shop later passed on to the Miller and Harp families. In 1894 the first Glenolden borough elections were held in Harpıs blacksmith shop. The blacksmith shop was eliminated when Stuart Avenue was created around 1920. Ingramıs house, built around 1827-1830, still stands at #19 Chester Pike.
Dr. Boonıs house at Chester Pike and Boon Avenue late 19th century.
The yellow wood house which stood at #39 South Chester Pike until 1992 was built by a Thomas Smith in the late 1830ıs. Smith died in 1843 and in September of the same year Levi Carr bought the house and 10 acres for $570. The small farm stayed in the Carr Family until May 28, 1866 when the executors of Levi Carr sold the farm to Dr. Jacob Boon (1837-1898) for $3500.
Boon was a lifelong resident of Darby Township and for many years was the only doctor in Glenolden. Local children believed that Dr. Boon carried babies in his black bag. Besides his medical work, Boon was also active in real estate and was involved in Collingdaleıs development as a realtor and builder. After his death, his heirs opened up the ten-acre farm for real estate development and created Boon Avenue from the property. Dr. Boon had no children but his nephew, J. Boon Gallagher, was borough mayor in the late 1950ıs.
Jacob Boon (1837-1898) on the left and J. Boon Gallagher on the right.
Jacob Boon taught school in Darby Township in the 1850ıs before attending Jefferson Medical College in West Philadelphia. Boon was liked and respected throughout Delaware County and his sudden death made the front pages of the "Chester Times". During the winter the rear of his home was a popular sledding place for local children until his heirs opened Boon Avenue in 1916.
Logan Avenue and Chester Pike about 1910. Williams Hall built in 1896 by lawyer Robert J. Williams was a local meeting place. Williams was town mayor twice (1899-1902 and 1922-1925), The building on the left was the Dalton Pharmacy bought by Karl Werner in 1911. He owned it for over 60 years.
The unit block of Knowles Avenue just off Chester Pike. The right side of the street was bought by Sam Urian from the Marshall family in 1877. Urian built most of the houses there. The left side of the street was bought and developed by the Lundy family.
The Hahn-Cook farm about 1920 still stands today at 111 North Chester Pike
The 30 acre Hahn-Cooke Farm was centered at Cooke Avenue and Chester Pike where the farmhouse still stands. Part of the original Knowles Farm, the 30-acre parcel was sold to the Justis Family before 1788 and they built a log cabin on the property.
The Rively Family rented the farm in 1798 and on January 6, 1817, Charles and John M. Justis sold the farm and three roads to Casper Hahn. About 1819, Hahn built the stone farmhouse that faces Chester Pike. This house, still standing after one hundred and seventy-five years, is the oldest in the borough.
Hahn operated a fruit and dairy farm on the thirty acres. He died in early 1865 and according to the dictates of his will, his wife Mary sold the farm at a public auction held on Monday, February 13, 1865.
Estate; EXECUTORS SALE OF REAL ESTATE. Pursuant to the last will and testament
of Casper Hahn, late of Darby Township, Delaware County, deceased, will be
sold at public sale, on the premises, on MONDAY, the 13th day of FEBRUARY,
1865, at one oıclock, P.M., all that certain STONE MESSUAGE and TRACT OF LAND,
situate in said Township, bounded by the public road leading from Darby to
Chester, by land of Jacob Rice, Joseph Shallcross, and by the appurtenances.
The improvements are a two-storied stone dwelling, two rooms and an entry
on a floor, with stone sitting room and frame out kitchen adjoining, and a
stone barn with stabling under, with wells of good water at the house and
barn, with pumps therein. A good supply of fruit trees of different varieties
in bearing order on the premises. The land is divided into convenient enclosures,
well watered and under good fences, situate one and a half miles from the
thriving Borough of Darby, convenient to schools and places of worship. This
property is one of the most desirable situations between Darby and Chester
for a country residence. Persons wishing to view the premises previous to
sale, will call on Amos Morris or Charles Keithler residing thereon. Conditions
at sale. EDMUND TAYLOR, Executor."
(From the Delaware County Republican, January 17, 1865)
The farm was bought by Lewis D. Cooke through Taylor. Cooke sold the farm to Theodore Lamont of Philadelphia in June 1895. A few months later, Louis Dalmas owned the property briefly, planning to divide the property into building lots.
The property was then bought by the Wood-Harmon Company who were developing Warwick (Folcroft) just south of the thirty acre farm. Needing access to Chester Pike, Wood-Harmon Co. bought the farm in late 1895 and named it Warwick Annex.
The unit block of Isabel Avenue about 1918.
The Wood-Harmon Co. named Isabel Avenue for Louis Dalması daughter and family tradition states the street was named for the nine year old Isabel to cheer her up after a bad time with a local dentist. Warwick & Warwick Annex used various methods to entice homeowners and buyers including a balloon ride and lottery.
A. Dalmas (1886-1959)
(Shown in photo to the right The first child of Marion and Louis Dalmas Isabel Avenue was named after her
"The New Town of Warwick"
is the name given to the new town adjoining Glenolden borough, and projected
by Wood, Harmon & Co., of Philadelphia. 18,750 names were submitted. The first
prize, consisting of two lots valued at $250 each, was awarded to Wm. L. Hoppock,
of 2510 Turner Street; the second, to Katharine Frick Dill, of 4523 Regent
Street, lot valued at $300; the third to Miss Annie Willis, of 1410 South
Nineteenth Street, lot valued at $200, all of Philadelphia."
(From the Chester Times, April 22, 1895)
time is expected at the "Warwick" annex this afternoon, when the excursion
will doubtless bring out large numbers of people. Besides the ascension of
the two balloons, there will be distributed 100 envelopes, one of which will
convey to the lucky holder a free deed of one of the fine lots. The new town
of Warwick, which adjoins Folcroft, is partly in Glenolden Borough, and partly
in the township. The newest part, which is called the "Warwick Annex", is
in the borough. Warwick was projected by Wood, Harmon & Co., the Philadelphia
real estate men, and the streets have already largely been laid out, grading
done, and several houses are in process of erection. For many reasons, it
would be a very desirable acquisition to the borough, and in turn, it would
rebound abundantly to its own benefit."
(From the Chester Times, June 22, 1895)
Today, Warwick Annex is a part of southeast Glenolden borough and the name Warwick has passed into history.
The above photo was taken about 1895. The view was taken from the McKim home in the 100 block of North Scott Avenue, looking toward the B. & O. Railroad. The house in the center, which is now gone, stood at what is now 123 North Llanwellyn Avenue. The tow houses in the distance on the left are 100 and 102 Bonsall Avenue. This forty-acre site was bought by Mary W. Cooke in 1854, and was once part of the Knowles Estate. Mary Cooke was married to a lawyer and lived in Norristown. After her death, her children opened the property for sale in 1887 under the name Mary W. Cooke building lots. The remaining unsold lots were sold by the children and developed in the 1920ıs. It is believed Mary Cooke was not related to Lewis D. Cooke who lived across Chester Pike.
The 100 block of Rambler Road looking from Glen Avenue toward Woodland Avenue. Rambler Road was part of the Rice Estate and was bought and developed by Collingdale builder Milton L. Staley, in 1924-1925. Note the sample house on the left. The Rice family homestead, built in the 1830ıs faced Chester Pike at Rambler Road.
Scott Avenue looking toward Oak Avenue from Cooke about 1925.
Originally part of a Swedish land grant, the Calcon Hook Farm property was owned by the Morton Family for most of the 18th century.
On March 12, 1799, Joseph Waln, a Philadelphia merchant, bought the 163 acre farm. Waln probably never lived on the farm but after his death his widow Elizabeth married Thomas P. Cope (1768-1854), a Quaker and successful ship owner. Cope lived on the farm during the summer and he built a summer cottage there which faced the Delaware River. From this vantagepoint, he could watch his fleet of ships sailing majestically up and down the river.
Copeıs Packet Line ran regularly from Philadelphia to Liverpool, England, and it is said the wood to build the ships came from the Ridgeway Saw Mill. Cope was active in Philadelphia politics and was one of the men who helped found what is today Fairmount Park.
P. Cope (1768-1854) and his summer cottage.
The cottage was built about 1830 and stood at the northwest corner of Glenolden Avenue and Delmar Drive.
Excerpt from The Diary of Thomas P. Cope
"August 27, 1847. Afternoon, we returned to our home in the City, covered with dust. Our sojourn at Calcon Hook was pleasant & altogether widely different from what it was when D. Richards was tenant - the present occupant, Annesley Newlin & his family, being agreeable people & disposed to make us comfortable as their boarders."
After Thomas and Elizabeth Copeıs deaths, Elizabethıs nephew S. Morris Waln sold the property for $30,050 to a Dr. Charles Hermann, M.D. of Spruce St., Philadelphia. Hermann kept the property for ten years and in 1865 he tried to sell the farm by auction at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.
15, 1865 Chester, Pennsylvania (Delaware County) DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN
Real Estate, CALCON HOOK (NETHERMARK) FARM AT PUBLIC SALE - will be sold at
the Philadelphia Exchange, on TUESDAY, the 25th of APRIL, 1865, at twelve
oıclock, noon, by Thomas & Sons, Auctioneers, all that TRACT OF LAND, known
as Nethermark Farmı, containing 176 ACRES, situate in Darby Township, Delaware
County, Pa., five miles from Chester, two and a half from Darby, nine miles
by the present roads from Philadelphia State House, bounded on the South by
the Darby creek, twenty feet channel, and tide rise of 6 to 8 feet, and cut
by the Calcon Hook Road, into two distinct portions: NORTHERN PORTION: - 14
ACRES, more or less; woodland, intersected by the Muckinipatus creek, private
residence or a public institution - old trees are yet standing there four
feet in diameter. SOUTHERN PORTION: 132 ACRES, more or less, lies, in one
body, to the sun, gently rolling down to the Darby and Muckinipatus creeks,
loamy, kind soil, well watered, clear of rocks and stumps. BUILDINGS: - Mansion
house on the height, 40 by 60 feet above high water, and sheded by overtopping
forest trees, is 40 by 42, brick paved with 11 feet piazza on front and side,
with back building of brick, 16 by 24, deep cellar under the whole, never
failing well in rear cellar, and underground rain water cistern back, workshop,
wood and smoke house, ice house filled, summer and winter milk house, stone
tenant house, stone barn 44 by 32, with stone (16 by 40) horse stable and
hay lofts, sheds, crib, and two smaller new frame barns, 20 by 30. This well-known
farm has been for 60 years in one familyıs possession, high, healthy, and
enjoying a beautiful view on the Delaware River, whence in the hottest of
summer days arrives to it a sea breeze, is remote from the dusty Chester Pike,
and tramperıs path. It is stocked with small fruit, a half acre asparagus
bed, an orchard of peaches in bearing, choice pears, apples, quinces, and
cherries. It is known as dairying or raising cattle, and accessible at all
times by good roads. A wharf on the Muckinpates creek, renders easy the shipping
landing of goods, manures, wood, lime, coal, and the vicinity of water furnishes,
at all times, fish and the pleasures of bath and boating. To capitalists and
manufacturers this tract, in the almost immediate vicinity of Philadelphia,
easy of access of land and water, and with water facilities and healthiness,
unsurpassed, could with the springs on it, and the water drawn from the Darby
creek by the simple rise and fall of the tide itself, be converted into one
of the most advantageous, healthy, cheap and magnificent manufacturing properties
in the United States; or changed, by partition, into a delightful settlement
with a handsome park, and water advantages near at hand. CHARLES HEERMANN,
M.D., No. 906 Spruce Street, Philadelphia."
