Sunday, June 27, 2010

Some Double Mill Events - Upcoming

July 4, 2010—The annual Fourth of July Celebration,
sponsored by the Adkins Historical and
Museum Complex, will be held at the Adkins
Complex in Mardela beginning at 10:30 a.m. A
community church service will be held at 11
a.m., and there will be musical entertainment
throughout the day, along with great food and
children’s entertainment.

July 17, 2010—Chicken BBQ fundraiser at
Wright’s Market. Advance orders encouraged.
Contact any Double Mills member

October 2, 2010—Plans are underway for the 2nd
annual Double Mills Corn Festival to be held on
the grounds of Wright’s Market. This year’s festival
promises to be even bigger and better than last
year’s, which itself was a huge success! New food
items, more children’s games, more demonstrations,
and even more vendors are on the agenda
for the event. Great silent auction items this year

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Floating Theater on Delmarva

In the first part of the twentieth century the Delmarva Peninsula had a number of traveling entertainment shows. They were a combination of carnivals, circuses, and repertory theatre companies and they traveled Delmarva by train or motor vehicle setting up their theatres in rented halls, or performing under tents. Billboard estimated that in 1926 in the United States were 400 tent companies touring. One unique form of traveling show was the floating theatre or Show Boat and the best known one, in our area, was the “James Adams Floating Theatre.” There were a couple of others on the Chesapeake Bay but they only last about a season or two before collapsing.

Between 1831 to 1939 there were fifty-three major showboats built in the United States. Fifty were on the Mississippi; one on the Erie Canal, one on the Hudson River and The “James Adams” was on the tidewaters of North Carolina and the Chesapeake Bay. The “James Adams Floating theatre” is well described in the book “The James Adams Floating Theatre by C. Richard Gillespie. It is a well researched book. The James Adams Floating theatre also has a website.

James Adams was a vaudeville and tent show person who decided in 1913 that anyone could buy a tent and start a traveling repertoire companies but, due to the expense, not that many people could built a boat for a floating theatre. In 1914 he built the “James Adams Floating Theatre” in Washington, North Carolina. The boat was a barge 128 feet long 34 feet wide on which a two story building was constructed. The main auditorium was 30 by 80 feet with a balcony running around the room. The floor of auditorium could hold 500 people and the balcony could hold another 350 people. The balcony was mainly for colored people. The barge was not self powered and was pulled from place to place by tug boat. In addition to the auditorium it had a gallery, an electric plant, and sleeping space for 30 to 40 employees.

From 1914 to 1941 the “James Adams Floating Theatre” entertained people from Florida to New Jersey, but it’s main route was the Chesapeake Bay and the tidewaters of North Carolina. When the “James Adams” started out in 1914 times were good; audiences had money and many hours to spend on leisurely pursuits. The “James Adams” because of her size and shallow, 14-inch draft, played in many less accessible bay towns. Entertainment-starved locals lined up in droves to see a show. Obviously Delmar was not one of the places the “James Adams” performed in, but Laurel and Salisbury were. Since the James Adams drew people from a forty miles range of where it was playing no doubt many people from Delmar went to the floating theatre.

1914 Ad from the Wicomico News
When the circus came to town they would have a parade down Main Street to announce their arrival. The James Adams did a similar thing and as the barge was pulled into town he would have the orchestra up on top playing away. After tie up he would than send a tug boat out with his orchestra (like dinner theatre the actors could also play an instrument and doubled in the orchestra) to the numerous inlets in the area. The excitement of the music made everyone know the “James Adams Floating theatre” was in town. If the boat came to the harbor at night it would be "lit from stem to stern." The theatre would stay for a week at each port of call. It would show a different play each night and do vaudeville between acts or after the show.

Novelist Edna Ferber in 1925 spent time on the “James Adams Floating Theater,” researching material for a book she was thinking about writing. In 1926, her book “Show Boat” came out. The book was later turned into a musical and the setting changed to the Mississippi River and the rest is musical history.

The “James Adams” had a number of problems, sinking being one of them. Several times in it history it would hit a tree stump in the low water it was floating in and sink. The result was having to replace all the furnishing, clothing, scenery etc on the boat – at much expense. But any boat owner can tell you about boat expense.

