~ Some History of Prospect Park ~

The John Morton Homestead before it was restored about 1925. Lincoln Avenue was rerouted in the late 1920’s leaving the homestead further back, away from the road.

The coming of William Penn in 1681 to Pennsylvania began a number of property disputes between the Swedes, Dutch and English. The Swedes had landed in 1643 and the Dutch in 1665. The English began to infringe on the Swedes’ and Dutch property and a number of land patents were issued by the English to clear up the matter.

Two land patents were issued, one of 138 acres, west of Lincoln Avenue to Morton Mortonson, and one of 137 acres east of Lincoln Avenue to Andres Johnson.

Morton Mortonson had lived on his land grant since about 1654 when he built the north half of the present Morton Mortonson (John Morton) homestead. His son Mathias built the southern half of the house about 1698. The middle of the house was added in 1803. Andres Johnson conveyed his 137 acres on the East Side of Lincoln Avenue to his brother, John Archer in 1685. Early Swedes changed their names to English names; John Archer and Andres Johnson were brothers and their father was Jan Cornelis.

By the 1720’s the Mortonson family began to branch out and a grandson of Morton Mortonson, John Morton, Sr., settled in what is now Ridley Park. John Morton Sr. married Mary Archer, daughter of John Archer and lived in a small log cabin at Ridley Avenue and Cresswell Streets in today’s Ridley Park. John Morton Sr. died in February 1725, leaving provision in his will for his son, John Morton, the signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The problem of John Morton’s exact birthplace has caused a considerable amount of trouble since 1938 when the John Morton Homestead was dedicated.

The Historical Commission of Pennsylvania maintains that Mary Archer Morton had her son in Ridley Park with the help of a midwife or relative. The popular theory is that she went to her husband’s cousin’s house (John Morton Homestead) to have her child. A third theory is that she went to her parent’s home on today’s Chester Pike.

Signer John Morton married Ann Justis and in 1764 built a brick house on the site of the log cabin his father had built in Ridley Park. In 1765 John Morton became a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly and in 1765 he became a judge. In 1774, 1775 and 1776 he was elected to the Continental Congress and on July 4, 1776 signed the Declaration of Independence. On April 1, 1777, John Morton died at his home in Ridley Park. He was 56.

The West Side of Lincoln Avenue remained in the Morton family until John Morton’s son and grandson began selling the property in the 1780’s and 1790’s. The log cabin at Darby Creek exchanged owners many times throughout the 19th century.

On February 4, 1895, the John Morton Monument Association was chartered. The plans originally called for the log cabin to be torn down and a monument built. In the early 1930’s it was decided to preserve the log cabin and with the aide of the Work Project Administration the Morton Mortonson house was bought and restored. On October 8, 1938, the then John Morton Homestead was dedicated.

A special guest of honor at the ceremony was Mrs. Bessie Ward Hinkson of Ridley Park. In 1904 Mrs. Hinkson saved the homestead from destruction. A Henry J. Borzner who planned to tear down the homestead and other buildings on the property had bought the property. Mrs. Hinkson learned of the buildings imminent destruction and drove from Ridley Park just in time to save it.

Photo taken at Dedication of Homestead on Saturday, October 8, 1938.

The John Morton Homestead about 1940 shortly after it opened. In 1957 the John Morton birthplace sign was removed and replaced with the Morton Mortonson Homestead, because no conclusive proof could be found to confirm that John Morton was born here.

In Commemoration



The Darby Creek Boat Houses
The Archer family owned all property east of Lincoln Avenue to Norwood. Originally they lived on Darby Creek near the Morton family, but in the 1720’s, John Archer moved to Chester Pike. On Chester Pike he built a two and one-half story brick building for his family and in 1729 he applied for a tavern license. John along with his son Adam opened the tavern in 1730 as the White Horse Tavern.

John Archer left the White Horse Tavern to his son Adam Archer in 1740. During the American Revolution John and Barbara Bryan operated the tavern.

A copy of Barbara Bryan’s petition for a license to operate the White Horse Tavern for the year 1778.

During the American Revolution it was the scene of at least two skirmishes between British and American troops. Lt. John Clark, an adjutant of General Nathaniel Greene, wrote to George Washington daily between October and December of 1777.

“Yesterday, December 23, thirteen of the enemy’s light horse took one of Captain Lee’s horsemen near the White Horse and Col. Dan Morgan took eight of the horsemen prisoners as well as ten of their horses. The rest fled on seeing Col. Morgan and his party. Five of these outran the pursuit.”
(General James Potter to George Washington, December 24, 1777)

“This morning (December 25, 1777) a party of the enemy with five field pieces moved from Darby toward Chester. Near the White Horse Tavern they fell in with a small party of our troops. The Americans were obliged to give way with losses of two killed and three wounded.”
(Lt. John Clark to George Washington, December 25, 1777)

The White Horse Tavern has had a number of legends and ghosts associated with it. In the fall of 1756, being thrown from his horse in front of the tavern on a stormy night killed Luke Nethermark. His ghost was said to have been seen often on a stormy night. In the fall of 1776, Capt. John Cullin was shot by one of his men who was angry at him for a minor reprimand. Capt. Culin was trying to organize a company of militia at the time. It was rumored that his ghost appeared. George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette are said to have slept at the White Horse Tavern.

Caesar Rodney is said to have stopped at the White Horse on his way to Philadelphia on July 3rd to change Delaware’s vote for independence on July 4, 1776.

The following story is supposed to be a true one. Sometime in November of 1777, when British Warships were stationed in the Delaware River, a small part of British Royal Marines landed at Darby Creek to forage in the neighborhood. One marine was left to guard the boat. Local farmers killed the marine and then fled as the others returned. The marine was said to pace his sentry post on the anniversary of his death.

The story of the British spy at the White Horse Tavern is probably the most interesting one. The story varies from person to person, and this account is taken from the Chester Time, July 1902 when it was first published.

About 1779, an Englishwoman and her daughter came to live at the Tavern. The mother died shortly after they arrived and the daughter, Elizabeth, stayed on at the tavern and married a blacksmith of the area named Jacob Mayer. Records show that on July 13, 1779, a Jacob Mayer married Elizabeth Walker at the German Reformed Church of Philadelphia. In the summer of 1780, Chester County Militia was called up for active duty. (Delaware County was a part of Chester County until 1789). Jacob Mayer was one of those called up and his wife Elizabeth continued to stay at the tavern while he was on duty. One day she was seen by a Negro, talking to a British soldier in back of the tavern. Local militia came and the British soldier was killed. Elizabeth Mayer, on seeing the soldier dead, killed herself. Her husband, Jacob, erected a small tombstone in her memory. It read:

“In memory of Elizabeth the wife of Jacob Mayer Who departed this life the 19th day of October 1780 in the 22 year of her life.”

The White Horse Tavern in 1897 owned by William F. Simes a Philadelphia Druggist, who rented the property to a William G. Knight. The Springhouse on the right would be the corner of Chester Pike and Summit Avenue today.

The White Horse Tavern about 1906. David McClure bought the tavern from Simes and remodeled the building in 1902. McClure also added a three-story addition on the East Side of the original tavern.

By the 1920’s when Summit and 8th Avenues were being opened and housed were being built, another graveyard came to public attention. The small (24 x 28) graveyard stood north of 8th Avenue and east of Summit Avenue. Bones were found at this spot in June of 1927. This graveyard was the burial place for the Michael and William Trites families who were known to have buried at their own ground in the early 19th century. A tree torn down for the “Pine Hill” development on 8th and Summit Avenues became known as the “Hanging Tree” when bones were found around it. No concrete proof however, has ever been located concerning the burial place of the British spy.

By the early 19th century, the Morton and Archer families had sold their land and it had been divided into a number of smaller farms.

The Tasker “Roadside Farm” in 1975 shortly before it was torn down for use as a parking lot. The farmhouse site was located on what is now the parking lot for Hennesey’s Tavern.

Jeremiah Andrews bought the Archer property south of Chester Pike in 1782. Andrews originally lived in a log cabin before building the home shown above about 1810. Several people owned the property until Thomas T. Tasker (1799-1892) bought it.

Tasker, an iron works owner from Philadelphia, owned several other large farms in the area, one of which covered what is now Folsom. Several streets throughout the area are named for him.

Thomas T. Tasker (1799-1892)
This photo was taken about 1880. Tasker was an English immigrant and made his money in iron works.

Tasker was also a Methodist preacher who founded Kedron Methodist Church in Morton and also the Methodist Church of Prospect Park. Tasker rented the “Roadside Farm” to several people, and after his death his farm was sold. William Landreth who began to develop the area in the 1920’s eventually bought the property.

The Trites-Lodge Farm about 1900, when the Lodge family lived there. The home was later owned by the Leidwanger family and was torn down in the 1950’s.

In 1774 Michael Trites of Darby Township bought a portion of the Archer property centered at the northeast corner of Lincoln Avenue and Chester Pike. Trites built a home where the Carolyn Court Apartments are today.

The property passed to his son, William, in 1806 and in 1821 William sold the corner property of six acres to John Culin, a wheelwright, who opened a blacksmiths shop. The shop, later rented to one William Pyewell, was located where the Exxon station now stands.

WANTED IMMEDIATELY. - A journeyman Blacksmith. To one who can come well recommended, good wages and steady employment will be given by the subscriber residing near the White Horse Tavern, Ridley.
(Delaware County Republican, March 22, 1839)

Trites gave ground to the First Particular Baptist, which now is Prospect Hill Baptist church, in 1832 and also donated ground for part of the church cemetery. In 1844 the Trites family sold their remaining property and left the area. The blacksmith shop eventually came into the hands of George Lodge, a blacksmith, who bought the shop and the Trites home in 1848.

PUBLIC SALE OF REAL ESTATE. - Will be sold at public sale on Thursday the 19th of September next, on the premises, all that certain messuage and tract of land, late the estate of William Trites, deceased, containing SIXTY SIX ACRES, be the same more or less, situated in the township of Ridley, Delaware County, Pa., 11 miles from Philadelphia, 4 miles from Chester, and _ of a mile from Darby Creek landing. The improvements are a two story stone DWELLING HOUSE, 22 by 26 feet, with a two story frame kitchen, 16 x 19 feet, frame barn with stone stabling under, sufficient for ten head of stock, stone spring house, corn crib and other outbuildings, large apple Orchard of well selected fruit, also a great variety of cherry, pear, plum, and other fruit trees. About 8 acres of said tract are watered meadow, and about 11 acres woodland, the remainder arable, divided into convenient fields, well fenced and watered, and in a good state of cultivation. Also a right and privilege of digging and hauling 200 loads of mud off Darby creek flats yearly. The above farm is in a very healthy neighborhood, convenient to mills, schools, places of worship and Tide water navigation. Persons wishing to view the premises will be shown the same by calling on George G. Trites, residing on the same. Sale to commence at 1 o’clock on said day. - Conditions at sale. BY THE HEIRS. ALSO, will be sold at the same (time) and place, a tract of land, containing EIGHT ACRES, be the same more or less; Frame House, stone springhouse, over a never failing spring of water, and a variety of fruit trees, bounded by a road leading from Darby Creek ferry to Springfield meeting house, farm of Samuel Ashton, Isaac Stewart, and the above described farm.
(Delaware County Republican, August 16, 1844.)

In the late 1860’s all but four acres of the farm were sold to James L. Moore. Lodge kept these 4 acres, along with the Trites home and blacksmith shop for himself. Originally when Trites sold the property in 1844, he also reserved a small family cemetery to be preserved forever. This cemetery stood just north of the intersection of 8th and Summit Avenues. Unfortunately the cemetery was destroyed in the early 1920’s and it became the basis for British spy stories associated with the White Horse Tavern.

Stewart - Moore Farm
The James L. Moore Farmhouse as it appeared in 1922. Built in 1794, by John Irwin, it was remodeled in 1927. It is now a combined store and apartment building on Chester Pike, west of Washington Avenue.

Originally, this farm was part of the White Horse Tavern property. In 1834, Innkeeper John Stewart, sold the tavern to George Jordan and in 1841 Stewart sold his farm to his brother Isaac Stewart. Stewart died in December of 1867 and his heirs sold the farm to James L. Moore of Philadelphia. Part of the Stewart family moved to Ridley Park and settled on a farm at Chester Pike and Stewart Avenue, which was named for them.