(From the Delaware County Republican, April 15, 1865)
Unable to get his asking price, Heermann, who was moving to Baltimore, left his farm in the care of a Daniel Lammot Jr. of Wilmington, Delaware "lease or sell the farm" as Lammot saw fit.
In early December, 1873, Lamont sold the farm for $26,600 dollars to Isaac Gerhardt, Mordecai Sheldrake and William L. Sharp, all from Philadelphia, and William Serrill from Darby. Gerhardt, Serrill and Sharp were lawyers and Sheldrake listed his occupation as a farmer. But Sheldrake was apparently no ordinary farmer since he paid the $28,600 dollars in cash. Unfortunately, no further information about the mysterious Sheldrake or his activities has been found as yet.
The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad was putting a new railroad line between Darby and Chester. Called "The Darby Improvement", the new line replaced the line which ran by the Delaware River. William Serrill (1822-1899) is the best documented of the four men in local historical records. Serrill worked for the PWB Railroad as a purchaser of right of way and station property for the new "Darby Improvement". Serrill, a life-long resident of Darby Borough, saw a golden opportunity in the "Calcon Hook Farm". After buying the farm with Gerhardt, Sheldrake and Sharp, the four partners formed the Glenolden Land Association just a few days after the purchase.
On December 10, 1873, Serrill and his three associates sold the property to themselves as stockholders of the Glenolden Land Association for $180,000 dollars. After recouping his original investment of $26,600, Sheldrake dropped out of the Land Association and was replaced by newcomer Sidney T. Fuller. Fuller was a Massachusetts native and worked as the head civil engineer of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad.
Originally the Calcon Hook Farm did not go North of the Muckinipatus Creek. Four members of the GLA, Serrill, Gerhardt, Sharp and Fuller literally purchased the unit block of Glenolden Avenue for themselves. They divided the property up equally among themselves. This one block, purchased from the Marshall Family, gave access to the Railroad Station and picnic grounds from Chester Pike. The GLA reserved property for stationmaster Joseph Fairlamb and George Cross. Cross, a Philadelphia lawyer with an office on Walnut Street, was probably a personal friend of the other members of the GLA. He bought the property in 1882 and became the townıs first mayor.
Along with the rest of the Glenolden Land Association, Fuller worked out an agreement with the PWB Railroad. The agreement, made March 1, 1874, had the railroad build and maintain a railroad station along with maintaining and caring for the grounds. Under the agreement, GLA members were allowed transportation of building materials free for 5 years and also were given free yearly railroad passes.
For example, if a GLA member built a two thousand dollar house, he received two free tickets good for one year; for a three thousand dollar house, he received three free tickets for up to ten years.
In return, the PWB Railroad received the use of the "Calcon Hook Farm" which by 1875 had become the Glenolden Picnic Grounds. The railroad built a wooden walkway through the woods plus a pavilion in the center of the grounds. The Muckinpates Creek was dammed and a lake was created for boating. A baseball field was created and a small photography studio was built to take visitorsı souvenir photos. Thomas P. Copeıs summer home was used for parties and other social events. The picnic grounds were in use from 1875 to about 1890.
The above map gives a good idea of how the picnic grounds looked in 1875, showing todayıs cross streets. The map is based on written descriptions and one map in a railroad guidebook. The circles indicate the beech trees and the wooden pavilion and boardwalk are marked, along with the baseball field and lake.
next station below Sharon Hill is Glenolden, about eight miles from Broad
Street Depot. Here are located the well-known picnic and excursion grounds
of the Rail Road Company, containing sixty acres. These grounds are charming
in aspect, and contain all the natural beauties combined in wood, lake, glen
and valley, that were ever known. These is a large covered platform centered
for playing or dancing or in which the excursionists can seek shelter during
a storm. There are ample grounds for ball and croquet playing, and a beautiful
lake, with boats, nearby as a means of giving the young all the requisites
necessary for a day of social recreation and enjoyment. The Company tender
these grounds free to all who desire to use them. They are very popular with
the different Sunday-schools and societies of Philadelphia, and are occupied
almost every day in June and July by hundreds of people who have ran away,
for a time, from the city heat and dust.
(Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Guidebook - 1875)
The Glenolden Railroad Station about 1905, shortly after the grade crossing was eliminated in 1901. The station was built in 1873 and torn down in the 1980ıs.
The GLA also bought what is no the unit block of East Glenolden Ave. between Chester Pike and the railroad. This section was purchased from the Marshall family in order to give access to Chester Pike from the farm.
In 1874 Glenolden Avenue was the first street to be opened in the borough for residential development. The four members of the GLA, Fuller, Sharp, Serrill and Gerhardt, each took a quarter of the street for themselves. None of the four partners ever lived in Glenolden but they all built houses which they rented to summer vacationers and later sold.
"In 1883 when we bought on Glenolden Avenue opposite the station, there were just three houses on the street. Nichols Fairlamb, the station agent, lived next to the station. Next to him was Thomas J. Flaherty, restorer of paintings, and artist of local Glenolden paintings. The small brick house we bought next to the railroad across from the station was originally built by the railroad for the station master Nicholas Fairlamb. Fairlamb didnıt like the house & later built his own next to the station.
There were no crossing gates at first, but after several cows got run over, agates were added. There were different gate tenders. The best was an old Irishman "Poppy" Bell.
Everyone kept a cow & horse in those days, and it was quite usual to get up in the morning & see a number of horses & cows in your front yard, other than your own. Some, if they owned no cow, would take care of their neighbors for a share of the milk. Boys would try to go down in your cellar & skim the cream. It was quite a temptation. Everyone grew & kept fruit then & shared with their neighbors.
weather, mud was everywhere. Chester Pike was a dirt road with stone down
the center. One night my wife got stuck in the mud going to church.
(Interview with George K. Cross, Glenoldenıs First Mayor)
(Cross was a lawyer with an office on Walnut Street)
In October 1889, the GLA reached an agreement with the newly formed Commonwealth Title and Trust Company. The picnic grounds were divided into streets and building lots and the Trust Company was pit in charge of sales. After taxes and expenses, the profits were to go to the GLA members.
Before 1889, however, the GLA had tried developing the area itself and had built one house which they were unable to sell.
"When I first came to Glenolden in 1890 there was only one house (125 E. Glenolden Avenue) in what is now The Manor. The house had been long empty and I checked with Mr. J. W. Meckert who named a value. I bought the house and surrounding property and used it as a summer home before I converted it to all around year use.
When I moved into the manor, Glenolden Avenue was a rough clay road that crossed the railroad tracks at grade. Glenolden Avenue then descended to the stream. Across the stream Glenolden Avenue didnıt go up the hill till about 1895. Then (1889) Glenolden Avenue went left through my lower gate through the woods, following the path of the old picnic ground.
Avenue & Elmwood Avenue were there then but they were just dirt paths. If
we would go from Glenolden Avenue toward Ridgewayıs Mill, we would come to
a rail fence in line with the present Inskeep Avenue, that divided the GLA
land from Ridgewayıs Farm. There was a turnstile in the fence to allow passage
then down the hill where violets grew and across the creek on a bridge made
of a big log, flat on top.
(Interview with Edward Bonsall (1859-1933) about 1930.
Bonsall was Glenoldenıs third mayor and was a banker and lawyer
In 1903, Philadelphia realtor John F. Deal took over the Glenolden Land Association property and started the building boom which would result in what is today known as The Manor.
This view was hard to identify, it was taken of the Manor section about 1907, showing what is now the 400 block of Elmwood Avenue. This photo shows 406 Elmwood Avenue on the left and in the center behind the tree is 404. The house on the far right is 401 Elmwood Avenue. This photo was taken from the area of Sharp Avenue and Chestnut Street.
Elmwood Avenue in "The Manor" taken June 1991. This postcard is of the 600 block of Elmwood Avenue looking from Serrill Avenue toward South Avenue.
Glenolden in 1886 only consisted of one and one-half streets. Glenolden Avenue and Marshall Avenue (now Knowles). None of the GLA members lived in Glenolden but they built houses which they rented and later sold. In December 1877, Samuel L. Urian bought the even side of todayıs Knowles Avenue for $800.00 dollars, from James Marshall. Naming the street Marshall Avenue he built and rented homes and also sold them. These two streets pictured above were the only ones existing in 1886.
The 100 block of East Glenolden Avenue about 1908. The house on the right (Beechhurst) 125 Glenolden Avenue was owned by lawyer Edward Bonsall. Bonsall was the town Mayor from 1919-1922 and at one time owned 30-acres surrounding the house.
Sharp and Inskeep Avenues about 1925 showing 400 South Sharp Avenue.
Sharp Avenue was named for Philadelphia lawyer William Sharp.
Glenolden Avenue and Elmwood Avenue about 1910. The house on the right still stands and is 210 Glenolden Avenue.
