Saturday, February 29, 2020

1911 Delmar Milling Co

from the 1911 sanborn Fire Insurance map

Friday, February 28, 2020

Ramled Villa Subdivision

Ramled Villa subdivision was started in the 1960s in the 600 and 700 blocks of Elizabeth street, Pine Street and Chesnut in Delmar Maryland.  It started out selling building lots and then in its final version built houses on the remaining lots.  A number of rancher style homes are built on the lots. 

 1970 ad
 1977 ad
1993 ad

Monday, February 24, 2020

1990 Election Winners

Daniel Church, Reginald Lizotte and John McDonnell

An On Line Auction For railroad Stuff

For the railroad collectors that follow this blog:

There's an estate auction being held online ONLY out of Illinois of an utterly massive horde of railroadiana. 930 lots

Some PRR stuff, lotsa Pullman china and serving pieces and uniforms.

Please pay CLOSE attention to the terms: 20% buyer's premium, additional 5% for paying with credit card, shipping is extra. All of which says it will be a rare bargin you will get but if you are a collector and live off something more than social security there may be a precious item out there for you.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the The Dutch Inn in Laurel

If one of the marks of longevity of a restaurant is how many times it has been mention in the obituaries of people that have worked there then the Dutch Inn in Laurel is a success.   Started in December of 1948, it has had many owners and managers, and many variations of its name.  Today it is the Laurel Dutch Inn.  Countless civic organizations have held meetings there.  Countless bride and grooms have had their wedding reception there.  It is an institution. 

above 1972 ad

Originally connected with a motel (the Dutch Courts built by E J Cannon) and was named the Dutch Shoppe in 1955 the name was changed to Dutch Inn and it was owned by Virginia Dickerson and Marion Horner. 

It is a local hometown dinner.  If you ate there in 1960 and returned today you would be at home. It recently has been freshened up with a coat of paint and some knotty pine wainscoting.  Known for having good and reasonably price food it has held its own against a number of competitors that have gone by the wayside.

1972 ad 

Besides Virginia Dickerson and Marion Horner other owners have been George and Edward Northam, Alvin and Lucy Lutz, Dennis and Lou Brittingham and I am sure a number of other people.

UPDATE: So on April 6th there was a fire and it looks totaled. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

1936 Cold Weather Problems

Feb 5, 1936 The Wilmington News Journal
Mary Iris Cropper,  Dorsey Cropper, Lester A. Hall

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

1963 Doris Betts is the Delaware Winner of the Betty Crocker Award

above 1963 Doris Betts from Delmar and Sen. John Williams

The Betty Crocker's Homemaker of Tomorrow Scholarship Program began in 1955. Senior high girls took a written test on homemaking attitudes and knowledge. The girl with the highest score in each school received a pin (or later, charm) and she was entered into the state competition for a scholarship. Each scholarship winner and second runner-up won $1500 (in 1959). Each state winner was entered into the National Competition, with only 1 national winner.

For 22 years, starting in 1955, high-school seniors from schools across America elected to take a 50-minute exam, a rite of passage and part of “The Betty Crocker Search for the All-American Homemaker of Tomorrow” scholarship program. (Young men were invited to join the program starting in 1973.) 

The exam was taxing (150 questions long) and set at a rigorous pace (50 minutes to complete, no ifs, ands or buts). Covering a vast array of topics, questions delved into everything from spiritual and moral values, family relationships, child care, health and safety, money management and community participation. 
Doris would go on to marriage and being a dietitan at John Hopkins Hospital.

In 1969 Patti jones from Delmar would win the title. 
Both were in good company, as in 1966 Elizabeth Ann Herring Warren would be her Betty Crocker state representative from Oklahoma.  Have not heard her mention this achievement, and it is an achievement, in her election speeches.  