James L. Moore (1820-18840, an English immigrant, came to Philadelphia in the 1840’s and opened a small brewery on Fitzwater Street. He lived on Christian Street and used his farm as a summer residence. Moore added a second farm, west of his original purchase, from Chester Pike to 16th Avenue between Lincoln Avenue and Amosland Road.

In 1870 the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad decided to build a new railroad line through Darby and Ridley Townships. This new line known as “The Darby Improvement” took the place of an older line which ran through Tinicum Township. The new line ran directly across James Moore’s land. On May 29, 1873, Moore gave the Railroad the right of way on his property free in “consideration of the advantages be derived from me by years of said improved line.” (Delco Land Records Deed Book H3 pages 507-508.) Moore also gave ground for a station and “That the premises hereby conveyed and the buildings thereon erected or to be erected, be called Moore’s Station.
(Delco Land Records Deed Book H3 pages 511-512.)

Sketchley - Tranor Farm
The Sketchley - Tranor home, about 1900. Built about 1739, the house faced southeast and stood just north of the intersection of 15th and Carlisle Avenues.

John Sketchley came to America from England via Barbados in 1724. By 1726, Sketchley had settled in Delaware County and married Mary Archer-Morton, a widow with a young son named John. Sketchley bought 20 acres from Andrew Morton, his brother-in-law, in 1739 and built the home shown above.

Sketchley provided a good education for his stepson, John, including the study of both surveying and law. Sketchley died in 1753 not knowing his stepson John would sign the Declaration of Independence.

The farm, consisting of 35 acres, stayed in the Morton family until 1787. After that, it passed through various owners until William G. Tranor bought it in 1873. Tranor had just sold his farm in Ridley Park and moved to Prospect Park to retire.

Tranor’s son Frank mad and sold fencing on the property, but the largest portion was rented to Aubrey Reid, a dairyman, who ran the “Hillside Dairy” which supplied milk to Prospect Park and the vicinity.

In the late 1800’s Tranor sold 27 acres of the farm consisting of the land between today’s 13th and 25th Avenues to John L. Galloway for real estate development. This left Tranor 6 acres for himself.

In 1923 the Tranor family sold some of the property for development of the homes at 15th and Carlisle Avenues. The remaining undeveloped property became part of Moore’s Lake Park.

The springhouse of the Tranor home about 1900. The springhouse stood at the end of 15th Avenue in today’s Moore’s Lake Park. The springhouse was used as a Boy Scout cabin in the 1930’s and ‘40’s and was torn down about 1950.

Pearson Farm
Judge Pearson’s house, today at 915 Chester Pike. Originally a federal style brick house, the house was rented to the William Hutchinson family in 1875. Hutchinson, a house painter, made paints in the rear yard. About 1887, Peter Hunter, a Scot, bought the property and modernized it by adding the bay windows and mansard roof. The house features hand-painted glass window.

In September 1785, Joseph Pearson purchased from the Morton family, land on the West Side of Lincoln Avenue. This property covering the present area from Chester Pike to 12th Avenue. When Pearson bought the property a tavern called the “Plow” was on the land. Pearson until rented the tavern about 1800 when it closed.

Joseph Pearson lived in the Plow Tavern until his death in 1804, when the property passed to his son, John L. Pearson was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 65th Regiment Pennsylvania Militia and saw action in the War of 1812. He served with a gentleman by the name of William Price, who died during the war. When Pearson returned home from the war he adopted Price’s orphaned son, William H. Price. Pearson also adopted another orphan named Pearson Pike. The circumstances of this adoption are not known, and very little is known about Pearson Pike.

William H. Price (1812-1885) attended West Point Military Academy from 1830 to 1834 under the influence of John L. Pearson. Price left the army in 1836 and became a surveyor living on Pearson’s farm.

John L. Pearson later became of Justice of the Peace. When he died in 1842 he left the majority of his property to his adopted sons. However, he also left a strange condition in his will that the sons could not inherit the property until they both married and had sons who reached the age of 21. Another provision of Pearson’s will was to three granddaughters of his sister, Ann P. Smith. Pearson left the three girls property as long as they remained unmarried.

Price and Pike waited many years for their inheritance until finally, the Delco Orphans Court approved the sale of the Pearson estate to John Cochran of Chester.

REAL ESTATE AT PUBLIC SALE. - Pursuant to the last will and testament of John L. Pearson, late of the township of Ridley, Delaware County, deceased, will be sold at public sale, on the premises in said township, on MONDAY, the thirtieth of December last, all that lot or piece of land with the building and improvements thereon erected, situated at the Cross Roads, near the White Horse Tavern, bounded by the Chester and Darby Turnpike or Plank Road, by the Springfield Road leading to Tinicum, and by lands of Perry C. Pike, containing about Four and a Half Acres. The improvements are a dwelling house, which is adapted for two families, built partly of brick and partly of stone, cellared under and has a well of water at the kitchen door, garden and out buildings, and a new small stable or barn. There are also a frame tenement on the corner of the Cross Roads, a new blacksmith shop and a frame wheelwright shop nearly new, with a well of water and a pump therein for the use of the shops and tenement. There are also a number of Apple and Cherry trees on the premises. The land is in good order, four miles from Chester and nine from Market Street Bridge, convenient to railroad depots, mills, schools and churches. It is seldom a property of this size and description is offered for sale and it is well worthy the attention of any one who desires to secure a small place for a homestead. For particulars, inquire of W. H. Price near the premises, or to either of the executors. If not sold the property will be for rent. Sale to commence at two o’clock in the afternoon, when the conditions will be made known. JOSEPH GIBBONS, WM. H. PRICE, PERRY C. PIKE, Surviving Executors.
(Delaware County Republican, December 12, 1862)

Development of Area
John Cochran (1825-1903) a Chester realtor had been in real estate since 1856. Cochran had established the town of Norwood in 1873 and had done quite well. The Pearson estate was to become his next town development. Cochran brought in partners on this development. John and James Shedwick, builders from 3408 Race Street, Philadelphia.

Cochran divided the Pearson estate into 565 lots nearly all of them 25’ wide by 125’ deep. Cochran named the development Prospect Park after the old name for the area known as Prospect Hill.

After grading the property and laying out streets, Cochran prepared to sell the property thru auction on Thursday, September 10, 1874. Shortly before the sale, the nation went into a recession and sales in Prospect Park were very poor. From September 1874 to December 1875, Cochran had sold lots to only 12 people.

James and John Shedwick, partners of Cochran, built several houses on the property which they rented and later sold. The Shedwick built two houses. One on the corner of Lafayette and 11th Avenues for George W. Shirley, a Philadelphia realtor and the other n the 900 block of Lafayette for George Russell a stair builder.

Map of Prospect Park from 1874 when it opened for development. Cochran originally named East and West Park Square for William Price and Pearson Pike who had sold him the property. The right hand corner undeveloped was sold to Ellwood Urian in 1863 who ran a wheelwright shop there with Benjamin Broadbelt.

Nine miles from Philadelphia is Moore’s Station, at Prospect Park. Prospect Park was laid out in 1875, and this property of John Cochran and the firm of John Shedwick & Son. It contains 600 lots, over 300 of which have been disposed of during the past two years.
The grounds have been surveyed in streets and avenues, with a large park in the centre. The property lays between the railroad and the Chester and Darby Turnpike, and being in good hands, it is sharing the prosperity and increased destined to build up all the suburban towns on this railroad. Messrs. Cochran, Shedwick & Son have, and are still making the most of the advantages of Prospect Park, and they prevent the intrusion of anything that would detract from the same in the least. Mr. Geo. W. Shirley, real estate agent, 17th and South Streets, Philadelphia, is the pioneer of the place, and came here at the time the park was first laid out. The house illustrated is owned and occupied by him, and shows the style and design of many of the houses in the park.

At the time of our visit two three-story frame cottages were going up and others were to follow soon after. Altogether, there are about twenty houses erected in the park. John Craig, of the printing firm of Craig & Finley, 3rd and Arch Streets, owns a cottage here, as do also George Russell, Frederick Hurly, Edward Smith, Samuel Cross, David McClurg and J. Harrison. The farm buildings of Mr. James Tranor are located about half a mile west of the station.

Through the enterprise of Mr. Shirley and one or two other gentlemen of Prospect Park, there has been organized here a first-class building association. The first series of the association was started in July, 1876, and the demand for shares was so great that it was deemed advisable to start a new series, and accordingly a new series was started in February last, and a great many share were taken at the first meeting. These associations are conducted by men of experience in building associations, and we know of no better or surer way of investing money. The officers are E. T. Cade, President, George W. Shirley, Secretary and W. Scott Burk, Treasurer. About the first of the current year a Cemetery company was organized, styled the Prospect Park Cemetery Company,” which includes the grounds of an old Baptist Cemetery in the park. The depot, Moore’s Station, is built of frame, and is two stories high, part of which is occupied as a residence by the station agent. Mrs. Dahman. The waiting rooms here are pictures of comfort and neatness. The business of the road is large and increasing. A number of local trains make their terminus at this point, the turnouts, engine houses, etc., being erected here. There are four tracks laid between this station and Norwood. Property can still be had in this locality at comparatively low figures, and money can be doubled on the advance in real estate, if Prospect Park grows as rapidly the next eight or ten years as it has for the corresponding period since first laid out.
(From the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad Guide Book, 1877)

Sales in Prospect Park continued to be poor through out the 1870’s, partly due to the recession and other Chester Pike towns like Sharon Hill and Ridley Park when both opened in 1874.

By 1877 however, Cochran had enough of the poor sales. He let his mortgage lapse and Cochran’s share of Prospect Park was sold at Sheriffs Sale and came into the hands of Charles Horne of Tinicum Township. Horne’s share was the West Side of Prospect Avenue while the Shedwicks kept the East Side.

In 1886, John Shedwick’s son James formed the Prospect Park Land Association with George W. Shirley and John Hayes to better the Shedwick property.

The same year William H. Price died in Norwood where he had been living since selling the Pearson estate to Cochran in 1874.

In July of 1886 Price’s son John L. Price (1852-1922) formed the Prospect Land Association. The Association sold lots on today’s 12th and 13th Avenues west of Lincoln Avenue. This property was the last of the Pearson estate William H. Price had inherited and never sold.

On the East Side of Lincoln Avenue the town of Moore was developing.

James L. Moore, Sr. continued to live on the property and several of his children began to settle on the property permanently.

Moore’s son George W. built a house at today’s 1209 Lincoln Avenue. James Moore at 1421 Lincoln Avenue, Henry at 1603 Lincoln Avenue and their sister, Sarah, in the 1200 block of Amosland Road.

George W. Moore (1845-1922) became heavily involved in the town’s development. Moore opened a Grain and Feed Store in 1878 in today’s Moore Industrial Park. This store also sold building material, etc. Moore opened the Moore Post Office here in January, 1882.

The Moore family did not do any real estate development until after James L. Moore, Sr. died in August of 1884.

In 1886 James L. Moore, Jr. opened the 700 blocks of today’s 10th and 11th Avenue for sale. This development called James Moore Building Lots, consisted of 85 lots average 50’ wide x 150’ deep.

In 1888 George W. Moore opened his own development on what is now the 700 block of 13th Avenue then called Carolina Avenue.

By this time the East Side of Lincoln Avenue was called Moore and was considered a separate town from Prospect Park.

With all this new real estate development, sales in Prospect Park had picked up. Living in Prospect Park then was a family affair. Many early families were related to each other.

Captain Benjamin F. Allen, a State Mariner, built 819 Prospect Avenue in 1884 while his sister-in -law’s husband William S. Dowdy, an agent for the Erickson Steamline, lived across the street.

Edward and Roseanna Ward bought the entire 900 block of 8th Avenue on the even side in 1890. This property is where the Wards operated their ice business.

By 1893 the town was settled enough to be incorporated. Incorporation papers were filed in February 1893, but a number of problems arose. Over 50 residents filed a number of petitions to prevent Prospect Park from being incorporated. To incorporate Prospect Park meant taking a number of farmers’ and landowners’ property in the incorporation. Among the people objecting were Charles Leedom, William F. Simes and the Moore family. Acting on the behalf of Prospect Park were George Shirley, John L. Price and John L. Galloway, each of who owned considerable property in Prospect Park. Delaware County Judge, Thomas Clayton, listened to the arguments for over a year and on May 7, 1894, granted Prospect Park it charter.

