~ Some History of Ridley Park ~
Isaac Hinckley was president of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. He had the idea to start Ridley Park and hoped to create a Main Line like the one started by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1860s. Hinckley put up the original money to buy the farmland. He formed the Ridley Park Association (RPA) in late 1870, and it was chartered on May 26, 1871. Hinckley never lived in Ridley Park as had most of the other Ridley Park Association members. The Association members were friends and business associate of Hinckley. The members came from as far away as Massachusetts and Maryland. Hinckley died in 1888.
THE HISTORY OF RIDLEY PARK
Isaac Hinckley (1815-1888) had the vision to create Ridley Park. Hinckley, born in Massachusetts, was involve in several corporations and became President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad in 1865. In 1870, the railroad decided to build a new route for the railroad from Philadelphia to Chester. The old line along the Delaware River was leased to the Reading Railroad. The new route would be called the Dar by Improvement and cut through both Ridley and Darby Townships in Delaware County. Hinckley originally planned to build his new town in Sharon Hill, but after buying one farm, area farmers refused to sell Hinckley any more property. Hinckley then decided to build his town in Ridley Township. Hinckley sent Darby lawyer, William D. Serrill, to buy the farms and to avoid any problems like the ones that had occurred in Sharon Hill. On July 14, 1870, Serrill went to Ridley Township to purchase farms.
The Park Association was not formed at that time. I was purchasing under the direction of Isaac Hinckley and Nathaniel Thayer. The morning I left to purchase these farms I took a witness, Richard Thatcher. It was very vital that we should buy these farms in a day. WILLIAM D. SERRILL.
Serrill requested me to go with him. He wanted me as a witness. Charles Hornes property was bought first. Then Joseph Burks, Jesse Duttons and Joseph Wards. these were all the purchases we made that day. RICHARD THATCHER- From Court testimony, Serrill vs. Burk, State Supreme Court of Penna. 1875.
The terms of the agreement: $50.00 down, two thirds cash in sixty days and the remaining one third bond and mortgage secured on the premises payable in one year.
The Joseph Ward farm about 1940. The site is now Brian Court Apartments, 17 Chester Pike. The Ridley Park Seminary was held here in the late 1880s. the Seminary was a private school run by Agnes Taylor.
JOSEPH WARD FARM
This farm house stood on Chester Pike on the site of todays Brian Court Apartments, 17 Chester Pike. Benjamin Kerns built the house about 1793. In April 1796 he sold the property to Jacob Painter who operated the building as a tavern, the Wheat Sheaf. The Wheat Sheaf operated as a tavern until 1832 when stage coaches ceased running on Chester Pike. The tavern was purchased in 1824 by Edward Horne. He died in 1844 and his heirs sold the property to Joseph Ward in 1846. Ward sold the 20 acre farm to the RPA for $20,000.00. The farmhouse was torn down in 1961.
The Dutton Farmhouse about 1871. This farmhouse became the headquarters for the Ridley Park Association. Known as White Hall, it was completely refurbished. Robert Morris Copeland lived here for awhile. This was the site of Ridley Parks first post office.
JESSE DUTTON FARM
The farm house stood at the southeast corner of Sellers and Swarthmore Avenues. The farm house was built about 1750 by Hans Torton. The property was in the Torton family and their descendants for almost 200 years. In 1845, Thomas Horne, of Springfield, bought the farm from the Job Terrill estate. In 1853, Thomas died and his daughter Emily, wife of Jesse Dutton, inherited the property. The Duttons sold the 42-acre farm with two roads to the RPA for $19,000. The Duttons moved to Upper Chichester Township where they purchased property. The Dutton farmhouses became the headquarters of the RPA. The house was torn down about 1970. The last owner to occupy the house was Mrs. Bassett Ferguson.
RIDLEY PARK HOTEL & DUTTON HOUSE
The Ridley Park Hotel, and the Dutton House at Ridley Park, which is under the same management, have been well filled this season. Already many applications have been made to the leasees who have leased the house for another year for rooms for next season. We have no doubt that next season they will reap the benefits of the efficient management of this season which has increased the reputation of this popular place.
DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN - September 3, 1895. The Charles Horne farm about 1862. The Ridley Park Association rented the farmhouse to various people. The house was destroyed by fire about 1895.
CHARLES HORNE FARM
The largest farm in Ridley Park, it consisted of 133 acres. The brick farm house was built in 1764 by John Morton and his wife Ann on the site of the log cabin where he was born. Morton was living here when he signed the Declaration of Independence and he died here on April 1, 1777. The farm remained in the Morton family until 1830 when Thomas Horne, of Springfield, bought the property. Thomas died in 1853 and the property passed to his son Charles. In 1870 Charles sold the 133-acre farm for $28,000.00 to RPA. The farm house stood about 150 yards south of the State Historical Marker on East Ridley Avenue.
The Henderson Homestead about 1886. Left to right Nettie Henderson, Lillian Henderson, Annie Henderson (seated), Sherman Henderson, Eva Henderson, Bertha Henderson, Matthew Henderson (seated), Victor Henderson and Walter Henderson.
MATTHEW HENDERSON FARM
Matthew Henderson, Sr., bought his farm in 1845 from the John Deshong estate. The farm consisted of about 120 acres on both sides of Chester Pike. Matthew, Sr., died in 1856 and his property was divided among his children in 1860. Matthew, Jr. took 37 acres on the north side of Chester Pike and built a house about 1862. The house stood where Comerford Avenue meets Chester Pike. In 1870, Matthew sold his land, except for 6 acres, to the RPA for $19,500.00. About 1920 the house burned down.
GEORGE FREE and ABRAHAM WARD FARMS
George Free and Abraham Ward Farms. No pictures could be found of these two farms. George and Louisa Free bought their farm in 1866 from William Horne. They sold the entire farm of forty acres to the Ridley Park Association for $14,000. The house itself stood close to the intersection of Dupont & Free Streets.
Abraham Ward and his wife Mary inherited their property from Marys father, George Trainor, in 1845. The house stood about where 425 Hillside Road is today. The Wards sold their fifty-one acre farm to the RPA on October 23, 1871, for $20,000.00.
William Maddock (1820-1884) and his home. The house built in 1856 by William was torn down about 19503 the house itself stood about where 321 Holland Street is today.
WILLIAM W. MADDOCK FARM
William W. Maddock was born in Ridley Township about 1820, he died in 1884. He bought his fathers farm in February, 1844 and lived there all his life. On March 25, 1872, he sold fifty-seven acres to the RPA, keeping six acres for himself. Maddock was one of the founders of the Ridley Park Presbyterian Church. His descendants lived on the farm until it was sold in 1925.
The Henderson home in 19940 when it was the home of John V. Mershon, D.D.S. Robert Henderson (1821-1882) and his wife Mary McCormick Henderson (1828-1880) about 1870. Hendersons children developed the farm in the mid-1880s.
ROBERT D. HENDERSON FARM
This northwest corner of Chester Pike and McCormick Avenue. The farmhouse was built about 1795 by Caleb Davis. In 1806, Davis sold the property to John Newbold. Newbold was one of the founders of the Delaware County National Bank (now PNB). Newbold failed on his mortgage and in 1829 the property was sold at sheriff sale. By 1845, James McCormick was the owner. At his death, the property passed to his daughter Mary, wife of Robert D. Henderson. Henderson sold 12 acres of his farm to the RPA for $11,500.00.
EDMUND Stewart (1838-1906) built his brick homestead, Hill top in 1875. The house, known as the Stewart Mansion, at 126 Chester Pike, was torn down in 1974 to widen Stewart Lane (now Stewart Avenue) to provide access to I-95.
EDMUND STEWART FARM In 1867, Edmund and Mary Caldwell Stewart bought 69 acres of land in what was then Ridley Township. Their property extended from Stewart Lane to Sellers Avenue along Chester Pike (then called the Plank Road) and down to the River Road. Their first home was a farmhouse at the end of Stewart Lane on the dairy farm. In 1871, they sold 6 acres along Chester Pike to the RPA for $8,248.00. In 1875, they moved into their new home, Hill Top, at the corner of Chester Pike and Stewart Lane. Edmund owned 60 boathouses on Darby Creek, which he rented for the summer to people from Philadelphia. In 1924, the majority of the remaining acreage was sold to Baldwin Locomotive Works, and much of that ground is now owned by Boeing-Vertol. Edmunds son Isaac and his family were the second generation of Stewarts to live in Hill Top. Edmunds grandson, D. Caldwell Stewart, was a Borough Councilman in the 1930s. Edmunds great-granddaughter still lives in Ridley Park.
Edward Burk and his wife, Anna, about 1880. Burk Avenue is named for him. Burk was in the cattle business and the intersection of Burk Avenue and Chester Pike was known as Burks Bend, about 120 years ago.
EDWARD BURK FARM This brick farm house stood about 200 feet east of Burk Avenue and Comerford Avenue. The house was built in the 1750s by the Hendrickson family. The Hendricksons sold the farm to John Morton in 1771. At Mortons death the farm passed to his son, Sketchley. The house was said to have been a tavern called The Plow in the 1760s and 1770s. John S. Morton, Johns grandson, moved to Morton, PA., about 1826 and in 1841 he sold the farm to Edward Burks. After his death December 28, 1898, the farm passed to his four daughters. Sarah the last daughter died in 1935 and shortly afterwards the property was developed as Brandywine Farms. The RPA did not purchase this farm.
The William Tranor farm about 1871. The date stone of 1670 is missing in the picture, it was actually built much later. This farmhouse now owned by the Joseph Frantz family is the only one left in town.
WILLIAM G. TRANOR FARM
This stone farmhouse on Ridley Park Lake is the only one still standing. The date stone of 1670 is wrong. The house was built about 1780 by Andrew Hamilton. George Jordan bought the farm in 1791 and sold it to David Tranor (he signed Trenor) in 1802. Tranor built the north section of the house about 1806. David died in 1831 and the property passed to his son George in February 1835. The property was divided by Georges two children in 1845, William G. taking 50 acres and Mary, wife of Abraham Ward, taking the other half. William Tranor sold his property for $20,000.00 to the RPA. William Tranor moved to Prospect Park where his family lived until 1931.
NOTE: Spelled - Trenor and Trainor. Documents, at the Delaware County Courthouse show that William spelled his name Tranor without the i.
RIDLEY PARK - The Ridley Park Association has recently purchased from David Henderson twelve acres of ground, containing a superior quality of stone, for which they paid $11,500. Nearly one thousand dollars per acre. These neighboring farmers who sold their lands a few months since at four hundred dollars per acre, and were immensely delighted to get that price, are now debating the propriety of committing hari-kari. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN - September 15, 1871
Serrill added three more farms on October 23, 1871. Isaac Hinckley began selling shares to business associates in the early fall of 1870. On May 26, 1871, the Ridley Park Association was incorporated by an act of the State Assembly of Pennsylvania with about $240,000 in capital stock. By this time, Hinckley had acquired about 8 business partners.
SAMUEL M. FELTON
Born in Massachusetts in 1809, he graduated from Harvard in1834 as a civil engineer. He worked on several railroads and became president of the PWB R.R in 1851. Felton retired as president in 1865 and joined the RPA as president in 1871. He resigned as president in April, 1884 and died in 1889.
Born in Lancaster, Mass., in 1808, he was established in the mercantile business in Boston by the late 1850s. Thayer became wealthy and gave money to various institutions, especially Harvard College. A Charter Member of the RPA, he died in March, 1883.
HENRY S. RUSSELL
Born in 1838, he was a colonel in the Mass. 5th Calvary during the Civil War. Russell joined the RPA early, probably at the suggestion of his friend, Nathaniel Thayer. Russell lived in Boston, Mass., where he served as both Police and Fire Commissioner in the late 19th Century. He died in Boston in 1905.
Born in York County, Pa., in 1810, he went into the timber business in Port Deposit, Maryland. He was a personal friend of Cresswell and was involved in several banks with him. He was a director of the PWB R.R. and joined the RPA in 1870. Tome died in 1898and left his estate to the Tome Institute, a private school still in existence outside Rising Sun, Maryland.
JOHN A.J. CRESSWELL
Born in Port Deposit, Maryland in 1828, he was Assistant Adjutant Representatives in the 1860s. He was appointed Postmaster General by President Grant in March, 1869. He became a member of the RPA in 1872. He resigned as Postmaster General in 1874 and died in 1878.
Born April 6, 1808 in Long Island, New York, Harlan became involved in the shipbuilding business in Wilmington, Del. By the 1850s, he had his own company. A Director of the PWB R.R. in the 1870s, he was a Charter Member of the RPA in 1871. While on vacation in Austria, he died in 1878.