In 1933 James Adam saw the writing on the wall and sold the showboat to Nina Howard of St Michaels, MD. The great depression was going full blast. Roads were improving meaning it was easily for traveling shows to compete with him and even the smallest town would have a movie theatre. Steamboats were disappearing which meant the wharfs he tied up to were also disappearing. The movie chains used their influence and made it difficult for him to obtain a license to play in some of the towns. After the sale the “James Adams Floating Theatre” name was changed to the “Original Floating Theatre” and Nina Howard continued to ply the towns of the Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina putting on shows.

In 1941 the “Original Floating theatre” was sold to E. H. Brassell for $6,000. He just wanted the tug boats that went with the barge. While being towed from Savannah to Brunswick, Georgia the theatre got fire and burnt entirely, thus ending the era of the floating theatre for the East Coast.

Today there would not be much chance of recreating the floating theatre, too many regulations, OSHA, and coast guard safety requirements. All those college graduates who can’t do manual work and now sit behind a desk thinking up new government regulations have killed this and most American small businesses. In 1965, the Safety at Sea Act barred wooden-hulled vessels from transporting passengers, so unless it is built on a metal hull there is not much chance of it ever being recreated.

From Gillespie’s book, here are some of the Delmarva Towns the floating theatre played between 1914 to 1940;
Tangier Island, VA
Onancock, VA
Snow Hill, MD
Pocomoke MD
Saxis, VA
Crisfield, MD
Deal Island, MD
Salisbury, Md
Vienna, Md
Sharptown MD
Seaford DE
Laurel DE
Honga MD
Secretary, MD
Cambridge, MD
Chesapeake City, MD
Georgetown MD
Chestertown, MD
Crumpton, MD
Centreville, MD
Queenstown MD
St. Michaels, MD
Stevenville, MD
Denton, MD
Greensboro, MD
Oxford, MD
Easton, MD
Delasware City DE
Wilmington DE
Cape Charles VA
Harborton VA
Rock Hall MD

Friday, June 25, 2010

Seaford Art Show Tomorrow

There will be an art show at the Seaford Kiwanis Park from 10 AM to 3 PM on Saturday June 26th Food Art Fun

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Somerset Strawberry Festival

June 26, 2010 - Somerset Strawberry Festival Runs Through: June 26, 2010 9am to 4pm
Location: Marion Station, Maryland

EVERYTHING STRAWBERRY: food, crafts, children activities, Little Ms. Strawberry Pageant, Kid parade, entertainment, historical strawberry display.

Contact Information: Carolyn 240 298-1195 mainstprincessanne@yahoo or Allison 410 202-6490

Delmar Delaware Incorporation Map of 1899

We, Benjamin F. Barker, Joseph J. Ellis and Jackson L. Ellis, Commissioners named in the act of the General Assembly of the State of Delaware, Incorporating the Town of Delmar in Sussex County of the State Of Delaware passed at Dover February 28th 1899 after having been duly qualified by taking the oath of office prescribed by said act and having called to our assistance Samuel E. Foskey, a surveyor, who was likewise qualified did in the month of May and June in the year 1899 proved to survey said town and established it's limits, streets, alleys, lanes, and sidewalks, and in do herely certify that this is a correct plot or map of said town.

Witness our hand this 7th day of July A.D. 1899

B. F. Barker, Commissioner
J. J. Ellis, Commissioner
J. L. Ellis, Commissioner
Samuel E Foskey, Surveyor

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Davis-Noble-Kinder family reunion - 2010

The Davis-Noble-Kinder family reunion is set to take place in Reliance (Bethel United Methodist Church - 2381 Neal's School Rd, Seaford DE 19973) on Saturday Sept 4th. Registration will be 8:30 AM to 10 AM. The program will begin in the Church Sanctuary at 10 AM. Luncheon by Bethel UMC at a cost of $14 for Adults, $7 for children under 6 are free. Send reservation fee and number attending to the DNK treasurer by Aug 20: Mrs. Judy Partyka 24084 Deep Branch Rd, Georgetown DE 19947 Phone 302-856-7971

This event only occurs every five years.

The 1917 Eddystone Ammunition Plant Explosion

The Eddystone Ammunition Plant, in 1916, was looking for a thousand girls to work at their ammunition plant outside of Chester Pennsylvania, piercing fuses and filling shells with gunpowder for the Russian army. Included in the people hired at the Eddystone Ammunition plant were Martha Parsons and her husband Anthony Parsons from the Delmar Maryland area. On April 6, 1917 President Wilson asked Congress to declare war and Congress officially declared it. About this time at the plant rumors were floating that the Russian, Leon Trotsky, had put out an order to sabotaged the plant in order to prevent the shells from reaching the new Russian government run by Kerensky, which was democratic. On April 10, 1917 at 9:55 A. M. “F” Building at the Eddystone Ammunition Plant, where 380 girls and women worked loading shells with black powder, exploded . One hundred and thirty-three persons, lost their lives in the explosion. Fifty-five of the dead would never be identified. Among the identified dead were Anthony and Martha Parsons.

