Monday, June 28, 2021

Bridgewood Estates


Bridgewood Estates is located on the east side of Delmar Maryland.  It is a subdivision started in about 2000 by Glenn Bridge.   Mr. Bridge got out of it in 2005 at which time it was annexed into the Town of Delmar.  It has a little over 70 lots, with houses on over 50% of the lots.  It was for a while, a Ryan Homes Development.

It is unique in several ways. Each road in the subdivision includes the word “bridge” in it; Footbridge, Drawbridge, Newbridge, Old Bridge lane, Swingbridge with the exception of Trestle Place.  For Delmar the other unique thing is most of the lots/homes are owned by people with an India origin surname.  The residents are mostly small business owners, owning Drug stores, hotels, real estate development companies and convenience stores.   The houses have impressive patios and backyards, well decorated for entertaining. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Working on the Delmar Caboose


Working on the Delmar Caboose

The Delmar 1929 Penna Railroad caboose arrived in June of 1976 in time for the Bicentennial. Like most things getting it here didn't happen by itself. It took the efforts of a number of people to make it happen. George Truitt and Grover Lecates were two. They had been trying for 20 years to get a caboose into Delmar to use as a Railroad Museum. In 1976 with the help of the Delmar Bicentennial Committee they were able to succeed in that dream. The caboose cost in 1976 $1,000 ($3,793 in 2009 dollars) and the money was raised by fundraising events and the sale of cookbooks. I came across one of those cookbooks at a flea market and snatched it up. Anyway, with that effort the caboose arrived in June of 1976 covered in plywood painted the yellow color of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. It also had some damage to it. When the plywood was remove the familiar red of the former Chesapeake and Ohio was still on the caboose. In 1976 the caboose was considered obsolete and parts to replace the damaged sections were hard to find, but the damage was repaired and the caboose was ready for the 1976 Bicentennial.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Laurel Auction Block 1940


Site for Block Secured From Dashield Estate; Carmel Moore Chosen Manager 

Special to The Morning News LAUREL, March 31 At a meeting of the Laurel Farmers' Association in the Laurel Community House, attended by about 100 farmers, announcement was made that seven acres of land had been leased from the Dashield estate, just south of Tenth Street and east of the railroad, for the new Farmers' Auction Block. Announcement was also made that the manager of the block would be Carmel Moore of this town. 

It is planned to operate the block entirely on a fee charged in proportion to the sale price of the produce, and to permit buyers to purchase under the block free of charge by complying with the financial requirements.

above from The morning News 01 Apr 1940

This year, 2021, the Laurel Auction Block will open June 26th

History from their website;

The Laurel Farmers’ Auction Market began in January 1940, when area farmers elected 10 of their peers to the original Board of Directors to begin the organization. This new cooperative would prove to play a major role in the region’s agriculture, history, and identity. It would also impact the national marketing of one of our country’s major and favorite produce items, the watermelon. The auction’s origins and continued success are a tribute to the power of cooperation. Hundreds of farm families from Delaware and Maryland have survived on the land as a result of the Auction Market.

Laurel-area farmers were shipping trainloads of watermelons at the turn of the century. For example, on August 17, 1905, 45 carloads of melons, with 1,200 melons per car were loaded on a train in Laurel. The watermelons weighed between twenty and forty pounds each. This particular trainload generated $30,000 in cash sales for the many farmers who cooperated to put the load together.

Delmarva producers, then as now, enjoy a competitive freight advantage over growers from more distant regions. In 1926, 2,014 carloads of cantaloupes and 356 carloads of watermelons were shipped by rail from Delmarva. Rail car transportation charges for cantaloupes shipped from Delmarva to New York were $148.70 per car, versus $612.50 from California.

A wholesale produce market existed at the corner of Poplar and Clayton Street in Laurel during the 1920s. It is unclear if this small shed facility was an auction, or simply a buying station for shippers. However, a photograph from that time demonstrates it was active and busy.

That market was replaced during the 1930s by a private auction block, the Laurel Produce Association, controlled by brokers operating in Laurel. Farmers were dissatisfied with the trade practices followed at this auction and charged that the brokers controlled the auction to their advantage. Outside buyers could make purchases only through a local broker who belonged to the auction. Brokers charged fees of five cents per package to the buyer and two cents to the farmer. These burdensome commissions made it less attractive for buyer and seller alike. Moreover, the system of allowing purchases only through member brokers tended to force other buyers to make purchases elsewhere, since they disliked dealing exclusively through the brokers.

The word was spread among farmers in the area about a meeting in January 1940 to discuss the formation of a grower-owned auction market in Laurel. By the end of that first session, a plan was set and ten men were elected to the original board of directors. Those founding members were Merrill G. King, Earl T. Cooper, Harley G. Hastings, William J. Hopkins, Norman O. Dickerson, Fred M. Wright, Martin W. Johnson, Jr., Watson W. Moore, Grover C. German, and Roy C. Dennis. Merrill King was elected President.