Life in early Glenolden was hard. After buying a lot, new residents had to design and then build their own homes. Outhouses and septic tanks were used and residents had to dig wells for water and build a running water system for their home. Many early homes were built for summer use only and had no heating. Two of these homes were those of lawyer Edward Bonsall at 100 East Glenolden Avenue and Colonel William Goode, a Philadelphia undertaker, at 6 South Llanwellyn Avenue. Early borough homes were usually lit by oil.
Glenolden in 1893 the year before its incorporation. This map shows all the streets and homes that were developed up to that time, the rest of the town was still farm land. Both the developments of Dalmas and Llanwellyn can be seen. Several streets shown here, Levis and Brebant were never officially opened.
By 1894, the townıs population had reached approximately 60 homes, a large enough population for the town to decide to become a separate borough. On November 14, 1894, Glenolden Borough officially came into being when its charter was granted by the Delaware County Court. The first borough election was held on Tuesday, December 11, 1894.
The first election for borough officers of the newly charted borough of Glenolden was held yesterday, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The polling place was in Harpıs wheelwright shop, which is commodious, and had been made comfortable for the occasion and it was a scene of activity all day.
There are about 100 voters in the borough, and by noon over 100 of them had cast their votes. Many of the residents are Philadelphia business men, and othersı avocations lead them a good distance from home, so that nearly all of this class recorded their votes early before leaving for business.
There were two tickets in the field, viz: Republican and Citizens, and though each active politician had his favorite candidate, it was conceded, pretty generally, that good officers were bound to be elected anyhow.
As usual, the chief interest chartered in the election of a Burgess, or as the politicians put it, "Head of the ticket". The fight had become so warm, that on Monday evening an election bet of $100, was made between H.J. Scott and Charles McBride, the latter betting on Cross, and the former on Williams, for Burgess.
During the voting there was some good repartee indulged in by several of the politicians. H.J. Scott seemed to have a monopoly of the floor, and he tried hard to "roast" George K. Cross, the Republican candidate for Burgess, because, as Scott said, he had called a "snap caucus". Among other discussion, the question of priority was touched on, and Mr. Cross told his interrogator that he was born at Glenolden. Then the laugh was on Mr. Williams because he was not born at Glenolden, and so the good-natured talk flowed on. It was thought that the vote would be counted by 9 oıclock at any rate, but 11 oıclock was reached and being in favor of one and then the other. When it became known eventually, however, that George K. Cross was the winner, the people cheered and the Junior Mechanicsı Drum Corps played a lively air. After the vote was fully announced, the band and a number of citizens escorted Mr. Cross to his pretty home, where he made a short speech and was again cheered with ringing hurrahs.
were 156 votes polled, being nearly the full compliment of voters. For Burgess,
George K. Cross polled 81 votes, and his opponent, Robert J. Williams, 72
votes, the former thus being a winner by 9 votes.
(From the Chester Times, December 12, 1894)
The borough council first met on Wednesday, December 11 and would meet weekly until the borough was up and running. The first borough ordinance was to pass a tax rate of 5 mills for 1895.
Glenolden Borough Council met last evening in Council Chambers, in LaRueıs Hall, with a full attendance. The new clerk, W.C. Rodgers, was present and discharged his duties with ability.
An offer from the Llanwellyn Land Association to sell a number of street lamps to Council was received and filed, with instructions, when the committees are appointed.
Coxe reported for the committee on seal, and advised that a plain seal be
procured for the borough at a cost of about $4.50. The committee was instructed
to make the purchase.
(From the Chester Times, December 27, 1894)
Bonsall Avenue just off Ashland Avenue looking toward Cooke Avenue about 1923. Henry J. Scott built these twin homes and later sold them.
H. K. Mulford
H. K. Mulford Company about 1900. This photograph is probably of the Research staff. The only person identified is Dr. William F. Elgin (1861-1938), the bearded man just right of center. Elgin, a graduate of the University of Maryland, lived at 20 Glenolden Avenue. He supervised the building of H.K. Mulford in 1897 and 98. Elgin was a pioneer in smallpox vaccine development and was director of research for both H.K. Mulford and Sharpe and Dome.
Originally a New York firm with another office in Chicago, the H.K. Mulford company opened their "Manufacturing Chemists" in 1891 in a Philadelphia office at Market and Eighteenth Streets. Besides marketing medicines, the firm also made liquors & wines.
About 1894 the company moved to the William F. Simes drugstore at 412-420 South Street, Philadelphia. The Simes drugstore was said to be the oldest drugstore in the United States. H.K. Mulford became the first company in the United States to commercially provide the diphtheria antitoxin.
The company soon needed more room for expansion and in 1897 bought thirty acres of land Simes owned in Glenolden. By mid-1898 the H.K. Mulford Company was operating in Glenolden. The firm added part of Ridgeway Farm and a large part of the Glenolden Farm to their holdings which by now totaled over 200 acres. The majority of the firmıs property was in todayıs Folcroft borough and was used as grazing land for their numerous farm animals. The horses and cows were needed to produce the smallpox and diphtheria toxins and serums. The 200 acres would eventually contain 52 buildings.
By 1898, H.K. Mulford Company introduced a smallpox vaccine which was ready to be used in their patented syringe. The company also grew acres of plants used in medical research and some say that marijuana and morphine were grown on the farm for these purposes.
Women employees of H.K. Mulford advertising some of the company products about 1920.
By 1920, H.K. Mulford employed about 1000 people, an amazing figure considering that Glenoldenıs census for the same year was only about 1,944 residents. The firm was so busy that many Glenolden residents took employees in as boarders. Later during the 1920ıs, various builders seized the opportunity and created a home building boom by erecting hundreds of new homes to meet the housing demand.
In 1929 the Maryland firm of Sharpe & Dohme bought out H.K. Mulford and incorporated under the name of Sharpe & Dohme Inc. The company continued the original work in medical research and experimentation and made many important medical discoveries now in general use.
H.K. Mulford is remembered as a good neighbor to Glenolden. The company supported various borough organizations including the Fire Company. It helped sponsor borough picnics and the 4th of July celebration which was sometimes held on their grounds.
During World War II, Sharpe & Dohme Inc. was the first pharmaceutical company to produce dried blood plasma for the Armed Forces. When the demand for the plasma became greater than Sharpe & Dohme could handle, they gave other pharmaceutical firms their technique for making the dried plasma and charged them nothing for the information.
Sharpe & Dohme also supplied influenza vaccine to the Armed Forces.
After the war, Sharpe & Dohme concentrated on animal health and nutrition and discovered thibenzole, a product which de-worms livestock.
In 1953, Sharpe & Dohme merged with Merck & Co. to form Merck, Sharpe & Dohme. With this merger, the company began to sell off their land holdings in the area. By 1957, Merck, Sharpe & Dohme had sold most of their property in Glenolden and moved to West Point, Pa. The remaining property was bought by the Allied Chemical & Dye Co. whose Barrett Division worked on the development of coal and tar products.
During this time, the original H.K. Mulford Company buildings were torn down and the California Apartments built on their site. In 1962, Allied Chemical & Dye Co. sold the remaining property to ARCO Chemical which built the present building at 500 South Ridgeway Avenue for petro-chemical research in 1973. In 1981, the Ridgeway Avenue building was bought for use as a research facility by the DuPont Co.
view of Sharpe and Dohme about 1947.
The view is looking south toward Elmwood and Sharpe Avenues.
Toll Gate #5 (shown in photo on the right) at todayıs Oak Lane and Chester Pike about 1920. Chester Pike was a toll road from the 1850ıs until 1921 when the state bought the Road. The house in the background was built by Thomas Glascoe, a tailor in the 1830ıs. The house was torn down when Oak Lane was opened from Chester Pike through Folcroft in the mid-1920ıs.
Before Glenolden became a borough in 1894, students had two public school options. The school district of Darby Township had the "Southern" School on Calcon Hook Road close to Ashland Avenue & the "Western" school on Oak Avenue at Chester Pike. Built in the 1830ıs, the "Western" school was mostly used by Glenolden students. Originally built as a one room brick school, it was replaced by the current building in 1875. Today the "Western" school at 61 Oak Lane, Folcroft, is a day care center.
George Miller attended the one room "Western" school house in the 1860ıs.
Glascoe house was across Chester Pike back of Toll Gate #5. Two children were
sent to the house to get water for the school. They went gladly, because there
was a Catherine Pear Tree at the gate. However, they did not take any pears
unbidden, for the teacher would be told and he would go to the back of school,
and cut some willow saplings. Two boys cut wood for school everyday and a
boy and girl swept it out every night. It was unusual for any young man 21
years old who was not busy in the winter season to spend a few weeks at school."
(George Miller, c. 1920 - Delaware County Historical Society Proceedings, Published 1931)
At least two private schools also operated in Glenolden in its early days. The first school in the area was a kindergarten opened in 1885. This kindergarten was operated out of the home of stationmaster Joseph Fairlamb at #28 Glenolden Avenue. The school ran for two years until 1887 and was supervised by teacher Ella Knowles.
The other school was the Coxe-Wilson School with a program of elementary school caliber. The school was run by the William Wilson Family in their home at 324 South Scott Avenue. Both which included about twenty students. The school operated from about 1890 to 1900, when the Wilson Family left the borough.
After Glenoldenıs incorporation in 1894, a school board was formed. By May, 1895, the school board bought property from John W. Marshall to build their own borough school. Work began immediately and the cornerstone was laid on Thursday, June 20, 1895. A bible and program were placed in the cornerstone and the ceremony ran for several hours.
hundreds of people attended the laying of the cornerstone last evening. The
program was a brilliant success and electric lights illuminated the scene.
At the close about midnight, a fireworks display was given."
(From the Chester Times, June 21, 1895)
The school opened in September, 1895.
annoying fact became known at the recent entertain- ment given in the newly-erected
public school house, viz: That the passage was much too low to admit of the
taking in of a piano. Consequently, a small organ had to do duty, and there
was some adverse criticism on the planmaker, and also on the School Board
of not seeing the defect while the building was in process of erection."
(From the Chester Times, March 3, 1896)
School (c. 1907)
(Glenolden School) "When I went there (c. 1908) there was no indoor plumbing but there were outhouses at the rear of the school. During recess boys and girls didnıt play together, there was separate fenced-off areas for both. There were just four classrooms, two up and two down with two grades in each class. Students usually went to Darby High School in those days to graduate.