From the Wicomico News April 19, 1917
April 13, Delmar – Two of the victims of the Eddystone disaster Anthony G. Parsons and his wife, who had been employed in the factory only a short time, were from the rural section, near this town. Their remains were brought home today for interment.

Martha E. Parsons May 23, 1886 to April 10 1917 Buried at Cemetery in Melson.

Anthony G. Parson May 29, 1880 to April 10, 1917 Buried at Melson.

The unidentified dead were buried at a mass funeral service in Chester Rural Cemetery. The service was held on April 13 at 11:00 a.m. An estimated 12,000 people attended the funeral service. The Eddystone Ammunition Company paid for all the funeral services.

Monument to the unidentified dead at Chester Rural Cemetery

Eddystone, Pennsylvania is located on the Delaware River next to Chester PA

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Glenn Rayne

On June 14th, 1893 Glenn Rayne was born in Berlin, Maryland. His parents were John M. Rayne and Mary Ellen Timmons Rayne. On May 25th, 1918 he was living on State Street in Delmar, Delaware and from that home address he enlisted in the United States Army. As many young men, who enlisted in the Army, he expected to be sent to Europe to fight in the Great War. On July 17th he was promoted to Private First Class. Like many of the causes of deaths in World War I he died of Broncho Pneumonia at Camp Mead, Maryland on October 01, 1918. About 6 weeks later on 11/11/1918 at 11 AM the great war ended. The American Legion Post in Delmar, Delaware named their post for Glenn Rayne. Currently I do not know where he was buried.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Screen Painting At Ward's Museum

Wednesday June 23, 2010 The Tradition of Baltimore Screen Painting by Dr. Elaine Eff
Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury

1948 Ad for Hubert W. German

Tom Dick and Harry

The Community Players of Salisbury, Inc this past weekend and next weekend are putting on a production of Tom Dick and Harry

In this hilarious story of three brothers, Tom and his wife are about to adopt a baby. His brothers are anxious to help make a good impression on the woman from the agency who has arrived to check on the home and lifestyle of the prospective parents. Unfortunately Dick, who has stashed boxes of smuggled brandy and cigarettes in the house, and Harry, who is in possession of a cadaver he is planning to sell illegally to a medical school, fail miserably. The adoption agency representative is aghast - and the illegal Croatian aliens who do not speak English are no help at all!

Delmar High School's Judy Hearn plays Mrs Potter in the production .

All performances in Guerrieri Hall at Wor-Wic Community College

Friday, June 25 2010 8:00 pm
Saturday June 26 2010 8:00 pm
Sunday June 27 2010 2:00 pm

Prices for "TOM, DICK AND HARRY" (All performances at Wor-Wic Community College)
Adult $ 11.00, Senior $ 9.00 ( 55+), Student $ 9.00, Family $31.00

Sunday, June 20, 2010

1875 Check Forgery

September 23, 1875 The Daily Gazette, a Wilmington Paper

A West Chester man was robbed of a check on which his endorsement is Forged.

An alleged forgery has come to light in Maryland in which the First National Bank of West Chester is interested in the particulars of which the Local News relates as follows:

During the first day of the Agricultural Fair held in our borough, a man named Washington Eastbourne, residing at Russelville, this county, came to West Chester and negotiated a loan with Messrs. Pyle & Brown, bankers for the sum of $180, he receiving a check on the First National Bank for this amount. He did not draw the money, and while here it appears, he made the acquaintance of a very pleasant gentleman, who was endeavoring to operate among the people attending the exhibition in the way of selling some sort of a patient right. Eastbourne and this gentleman who was very childlike and bland, he became quite intimate, and on Tuesday, it is said they left our borough together and betook themselves to Wilmington Delaware. In that city they drank together and got more or less intoxicated and Eastbourne on Tuesday night took lodging in a wagon standing in one of the hotel yards. On the following morning he awoke to find his hat and traveling companion both missing and upon investigating the interior of his pocketbook, the check was also found to be missing and he at once suspected his newly found friend as being the thief.

