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This Was Doylestown, 1950

The state rejects a proposed Route 202 bypass, Doylestown Public School holds a parents' night, and Doylestown Township is urged to improve its emergency water supply, 63 years ago this week.

State rules out Route 202 by-pass -

Editor's note - Opened in 1940, the Pennsylvania Turnpike originally ran between Carlisle and Irwin. In 1948, construction began on an eastern extension to King of Prussia, where the turnpike would connect with Route 202 (north to New Jersey) and the Schuylkill Expressway (south to Philadelphia). After the extension opened in November 1950, traffic increased substantially on Route 202 through Doylestown (Oakland Avenue and State Street). Congestion worsened over the next 25 years, until the combined Route 202/Route 611 bypass around Doylestown was completed in 1976.

Bucks county will have no by-pass route to take the place of the present Route 202 between Norristown and New Hope, as a result of the building of the new Pennsylvania Turnpike extension to King of Prussia and the new Schuylkill Expressway into Philadelphia.

This was learned definitely Friday from E.J. Kinney, assistant district engineer of the State Highway Department, who met at the County Administration Building in Doylestown with members of the Bucks county division of the Greater Philadelphia-South Jersey Highway Council.

Everything is planned now, Kinney said, to rebuild the present Route 202 between Chalfont and Doylestown, to eliminate the reverse curves at National Agricultural College [now Delaware Valley College], and another near the New Britain residence of George Slotter, and to widen the bottleneck on West State street leading into Doylestown. This work will all be completed this year.

The State plans are already complete to improve Route 202 in New Hope. No money is available for any extensive improvement of Route 202 between Doylestown and Buckingham, but where improvements are needed, they will be made.

Kinney said that his department had received numerous inquiries about a by-pass route through Bucks county to take the place of 202. "We have informed all inquirers who might be thinking of buying a farm or other property through the area to do so, and not worry; that we have no plan whatever to take over any extra ground for by-passing," he said.

Kinney reported that the surveys recently completed by the State Highway Department indicated that Route 202 will not siphon any material amount of New York-bound traffic after the turnpike extension is completed.

Members of the Bucks county division of the highway council, however, could not agree with that. They could see no reason why drivers would go nearly 40 miles out of their way, through Philadelphia--even though it will be an expressway--when they will be able to cut across on Route 202 through Doylestown, and miss Philadelphia and Trenton.

Members of the council agreed with the expression of V.L. Sanderson, of Rushland, that the utmost co-operation be given the State Highway Department in its present plans of rebuilding Route 202. The Bucks county division should work to secure as many needed improvements to Route 202 between Chalfont and New Hope as possible--and to abandon any by-pass efforts for the time being.

 

Parents go back to school for a night -

Back-to-school night brought local papas and mamas into the seats of their offspring in the Doylestown Public School on Thursday evening as part of the 1950 Parent-Teacher Association program.

Kidding and joshing each other, the adult students-for-a-night spent a reminiscent and informative couple of hours. Rooms and seats looked smaller than they seemed years ago, particularly in the lower grades. There were many fond, misty-eyed remarks beginning with "Do you remember?" as they followed out their child's daily routine.

Puffing and panting, those with high school youngsters took a beating from the flights of steps. Thirty-five and forty-year-old legs lagged and often gave out midway as they went from a homeroom on the lower level, where they received a schedule of their day's work, to the top floor for algebra, down to where they started for English--up again, and down again! Making seven changes at fifteen-minute intervals.

"My goodness! My heart condition!" one woman groaned.

"No wonder the kids are always lazy," another parent gasped. "They're worn out from the inter-class exercise. Oh, for an escalator!"

In each classroom, parents were given a resume of the work. Books were exhibited, test papers shown and records looked up in teachers' little black books. As one set of papers was discussed, a parent found his young hopeful had answered "Truman" in reply to the question, "Who runs the United States?"

Some of the upper grade parents became so interested that they ignored the closing bell and found themselves walking out after the others. "Looks like we've been bad boys and girls and were kept after school," a father chuckled.

 

James Michener writes from Tahiti -

James A. Michener, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose "Tales of the South Pacific" gave Broadway the hit musical "South Pacific," wrote to a friend in Doylestown about spending Christmas on a tropical island.

In a letter from Papeete, Tahiti dated Dec. 23, Michener wrote, "It seems most odd to be spending Christmas back in the tropics. When I was here before [during World War II], I can honestly say it never occurred to me as anything unusual because all the gang about me took the holiday so seriously and so sentimentally.

"But here, among people who haven't celebrated the day for years, it is strange. Vange [his wife] feels it even more than I do, and I expect to have a real old-fashioned emotional binge over the weekend. The local radio station is running an hour of Christmas music and we've been invited to attend."

Michener also wrote that the Tahitians love to watch American Western movies.

"We've been in the ultra-old movie circuit for three months, and have gone several times. The natives go simply wild over Westerns. In one of my articles I'm saying--editors will probably cut it--that of all the dramatic art forms ever devised, the Western horse opera is probably loved by more people across the world than any other.