Frank Leslie “Les” Barker

Above Frank Leslie “Les” Barker in 1944

Les Barker was born in Wilmington in 1875.  His parents were Benjamin and Sallie Messick Barker.  Benjamin Barker worked on the railroad and in 1885 he was promoted to yard master in Delmar and the family moved here.   At that time there was no high school in Delmar and Les had to go to Laurel and graduate high school there.  At the age of 15 in 1890 he started work on the railroad as a messenger/callboy.  His father used his influence to have Les get a furlough each fall so he could attend high school and then once school was out he started work on the railroad again.   When he was 20 years old and completed his education (he graduated Goldey Business school) he was promoted to clerk at the Delmar yard office.  At that time Delmar had less than 700 people in it.

In 1923 Les was elected to be a councilman in Delmar Delaware.  He also served on the First Methodist Church board.  He was a member of the Delmar fire Department.  He also raised homing pigeons, an interesting fad in the early 1900s.

 above 1908 ad

Leslie Barker married in October of 1921 Henrietta “Etta” Dryden Sterling (1876 -1964).  Etta had been married before (1898) to Horace Sterling of Crisfield.  Both families were prominent in Crisfield.  Horace worked as a joint agent for the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad and the Baltimore Chesapeake Atlantic Line at Crisfield.    They had one daughter, Charlotte Katherine Sterling who died in 1919 at the age of 19. Horace Sterling grew despondent over her death and in March of 1921 at the age of 45, while Etta was on a trip to New York City, he committed suicide. 

Les and Etta Barker had no children.  When Les died in 1945 at the age of 69 he was buried in Harrington with his parents.  He had 54 years of service as being a clerk with the railroad retiring in 1944. When Etta died she was buried in Crisfield.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

1990 Christine Smith and her Fire Baton

1990 Christine Smith and her fire Baton

It is amusing that today every company is concerned over liability and if you buy a fire baton you now have a disclaimer with it such as the one below.  Maybe it is why Delmar High School doesn't do this anymore. 

"DISCLAIMER: By purchasing this baton,Star Line Baton Inc. does not have any legal liability (including but not limited to injuries or property damage ) relating to the use of the product. Users of the product must be at the appropriate skill level, have proper training in use of fire batons, and understand the risk to the performer and property when this product is used. Not recommended for indoor use unless approved by the local Fire Marshall in accordance to local codes."

Below is 1997 newspaper article about fire baton twirling (not from Delmar) 

Rachel Mills recalls her first fire baton experience with the Eau Claire Spinners as "one of the scariest, yet most exciting moments of my life." I was shaking and sweating like crazy, says Mills, of North High School. "I kept picturing my hair going up in flames yet at the same time I couldn't wait for the end to be lit. Thirteen twirlers make up the Spinners, an exhibition baton twirling group that performs throughout the Chippewa Valley in the summer. In beginning through advanced twirling, girls learn everything from figure eights to high flying thumb toss for which all baton twirlers are known. But the activity that defines a really good twirler is learning to spin a fire baton. About three times a summer the Spinners perform a fire baton routine. A fire baton has a metallic shaft with six pairs of holes near each end. The ends are made of a thick material, like rope, and are a cylindrical shape with a diameter of 5 centimeters. Each end of the baton is soaked in acetone for 10 to 15 minutes before being lit. "I had been anxious to do it for years, and the shock of seeing those flames was permanently engraved in my memory," said Jill Severson, twirler from North High School. "I remember thinking that my entire ponytail was going to go up in flames. I was unable to move my entire arm because I was literally frozen in place. Because both ends are on fire, the difficulty and amount of twirls the Spinners do in their fire baton routines is limited. Each year though, audiences keep coming back to watch the fire baton routines. As soon as the lights go off, a hush falls over the crowd and all the girls, even the veterans, begin to get butterflies. Older members know what can go wrong and often bark out last-minute commands: "Just keep the baton moving! As long as it is shaking the flames will stay away from your hands! Thanks to special precautions like sleeveless shirts, ponytails without hair spray and previous practice, no Spinners have been hurt by fire batons, although there have been minor grass fires over the years. One ill effect is that almost all the hair is singed off of the girls arms. "Our arms stink like burnt popcorn afterward, but the rest of it is a terrifying adrenaline rush.