(Personal interview; with Howard Davis, 1986)
Beatrice Adelaide Platt
Elsie Faulkner MacCabe
Florence Natalie Fairlamb
Marguerite Grace MacAlister
Charlotte Adelaide Peterman
Robert Warren McKee
BOARD OF EDUCATION
George K. Cross, President
Harry W. Kneedler, Sec'y
Paul W. Thayer, Treasurer
John W. Marshall
W.E. Barrett, President
F.H. Roberts, Sec'y
Paul W. Thayer, Treasurer
Harry W. Kneedler
John W. Marshall
Elizabeth T. Wolfe
Edna D. Anderson
Helen D. Ziegler
Alice M. Taylor, Supply
Selection - Traumerei Christine C. Morley
Song - Auf Wiedersehın - Rosetere
Invocation David Winters, D.D.
Address of Welcome Rev. George R. Lockwood
Song - "A Rose Fable" C.B. Hawley
Salutatory Robert W. McKee
Piano Solo - "The Dance of the Brownies" Marion Hutton
- "The Brownies of Cologne" by Charlotte A. Peterman
Song - "All the Birds Are Singing" Steele By the Class
Ivy Oration - "The Planiting of the Ivy" Beatrice A. Platt
Piano Solo - "Les Joyeux Papillons" Alice I. Deputy
Artistic Compliments Marguerite G. MacAlister
Piano Duet - Le Carillon - Polka Brillante Alice I. Deputy, Marion Hutton
Class Motto - "Gradation" Florence N. Fairlamb
Vocal Solo - "Sour Grapes" Weatherly M. Louisa Porch
"Edgar Allan Poe" Elsie F. MacCabe
Song - Dio Possente from Faust - Ground
Valedictory Alice I. Deputy
Address County Superintendent A.G.C. Smith
Song - "Life" Jacques Blementhal
Presentation of Diplomas By the Principal
Song - "Torreador, Hola" H. Troetere
Benediction Rev.George R. Lockwood
Soloist: Morris H. Ware, Barritone
Pianist: Elsie M. Deputy
Copy of Graduation program for Class of 1904
Many local communities had accredited high schools at this time and the Glenolden School District did have a high school for at least one year in 1904. The Glenolden High School Class of 1904 graduated 8 students, seven of them women. An addition was added to the original school on Logan Avenue about 1912 which doubled the classroom size to eight.
Boon Avenue School
A separate building was built on Boon Avenue in 1927 to accommodate the overflow from Logan Avenue. This building became the Glenolden Borough offices in 1970.
After World War I, Glenolden decided to build its own high school. After several ideas and plans fell through, both Norwood and Glenolden boroughs agreed to work together to build a high school to be called "Glen-Nor".
Glen-Nor High School
Combined high school and junior high school, declared by all who have seen
it, one of the most beautiful school buildings in this section of the State,
and the pride of the residents of Norwood and Glenolden, was formally dedicated
last night with interesting exercises. An audience numbering in the neighborhood
of five hundred residents of the two boroughs was present to participate in
the exercises and to inspect the building at the close of the ceremonies.
The master of ceremonies was Frank H. Roberts, of Glenolden, president of
the joint school boards of Norwood and Glenolden. Probably the most interesting
feature of the ceremonies was the presentation of a large number of beautiful
gifts to the school, including two pianos, a United States flag, bible, victorola
and numerous other gifts. They were received on behalf of the school by President
(From the Chester Times, June 1, 1923)
In 1956, Glen-Nor High School merged with Prospect Park High School to form the Interboro School District. Prospect Park High School became the Junior High while Glen-Nor became the first Interboro High School.
The age of the Logan Avenue school, and overcrowding led Glenolden to build a new, four-classroom school at Knowles Avenue and MacDade beginning in 1961. Years later eighteen classrooms were added. The school was dedicated on Sunday, November 30, 1969.
"Formal dedication and cornerstone laying ceremonies for the newly enlarged Glenolden Elementary School, MacDade Blvd. and Knowles Avenue, will begin Sunday at 2 p.m. at the school.
Schools Superintendent Dr. Bradley Bishop, school board President David Connery
and Principal Francis Piccone will speak. Gerald Busch will represent architects
Everett Associates, Allentown. A symbolic key to the building will be accepted
for the people of the borough by Home and School Association (HAS) President
William Schwartz; for the faculty by Mrs. Lynette Chestnut and for the students
by Bonnie Brittingham. Representatives of each grade and the school board
will join Mrs. Margaret Donovan, HAS vice president and teacher representative
Phyllis English in placing items in the new cornerstone."
(From the Chester Times, November 29, 1969)
The Logan Avenue School was sold in 1970 and is now the Logan Apartments.
First Chief Robert Enderle (1892-1961) shown To the right in photo taken about 1928. Enderle Served on the force from 1922 to 1929, and became Chief in 1927. He gave up the horse and got a Motorcycle. He suffered a serious accident and Resigned from the force on December 7, 1929. He Worked for Sharpe and Dohme after he recovered from his injuries.
The Glenolden Police came into existence in 1895 and the members were originally elected as constables. The first constable elected was Harry Urian. Their main duty was to keep the oil lamps on borough streets lit and in good repair. The constables usually worked from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. six days a week turning oil lamps on and off and keeping them filled. There was no crime in Glenoldenıs early days except for occasional burglaries.
By 1920 the police force consisted of a chief and several patrolmen who at that time patrolled the borough on foot. One of those patrolmen was Blair McGovern, who was appointed a Glenolden police officer by borough council in March, 1922. He lived with his pregnant wife in an apartment at the Glenolden Fire House.
McGovern was scheduled to work the midnight shift on May 11, 1922. Shortly before midnight on May 10, he left his apartment and walked east on Chester Pike to Cooke Avenue where he stopped to talk to two friends, Bill McCarter and Lewis Ulean.
McGovern talked to both men for a few minutes until it was almost midnight. A car drove eat of Chester Pike and stopped at Lamont Avenue and sat for several minutes. McGovern told McCarter and Ulean the car must have broken down so he walked over to see what was wrong. As Blair McGovern neared the car, a man on the carıs running board pulled a gun and fired 5 shots at him. One shot struck McGovern in the chest and he fell dying, to the ground. The car sped away toward Darby, and McCarter and Ulean ran to McGovern and flagged down a passing car, which took McGovern to Taylor Hospital where he died shortly after arrival.
Although several people were questioned in Blair McGovernıs death, no one was ever charged.
After the murder, rumors started spreading throughout Glenolden that Blair McGovern wasnıt the officerıs real name and that he had been killed over gambling debts. It took several months for county detectives to unravel McGovernıs past.
It turned out that McGovernıs real name was Grover M. Blosser. Blosser had been born in York County, Pennsylvania and had later lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. He served in the World War I and married in Nebraska but left his wife and came east. Blosser worked in the Philadelphia area and left a trail of unpaid bills at various places. Blosser came to Glenolden in 1921 using the name of Blair McGovern. His pregnant wife, gallantly unnamed in the press, wasnıt his wife at all. She was married to another man and had left him for McGovern. Blosser (or McGovern).
John MacVeigh (1892-1964)
John joined the police department in 1926 and became chief in 1931.
Known by many generations of Glenolden children as "Johnny the Cop", MacVeigh was Chief was 33 years.
At the end of a school year, Chief MacVeigh was Known for giving each child that passed a bright new shiny penny. Children would go up to his post on Chester Pike to get their pennies. The photo to the left was taken in 1938 on South Wells Avenue.
Almost 50 years after the death of McGovern, the boroughıs police chief was murdered in a robbery attempt. The chief,, 45 year old Robert G. Sparks of Llanwellyn Avenue, stopped at Mirmanıs Pharmacy at Chester Pike and Glenolden Avenue. He was with officer Gerry Quinn who was Picking up a prescription at the pharmacy. As the men left the pharmacy and got into their car, two youths approached them. They youths evidently thought Sparks and Quinn were local businessmen about to make a night deposit.
One of the robbers pointed a gun at Quinn who was already in the car and ordered him out of the car. Quinn got out, pulled his own gun and identified himself as a police officer. The robber ran east of Glenolden Avenue and Quinn chased him on foot, firing several shots. Quinn heard Sparks calling him and returned to the car to find Sparks had been fatally shot by the second robber. Both robbers were caught the next day and were convicted and sent to jail.
Today the Glenolden Police department consists of a chief, a sergeant and 6 patrolmen.
Todayıs Police Force
(left to right) Patrolman Shawn Kennedy, Patrolman James Bramhall, Patrolman Michael Donohue, Patrolman Jay Kelly, Patrolman Gerry Quinn, Sgt. Charles Kokol, Patrolman Francis Hogan and Chief Edward Cooke.
Glenolden Fire Co. #1
A fire on Friday, February 3, 1905 marked the beginning of the Glenolden Fire Company. The fire started in the one story frame home of Morris Collins at Ashland Avenue and Chester Pike. An overheated stove set the roof on fire and Norwood Fire Company #1 was called. When Norwood Fire Company arrived, they were shocked to find Glenolden had no fireplugs. Helped by borough residents, the firemen put the roof fire out by throwing snow on it.
After several months of discussions to organize a Glenolden Fire Company, the first meeting was held on Tuesday, May 23, 1905 at Williams Hall. The meeting was chaired by then Mayor Emil Laurent who also owned a candy store on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Laurent was named president and C.A. Rodermouth the companyıs first Fire Chief.
By November, by-laws had been adopted and the fire company asked the borough to place fire hydrants throughout the borough. Due to the lack of additional equipment, a bucket brigade was first formed.
In May, 1906, a hand-pulled hose cart was purchased for $371. The cart came with 700 feet of hose, two nozzles and a Siamese which is 2 hoses in one. The equipment was kept in Albert Laurentıs stable at Logan Avenue.
On July 5, 1906, the Glenolden Fire Company was chartered. In March, 1907, the hose cart was moved to Brooks and LaRueıs Butcher Shop at Glenolden Avenue and Chester Pike, because the butcher shop had delivery horses that were available to pull the fire equipment.
By early 1910, enough money had been saved to purchase property at Logan Avenue and Chester Pike, although originally the fire company had planned to build at Ashland Avenue and Chester Pike. The organization of the Fire Companyıs Ladies Auxiliary in July helped to make the firehouse possible. They held a country fair on August 4, 5 and 6 with the firemen.