These 10 directors then went out to solicit and collect $5 investments in the new cooperative from interested farmers. They attracted 213 people who found the five dollars to become the original stockholders. Who could guess that this act of cooperation and faith, generating seed money of $1,065, would create something so lasting and important to generations of people and families in the region?

In April 1940, the Board hired Carmel Moore as Treasurer and General Manager. Still a legend in Laurel even years after his death in 1978, Moore was known not only for his honest and keen management of the auction, but also as a fair man for both buyer and seller. Moore is generally acknowledged as the man who made the venture work. He would manage the auction into the 1970s.

That first year, 22,000 sales transactions generated sales of $231,887.74. From those beginnings, the Laurel Auction Market now sells over $5 million of produce annually. More than 80 percent of that is in watermelons.

The light, sandy soils, coupled with our warm, summer climate, make the agricultural region around Laurel and the neighboring counties in Maryland an ideal spot for production of high quality, nutritious produce, especially watermelons.

If you would like more information on the history of the market, you can obtain “Where Buyer and Seller Meet – Sixty Years of the Laurel Auction Market,” by Ed Kee, from the Laurel Historical Society or the Southern Delaware Truck Growers Association Office at the Laurel Auction at 302-875-3147.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Jim's Automatic Transmission Outlet


1975 ad

James Porter Adams

Folsom - James "Jim" Porter Adams, 87 of Folsom, WV passed away on Friday, June 11, 2021 at his residence. Jim was born May 4, 1934 in Folsom, son of the late James "Jake" Adams and Rosalie Martin Adams. Jim owned and operated Jim's Automatic Transmission Outlet for thirty plus years. He was a golden glove boxer. Jim enjoyed boating, fishing, riding his side by side, working on cars, and collecting guns. He enjoyed life to the fullest. Jim is survived by his daughter, Lisa Adams, Folsom; four grandchildren, Courtney Drake, Skye Adams, Brian Wodkins, and James Gordy; five great grandchildren, Blaze, Myah, Roselynn, Leilanni, and Lucas; like a son, Jim Smallwood and April; like a granddaughter, Allison Stevens; and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Jean Gordon Adams in 2004, and whom he married on April 7, 1954; two sons, Richard Neil Adams and Victor Ray Adams II; two siblings, Sidney Johnson and Victor Ray Adams I. Davis Funeral Home and Onsite Crematory is handling the cremation and honored to serve the Adams family. A Celebration of his life will be held at his residence on Saturday, July 17, 2021 at 3:00PM

1981 Little Miss Delmar Fire Prevention


1981 Little Miss Delmar Fire Prevention - Jennifer Melvin, Lori Twilley, and Tammy Bowden 

Delmar Delaware Police


Delmar Delaware Police  Ralph Williams was police chief from 1930 to 1938

Friday, June 11, 2021

Cordrey Store Burns

 Overheated Stove Destroys Store 

DELMAR, Del., Jan. 18. The store building and most of the stock of merchandise and fixtures, property of John S. Cordrey, situated five miles east Of Delmar, on the State line road, were destroyed by fire late Saturday night.  Loss about $2500. Partially covered by insurance. The fire was probably due to an overheated stove.

above from The Wilmington Morning News 19 Jan 1921

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

1954 Delmar Exterminating Co


1954 Delmar Exterminating Co

Monday, June 7, 2021

relegation to profane use


above The Calvary Baptist Tabernacle today

Calvary Baptist Tabernacle at William and Salisbury Blvd in Salisbury.  The building was built in 1948.  It is brick construction 50 by 67 ft.  It could seat 285 in the auditorium and another 75 in the balcony.  Calvary was that old fashion bible thumping, hell and brimstone church. In 1972 they sold the building and built a new building on Tilghmann road, Salisbury, Maryland.     The building has since been a series of muffler, brake, car tuneup shops.  They put in four car bays in what use to the auditorium by knocking doors out on the other side of the building.

In 1948 it looked like this

ad from 1948

Sunday, June 6, 2021

A Little About Smith Mill

1868 Map showing the Smith Mill area

Located at the intersection of Whitesville Road and Smith Mill Church Road, Smith Mill is one of the older established communities East of Delmar.   The James Branch, Rossakatum branch, and the Wards Branch flow in this area.  It is because of these streams that several mills were built on them.  

George Smith came to the area in the 1700s.  He and his sons, William ( -1835), Gillis ( -1809), and  Marshall ( -1817), had a number of sawmills and grist mills.  In 1802 Gillis Smith gave one acre of land for a church to be built.  This was the beginning of Smith Mill Baptist Church (later called Little Creek Baptist Church).  The church had organized in 1790, but the first building was completed in 1802.   The Smiths thought they had settled in Somerset county Maryland, but they discovered they were Delaware residents when the state lines were resurveyed. 

By the 1920s, Smith Mills would have a church, a school, and Workman’s store for merchandise. 