"But to hear a place go mad, you should attend one of the local barns to see 'Aloma of the South Seas' [a 1941 movie], surely the most awful tripe ever imagined. It is really so bad the locals come and shriek with hilarity. They play it every two or three weeks, and you would enjoy hearing some honest-to-God uninhibited dramatic criticism when something Tahitian is done all wrong. It would do your heart good."

 

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Doylestown township urged to improve emergency water supply -

A committee of the Doylestown Township Emergency Police, meeting Thursday in Edison, reported that the township is not adequately protected in case of fire, and suggested that steps be taken immediately to remedy the situation.

The committee, which conducted a survey of the township's water supply over a period of three months, found that some sections of the township have very poor protection against fire as the result of some wells having little water. The committee also found that a large number of properties have no dams from which water might be taken in case of fire.

Feeling some action should be taken, the committee in the near future will visit property owners for the purpose of interesting them in constructing dams or other types of reservoirs. The survey was also made to give firemen information concerning the sources of a water supply in case of fire.

Announcement was made that a representative of the State Police will instruct new members of the police force in methods of investigating highway accidents.

The police assisted in investigating a highway accident a few days before Christmas. One of the drivers required hospital treatment, and it was found he had $3,000 in cash on his person and a large number of toys in his car. The police took charge of the money and toys, and turned them over to the proper authorities.

The police received many expressions of appreciation for their activities during the Christmas season from the schoolchildren and parents, who praised the police for making it possible for Santa Claus to make his rounds.

 

Harvard student from Germany visits Doylestown -

A remarkable coincidence brought into the home of a Doylestown woman for a few days this week, the son of a German family she has been assisting for several years.

Three years ago, Mrs. Edward O. Steely, of West Court street, sent bundles of clothing and food to numerous European countries. Her name was enclosed, and those who thanked her from Germany were a minister, his wife, and six children.

Now, the next-to-eldest son of that family, Gottfried Einwachter, 25, has won a year's scholarship to Harvard. The scholarship is part of the re-orientation plan put on by the U.S. military government [which administered occupied West Germany].

Living in the small town of Berghausen, in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, Gottfried said he had answered an ad in the newspaper "just for fun. Seven of us went to Stuttgart for more tests, and of the 1,000 from our state, 14 are now in college here."

Having earlier graduated from a technical university as an architect, he is taking related courses in government, history of architecture, city planning and land economy.

Gottfried has great plans for the rebuilding of Germany, but feels bound and blocked by the old-fashioned notions still in existence there. "In some cases, for instance, there is a certain type of facade required, and while any type of home may be built, it must go behind that facade," he said.

He was asked: "Do your people feel that our form of government is the answer, or do they favor the Russians?"

"They were so misled by propaganda that they now question everything," he answered. "You can't imagine what it was like to trust no one. The fear was so great, parents could not speak at all before their children. Informers were constantly questioning them--and you know a small child says such unpredictable things. Horrible!"

"My people," Gottfried went on, "have a completely hopeless attitude. We have no future of our making. We are dependent on other countries. There was little enough of the basically necessary agriculture, and now that has been taken. We have always had to trade for most of our food--and our trade is practically at a standstill."

 

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Doylestown Town Notes -

The speaker at the Doylestown Rotary Club meeting on Jan. 25 will be "Commodore" John S. Elfman. His subject will be "Is Doylestown a Seaport?"

Dr. and Mrs. James Morrison, of Main street, are celebrating their wedding anniversary.

Two beautiful cock pheasants paraded like peacocks in the rain Tuesday morning on the lawn of the Irwin Scheetz house on East Court street.

Mr. and Mrs. Julian W. Gardy, of Maple avenue, on Wednesday evening attended a performance of "South Pacific" in New York.

William Partsch, Doylestown pianist, played for the workers of the Community Concert Series at a supper given by Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Snyder at their home on Sunday night. The occasion was the inauguration of the subscription drive for the Community Concert Series to be given in the Spring.

Mrs. John T. Welsh, who recently underwent an appendectomy at the Doylestown Emergency Hospital, returned to her home on West Court street Monday.

Clerk of Quarter Sessions Mathew Godshall celebrated his birthday anniversary Tuesday.

Mr. and Mrs. Edward O. Kolbe, of West Ashland street, will leave Doylestown on Sunday to spend the Winter in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Ten children attended the child health clinic Wednesday at the Doylestown Emergency Hospital. The clinic was conducted by the visiting nurse, Mrs. Haney, who was assisted by Mrs. Florence Fisher and Mrs. Edward C. Ennis.

Frank Mitch, 3rd, of Portland, Maine, recently spent two days with his grandfather, Frank Mitch, at his home on West Oakland avenue.

Mr. and Mrs. William Rohrman announce the birth of a daughter Tuesday morning at the Doylestown Emergency Hospital.

Test borings are being made at the site of the planned Central Bucks Joint High School (now Central Bucks High School West) to assist the architect and builder prior to the start of construction. It is planned to break ground in the Spring.

 

From the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer, Week of Jan. 8-14, 1950

Jane January 07, 2013 at 11:26 PM
I always love these columns. Went looking to see if I could find any work by Gottfried Einwachter, found some interesting architectural work.
Jeff Lugar January 08, 2013 at 12:03 PM
My dentist and I were chatting about this column nearly the whole time when I had some work done last week.

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