JOHN AND WILLIAM SELLERS
The brothers were both early investors in the RPA. Both were born in Upper Darby and were involved in the family firm of Bancroft & Sellers, a textile firm. William was President of the Franklin Institute and invented the standard system for screws and nuts, which is still in use. William was director of the PWB R.R. for many years. William was born in 1824 and John, in 1826. Both died in the early part of this century.
Besides the above-mentioned gentlemen, the names of Lindley Smythe, William Smith, William Helm, R.H. Sanborn, and W.W. Nevin of Philadelphia, are mentioned as early members of the Ridley Park Association. These men did not stay in the Association long and very little is known about them. Nathaniel Thayer, a businessman from Boston, suggested landscape architect, Robert Morris Copeland, to develop and lay out the town of Ridley Park. Copeland, hired as General Supervisor, brought with him 27-year-old Theophilus P. Chandler, a protégé and upcoming building architect. Chandler (1846-1928) designed both Crum Lynne and Ridley Park stations, Christ Church and several homes in Ridley Park.
ROBERT MORRIS COPELAND
Born in Roxbury, Mass., on December 11, 1832, Copeland graduated from Harvard Collage with honors in 1851. By 1853, he was established as a landscape gardener and one year later he was winning prizes for estate design from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Copeland published Country Life, a handbook of landscape gardening, in 1859. He enlisted in the Army in 1861 and became a major attached to the Massachusetts Adjutant Generals Office. He was dishonorably discharged in 1863, but that discharge was revoked in 1870. Copeland worked on various projects in the Massachusetts area and in early 1871 he came to Ridley Park, probably at the suggestion of Nathaniel Thayer, Boston businessman and RPA member. Copeland worked for 3 years laying out streets and landscaping in Ridley Park. Copeland was elected a Justice of the Peace and was Ridley Parks first Postmaster. In mid-March, 1874, he suffered an accident while working in Ridley Park, breaking an arm. The arm became infected and he returned to Massachusetts, where he died April 10, 1874.
THEOPHILUS PARSONS CHANDLER
Theophilus Parsons Chandler (1845-1928), was involved with the RPA from the beginning. He was a protégé of Robert Morris Copeland. He married Sophia Dupont and built a small house for himself and his new bride on Tranor Street overlooking the lake. The house was torn down in the 1930s. The Ridley Park train station, probably taken during the summer of 1872. This photograph was taken by T.P. Chandler, the architect. The station burned to the ground in late 1880 and was rebuilt on a smaller scale. The station allegedly cost $10,000 to build and was built in the middle of the bridge so that no town resident would have to walk further than the other.
THE NEW STATION AT RIDLEY PARK - Under the supervision of able and experienced gentlemen in their professions, whatever work has been done at this new villa, has been well done. The new passenger station, now in course of erection, will not be an exception. It is being built after the designs of Theophilus P. Chandler, Jr., architect, of Boston. It is situated on Sellers Avenue, and in consequence of the railroad running through a deep cut, it was found more convenient to place the station above it, and to make it a part of the Avenue bridge, than to place it on one side of the cut. The station itself is carried on three iron trusses, with a span of sixty-five feet. On the North side is the Avenue bridge fifty feet wide, it is carried on four iron trusses of the same span, and on the South side a passage-way nine feet wide supported by other trusses. This gives access by carriages to the station at each end and on the bridge side of the building, while the passageway gives a walk from end to end and connects with both platforms by ample covered steps. The building itself is twenty-seven by seventy-five feet, and is divided into ladies and gentlemens rooms, with dressing and baggage rooms, ticket and telegraph offices, complete. From each end of the station baggage will be raised and lowered to the platforms below by powerful elevators. The interior will be lined with ash, and will have an open timber roof, former windows, with stained glass, will add to its charms. The exterior, walls, cornice and roof, will be covered with slate of different colors, and the floor timbers exposed to sparks from the engine will be protected by iron, thus forming a fire-roof structure. The roof will be surmounted by a graceful tower, the upper portion of which will be of galvanized iron, and will be used as a smoke flue, while the lower portion will be used for ventilation and a bell turret. The outer trusses will be of decorated iron work. The station will be built in the most solid and approved manner. The abutments will be of Port Deposit granite. The iron trusses are being constructed by Clark, Reeves, & Co., bridge builders, Phoenixville, and the station will be erected by Williams & McNichol, builders, Philadelphia. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN - 6-21-1872
Panoramic view of Ridley Lake probably taken in early 1874. Above on the left is the home of Henry F. Kenney and just to the right is West Ridley Avenue. The springhouse in the center belongs to the Tranor Farm. In the picture below the Kenney house is on the right. On the left is the Tranor barn and in the middle is the Tranor farmhouse. The building directly behind the farmhouse is the home of Theophilus P. Chandler under construction.
The Jesse Dutton house about 1875 when it was the headquarters for the RPA. The farmhouse was totally remodeled by Robert Morris Copeland and it was the home of Ridley Parks first post office. The Dutton House was also rented out to various groups and visitors to the Park would stay here during the summer.
The Ridley Park Hotel in the spring of 1873, the year that it opened. The Hotel stood at what is now 100 Swarthmore Avenue before Felton Street was cut through. The present home at 100 Swarthmore Avenue was built by William G. Halkett.
Ridley Park in the summer 1873. The view from Hinckley and Swarthmore Avenues, looking south toward Chester Pike. On the left is the farm of Jesse Dutton, then the headquarters for the RPA, and on the right is the newly-built Ridley Park Hotel. The circle in the center was in the intersection of Hinckley and Swarthmore Avenues and was removed in the 1930s.
The Charles W. Moore Milk and Cream wagon, was a popular sight around Ridley Park in the early part of this century.
RIDLEY PARK - We are indebted to Mr. Earnest W. Bowditch, Topographical Engineer, for a lithograph copy of a plan of the suburban town of Ridley Park, near this city, now being built upon and beautified by a company of gentlemen, who will make it the most lovely place for private residences in our state. On this plan are marked the spots set apart for public grounds, fountains, fish ponds, bridges, etc., all of which show that a master hand has been employed in the work. Accompanying the plan is a lithograph of the new railroad station at the Park, which is superior in beauty and capacity to any on the line of the P.W. and B. road. THE REPUBLICAN - MAY 24, 1872
The home of Sidney T. Fuller. The first home built in Ridley Park. The house stood in the 300 block of Crum Lynne Road and the carriage house on the right was torn down in the late 1970s. Fuller bought the first piece of property when Ridley Park opened for sales in February, 1873. The house was torn down in the 1930s.
Copeland began working on Ridley Park in July of 1871. Copeland laid out the streets and planted trees and shrubs. He also created Ridley Lake, then known as Crum Lynne. (Crum for Crum Creek and Lynne for lake or waterfall.)
The Ridley Park Association itself was busy making changes. the Association completely renovated the Jesse Dutton Farmhouse at the southeast corner of Sellers and Swarthmore Avenues. Once renovated, the former farmhouse became the headquarters for the Land Association. The Dutton House as it was called became home for visitors and the home of Ridley Parks first post office. The Association built the Ridley Park Hotel across Swarthmore Avenue from their headquarters. The Hotel, built of brick, was designed by noted Philadelphia architect Frank Furness. The Hotel was rented by summer visitors and was also used as a local meeting place. The Association built about 10 small cottages to be rented for summer vacations.
Mr. Robert Morris Copeland is the landscape gardener, and his distribution of tress, evergreens, shrubs and flowers shows that he fully understands the work that has been entrusted to him. An extensive hotel has been constructed, which is now receiving the finishing touches, and several costly private residences are being built. The distance of the new town will be about twenty minutes ride from the centre of trade in Philadelphia which will make it convenient for business men who prefer a country home surrounded by pure air, to that of a pent-up city with its tainted atmosphere. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN, May 12, 1872
After working in Ridley Park for a year and a half, the Association sold its first piece of ground in early 1873. On February 3rd, Sidney T. Fuller, civil engineer for the railroad, bought the first piece of property. He built a house almost immediately at todays Gilbert Road and Crum Lynne Road.
Ridley Park still moves on in the march of improvement. Numerous lots have been sold to be built upon within a year; several new buildings are about contracted for; Ridley Baptist Church has been contracted for and must be finished within a year. An Episcopal and a Presbyterian Church are to be built and the lots for them have been chosen. The buildings will be commenced very soon.
Mr. Jordan, from Bryn Mawr, has bought the old Joseph Ward house and the lots on which it stands, he is busy remodeling and modernizing it previous to his occupying it. This is a sign of the times - from Bryn Mawr to Ridley Park.
The Ridley Park House has now been opened for the season by Mrs. M.E. Hoopes. We wish her all success; everyone knows the difficulty of getting a new house into good running order, but her known energy and administrative ability will soon set everything and everybody in their right place and make all work smoothly and pleasantly. Her guests will find the house convenient and comfortable, the culinary arrangements perfect and their hostess cheerful, obliging and attentive and its pleasant situation renders it a desirable summer resort.
A livery stable has also been established, to be conducted by a Chester man.
For some weeks there has been Presbyterian service in the Ridley Park Depot; service is announced for Sunday at 3 P.M..; when the Rev. Dr. Edwards, of Wilmington, will preach. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN - July 1873
DAVID R.B. NEVIN
The home of David R.B. Nevin, Civil War Major, who moved to Ridley Park in 1874. The home, formerly 111 Swarthmore Avenue, was torn down last year. Nevin was an editor for a Philadelphia newspaper and also wrote Continental Sketches, published in 1876. A founder of the Presbyterian Church, he moved to Trenton, N.J., in the late 1890s. the last owner of the house was Mrs. Carolyn Downes, the founder of the Child Study Club and a former member of the Ridley Park School Board.
NOAH L. JEFFERIES
The Jefferies Hetzel home, formerly at the Southeast corner of Hinckley and Swarthmore Avenues, was built by John Buchanan for lawyer and retired General Noah L. Jefferies in 1880. The house was one of the grandest in Ridley Parks early days. The Jefferies later moved to Boston and the house was owned for many years by George C. Hetzel. The house was torn down about 1969. Jefferies, a founder of Christ church, is pictured on the right.
The Ridley Park Building and Loan Association was chartered May 21, 1873. The Association lent money to people who wanted to build in Ridley Park. The charter was amended in August, 1875.
1.) Building material transported, free of charge, for 5 years.
2.) Free train ticket for 2 years for a house built costing $3,000.00 or over within 5 years.
RIDLEY PARK BUILDING ASSOCIATION - This association was formally organized, on Tuesday evening last, by the election of R. Morris Copeland as President, John Smith, Secretary, and Mr. Fuller, Treasurer. Directors - H.F. Kenney, Mr. Frazer, R.M. Copeland, J. Allen, Jesse W. Noble, J. Frank Black, H.L. Donaldson, Samuel Bottomley and Joseph M. Smiley. Seven hundred shares were taken and the association start with fair prospects of success. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN, May 26, 1873
In 1873, the first year of real estate sales, the Association only made sales to 8 people. The next year, they only sold 2. In spite of this, T.P. Chandler was busy designing a combination store and office for Robert Morris Copeland. He also designed the Episcopal Church., the David R.B. Nevin home at 111 Swarthmore Avenue, and the Charles Tartter home at 308 W. Ridley Avenue. Chandler built a house for his new bride on property her father, Henry DuPont, had purchased. Their house was built in early 1873.
RIDLEY PARK BUILDING ASSOCIATION - This association organized with seven hundred shares, which number is being increased considerably, and it promises to be a successful one. The location is improving the inhabitants (old residents or newcomers) seem to interest themselves in it to insure its success. The principles on which these associations are conducted in Chester and elsewhere, are prved by experience to be sound and people do not look on them with the suspicion that they are swindles, hence the success in this new one. Ridley is alive to the importance of introducing such institutions as this into our midst, and the public men in our township take an active part in its management. It will help the working classes by encouraging saving habits, and enabling them to own a house and perhaps a piece of land, which otherwise they never could do; or if they do not want a house, it is a saving fund giving good interest for their deposits. Your Ridley readers who have not taken stock should do so at once, as it is difficult to make up arrears of payments, especially in working men, who have regular monthly or weekly pay.
The Ridley Baptist Church is nearly ready for the floor joists, and the corner-stone will be laid July 3rd, at 2:30 P.M.
Presbyterian service is held in the depot every Sunday at 3 P.M.; a Chester clergyman preached last Sunday.
The Ridley Park House is now open, and is nearly full of guests, who enjoy the cool river breezes so pleasant after the close warm air of the city, roaming about under the shady trees, or boating on the lake, enjoying the pleasures of country life to the full, and yet only thirty minutes from the hum and bustle of city life; but such is life in the nineteenth century, running at railroad speed all the time, getting ten times the enjoyment our forefathers had, even though our sorrows are also greater, as the poet hath said it What is life without alloy, For fear and sorrow, fan the fire of joy. STOIC DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN June, 1873
A real estate panic in late 1873 was responsible for the poor sales in Ridley Park. For the first three years of Ridley Park, articles appeared in the Delaware County Republican signed by STOIC. STOIC is believed to have been Robert Morris Copeland, writing in the paper for free publicity for his new town. The column below is from September 27, 1873.