No Vacancies at Prospect Park

The real estate market at Prospect Park is hitting the high spots on the realty barometer. Real estate agents report no vacancies whatsoever. Rentals, therefore, when they do occur are at prevailing high standards of rents. While there is considerable new building going on in all sections of the borough, this has had as yet no perceptible effect in reducing rentals in older structures.

Not including permits granted for alterations or additions, there has been sixty permits taken out at Prospect Park already this season for home construction, and it is conservatively estimated this figure will be further inflated to at least one hundred before the season closes.

Possibly the greater portion of this new construction is scattered about the section of Prospect Park generally referred to as Moore, along Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Avenues. In these sections speculative building, on a large scale is indeed active. The construction runs the gamut from bungalow and colonial to semi-detached and detached and the holding prices are from $5,500 to $8,000.

H. K. Carlisle and Charles Willbank are operating along Eleventh Avenue. While these operations should be classed under the speculative, yet it is being done with the individual buyer in mind. All of the dwellings are attractive and should appeal to those seeking homes in a desirable community location.
(From the Chester Times, June, 22, 1922)

The 500 block of Eleventh Avenue about 1922. The houses in the background still stand on Amosland Road

The 500 block of Eleventh Avenue looking west

Eleventh Avenue from Amosland Road looking toward Washington Avenue. The building on the far left is Olivet Presbyterian Church.

Prospect Park Map from 1882, which shows how few houses had been built in town up to that time.

George W. Shirley (1838-1918)
An Englishman with a real estate office in Philadelphia. Shirley was active in renting and selling property in Prospect Park. His home still stands at 828 11th Avenue.

John L. Galloway (1846-1922) and his home at 1114 Lafayette Avenue. Galloway moved to Prospect Park in the early 1880’s, and was the town’s first mayor. He was heavily involved in Prospect Park real estate, and was a charter member of Olivet Presbyterian Church and the Fire Company.

Galloway Hall in the late 1970’s. Built in 1888-1889, the hall originally housed stores on the first floor and the second floor was used as a meeting hall by many local organizations.

The above photo was taken in 1897 of Clayton Touchstone and his two daughters, Virginia and Ada. The boy on the far right is Frank Lodge, who ran errands. The station had separate ladies’ and mens’ waiting rooms plus a kitchen, dining and living room on the first floor and on the second floor were four bedrooms. The Touchstone family lived at the station year round. The original station was torn down in 1911 and replaced with the current building.

The contents below was taken from a letter written by Virginia Touchstone Waite, describing her memories when her father, Clayton Touchstone was Station Master (1893-1911) at Moore Station.

My father became Station Master at Moore Station in July, 1893. His first messenger boy was William Wunderlich and then Frank Lodge.

His day was long, opening the station early in time for the 7:00 A. M. mail bag to be sent off to Philadelphia. He closed at 9:00 P. M. when a train stopped for passengers going south. I have no idea how many tickets he sold in a day but I do remember the round trip fare in those real early days for adults was 38 cents to Philadelphia and half fare for children.

I do remember a signal tower which stood beside the Railroad tracks going north to Philadelphia. The tower was not far from the Station. It was later removed to the tracks going south to Baltimore and Washington.

A pair of steps leading to a platform was located just a little north of the Station to receive freight from a freight train. In one case it was sheep to be delivered to a local farmer. Money to be paid to the Railroad for the delivery of the sheep was paid to my father, who always spoke of it as the sheep money because of the odor of the sheep on the money.

There were hitching posts for travelers to tie their horses to while they continued on their journey to Philadelphia or elsewhere for a while.

In 1901 when 2 additional middle tracks were laid, the underpass was made and the station and house had to be moved back several feet, taking away our big patio and yard. The children sat in the doorways for the ride as the building was moved back on rollers. The original building was torn down six months after we moved to 11th Avenue in 1910 and the present Station was then built.

At the present station, the phone booth is just about where the old pump used to be.

The Lincoln Avenue overpass built in the early 1900’s

Early Life in Prospect Park

From an interview with R. M. Robinson, 1976

The above home at 838 11th Avenue still stands (remodeled) today. Owned by George Shirley, who lived at 828 11th Avenue, this was one of the first houses built in Prospect Park. William J. Robinson rented this house from Shirley in the 1890’s.

My parents rented this house from George W. Shirley in 1891, when I was one year old, and lived there until about 1920, although I was married in 1915 and bought a house on 12th Avenue.

The house was frame and had a parlor, living room, dining room and kitchen on the first floor and four bedrooms and tin tub bathroom on the second floor and three rooms in the third floor.

In the back yard we had a windmill and pump house which pumped the water to a tank room on the third floor in the house and then supplied the house with water by gravity.

During a bad storm, the windmill blew down but we did have a well and pump under the back porch which we then used for water.

In the front yard we had an oil lamp post and every night at dusk Bob Getty would ride up on his horse and light the lamp.

We had a cinder path in front of the house and an oyster shell road.

There were four house in the block from Lafayette Avenue to Prospect Avenue. Shirley - Robinson - Black and Ashe and on the other side of the road were two houses - Mackelduff and Blair and at the end of the road on Lafayette Avenue facing south was the Hutchinson house.

On the block from Prospect Avenue to Folsom Avenue there were three houses - Elders - Hayes and Jordan’s and on the other side of the road were open fields.

Prospect Masonic Lodge No. 578

The Masonic Hall from a 1925 postcard. Next to the Hall is the Methodist Church and to the far left is the elementary school.

Eleven charter members formed the Prospect Masonic Lodge in 1889.

The first meeting was held on April 22, 1889, on the second floor of Galloway Hall which still stands at 10th and Lincoln Avenues in Prospect Park.

The new group grew quickly and by early July, 1889, plans were already underway to buy ground to build a Masonic Hall.

By the time the hall was dedicated on February 19, 1890, the lodge had grown from 11 members to almost 50.

The Masons did things right. Refreshments at the dedication cost $270, a steep sum in those days for such a small group. The Masons continued to grow but ran into problems with their building in the late 1890’s. the problem was that it wasn’t their building.

Records aren’t clear, but the building belonged to William J. Calhoun of Norwood. This was the same William J. Calhoun who claimed ownership of Norwood parks and had gone to court to prove title and had lost.

The Masons leased the hall from Calhoun until 1901 when he refused to grant them a lease. Calhoun tried to sell them the hall, but members felt the price was too high.

In June 1901, they moved back to Galloway Hall, where they had first met, at a rental rate of $100 per year. For the next nine years, the Masons met at Galloway Hall and by early 1910 they were looking for property on which to build a new home.

Several sites were considered, but nothing could be agreed upon. In the meantime, Calhoun had sold the hall to a Richard A. Chambers. In May 1910, Chambers sold the hall to the Masons for $5,000 and the Masons left Galloway Hall for good.

In the mid-1950’s the Masons built an addition and bought property for a parking lot.

Prospect Lodge, No. 578
F. and A. M.
Prospect Park (Moore)
Delaware Co., Pa.
From the
Ahiman Rezon
Decisions of Grand Lodge
Cox & Mason, Printing
Moore, Del. Co., Pa.

“At a stated meeting of Prospect Lodge, No. 578, F. & A. M., held May 2nd , 1889, upon motion duly seconded, Bros., William H. Mansfield, Robert Carns and John Hayes, Jr., were appointed a Committee to draft a code of By-Laws.”

“At a stated meeting held November 7th, 1889, the report of the Committee on By-Laws, as hereto appended, was considered and unanimously adopted seriatum and as a whole, and ordered to be transmitted to the Grand Lodge for its approval. Upon motion, the committee was discharged.”

John L. Shirley

Insert Cover page and secr. Message
Page of the By-Law Book of Prospect Lodge No. 578 F. & A. M. from 1912

Prospect Park Early Business Development

An aerial view of Prospect Park about 1925. Lincoln Avenue is running top to bottom in the picture and Chester Pike, left to right. The Drain Steel Building is in the upper right hand corner. The Prospect Hill Baptist Church is in the center of the picture.

In 1878 George W. Moore opened a grain and feed store. It’s location was in what is now the Moore Station Industrial Park.

Crosby B. Black, a Chester Publisher, formed the Prospect Park Railway Company in June of 1895. The company was formed to build a trolley line between Essington and Folsom. Trolleys had already been running on Chester Pike between Darby and Chester since December, 1893. Due to an injunction of the Railroad, the line originally ran from 11th Avenue to Essington. Two 9 bench open cars were the first trolleys. Later the line was extended to the Folsom Trolley Barn at Parker Avenue in Folsom. By the early 1900’s the trolley line was called the “Annie Moore”. Where the name “Annie Moore” came from is unknown; the line was also called the “Essy Moore” as it ran from Essington to Prospect Park. The “Annie Moore” made its last run on August 14, 1938.

In the early 1900’s additional business came to Prospect Park. The Robert Craig Company, a greenhouse operation, moved part of their operation to Prospect Park in 1910. They bought land from George W. Moore at 16th and Amosland Road, now today’s Interboro High School. In 1923 the entire company was moved to Prospect Park. The company operated its business until the middle 1960’s when they sold the property to the Interboro School District.

The Drain Steel Company came to the borough in 1919. Because of freight rates, the company bought sixteen acres between 16th Avenue and the B. & O. Railroad. Ground was broken in September of 1919 and the plant began to produce steel by April 1920. The company shipped from Holmes station, its main product being ingots for ship propellers and shafts.

The former DuPont Auto Company building at 13th and Pennsylvania Avenues taken in the late 1980’s.

In June 1919, Mr. E. Paul DuPont of Delaware, formed the DuPont Auto Company. (Information on the DuPont Auto Company is still in the hands of the DuPont family and is not public record.) In 1920 he bought property on 13th Avenue. The automobile bodies were built in Springfield, Massachusetts and the engines in Prospect Park. The cars were assembled in Prospect Park. In February 1921, the entire operation was moved to Prospect Park. There were 5 types (A-E) of DuPont cars, but only 537 cars were built. The plant closed in 1923.

In 1924, Alloy Metal Wire Company of Yonkers, NY bought the plant.

Prospect Park Post Office

The American Store on Chester Pike at Lincoln Avenue. The site of the store is now an Amoco Service Station. Shown from left to right Franklin Hawke, Fred Raibley, Unknown, and Mr. McKim. This building housed the Ridleyville Post Office in 1878.

The first Post Office in the present boundaries of the borough was the Ridleyville Post Office. The Post Office was at the White Horse Tavern with Jonathon Newlin, the owner of the Tavern, as the first Postmaster. The Post Office was opened on January 29, 1859. At that time a manuscript cancellation was used, the Postmaster writing the word “cancelled”. On January 5, 1861, Thomas Goodwin, minister of the Baptist Church, took over as Postmaster until December 20, 1861, when the Post Office was abandoned.

James Reid started the Ridleyville Post Office again on September 25, 1878. Reid ran a small general store at the southwest corner of Lincoln Avenue and Chester Pike. The site is now the Amoco Gas Station. The Ridleyville Post Office ceased to exist on January 16, 1882 and the Moore Post Office took over.

George W. Moore (1845-1922)

Moore was the town’s third mayor and lived in the 1200 block of Lincoln Avenue. He was a charter member of the Fire Company, the Masons and the Methodist Church. Moore was active in early real estate development of the borough. Moore’s son, Benjamin F. Moore was the town’s ninth mayor. Benjamin was instrumental in obtaining the Moore’s Lake and Witmer Field properties for borough recreation.

George W. Moore took over as Postmaster in the office of his Grain and Feed building in today’s Moore Station Industrial Park. In his first year, Moore did $79.40 worth of business. On October 8, 1883, Mrs. Mary Dahmen took over as Postmistress. The Post Office moved to the Moore Railroad Station where Mrs. Dahmen was Station Agent and also lived there with her daughter, Alice. John C. Tullloch became Postmaster on February 12, 1890. The Post Office was moved to his General Store at 11th and Lincoln Avenue. The site is now occupied by Springfield Opticians.

Tulloch served as Postmaster for 3 -years until 1893 when Sherwood E. Poinsett, a butcher, took over. Poinsetts store stood on the east side of Lincoln Avenue close to Maryland Avenue but the exact site is not known. In 1897, John Tulloch again became Postmaster and the Post Office was moved to his store.

“The Post Office was at 11th and Lincoln in Tulloch’s Store when I remember it. You went there to send mail and to pick it up. The Post Office was in a small room at the back of the store and Miss Betty Wise handled the mail for Tulloch.”
(From an interview with Robert Robinson, August, 1976.)

