Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Roseland Diner and the Kircher Family

 “The worst spot I have encountered between New York and Miami there is a roadhouse every few hundred feet. “ description of Delmar Road (BiState Blvd) in 1938.

After prohibition ended in December of 1933 there were roadhouse and beer joints all along Old Route 13 south of Delmar in Wicomico County.  From Leonard Pond north to the state line there were 14 places along the road that sold beer from gas stations to diners to Dance Halls.  To name a few of the better known ones; Frank Preston’s Oak Haven, Cozy Cabin, Coliseum, Cline’s Tavern, Delmar restaurant and the Roseland Diner and Dance Hall.

The Roseland Diner was a complex that just sort of grew in the 1930 on through the 1970s.  There was a tourist camp with cabins, a gas station, a diner and dance hall.  The owners and managers of the different operations constantly changed.  The Roseland diner was on the North side of the intersection of, what is today, Shell Road and Old Rt13.  Shell Road was at one time Roseland Road.

Roseland was named for Rose Elizabeth Kircher.  She was married to Edwin “Eddie” Kircher and the couple came from New York to Delmar in the early 1930s so perhaps since the operation also had a public dance hall they wanted to play off the name of the famous Roseland Dance Hall in New York City. 

Over the years the place has had fires, sold the tourist cabins off and  removed the gas station leaving a shell of the diner.  Today it is a church called the “Grow In Grace Worship Center”

above Rose Kircher in 1953

Rose Meglio (1900-1963) married Edwin “Eddie” Kircher (1899-1966) about 1920 in New York.  He had been married once before.  They moved to the Delmar area about 1930.  The first mention of Eddie Kircher in the newspapers was in 1932 when he was arrested in Mardela by prohibition agents.  At the end of 1933 prohibition ended and all of those small gasoline stations, dance halls, and diners begin to materialize south of Delmar on Old Rt13. 

In 1934 Eddie was running the “Tom Cat” north of Delmar and Rose was running the “Half Way House” in Fruitland. 

By 1935 Eddie and Rose were running Roseland.

In 1936 Biddy Hudson was running the dance hall part of it

And in 1938 Jim S Hastings was running the operation.

By 1939 the Kirchers were living part time in Florida and returning to Delmar to run the operation during the summer.  The diner had changed names to Jim’s Restaurant (Jim Hastings)  but was up for sale by the Kirchers.

And by 1940 the Kirchers had sold the place and moved to the Tampa Florida area and managed the Pasco hotel.  Rose would eventually work for Sears and Roebuck.

Eddie and Rose Kircher while in Delmar lived opposite the Cozy Cabin.  Besides their business interests they raised pedigreed dogs.  They had for children; Edwin Kircher Jr (1921- 1981 ) and Harriet Rose Kircher (1922 - 2016).  They also had Louise Kircher from Eddie first marriage.

Edwin Kircher Jr (1921 -1981 ) would graduate Delmar Maryland High school in 1939.  He was a very accomplished student.  He was in the school play "Aunt Tillie Goes To Town" 

He would go to Salisbury Normal school (Salisbury University)  until drafted into the army.  He would go to war in WW2 and be wounded with a spinal cord wound.  After his discharge from the Army he would graduated from the University of Tampa.  He would marry Eunice Marie Meoni (1922-1990) in 1947 and they would raise a family.   He would become an attorney, graduating Stetson University College of law.  He would be buried in Arlington national cemetery in 1981.

It would appear, at present, the only Delmar photo I can find that has Edwin Kircher in it is when he was in a 1939 Delmar high school school minstrial show.  He is front and center.

Harriet Rose (1922 - 2016) would attend Delmar High School but the move to Florida would have her graduate Gulf High school in Tampa.  She would go on to nursing school and marry James M Edwards in 1942.

Louise Kircher would marry Grady H. Tuttle but the marriage ended in divorce in 1970.

Rose Kircher mother was Gemma Di Stefano (1884-1945) who was born in Italy to Giovan and Luisa Covelli Di Stefano.  Shortly after arriving in America in 1899 Gemma married Michele Meglio son of Nicola and Rosaria Meglio.  They had for children; Nicholas (1899-1984 and Rose Elizabeth Meglio (1900-1963).  Either the marriage ended in Divorce or Michele died but in 1908 Gemma married Franceso “Frank” Ruocco.  They had for children; Doris (1909-1976), Marie (1910- ), Joseph William (1911- ), Louis (1915- ), Jean (joAnn) (1915- ) and Frank (1917-1996).

The Ruocco (Rocco) family was dysfunctional.  Gemma had the children remove from her custody in 1927.  Rose Kircher seemed to have been that sister that tried to look out for her family and keep it together.  Louis, her brother, traveled from New Jersey to Delmar and lived and worked with his sister Rose at Roseland.  Nicolas Meglio, also her brother, lived with the family and worked at Roseland.  Joseph, another brother, who was in and out of jail since he was 16 years old also came down and worked at Roseland briefly.  In 1939 he would return with Joseph Harley (he had also worked at Roseland) and wearing masks they would come to Edwin and Rose Kircher home (Opposite the Cozy Cabin) and gag and bound her two children; Harriett and Edwin Jr wait two hours for Mrs Kircher and her brother Nick to arrive back at the house then gag and tie them up.  The two men took $420 (the weekend receipts), a quantity of jewelry and the Kircher’s family car. They would eventually be caught and sentenced to six years in jail. 

Nicolas "Nick" Meglio was a doll maker for Trego Dolls in New York City before joining the Army and going to France in World War One.  He returned shell shocked and suffering mentally, as people would say he wasn’t quite right.  His sister Rose took him in and he lived and worked with her at Roseland.  When Rose and her husband moved to Florida he would go with them.  Her half brother Louis Ruocco would also go to Florida with them.  Nick would die in 1984 in Florida and is buried in a veteran’s cemetery in Tampa. 

Roseland continued over the years run by Howard Wiegand, Howard F Campbell, Andrew Caulfield etc. 

1 comment:

  1. Love the Cotton Pickers photo, my uncle was in it.