RIDLEY PARK NOTES - Ridley Baptist Church, at the Park, will soon be ready for the roof. Major Nevin now occupies his stone mansion. Several dwellings are now building for sale on the old McCoach property, fronting on the turnpike.
On Monday the sun shone brightly and many people came to Ridley Park to the sale; some came to buy, others came to see the proposed town, and many came to enjoy the excursion; the association with their usual liberality issuing free excursion tickets.
The panic in the money market made the sale a partial failure. The financial storm had not subsided and people were not prepared to invest until they know their status in the financial world. However, the lots sold realized prices fully equal we believe to the prices which had been asked for them at private sale. If the association should decide to have another sale, and it should happen at a more propitious time than at a financial crisis, you will most likely have to chronicle it as a thorough success, which this sale would probably have been but for the money panic.
Ridley Park about 1885, a view from Ward and Cresswell Streets. (Left to right) The railroad station, Wards Hall on Hinckley Avenue, the rear of the Baptist Church and the home of builder David Harper on East Ridley Avenue. Directly behind Harpers home, the tall building is the home of Noah L. Jefferies at Hinckley and Swarthmore Avenues. The dirt path in the foreground is Ward Street.
On Tuesday, a party of twenty to twenty-five arrived by the evening train from Philadelphia, marshaled themselves in close order at the depot, with their banner, NOT waving in the wind, but the banner-staff bearing aloft a transparency highly illuminated, having a device and legend known only by the initiated; and thus, with Chinese lanters and torches lighting their way, accompanied by the delicious strains of a band improvised for the occasion, they marched to the dwelling of our new townsman, C.L. Tartter as a surprise party. Though a surprise, they were heartily welcomed, their genial host apparently entering fully into the spirit of the affair, and treating them hospitably.
September 27, 1873 (Continued) the Ridley Park Building Association held its fourth meeting on Tuesday evening, and sold a loan of $1,200 at 27 _ premium. It was a question with some faint-hearted stockholders, after organizing, but before getting their charter, whether the assoiciation should go on with the small number of shares then paid in. The decision to go on has proved to be the right one, for the shares issued are nearly three times as many as at that meeting, and the stockholders are sanguine of more than doubling this number before another meeting. To ensure the success of any enterprise, the work must be left entirely on the shoulders of the officers, but the individuals interested must take hold and help it on. This is what the members of the association are doing, and the result is an active body, every one working for the good of the company, remembering that it is founded on the true republican principle - self-government being the basis, and an equal division of profits among the stockholders, the result.
The column disappeared in early 1874, after Copeland died.
Copeland remained busy with developing and landscaping throughout 1873. The greenhouse where Copeland grew his plants and shrubs stood on the site of todays 7-11. Copeland suffered a fall in early March of 1874. He broke his arm in the fall and it became infected, and he returned to Massachusetts where he died on April 16, 1874, at age 43.
From 1875 through 1880, only 26 people bought property in Ridley Park. After Copeland died, his assistant, Scottish-born John Smith, filled in as Supervisor. Smith had been working under Copeland since 1872.
The Crum Lynne railroad Station, about 1922. Built in 1873, it was torn down in 1936. The man in the picture is Station Master Cuesta McConnell. He later was Station Master of Ridley Park Station.
GOOD SELECTION - The Board of Managers have chosen John Smith - who was the late Mr. Copelands principal assistant for the last two and a half years - Superintendent of Ridley Park. Mr. Smith is an intelligent practical man, and will render satisfaction to those interested in still further adorning and beautifying that already lovely place. The choice could not have fallen upon one more deserving or better qualified for the task he has assumed.
Charles Ladomus, of Chester, became the engineer and surveyor for the Ridley Park Association and changed much of Copelands original plan. Only the center of town stayed the way Copeland planned it. In spite of these setbacks, the Ridley Park Association still managed to rent out the Hotel, the Dutton House, and the 10 cottages that they had built. They also had special parties and excursions to Ridley Park to attract property buyers.
A PLEASANT ENTERTAINMENT AT RIDLEY PARK - A gay assemblage of both sexes met at the new hotel at Ridley Park on Tuesday evening last, on the occasion of Constantine Carpenters floral soiree. A special train from Philadelphia brought one hundred and fifty ladies and gentlemen, who were accompanied by excellent music. The arrival of the company at the Park was announced by a display of fireworks and the party was welcomed by the music of the Morton Band. The avenues leading to the house, the handsome railroad station, and the hotel and its surroundings were brilliantly illuminated with Chinese lanterns, giving the whole place the appearance of a fairy grotto. The rooms were tastefully decorated with flowers and flags and the music of canary birds was prominent. Dancing commenced at a reasonable hour, and was continued, almost without intermission, until the small hours of the morning. The arrangements were in admirable hands, and the success of the entertainment has established Ridley Park as the only place for quiet, uninterrupted social enjoyment within a reasonable distance of Philadelphia. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN - May 7, 1874
RIDLEY PARK - All the dwellings at Ridley Park are occupied and others are to be erected this summer by Philadelphians who wish their families to leave the hurry and bustle of the city and enjoy a quiet and peaceable life. A store has been opened by R. Fraser, who will deal in groceries, flour, lime, coal, sand, etc. He should succeed as the location is very central, being close to the Rail Road Station, and in a thickly settled neighborhood. The old Trainor house beside Crum Lynne Lake, has been opened as an ice cream saloon and cigar depot. It may be appropriately called the Lake House. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN - May 29, 1874
In mid-1875, the RPA lost an important court case. The case, Burk vs. Serrill, involved the ownership of Joseph & Rebecca Burks farm. Joseph had agreed to sell the farm in 1870, but his wife Rebecca refused to sign the deed. The RPA took the Burks to court and won their case in the lower courts. The Burks appealed to the State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and won the case and were able to keep their farm. This loss virtually cut Ridley Park in half. The Burk farm covered both sides of Morton Avenue, the entire length of the Borough. The Burks began selling their farm as building lots about 1885.
Joseph Burk (1835-1886) and Rebecca Burk (1835-1917). The Burk home at 15 Dutton Street, about 1900. Left to right, Lillian B. Meeser, Spencer Meeser, Carol Meeser, Rebecca Burk, Anna B. Torbert, and Will Torbert.
JOSEPH BURK FARM
The farm house was built about 1760 by Daniel Torton. Torton gave the property to his sister Mary, wife of Daniel Morton. In July, 1823, Aaron T. Morton bought the farm. Aaron, a grandson of John Morton, died in 1840 and in 1848 Edward Burk, a farmer who lived next door, bought Aarons farm. Edward gave the property to his son Joseph in 1867. In July, 1870, the RPA had Joseph sign a contract to sell his farm. Josephs wife Rebecca was not at home during the signing of the contract. Rebecca refused to sign the contract and the RPA took the Burk family to court. The Burks lost the case and appealed the decision. The suit was dismissed in 1874 and the Burk family kept their property. The Burks tore down the stone farm house and rebuilt it in the late 1870s. the house at 15 Dutton Street was purchased by Dr. Taylor in 1909 and was torn down in 1972 to make room for the expansion of Taylor Hospital.
The home of Mrs. Lillian Meeser was built about 1892. She was a relative of Joseph Burk, who owned the property. This picture was taken about the time it was built. The house, now 108 Morton Avenue, originally faced East Hinckley Avenue. The front lawn in this picture is now the site of the Gaslight and Thomas Hoyle Insurance Co. on East Hinckley Avenue.
View of East Ridley Avenue and the Ridley Park Baptist Church from Swarthmore and Hinckley Avenues. This view was probably taken during the blizzard of 1888.
RIDLEY PARK will have a good floral display this season, if the present appearance of the Associations greenhouse is any criterion. For the last two years the Association has rented the houses and purchased from the tenant the plants and flowers required on their grounds, but this year they have charge of their own establishment. Judging from indications when we recently visited the greenhouse, Mr. Smith, Superintendent of the Park, seems to understand the culture of flowers quite as well as he does the varied and often difficult duties he has to perform as the Overseer of this new town, though with his usual modesty he gives the credit to the attendant who is not a professional gardener, but who is attentive, has no crochets to follow like many old gardeners and therefore obeys orders. On leaving, Mr. Smith presented us with a very handsome bouquet, for which he has our thanks.
The Park Hotel is now open, and is fast filling up with summer guests. B.H. Bartol will occupy his new house about the end of the month, and Mr. Harry Bartol will reside in the Sellers mansion during the summer.
Col. Jones ahs removed from Linwood to the Park and occupies the house on Trainor Street, overlooking Crum Lynne Lake. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN - 3/3/1876
This country setting, the home of Thomas B. Partridge, was taken during the summer if 1886 shortly after the house was built. The house, now 118 Chester Pike, is an 8-unit apartment building at the southeast corner of Chester Pike and Partridge Avenues. The ground between it and Stewart Avenue was part of the lawn of the Stewart home, Hill Top.
Grasmere, the home of Henry F. Kenney, on Trainor Street at W. Ridley Avenue. Built in 1874 by Kenney, the house was torn down about 1920. Of all the members of the Ridley Park Association, Kenney was the only one to live in town full-time.
HENRY F. KENNEY
Kenney was born in Mass., in 1830. He became superintendent of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad about 1870. Kenney was one of the first to build in Ridley Park, coming here in 1873. He helped build both the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches with his donations of monies and material. Kenney was active in every aspect of Ridley Park in its early days and he donated thousands of dollars to every cause from crushed stone for the streets to land for the parks. Kenney served as the towns first mayor from 1888 to 1897. He moved back to Philadelphia where he died January 10, 1908. His daughter Nellie was active in the Presbyterian Church and was one of the founders of the Ridley Park Womens Club.
INTERVIEW WITH FRANK KANE
Chester Times - 1925 When we first came here, continued the genial borough official, Ridley Park was still a part of Ridley Township, and the village had a population of probably five hundred. There was no gas or electricity, the streets were lighted with a few coal oil lamps, and when we went to the station at night, we took a lantern along. We had but two stores then: one kept by William Ward; the other, by Deakyne and Pennypacker. The post office in those early days was kept in what was then Harrisons drug store. There was no public water supply, the residents being compelled to depend on old-fashioned wells. Sewers were unknown. We had no fire company and fires in those days were scarce. When the fire company did come, the early equipment consisted of a two-reeled hose reel and hose. Trolley cars were unknown, but we had excellent train service, largely due to the fact that H.F. Kenney, superintendent of the railroad, was a leading citizen of the town.
An election was held in Ward Hall on Tuesday, February 3, 1888, and Henry F. Kenney was appointed Mayor. The following were elected Councilmen: Joseph Ward, Theodore Kremer, John Buchanan, Charles Darrach, George W. March and Francis E. Harrison.
On March 5, 1888, the group met in the lecture room of the Presbyterian Church to organize. The first purchase was to buy a table the Councils use not to exceed $12.00. The first ordinance brought up before council prohibited the building of outhouses and stable fronting on main street.
In September, the Council moved to the front room of John C. Tullochs new store (now Langguths, 15 E. Hinckley Ave.) for $100.00 a year rent.
Charles Deakynes Ridley Park Market, now 15 Hinckley Avenue, is today Langguths Gift Shop. It was here that the Methodist Church, the Fire Company and Borough Council met in the early days of Ridley Park. Built in early 1888 by John C. Tulloch, the sign in the middle can still be seen from the street.
Ward Street and Cresswell Street about 1912. The Borough Hall is on the right. The Phone Exchange, now 101 Ward Street, is the present office of Dr. Callahan and on the left is the Barnstormers building.
By 1891, plans were under way to build a firehouse and Borough office at Ward & Tome Streets. The builder was Charles J. Urban of Norwood. The Borough Hall was opened in October, 1981. Behind the Borough Hall was the wooden water tower of the Ridley Park Cold Springs Water Company. The company, formed in 1889, provided water to the town. Water was pumped from the lake to the tower and the residents then used force pumps to fill the cisterns in their homes. This water company, headed by William Sellers, later became part of the Springfield Water Company.
In the early 1890s, Ridley Park had become a popular place to visit for the summer and winter. A cricket club and baseball team were formed, and the lake was a popular place for boating in the summer and skating in the winter.
On Thursday, March 26, 1896, at 1:00 A.M. the town hall burned down. Plans were made to immediately build a new town hall at a cost not to exceed $3,500.00. The Borough paid $400.00 for a lot, and the plans of Rankin & Kellogg were chosen with John V. Meckert as builder.