Help The Caboose

Delmar's 1929 caboose is deteriorating and need some help.  Please follow Colton Gillette's example and donate to our restoration fund.

Should you be interested in donating, our address is;

Delmar Historical and Arts Society, PO Box 551, Delmar, DE 19940

and should you be interested in joining our society to help accomplish some projects like this, dues are only twelve dollars a year (Jan-Dec).  Again use the above address for membership also

Sunday Dinner At Pipers

Pipers was one of many restaurants that has been in that building at the State Line in Delmar.  The building started as Vern’s drive In, changed to the Stateline Restaurant and then to Orrell’s Surrey restaurant and about 1982 became Pipers.   It was run by Alex and Pete Bubas.  Pipers stood out because of the bright green roof it had. 

 above in 1985
The Bubas were successful restaurant owners before taking on Pipers and in the early 1990s they had three Roy Rogers restaurant franchises (two in Salisbury and one in Cambridge), Pipers and Zia’s. 

above 1982 Alex Bubas and David Larmore

The family lived in Delmar.  Their parents, Jerry and Margaret Litras Bubas also lived in Delmar. 

All restaurants are a boom to the local economy between employees, venders who supply the restaurant, and newspapers who take advertising for the restaurant they inject some major money into the economy.  At the peak when they had the three Roy Rogers, Pipers and Zia they employed over a hundred and fifty people.  

above 2011 Alex Bubas at Zia's

About 1991 they sold Pipers to another management group. About 1998 the restaurant became The Eagle Diner.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Bars Tobacco Chewing 1910


One of the most far-reachlng reforms ever Inaugurated by the. Pennsylvania Railroad went into effect yesterday when an order was promulgated prohibiting all employees of the passenger and freight stations east of Pittsburg and Erie the use of tobacco in any form while on duty.

For years smoking has been frowned upon, but now "chewing" comes under the ban. The order aims at cleanliness and sanitation.  The '"Penney" Is issuing- a new book of rules, which shows many changes to meet new conditions and to better safeguard public travel.

Above from the Evening Journal 11 Feb 1910

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Victory Alarm Clock - The Waralarm

In WWII everything manufactured was controlled by the War Production Board (WPB) and everything sold was controlled by the  Office of Price Administration (OPA).  In July 1 1942 WPB Order M-126 went in to effect.  It was an order to conserve Iron and steel so more Iron and steel could go into war production material.  The order curtailed the manufacturing of 400 common household items including clocks.   

According to The Westclock Company in house “Tick Talk Magazine,” August 1942, “On July 31 we made our last Westclox until – only god knows! After more than 57 years of making clocks and watches to serve and bring happiness to the peoples of the world, our facilities and energies are now devoted to turning out the tools of war.” There was no ceremony, no bands played, but it was a big day for the company and workers. What they did was to say “so long” to their regular work for a while. It wasn’t really a sad day. In fact the event kind of sparked a new resolve in the employees. Kind of a roll-up-your-sleeves, spit-on-your-hands and get-to-work elation. The headline on the Tick Talk article said it all, “Hitler Will Pay Through The Nose For This And We Don’t Mean Maybe!”

The WPB decided that since about every household had a clock, to stop manufacturing them would not be a hard ship for a couple of years.  They had not allowed for single and married people moving off to be near a war material manufacturing plant and setting up a new household.  There was an alarm clock shortage.  Railroad workers in Delmar needed to know the time.

War Production plants begin to hire a “waker-upper”, someone to call the shift workers to tell them it was till to wake up and get ready for work.  Not as effective as an alarm clock and when party lines were called everyone was wakening up.  In Delmar the railroad callboy was kept busy knocking on doors getting railroad workers up and too work. 

For nearly a year there were no alarm clocks manufactured.  Finally in April of 1943 it was announced an alarm clock would be made with no manufacturer logo on it and of reduced metal material.  Using mainly steel parts and very little brass parts, with a paper dial, housed in a non-metal case, they were called Waralarms. 