Ground was broken on September 1, 1910, and the firehouse was built in just a little over three months. After a final inspection by fire company members, the keys to the new firehouse were turned over in early January, 1911. No special dedication services were held. The first use of the firehouse bell was ringing in the New Year in 1912.
The original firehouse built in 1911, photo taken about 1925.
members of the Glenolden Fire Company are making active preparations for the
conventions and parade of the Delaware County Firemenıs Association, which
will be held in Wayne, Pa., on Friday and Saturday of next week. The members
who will attend have all reported the same to the companyıs chief and uniforms
have been secured for such as do not have them. These uniforms will all be
placed in first class condition before the time for leaving arrives, and with
the apparatus newly painted and all brass work shining like gold, the company
will present an attractive appearance. The fire apparatus is being repainted
by John Ziekel."
(From the Chester Times, June 2, 1911)
William J. Shettsline
From 1911 to 1918, William J. Shettsline was president of the Fire Company. During the same time, Shettsline, who lived on Chester Pike, was president of the Philadelphia Phillies Baseball Team. Shettsline often gave free tickets to fire company members and some members served as ushers during Phillies home games.
In 1914, a simplex touring car was bought and converted into a combination hose and pumper. Using a Hale pumper made in Wayne, Pa., the "car" could pump 500 gallons per minute.
On January 3, 1928, the fire company suffered its only loss of a member in the line of duty. The member was Chief Walter Capstick (1883-1928). Born in England, his family came to America and settled in Glenolden in 1900. Capstick served in the Royal Air Force during World War I but returned to Glenolden after the war. He went to work at H.K. Mulford Company and by 1924, was promoted to master mechanic.
Glenolden firemen about 1914. From left to right: Sam Custer, driver; Howard McCarter, Chief; Bill Brooks, unknown, Bill Sparks on hose bed, unknown and unknown.
Capstick was active in the fire company for several years and borough council appointed him Fire Chief on Monday, January 2, 1928.
The very next day at 6:30 p.m., the fire alarm went off. Capstick rushed from his house at 101 Glen Avenue and ran up Knowles Avenue. Halfway up the block, he collapsed of a heart attack. The alarm was the first one to occur since he became chief and sadly the alarm was a false one.
Capstickıs son Eugene and his family still reside at 101 Glen Avenue.
By the early 1950ıs, the original firehouse had grown too small and a $100,00 dollar bond issue was floated for the present firehouse which opened in 1953.
Walter Capstick outside his home at 101 Glen Avenue about 1927.
Todayıs Fire Company
Front Row: J. Deeney, E. Patterson, S. Rapp, J. Neilson, J. Murray, R. Worrell, H. Johnson, P. Gaffney, C. Engle, K.M. Gaffney. Back Row: B. Hannan, E. Oxner, K. Driscoll, R. Murray, M. Andrel, T. Lamb, A. Marsalo, D. Paugh, S. Karolyi, Kauffman, G. McGettigan, B. Parker, G. Slater.
Cornerstone laying for the Glenolden Library on November 1, 1939
Sunday school teacher J. Duncan Brooks came up with the idea for the Glenolden Library in May, 1891.
Originally called "The Reading Association of Glenolden", the group met in a small stone building that stood at Ashland Avenue and Chester Pike. Numerous fund raisers were held, but while money was allocated for a permanent library building, nothing ever came out of that early effort.
The Library Association became dormant after 1900, but the money still remained. The newly organized Glenolden Fire Company tried to get the libraryıs money, which by then amounted to $2,298. 34. The Fire Company wanted the money to build a combination firehouse and library. The Library Association met again for the first time in six years and turned down the firemenıs request. The Association continued to meet through 1911 and then no meetings were held till 1917. These meetings accomplished little and no further action was taken on creating a library until 1937.
That year, Mrs. Homer G. White of the Glenolden Womanıs Club proposed sponsoring a new library. Borough Council agreed to rent space and appointed the First Library Club. Sponsored by the Womanıs Club, the effort to create a new library was finally on a firm footing and the library opened on April 5, 1938 with over 2,500 books on its shelves.
Womanıs Club Sponsors New Project
Nearly two hundred persons gathered in the Boon Avenue School on Tuesday evening for the formal opening of the Glenolden New Public Library. The auditorium was decorated with spring flowers by members of the Womanıs Club, sponsors of the new project, while neighboring florists sent potted plants and bouquets of cut flowers as gifts.
Mrs. W. Robert Baker, chairman of the library board, announced the program, which opened with singing by the assemblage under the leadership of Mrs. Thomas Wolf, chairman of the music and drama department of the club.
Paul Brogan greeted the audience, and spoke of the necessity of libraries,
and the benefit that can be derived from it being used by the many residents
(From the Chester Times, April 6, 1938)
Glenolden Library about 1950
The library was overcrowded from the start and plans began to form for a permanent, more spacious home. No one knew what had happened to the original building fund money, and representatives of the Womanıs Club visited Mrs. G. Howard Lundy in New Jersey. Lundy, the former Mary P. Ridgeway, was one of the last original pioneers still living from 1891. Lundy still had the building fund money, now totaling $5,721.46, in a savings account which she turned over to the borough to erect a permanent library.
The cornerstone laid in November, 1939, and the new library erected with help from the Federal Work Projects Administration.
The Glenolden Library was dedicated and formally opened May11, 1940. Mrs. Robert Baker gave the dedication speech and the Glen-Nor High School and American Legion Bands took part in the celebration.
The Glenolden Public Library
Knowles and Llanwellyn Avenues
will be formally opened on
Saturday, May 14th, 1940
open for inspection from 1:30 till 9 P.M.
Flag Raising Exercises at 2 P.M.
The Public is cordially invited
Todayıs Library Board
Board Members (left to right)
Daniel Mahoney, Gail Hassel, (in center) Ruth Ewing, Jacqueline Boggs and Thomas Coleman
The Fourth of July Association
No one knows when Glenolden held its first official Fourth of July celebration. By the 1890ıs, however, a Fourth of July Association had been started. The program below shows that by 1896 the association was very well organized.
Delaware County, Pa.
Pa., June 16th, 1896
4th of July Celebration Glenolden Borough
at Public School by American Mechanics
Bicycle and other races and sports
Music all day
Game baseball in the afternoon
To be concluded
by fine display of Fireworks in the Evening on the
Llanwellyn A. A. Grounds at Llanwellyn, access by P.W. &
B.R.R.; B. & O.R.R.; and Philadıa and Chester Trolley.
Refreshments on the grounds, come and have a good time, if you have not subscribed, do so and help the Committee. Subscriptions received by the following gentlemen: L.L. Harp, R.J. Williams, J.H. Thompson, Wm. North, Benjamin Fellows, Lawrence Coxe, A.W. Anderson, J.H. Fairlamb, E. Laurent.
You are earnestly requested to enter in the following events scheduled by the Sports Committee.
Entries can be made to any of the Sports Committee.
H. W. Kneedler
Event No. 1 - _ mile Bicycle Race for Boys, 14 years and under. Glenolden Borough residents only. Entrance fee, 10 cts., Entries close July 1st, 1896.
Event No. 2 - 200 yd. Dash, open to all
Event No. 3 - 1 mile open: Bicycle. Glenolden Borough residents only. Entrance fee, 25cts. Entries close July 1st, 1896.
Event No. 4 - 100 yd. Dash for Boys, 14 years and under.
Event No. 5 - 1 mile open. Bicycle. Amateur riders only. Entrance fee, 25cts. Entries close June 26th, 1896.
Event No. 6 - 100 yard Hoop Race, open to all.
Event No. 7 - Potato Race, open to all.
Event No. 8 - Wheel Barrow Race, open to all.
Event No. 9 - Sack Race, open to all.
Event No. 10 - Three Leg Race, open to all.
Event No. 11 - Hop, Skip and Jump, open to all.
Event No. 12 - Standing Jump, open to all.
Event No. 13 - Running Jump, open to all.
Event No. 14 - Fire Carriage Race, _ mile 12 men, open to all.
Event No. 15 - Game of Base Ball.
There will be prizes for all events.
With the population then of about 600, the entire town took part. Early celebrations were held at the Llanwellyn ball field between Gardner and Knowles Avenues and Llanwellyn Avenue and the B. & O. Railroad. There was no Glenolden Park till the 1930ıs. In 1914, Glenolden held its first Fourth of July parade on Chester Pike. Some years Glenolden held Fourth of July celebrations jointly with the H.K. Mulford Co. holding the celebration on the companyıs grounds.
In the early days wealthy residents put up money for decorations and prizes but by the early 1900ıs house collections, donations, and sales of food, etc., became the supporting factor of the association.
Current Association officers are President Al Kelley, Vice President Ann Kelly, Secretary Joe Gaffney, Treasurer Paul Gaffney.
The above photo (c. 1914) was taken at the then Llanwellyn baseball field where early 4th of July celebrations were held. The unit block of Llanwellyn Avenue is in the background and Gardner Avenue would be to the right. Houses have since been built on this lot.
A Fourth of July Flag raising about 1920. This photo was taken facing Chester Pike with the firehouse on the left and Williams Hall on the right.
The original Presbyterian Church late 1880ıs
The story of Glenolden Presbyterian Church starts at a meeting at the First Particular Baptist Church of Ridley Township in the fall of 1839. This Baptist Church is now Prospect Hill Baptist Church, Prospect Park, and was then the only church between Darby and Chester.
The Church had a Presbyterian minister, one Dr. Neil, as a guest speaker and he proved so popular that he was invited to speak in the Darby Township area at the "Western" school (61 Oak Avenue) and also at "Cherry Hill", the home of George G. Knowles.
On April 9, 1840, five ministers met at "Cherry Hill", the house of George Knowles, to organize the church. Sixteen people attended and were accepted as members. Of those sixteen people, nine were members of the Knowles family. That night the first church service was held at the Darby Methodist Meeting House (now Mt. Zion Church in Darby) then located on Springfield Road.
All of the congregation contributed to the new church, but George G. Knowles by far contributed the most. He donated part of his farmland at Ashland Avenue and Chester Pike plus the stone for building which he had hauled to the site. Knowles also contributed two hundred dollars cash.
The church cornerstone was laid on August 31, 1840.