This building housed the Moore Post Office when it opened in 1882. This building owned by George W. Moore, stood in today’s Moore Station Industrial Park. Shown from left to right George W. Moore, Jr., his aunt, Grace Moore, and Mr. Roach.

In September 1913, the Post Office was taken over by Clayton M. Touchstone and the Post Office moved across the street. This site is now 1100 Lincoln Avenue. Mr. Touchstone died in office and his daughter, Ada, and Robert S. Flannigan filled out Clayton Touchstone’s unexpired term.

On January 5, 1922, Thomas Kelly became Postmaster of Moores.

“When I came here in 1922 Tom Kelly was Postmaster. His wife was Assistant Postmaster and with Nan Lodge they sorted the mail. Steiny (Greignor Stein) and I covered the entire town, half in the morning and half in the afternoon.
(From an interview with Gardner Smith, December, 1976.)

For a short time in 1923, the post office was located in the firehouse while the post office was being remodeled.

The Borough Council petitioned the U.S. Postal Service to change the name in order to speed mail service and on February 1, 1923, the name was changed from the Moore Post Office to Prospect Park Post Office.

Thomas Kelly resigned on September 19, 1934, and Harry J. Conwell became Acting Postmaster. Connelly retired due to ill health on September 30, 1947, and John F. Joyce became Acting Postmaster until his appointment on April 28, 1949. On April 8, 1953, Price Dowdy became Acting Postmaster until he was officially appointed on August 3, 1953.

The current Post Office was opened in late 1953 and was remodeled in 1993 to separate the service area from the post boxes. The post box area is now open 24 hours-a-day.

The First Particular Baptist Church of the Township of Ridley

This print is the only known view of the original Baptist Church. It was taken from a June 1893 program.

A group of twelve Baptists met at the home of William Trites. Reverend Joseph H. Kennard of Blockley Church was the leader with Joseph Walker of Marcus Hook, moderator. Reverend Joseph Kennard placed Reverend William S. Hall, a 21-year-old minister, in charge of the church. The congregation grew n size rapidly and moved from the Trites home to the subscription school at what is today, 13th and Lincoln Avenue. By April 1831 plans were made to build a church. Brother William Trites gave a small plot of ground behind his house to be used for the church.

On September 20, 1832, the cornerstone was laid and in late April of 1833 the church was open for services. The church was 30 x 40 feet, made of rough stone. In 1841 horse sheds were built between the church and Springfield Road (Lincoln Avenue) for the congregation to use for their animals.

A small cemetery was added in 1838 on ground behind the church. The oldest grave in the cemetery is that of Daniel Trites, son of William, who died in November 1830, a month before the church was founded. On September 22, 1842, the church was granted a charter by the Court of Delaware County and was incorporated as “The First Particular Baptist Church of the Township of Ridley”.

Copy of Reverend Mark R. Watkinson’s letter to U.S. Treasury Department.

In October 1850, Reverend Mark R. Watkinson was invited to serve the “First Particular Baptist Church of the Township of Ridley”. Watkinson was born in New Jersey in 1824 and had not been ordained as a minister at this time. He was ordained in May 1851 and served the church until May 1853.

During his pastorate he baptized Sarah I. Griffith, who would become his wife. He was serving the First Baptist Church of Richmond, VA. When the Civil War broke out. Watkinson moved back to Ridleyville and by June of 1861 he was preaching at the First Particular Baptist Church again. He replaced Reverend Thomas Goodwin who resigned as minister of the church but stayed in Ridleyville as Postmaster.

Watkinson served the church for $5 a week as a supply minister. While serving here he wrote his “In God We Trust” letter. Where Watkinson lived at this time is not known, though he may have stayed at the White Horse Tavern with the Reverend Thomas Goodwin.


Watkinson’s letter suggested the motto “God, Liberty and Law”. Salmon P. Chase, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury acted on Watkinson’s letter by referring the matter to James B. Longer, Mint Engraver. The Treasury Department considered a number of mottos, but “In God We Trust: was chosen and first put on two-cent coins in 1864. Watkinson died in 1878 and his contribution of this phrase was largely forgotten until the 1950’s when research uncovered his role. In April 1962 a plaque was placed at the site of Watkinson’s Church, now the Prospect Hill Baptist Church on Lincoln Avenue, Prospect Park, Pennsylvania.

A parsonage was purchased from Patrick McClaskey in 1866 for $3500 and it was located approximately where Lafayette Avenue and Chester Pike meet today. It is not known where earlier ministers lived.

In the late 1860’s money was raised to build a new church.

In early 1872, the town of Ridley Park was founded by a group of railroad men who called themselves the Ridley Park Land Association. This Association, in order to spur sales, offered a number of local churches free land and money if they would move and build their churches in Ridley Park. The First Baptist Church accepted and informed the Association in May, 1872, that they would build in Ridley Park.

On May 30, 1873, ground for the new church was broken and it was dedicated on May 7, 1874. A small part of the congregation still wanted to meet in the old church in Prospect Park.

The Prospect Park church was repaired with a new roof and floors and Sunday School services were held there at 2:30 P.M., however Church services were held in Ridley Park.

By the mid-1880’s the congregation had split and on May 18, 1887, 12 members moved back to the old church and formed what is now Prospect Hill Baptist Church.

Ministers of the First Particular Baptist Church
William S. Hall 1830-31
Thomas Goodwin 1860
Robert Compton 1832-39
Mark R. Watkinson 1861-64
John P. Hall 1840-45
John W. Entrekin 1865-66
Charles C. Park 1845-47
Supply Ministers supplied by
John W. Gibbs 1848-50
Crozer Semiinary from 1867-71
Mark R. Watkinson 1850-53
Charles E. Harden 1872-74
Samuel W. Zeigler 1854-56
John R. Downer 1875-79
Isaac Gray 1857-58
Charles Deitz 1880-85

The cemetery deed issued by The First Particular Baptist Church in August, 1854, is for burial lots located at the rear of the church. The price for two lots was twenty dollars plus an additional two dollars for the digging.

Prospect Hill Baptist Church

The Prospect Hill Baptist Church, a postcard from 1913. Reverend W. S. Catlett, the church’s first pastor. The name Prospect Hill came from the original name of the area that was used in the 1820’s and 1830’s.

The old Baptist Church will hereafter be known as the Prospect Hill Baptist Church, of Ridley Township. The anniversary of the Sunday-school of this church was held on Sunday evening last. The church was beautifully embellished with flowers, and the attendance was so large that many were unable to gain admittance. Addresses were made by Wm. H. Tumbleston, Supt. Of Powelton Avenue Baptist Sunday school, West Philadelphia, and by G. W. Quick, a student at Crozer Seminary. There are 230 scholars in this school, and the average attendance during this year was 197.
(Morton Chronicle, June 2, 1887)

The Prospect Hill Baptist Church was incorporated April 3, 1888 and the congregation continued to meet in the old meeting house. In late May 1893, ground was broken for the new church.

A great concourse of people gathered on the site of the proposed new edifice of Prospect Hill Baptist Church on Tuesday, to witness the groundbreaking. The ceremonies were of a simple character, speech making and formalities having been dispensed with. After a prayer and the singing of an appropriate hymn, Mrs. Neal Duffee, who witnessed the original cornerstone laying 61 years ago, was accorded the honor of digging the first shovelful of earth, and was followed by Bethel M. Custer, Matthew Henderson, and others. A Strawberry Festival was held on the grounds by the ladies of the Church, during the day, and a handsome sum was realized for the building fund.
(Morton Chronicle, May 30, 1893)

Church services were held in the Masonic Hall until the church was finished. The cornerstone for the new church was laid on August 14, 1893.

The services attending the laying of the cornerstone of the handsome stone edifice of Prospect Hill Baptist Church, were held in the Masonic Hall at Moore’s, on Saturday afternoon last. A goodly number were in attendance notwithstanding the drizzling rain that prevailed at the time and which made it necessary to adjourn to the hall. Rev. W. S. Catlett, whose labors as pastor of the Church have been abundantly successful in promoting its spiritual and material welfare, presided over the exercises.

The congregation then proceeded to the site of the new church, where the jar was placed in position by C. H. Jacobs, of the Board of Trustees. The cornerstone was laid by the pastor, Rev. W. S. Catlett, assisted by Deacons Matthew Henderson, John Duffee, Nelson Woodward, and Bethel M. Custer. A fervent and eloquent prayer was offered by Rev. C. H. Bond, of the Second Church of the Disciples of Christ, Philadelphia, and the benediction was pronounced by Pastor Catlett.
(Morton Chronicle, August 18, 1893.)

Building problems held up the church dedication but the matters were finally cleared up and the church was dedicated on October 27, 1895.

The beautiful new stone edifice of the Prospect Hill Baptist Church was dedicated yesterday, the dedicatory sermon being preached at the morning service by Rev. H. G. Weston, D.D.L.L.D., president of Crozer Theological Seminary.

The main auditorium, which has a seating capacity of 300, was tastefully decorated with plants and flowers, as was also the adjoining Sunday School room, which has a seating capacity of about 200. These two rooms were thrown into one, by the removal of the sliding partition and were well filled with an attentive audience.

The opening hymn, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” was heartily sung by the choir and congregation, after which Dr. Weston, in the absence of Rev. G. Evans, D. D., read the scripture lesson, Acts 2nd Chapter, from the 23rd verse. Dr. Weston also offered prayer.

The dedicatory prayer was offered by the Pastor Rev. W. S. Catlett. The pastor also read a statement of the work in connection with the new edifice, the financial statistics being handed him by Charles H. Jacobs, Treasurer of the Building Committee. The actual cost was $11,500, which amount has all been paid, though it was found necessary to borrow about $5,000, which constitute the net indebtedness.

The first contribution was received on June 20, 1892, and the cash subscription to date totaled the handsome sum of $3,717.89. Materials have also been donated amounting to $1,500, and Samuel A. Crozer donated $1,000 cash. Mrs. Joseph Ward donated the pulpit furniture and a beautiful flower stand in memory of her late husband. The communion table was donated by Mrs. Jane Taylor, whose father laid the cornerstone of the old church, erected in 1832. The central window, which is a beautiful work of art, was dedicated by the congregation to the pastor, Rev. W. S. Catlett. The other large Memorial window is dedicated to Edward L. Mintzer and wife, who were killed in the terrible railroad accident at South Street, Philadelphia, some years ago. In the center of the window, near the top, is the portrait of their son, Walter, who was sitting by their side when they were so suddenly torn from him. The evening sermon was delivered by Rev. E. H. Johnston, D. D., professor of systematic Theology of Crozer Seminary. The offering during the day was exceedingly liberal and gratifying.
(Chester Times, October 28, 1895.)

An addition was built to the church in 1956.

Prospect Hill Baptist Church
Lincoln Avenue at Seventh
Prospect Park, Pa
Homer L. Trickett, Minister

MOTTO FOR 1944-1945
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.”
Philippians 4:13

Showing proposed alterations so as to provide two floors in our present Sunday school Room which now has only one, knew windows, and a new Sunday school addition.

The proposed alterations include a remodeled Sanctuary more conductive To worship, more adequate equipment for Christian Education, and a Much needed Social Hall. Let us all look forward to “Our Church Tomorrow.”

“This Church co-operates with and participates in the Program of the Northern Baptist Convention And of The Federal Council of Churches Of Christ in America.

Program from December 1, 1944 showing proposed church of tomorrow.

The interior of the Baptist Church shown above in 1912

Ministers of the Prospect Hill Baptist Church

W. S. Catlett 1888-1899
F. G. Merrell 1899-1911
William R. McNutt 1912-16
Powell H. Norton 1917-23
A. C. Cheetham 1923-24
G. A. Clark 1924-27
William Hunter 1927-37
Thomas J. Hopkins 1937-39
Homer S. Trickett 1940-49
Thomas E. Pugh 1950-52
L. Earl Jackson 1952-62
William R. Tasker 1962-81
Ken Fey 1982-88
Douglas Scalise 1989-Present

St. James Episcopal Church

St. James Episcopal Church about 1925. The building in the background is the Milo Gould Plumbing Store.

On December 16, 1906, 26 people attended an evening prayer meeting at 4 p.m. in Galloway Hall at the southwest corner of 10th and Lincoln Avenue with the Reverend M. Belknap Nash officiating.

