This Was Doylestown, 1902

The borough considers sewers to combat typhoid, the school board decides to enforce compulsory attendance, and the Bucks County Historical Society eyes building sites, 110 years ago this week.

Typhoid outbreak shows necessity for sewers -

Without a doubt, there are just as many people who believe that the system of dry wells or cesspools about town is spreading typhoid fever in Doylestown, as those who think that impure water is responsible for much of it.

The necessity for sewerage has been brought up so often that there is no doubt that almost everyone is convinced that some system should be installed. Different members of council have expressed themselves as favorable to the introduction of a sewerage plant, and action will probably be taken upon the question at some near future date.

There are scores of dry wells in the borough which have been in use for years and years, and which are in such filthy condition that they form just the places for the breeding of the bacilli of typhoid. Year after year, this refuse from dry wells has been penetrating through the earth, transmitting the germs to wells which are in use where borough water has not been introduced.

Many people have a poor or hazy idea of the operation of a sewerage plant, imagining that it is a very complicated system, whereas it is quite simple and can be run at slight expense after the conduits have been introduced and the filter beds fixed.

Figures were mentioned to council some time ago, which showed that the cost to property holders would be comparatively low, from the fact that the cost of operating the plant is slight, requiring only the continual services of one man.

In case a franchise for a plant in Doylestown is granted and the work started, there will be no general tearing up of the streets. The conduits will not be of large size, and in laying them it will only be necessary to dig a trench eighteen inches wide in the middle of the streets and to the houses.

Nothing more healthful than the modern sewerage system for disposing of refuse, that would ordinarily pass into cesspools or dry wells, could be devised.


School board to enforce compulsory attendance law -

The members of the Doylestown School Board were brought face to face with some annoying phases of the compulsory school attendance law at the special meeting held on Monday evening. This was the first time since the beginning of the term that the board has had to settle any disagreeable cases rising from the law.

Most of the trouble was caused by a parent who had last year been before the board because of the non-attendance of his boy.

This time, the case was more serious. The boy had been absent five days, and when a satisfactory excuse was requested by Principal Phillips, the parents, in a note sent to one of the teachers, informed her that it was "none of her business" why the boy had been away. The father, it is alleged, threatened to assault Principal Phillips.

It was altogether a case of whether an excuse other than "Please excuse So-and-So" was satisfactory in case a pupil was absent three or more days. The law provides that the child must be sick or disabled, and that after the parents had been notified in writing of the absence of the child and an excuse has been refused, the law should be enforced, or in other words, a prosecution instituted and an arrest made.

Several members of the board were emphatic in saying that one or more arrests should be made when the occasion arose, and the law tested, and then if it did not "hold water" it could be dropped and the board relieved of further responsibility.

John C. Copple was elected Attendance Officer for the year. Upon motion, it was decided to have the Principal notify parents of children who had been lax in their attendance, and in case they refused to give an excuse, the president should enforce proceedings against them.


Young Men's League holds entertainment -

Eighty dollars was cleared by the Young Men's League on Friday evening in the Doylestown Presbyterian Church.

The entertainment and bazaar was a complete success both socially and financially. The larger lecture room was more than filled with the audience, and many were in the Sunday school room where the booths were arranged with cakes and candy and fancy articles for sale.

Miss Minnie S. Bloom opened the program with a well-sung soprano solo, and throughout the evening sang several others and responded to encores. Other vocal music was furnished by a male quartet composed of Charles Schabinger, Frank J. Gerlitzki, Harvey S. Kiser and Theodore J. Kline. Miss Helen Booz acted as accompanist.

The most delightful feature of the evening was the readings of Miss Beulah L. Darby, of Philadelphia, an elocutionist of marked ability, who delighted the audience with a number of selections, all but one of which were in the negro dialect, humorous, pathetic and tragic.

Miss Darby's mastery of the dialect was wonderful and the mannerisms made every selection pleasant. Among her recitations were "Uncle Remus," "Marse Chain," "The Pickaniny," "When the Corn Pone's Hot" and others. Miss Darby is a graduate of George School, Newtown.


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Historical Society considers sites for building -

At the May meeting of the Bucks County Historical Society, it was announced that William L. Elkins, of Elkins Park, was willing to subscribe $10,000 to the Society to secure a site for a building that "may be a credit to the Society and properly honor the county."

Mr. Elkins came to Doylestown on Saturday as the guest of Judge Harman Yerkes. He inspected the Society's valued collection of "Tools of the Nation Maker," on exhibition at the Society's room in the Court House, and viewed the several sites talked of for the location of the new building.

Mr. Elkins was accompanied by his son, George W. Elkins, a member of the building committee. Mr. Elkins expressed himself as much pleased with Doylestown and especially with the Historical Society's collection.