- By Divine permission, the cornerstone of the Darby Congregational Church
will be laid on Monday, the 31st inst., at 3 _ oıclock, P.M., on the premises
of Mr. George G. Knowles. Religious exercises may be expected. The public
are respectfully invited to attend."
(From the Aug. 28, 1840 Darby, Pennsylvania DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN)
The church, then named the Darby Congregational Church, was dedicated eight months later. In 1842 the church government was changed and the church name became the Darby Presbyterian Church although locally it was always known as the Knowles church in honor of the family that had done so much to make it a reality.
The Church rented pews and collected money quarterly. Persons who didnıt rent a whole pew could rent a "sitting" for one person and pay one-fifth of a large pew rent and one-third for smaller pews.
On November 9, 1854, the church bought the Knowles familyıs private cemetery from James Knowles, for $100.
The cemetery purchase was certainly a repayment to the Knowles family for their generous support in the churchıs establishment. Even in 1854, $100 was a lot to pay for the cemetery. Although the church didnıt purchase the cemetery until that year, they were using it for burials as early as 1845. Prices at that time: two dollars to dig per grave; strangers for three dollars.
By the late 1890ıs the church had grown too small, and by spring 1901 plans were made to build a new church on the site of the old.
Glenolden Personal and Social Gossip Gathered in That Place
talk of building a new Presbyterian Church is again to the front. Some people,
who should be in a position to know, say that there will not be any new church,
as long as Mr. Knowles, who built the present church, lives, while others,
who claim to be equally well posted, point to the fact that a building fund
is actually being raised, there having been several entertainmentıs given
for the raising of money. It is also stated, on equally good authority, that
the plans have been drawn, and that certain contractors have already handed
in bids on the work."
(From the Chester Times, March 5, 1807)
The building of the new Presbyterian Church taken early fall 1901. The man in the center is contractor John W. Meckert, on the right is his brother D. Arthur Meckert. The Meckerts built many homes in early Glenolden.
The new church was designed by Carl Berger, a Philadelphia architect, and cost was estimated at ten thousand dollars. Work began in July, 1901, when the old church was torn down. John W. Meckert of Glenolden was chosen as builder, and the cornerstone of the new church was laid on Saturday, October 5, 1901. The church was dedicated April 20, 1902.
"Yesterday was a gala day in the history of the Glenolden Presbyterian Church, the occasion being the dedication of the handsome and imposing thirteen thousand dollar stone edifice, situated on a knoll at the corner of Ashland Avenue and the Chester Pike in Glenolden.
The appropriate exercises that had been prepared for the red-letter event began at 10:30 oıclock in the morning with Rev. Samuel McCombe, M.A., D.D. of Toronto, Canada, a brother to Rev. Joseph Weldman, of Clifton Heights.
Afternoon and Evening
The afternoon service was opened in the Sabbath school building at 2:30 oıclock. Addresses were made by Rev. William C. Hogg, pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church, Chester; Rev. E.W. Fitz Simon and Alfred D. Way, Esq.
The evening sermon was preached by Rev. Samuel McCombe. A feature of the singing service was the rendition of "Nearer, My God, to Thee", by Miss Velma V. Yocum, who possesses a voice of rare modulation and sweetness. Miss Yocum is only 16 years old.
The choir of thirty voices, under the leadership of A. Stanton Dawson, the musical director, rendered a number of pleasing anthems. At the morning service Mrs. Joseph Hudson sang a solo. Mrs. Sallie Sexton acted as organist during the day and evening.
The dedication services will be continued every evening this week, except Saturday. To-night the new pastor of the church, Rev. John W. McCombe, will be installed. To-morrow evening there will be reports and addresses. The old members and adherents will have a reunion on Wednesday night.
following young men, under the direction of William S. Reinhold, acted as
ushers yesterday: Thomas Parry, Charles Arbuckle, Frank Harrison, Allan Sultzer,
Charles Anderson, George Cromie, Charles Norht, James Clark."
(From The Chester Times, April 21, 1902)
Shortly after the church was dedicated, the congregation split over the firing of minister, John W. McCoomb, and the disgruntled parishioners left to form todayıs Glenolden Congregational Church.
A parsonage was built at the rear of the church and used until 1962 when it was converted into classrooms. A house on South Elmwood Avenue was purchased and used as a new parsonage.
In 1963 the church purchased the former Cromie property at the rear of the church on Scott Avenue and the former parsonage and classrooms was eventually torn down and an educational wing and parking lot was built for church members.
Picture of the current church about 1923
There are many beautiful Victorian homes in Glenolden, but none more unique than the "Roundhouse". Built in 1891-92 by David and Mary Caskey, "The Gables" as it was originally called, stands on Knowles Avenue at Chester Pike. Roundhouse living became popular in the 1840ıs and centered around New England. Examples in this area are rare. The above photo was taken about 1900. Note the tennis court.
The outdoor Mass held on Sunday, July 25, 1926 celebrating the ground breaking for the new church. On the far left is the original church
On Saturday, June 2, 1923, Father George E. Orr (1883-1945) was appointed to the task of starting a parish in Glenolden. Since the Holy Spirit Church in Sharon Hill was becoming overcrowded with local worshipers, the archdiocese decided to create the new parish in Glenolden and Orr immediately set to work. He rented the second floor of Williams Hall at Chester Pike and Logan Avenue and 135 people attended the first service of the new St. Georgeıs Church on Sunday, June 10, 1923.
Originally from Philadelphia, Father Orr bought a house for himself in the area and began looking for a permanent church site. A large piece of ground bounded by Cooke, Lamont and Glen Avenues caught his eye. The property was made up of eleven small lots and measured 200 x 300 feet. Orr began negotiating with the various lot owners to buy the entire tract. Of the eleven owners, all but two donated the property to the church for one dollar a piece. The two largest donors were James B. Scott and Sue M. Earley.
The property was bought in early September and the two houses on the property, one on Cooke and one on Lamont, were immediately put to use. The Cooke Avenue house was turned into a rectory and the house on Lamont Avenue was used as a temporary church. A thirty foot extension was added to the Lamont Avenue home and on November 29, 1923, mass was celebrated in the new church for the first time.
By 1926, plans for a permanent church and school building were underway with architect Paul Getz overseeing the project at a contract cost of $100,675.
first outdoor Mass in Glenolden, celebrated last Sunday, in connection with
the ground breaking for St. Georgeıs school, reached the consecration just
as the clouds broke and the skies were made brilliant by sunlight. The combined
circumstances of an outdoor Mass and ground breaking attracted a large number
of people to the lawn of St. Georgeıs Church, situated on Cooke, Glen and
Lamont Avenues. The celebrant of the Mass was the rector, the Rev. George
Orr. The sermon was delivered by the Rev. Denis A. Coghlan. The Rev. Mr. James
Magee was master of ceremonies. The Revs. Joseph A. Murphy, Martin J. Lynch
and Aloysius R. Rees were in the sanctuary. A procession of altar boys took
place before Mass. The children of the parish, both boys and girls, were massed
on the lawn on the gospel side of the altar. The children were dressed in
white with red ribbons on their shoulders, red and white being the colors
of St. George. The red and white effect was also carried out on the altar,
which had been tastefully decorated by Misses Florence Davis and Margaret
Metz. A special musical programme was given by the organist, Miss Helen C.
Weldon. At the consecration of the Mass, taps were sounded on the drum by
(From the Catholic Standard and Times, August, 1926)
Father Orr himself had the honor of turning over the first spade of earth. The cornerstone was laid on November 7, 1926 with Cardinal Dennis Dougherty presiding over the occasion.
The combination church and school was finished in May, 1927 and the first service was held on May 29, 1927. The school opened on September 6 of the same year with 135 pupils and the first commencement was held on June 33, 1928.
The original frame church of 19226 became the convent until it was replaced in late 1951 when a new convent was built and opened.
On June 13, 1954, ground was broken for a new church which was built at a cost of $230,000. The new church was dedicated April 18, 1956, by Archbishop OıHara.
The current rectory was built in 1960, seventeen new classrooms were added to the school in 1965.
The Congregational Church at Scott and Gardner Avenues about 1925
The establishment of the Glenolden Congregational Church was a direct result of a split within the local Presbyterian Church. The problem started with the Reverend John W. McCoombs who was appointed pastor of the Presbyterian Church in 1901. The majority of the church trustees felt that McCoombs "did not conduct divine services with a proper religious spirit" and that he "had done little" to improve the churchıs "low financial condition". (Chester Times, May 5, 1903)
At a stormy meeting in February, 1903, Pastor John W. McCoombs was asked to step down but he refused and ignored the directive.
He didnıt take the order to step down lightly and was accused of making "unkind and mean statements" about church officials. (Chester Times, May 5, 1903)
McCoombs accused one church member, a local merchant, of mixing sand with his sugar to give "short weight" to his customers. On another occasion, McCoombs threatened to lay another member on "the broad of his back" (Chester Times, May 5, 1903)
By May, 1903, the Chester Presbytery called a special meeting at the Glenolden Church to hear the charges. The committee met for two days, on May 4 & 5, and recommended that Reverend John. W. McCoombs step down for the good of the church.
On May 6, 1903, plans were begun to form a new church. Although reverend McCoombs had been dismissed, he had many friends in the Presbyterian Church. Over 75 members of the Presbyterian Church would leave to form the Glenolden Congregational Church.
On Monday, May 18, 1903, a meeting was held to form the Congregational Church with officials of the Congregational Religion from Philadelphia. On Tuesday night, June 30, 1903, the church was officially organized at a meeting held in Williams (Glenolden) Hall. Sixty-five people joined the new Congregational Church.
Fundraisers for the new church began immediately, and by July, 1906, the church had enough money to buy Lot #25 in Section B, a site at Scott and Gardner Avenues, from John J. Caldwell to Philadelphia for $1,250.
of the most delightful social events of the season in the borough came to
a close on Saturday evening. The affair being a Japanese fair and luncheon,
given under the auspices of the Ladies of the Congregational Church in the
old chapel. The decorations were featured being almost entirely made up of
flowers and fittings seen in the Island of the Rising Sun, and each of the
waitresses was garbed in Japanese costumes, presenting a novel and pretty
sight. There were plenty of good things on sale and real Japanese tea was
served from an original Japanese booth. The church will realize a neat sum,
which will be donated to the building fund."