It appears that the stranger after quitting Wilmington went to Delmar, a place near Maryland line and stopped at a hotel kept by a man named Hodgson and with whom he settled his hotel charges by passing over the check, after first endorsing it in the name of “Washington Eastbunn” – Subsequently the check was endorsed by Mr. Hodgson and given to Adams Express Company for collection, and by the company it was also endorsed and presented to the First national Bank of west Chester, and the money paid to the company.

On the day following Eastbourne advised Messrs Pyle & Brown, of this place of his loss and requested them to stop payment, and the being then in the Express Company’s hands they were forthwith advised by their agent at West Chester to return it or hold it until further orders.

The stranger, who gave his name as Washington Eastbunn, was afterwards arrested at Crisfield, Md. In regard to the check he said:
“I won the check in Wilmington from Washington “Eastbourne’ at a gambling table and brought it down to Delmar and there transferred it to Mr. Hodgson by putting my name on the back of it, which is Washington Eastbunn. I have a right to put my name on anything, the bank cashier should have noticed the spelling.” Eastbunn, as he calls himself but which is not his name, is a tremendous man in size, being greatly over six feet high, he says he was fifteen years a sailor and three years on the police force in the 8th ward in New York City.
He showed the magistrate how he wrote the name “Eastbourne” and his writing was an excellent specimen of beautiful pensmanship.

The bank cashier went down to Delmar, Tuesday in company with Washington Eastbourne to be present at the hearing.

The theft being committed in Delaware an effort will be made to have the trail take place at New Castle instead of in Maryland, that place being the choice of those interested.

Note: In 1859 Kendall B. Hearn built a Hotel in Delmar. After he died it changed hands a number of times with one of the owners being Richard Hodgson. The Hotel burn in the great Fire of 1892.

Eastern Shore Artists Co-Op Exhibit Going On Now

Members of the Eastern Shore Artists Co-Op exhibit their works at Salisbury University June 4-25 in the University Gallery in Fulton Hall. An opening reception is 5-7 p.m. Friday, June 25. gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Admission is free and the public is invited. For more information call 410-548-2547 or visit the SU Web site at

Poplar Hill Mansion Tour

Tour of Poplar Hill Mansion today at 1 Pm the oldest structure in Salisbury. Open for tours the 1st & 3rd Sunday of the month. FREE

Arts Alive Festival, Ocean City

Arts Alive Festival, Ocean City. One of the largest shows in the region and one of the most beautifully staged. Over 100 artists from all media displaying their works around the lagoon and grounds of Northside Park. Large kids’ activity area so they can be occupied while parents browse. Sat 9-6, Sun 9-5.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Old Delmar Moose Hall

From the October 2, 1930 Wicomico News

The old Masonic Hall, erected in 1901, was purchased by the Loyal Order of Moose, when the new Masonic Temple was built on State Street and the old building has been greatly improved. The balcony in the first floor which was originally an opera house of the old regime, has been removed and an additional floor has been laid, giving the building three large rooms and making it a three story structure. The first floor will be used for social purposes, the second has been leased by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to be used by it's employees in sports and social activities, while the third floor is the lodge room of the Moose.

The building has been newly wired and the exterior will be shingled, with the exception of the front which will be of brick. the cost of these improvements is estimated at $4,000.

The Moose Hall stood on what is now the parking lot for Town Hall. In 1978 the Delmar Fire Department did a control burning of Moose Hall. Below are some photographs of the burning I took at the time.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Week After the 1892 Fire

From the Salisbury Advertiser Sept 3, 1892


New Houses and Business going up in Delmar and other Homes to follow

This fire swept town today presents a better appearance than it did a week ago. The braver victims of the fire who are able have cleared away the debris and begun work in earnest. T. A. Vessey has contracted with the Tolberts, of Laurel to erect on the old site a handsome three story Hotel at a cost of $6000. They begin work Wednesday. W. L. Sirman has an architect in Wilmington preparing him a plan for a new residence and no doubt his house will be the finest structure ever erected in Delmar. Wm. M. Mason has the foundation of a very pretty cottage building laid on his lot, the work being done by Mr. Lewis of Salisbury. The Delmar Union Store Co. has erected a temporary building and is already doing business and this is true of B. B. Freeny and W. B. Elliot. Levin Hastings is putting up the largest store in Delmar – 50 x 150 ft – this building includes store for him self, post-office, drug store and barber shop. The firm of Elliott and Ellis has by mutual consent dissolved partnership. F. G. Elliott continues the business and has erected a temporary building in which a stock of hardware was placed Wednesday. Cooper & Wilson also opened quarters in a building of M. H. German’s Wednesday. They will build a large brick building in the future. Those preparing to build are; Michael Elliott, W. B. Sirman, M. M. Hill, Harry Renninger, J. F. Clarke, Phillip Hearn, W. S. Marvil, B. B. Gordy, Jas. Venables and Smiley Parker.