The clocks were made by both Westclock and Telechron.  The moulded fibre case ones were made by Westclock and the Bakelite case ones were made by Telechron.   They were to be sold for $1.65 as commanded by the office of Price administration and often that price was stamped on the back of the clock.  The public described the alarm sound as that of a woodpecker at work on a hollow tree.

Shipped in limited quantities to areas selected by the WPB near riots were created when they showed up in stores. Workers need them and other people would buy them at $1.65 plus tax knowing they could be sold on the black market for three times that price.   

If found today the Westclock waralarm would bring aout $50 in great condition and the Bakelite Telechron will bring about a hundred dollars.

Soldier Shot


 Pistol in His Pocket Went Off Wounding H. Campbell
Special Dispatch to "The Morning News.' DELMAR, Feb 14 -  H. Campbell, a soldier in the United States Army, from Old Point Comfort, and who was in the north bound Norfolk express train which has been stalled here, was accidentally and seriously shot this evening by an old army pistol which was in his rear pocket exploding. The surgeons will probe for the ball to-day.

Above from the Morning news 15 Feb 1899

Family History Tip

The best time for Old Home Stead and Graveyard hunting is approaching.  When Daffodils start to bloom they give the location of old graveyards and old farm house locations.  The weather is usually starting to warm up, snakes are still in the ground and foliage is not blocking your view.   

Monday, February 10, 2020

1990 Family Dollar

1990 Delmar Family Dollar
Beverly Elkins, Tracy Nichols, JoAnne LeCates

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sunday Dinner At Moraine’s Restaurant

The above advertisement is from 1932

Moraine’s restaurant was owned by Harry Moraine.  This was actually his second restaurant in Delmar.  The first restaurant was on Railroad Ave and he sold it in 1923 to Nichols and Truitt.  The second restaurant was on State Street and he opened it in 1931 on Thanksgiving Day.  Before it was a restaurant it was a bowling alley in the Steven’s building.  His restaurant, like most of his enterprises, was a short lived affair.  It had probably been sold by 1933.

Harry Moraine was born in California in 1868 to John Moraine and Margaret Parkes, immigrants from Scotland and Ireland respectfully. About 1909 he married Annie S. English (1883-1918).  It was the second marriage for both of them.  They lived in New York City where he was an Electrician.  Annie was from Harrington, Delaware.  She was the daughter of Elisha English and Rachel Goslin (Mrs. Rachel Cohee in 1918) .  Around 1915 Harry opened his first restaurant in Delmar.  In 1918 his wife had a bout with influenza, it developed into pneumonia and she died in October of 1918.  She is buried in Harrington. 

Sometime in 1919 or 1920 he remarried, this time to Mary Ellen "Mae” Parker (1889-1968).  Mae had been born in Powellville.   Their first daughter, Mary Anne Moraine (1920-1994) was born in Delmar in 1920.  In 1923 he sold the restaurant and moved to Harrington where he had a restaurant and a number of newspaper routes.  His son, John Merrill Moraine, was born in 1924 in Harrington.  His son lived for about seven months before dying of an unknown illness.  He is buried in Harrington.  

above Moraines restaurant in Harrington, with thanks to the Harrington Historical Society for the photo - note there was a hotel on the second floor and a laundry.  The people in front of the store are unidentified but they may well be Harry and Mae.

In 1927 Harry sold his restaurant and newsstand and became a hotel manager in Woodland Beach, Delaware.  By 1930 he was manager of a Cemetery in New Castle County Delaware.  In 1929 his second daughter, Amy Ellen Moraine, was born. 

By 1935 he had added the title Captain to his name and was working at first the Chincoteague Seafood Co Restaurant in Salisbury and second at Powell’s Market Street Tavern where he served oysters and steamed seafood.  His wife worked as a machine operator in a shirt factory.