(From the Chester Times, June 5, 1905)
Church services continued to be held in Williams Hall under First Pastor George Lockwood who was appointed on December 2, 1903.
The cornerstone was laid for the new church on Scott Avenue in 1907. Work progressed rapidly and the church was dedicated on Sunday, December 20, 1907.
new sanctuary of the Glenolden Congregational Church has been completed with
the exception of the fitting of two of the proposed memorial windows and some
outside grading, and the edifice will be formally dedicated with appropriate
ceremonies on Sunday next. There will be services in the morning at eleven
oıclock and in the afternoon at two oıclock. The ceremonies will be in charge
of the pastor.
(From the Chester Times, December 18, 1907)
Time The First Christmas entertainment to be held in the newly erected sanctuary
of the Congregational Church, was held last evening and a large audience was
present. The interior of the chapel building was beautifully decorated with
evergreens, and a fine program was offered. At the close of the entertainment
the scholars of the Sunday School were presented with candy and gifts.
(From the Chester Times, December 26, 1907)
After the second World War, a building fund was started to build a new church sanctuary and remodel the old one. Plans were approved at a congregational meeting on April 27, 1949, and ground was broken on July 2, 1950. The cornerstone was laid on September 24 and the building was dedicated on Sunday, November 4, 1951.
In 1961, the church purchased the Barton property at 100 South Chester Pike and used it for expanded church school rooms. The property, named Plymouth Chapel, was dedicated in June, 1962. The Congregational Church later sold the property when it was no longer needed.
The original Congregational Church in the Spring of 1908.
The unit block of South Avenue looking from Gardner Avenue toward Ashland Avenue. The first house on the left is #46. This photo is from 1910.
The Glencroft Baptist Church was originally organized in September, 1946. The first meeting was held at the home of Harry Bowd on Bayard Avenue in Folcroft and was led by First Pastor Bernard N. Morris.
Services grew too big for a private house and the church was moved to the three-car garage of Pierce Readler which still stands by Elmwood and Primos Avenues.
garage had a coal stove for heat and services consisted of 40 to 50 church
members who sat on donated folded chairs. There was an old pump organ and
the altar was made by Russell Davis, a carpenter and church member. Church
services then consisted of Sunday School, 9:30 - 10:30; Church, 10:45 -12
Noon. There was also a Sunday night service at 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday Night
Prayer Meeting at 7:30 p.m.
(Interview with George Kaiser, 1993)
The American Baptist Association subsidized Pastor Morrisı salary and loaned the congregation money to purchase property and build a church.
Ground was purchased and construction of the church began in 1948 with members doing manual labor and plumbing. The church was dedicated on Sunday, October 9, 1949 and the name "Glen-Croft" was chosen by members of the congregation.
"On Sunday morning, October 9, the Glencroft Baptist Church of Glenolden, a suburb of Philadelphia, dedicated with appropriate ceremonies, its new building, a Sunday School unit seating 300 which will be used for the church services as well as church school until a sanctuary can be secured. Dr. A.T.O. Marks of the Philadelphia Baptist Union preached the dedicatory sermon. Immediately after the dedication Sunday, the church launched into two weeks of special meetings. Speakers at these meetings were Dr. G.A. Gabelman, Dr. Benjamin P. Browne, Dr. William J. Herman, Dr. B.L. Scott, Rev. Anthony F. Vasquez, Dr. Carl Morgan, Dr. W.E. Griffiths, Rev. Argust Ballbach, and Mr. Arthur M. Morris. The last named is a brother of the pastor, Rev. Bernard Newth Morris, and is president of the Newth Morris Box Co. of Daytona Beach, Fla. Nine baptisms were the result of the meetings. On November 6 five new members were received by letter and on confession of faith.
church is only three years old, and before the above accessories numbered
only 27 members. But they have been making rapid progress, particularly in
the church school. The church started in a home and met in homes until a gargae
which the men of the church built for a certain individual became available
to the church temporarily since the man did not need it immediately. Soon
more room was needed for the growing Sunday School, and so the first unit
of the future church structure was begun and is now in use. The church is
located in a promising, growing community. The church lot is 500 x 112 occupying
a whole block and is situated on three main highways. The pastor is at present
a student at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Previous to that he held
pastorates in Passaic, N.J. and Folcroft, Pa."
(From the Baptist Magazine, Vol. 19. No. 4 - 1949)
A parsonage was built in the spring of 1960. Until that time, the church had rented homes in the area for its ministers. In January, 1967, "Glen-Croft" voted to become independent and leave the American Baptist Association. The church today is the Independent Baptist Church and it has a 55 member congregation. Itsı minister is Jerry Wright, who has been pastor since 1988.
Oak Lane at the railroad crossing looking toward Chester Pike in the mid-1930ıs Community Bible Church
The Community Bible Church about 1958
The Community Bible Church had its beginning in 1943 when the McKinley Park Chapel started having Sunday school services in Glendale Heights. Church services were held in the Glendale Child Care Center until is was destroyed by fire on December 14, 1949, after which services were moved to the Holmes Fire House on Holmes Road, Holmes.
The Church acquired ground at Knowles Avenue & MacDade Boulevard and by Spring, 1950, parishioners had contributed enough money to build a 36 x 60 basement that served as church and Sunday School. Ground was broken for a permanent church on Sunday, May 20, 1950, by Rev. James B. Speers, the churchıs founder.
"Sunday, at 3 p.m., there will be a ground breaking and dedication ceremony held at Knowles Ave. and MacDade Blvd., Glenolden, the occasion to mark the beginning of construction of the first unity of the Community Bible Church, of which Rev. James B. Speers is pastor.
The first unit, basement, will be of masonry construction 36 x 60 feet and will house the church and Sunday School. The congregation is now meeting in the Holmes firehouse and for several years had met in the Child Care Center building which was destroyed by fire December 14, 1949.
The dedication address tomorrow will be delivered by Dr. Edwin Bustard, pastor of Grace Reformed Episcopal Church, Collingdale. Francis Brearly, Esq., of Collingdale Gospel Hall, will pronounce the invocation. The following clergymen will take part in the service: Rev. Bernard N. Morris, of Glen-Croft Baptist Church, Folcroft; Rev. Rovert Cressy, pastor of the Blue Church, Springfield; Rev. Arthur Thompson, Westwood Baptist Church, Coatesville, Pa., Rev. Joseph Sullivan, of First Baptist Church, Collingdale, and Mr. Speers.
Reynolds, senior elder and superintendent of the Sunday School, will remove
the first spadeful of dirt."
(From the Chester Times, May 19, 1950)
The basement section was finished in early 1951 and the first services were held there on that Palm Sunday. A second floor was added to the basement section in 1957 and this entirely aboveground addition served as an auditorium. The cornerstone and dedication services were combined and held on Sunday, November 31, 1957. And eight room Sunday School addition was added in late 1964.
Pastor James B. Speers led twelve male parishioners in building this addition. Speers, the church founder, was a former building contractor so the work was well within his expertise. He also had supervised the building of the original church which also had been built by church members.
Murray Stuart American Legion Post #566
The Post was organized by two veterans and Glenolden residents, Ray Zickel and Dan McGugan, and the charter was signed by 15 members from both Glenolden and Folcroft. The post received its charter in August, 1920, and twenty member signed the charter. They were: William Joyce, J. MacAlister, R. Coghlan, E. Parry, A. Fleishman, H. Burns, Cliff Brannan, Paul Sibley, Al White, Art Richards, Stu Laurent, Ray Zickel, Homer White, H. Wigmore, D. MacGugan, Fred Werner, John McNeil, J. Willey, Clarence Parker and E. MacConnell.
The post met in the Glenolden Firehouse from 1920 till early 1924 when they moved to their current home on Glen Avenue.
In 1923, the post purchased three lots on Glen Avenue from Charles Eggleston for $750 and later the same year the Canteen Building on Hog Island was purchased for $1,000. The building was dismantled and moved to Glen Avenue where post members had already dug the basement. Post members did most of the interior work, plumbing and heating, etc. The new Post was finished just in time for a New Yearıs Party on January 1, 1924. The post has continued to grow since that time.
The "Indian Rock" just off Glenolden Avenue at the Muckinipatus Creek. According to legend Lenni Indians met here and heard religious services from the Swedes. The Indian Rock is named Ravacoola, after a daughter of Indian Chief Secane. Legend also states that the Muckinipatus was the name of his son.
Growing Up in Glenolden - the Forties
An Interview with Gwen Coronway 6 S. Llanwellyn Avenue Gwen Coronway shown with Johnny "the Cop" MacVeigh during a celebration honoring his 25 years as a Glenolden Police Officer
Our family moved to Glenolden in the forties. I remember there was still a lot of undeveloped land. This included a big field extending to the railroad behind all the houses on our block. We used to play cowboys there, drawing on the earliest TV westerns for our inspiration.
Up on Ashland Avenue, just past the Glenolden town limits, was the Tully picnic grounds where I learned to swim. Besides a swimming pool, there was golf course. On the way to Tully, I remember a small community of Gypsies who lived in trailers in a grove of trees. They made outdoor furniture which they sold door-to-door in summer.
One of my favorite places was the Glenolden Park. For some reason we always referred to it as "the second park" to distinguish it from the playground at Gardner Avenue. I loved to play in the creek, catching crayfish, frogs & tadpoles and once a wild duck that I called McDougall. The park was much bigger then, and you could follow a path along the creek all the way to South Avenue. We used to take the path as a shortcut to Glen-Nor High School. Whenever it snowed, the best place to sled was the hill of Glenolden Avenue and straight into the park. You could get up a good speed but had to steer carefully to avoid hitting the trees in the park.
Our family had a very big garden in those days. During the war, it was hard to get machinery such as tractors, so for a few years my father had a man who lived on Oak Lane, bring down his mule to plow our garden. In the fall, we sometimes had pheasants show up where the corn stalks had been cut. In summer, my father and I used to pick blackberries that grew wild in the field beyond the garden. In late fall we would burn off the old berry canes, making sure the fire didnıt get out of control.