The building was finished by early October and formally dedicated, Tuesday, October 20, 1896, at the regular Council meeting. George Hetzel & Council President H. Sawyer gave speeches and refreshments were provided by Rankin & Meckert. On Thursday, October 22nd , the fire company was formally housed in the new town hall. The Borough Hall was remodeled in 1953-54 and the enclosed stairway on the west side was built. When the fire company moved into their present headquarters in 1975, their old quarters were turned into a community room for the town, which was dedicated October 3, 1981.
In 1898, the Ridley Golf Club was organized, with Henry F. Kenney as President and George C. Hetzel as Vice President. The club used all the property owned by the RPA west of Ridley Lake, where only a few houses had been built. The club built a clubhouse and laid out a 9-hole golf course. People from the area and Philadelphia would use the golf course, which closed in 1914, and the property was developed.
We (the caddies) would meet the golfers at Crum Lynne Station when the train came in on Saturday morning. All of us know who the good tippers were and there was always a scramble to get them. We would carry their clubs from the station up to the club house and the first tee was right in front. The golfers would usually play the course twice, a total of 18 holes. I would usually get 25c, and, if I was lucky, a nickel tip. Interview with Earl Deppich, September 1985.
The Ridley Park Golf Club House about 1910. Built about 1900 as a clubhouse for club members. It did not have a 19th hole. The clubhouse, now a private residence, stands at 214 W. Ridley Avenue. In 1900, Ridley Parks population was 1200 people. By this time, those who desired could have electricity in their homes, and the Springfield Water Company was now supplying the town. The Ridley Park Hotel was torn down in 1904, but the Borough continued to be a popular place to come and visit. The Chestnut Grove Inn, on Morton Avenue at Russell Street, was a popular resort with tennis courts, etc. The lake had become a very popular spot with boats for rent and a horse path around it. In the winter, special trains brought skaters to town, and oil lamps were placed around the lake for light.
The town continued to grow slowly and Council busied itself opening new streets. The RPA still owned about three-quarters of the towns unsold land. All of the original members were gone, except Henry F. Kenney, who lived long enough to see his town grow from a few houses to a Borough of 1800 people. Henry Fletcher Kenney died in January, 1908.
When the golf course was discontinued in 1914, the western side of Ridley Lake was opened for development. In 1919, the last large tract of RPA land, the property east of Stony Creek, was opened for sales. The streets (Hinkson, Bartlett, Stiles, Johnson, Kane and Comerford) were named for members of Borough Council.
In 1913, Ridley Park was the host for the State Firemens Convention. This view was taken from the front of Borough Hall, looking toward Ridley Avenue. On the right hand side, behind the trees, is the Baptist Church and in the center of the picture in the distance is the Railroad Station.
The 1920s brought a renewed period of growth to the Park. Such men as James Gallagher, car dealer; Charles Hopkins, piano manufacturer; Frank C. Wallace, publisher and president of the Chester Times (now Delaware County Daily Times); William I. McCarter, Assistant District Attorney; and Thomas Allison, High Sheriff of Delaware County, moved here. By 1930, the towns population had doubled to 3,600 in just twenty years.
The depression brought a halt to building in Ridley Park, but by the late 1940s and early 1950s the last developments in town were constructed. The Ridley Park Association sold its last property in the 1920s. None of the members ever saw the money return from their investments, only a town they could be proud of. The population today is around 8,000.
The first school built in Ridley Township in 1800, it now stands at 313 W. Chester Pike. The school was used until about 1870, when the Leiperville public school was built. This one-room schoolhouse was then taken over by the Stowe Family and their descendants owned it until a few years ago.
RIDLEY PARK SCHOOLS
The first school in what is now Ridley Park Borough was built in 1800. The school was a subscription school built by area farmers who donated money to have the school built to educate their children. The ground was donated by Caleb Davis and the school opened October 20, 1800. Jacob Fenton, of Dartmouth College, was the first teacher. This school served all of Ridley Township form 15 students in 1804 to 68 in 1805. Teachers came and went and in 1834 this school, with two others, was used to form the Ridley Township School District.
About 1870, the subscription school closed and local children attended the newly built Leiperville School, now 1124 Chester Pike.
With the start of Ridley Park in 1873, its first school opened in 1877 at the northwest corner of Sellers Avenue and Chester Pike. The school, run by John & Hannah Wilson, was a boarding school for girls and boys and for those who attended as day students. The Wilson School was thought to have been of high school caliber. It closed about 1884.
In September of 1882, Agnes J. Taylor opened the Ridley Park Seminary, at the home of her father William Curtis Taylor. The site of the school is now Brian Court Apartments, 17 W. Chester Pike. An addition was built on the east side of the home for school purposed. The school was a grade school but also offered some college preparatory courses. Agness sister Carrie also helped with the teaching at the school.
An advertisement for the school from about 1885;
RIDLEY PARK SEMINARY FOR BOARDING AND DAY PUPILS
The school building is situated in beautiful and shady grounds near the railroad station, and within half an hours ride of Philadelphia. The fine scenery and healthful air of this place combine to make it one of the most attractive sites for a boarding school. The studies include all the English branches, and Latin, French, German, Music, Drawing and Embroidery. One special feature of our method of instruction is that each student receives such individual attention as will enable him to advance as rapidly as his ability will admit. Every means is taken for the happiness and moral invigoration of all member of the school. Lectures are given statedly on literary and scientific subjects. There are n Ridley Park three churches, Episcopal, Presbyterian and Baptist, and pupils are required to attend some place of worship. The school year is divided into two terms with the usual holidays.
For particulars apply to
MISS C.J. TAYLOR,
Delaware Co., Pa.
The school closed about 1895 and shortly afterward, William Curtis Taylor and his family moved to Washington State.
Residents of Ridley Park could either send their children to Ridley Township Public Schools, the Norwood School (noew 646 Chester Pike, Norwood), or the Leiperville School (now 1124 Chester Pike.) the population of Ridley Park was increasing and residents wanted their own school. On June 5, 1885, the Ridley Township School District purchased Lot-559 and parts of Lot-558 and -560. Construction was started immediately and the Ridley Park Public School opened in January, 1886. It was built on Tome Street between Park and Barker Streets.
The following is an interview with Nellie Sample in 1938. Miss Sample was a teacher in the new school the day it opened.
It was a two and one-half story building, the first story stone and the second story was dark red brick set in black mortar. The building was trimmed with stone. It contained many large windows which added greatly to its appearance. The halls were wide, and there was a beautiful open stairway. The building was heated by steam and equipped with electric lights. When completed, it was one of the most beautiful elementary school buildings in this section of Pennsylvania.
The new school contained two finished school rooms and a finished classroom on the first floor, and two unfinished school rooms and a finished classroom on the second floor.
The pupils turned out in such large numbers on the opening day early in January, 1886, that there was not enough seats for all the pupils. Many of the small children were compelled to sit on the narrow platforms that had been built for use at the blackboards. More seats were added in a very few days, and each pupil then had a seat.
There were three grades of pupils in the school - Grammar grades made up of boys and girls from all parts of the township, and Secondary grades and Primary grads made up of pupils who lived in Ridley Park.
Miss Anna M. Worrell of Springfield, Delaware County, was appointed principal and had charge of the Grammar grades in her room.
On the opening day, a pleasant surprise awaited teachers and pupils. When they arrived at the school, they found every window in the two school rooms to be used filled with large pots of rare plants in full bloom, the blooms on the different plants being of many different colors.
These plants, which remained beautiful for many weeks, were donated by Joseph Edward Burk, a member of the School Board and Chairman of the school. Teachers and pupils greatly appreciated Mr. Burks kind thought and generosity.
The School Board in charge of the new school was composed of six members: Joseph Edward Burk, John L. Hays, Theodore F. Kreeger, Sr., Benjamin F. Measey, Thomas C. Hutchinson, and Jacob R. Sample.
The school sessions began at quarter of nine and dismissed at quarter of two with an intermission of a half hour, 12:00 to 12:30, for lunch.
Graduating Class from Tome Street School about 1900. The people are unknown.
A beautiful upright piano stood in Anna M. Worrells room. Every morning there was Assembly in both rooms and the large windows between the two rooms on these occasions were raised. Boys, as well as girls, joined in the singing. Two of their favorites were Auld Lang Syne and Where is Now The Merry Party. They sang hymns, many of which they sang in Church and Sunday School.
In June, 1888, seven months after Ridley Park Borough was incorporated, the Ridley Park School District was formed. On June 4, 1888, the first meeting of the School Board was held at the Tome Street School. Henry C. Keyes was elected President, William Curtis Taylor, Vice President & Secretary, and Richard S. Pomeroy, Secretary.
By 1909, the population growth forced the Board to add four classrooms to the school. In 1915, residents petitioned the School Board for their own Junior and Senior High School.
In February, 1916, a five acre site at Dupont Street, Free Street and Trainor Avenue was bought for $5,000. Construction was begun in late spring, 1916, and completed in 1917. The school opened in September and was formally dedicated January 21, 1918.
Before the high school was built, students desiring a high school education usually went to Chester High School. The new Ridley Park High School attracted students from as far away as Colwyn and Marcus Hook. During the 1930s, almost half of the enrollment was from outside Ridley Park.
Around 1913 a kindergarten was established on Stewart Lane by Mrs. Ethel Partington. Mrs. Partington was known for walking to the home of each student and in a parade fashion would walk the entire group to and from classes each day. Another kindergarten was started about 1920 by Miss Anna Worrell in her home on the northwest corner of Swarthmore Avenue and Chester Pike. Miss Worrell was later replaced by Miss Beatrice Smith. The school district built a kindergarten on Tome Street and invited Miss Smith to head it. The kindergarten opened in December, 1930. The price was $22,000.
In 1927, a separate gymnasium was constructed, however it burned to the ground on June 3, 1929. The gymnasium was rebuilt, this time, attached to the high school in 1930. It was dedicated March 3, 1930.
On June 14, 1940, the interior of the high school was destroyed by fire. The building was totally renovated and many changes were made in the original floor plan. A new wing was added at this time. The wing contained four new classrooms, two on the first floor and two on the second floor, added between the gym and the high school, formerly connected by a hallway.
In the fall of 1940, while the school was being rebuilt, students utilized the churches, Barnstormers, and other buildings in town for classrooms. The bell outside the Borough Hall was rung for the changing of class periods.
In August, 1944, six acres were purchased from the E.K. Nelson Estate. This property, which adjoined the high school, was turned into a football field and named Cornog Field in honor of William L. Doc Cornog who was a teacher and athletic director in the district for 29 years.
The Charles Flounders home when it was the kindergarten for Ridley Park School District. This view from Trainor Street was taken about 1960.
In the early 1950s, the Tome Street School became overcrowded due to the baby boom. The remainder of the Nelson Estate was purchased by the School District in October, 1953. The Estate, then owned by Mr. & Mrs. Charles Flounders, was purchased for $30,000. The property consisted of a mansion built in 1904 and about four acres. The mansion was converted into a kindergarten at a cost of $15,000, that opened on February 1, 1954.
The Flounders home, which housed the kindergarten, was torn down in 1964. The Lakeview Elementary School was built and opened in the fall of 1965. Tome Street School closed that year and was torn down shortly afterward. The Barker Street School, the former kindergarten, was used as a Learning Enrichment Center until it was closed in 1982. The entire property was sold by the School Board to a developer in 1984.
Ridley Park, Eddystone and Ridley Township School district joined together in a State-mandated merger. Ridley Parks last graduating class was in 1966, and the old high school became Ridley South Jr. High. In 1972, it was torn down and the site is now Ridley Jr. High School.
RIDLEY PARK HIGH SCHOOL
The School Song
Hail, Ridley Park High School, pride of our youth.
Long may thy name stand for right and truth.
To thee from year to year our voices we will raise,
Well bear thy standard high and shout thy praise!
When high school days are oer, lifes trial begun,
Well sing thy fame, while we our journeys run.
Ever thy loyal sons and daughters we will be
And een thy greater glory hope to see.
Unfurl the Red and White, long may it wave
Oer hopes and memories true and brave.
Bound to extend thy fame wherever the may fly,
Hail to the colors of old Ridley High!
The Baptist church, a postcard, about 1908. The minister in the picture is believed to be Henry B. Johnson.
RIDLEY PARK BAPTIST CHURCH
The Ridley Park Association invited area churches to move into their new town. The invitation included free land to build a new church and financial help. The First Baptist Church of Ridley Township accepted the offer. The church was established in 1830, in what is now Prospect Park. In the late 1860s, the church was in poor financial shape and the congregation was interested in building a new church. The church was given a lot at Ward and Ridley Avenues.