The adherents of the Protestant Episcopal faith of the borough have formed a congregation, and all effort has been started toward the erection of a sanctuary in the borough. By a call issued last week, Services were held in Galloway Hall on Sunday, which was attended by almost a half-hundred Episcopalians, and from the interest manifested It is believed the building of an Episcopal church is not far off in the Distant future. The nearest Episcopal Church to the borough is at Ridley Park, or the mission at Essington.
(Chester Times, December 20, 1906)

St. James Church was originally constituted as a mission of the Christ Episcopal Church of Ridley Park. In late December, Reverend Francis C. Steinmetz, Rector of the Ridley Park Church, appointed Reverend M. Belknap Nash to St. James Mission.

Fund raising for the new church began almost immediately with a turkey dinner in Galloway Hall early in January 1907.

The first appeal of the newly constituted Episcopal Mission for aid from the public, met with a hearty response last evening, when a large crowd turned out to partake of the turkey supper, given by the ladies of the Mission. The interior of Galloway Hall, where the supper was held, was prettily decorated and the tables were laden with good things, the guests being waited on by a corps of able assistants. There was also a cake and fancy table, both of which were well patronized and many took away souvenirs of this. The best effort to build what is predicted to be the best Episcopal Church for the borough.
(Chester Times, January 17, 1907)

Over the next fifteen years the Mission help suppers and minstrel shows in Galloway Hall and also had lawn parties in Park Square to raise funds. On March 5, 1907, the standing board of the Episcopal Diocese in Philadelphia gave permission for the establishment of the Mission. Church service continued to be held in Galloway Hall for the next three years on the second floor of Galloway Hall where an altar on wheels was used on Sunday morning and chairs and benches would be set up for church service. By 1908, Francis C. Steinmetz was Rector, Reverend Belknap was Priest in Charge and Thomas A. Flannigan was Treasurer.

The cornerstone laying in June of 1909. The only person known is Thomas Flannigan, who lived in the 800 block of 13th Avenue, who is putting the box in the cornerstone.

In June 1909, enough money had been raised to purchase three lots at the corner of 11th and Lincoln Avenues and ground was broken at that time to start the building of a church.

On Tuesday, January 25, 1910, St. Paul’s Day, the first service was held in the new church. More than 200 people attended this service which consisted of evening prayer and confirmation.

Prospect Park’s new parish house will be dedicated this Evening, the service to be begun at 8 o’clock. The ceremony will be in charge of Bishop Jaggar, Rev. Francis M. Taitt, of St. Paul’s P. E. Church, Chester, who is dean of this county, will be present and will assist with the service. Four candidates for admission to the church will be confirmed at the conclusion of this dedication ceremonies.
(Chester Times, January 25, 1910)

In 1923, the Reverend William warren was appointed Vicar by Christ Church of Ridley Park. In October 1929, ground was broken for the present church building and rectory. In November 1929, the Reverend William Warren died and in January 1930, the Reverend Paul R. Reinhart was appointed 3rd Vicar.

In December 1944, the members of St. James Episcopal Church requested the Diocesan Convention of Philadelphia to admit the mission into full union as a parish. In May 1945, the Convention admitted St. James as an incorporated parish following its consecration by Bishop Hart. First election by the vestry was the election of Reverend Paul R. Reinhart as Rector. Father Reinhart died on May 11, 1951. He had been Vicar of St. John The Evangelist Church of Essington. Before his death, Father Reinhart had secured permission from the church and the borough to be buried on the church property. His grave can be seen today from Lincoln Avenue.

In January 1952, the Reverend K. R. Rogers was elected second Rector, and at that time additional property on 11th Avenue was purchased for future expansion. Reverend W. F. Penny was elected Rector, following the resignation of Father Kenneth Rogers. In 1962 the cornerstone was laid for the church hall dedicated to the memory of Father Reinhart. On October 1964, Reverend R. H. Hutchinson, Jr. became Rector and served until January 1972. The Reverend James R. Harkins became the fifth Rector on June 1, 1972 and in 1974, Reverend P. J. Reynierse became Rector. Father Reynierse left in 1988 and was followed by several interim rectors until Father William Duffee was elected to be the 7th Rector in 1990, and is still serving the church today.

St. James Episcopal Church about 1950

The Olivet Presbyterian Church

The Olivet Presbyterian Church original building about 1909.

A Presbyterian Church and Sunday-school will be organized in Galloway Hall, next Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock, when Reverend Dr. Mowry, of Chester, will preach.
(Morton Chronicle, October 23, 1889)

The above notice appeared in several local papers, to announce the first meeting of what is no Olivet Presbyterian Church.

A meeting was held at Galloway Hall at three o’clock Sunday Afternoon for the purpose of organizing a Presbyterian Church at Prospect Park. In spite of the inclement weather, about 50 of the residents of the Park were in attendance. After service conducted by the Rev. Dr. Mowry of Chester, assisted by the Rev. Dr. Northup of the Ridley Park Presbyterian Church, it was decided to hold Sabbath-school in the hall every Sunday afternoon at two o’clock until further notice. A collection for the benefit of the Sunday-school was taken up and the response was liberal. Mr. Story was elected Superintendent of the Sunday school. From the interest taken by those present, the success of the project is assured. John L. Galloway has been the prime mover in this matter and his effort has proved his interest in the church.
(Chester Times, Monday, October 28, 1889)

On November 3, a congregational meeting was held and two names were selected for the church-Moores and Bethany. Bethany was chosen but was later changed to Olivet when it was found that another church already had the name.

On February 4, 1890, the church was organized by the Reverend P. Mowry and Doctor H. D. Northup of Ridley Park. A President and other elders were elected by early March. On March 7, a charter was received and thirty-six people signed as charter members. In Jun of 1890, Burgess D. Holter was elected the first pastor. Services continued to be held in Galloway Hall for 15 more years.

“The entrance to Galloway Hall was on 10th Avenue and there was a wide stairway to the hall on the second floor. (The first floor was a grocery store at that time) One entered through a small room which was used as a cloak room. The hall was furnished with movable benches and some chairs. In the rear was a pot bellied stove which really provided ample heat. The primary department was located in the back (west end) and there was a room on each side of the platform, one for the choir to assemble and the other for the secretary’s room.”
(Interview with Mrs. Mary Q. Watt of Glenolden, December, 1976)

In 1903, a piece of ground was purchased from John C. Tulloch at 10th and Washington Avenues for $1200.00. At the time no houses stood between Pennsylvania Avenue and Amosland Road and a number of the congregation objected to building in the “middle of nowhere”. A location was selected at 10th and Washington Avenues so it would be half way between Prospect Park and Norwood and make it convenient for member in both communities.

Construction on the church began in 1905 and it was dedicated on Sunday, June 17, 1906.

The dedication services of the Olivet Presbyterian Church of Prospect Park were held yesterday under the most favorable circumstances. The hour for the public dedication was fixed at two O’clock. At that hour there was not a cloud in the sky, and so many took advantage of the finer weather that the edifice was taxed to its utmost to accommodate the large crowd who were present. The Services were conducted by Rev. Dr. Joseph W. Cochran, pastor of Northminister Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, who proved himself to not only be on interesting talker, but also an extremely good collector of funds, as by his persuasive talk, the sum of $624.25 was raised in a very few minutes.
(Chester Times, June 18, 1906)

The church was opened in 1906 under the pastorate of Dr. Evrit S. Boice.

“As one entered the original church there was a combined Library and secretary’s office. Back of this area was a Sunday School classroom. Sunday school and church services were held in the main room which contained a platform for the pulpit and Choir.

The Primary Room and a classroom were back of the pulpit and the basement was used for a recreation hall where various Social gatherings were held.

There were no sidewalks from the corner of 10th and Pennsylvania Avenues to the church, but wooden planks were laid and when it snowed, and there were deeper snows in those days, Dr. Boice (pastor) shoveled a path from Pennsylvania Avenue to the church.”
(Interview with Mrs. Mary Q. Watt of Glenolden, December, 1976)

Olivet Presbyterian Church
Tenth and Washington Avenues
Moores, Penna.
Cordially invites you to the
Dedication Services
March 4th to 11th
11 A. M. - Dedication Exercises, with Sermon
by Rev. D. S. Kennedy, D. D.
8 P. M. - Sermon by Prof. J. Gresham Machen
Able speakers from Philadelphia and Chester Presbyteries, including:
Rev. R. R. Littell, Rev. C. E. Bronson, D. D., Rev. A. Gordon MacLennan, D. D.,
And Rev. A. L. Lathem, D. D. Also Music by our Choir.
11 A.M. - Sermon by Rev. A. B. McCormick. 8 P.M. - Sermon by Rev. Donald Barnhouse

An invitation to the dedication of the present Olivet Presbyterian Church in 1928

A manse was purchased in April of1918 at the corner of 10th and Lafayette for $3,500. Work on a new manse began in June 1926 at 10th and Washington Avenues and it was occupied by December of the same year.

In April 1920, plans for a new church building were put into action. Beginning in 1921, funds for the present building were started. Plans were accepted and the ground breaking took place on March 6, 1927. The church was dedicated during the week of March 4 - 11, 1928.

Dedication services for the new $118,000 Olivet Presbyterian Church, Moores, Delaware County, will be held tomorrow morning. Dr. David S. Kennedy, formerly editor of the “Presbyterian” and moderator of the Synod of Pennsylvania, will preach.

Dr. J. Gresham Machen, of Princeton Theological Seminary, will preach tomorrow evening when the $13,000 organ will be dedicated. A week of special services will follow.
(Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1928)

With the growth of the congregation, additional space was needed. Ground was broken in October, 1963, for a Christian Education Building. The original church was torn down and a three level education building was built at a cost of $175,000. The corner stone was laid on September 27, 1964 and the Education Building was dedicated April 4, 1968.

Ministers of the Olivet Presbyterian Church
Burgess D. Holter 1890-1893
A. D. Moore 1893-1900
Evrit S. Boice 1902-1914
William H. Bancroft 1915-1918
John McCahan White 1918-1925
Leslie K. Richardson 1926-1952
Edward William Rodisch 1953-1978
Alfred Hayden, Jr. 1980-Present

Prospect Park Methodist Church

The original Methodist Church about 1880

Much of the early history of the church is found in a speech recorded in 1900 by its first minister.

Sometime in early 1877, two Prospect Park residents, William Harrison and Mrs. Frank Kimble, met on Lincoln Avenue and the discussion led to the start of the Methodist Church. A first meeting was held at the Kimble home. (the Kimball’s rented, but the house is believed to be still standing in the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue.)

The early meetings were prayer meetings usually held on Thursday evenings at different members’ homes. By the summer of 1878, the group had grown large enough to hold meetings in a tent by Moore’s Station. In the fall, the Methodists moved into the Norwood Schoolhouse and Harrison donated an organ for Sunday church services. Harrison also made arrangements for the group to have ministers preach on Sunday evenings. Among the supply ministers was the Reverend John H. Pike of Chester, who would later become the churches first minister.

On March 19, 1878, a meeting was held to organize a church with the help of Reverend Garbutt Read, Pastor of Kedron Methodist Church, Morton. At the same meeting a building committee was set up headed by Frank Kimble and James E. Thomas, who rented Thomas Tasker’s “Roadside Farm”. The building committee decided not to exceed $4,000 for the building of the church. The estimates, however, exceeded that amount, so the trustees decided to build the church themselves. James C. Shedwick donated four lots, #286, #287, #288 and #289. William G. Tranor sold the old subscription school on his property for $25, for the foundation. The bricks cost $6.40 per thousand. Charles L. Jordan of 6th Avenue (now 11th Avenue) and his three sons, Jacob, John and Harry, laid the bricks for $2.25 per thousand. Charles Jordan, a bricklayer, came to Prospect Park from Philadelphia in 1877. He rented a house on 6th Avenue and later built a house on 11th Avenue. He was 64 years old when he helped build the church in 1878.

The work began on September 17, 1878, and the cornerstone was laid on October 21.

Laying of the Cornerstone of the Prospect Park Methodist Church - Yesterday afternoon, the ceremony of laying the cornerstone of the new Prospect M. E. Church, now being erected at Prospect Park, Moore’s Station, on the P.W. & B.R.R., about four miles from this city, took place with interesting exercises. A large number of persons were present.