The young man, Wm. Adkins, who was so badly crushed a week ago at the coal bin, is still lingering with little hope of recovery.

Mrs. Walter Stephens, who was so badly frightened by the fire, died on Saturday last. Her baby, which was only three weeks old, died Wednesday. The case is one which calls for the sympathy of all. It is really sad. Mrs. Stephens was sick in bed at the time the fire occurred and seeing that her house hold effects would be destroyed, she rose from bed and attempted to save them by removing them to a place of safety. Lifting an organ and the extreme fright were too great a strain and she died from the effects.

Papering the walls and ceiling has much improved the interior of the Missionary Baptist church here. Last Sunday morning Rev. Mr. Howe, the pastor, preached a deeply interesting sermon, taking for his text, “and we know that all things work together for good to them that loves God,” In the course of his sermon the reverend gentleman made a local application of the text to the recent destruction of Delmar, and its present condition. His words had an electrical effect upon many who had lost their all in the recent fire and gave them renewed hope. Rev. Mr. Corkran of the M. E. church preached in the evening…

1892 Delmar Fire

Delmar has been destroyed by two major fires. The first was in 1892 and the second was in 1901. The article below describes the 1892 fire. It is interesting most of the towns on the Eastern Shore had major fires in in the 1890s. When neighboring fire departments sent aid to those towns they would load their equipment up on the train and the train would take them to the town where they would unload and start to fight the fire. Obviously the response time left something to be desired. In the case of Delmar in 1892 it was pointed out that there was no source of water to put out the fire and water had to be taken from the tanks on the train engines sitting in the rail yard at the time. It would not be until 1911 before Delmar would have a water utility that would supply fire hydrants and sufficient water pressure to put out fires.

Salisbury Advertiser August 20, 1892


Eighty-Seven Houses burned including Every Business Place, the Hotel, Railroad Station and M. E. Church

Another Peninsula town has been reduced to ashes. Delmar was burned last Tuesday afternoon. Between noon and the hour of one, Fire was seen to burst from the roof of the building, corner Railroad avenue and Grove street, occupied by Mr. Tyre as post office. Being a frame structure, the flames fanned by a brisk wind from the north-west, soon enveloped the entire building, and before the thoroughly aroused populace could take action the fire was spreading from house to house and continued to spread until ten acres on which thickly stood eighty-seven buildings of various kinds, mostly wood, had been burned over.

The burned district extends from Grove Street on the north, down Railroad avenue on the west three squares south to Elizabeth street, east from Railroad avenue two squares to Second street. In this territory stood every business house, the hotel, Methodist Episcopal Church and the railroad station, all of which were burned. The fire did no damage west of the railroad track. The origin of the conflagration is supposed to have been the igniting of a match by a mouse in an old sugar barrel which stood in the hall on the second floor of the post office building.

The Salisbury fire service responded promptly to an appeal for help, but owing to the fact Delmar is an inland town, with no artificial water supply, and having no natural streams nearer than two miles, our boys could do little toward keeping up a stream of water. What water they did get was drawn off the tanks of a number of engines.