Rev. Mr. Harden of Ridley Baptist Church, administered the rite of Baptism in Darby Creek, on Sunday last, to eight persons. March, 1873 - DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN
By June, 1873, the cellar had been dug and the cornerstone laid on July 3rd at 2:30 P.M. The masonry work was done by Pierce & McIlvaine of Chester. Strawberry festivals were held.
The Ridley Baptist Church held a Strawberry Festival on Wednesday and Thursday at Ridley Park Grove, in aid of the building fund for their new church. A large tent was erected and a band was in attendance each evening. The visitors were numerous and apparently enjoyed themselves, and the affair ought to add something to the building fund. The Committee deserve credit for the completeness of their arrangements. May, 1874 - DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN
DEDICATION - The Baptist Church at Ridley Park will be dedicated to the worship of Almighty God on Thursday next, the 7th inst. Dedicatory services at 10:30 A.M. At 2:30 P.M., a reunion of the former pastors of Ridley Baptist Church will be held. This will be followed by a sermon in the evening at 7 oclock. May, 1874 - DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN
Ridley Park Baptist Church Dedication - May 7, 1874
In the hasty notice given in our last issue of the new Baptist Church at Ridley Park, which was dedicated on the 7th inst., we neglected to state that the very liberal collection taken after the services, amounting to thirty-five hundred dollars, clears the church of debt. Through the kindness and liberality of Mrs. Samuel A. Crozer, the congregation have a handsome organ, of fine finish and sweet tone. The interior finis and exterior workmanship of the building reflect credit on A.C. Wood, by whom it was erected. Messrs. Pierce and McIlvaine of Chester, did the Masonry in a workmanlike manner. The plastering - a very important part on which so much of the interior effect depends - was done by J.H. Allen of Chester, the massive and elaborate centerpieces and the ornamental arch over the pulpit platform being models of the plasterers skill and taste. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN - May 15, 1874
The church ran into problems less than ten years after it was built. Poor workmanship resulted in the following article in the Delaware County Republican newspaper on June 29, 1883.
Although a comparatively new house costing enough to ensure good substantial work, it is simply a big Yankee trick and the trustees are compelled to spend at least $1500 in making up deficiencies that should never have occurred. A new roof, new plastering, painting, carpeting, drainage, etc., will make it a substantial and beautiful house worship. The people are greatly interested and it is determined to complete the work without debt. The church has borne many heavy burdens nobly and it is a shame that this new burden should have been imposed on them through the faultlessness on contractors - YOU KNOW WHO.
With the opening of the new church, problems arose among the congregation - what to call the church, where to meet, etc. Some wanted to move back to the old church. Sunday School services, however, continued to be held in the old church throughout the 1870s and 1880s.
On Sunday evening, June 24th, the anniversary of the Prospect Park Baptist Sunday School occurred. The house was filled to overflowing. The children spoke and sang several pieces very creditably, while the singing by the whole school, under the leadership of the pastor, gave great pleasure to the audience. Speeches were delivered by the pastor, Rev. Charles M. Dalis, and Superintendent, A.B. Stewart. The report indicated a very successful year. Several scholars were converted, and additions made to the Library, etc. The school numbers 140 teachers and scholars. June 29, 1883 - DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN
LECTURE AT RIDLEY PARK - Last Thursday evening, the Rev. Dr. Henson of Philadelphia delivered the first of a course of four lectures in the Ridley Park Baptist Church, on that most difficult of all subjects, The Woman Question. He discoursed eloquently on womens education, influence and duty, and by logical reasoning showed that by intuition, women arrived at a conclusion long before man could with his roundabout logical method. He protested that women should be educated to work, so as not to be compelled to marry, for he thought an unloving and unloved wife a far more pitiable sight than an old maid. The lecture was racy, abounding in anecdotes, and delivered with great dramatic and oratorical effect. The next lecture of the course will be on the 11th inst., on Good Cheer, by Dr. Peddie of Philadelphia, a gentleman of well-known ability. Lecture will commence at eight oclock, P.M. May, 1876 - DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN
The congregation began to split over the name of the church and services were held at both places. On May 18, 1887, the majority of the church members left the church and the name behind to form Prospect Hill Baptist Church. Prospect Hill was the old name for Prospect Park when the church was started in December, 1830. The Prospect Hill Baptist Church was incorporated in April, 1893 and the present church was dedicated on October 27, 1895. On March 27, 1907, the present name of the First Baptist Church of Ridley Park was adopted. The church remains virtually unchanged from the time it was built in 1873.
RIDLEY PARK BAPTIST CHURCH PASTORS
Charles E. Harden 1872-1874
John R. Downer 1875-1879
Charles M. Dietz 1880-1885
James A. Aldred 1886-1890
J.M. Sawers 1891-1892
Robert H. Middleditch 1893-1904
Henry J. Johnson 1904-1908
L. Sale Harrison 1908-1911
Alvah S. Hobart 1911-1914
John Henry Day 1914-1916
F. Clyde Herod 1917-1919
R.T. Brown 1919-1920
Wayland Zwayer 1920-1924
A. Harold Carr 1925-1929
C. Walton Marteney 1929-1942
Samuel Smith 1943-1945
C. Bailey Jones 1946-1951
Ellwood E. Schaumberg 1952-1959
Charles W. Samuels 1960-1964
Larry W. Dobson 1965-1970
Dennis W. Roberts 1971-1977
George S. Claghorn 1978-1980
John H. Spencer 1980-Present
RIDELY PARK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The RPA having invited the Baptist Church of Ridley Twp., also invited the Presbyterian Church to move to Ridley Park. Rev. Charles Ewing, of the Ridley Presbyterian Church, began to hold services in the Ridley Park Railroad Station during the summer of 1873. Meetings were held in both Ridley Park and at the Ridley Presbyterian Church. The Ridley Presbyterian Church is now the Leiper Presbyterian Church on Fairview Road in Woodlyn. Plans fell apart and not until November, 1874, were meetings held again. Robert O. Henderson, local farmer, suggested starting a Sunday School first to bring in members. The Sunday School was first held on January 3, 1875, at the Ridley Park Hotel and later in a store which stood on Hinckley Avenue above Ward Street. The Sunday School progressed and the Superintendent, Henry Holcomb, invited Dr. Matthew Grier, of Philadelphia, to preach beginning in late August, 1875.
NEW PASTOR - The Ridley Park Presbyterian Church has extended an invitation to Rev. Dr. Grier, of Philadelphia, to act as its pastor, and we understand that he has accepted the invitation. At present the congregation worships in the Academy room, but as the Park Association has, with its Accustomed liberality, granted a site for a church on the N.W. corner of Ridley and Swarthmore Avenues, it is likely that a substantial as well as ornamental edifice will soon be erected.
Grier, a prominent Philadelphia Presbyterian and editor of The Presbyterian, a religious paper, accepted the congregations offer to preach for $400.00 a year beginning on September 20, 1875. Under Griers pastor ship, the congregation increased and plans were made to build a church on lots 651 and 652 donated by the RPA. Work was begun in December, 1875, and the frame church was dedicated on September 10, 1876.
THE DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN September 24, 1874
Ridley Park Presbyterian Church
Ridley Park Presbyterian Church is now assuming a finished appearance. It is a handsome building but makes no pretension to architectural effects. The details, however, are neat, tasteful and elaborate. The building contains library and ministers rooms, and an audience room capable of seating comfortably two hundred persons. The roof is of slate; the windows are to be of stained glass; the interior walls and gables, in plaster sand finish, and the ceiling will be sheathed wood showing the very handsome trusses which support the roof. It is expected that the congregation can worship in it in about four weeks.
DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN June 23, 1876
DEDICATION SERVICES - The new Presbyterian chapel at Ridley Park was dedicated on Sabbath last, in the presence of a crowded audience. Rev. Dr. Grier, pastor, conducted the services, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Moody. Rev. Mr. Mowery of Chester preached in the evening. The pastor made the following statements: The value of the property owned by the church is at least $7000. It cost $4000, the difference being made up by the lots which were donated by the Ridley Park Association and by donations of labor, stone, lumber and other building materials. $3000 had been raised, which left the church $1000 in debt. The Chester Presbyterian has recommended the board of church extension in New York appropriate $500 to this church, which would leave the congregation only $500 to raise, but several members objected to receiving mission money when the whole debt might be paid off in a little time by the congregation. The pastor stated that the economic manner in which the work had been done was largely due to Mr. H.F. Kenney, chairman of the building committee. In the evening it was intimated that the Darby level church had that day contributed $100, and the collection amounted to nearly $200, which reduced the debt to $700.
A manse was built in 1887 close to the corner of Ridley and Harrison Streets. By 1997, with the congregation increasing, plans were made to build a new church. Richard S. Pomeroy personally secured $15,000.00 in subscriptions to get the fund started. Work on the new church began in 1913 under the supervision of Richard Pomeroy. Pomeroy became ill and supervised the building from a bed in his house (312 Swarthmore Avenue) through field glasses. He died December 30, 1914. The church was dedicated over a period of 2 weeks, June 6-21, 1915. The church was added on to in the mid-50s. The old manse was torn down and an addition added on to both Harrison Avenue and Swarthmore Avenue sides. A new parsonage was obtained on Michigan Avenue in Swarthmore. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN - September 15, 1876
The original Presbyterian Church at Ridley and Swarthmore Avenues in 1912. The church manse built in 1882 is on the left.
The Pastors of The Ridley Park Presbyterian Church
Dr. Matthew Blackburne Grier - He began in Ridley Park Church in August, 1873, and retired October 14, 1884.
Rev. Henry D. Northrop, D.D. - He was installed in April, 1887, and retired April 12, 1892.
Rev. Frederick Swartz Crawford - On Nov. 21, 1893 he left his charge in Pittsburgh, Pa. To accept the Ridley Park Pastorate - continued until Dec., 1900.
Rev. Samuel Thomas Linton - Succeeded Dr. Crawford as Pastor, May 27, 1901, and continued until his death Jan. 10, 1916.
Rev. Frederick Buck Limerick - On Nov. 28, 1916 assumed the Pastorate - the end came October 6, 1918.
Rev. David Hughes Edwards - Installed Nov. 11, 1919 - continuing until Sept. 25, 1923.
Rev. Frederick Schweitzer - Entered upon his labor at Ridley Park officially May 9, 1924, and ended in 1945.
Rev. James Harold Guy - Installed as pastor on June 6, 1946. He preached his last sermon June 25, 1978.
Rev. Marwood B. Meredith, Jr. - Present Minister
Christ Episcopal Church, Sellers Ave. and Nevin Street. The church was designed and founded by T.P. Chandler, who went on to become world famous as a building architect.
RIDLEY PARK EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Theophilus P. Chandler, a 27-year old Boston born architect, began getting subscriptions to build an Episcopal church in 1873. This was the year the RPA began selling lots in Ridley Park. A lack of people and funds made this first attempt at a church in Ridley Park a failure. Although land was obtained, a foundation built and cornerstone laid, nothing more was done until 5 years later. July 4, 1873 - Delaware County Republican
LAYING OF A CORNERSTONE - The cornerstone of the Ridley Park Episcopal Church was laid, with appropriate ceremonies, on Tuesday afternoon alst. A Chester choir was in attendance. But few spectators were present, which is much to be regretted.
Chandler, who had left Ridley Park in 1874, had returned and wrote a letter to then Bishop Stevens requesting Sidney T. Fuller be put in charge of reorganizing the congregation and have a church built.
August 8, 1875
Fuller, a 39-year old civil engineer for the railroad, went to work and church services began t be held in the Ridley Park Railroad Station beginning June 16, 1878. Reverend Frank Bushnell, a 50-year old preacher, was appointed to try to establish to church a second time. Bishop Stevens appointed 8 men as Trustees. Besides Bushnell, Fuller and chandler, the other 5 were John F. Young, lawyer and realtor; Charles Leedom, a 52-year old retired businessman, now farmer; Noah Jeffries, a 49-year old lawyer; John Smith, Superintendent of Ridley Park under the RPA; and Henry F. Kenney. Kenney was the Superintendent of PWB R.R. and also a member of the RPA. Kenney, a Presbyterian, was probably appointed because of his position. The original site of the church at the northeast corner of Ridley and Swarthmore Avenues was reconsidered and lots 170, 171, 172 and part of 173 were given by the RPA. Late in December, 1878, work was begun on the church. The church was opened on Sunday, July 25, 1880. Bishop Stevens consecrated the church on June 23, 1883.
On Saturday, the Christ Episcopal Church was consecrated by Bishop Stevens. The Bishop is very popular and the exercises were very interesting. A large number of strangers were present. DELAWARE COUNTY REPUBLICAN 6/29/1883
The church manse was begun in 1885 and completed in June of the following year.
