Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Chantry House

1939 ad

The Chantry House in Salisbury.  Built by a Princess Anne Physican (Dr Edward Tull, who of note performed abortions) in 1927.  The business went through several ownership until it closed down in 1973.  The city bought it and tore it down and built the Salisbury Wicomico County government building on that block.

above 1925 ad 

In 1922 Dorothy (Dot) and Beulah White opened the Blue Bird Tea Room in Salisbury.  The name was picked because it stood for happiness.  Both girls were under 23 when they opened the tea room.  Dot had been working in Philadelphia and had taken a two month leave of absent to help her sister start the business.  It was so successful she had to leave her job in Philadelphia and move to Salisbury.   Their sister Elizabeth (Betty) also helped at the tea room.  They successfully built the business up and it moved a couple of times to expand.  In 1924 they had the 2nd and 3rd floor of the Cinno building near the post office. 

above Beulah, Dot and Betty

Dot, Beulah and the third sister, Betty, were the daughters of Capt Isaac "Ike" James White and Nettie Bounds White of Siloam. Beulah would marry Clarence Raymond Hare. Their father would build a 40 ft oyster boat that he named the "Dorothy L White."

In 1925 the two women found financial backing from Dr Tull and moved into the new Chantry House.  On December 31st 1926 the Blue Bird Tea Room in the Chantry House opened.  The evening had Chief William Clark and four of his best dancers from the Nanticoke Indian tribe and later in the evening a Negro quartet from the Princess Anne Academy.   

They had big dreams and in 1930 started the Chantry House Corporation (Incorporated in  Delaware) that was going to build a chain of hotel/tea rooms across Delmarva.  

When Dr Tull died in 1927 the White Sisters lost their financial backing and with the depression were forced to sell in 1932 to May Bailey. Dorothy Lena White declared Bankruptcy in 1932.   In 1958 May sold it to Richard and Catherine Hodgeson.  In 1967 Kenneth Parsons and James Crowley leased it.  In 1973 the block and the Chantry House was torn down.

1973 tear down

The first floor was the restaurant and tea room, with a total seating for 210.  The second floor was an open balcony (later added tables and increased the dining area) that looked out on the restaurant and the third floor was 16 bedrooms.  Many civic groups would meet at the Chantry House.


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