The Rev. J.W. Paxson presided, and among the clergymen who took part in the exercises were Bishop Simpson, Revs. J.W. Pike, J.C. Wood, J.F. Crouch, R. Smith, S.W. Thomas, T.T. Tasker, A.I. Hood, and G. Read.

The ceremonies commenced with the singing of the hymn “All Hail the Power Of Jesus’ Name”, followed by prayer, after which came Scriptural reading, when the choir sang “When to the Exiled Serr were Given”. An address was then made by the Rev. J.W. Paxson, followed by one by Rev. S.W. Thomas.

The ceremony of laying the cornerstone was then proceeded with Bishop Simpson officiating, who made a short address. The following articles were deposited under the cornerstone: a copy of the Holy Bible, a Hymn Book, the “Discipline”, a copy of the Minutes of the Annual Conference, a Church Almanac, a copy of The Christian Advocate and Monthly Messenger, and a list of the Trustees of the church and subscribers to the church fund. After the Cornerstone was laid, the choir sang a hymn, and an address was made by the Rev. T.T. Tasker, and the exercises closed with a benediction.

The new church will hold about 500 persons and will be 64 by 40 feet in size, the entire lot being 120 by 100 feet, and was donated by Mr. John Shedwick, of Philadelphia. The church will be built of pressed brick with rubble work elevation, and will be of Gothic Architecture. About $2000 have been collected to defray the expenses for its construction and other purposes. The Rev. Mr. G. Read, pastor of the Kedron M.E. church, about two miles from Prospect Park, will act as pastor for the present, and he will be assisted by the Rev. Mr. J.W. Pike. The church will contain a lecture room and two classrooms, which will communicate by means of folding door, thus forming a large audience room.
(Chester Times, October 22, 1878)

A severe storm wrecked part of the building and it was not dedicated until Sunday, June 1, 1879.

The new Methodist Church at Prospect Park was dedicated yesterday morning in the presence of a large number of people. Bishop Simpson, D.D. L.L.D., preached the sermon, which was an able and interesting discourse. The singing, which was highly appreciated, was conducted by the Madison Street M.E. Church Choir, and was very fine.

At three o’clock in the afternoon a service was held, upon which occasion Rev. Dr. Kynett preached a very acceptable Sermon. The attendance at this service was not so large.

Rev. S.W. Thomas preached in the evening to a large congregation. The attendance of our citizens was large, notable among whom was Congressman William Ward.

The subscription during the day amounted to $700. The church, which is located in Prospect Park, two squares from Moore’s station on the Lazaretto Road, is built of brick, 64 by 60 feet, one story high, was beautifully decorated with flowers. In the evening a large Bible was presented to the trustees by Mr. Davidson’s Sunday School class of Madison Street M.E. Church. The pastor, Mr. Pike, made the presentation speech, and was responded to by Rev. S.W. Thomas.

The services were interesting throughout, and the church start out under favorable circumstances.
(Chester Times, June 2, 1879)

Rev. John H. Pike, the first pastor, received a salary of $5 per month. In 1905, Archibald Spence, a railroad clerk, on 10th Avenue, gave his house number 837 to the church as a parsonage. The church had to pay the remaining mortgage on the property. This parsonage is still in use and was extensively remodeled in 1971. The church has been remodeled and added to many times since 1879. In 1949 the church purchased the old elementary school at 8th and Lincoln Avenue. Ten years later the school was torn down and a fellowship hall and parking lot were added at this time. In 1964-65, the church sanctuary was remodeled as it is seen today.

Ministers of the
Prospect Park Methodist Church

Rev. John H. Pike 1878-1882
Rev. George M. Broached 1882-1885
Rev. Thomas P. Newberry 1885-1887
Rev. J.K. Raymond 1887-1889
Rev. Edward E. Dixon 1889-1892
Rev. Jacob M. Hinson 1892-1895
Rev. H.C. Boudwin 1896-1899
Rev. Jonathan Dungan 1899-1903
Rev. G.W.F. Graff 1903-1904
Rev. J. Mitchell Bennetts 1904-1907
Rev. George Dungan 1907-1908
Rev. Alfred F. Taylor 1915-1918
Rev. George Paul Beck 1918-1922
Rev. Charles Daniel Broached 1922-1925
Rev. Christian H. Shirk 1925-1927
Rev. Richard B. Wells 1927-1930
Rev. O.S. Duffield 1930-1934
Rev. David W. Siegrist 1937-1935
Rev. Frank Prentzel 1935-1937
Rev. Oluf Ketels 1937-1944
Rev. Thomas R. Jeffery 1944-1946
Rev. Samuel J. Maconaghy 1946-1952
Rev. Bickley B. Wilgus 1952-1960
Rev. Maurice E. Hoover 1961-1968
Rev. Horace N. Olewiler 1969-1973
Rev. Charles M. Malin 1974-1984
Rev. Carol Miller 1984-1990
Rev. Wendy Warner 1990-Present

An original Rally Day card for the Methodist church from 1906. William S. Dowdy, who lived on Prospect Avenue, was Sunday school superintendent for over 30 years.

Prospect Methodist Episcopal Church
Thursday, June 7, 1928 8 p.m.
Charles W. Conklin, Presiding


Charles W. Conklin
Richard B. Wells

The Choirs of
Olivet Presbyterian Church
Prospect Hill Baptist Church
Prospect Methodist Episcopal Church
St. James Protestant Episcopal Church

Organ Prelude
Chorus “Unfold, Ye Portals” Gounod
Solos by Bessie Gould Touchstone
Scripture Lesson
Welcoming Remarks
1882-1885 Rev. George M. Broadhead, D.D.
1889-1892 Rev. Edward E. Dixon
Chorus “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God” Gounod
Solos by Harry D. Given
1904-1907 Rev. J. Mitchell Bennetts, D.D.
1908-1915 Rev. Alfred F. Taylor
Chorus “The Heavens are Telling Haydn
1915-1918 Rev. Charles Simpson
1918-1922 Rev. George Paul Beck
Solo Mr. Towner
1922-1925 Rev. Charles Daniel Broadhead
1925-1927 Rev. Christian H. Shirk, D.D., Ph.D.
“The Old Guard”-those present at the Dedicatory Services
In 1879-W.L. Edwards
1927- Rev. Richard B. Wells
“Hallelujah Chorus” Handel
Organ Postlude

Tomorrow, Friday evening, will be
Address by Rev. Milton Harold Nichols, D.D., of Philadelphia
Music by the Choir of Madison Street M.E. Church, Chester

Program from 1928 when the Methodist church celebrated their 50th Anniversary

Prospect Park Methodist Church about 1949.

Prospect Park Schools

The Lincoln Avenue School about 1910. The rear addition was built as a high school for Prospect Park students. This high school was in existence from 1909 to 1912.

On August 20, 1800, Lewis Morey, a farmer who owned land on12th Avenue, donated a lot 115 _ by 99 feet, approximately the southwest corner of today’s 13th and Lincoln Avenues, for people who “may think it proper to send their children to school”. Aaron Morton of Ridley Park and William Boon of Norwood were the trustees for the property. The first school was a subscription school, i.e., local people donated money to have it built. The two-room stone school in Prospect Park operated until late 1877. No records of the school exist. In 1878 the building was sold for $25, dismantled, and the stone was used for part of the basement of the Prospect Park Methodist Church.

In 1877 the Norwood schoolhouse was built by the Ridley Township School Board to accommodate both Norwood and Prospect Park students. Prospect Park students used that school, located at today’s 648 Chester Pike, until 1888 when residents petitioned the Ridley Township School Board for their own school.

The Ridley School Board has purchased six lots adjoining the Prospect M.E. Church, for $1,300, upon which it is proposed to erect a two story school building, 30 by 60 feet in dimensions, at a cost of $7,000. A committee of citizens, composed of John Mair, George W. Moore, J.L. Galloway, C. Peters and James Lodge, attended a recent meeting of the Board and suggested that an additional tax of 1-_% mills be laid to be applied to a fund for the purposed of paying for the new building. The present tax is 4 mills. The suggestion was made to prevent an increase of the school debt of the township, which is now $21,800, upon which 6 per cent interest is paid. The directors, however, decided to borrow the required $7,000.
(Morton Chronicle, June 20, 1888)

This school was for grades 1-8 and children still went to Chester or Ridley Park (after 1918) to graduate from high school.

Less than 10 years later, the school roof began to leak and now, the Prospect Park School Board was in charge, as the building had been turned over to Prospect Park in 1894 when it became a borough.

In addition to the leaky roof, the School Board had another problem: they were running out of space in the school.

No one knows who came up with the idea, but the Prospect Park School Board decided to kill two birds with one stone. Rather than put a new roof on the school, they decided to build an addition over the old one.

Contractor Jacob Buchanan of Ridley Park won the contract with a bid of $1,785.

Work began in July of 18995 and was completed by the beginning of school in September.

A Prospect Park elementary school class from about 1899.

In 1900 the Prospect Park School Board built a two-story addition to the rear of the elementary school. This wing served as a high school for about 10-12 years before is was closed.

Prospect Park Girls High School basketball team from 1912. This photo was taken on the school steps, which are still standing on Lincoln Avenue by the Methodist church’s parking lot. Shown in photo: Front row, left to right: Edith Benner, Ethel McHenry, Unknown, Kathryn C. Elva Hazel. Back Row, left to right: Ruth Butler, Anna Rounds, Isabelle McGill, Anna Armstrong, Edith Beniston.

The Washington Avenue School was built in 1924 and was enlarged several times. In 1930 it became the Prospect Park High School.

The Pennsylvania Avenue Elementary School was begun in 1939 to replace the Lincoln Avenue School. Because of World War II, the school was not finished until 1949. When the Pennsylvania Avenue school was finished, the children marched in a group to the new school. The Lincoln Avenue school building was closed and sold to the Prospect Park Methodist Church, and its former site is now the parking lot of the church.

In June 1955, the school districts of Glenolden, Norwood and Prospect Park formed a jointure, and the Interboro school system was born. As Interboro Junior High, the old Prospect Park High School was enlarged in 1958 and 1961. The Pennsylvania Avenue Elementary School was enlarged in 1963 and 1971, and again in 1994.

In 1969, Tinicum joined the Interboro school system and in 1971the state made the jointure a union.

You are cordially invited
To attend the

Commencement Exercises
of the
Prospect Park High School
On Thursday Evening
June 10, 1909
at eight o’clock

Baptist Church

Copy of Commencement Program from 1909

Prospect Park High School as seen from 10th and Washington Avenues about 1930.

The Pennsylvania Avenue School about 1949. The school was begun in 1939 by the Work Projects Administration and finished ten years later.


in honor of

of the

Masonic Hall
Prospect Park, Pa.

Tuesday, June 15, 1937
6:30 P.M.

An aerial view of Prospect Park High School taken in 1949. The circular driveway at the school’s main entrance faced Washington Avenue.

WPVI-TV 6’s famous “Captain Noah: was a former Prospect Park resident. Better known as W. Carter Merebreier, to his former neighbors and classmates, Captain Noah has begun his 27th year of broadcasting on WPVI-TV.

Our family cam to Prospect Park in 1927, when I was one year old. We lived on Madison Avenue, then Prospect Avenue and also on 13th Avenue.

I graduated from Prospect Park High School in 1944. It was the best possible of all towns in which to grow up!
(Quote from W. Carter Merebreier, 1994)

W. Carter Merebreier, “Captain Noah”

A copy of a 1942 Prospect Park High School Football Banquet Program. The high school team won the Delaware County Championship that year.

Thanksgiving Day Program, 1942
The Municipal Stadium mentioned on the cover, is known today as Witmer Field.

Prospect Park Fire Company

Lincoln Avenue looking toward Chester Pike about 1903. Eleventh Avenue is on the right, take note of the tree growing in the street. The building on the far right is the original firehouse, and the only known picture to exist. This building was rented and the second floor remodeled into meeting and social halls. There was no ramp and the early firemen had to pull the hose cart down the steps and over the curb.

Prospect Park Fire Company No. 1 was organized on March 13, 1895. The meeting was held in Prices Hall (1100 block of Lincoln Avenue) with Isaac Windle of Lafayette Avenue acting as chairman. By early April, a constitution and by-laws were being drawn up.

It was a fire on April 23, 1895 of George Bageley’s home on Caroline Avenue (today’s 700 block of 13th Avenue) that got the Prospect Park Fire Company in gear.