The losers of the fire are; Levin Hastings store and goods partly insured; M. H. German private residence and several tenement houses, loss heavy, only partially covered by insurance; Joseph W. Hastings, residence valued at $1300, insured for $800; Dr. Ellegood, drug store and bedroom set $2000, insured $1200; W. S. Marvel, residence, barn, smith shop, $3500, total loss; J. M. Elliott, two dwellings and one more, partially insured; Elliott & Ellis, stock of goods, $5000, insured $4000; Cooper & Wilson store and stock of goods, $7000, insurance $4500; W. B. Elliott, post office building and butcher shop, $4000, partially insured; Mrs. Hayman, millinery store, total loss; Delmar Union store, store and stock lose $3500, insurance $1200; Perdue & Hastings millinery store , $1,000, no insurance; W. S. Hitchens, store $1500 total loss, E. J. Melson store $300, total loss; E. J. Freeny, several houses all partially insured; B. W. Freeny, green grocer, $1,000, no insurance; Jas. Mills, leather, $300, total lose; R. S. Stevens & Bro, jewelry valued $1000, no insurance ; W. I. Sirman, residence, partially insured, stock of goods$1000, no insurance; H. B. James, residence, light insurance; Methodist Episcopal church and parsonage, loss partly covered by insurance; Smiley Parker, residence, some insurance, Mrs. Sarah Williams, residence, no insurance ; James Williams, W. I. Sirman, H. B. Sirman, W. Elliott, James Venables, John Gillis, all residences, with more or less insurance; H. B. Kerr’s barber’s fixtures, no insurance; T. A. Vesseys hotel, loss, $5000, insurance $1600; L. B. Kerr’s livery stable, P. W. Vincent’s residence; W. S. Mason’s residence; B. B. Gordy; residence, Mrs. B. B. Gordy, dwelling; Mrs. Elizabeth H. Slemons, residence, office, stables, loss $1500, insurance $1000; M. M. Hill residence partly insured; John W. Melson, residence; Isaac Watson, residence and shop, partially insured, John Neugebaum, residence partly insured; Charles Hill, residence, partly insured; Mrs. Mills, residence, no insurance; Dr. Josephus A. Wright, residence, $1800, insured $800; Harry Renninger, residence, no insurance; Philip C. Hearn, residence, insured; John I. Clarke, residence, partly insured; Charles Elliott, residence, partly insured; B. W. Parker, residence, partly insured; W. C. Truitt, residence, partly insured; Roy German, residence insured; Jos. J. Restein, residence, insured; railroad station, freight house, etc $10000, partly insured; Algy Dennis, residence, partly insured; E. P. O’Neal, residence, partly insured; A. H. Morris, candy store, loss $300, no insurance; Total loss is conservatively estimated at $150,000 and the aggregated insurance is placed at $75,000. Mr. A. G. Toadvine of this city had nearly all the property destroyed on the Maryland side in his companies.

Delmar is situated six miles north of Salisbury on Mason Dixon Line, at the juncture of the P. W. & B. railroad and the N. Y. P. & N railroad, which two systems uniting at Delmar, traverse the seaboard states from New York to Norfolk. It is a new town, owing its thrift and prosperity to the railroads. Within the last decade it has grown from a hamlet of a few scattered houses to a town of 800 inhabitants.

The fire of last Tuesday was the first considerable blaze the little town ever suffered and during its progress many land marks were destroyed.

Among the first homes to burn was one as old as the town itself and in which two poor but enterprising boys- E. E. Jackson and W. L. Sirman – set out in business in 1859. The former has since amassed a large fortune and has honorably served his native state as its governor. The latter is at present speaker of the Delaware House of Representatives and has always been identified with the best interests of Delmar, where he has succeeded in acquiring a competence.

Mr. T. A. Vessey, proprietor of the hotel, was offered $4000 cash for his property on Monday by a Cincinnati gentlemen but refused it.

Dr. Josephus A. Wright had made all arrangements to move into his handsome new home on Wednesday.

Among the more prominent buildings not destroyed are the Missionary Baptist Church, O. S. Baptitist Church, and the Methodist Protestant Church. All the mills were saved.

Undauted by the diameter the people at once turned to work and began to erect temporary structures in which to do business until more substantial buildings can be put up. In twenty four hours after the fire Mr. B. W. Freeny had a house on the site of his burned butcher shop. The railroad company have a temporary station house completed and several other rough structures are up. The unfortunates whose homes were destroyed are residing for the time with those of their neighbors who were not burned out. Mrs. Slemons and her daughters are guests of Dr. F. M. Slemons of Salisbury.

Hogs and Chickens were burned as well as provisions and it is said that when night settled over the devastated town Tuesday there was not enough food in the place to give all the people a hearty meal. This alarming condition was soon relieved however by the quick and eager response of neighboring towns Salisbury, Cape Charles City, Wilmington, Laurel, Seaford and other places send food and money, Mayor Humphreys and messgrs Randolph, Humpreys, A. A. Gillis, Charles Birkhead, and R. T. Fowler, a committee to solicit aid. A purse of $445.35 was soon made up and presented to the provisional committee at Delmar.

A dispatch from Wilmington, Del. Wednesday night to Hon. W. L. Sirmen, said; “At a public meeting held in this city hall of Wilmington this morning to respond to the call for aid from Delmar $500 in cash was raised in twenty minutes and William L. Sirman of Delmar, speaker of the Delaware House of Representatives was directed by telegraph to draw on the treasurer of the meeting for that amount at once. A car load of provions, bedding, clothing and furniture will also be sent down”. The railroad are transporting provisions free.