In 1902 an addition was added to the church. A new Parish house was planned in the mid-1950s and a cornerstone laid on November 3, 1957. The new Parish house was dedicated September 14, 1958. Christ Church was also responsible for starting 4 other churches in the area. The First Christ Church in Collingdale was started in 1888 and lasted for 69 years. St. Johns in Essington and St. James in Prospect Park were also Mission churches. The last Mission Church, St. Lukes in Eddystone, was started in 1917 and recently closed.
CHRIST CHURCH - RECTORS
1879-1880 F.H. Bushnell
1881-1882 C.M. DuBoise
1883-1892 W.F.C. Morsell
1892-1898 E.A. Gernant
1898-1908 F.C. Steinmetz
1908-1911 R.W. Benedict
1912-1915 G.E. Pember
1915-1918 F.B. Barnett
1919-1925 C.E. Eder
1926-1943 F.A. Warden
1943-1949 A.O. Judd
1949-1951 W.P.C. Loane
1951-1956 W.H. Bunphy
1956-Present W.S. Musselman
The original Methodist Church at Dupont Street and Swarthmore Avenue. This church was torn down in August, 1960.
RIDLEY PARK METHODIST CHURCH
The Sunday School was started at the home of Mrs. Joseph Bottomley on February 5, 1891. Her home, now torn down, stood at Ladomus Avenue and Chester Pike. Sunday School services were started ten days later in Wards Hall on Hinckley Avenue at Sellers. The church was organized in the early Fall of 1891 with about twelve members. Mr. And Mrs. Joseph Bottomley, Mr. F.D. Haviland and Mr. Hilary Marion were the impetus in starting the church. By September 15, 1891, prayer meetings were being held on Thursday and Sunday services started shortly afterward. Trustees were elected on September 28th and by early November, the name Ridley Park Methodist and Episcopal Church was being used. The church was chartered July 5, 1892. The church continued to meet in Wards Hall and in 1894, a lot was purchased at Swarthmore Avenue and Darby Street (now DuPont) for $300.00. Construction began on the church in late September of 1895 under the supervision of Charles Urban, architect, who also designed the church. The church was dedicated June 28, 1896.
CHESTER TIMES - June 15, 1896
The dedication of the new Ridley Park Methodist Church did not take place last evening, as arranged, owing to the hindrance caused by the heavy rain to the other services of the day. A later date will therefore be fixed, probably the 28th.
Presiding Elder F.B. Lynch was present and preached an eloquent sermon in the morning. In the afternoon, Sunday school exercises were held and were of an interesting character.
Dr. Lynch, who has sickness at his home, left during the afternoon. At the evening service the church was filled in anticipation of the dedicatory services. After an explanation of the cause of postponement, Rev. Francis Clemens, the Pastor, preached an excellent sermon and there was some very fine singing. Laying the cornerstone for the new school building on October 1, 1961. From left to right is Bishop Fred Corson, Reverend Richard Jones, and Walker Evans.
DEDICATION OF THE RIDLEY PARK METHODIST CHURCH
A new edifice of the Ridley Park Methodist Church was dedicated to the public worship of God yesterday, with morning, afternoon and evening services.
The dedication has been postponed from June 14th owing to the severe rainstorm prevailing at that time and when yesterday morning broke, cloudy, and with considerable rain falling, the signs looked very favorable for another postponement. The clouds cleared, however, and the bright sun inspired confidence in the church-going community so that there were large attendances at all services.
The church choir rendered fine music during the day and solos were also given by Mrs. C.H. Flagg and Samuel Campbell.
At the morning services, Reverend A.J. Kynett, preached a very powerful sermon, after which the financial statement of the church was read by C.J. Urban, Treasurer.
Sunday School excerises were held in the afternoon at 2 oclock when the statement of the Sunday School Building Society was read by the President, Job Smith. The exercises were in charge of Superintendent, I.D. Hamilton. Following the exercises, was a platform service in which a number of local pastors and visiting brethren participated.
The dedicatory service proper was held in the evening commencing at 7:30 oclock. Presiding Elder Reverend F.B. Lynch, D.D., preached a short sermon, after which he performed the beautiful and special act of formally dedicating the building to God. Liberal collections were made at all services.
CHESTER TIMES - June 29, 1896 Jacob Tome, of the Ridley Park Assoication, personall loaned the church trustees the $7,500 to have the church built. The parsonage lot was bought in January, 1901; the building itself was erected six years later. After the Second World War, plans for a new church were made due to an increase in population. The old church was kept as a church school, the new church being built in 1949 between the parsonage and the old church. The new church was dedicated May 1, 1955 and the old church was torn down in August, 1960. The cornerstone for the new school building was laid October 1, 1961. This new school building was attached to the church built in 1949. The old parsonage adjoining the church was torn down and replaced with the present one in 1967.
RIDLEY PARK METHODIST CHURCH MINISTERS
W.H. Knapp 1892-1893
C.W. Dempsey 1893-1896
Francis Clemens, Jr. 1896-1897
William P. Brines 1897-1898
H.W. Millison 1898-1900
C.P. Futcher 1900-1903
John Watchorn 1903-1906
John H. Royer 1906-1907
Roland J. Garber 1907-1909
R.N. Hetherington 1909-1911
Bertram Shay 1911-1916
T.E. Redding 1916-1917
Luther H. Ketels 1917-1918
Henry Frankland 1918-1919
Clarence P. Felton 1919-1921
H.C. Turner 1921-1926
William T. Cherry 1926-1936
Samuel J. Maconaghy 1936-1938
E. Russell Elliot 1938-1942
Harry A. Swartz 1942-1947
Stuart A.L. Thomas 1947-1951
Ralph B. McCuen 1951-1953
Richard H. Jones 1953-1963
Woodrow W. Kern 1963-1970
Merritt Godshalk 1970-1979
W. Gary Epler 1979-Present
The Ridley Park National Bank - Ridley Park, Pa.
The Ridley Park National Bank about 1924. On December 6, 1954, it merged with Fidelity Bank of Philadelphia. Organized in 1916 by a group of Ridley Park residents, the building was originally an auto repair garage. Legend has it hat George Hetzel had lived across the street and started the bank because he didnt like the noise from the garage.
Frederick Michell and his wife Madeline about 1906. The church was named in honor of Fredericks wife Madeline.
ST. MADELINES R. C. CHURCH
In late 1906, plans were made to organize a Catholic Church in Ridley Park. A meeting was held on November 27th at 201 East Ridley Avenue, the home of Frederick J. Michell. The Pastor of St. Rose of Lima, Father Thomas J. Ryan, presided over the meeting. An association was formed, consisting of Frederick Michell, Sr. and Jr., George Messick, Henry J. McCarthy, Michael J. Comerford, C. Fred Schermerhorn (Mr. Michells son-in-law), James Stewart, Charles H. Werneth, Thomas J. Martin, and James Ennis. George Mesick, of Swarthmore Avenue, was elected President, Frederick Michell, Treasurer and Henry McCarthy, Secretary. Although there were only fifteen Catholic families in town, plans were made to build a church immediately. Mr. Michell donated the ground at Penn and Tome Streets and personally donated $5,000.00. The rest of the group contributed $4,400.00. The group recommended the Church be named St. Madeline in honor of Frederick Michells wife, Madeline, or Lena, as she was known to her friends. By April, 1907, work was begun on the church, and on September 8, 1907, the cornerstone was laid.
The laying of the cornerstone for the new Catholic Churchat Ridley Park took place yesterday afternoon and proved to be one of the most imposing ceremonies that has occurred in that borough for some time. The new edifice, which will be built of Indiana linestone with appropriate trimmings will be known as St. Madeline Roman Catholic Church and will be situated on Tome Street. Rev. Father Thomas F. Ryan, who is rector of St. Rose of Lima Church, Eddystone, will be the priest at the new charge.
Fully two thousand persons attended the exercises at the new church, which, although not very large, will be one of the prettiest houses of worship in the section. The services were conducted by Bishop E.F. Prendergast of Philadelphia and he was assisted by Right Reverend J.F. Loughlin, rector of the Church of Nativity, of Philadelphia; Rev. J.J. Ryan, of the Immaculate Heart Church of Chester; Rev. M.J. Rafferty, former rector of St. Rose of Lima Church, but now of the Immaculate Conception, Philadelphia; Rev. James Timmins, rector of St. Michales Church, Chester; Rev. Alfred Walsh of St. Francis, Philadelphia; Rev. F.J. Sheehan of Overbrook Seminary; Rev. W. McGuire of Media; Rev. J.J. Hannigan, Sharon Hill; Rev. Edward Tucker, St. Raphaels, Philadelphia; Rev. F.J. Fitzpatrick of St. Malachys, Philadelphia; Rev. M.J. Crane, of St. Francis, Philadelphia; Rev. Joseph McCullough of Philadelphia; Rev. O.P. McNanee of ST. Monicas, Philadelphia. The master of ceremonies was Rev. F.J. Sheehan, professor at the Overbrook Seminary. The address of the occasion was made by Right Reverend J.F. Loughlin and his costume was one of the prettiest that has ever been seen at a function of nay kind pertaining to a church event in this county. Monsignor Looughlins remarks were one of the most enjoyable parts of the exercises and his talk was of such a clear and definite kind that the merest child would have had no difficulty in understanding his meaning. He first defined the reason for corner stone laying and he then thanked those who had been interested in the institution of the new edificed and said that the heads of the Philadelphia archdiocese were very thankful to them and appreciated their work very much.
Following Monsignor Loughlins speech the corner stone was laid and this was followed by a reception at the home of F.J. Michell, on Ridley Avenue.
When finished, the new church will have a seating capacity of 300.
CHESTER TIMES, September 9, 1907 St. Madelines Church at Tome & Penn St. in 1912. Swiss born Frederick Michell paid for over half to have the church built and also gave the ground.
A view of Tome and Ward Streets about 1915. St. Madelines Church is in the background. The Phone Exchange is on the right. The church was opened for services on October 15th and was dedicated February 2, 1908. Reverend Francis P. Bailey (1869-1915) was appointed the first Pastor in 1909. In 1916, St. Madelines held a meeting to provide more adequately for the population of Milmont Park, or Ridley Park Heights, as the area was known then. A house located at the northeast corner of Milmont and Belmont Avenues, was donated by James J. Ryan. The house was set up as a Chapel and Sunday School rooms. The building was dedicated on April 15, 1917, under the name of Our Lady of Peace. The mission church received Parish status in June, 1922. St. Madelines School was built in 1924. More property was purchased and a new school was built in 1954, with an addition being added in 1957. Frederick and Madeline Michell left their home at 201 East Ridley Avenue to the Church as a Convent in 1937 upon Madeline Michells death. The Convent was used until August, 1967, when the present Convent was built. Plans for a new Church were begun in 1961 and construction was started in the Spring of 1964. The present Church opened in August, 1965.
ST. MADELINES CHURCH - PASTORS
Francis P. Bradley 1909-1912
William J. McCallen, Phd. 1912-1924
Patrick Gallagher 1924-1952
John A. Kane 1953-1962
Francis J. Walsh, Litt.d. 1962-1971
James A. Keenan 1971-Present
The Fire Company about 1897 during the summer. The firemen left to right, unknown, George Atherholt, unknown, William Griswold, Fred Harrison, Henry Deppich, unknown, unknown and Charles Deakyne.
Fire Company 1987, (left to right), John Byrne, Greg Elder, Jack Milligan, Chuuck Bradley, Jim Eckenrode, Charley Wallgren, Don White, Lieut. Ned Donkin, Jr., Norm Donkin, Engineer, George Gale 3rd., Chief Engineer John D. Anderson, Jr., Asst. Chief Carl Shaner, Chief Ray W. Lonabaugh, Jr., Deputy Chief Bill Shanner, Asst. Chief John Cotter, Engineer Bob Endriss, Engineer Tome Eckenrode, Jr., Ed Gatchell, Jim McConnell, Capt. Steve Edmiston, Paul Doughterty, Mike Eckenrode, Wayne Kuehler, Wayne Hesse, Dave Shaner. (Members missing at time of picture) John Caldwell, Bruce Crowther, Joe Diener, Tom Echenrode, Sr., Robert Elder, Dan Gale, John Gale, Tom Hickey, Art Misero, Ed Moore, Roger White, John D. Anderson, 3rd., Phil Smith, Dick Brinkman.
RIDLEY PARK FIRE CO. - 1
The company was organized by Richard S. Pomeroy in early September, 1890. The group met over Charles Deakynes store at 15 E. Hinckley Ave. (now Langguths Gift Shop). Pomeroy was especially interested, his frame house had burned down not long before. On September 22nd, a committee was appointed to purchase a hose and hose carriage. In March, 1981, the hose carriage was given to the Hope Hose Co. -1 of Ridley Park. The equipment was kept in the carriage house on Pomeroys property, 312 Swarthmore Avenue. By March 1891, plans were made to build a frame firehouse, 25 x 45 feet, with Council chambers on the second floor. In mid-July, the fire company was given permission to ring the school and Episcopal Church bells in case of a fire. The contract for the fire house was awarded to Charles J. Urban for $1,325 in August. The company moved into their new headquarters two months later in mid-October. In September, a bell drive in the town was started and a bell was purchased for $81.80. It was hung on a tree stump by the new fire house. This bell is mounted on a post in front of todays Borough Hall. By December, the name of the fire company was changed from Hope Hose to Ridley Park Fire Co. -1.