The fire started near the chimney on the second floor and spread rapidly. The fire spread to Mr. Seymour’s home next door and soon both houses were enveloped in flames.

The Prospect Park citizens did heroic work with buckets but the lack of water sadly handicapped their efforts. All the wells in the neighborhood were pumped dry.

The furniture from both houses was saved, but some of it was damaged by being thrown out the window.

While embers from these buildings were still aglow, W.C.B. Gilmour, James H. McFall, James Quigley, Andrew McGirr and several others were holding a curbstone conference just across the street.
(The Chester Times of April 23, 1895)

This curbside conference led to a meeting on April 30, where the fire company by-laws were quickly passed.

By the end of May, a fire engine and hook and ladder had been ordered and a decision made to install fire plugs in the borough.

By mid-June, 700 feet of hose with couplings had been purchased for 43 cents a foot. As part of the Fire Company’s fund raising, 10 children (4 girls and 6 boys) were going door to door for contributions.

By early July the fire company was well underway. On July 2, the chief engineer, Andrew McGirr, returned to the borough with a new hose carriage that cost $100. The railroad donated three ladders to the new Fire Company.

The ladies of the borough also contributed. Headed by Mrs. William Tonkin, they purchased a fire horn and presented it to the firemen on July 4, when the Fire Company held a grand parade. The highlight of the parade was the testing of the new fire hydrants and the hose carriage. By late July 1895, the firemen had ordered uniforms.

The fire company’s first home was a rented building that stood at what is now 1102 Lincoln Avenue, where they remained for about 13 years

A charter was granted to the company on June 15, 1896. The following men were charter members.

Henry Cox
Wm. B. Hutchinson
B.F. Courtwright
John L. Galloway
Harry C. Forman
Guy M. Griffiths
Andrew McGirr
John C. Tulloch
J. Henry McIntyre
John L. Stagg
Edward Boomall
David A. Orr
Isaac J. Windle
James Gardner
Wm. Calhoun, Jr.
George W. Moore
Bob Newman
Benedict L. Freund
John N. Pike
Barton A. Reardon

In 1900 a hose wagon was bought for $475 that could be either hand drawn or pulled by horses.

“There was no siren then (c. 1907) but a bell that let out a dull clang. If we had the time we would get George Moore’s of Johnny Wilde’s horse, but most of the time we would pull it by hand. There was a long rope that was pulled out with room for about 15 men to pull. One man would ride the wagon to brake it when it was needed. When we got to the fire we found the nearest source of water, a hydrant if we were lucky or just as often someone’s kitchen. Someone would hold the end of the hose while the rest of us formed a bucket brigade. We always carried 10 to 14 buckets on the wagon.”
(An interview with Robert M. Robinson, August, 1976)

In 1902 a committee was formed to look for a permanent firehouse site and a piece of ground at 10th and Lincoln Avenues was purchased from plumber Milo Gould for $1,000.

Under President Edward M. Doubelbower (1904-1911), the Fire Company began holding fairs and fundraisers to raise money for the new firehouse.

An original dress uniform hat, worn by Dr. J. Burton Haines

You are cordially invited
to be present and assist in supplying
the inner man with
the good things of this earth
Wednesday evening, May 15, 1904
seven o’clock
at the residence of the first
Edward M. Dobelbower
Thirteenth and Lincoln Avenues
Prospect Park, Pa
R. S. V. P.

One of the many fundraisers held by Edward M. Doubelbower to raise money for the firehouse

On Saturday, May 23, 1908, ground was broken for the new firehouse at 10th and Lincoln Avenues. President Doubelbower was given the honor of turning over the first spade of earth. The cornerstone was laid on July 4th. On Saturday, November 14, 1908, the new firehouse was dedicated. That day saw a combination of sun, rain and snow. Philadelphia mounted police headed the long parade. Special events were held during the daylong affair, capped by a dance at the Masonic Hall.

The original firehouse about 1920. The second floor auditorium was used to show movies for town residents from 1915 to 1927.

Jacob R. Jordan, the town’s third Mayor, dedicated the firehouse in November 1908. The Jordan’s moved to Prospect Park in 1878 and his descendants still live in town today.

Shown above is a banquet program from 1914 and on the right a copy of the cover for a song sheet.

In May 1917 the Fire Company bought a pumped and hose truck from the Garford Company of Philadelphia. This was the company’s first piece of motorized equipment.

The old firehouse eventually became too small and was torn down in 1962. On May 16, 1963, the current firehouse was dedicated.

The Fire Company in 1928 when they bought their second piece of motorized equipment, a 750 gallon LaFrance Pumper. Shown in photo left to right are: Driver Burton Jarvis, James Newell, Bob Jarvis, Gus Helwig, Herb Rankin, Unknown, Edward Hawthorne, Harry Turner, Chief, Tony Vogel, Bob Dodson, Bob Chesney.

Today’s Fire Company Members

Left to right: Jack Depew, Al Olshefski, Tony Maffei, Jack Meddenorp, Anthony DiNaple, Scott Smith, Dave Brosnan, Sr., Kurt Rossney, Paul Stow, Tom Kimble, Dan Lefferts, Jen Bell, Mike Signora, Dave Brosnan, Jr., Jim Cheezum, Mark Stroud, Mike Allen, Eric Schrieber, Jason Biddle, Dan Oliveri, Jim Simmonds, Chief Pat O’Connell, Little Pat O’Connell, George Dotts, Joe Orens, Donn Wagner, Mike Shemeluk, Little Mike Shemeluk and Greg Hume.

The Prospect Park Fire Company No. 1 in 1909. Left to right; Front Row: John Wilde, John McKim, Sr., Joseph Sargent, Unknown, Clarence Warrington, Edward Dobelbower, John Allison, James Quigley, Sr., Bill Kelly (in front of James Quigley), Benjamin Moore, Lewis A. Lynch, Joe Clark, Albert McHenry, Unknown, Unknown, Dr. Evrit S. Boice. Back Row: Unknown, Richard Norman, Clarence Dowdy, Unknown, Ted Clark, Bill Calhoun, Bill Wunderlich, John Galloway (in the straw hat), Harry Harrington, Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Dan Conner, Harry Hutchinson, Guy Griffith, Bart Reardon, Dr. J. Burton Haines, Charles Quinn, Harry Hoffman, Charles Barnes, Sr., with flag.

Prospect Park Police

Luke Conner (1875-1919) and son Winfield about 1912

Horace Callahan (1892-1940) taken in the late 1930’s. He had been a police officer for about fifteen years at the time of his death.

A police committee was set up in May of 1894 to hire police for the borough. In June 1894, the committee reported to the borough council that they “highly recommended Mr. B. A. Fox as he is the only applicant whose duties it shall be to patrol the streets of the borough between the hours of 11 P.M. and sunrise”.
(From Prospect Park Council minutes for June 1894)

Officer Fox started his job on July 1, 1894 and received a salary of $40 a month. His duties also included attending to the town’s street lamps.

By late 1894 a “lock-up” had been built at a cost of $145. The site of the “lock-up” is now the Prospect Park Post Office on 11th Avenue. Fox was paid an additional $1 a month to keep the jail clean. In 1895, the police force was expanded to two officers.

“I remember James Gardner would come to my father’s house to pick up his gun and belt when he started his shift. He would come just before 11 P.M. to see my father John Allison, Sr., who was head of the police committee.”
(An interview with Vera Allison Moore, 1978)

Copy of letter from Chief Burgess Galloway informing John Allison that the police must keep the lamps in order and lit on time!

For several decades Police continued to patrol Prospect Park on foot. As more and more cars came into use, directing traffic without the aid of stop lights and stop signs made police work a sometimes dangerous occupation. One of the early police officers who directed traffic was Luke Conner. Luke’s brother Dan lived in Prospect Park and Luke moved here in 1918 from Bloomsburg. In January of 1919 he was appointed a special policeman by Mayor Evrit Boice and made permanent in June.

On October 7, 1919, while directing traffic at Lincoln Avenue, a car driven by John McClure, a prominent politician from Chester, struck Connor. McClure took Connor to Taylor Hospital, where he died from his injuries early the next morning. Records show that he was 44 years old and left a wife and six children.

By the 1930’s, the police department had acquired its first patrol car. However, the main daytime job of the officers was to serve as crossing guards for the local school children. One well-known officer who served many years at the crossing of 9th and Lincoln Avenues was Horace Callahan. In 1940 he was struck and killed by a drunken driver while directing traffic around a three-car accident in Ridley Park.

In 1955, the Police Department acquired a second car, and the total force was one chief and four patrolmen. In the early 1960’s full time crossing guards replaced the police at the streets where they were still being used.

Today the police department consists of Chief Ron Mills, who followed the late William Young, a sergeant and seven patrolmen. Patrolman Nichols was shot in the line of duty several years ago and the incident was featured in a nationwide television show “911”.

Today’s Police Force

Front Row: (left to right) John Saddic, William R. Nichols, Philip Coffin, Edmund Kienzle. Back Row: (left to right) Sgt. Paul A. McCandless, Harold Hooveler, Chief Ronald D. Mills, David Disands, Clifford Engel. Not shown: Mary Kay Cunningham, Police Secretary.

Years Gone By….

Photo above shows Lincoln Avenue above Darby Creek Bridge in June 1921. Today’s C.C. & F.F. Keesler Co. would be on the right.

Photo below is looking north on Lincoln Avenue at the Darby Creek Bridge about 1925. This bridge was originally a drawbridge.

The Prospect Park Library

The original home of the Library in 1923. Mrs. Edith Barritt had the Library in her home, on the northeast corner of 9th and Lafayette Avenues until the library was built on Maryland Avenue.

The Women’s Civic Club (founded in 1921) reviewed 10 books at their meeting on February 14, 1923. The books could be loaned to Civic Club members. These 10 books were the nucleus of the Library. The 10 books can still be seen in a case at the library.

By October 1923, five members of the Woman’s Civic Club net with a state Librarian to organize a library. Those five women were: Mrs. J. Willard Barritt, Mrs. Edith Flanningan, Mrs. Lillian A. Butler, Mrs. J. Burton Haines and Mrs. Victor A. Debes.

A meeting was held with borough citizens on November 14, 1923, asking their approval and a week later officers were elected. Mrs. Edith Flanningan, President; Mrs. Samuel Boots, Librarian; Mrs. Lillian Butler, Assistant Librarian. Donations of books by borough residents followed and on March 28, 1024, the library opened with more than 600 books. The Library’s first home was n the home of Mrs. J. Willard Barritt, 1003 Lafayette Avenue. The house is now gone and the site is the Continental Bank parking lot.

The Library quickly grew too large for Mrs. Barritt’s home and plans were made to build a Library on borough property on Maryland Avenue. The new Library was dedicated on November 4, 1926.

The original library building on Maryland Avenue shown in a photo from the 1940’s

The Library had become too small by the 1940’s and plans were made to make the proposed Library a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Second World War. A sum of $20,000 was raised and ground was broken in 1948.

The above copy is from literature, from the building committee, given to every borough residence about the new library.

The new Library was dedicated Memorial Day 1949 and dedicated to those who made the supreme sacrifice in World War II.

They were:
Howard W. Anthony
Leland J. Johnson
Sidney J. Axson
William S. Levan
Kenneth P. Bluzard
John J. Mansure
Gilbert G. Edgar
Harry C. Mason, Jr.
Donald F. English
Joseph F. Miller
Joseph Gormley
Edward C. Roberts, Jr.
David H. Griffith
Walter J. Subers
Richard D. Huss
George T. Turner
Robert Hutchinson
Alfred D. Wilson

Copy of dedication program from 1949.

The police station and Borough Office were added on to each side of the Library in 1964. Mr. Bob Cicconi is President of the Library and Amy Strauss is Head Librarian.

Prospect Park Library before additions were added to each side.

Fourth of July Association

The original Park Pavilion from a 1907 postcard. West Park Square can be seen in the background.

Impromptu July 4th celebrations were held in Park Square in the 1880’s. in 1889, John L. Galloway donated money to have a first pavilion built for the event. In the 1890’s a small group of Prospect Park men formed a Fourth of July celebration committee.