Brick Row

In 1892 The Big Fire sweep thru Delmar burning most of it to the ground. Among the houses burnt were tenement houses on what was than called Front street. After the fire Mitchell H. German, owner of the M. H. German & Co. Brickyard, built on that land what is today called Brick Row. The Rowhouses faced on Front Street, which became RailRoad Avenue and later it would be called South Pennsylvania Ave.

Brick Row has had a series of owners. In 1915 Mitchell German defaulted on the mortgage he had with Walter Miller and Brick row was sold at public auction to Arthur Williams, his heirs in 1937 sold it to Lee Mason, whose heirs sold it to Sue Payne in 1955. In 1979 it was owned by Norman and linda Buroker who sold it to Samuel and Darlene Lombardo in 1981, who flipped it to Terry Sell in 1981, who sold it to GNI,LLC in 1999.

The upkeep of the property aside, Brick Row standing on the Maryland side of Delmar is one of the most distinctive structures in Delmar. It is of a late 1890's style and it is amazing so much of it is still intact. It is a two-story brick rowhouse that has seven units in the structure. Each paired units share an entrance bay and are separated by a narrow passageway between units. There is a front decorative turned post porch with scrollwork. Above each second floor window is a metal vent that provides air circulation to the attic. Along the top of the rowhouse is decorative brick corbelling with pyramidal topped metal finials.

Attached to to Brick Row is a smaller series of rowhouse units dating from the second quarter of the twentieth century.

Third Friday

Salisbury Third Friday is tonight from 5PM to 9Pm.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A look at old Delmar

Barbara Moore O'Neal sent me some photo's of Delmar back in the 1950's and 1940's. I am publishing a few of them. In the background you can see what Delmar looked liked at that time. Of note, I posted Barbara's engagement 1956 article and she is still married to the same person.

maybe the 1950's notice the multiple tracks and buildings standing at that time in west Delmar and the train station.

Similar view today

Erma Smith and Elizabeth (I would guess in the 1940's) notice the Movie theatre and the restaurant where the Apartments and Sports Nuts bar is today.

Pennsylvania Ave about the same location today

Barbara and her sister (I would guess in the 1940's?) on North Second Street

North Second Street today

Grocery Stores In Delmar

I have had an engaging series of emails dealing with Mom and Pop Grocery stores in Delmar and I thought I would do a post on them. Now remember I grew up outside of Salisbury so what I know about Delmar grocery stores is based on what I read or what people tell me. There were still a number of them around in the late 1970’s when I moved here. There was even a couple into the 1990’s. I would consider the Foodrite in the same category as an Independent Mom and Pop store so I guess that was the last traditional small 1950’s style grocery store in Delmar.

The traditional Mom and Pop stores from the 1940’s and 1950’s were usually within walking distant in the neighborhood, usually one every 4 or 5 blocks. They were frequently located in an old two story house with the bottom floor being the store and the top being living space for their family. The owners of the stores were proud of their store and gave the store their name such as; Jack’s, Caldwells, Hines, Wootten, Whayland, R. W. Adkins, etc. Some were associated with grocery buying associations (IGA). They were independent and civic minded. They were gathering places where the regulars would stop in and buy a soda, chat, and catch up on the news. In hind sight they had a somewhat rustic favor as they were not as brightly lit as today’s stores, usually they had a wooden plank floor or it was covered in a worn linoleum. Some were air conditioned, most were not. They usually offered credit, as back in those days, the wife was given a limit amount of money but she had charge accounts in all the places she did business; gas station, laundry, hardware store, grocery store, and dress shops. On payday the husband would go around and pay the charge accounts. Sometime the customer would serve themselves but more frequently you would give the clerk, who usually wore a large white apron, a list of what you wanted and he would run around and fill the order. Sometimes the housewife would just telephone in the order. The groceries were usually put in a cardboard box and he would list each item on an order tablet and tear off the carbon copy of the slip from the pad so you would know how much you owed. Credit was the downfall of a number of these store. Women were usually helped to the car with the groceries or since they all offered free delivery a kid on a grocery bike (had those big baskets and sometime a store sign on it) would deliver it later.

The store itself usually had meat case with a hamburger grinder, meat slicer and one of those large meat scales that would show you the weight of your food. They usually offered a good selection of cold cuts and meats. They had bins of in season produce and Irish (white) potatoes. Besides the shelves of can goods and the bread shelf they had penny candy jars, and open boxes of cookies. Cleanliness was assumed in those days as the clerk would pick up the candy or cookies in his bare hands and put them in a paper bag. You also didn’t look too closely at the fly strips hanging from the ceiling.