It is generally believed by members of the Society that the building committee will decide upon the plan of extending invitations to a number of architects, including those of Bucks county and Philadelphia, to submit preliminary plans for the Society's new home.

In this connection, several sites are under contemplation. The Society already owns a lot, 150 by 200 feet, at the corner of Pine and Ashland streets.

Another site, much more centrally located, is the Ross property on Court street, between the National Bank and the Court House. The value of this lot would probably be about $6,000, but there is some objection to this location because the space is somewhat limited.

It is suggested that it would be feasible to purchase additional land around the property already owned by the Society, and make the lot at least 250 by 300 feet, so that at no future time could a building be erected near enough to cut off the beautiful view to the south. The land all slopes away from the corner owned by the Society, so that it would easily be possible to provide against any future obstruction of the view.

Editor's note - The society ultimately selected the site at Pine and Ashland streets. William Elkins envisioned a three-story building based on an architect's conception of Pennsbury Manor, William Penn's long-vanished mansion in Falls Township. However, the actual building constructed in 1904 was designed to resemble Homewood, a colonial mansion in Baltimore. Today, the Elkins Building is overshadowed by the adjoining Mercer Museum, completed in 1916.


National Farm School celebrates Succoth -

Following their usual custom, the patrons of the National Farm School [now Delaware Valley College] made their annual pilgrimage to the institution on Sunday, on the occasion of the celebration of Succoth [the Jewish harvest holiday].

Representatives, coming principally from Philadelphia, observed the feast as in olden times, under an arbor made of this year's crops. Owing to the lateness of the season, the exercises were not held in the grove but in the Ida M. Block Memorial Chapel, the pulpit of which was attractively decorated with an arbor of apple boughs with the fruit on. The rich coloring of different vegetables was conspicuous.

Rev. William Armholz, of Philadelphia, opened the exercises with a reading of the Scripture lesson. Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf, the founder of the school, read his annual report, which was more encouraging than last year.

In part, he said: "The practical benefits to the students are readily apparent, but there is also another beneficial side to this work. With a reasonable amount of farm and garden produce ready for sale, it is our purpose to establish a store for the purpose of marketing these products.

"This store will be situated in some desirable locality in the center of the city, and will have on sale garden products, vegetables, poultry, butter, eggs and also potted plants and cut flowers. This market, with its own system for taking orders and delivery, will serve as a most practical means of bringing the Farm School before the public eye.

"In accord with the beautiful custom inaugurated some time ago of celebrating Arbor Day by planting memorial trees on the Farm School grounds to the memory of friends of the school, the annual celebration took place on April 25th.

"No less than fifty-seven such trees were planted on that day, among them being one as a tribute to our late President, William McKinley, who during his lifetime had evinced much interest in the work of the school." [McKinley was assassinated in September 1901.]


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Doylestown Town Notes -

Mr. and Mrs. Atlee Percy, of Philadelphia, and Mrs. Clark, of Johnsburg, Indiana, were the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Percy, of Doylestown township, on Sunday. Mrs. Clark had been attending the convention of the G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union Civil War veterans] in Washington, D.C., where she was awarded a handsome gold medal in recognition of her services as a trained nurse during the Civil War. She was one of the first to volunteer and tells many interesting stories of the struggle between the North and the South.

Richard Tucker, who fractured his arm by falling out of a tree recently, is slowly recovering the use of it. The splints have been removed.

Miss Belle Morris is moving from her house on Court street, which she recently sold, to one of James Pollock's houses on State street.

Frank P. Kolbe left Monday for the West and expects to spend the winter in Colorado.

Rev. John H. Deming, who has just returned from his vacation, preached two excellent sermons in the Baptist church on Sunday.

Miss Florence Randall entertained a few of her little friends Saturday afternoon at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Randall, in honor of her eleventh birthday. The guests had a delightful time playing games and later partook of refreshments.

Color Sergeant Alton D. Spoor of Company G, Sixth Regiment, who has been at Manila Park, returned to Doylestown on a furlough Monday morning.

Edward Neis is slowly improving and by the end of this week may be able to sit up in bed a short time.

A pair of gold eyeglasses was found on the street by William Crouthamel. The owner can get them by proving ownership.

Masons started Monday morning to lay the foundation for the new large gas holder at the plant of the Doylestown Gas Company. The tank will cost over $6,000 [about $153,000 today] and will be of steel, fifty feet in diameter and will hold 30,000 cubic feet of gas. It will probably be finished before February.

Shive Bros. sold about one hundred barrels of white and red sweet potatoes at public sale at the Fountain House on Saturday afternoon, at prices from $1.80 to $2.45.

Gen. W.W.H. Davis has had the letters of Judge Wynkoop, recently presented to the Bucks County Historical Society, bound into a neat volume.


From the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer, Week of Oct. 12-18, 1902

John cope October 15, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Were the Shive bros. the owners of the hardware store across Main St?


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