“The Fourth of July back then (c. 1900) was an all-day affair. There was no parade but a band would be in Park Square all day. There would be booths in Park Square with cake, candy and ice cream for sale. A baseball game would be held in the afternoon and races would be held in the morning at Butler and Allen’s. (9th Ave. and East Park Square.) the girls would have a skipping rope contest, egg race and a 50-yard dash. The boys would have a broad jump, 50 and 100 yards dashes and potato races as well as a high jump. E. Manlove Smith, a Civil War veteran, would give a patriotic speech. During the twenties, thirties and fortes, Benjamin F. Moore gave the speech. Fireworks would be held in the evening in the Park at 10th and Park Square and that would top off the day.”
(From an interview with R.M. Robinson of 15th Avenue, August, 1976)

The Fourth of July Association Committee in 1904. Shown from left to right, Top Row: John L. Galloway, George Jarvis, Charles Barnes, Charles Ferguson, Arthur Kyner, Mr. Tatem E. Werlin, Frank Dodson, Joseph Sargent. Middle Row: Dr. Evrit S. Boice, Mr. Doyle, Howard Carlisle, Charles W. Conklin, Jacob R. Jordan, Rev. F. Merrill, Dave Magill, Archie T. Richards, Benjamin F. Moore, Harry Hoffman, Daniel P. Conner, Gilbert Conner. Bottom Row: Mr. Hutman, Edward R. Galloway, Walter Snowden, Sidwell Conklin, B. Pepper, William E. Calhoun, James Quigley, Ralph Scotney, August A. Miller. On Ground: Sam Sill, Clarence Lodge.

By the early 1900’s the committee had evolved into the Fourth of July Association and became a permanent part of the borough. After the Fourth of July celebration in 1909, some money was left over and it was decided to engage the Chester City Band for $60 per Saturday for the rest of the summer. A subsidiary organization was established and called the “Prospect Park Open Air Musical Association”.

July 4th program 1906
Pavilion at Park Square about 1925. This building was built in 1914 at a cost of $2,000, to replace the original.

The town was canvassed for $1 and $2 donations. By 1910, each major town organization, including the four churches, the Fire Company, the Home and School League and the Athletic Association sponsored a Saturday night band concert.

“Lawn parties were held in Park Square featuring a dinner before the concert and each organization, on their night, had waitresses to serve the dinner. The organization had different booths with cake, ice cram, etc. on sale. The concerts began about 7:00 P.M. and benches and chairs were set up for people who wanted to sit. If you didn’t want to sit, couples could be seen walking back and forth through the park. People would come from miles around and these Saturday night concerts were considered the social event of the week.”
(From an interview with Mary W. Watt of Glenolden, December 1976)

The Musical Association Concerts began the Saturday night after the Fourth of July and continued until the last Saturday of August. These Saturday night concerts lasted until 1929, when cars, radios and the depression put an end to them. In the 1930’s the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fire Company took over the Fourth of July Association. While the Fire Company was trying to locate a new site for a FireHouse, they met with opposition and decided to drop the Fourth of July Association. A new Fourth of July Association was chartered in the early 1960’s.

Annual Report from Association, 1914.

The Pavilion about 1925, this view is from 9th Avenue and shows the trellis work that was set up for special occasions. The small pavilion just to the right of center was used by the Fourth of July Association to sell refreshments. It was torn down in the 1940’s.

Fourth of July celebrations also featured special plays and skits. The above photo was probably taken in 1919, after the First World War. The title of this Tableau was called “Army and Navy Forever”. Left to right are: Wes Dowdy, Ethel McHenry and Mr. Benner.

Samples of Musical Association programs.

Prospect Park Termites

The first team of the Prospect Park Termites in 1948, shown left to right. Top Row: Gene Fegely, Assistant Coach, Leo Cerenzia, Frank Witmer, Head Coach, Fred Touchstone, Bill Worrell, Janet Reis, Cheerleader, Peggy Witmer, Trainer, Joe Mayo, Audrey Schartner, Cheerleader. Middle Row: Clem Calder, Wayne Schartner, Bill Patterson, Harold Taylor, Tom Hawke, and Lawton Howard. Bottom Row: Bob Calder, Marvin Adams, Bill Bradford, John Van Wyk, Mike Murtaugh, Joe Clark. On the ground: Alan Finlayson, Charles Lowe.

In September 1948, Frank P. Witmer, Jr. invited about 25 boys (age 12-13 years) into his backyard at 738 Pennsylvania Avenue to play football. The group had been playing in front of his house and Frank Witmer decided to teach the boys as well as give them a place to play. At the time Prospect Park High School had no Junior High football team and plenty of boys came to the Witmer house to play. Bob Moffatt, then coach of football at Prospect Park High School, heard of Witmer’s team and lent them equipment for practice. The team was named the “Termites” due to a termite problem in the Witmer garage. At that time “it just seemed to fit the team” (From an interview with Frank P. Witmer, Jr., 1977). The Termites played three games in 1948 and won all three. The Termites increased their schedule each year until by 1951 they were playing 11 games a season.

The Termites were invited to the Coatesville Steel Bowl in 1952 and won the title by playing two games in 1 day. They beat Coatesville and York. York won the National Championship in 1951. The Delco Boys Football Conference was formed in 1953 and the Termites won championships n 1952, 1962 and 1964 and the divisional title in 1965. The Termites had fundraisers, a tag day and a yearly banquet beginning in 1955 when jackets and trophies were awarded. The Termites continued to practice in Witmer’s backyard through 1967. In 1968 the Bert Bell Conference offered membership and the Termites joined, but had to split their team in two (95 and 115 pounds). In 1968 they left Witmer’s backyard to practice at the Municipal Field and on a lot at 11th and Madison owned by Leo Crenza, coach of the 95-lb. team.

On March 31, 1968, Frank P. Witmer was honored at a testimonial dinner at Widener College’s MacMorland Center. Over 300 people attended the affair. In honor of his outstanding contribution to the boys of Prospect Park, the borough officially renamed Municipal Field, The Frank P. Witmer, Jr. Athletic Field.

Today the Termites have teams playing 135 lb., 115 lb., 95 lb., 75 lb. and their own cheerleading squad.

In April 1950, Frank Witmer formed a baseball team from the Prospect Park Explorer Post #100. Witmer was in charge of the post at the time.

The post played in the Tri-Boro League (14-15 years) in 1950. The team issued uniforms and was sponsored by local businessmen. They joined the Eastern Delaware County Senior League in 1951. The team lasted until 1966 when it dissolved because of lack of players.

The first baseball team of the Prospect Park Explorers in 1950. Shown from left to right, Top Row: Fran Witmer, Manager, Frank Conner, Ted Pleibel, and Bill Adams. Middle Row: Marvin Adams, Bill Conner, Lawton Howard, and John Van Wyk. On Ground: Jack Waly, Bill Bradford, Bill Patterson.

Prospect Park Boys Club

The Prospect Park Boys Club dates back to the early 1920’s when Bill Kelly and other men tried to get a club going. The Boys Club was chartered in 1940, but nothing permanent ever came from this organization.

In 1967, almost 30 years later, another Boys Club was formed. James F. Brockson, who came to Prospect Park in 1966, noticed the empty Municipal Field and its lack of use.

In the spring of 1967, Brockson talked to Dick Smalls (committeeman at the time) and asked for names of men who would be interested in organizing a club. Jim Brockson then contacted 4 men who were interested in the project. They were Johnny Pfander, George Mosser, Dick Waite and Nick Kendro. The 4 men held a meeting at the Brockson house where they discussed rules and set up regulations as a guideline for the club.

The first year they started with baseball. There were 4 teams that played intramurals against each other. Later in 1968, after the Prospect Park organization joined the East Delaware County Boys Club League, the teams were set up into three basic teams according to age. They were Stan Musial for ages 13-15, Ritchie Ashburn for ages 10-11, and Robin Roberts for ages 8-9. The Boys Club then took over the former high school building at Witmer Field which the men of the Boys Club remodeled.

In 1967 a Woman’s Auxiliary was formed with Mrs. George Mosser acting as President. The group quickly began to organize fund drives such as 20-20 raffles and a dress club to help finance the club.

Basketball was added in 1968. The intramural games were held at the Interboro Junior High School gym. Also added that year was intramural bowling which is held at the Ridley Bowl Lanes in Holmes.

During the 1970’s, with the addition of so many girls into the sports program, the Boys Club became known as the Prospect Park Youth Club. Today the youth club covers such sports as baseball, tee-ball, softball, basketball, soccer and bowling.

Prospect Park Centennial

As submitted by Charlotte V. Saunders

As part of the journey to its centennial, Prospect Park was a vital part of the national bicentennial during 1975-1976. Charlotte V. Saunders was appointed Chairman of the Prospect Park Bicentennial Program. A committee was formed and the community began a two-year involvement with history.

As a member of the Interboro Bicentennial Committee, Prospect Park was part of the Wake Up America Relay Ride in April of 1975, with “Paul Revere” and one of the largest parades in Delaware County’s history. The night before the parade, in keeping with the National Opening of the Bicentennial, Interboro High School was the scene of many Colonial crafts and a standing room only program by the children. The first Ecumenical Chorus in the Interboro District was formed, linking the four communities in a united effort to celebrate pride in America and faith in the future through the children.

Children at work in the Saunders’ backyard. Shown left to right standing: Tammy Doonan, Michelle Saunders, Elizabeth Kennedy, and Kim Carter. Kneeling: Bob Biondy, John Klein, Art Namoli, and Sam Gentile.

As with the Western Day and the Christmas in the Park program, the children were the hub of all celebrations. From the Colonial dinner at the John Morton Homestead to the western barbecue for the National Wagon Train celebration, the community broke bread as brothers and sisters of their homeland with reflections of how it used to be.

Mayor William P. McConnell portrayed Caesar Rodney at the Homestead as part of Prospect Park’s participation in one of the major programs of the state of Delaware. On another occasion, thirteen descendants of John Morton were guests at the site commemorating his involvement in the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Under the direction of David Lewis, the children of the Pennsylvania Avenue Elementary School took part in the building of a full-scale Conestoga wagon in the backyard of the Saunders’ home. Its purpose was to carry over 2000 National Rededication Scrolls bearing the signatures of citizens throughout Delaware County to Valley Forge. There, they were placed with other collected along the seven routes of the National Bicentennial Wagon Train. Denver Chipps, who had the Ridley Creek State Park stables, brought his horses and for four days Prospect Park was part of this outstanding program which culminated in the Fall of 1976. An important note: The Prospect Park Conestoga Wagon, representing Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was one of only two privately constructed wagons allowed to camp with the official State wagons at Valley Forge. At the reviewing stand, it came thundering through to a cheering crowd.

Prospect Park stand second to none in pride for the quality and enthusiasm of its part in this symbolic rededication of Americans to America.

The former Manor Theatre that stood in the 500 block of Chester Pike. The Theatre opened in 1929 and was destroyed by fire in May of 1969. These pictures were taken at the time it opened.

Lincoln Avenue looking from the railroad bridge about 1909. Notice the real estate sign on the left, advertising lots for $150. and the tree growing in the street at 11th and Lincoln Avenues on the right.

Lincoln Avenue just north of Chester Pike in June of 1921. Judge Pearson built the building on the left in the 1830’s. This hill originally was much steeper and was called Prospect Hill in the 1820’s. It was from this hill that the town got its name.

Lincoln Avenue about 1920.

Chester Pike at Lincoln Avenue in 1920, looking toward Norwood. This staged photo of a car paying a toll was taken shortly before the state bought Chester Pike in June 1921. Before the state purchased Chester Pike, it was a toll road with 6 tollbooths between Chester and Darby.

Lincoln Avenue above 4th Avenue looking northeast toward Norwood in 1921.

The winter of 1900 at 9th and Prospect Avenues, from west Park Square. The house, 819 Prospect Avenue, on the left was built in 1887 by Captain Benjamin Allen, a State Mariner. Allen’s brother-in -law, William S. Dowdy, lived across the street in the house on the right.

Moores Lake Park about 1949 when it actually was a lake. Town residents persuaded the borough council to buy this property in June 1921, after several residents paid $500 for an option to buy the land.

The 700 block of 10th Avenue looking toward Pennsylvania Avenue about 1910.

East Park Square between 9th and 10th Avenues. Frank and Mary Butler, whose descendants lived there for 100 years, bought the house on the right in 1881. Howard Carlisle, who helped found Prospect’s first Boy Scout troop, owned the house on the left facing 10th Avenue. Carlisle was active in local real estate and Carlisle Avenue is named for him.

As shown on these maps from 1892, one side of Kedron Avenue (Lincoln Avenue) was known as Prospect Park and the other Moore.

~ Site Map ~