In July of 1941 Harry Moraine died at age 72.  His wife and he were living in Fruitland.  He was buried in Harrington, Delaware. About seven months later Mae remarried, this time to Charles Henry Davis.  Mr. Davis was also about twenty years older than Mae as had been Harry.  Charles would die in 1951 at age 83.  Mae would die in 1968, she had made her home with her daughter Mary Adkins, who had married Elmer George Adkins.  

Harry and Mae’s second daughter, Amy Ellen Moraine, would marry Walter William Fisher.  In August of 1955 the couple would have an argument that resulted in a murder/ suicide.  They had a ten year old son. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Pink Candle Gang

The Pink Candle Gang, a name that threw fear into the hearts of Delmarva in the early 1920s.  Okay, maybe not fear with a name like Pink Candle but certainly Panic. The gang was credited with a hundred robberies, although some were just unsolved robberies with no one else to blame.  They ranged from Milton to Denton to Salisbury.  It was so bad the town of Milford offered a $150 reward for their capture

Their name came from their use of pink candles instead of flashlights to throw light in the houses at night that they ransacked and robbed.  They would leave the stubs of the candles in the house as a calling card.

The gang consisted of several Negros who lived in Seaford Delaware.  Mostly they lived in the Shanties that were at Greenabaum’s Grove. 

Greenabaum’s Grove was beside Greenabaum cannery.  It had a number of shanties near the plant for negro workers.  The place had constant fights, illegal stills, gambling and other illegal activities.

At Greenabaum’s Grove the center of gang seem to hang around the house of Mary Ann Adams where she and her daughter Rhoda Ann Adams, her son Arthur “Sloppy” Adams and her grand daughter Josephine Adams (AKA Margaret Estella Adams) lived.  The law would eventually pick James Henry “Beef Soup” Jones as the member they would prosecute the most.  Other people arrested and believed to be members of the gang were; Wilson Brown, Henry “Friday” Bailey, Ivy J Downing, James Ines, Charles Davis, Arthur Smith, and Thomas Barkley.  The loot found at the shanty consisted of gold rings, diamond stick pin, watches, necklaces, gold pencils, and pink candles.

James Henry “Beef Soup” Jones (born 1882) was caught in Salisbury in February of 1923 trying to break into a slot machine he had stolen from a Mr. Squires of Salisbury.  He had on his person a number of items stolen from Mr Rawson house on Delmar Road.  After a “Third degree” by the Salisbury police he gave up his friends in the gang.  He was given a twenty years sentence.  He had been released from jail after serving a one year term in March of 1922.

While in the Salisbury jail on March 24th he made his escape with three other inmates by sawing through the bars of the cell and using blankets tied together to slide down the side of the building.  A big manhunt took place.  A $200 reward was offered by Wicomico county for his capture.   Like most criminals rather than run away from the area he returned home to Seaford. Over 400 men from Seaford formed a posse and searched the shanty towns and woods looking for him.     In the search of the Negro settlements for Jones a number of illegal stills were found and those owners were arrested. 

He was capture May 13th by Frank John James and Dale S. Holt two operators of a trucking line.  They were returning from Wilmington at night and recognized Jones alongside the road just below Harrington.  They turned their vehicle around and came back and grabbed Jones and with Frank James aiming a pistol at him they made him get into the vehicle and took him to Seaford where the sheriff handcuffed him.  From Seaford they took him to Salisbury and turned him over to Sheriff John H Farlow.  They claimed their reward and James Henry Jones had an addition six years added to his twenty year term.   Both men were well known in Blades Delaware over the years.  Frank James ran an auto  repair garage and Dale Holt was mayor of Blades. 

Rhoda Adams (born about 1889) was perhaps a pitiful figure.  She gave birth to her daughter at age 13.  She lived in the shanty town and was a drunk.  Newspapers accounts abound of her being arrested for being drunk and in a fight with some other woman.  She was constantly serving from 30 days to a year in jail for her actions.  As is said in the Detention field; she served a life sentence on the installment plan.  She received an eighteen month sentence for her part in the Pink Candle gang.