The one thing for me that does stand out is those old soft drink ice chest coolers. They had refrigerated water or a slurry of ice and water in them and a Nehi ginger ale from one of them was always near freezing.

The stores were an asset to the local farmers as the store would buy local produce, eggs, etc from them, usually in exchange for store products or actual cash.

The family that ran the store usually had for supper what didn’t sell or was approaching it’s pre-spoil stage.

One disadvange of the large chain stores replacing mom and pop stores beside the decreased advertising business for newspapers, was decreased donations for church, civic and school groups. Before a band booster club could get $50 from 6 or 7 Mom and Pop Grocery Stores, now they get one donation of a hundred dollars from either Food Lion or Walmart.

We tend to give these Mom and Pop stores memories and specific visions and notions of an idealized life. There is a reason why they aren’t in existence in their 1940 or 1950 form today, in spite of what your memory says they had a limited selection of products, high prices, miserable hours, frequently closing by 5 or 6 PM, Altho most were honest businessmen other store owners would not hesitate to cheat you, they were gossip centers, and very prejudice in regards to social standing and treatment.

Years ago when I thought this might be an interesting business to be in I looked at buying a small country store and found if you worked 14 hours a day, 7 days a week you could cleared about $9,000 a year - not enough for the effort required from someone as lazy as me.

Mom and Pop grocery stores still are in existent in Delmar, they are usually in the form of a convenience store and they are usually run by an Indian, Asian or Hispanic person. Immigrants seem to be more entrepreneurial than us local natives, they don’t seem to mind taking a chance on a shoestring budget.

Some Grocery stores that have been in Delmar (most of the ads are from the 1950 to 1962 period);

Jacks Market,Jack and Ruth Dashper moved here with son Jackie about 1945 or 1946 and took over the market at 301 Pine street.

This is 301 Pine Street today. The building has been home to a couple of groceries. I think J. R. Hines and son had a grocery here before it became Jack's market.They lived at 411 Pine street. In 1951 he moved to the Wilmington area and took a job with DuPont and in 1958 transferred to Western Tennessee with them He died about 1974 and his wife died about 2007.

Jack and Herb Dashper at 411 Pine street.

Mills Store was on the. corner of Elizabeth Street and Second street(208 E. Elizabeth). It was operated by Gene Mills in the 1920 and 1930’s and 1940’s.

Sturgis Store was down on Elizabeth Street near Bi-State blvd and was owned by Tom Sturgis.

W. W. Whayland’s store see post I did back in November on Whayland’s store.

Caldwells Market was out by the VFW. I think Thorp caldwell ran it.

Brittingham and Culver (B & C)Started by C. Edward Culver and John R. Hines in the building occupied by E. H. Brittingham on the corner of Pine Street and Rt13 in 1944.
Eppie Culver, son of Edward Culver, worked there and later attended the University of Maryland. He was known for his baseball skills.

Wootten’s Market; Herman Wootten ran the store on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave and Grove St. Herman Wootten was active in the community. It was in the boarded up corner of the buildings downtown.

Clover Farm Store; Started by Lester Smith and transferred to his son Jimmy Smith. It was located in the LeCates Building at the corner of State Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. I think Clover Farm was a grocery store buying association like the IGA.

R. W. Adkins; Riley Adkins ran a successful store for a long period of time. Even after his death in 1944 the store continued to operate under his name. It was at State Street, past the 13a stop light.

Highway Market at the corner of BiState and Delaware, later became Midget Market

Midget Market

Jimmy Jones Grocery store located where the Foodrite building is.

Benny Wootten ran a grocery store at the corner of State and Maryland Ave.

Snyder's Market

American Store; Altho not an independent Mom and Pop operation I will mention it since I think it was the grocery in town that was connected to a large grocery chain. It was located where Linda’s railroad CafĂ© is now. Acme merged their store with four Philadelphia grocers in 1917 to become the American Stores Company. In the 1930s, most of the grocer's storefronts became Acme Markets, the one in Delmar stayed an American store.

Other stores I have no information on except they sold groceries in the 1920 era; Wainwright’s, Parker’s, Melson’s, Hearn’s, and Gordy’s.

Incubator Row Delmar in 1951

From the BiState Register in April 1951.
The post war Baby Boom hit Delmar in 1951. This Photo and article speaks of 25 children in 10 homes all on one block in Delmar.