In January, 1893, a hook and ladder was ordered from Rumsey and Co. of Seneca, New York for $410. Firemen in those days supplied their own coats, hats and boots and the equipment was pulled by hand.
During the day, fires were especially bad because there were few men in town. I remember when I was 12, in 1909, they called for volunteers from Tome Street School, and I went. About twelve men would pull from ropes tied to the yoke and one man would ride to brake. A good brakeman was always important, the wagon could run you over on a steep hill if he didnt know his job. Earl Deppich, September, 1985.
The original town hall burned down March 26, 1896. This building, which stood at Tome and Ward Streets was replaced by the present building at Ward and Cresswell Streets. The firehouse was dedicated Thursday, October 22, 1896.
Ridley Park never was a scene of greater animation, was never attended by a bigger crowd of stalwart, brave hearted men, than last evening, on the occasion of the formal housing of the apparatus of Ridley Park Fire Company No. 1 in the beautiful and commodious quarters recently erected and provided in the new Borough Hall. Firemen were present from every part of the county, some traveling by train, others by trolley, and not a few by the good old fashioned mode, walking. Nearly all the various companies were uniformed and were accompanied by their respected bands and as they marched into the precincts of the park, from different quarters, the scene waxed more and more inspiring. The Borough itself did honor to the occasion by putting on its gala attire. Nearly every house along the brightly illuminated with Chinese lanterns, while flags and bunting streamed from every available point. Fireworks were plentifully in evidence and about 700 firemen lined up for the parade and there were hundreds of visitors present besides the turnout of every person in the Park. W.A. McCann was Chief Marshal, and he was ably assisted by George P. Stackhouse and John Buchanan, all being well mounted. Each visiting company also had its own Marshal and its assistants, and each furnished two members as a Housing Committee, so that everything had been arranged in apple pie order and was carried out to the letter. The line was formed on Swarthmore Avenue, with the right lefting on Darby Street (DuPont Street), and the following route was paraded: Out Swarthmore Avenue to Darby Street, to South Park Street, to Morton Avenue, to Ridley Avenue, to Tasker Street: Countermarch, Ridley Avenue to Free Street, to Ward Avenue, to Swarthmore Avenue, to Hinckley Avenue, to Sellers Avenue, to Pike, to Myrtle Street, to Henderson Avenue, to Rosemont Avenue, to Pike, to Morton Avenue, to Hinckley Avenue, to Swarthmore Avenue, to Felton Avenue, to Dutton Street, to Firehouse. The Ridley Park Company brought up the rear, sixty strong, and looked nobly in their new uniforms. They were accompanied by the Pennsylvania State Band, of fifteen pieces and had the mounted marshals above mentioned. On the parade reaching the precincts of the Firehouse, after the countermarch, the companies all opened ranks, and the Ridley Park Company passed through to the House.
Chester Times, Friday, October 23, 1896
The Fire Company was chartered April 18, 1901 with thirty charter members. The Fire Company outgrew its headquarters and the current Firehouse was built across the street. The new Firehouse was dedicated in May, 1976. The Fire Company has had only one member die in the line of duty in its 97-year history. Chief Engineer, Joseph Elder, died in 1984 while answering the last alarm of the year. Phillip Smith is the oldest active member with 47 years service. Current officers of the Fire Company are: President, M. Eckenrode; First Vice President, P. Dougherty; Second Vice President, C. Wallgren; Treasurer, J. Milligan; Secretary, G. Gale, III; Financial Secretary, R. Endriss. Chief is R.W. Lonabaugh. The Fire Company has 200 dues paying members and 45 active members. Tommy Turner was chief for 40 years from 1939 to 1979.
RIDLEY PARK FREE LIBRARY
On October 121, 1888, a meeting was held in the waiting room of the railroad station to organize a library. John Buchanan opened the meeting and James Fields was chosen President. The first Board consisted of 12 members and they made the dues $1.00 annually. The name, Ridley Park Library Association, was chosen and 4 months later the library opened on February 1, 1889. The Association rented 2 rooms over John C. Tullochs store for $100.00 a year. Friday, February 1st, was also Donation Day when town residents were asked to donate books to the new library. The first librarian was Miss Agnes Taylor, who was paid $1.00 a week. The library was open every afternoon and evening. Tullochs store, later the Ridley Park Market, is now Langguths Gift Shop at 15 East Hinckley Avenue. The library quickly outgrew the two rooms and on April 15, 1890, moved into the second floor of William Wards Store on Hinckley Avenue and Sellers Avenue. On February 28, 1891, the library Board decided to forego dues and make the library free to all residents. The Free library plan failed due to lack of funds and in early December, 1892, the library Board approached the School District to run the library for the citizens of the town. Before the School Board could vote on the matter, Wards Store was destroyed by fire on December 24, 1892. The few books that survived were stored in the library President James Fields stable. Nothing more was done until November 8, 1893, when the School Board agreed to run the library for at least 3 years, using a new State law that enabled school districts to levy a tax _ mill to maintain free public libraries. The School District took possession of the approximately 400 books and $654.43 insurance money from the fire. The School Board added a round turret addition to Tome Street School for the library, which was open in the afternoon and on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The library remained at the school until 1912 when the present library was built. On March 2, 1910, Hugo L. Hund, a Penn Street resident and Secretary of the Library Board, wrote to Andrew Carnegie requesting information on obtaining funds for a library. The Carnegie Foundation wrote back asking the Mayor and Council to formally make the request. Nothing was done for 9 months and on January 10, 1911, Borough Council passed a resolution that Andrew Carnegie has signified his willingness to donate $7,500.00 for a public library building, providing the Borough set aside 10% of the building cost for maintenance. Carnegie had no idea what the Borough was talking about. He had never promised any money. The letter also stated the Borough gratefully accepts Carnegies offer. In spite of Carnegies surprise, he agreed to donate the money and later increased the amount to $10,000.00 to cover the cost of the building. Carnegie personally approved the building plans and construction for the library began in late 1911. On July 4, 1912, the new library was dedicated. At 11:30 oclock the following program was rendered at the new Carnegie library; Address by Martin G. Brumbaugh, Ph.D., Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia; The Board of Public Education, introduced by Dr. John P. Garber, Association Superintendent, School District of Philadelphia, the Board of Education; transfer of the books, etc., of the public School library by G.L. Jones, Vice-President of the School Board; transfer of the building and books, etc. to the Borough by the Chief Burgess, acceptance of the library building, books and other property by the President of Borough Council, W.K. Mitchell; singing of the Star Spangled Banner by the school children, popular airs by the band.
Chester Times - July 5, 1912
On July 5, 1912, the library was opened to the public. On July 1st the first meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Ridley Park Free Library was held. Dr. John P. Graber, a Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District., was elected President, John J. Collier, Vice-President and Frank D. Kane, Secretary. Mrs. Alma Deppich was appointed Librarian and served in that capacity until 1946. Today the library contains 16,540 books and has 2,184 members. Mrs. Margaret Rooney is the current Librarian and the circulation is about 18,000 books a year.
Dr. Horace F. Taylors Hospital, at 15 Dutton Street, shortly after he purchased it. Originally an 18th Century farmhouse, it was torn down and rebuilt by the Burk family in the 1870s. The Burks sold the house to Taylor in 1909.
Dr. Horace Furness Taylor was born in the Wallingford railroad station, July 29, 1881. His father, Millard Taylor, was station agent for the Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad. Taylor went to Westtown School and then graduated fromSwarthmore Preparatory School. He then entered the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and graduated in 1903, the youngest in his class.
He took a job a Chester Hospital (now Crozer-Chester), where he met his future wife, Katherine Grace Manly, a nurse from Ontario, Canada. They were married October 12, 1904.
The newly-married couple moved to 27 Hinckley Avenue about 1905 where Dr. Taylor started his medical practice. He started keeping patients overnight and opened part of his house for patients (one double bed and one single). Business grew and, with the nearest hospital in Chester, Taylor saw a golden opportunity to start his own hospital. On September 30, 1909, he bought the former Edward Burk mansion from Anna E. Torbent. The house was remade into a hospital and formally opened of February 10, 1910. This property at 15 Dutton Street had a capacity of 10 beds.
Taylor began pushing almost immediately for a larger hospital. He enlisted the help of some of Ridley Parks most influential men, among them Michael J. Comerford and George W. Stull. Construction of the new hospital began in 1912 and it was opened on May 10, 1913, across the street from the old hospital. The two-story building had a capacity of 29 beds.
Dr. Conrad L. Partridge, photograph taken about 1915. Origianl Director of Taylor Hospital, he worked with Dr. Taylor as an assistant in surgery. Dr. Partridge died of a heart attack while making a house call on Rogers Street in 1926.
Taylors wife, Katherine, started the Taylor Hospital Nursing School in 1910. The program involved three years of training and in its 24-year existence the school graduated 24 nurses.
Taylor, a rough and gruff man, also had a heart of gold, never turning away any charity cases. An excellent surgeon, Taylor cut his pinkie finger, while operating on a patient in August 1920. He developed blook poisoning, which was complicated by a bout with pneumonia. He died on December 26, 1920.
After Taylors death, the hospital quickly outgrew its quarters. In 1924, ground was broken for an addition to the rear of the hospital, which originally faced Felton Street. The new addition, which opened October 5, 1925, faced Chester Pike.
In 1957, the L. Norris Hall Wing was added, originally a two-story wing, a third story was added in 1963 as a Maternity Ward. The Maternity Ward closed March 1, 1972. In early 1972, work was begun on the present hospital which cost $14 million. The 1910 and 1924 wings were torn down and only the 1957 wing was retained. The current hospital was rededicated a 2:00 P.M., April 16, 1978.
Taylor Hospital from Chester Pike about 1948.
RIDLEY PARK POLICE
The police department was formed shortly after the borough was organized. Originally police were watchmen who were paid about $1.25 a day. Oil lamps were used as street lights at that time and police were required to keep the lamps cleaned and filled. They were required to light the lamps at dusk and turn them off before daybreak. By 1897, the job of cleaning and filling of the oil lamps was given to a separate man. Police were required to be on duty from 7:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. during the months from May to October, and November thru March, 7:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. Usually two policemen were on duty and they were allowed to meet each other 3 times a night. They were required to file weekly reports of any problems. Police were also on call during their time off. In 1902, Police were issued uniforms, equipment and firearms by the borough. In 1917 a motorcycle was purchased for police use, their first piece of motorized equipment. Shortly afterward a Ford car was purchased. The car was used for the chief only and police officers still patrolled the borough on foot. Foot patrol might sound easy, but in the days before stop signs and red lights it could be very dangerous. James E. Stewart was appointed a police officer in February 1930, and he was also constabel for the borough. About 3:30 a.m. on August 26, 1931, Stewart was on foot patrol at Ladomus Avenue and Chester Pike. He stopped a Maryland car for littering and while talking to the driver, a second car struck the Maryland car and also hit Stewart. Stewart was taken to Taylor Hospital where he died six days later. The striking driver who was drunk was charged with manslaughter. In the mid 30s, police officers could use their own cars, but in late 1937 the borough supplied 2 cars for police use. At this time, police cars were equipped with radios, using Sharon Hill radio room. Today Ridley Park uses the County Radio System. The department consists of 7 men.
James E. Stewart, a Rodger Street resident, was 27 years old when he died. Stewart is the only police officer in Ridley Park to die in the line of duty.
Former Police Chief George T. Smith served as a police officer for 40 years from 1929 to 1969. Smith became chief in 1950 and was succeeded in 1969 by the current chief, Charles Miller.
Ridley Park Police, 1987, left to right, Sgt. Robert Marks, Patrolmen Robert Moore, David Mayer, Harry Graden, Roger White, Harry Snyder and Chief Charles Miller.