Her brother, Arthur “Sloppy” Adams was about ten years older than her.  He was well known in Seaford, first for being a drunk razor carrying, gun carrying fighter and finally after about 1930 a handy man around Seaford.  He was the subject of a newspaper article by Wright Robinson and mentioned in other books on Seaford.  He died of a heart attack in 1941 while pumping water at his home.  A couple photographs exist of him and one is shown below. 

 from the postcard book "Seaford Delaware"  "Sloppy" Adams prior to 1923 with top hat and all.  Years later Wright Robinson asked Sloppy why the Pink Candle Gang never broke into the Robinson home in Seaford.  Sloppy said because the Robinson's never had anything worth stealing.   

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Video Scene

1990 The Video Scene Store opens in the Plaza Shopping Center

Dwan Warrington, J Lewis, Carol Hastings, David Wharlf, Jeremy Fickenscher

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Train Coal Story

The February 1978 Snow Storm

In 1978 I lived in Delmar and worked at NCR Corporation in Millsboro.  I also owned a Triumph Spitfire.  NCR decided to send me on a business trip to Philadelphia on February 3rd.  Since the Spitfire was not in the mechanic shop, for a change, I decided to drive it to Philadelphia.  On Thursday, February 2nd it started to snow.  By 7PM the snow was up to the bumper on the Spitfire (Okay that wasn’t that high maybe 5 inches)  and didn’t show signs of letting up.  I switched plans and decided to take the Greyhound bus to Philadelphia.  I got on the last bus leaving Salisbury about 9AM.  The driver was in a panic saying he hoped the company cancelled the bus trip. 

It was still Blizzard conditions when we left Salisbury and it just got worst on the way north.  The bus driver kept yelling out “ I can’t see the road”, instilling confidence in everyone on the bus.   A couple bus drivers who were on the bus returning to Philadelphia came and stood by his driver seat to look for the road and give him directions. 

We got as far as Odessa and the road was blocked with stalled cars in snow drifts.  The bus came to a stop and there we were, not stuck in a snow drift, but just couldn’t get around the cars in the middle of Rt13.  Still it wasn’t bad the bus was warm and seat was comfortable, if I had to spent the night it wasn’t bad. 

Out comes the Odessa volunteer Fire Company.  They beat a trail through the snow to the stalled cars and our bus.  They then made the people in the stalled cars load onto the bus and the bus had to follow the firemen back to the fire department. 

So I spent Thursday night on a steel folding chair in the fire department.  Now if you read newspaper accounts of this they will say the fire department feed us roast beef sandwiches, I remember getting a cheese sandwich and coffee.  I would have preferred to have been on the bus but the driver had locked it and turned off the engine.

About 10 AM the next day, Friday, the roads had been cleared and we continued on to Philadelphia.  It turned out to be a waste of time as Philadelphia had shut down due to the snow.  I came back on Saturday and shoveled snow in Delmar all weekend.   I think we had about 14 to 18 inches of snow but there was a lot of drifting.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sunday Dinner At Austin"s Restaurant

above from 1932 State Register
Eva Lane Lankford Austin (1889-1970) was the daughter of Zachary and Hester Lankford of Dorchester County Maryland.  She would marry John Edward Austin (1882-1951) from Madela Springs who was the son of John Benjamin Austin.  He worked for the railroad as a brakeman then as a conductor.  They lived in Crisfield and then he was transferred to Delmar about 1920.  Eva opened her restaurant about 1928 in the old hotel known as the Whayland Building.  By 1940 he had been transferred again, this time to Camden, Delaware.  The Austin's had one daughter Esther Beatrice Austin who would marry in 1927 Whitney T. Michael. 

"Struck by a Pennsylvania Railroad train early today as it emerged from the tunnel under North avenue bridge, John E. Austin, 58-year-old trainman, is in a serious condition at the St. Joseph's Hospital, According to police, Austin, who lives at Delmar, Del., had been flagging another train, and had just stepped on to the northbound tracks when the train, from Washington, struck him. At the hospital, he was said to have a lacerated scalp, and possibly a broken back."
Above from The Evening Sun Baltimore MD March 1 1935