The trains on the B & O Railroad behind our house provided a window on the world beyond Glenolden. The old train station at Ashland Avenue was still there, although not in use. There was also a little round cement booth where the railroad watchman sat. when he heard a train approaching, he would take his red stop sign and stand in the street. The old engine whistles were very loud and the trains quite dirty because they burned coal. I remember the trains carried lot of oil and coal cars. There were also cars full of livestock, citrus, and sometimes war material which was usually covered with tarps. Passenger trains, especially the sleek Royal Blue diesel, sped by. We always went out to wave to the midshipmen when they rode up from Annapolis to Philadelphia on the B & O for the Army-Navy game. Once, President Truman rode by on his way to the game.
I have fond and vivid memories of my years at the Glenolden Elementary School. Each class day began with the glad salute and prayer and then singing from "The Golden Book of Songs". I grew up believing we had to play the piano well to be a teacher because all our teachers did. We had an art teacher, Miss Love, who carried her paints in a basket from room to room. Mr. OıNeal came from the high school one day a week to give instrumental lessons. Each year we had a May Dance with each grade performing a different dance. The mothers made beautiful costumes for this event as well as for the many plays and holiday programs we were in.
One of the most memorable persons to anyone growing up in Glenolden then was the Chief of Police, John MacVeigh. To every kid in town he was known simply as "Johnnie-the-cop". In addition to his other police duties, he manned the school crossing at Chester Pike and Gardner Avenue. He knew us all by name and where we lived. Kids could drop by the old police station to "visit" the jail cells. On the rare occasion when a cell was occupied, work would get around quickly, and we would speculate on the deeds and fate of the occupant. At the end of the school year, Johnny gave out shiny pennies to all the children who had been promoted and probably to the unlucky few who were not.
Growing Up in Glenolden - the Fifties
An Interview with Pat Mulrooney 313 Woodland Avenue
Waterfall, Glenolden, Pa. (from postcard c. 1950)
I remember Glenolden as having very much the feel of a small community in the fifties. Everyone knew their neighbors, and we went all the way through school with the same classmates. I think most of us growing up in Glenolden in the fifties shared a lot of common experiences.
Glenoldenıs Fourth of July celebration was an event we always looked forward to as kids. Our family even planned trips to the shore around the event so we kids could participate. In those days the parade was made up of only Glenolden residents. As kids, we spent a lot of time planning and decorating our bikes or floats to win prizes. After the parade, we competed in races held on the baseball field across from the park. There were competitions for every age - sack races, three-legged races, and a pie-eating contest for adults. Glenolden was known to have the best Fourth of July fireworks in the area. People came from many surrounding communities to watch them. My friends and I sold "Oh-So" sodas and punks to the crowds watching. Punks were essential to keep off mosquitoes which were ferocious then.
In the fifties, Glenolden had no supermarkets or chain stores. Instead, each neighborhood had at least one "mom and pop" grocery store. Rosenıs store at 126 Isabel Avenue is where we shopped. Like others, they had delivery service because many families still didnıt have cars then. Mr. Rosen (Izzy) was the butcher. I remember him as a very cultured man who had a passion for classical music. Whenever he got a new record, he would invite some neighborhood kids to listen to it. Mrs. Rosen (Ree) was always bundled up in winter because the store was cold. The floor was covered with sawdust. She made sandwiches and tended the cash register. We used to earn money for sodas and candy by bringing her empty bottles for which we got two cents apiece. The Rosenıs stored cases of empty bottles in the cellar of the store, but since the outside loading door to the cellar was never locked, kids often "returned" the same bottles several times. Candy sales boomed.
Another store was Bradyıs at the corner of Ashland Avenue and Chester Pike. Brady sold the grocery business to Ed and Fred who ran it for several years while he ran a very successful toy business out of the second floor. Families used the lay-away plan to buy Christmas toys. At the end of the fifties, when Penn Fruit built the first Supermarket in Glenolden, many of the little stores began going out of business because they couldnıt compete.
A classmate of mine, Ann Frost, used to live on the corner of MacDade and Ashland Avenue where the Penn Fruit store was built (now Pep Boys). The Frosts had a barn and a horse named Duke. I used to ride Duke without a saddle and remember well one time when he threw me.
Glenolden had a Howard Johnsonıs Restaurant, complete with its trademark orange roof, on Chester Pike where the CVS drugstore is today. That was the townıs only really big restaurant and it did a lot of business because Route 13 was the major thoroughfare then. In the fifties it was sold and operated as the Anderson House until it was torn down sometime around 1980. The counter at the Anderson House was one of our favorite places to hang out when we were teenagers because its well-lit parking lot in front was a great place for us to show off our prized cars. There was a group of us who had a hot-rod club then. We spent many hours fixing up our cars, late 40ıs and early 50ıs models, and driving them up and down Chester Pike.
Growing Up in Glenolden - the Sixties
An Interview with James "Pete" Keenan 15 E. Cooke Avenue
Loverıs Lane, Glenolden Park
I think that in the sixties Glenolden underwent a lot of changes. actually, starting in the 50ıs and throughout the 60ıs, there was quite a building boom as many families moved out to the suburbs. As a result, I remember that the schools got very crowded.
We lived in the one hundred north block of Chester Pike. Back then the pike was still mostly single family homes. Over time, many of these have converted to businesses. One of our neighbors, the Greenıs, ran a tourist home at 108 N. Chester Pike. This was before motels and apartments were widely available. Another tourist home on the pike, the Pearson House Apartments today, was notable for its enormous copper beech tree that stood in the side yard.
There were even more changes along MacDade Boulevard during the sixties. One of the features that I remember was Rexıs driving range. It stood where the Glenolden Court Apartments are today and stretched all the way to the B & O Railroad and the creek. It was always busy on summer evenings under the lights. Kids would wade in the creek to look for golf balls.
Further down MacDade at South Avenue was McCallıs Greenhouse. I worked there during several summers. It was a large commercial enterprise that sold flowers wholesale. It was torn down in the late sixties to make way for the MacDade Mall.
In the sixties there was also the MacDade drive-in theater. Drive-ins were very popular then. We would get a whole car load of friends together and have plenty to eat and drink during the show. Before the MacDade drive-in opened, we mostly went to the Manor Theater in Prospect Park. I remember the great cartoon shows they had on Saturdays. For all the years I can remember, Gracie was the lady who sold tickets there.
I went to St. James High School in Chester. Those of us from Glenolden would catch the MacDade bus to get there. Being the sixties, it was very popular for teenagers to go to dances. We did dances such as the Twist, the Monkey, the Mashed Potato. They were held at St. Gabrielıs on Fridays and at Holy Cross on Sundays. We also had lots of parties at friends homes where dancing was the main activity. Other times we would go out for hamburgers to the Steer Inn on Chester Pike or the Little Red Barn on MacDade. One favorite hangout for teenagers in the 50ıs and 60ıs was the little hoagie shop on Logan Avenue down below and behind what was then Handelıs Department Store. They had great milkshakes and hoagies and a very loyal clientele.
It certainly wasnıt all parties and fun. We were expected to do our best in school. In those days our report cards from St. James were sent directly to St. Georgeıs. Our former teachers there, who knew us very well, watched for any signs of our slacking off. When I was a junior, the pastor thought I was putting too much effort into football at the expense of my studies. He gave me an ultimatum. Either spend an extra year in high school or drop football. Needless to say, the St. James team played without me my senior year.
Photographs of Glenolden - Years Ago!
Ashland Avenue at the railroad about 1925. This photo shows the unit block of South Bonsall Avenue which the "for sale" sign shows had just been built.
Scott and Glenolden Avenues about 1900 looking down Glenolden Avenue towards Chester Pike. The trees are Lombardy poplars planted by Henry J. Scott as part of his Llanwellyn Development.
Chester Pike at Gardner Avenue looking east toward Darby. This winter view was taken about 1909. Note the one horse sleigh on Chester Pike.
MacDade Boulevard at Ashland Avenue looking west in April 1936. Opened as Parker Avenue in the early 1900ıs it became MacDade Boulevard in 1931.
Wells Avenue was named for Moses Wells who ran a small farm off Ashland Avenue north of MacDade Boulevard. This postcard is of the unit block of North Wells Avenue looking from Cooke Avenue toward Ashland Avenue in 1921.
Chester Pike at Knowles Avenue looking toward Gardner Avenue about 1905. Gardner Avenue is believed to be named for a Dr. Richard Gardner who owned land in the area in the 1850ıs.
The William Brooks Store about 1900. The store stood at Chester Pike and Glenolden Avenue. Early Glenolden borough council and other social clubs met upstairs above the store. The site is now the Turner Apartments.
MacDade Boulevard at Oak Lane about 1920. The house on the left has been torn down and a Sunoco Gas Station is now on the site. The house on the right faces Oak Lane and is #340.
Chester Pike at Grays Avenue looking toward Glenolden Avenue. This view was taken in 1908. Grays Avenue was the driveway for the Knowles-Dalmas Estate.
The above advertisement is for the opening of the Werner Pharmacy. The Pharmacy was a Glenolden fixture for over 65 years. Karlıs father, Augustus Werner, moved to Glenolden about 1895. Augustus served as Borough Treasurer and Karl served on borough council and the school board. Karlıs youngest brother, Harry, was borough Mayor from 1963-1967. A street was named for the Werners in the 1950ıs and Werners still live in town today.
1894-1896 Burgess George K. Cross
1897-1899 Burgess Emil Laurent
1899-1902 Burgess Robert J. Williams
1903-1905 Burgess George Cross
1905-1905 Burgess Howard L. Davis (March 3rd to June 26th)
1905-1909 Burgess A. C. Wigmore
1909-1911 Burgess Frank Sweeney
1912-1918 Burgess Charles Eggleston
1919-1922 Burgess Edward Bonsall
1922-1925 Burgess Robert J. Williams
1916-1930 Burgess C.A. Wigmore
1930-1933 Burgess H.V. Strickland
1934-1938 Burgess Charles E. Hepford
1938-1947 Burgess Paul L. Brogan
1947-1958 Burgess Lennard W. Warner
1959 Burgess J. Boon Gallagher (Last Burgess)
1960-1963 Mayor George W. Gilbert
1963-1967 Mayor Harry Werner
1967-1970 Mayor Emily G. Wise
1970-1974 Mayor Richard J. Miller
1974-1989 Mayor John J. MacVeigh 3rd
1990-1993 Mayor Edward G. Roth III
1994-Pres. Mayor Theodore Bathurst
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