Before the Barnstormers was formed, there was a loosely formed organization that produced skits, musical and minstrel shows for their own amusement and diversion. These activities were originally held in Wards Hall on Hinckley Avenue at Sellers Avenue on the second floor. This was the only place in the Borough where dancing and public functions could be held. Mr. Harry Fox, who worked with The Plays and Players Club of Philadelphia, came up with the idea to form a permanent organization. Legend has it that in late 1908, on the 8:21 train from Ridley Park to Philadelphia, he brought the idea to Mr. John J. Collier. A meetinf was called soon after at Mr. Foxs home to see if there was interest in the town to form a theatrical group. Approximately twenty-five people attended the meeting. Mr. Fox, who lived in Ridley Township, had extensive theater experience with various groups. Messrs. Collier, Reber and Buse were also on the Board of Directors. Their first perfomance was The Arabian Nights presented on January 22, 1909, followed by Whos To Win Him in February. Production in those days was not always a full three-act play. On May 13, 1910, the first public performance was held, previous performances being limited to club members only. The stage of the playhouse originally had no wings, entrances or exits. Rugs would be hung as backdrops and lace curtains used to represent windows. Rehearsals were held in private homes; in the early days usually in the home of Mr. Harry Fox. During the summer of 1940, the basement of the building was turned into a kitchen, dressing rooms for actors, and a foyer. Current officers are President Howard Parmer, Vice-President Michael Anastas, Secretary Roslyn Gleeson, and Treasurer Ellen Palmer. The Barnstormers present four plays a year alternating with plays by Stra-Bis-Mus. Stra-Bis-Mus, a new theatrical group to the area, began renting the Barnstormers building in 1985. The Barnstormers also support a local childrens theater which is held at the Barnstormers. The group was incorporated about fifteen years ago and currently had about 300 members on their mailing list.
THE WOMANS CLUB
The Womans Club of Ridley Park was organized in 1898 and started in 1899. Among the organizers were Ellen I. Kenney, Henry Kenneys daughter; Agnes Taylor, the town librarian and Fannie Merrill who became the first president. The club met in the Ridley Park Auditorium which they jointly owned with Barnstormers. In the early days, the club presented both educational and cultural activities in the form of lectures, etc. The womans club was involved in every part of Ridley Park from spraying basements for mosquitos to planting trees and shrubs throughout the borough. Today the Womans Club meets at the Presbyterian Church.
RIDLEY PARK NEEDLEWORK GUILD
The Ridley Park Needlework Guild started on Thursday, November 16, 1892, at Grasmere with Mrs. Mary Kenney as chief organizer. About 22 women attended. Among them were Hetzels, Pomeroys, and Halls.
Mrs. Kenney was elected president; her daughter, Nellie Kenney, vice-president and secretary; and Mrs. J. W. Ward, treasurer.
Today the Guild has 22 directors who began meeting in October of each year to organize the collection of garments. The group meets only once a year, the first Friday in November.
The group collects about 1500 garments which are distributed to the blind, Camp Sunshine, Community Service, Ecumenical Caring Coalition, and Crozer-Chester Hospital Maternity. About 25 per cent of the clothes are handmade compared to over 100 per cent in the beginning.
Honorary chairman of the group is Dr. John Mackensen who with his late wife Kay, contributed to the groups work.
Today the groups president is Mary Katein; vice president, Helen Yearwood; and secretary, Joan Calvert.
If you would like to help or contribute, you can call 237-9997.
CHILD STUDY CLUB
The Child Study Club was founded in 1920 by Mrs. Rodman McHenry as a way for young mothers to meet.
The group collects used clothing in the fall and spring which it gives away to local needy families. The group raises money by selling balloons at the annual Taylor Hospital Mayfair and gives a scholarship to a girl to be used for college books.
The group has 100 members and meets at the Presbyterian Church. Kathy Kulakowski is president. If you would like to join, you can get information by calling 521-1712.
RIDLEY PARK ATHLETIC CLUB
The idea to create a club for boys in Ridley Park came from Norman C. Evans, of Jackson Avenue. In late April, 1960, he watched a local team being organized and found out only about twenty boys would be selected out of an estimated fifty who showed up to play.
Realizing there were not enough teams, Evans began organizing a boys club with other men from Ridley Park. By early 1961m bareback fields had been obtained and three baseball teams organized.
The Boys Club was chartered in June, 1961, with the following people as directors: Norman C. Evans, Elmer White, Frank Coughlin, Robert Edmiston, and Robinson Mitchell.
The Knee-Hi Team won the 1961 Delco Championship, and the first Father and Son Banquet was held in November of that year.
Basketball was started in late 1961, and football teams were organized in 1962.
The boys club later became the Ridley Park Athletic club and completely renovated the old firemans clubhouse as their own building. The building was dedicated in May 1986.
Ridley Park Boys Club team circa 1962. Founder Norman Evans is on the right.The Athlete Club sponsors the following areas:
Football teams - 65 lb. Ro 80 lb., 95 lb. And 110 lb.
Baseball - Clinic ages 6 - 8, Farm League ages 9 - 12, Knee Hi ages 9 - 12 (traveling team), Juniors ages 13 - 14 (traveling team), and Intermediates 15 - 16 (traveling team)
Cheerleaders - Pee Wee squad, Midget squad, Junior squad, Senior squad.
Bowling - Intramural setup
Soccer - (Indoor) Intramural setup
The 115lb. Team above won the Delco League Championship 1973 along with the 95lb, football team in their respective divisions.
The current officers and directors of the Athletic Club are:
President Bill Murphy Purchasing Director Mike Bonnes
Vice President Ed Gussin Bowling Director Eileen Milligan
Secretary Walt Udovich Membership Director Peggy Friel
Treasurer Ellen Bisaccia Clubhouse Director Pat ODoherty
Cheerleading Director Liz DiCastanza Soccer Director Rich Strannix
Baseball Director Bob Caldwell
The Millard Confectionary Store in August, 1954. Hannah and Thomas Millard built this store in 1918 at what is now 104 Hinckley Avenue. A popular place throughtout its existence, now Thomas M. Hoyle.
The Streets of Ridley Park
Many of the streets in Ridley Park are named for men who gave their time and in many cases money to make Ridley Park a better place. Every effort was made to track down photographs and information on the part they played in Ridley Park. Special thanks to George Mellema of Collier Circle who helped with the bood and especially this section.
Roberts Rodgers was born in 1855. He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad all his life. A resident of Ridley Park for over 40 years, he lived at 414 Swarthmore Avenue. He was active in the Presbyterian Church and other organizations. He died in August, 1942.
FREDRICK J. MICHELL
Michell was born in 1856 and moved to Ridley Park about 1903. He built a home on Ridley Avenue at Morton Avenue. Michell was the major force in establishing St. Madelines Church. He was a financial backer of both the Barnstormers and Taylor Hospital. Michells business, The Henry F. Michell Seed Co., is still in existence today. He was noted for gining money to charities. Michell died in 1928.
EBEN F. BARKER
Born in 1833, Barker was a Civil War veteran who lived in Philadelphia. He was Auditor for the PWB R.R. and served on other businesses in the Philadephia area. Barker became Secretary of the RPA in the 1880s and served for many years. He died in Philadelphia in 1906.
FRANK D. KANE
Born in Philadelphia in 1853, Kane became Borough Clerk in 1893 and served for 32 years. He was responsible for the creation of the Library and Health Boards. He was a founder of the Methodist Church. He also signed the Borough Charter. Kane died in 1929 at his home, 31 Dutton Street.
MICHAEL J. COMERFORD
Born in Minersville, Pa., in 1863, he came to Ridley Park about 1908 and lived on Swarthmore Avenue.employed by Strawbridge & Clothier, he was a founding father of St. Madelines Church and was President of Taylor Hospital. He served on Borough Council from 1914 to 1921. Active in all affairs of Ridley Park, he died in 1949.
BARNABAS H. BARTOL
Born in Maine in 1816, he was a Civil Engineer by trade. He moved to Philadelphia in the 1850s and in 1859 he established the Grocers Sugar Refinery in Philadelphia. He invented the process of using centrifugal force to manufacture sugar from molasses and syrup. A founder of the Union League in Philadelphia, he retired in 1871 and bought property in Ridley Park in late 1875. He built a house facing todays Bartol Avenue on the site of the post office. Bartil died in February 1888.
HENRY W. BUSE
Born in 1874, his family moved to Ridley Park about 1893. He served on Borough Council 1910 to 1912 and from 1918 to 1925. He was Mayor 1926 to 1929. Buse lived at 3 Bartol Avenue and was a vestryman for Christ Church. He was one of the organizers of the Chester Pike Rotary Club and also was Borough Tax Collector. Buse died in 1941 at age 67.
JOSEPH H. HINKSON
Born in Chester in 1865, Hinkson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1886. He moved to Ridley Park about 1890. Hinkson served as Borough Solicitor for many years and was also a Director of the Ridley Park National Bank. Active in other organizations, Hinkson died in 1926.
GEORGE W. STULL
Born in 1855, Stull sorked for Wanamakers for over 60 years. He moved to Ridley Park in 1884. Stull served as Mayor from 1918-1921 and was on the original Ridley Park School Board from 1888 to 1918. Active in the Ridley Park Bank & Building & Loan, Stull died in 1929.
JOHN J. COLLIER
Born in 1853, he had his won textile business in Philadelphia. Collier moved to Ridley Park in the early 1890s and served on Borough Council and as Mayor from 1903-1906. He was very active in the Episcopal Church and was the man behind the creation of the Barnstormers. Collier later moved from Ridley Park to Drexel Hill, where he died in 1935.
GEORGE C. HETZEL
Born in Philadelphia on January 3, 1858, he was involved in the textile business all of his life with his Chester-based firm, George C. Hetzel & Co. Hetzel moved to Ridley Park about 1885. He served on Borough Council beginning in 1894 and was the towns third Mayor from 1900-1903. A Charter Member of the Fire company and Barnstormers he was also active in the Presbyterian Church. Hetzel died in October 1932.
THOMAS B. PARTRIDGE
Born in Philadelphia in March, 1818, he moved to Ridley Park in 1886, when he retired. A clerk and later a banker, he was Ridley Parks first District Justice. He was the oldest resident when he died in 1915. His two sons were also active in the Borough. John B. Partridge served on the School Board for 36 years. His other son, Dr. Conrad L., was one of the original directors of Taylor Hospital.
RICHARD S. POMEROY
Born in Philadelphia on April 15, 1853. After graduating from high school, he went to work for Wm. J. McCohan & Co., whole grocers, which later became a sugar refining company. He became a partner in 1884, the same year he moved to Ridley Park. He became Secretary of the School Board in 1888 and a Borough Council member from 1894 to 1896. Pomeroy was Ridley Parks second Mayor (1897-1900). Active in the Presbyterian Church, he was President of the Board of Trustees for 25 years.he formed Pomeroy Construction and built homes in Ridley Park. Dying in December of 1914, he left the Presbyterian Church a legacy of $5,000.00.
WILLIAM J. JOHNSON
Mayor from 1922 to 1925, he was born in Philadelphia in 1867. A mechanical engineer by trade, he was general foreman of the foundry at Baldwins in Eddystone. He moved to Ridley Park about 1906 and was a Councilman from 1916 to 1921. Johnson was especially actived in the fire company, where he was chief engineer. Johnson left Ridley Park about 1930.
M. D. STILES
It is believed his first name was Marion, but Stiles never used his first name, even when running for Council. Born in Canada in 1877, he frew up in Wilmington, Delaware. Stiles worked for the Carnegie Company for a while and started a firm, Stiles & Work, in Chester. The firm built wharves and breakwater dams on the Delaware River. He moved to Ridley Park in 1909 and served on Council from 1918 to 1921. Stiles left Ridley Park in the late 1930s.
Born in New Castle, Delaware in 1867, his family moved to Chester when Charles was a boy. He went to work at age 16. In October, 1889, at age 22, he moved to Ridley Park and opened a grocery store under the name of Deakyne & Pennypacker. In May, 1901, he purchased Pennypackers interest and ran the store on his own. President and treasurer of the fire company for many years, Deakyne served on Borough Council from 1914 to 1919. He died in December, 1920.
C. EDWIN BARTLETT
An economics graduate of the Wharton School, Bartlett moved to 209 Cresswell Street in 1911. Born in Philadelphia in 1883, he had his own business, Bartlett & Company, in Philadelphia. The firm made stoves and ranges. A Councilman from 1916 to 1919, he was also active in the Barnstormers and the Fire Company. Bartlett left Ridley Park in the 1920s.
Ridley Park Post Office in 1912. Shortly after it was built at the corner of Sellers and Hinckley Avenues. The building now broken up into various stores is 117 Sellers Avenue. East Ridley Avenue looking from Sellers Avenue towards Morton Avenue. The first house was the home of Charles G. Hetzel, the second John M. Pomeroy, a local builder and the last house 201 Morton Avenue, Evergreen, the home of Frederick J. Michell.
Sellers Ave. and Felton St. looking toward Swarthmore Ave. about 1915. Nevin Street is on the left in the center of the picture.
East Ridley Avenue. Ridley Avenue at Thayer Street. The house on the right behind the trees is the home of Job Smith, one of the founders of the Methodist Church.
Morton Avenue looking north at Penn Street about 1908
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