Little Creek Primitive Baptist Church

The church still exists but is inactive; the current building was opened and dedicated in 1897. The large cemetery connected with it is, however, still active. In 1802 the mill pond was to the east of the church.  The grist mill would ground the local farmers' grain, and the sawmill had an up and down vertical saw blade. Over time, the mills disappeared, and the pond was emptied. 

above sketch of Smith Mill from Daily Times 01 June 1999

In Maryland, a state law stated mill owners who had dams had to have an eight-foot road across the top of the dam for traffic.  It was the state’s way of getting out of paying to build bridges.  I am unsure if the same law applied in Delaware, but it could be why Whitesville road, when looked at on older maps, does many odd twists and turns in the area where there had been mills, and the road may have been across the top of the dams. Some parts have been straightened out, but a few twists remain. 

The Delaware Free School Law of 1829 established school districts in each hundred.  The school district was to be no more than two miles from the outside border to the center.  It also required the election of supervisors of each district and allowed them to tax to raise revenue for the school.  It didn’t always work. By the 1870s, Little Creek hundreds were divided into five districts (46-51), and each had a school.  By 1875 the numbering had changed, and Smith Mills was in district No 39.  

Above Morris School no 39 from the Delaware Archives.  No deed has been found that might establish a year when the school was started or whom the land came from.  It was the custom to name schools after the family that had contributed the ground for the schoolhouse, so perhaps a Morris family member sold or donated the land for the school. There was a surge in building schools in 1895, so maybe the building is from this period.

Based on the photograph, the school was a one and a half story, clapboard siding, no basement, peaked wood shingle roof, one classroom school building.  The inside we would have to guess at, but it probably had a cloakroom in the entranceway and then one large room with student’s desks and a teacher’s desk and blackboard. 

In 1913 some families with children attending Morris School were; Havillah and Ella Carmean, Howard Ward, John and Adelie Baker, Alex, and Martha Hearn, and William A Jester family.  Morris school would have an average of about 37 students at a time. 

Some of the teachers were; 1914- Mabel E. Ralph, 1916/17 Kathryn M. Ralph, 1918/19 James H. Lecates (paid $70 a month), 1919/20 Eugenia M Brown, 1921-22 Mabel R Hearn, 1923/24 Sallie M Hearne, and 1924/25 Ermine Quillen. 

You will often come across a bit of information on the internet that says when a woman school teacher married, she had to quit her job.  This is false information; the truth was, teaching in a one-room schoolhouse was such a terrible job the school district was happy with anyone, married or single, who would teach in one.  An example of this is Mabel Ellis Ralph (1897-1971).  Mabel Ralph taught at Morris school in 1914 for forty dollars a month.  In 1916 her sister Kathryn Ralph taught at Morris School for $42.50 a month.  In 1917 Mabel married Francis Benjamin Hearne (1894-1962).   After her marriage, Mrs. Mabel R Hearne worked at other one-room schools in the area returning in 1921 to teach the year at Morris school.   Mrs. Hearne would teach at Delmar elementary school and later at the High School until her retirement in the 1960s. She would pass away in 1971.  She had one daughter, Betty Frances Hearne (1922-2011).

The reason for having a rural one-room schoolhouse began to deteriorate with the advent of the improved road and the internal combustion engine. School buses could be used with dependability. The decade between 1925 and 1935 marked the closing of most rural schools in Little Creek hundreds.  The Whitesville road was paved initially in 1930 as far as Smith Mills.

In 1925 Delmar wanted the one-room schools to consolidate into the Delmar School.  Preaching “Better Schools,” the businessmen of Delmar went out and tried to convince the other schools to consolidate.  A bond had been sold, and a new brick schoolhouse was being built in Delmar.  More taxpayers were needed to pay for it.  A vote was taken of the residents of the Morris School district No 39, and they voted 42 for consolidation and 14 against it.  The last teacher at Morris School was Ermine Spicer Quillen, who taught in the 1924/25 school year.  Ermine would go to the Laurel School District and continue teaching. In 1926 she would marry George Nye and continue teaching. In 1926 Morris School No 39 was consolidated into the Delmar school district.  In 1928 the school building was sold for $50 to Everett Hearn. 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Telegraph Poles sold

 In 1902 the New York Philadelphia and Norfolk Telegraph Company sold twenty-nine miles of poles and wires from Delmar to Kings Creek Maryland to Western Union.  As the name implies The New York Philadelphia and Norfolk Telegraph Company was owned by the railroad. It had started New York Philadelphia and Norfolk Telegraph Company to be competition to Western Union.  New York Philadelphia and Norfolk Telegraph Company was to be part of the Postal Telegraph Cable Co which in the early 1900s was the only competitor of Western Union.  In 1943 the two companies were combine into Western Union.  

The cost of the line was to be $165.00 per mile plus some additional fees for use of the wires in a certain section around princess Anne.