This Was Doylestown, 1955

A look back at Doylestown, 57 years ago this week.

School board to select junior high site -

The Central Bucks Joint School Board Executive Commitee decided Thursday evening to employ an architect for its proposed new junior high school, but did not choose any site on which to build it.

Mickelwright & Mountford, a firm with offices in Fallsington and Trenton, N.J., was chosen by a seven-to-two decision by the joint executive committee, composed of representatives of the three boroughs and six townships in the joint school set-up.

For the purpose of selecting a school site, a special meeting will be held Thursday, March 3, when the full joint board, numbering 47 directors, will assemble.

Dr. J. Edward Smith, regional superintendent, said that Central Bucks High School [which served grades seven through twelve] is so crowded now that they are holding classes in the faculty dining room (the teachers eat in a conference room), the cafeteria when meals are not being served, the library, a tower room and conference rooms. Homerooms contain 40 or more pupils, and next year will contain from 50 to 60 students.

"We were beyond the capacity of this building the second year it was occupied [1953], and by next fall we will have at least 1,750 students in a building which was planned for a little over 1,400 pupils," he said.

There will be 3,000 secondary school pupils in Central Bucks by 1965, Dr. Smith said.

Following Dr. Smith's presentation on the need for a new junior high school, Robert J. Schleicher, an executive committee member from Plumstead, remarked, "I'm convinced that all the space is being used in the present building."

Benjamin F. Yingst, a member from Chalfont, said, "I accept what Dr. Smith tells us. If he says the present school is overcrowded, I believe him. We need a forward-looking program. We must meet the needs of the children."

Editor's note - The full board voted on March 3 to build the junior high school in Doylestown, and appointed a committee to recommend a site. Subsequently, a location was chosen on West State Street across from the high school. , costing $1.5 million and housing 715 students, opened on Sept. 4, 1957.


Borough to spend $75,000 to extend sewers, eliminate dump -

Doylestown Borough has received approval from the State Department of Internal Affairs in Harrisburg to spend $75,000 to extend the sewer system and to eliminate a notorious "dump."

The $75,000 bond issue was decided by Borough Council last summer and approved by County Seat residents in the November election. Easton Trust Company purchased the bond issue and was the highest of six financial institutions bidding for the bonds when it came to paying a premium.

Some of the bond money will be used to lay sewers in the Annex, which is the section along North Main street between East street and Swamp road. The Annex was one of the first suburban developments in Doylestown, on which work was done in the 1920s and early '30s.

Residents of the Annex have been clamoring for years for sewer service because they have been paying taxes, while some other sections of the borough which are not as old already enjoy sewer facilities.

The bond also is expected to provide the answer for the elimination of the "dump" at the foot of Shewell and Harvey avenues. This is one of the biggest civic eyesores in the County Seat because of the rats, fires and stifling fumes which annoy nearby residents.


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Speaker discusses juvenile delinquency -

Robert Shields, Juvenile Probation Officer for Bucks county, was the featured speaker at Wednesday night's meeting of the Doylestown Township PTA at the elementary school in Edison.

Shields voiced approval of a plan to engage township boys in athletic contests, which take up extra time and energy and keep them out of trouble. Hector Griswold, a baseball player in the county league, is willing to coach the group, and asked other men of the community to offer their services.

Shields told of the ways other than Reform School that children may get proper discipline and still get "some share of the love to which they are entitled."

Some are put in foster homes, others sent to schools where they live a family life with a "father and mother" in a cottage. Here there is love and understanding as well as proper discipline, Shields said.

Young people who follow the six rules set down by Shields will never get into trouble, he believes, listing them as follows: 1. Drive carefully; 2. Take part in sports programs; 3. Be polite and respectful; 4. Attend Sunday school and church regularly; 5. Avoid truancy; and 6. Finish schooling.

"However," Shields said in closing, "there is still much to be said for a happy, well-regulated home life, without undue argument, excessive drinking or complete lack of discipline."


Nature club protests planned courthouse -

A resolution protesting the tearing down of the present courthouse and erection of a building which would eliminate part of the Courthouse Park was adopted at this week's meeting of the Doylestown Nature Club at parish rooms.

The preface to the resolution, which was sent once before the Bucks County Commissioners, read: "In view of the renewed public interest in the location of a new County Courthouse, the Doylestown Nature Club reaffirms its stand against the erection of a building which would eliminate any part of Courthouse Park."

The resolution, read by Miss Elizabeth McCain, will be forwarded to the Commissioners.

R. Kraeger, of Jenkintown, special consultant to the American Rose Society, was guest speaker of the afternoon. He described the rose as the most universally grown flower in the world, and said that roses have been used often as symbols of political parties.

In describing roses which are found to do well in this area, he showed colored slides of the many types and colors of this universal favorite. Among those he showed were Jiminy Crickett, an orange and gold monthly; the Lillibet, named for the English Queen and varying from light rose to dark pink; Nocturn, dark red and especially good for this climate; and Lowell Thomas, an outstanding yellow rose.

Editor's note - Despite protests from the nature club and others, the county commissioners approved demolishing the 1878 courthouse and building a new one on the same site. After the seven-story was completed in 1960, the old courthouse was torn down and replaced with the five-story, circular judicial wing, completed in 1962. Today, the county again is for the court system, with a price tag of $84 million, across Main Street from the present courthouse.


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Civil defense director to lecture on radioactivity -

Col. A.M. Heritage, Bucks county civil defense director, will present a series of lectures during spring and fall relative to the hazards of radioactive fallout from hydrogen bombs.

The primary purpose of the meetings will be to outline the State plan and program for public protection against the unique hazards of thermonuclear warfare.

"Effective defense against radioactive fallout is largely an individual problem," warned Dr. Richard Gerstell, State director of civil defense.

Colonel Heritage said the State director has cautioned all Pennsylvanians "not to rush out and buy a Geiger counter in the false hope that it will protect you. Such devices belong only in the hands of people who know how to use them. You will have to rely on these individuals to tell you of possible dangers which may develop in your neighborhood."

The colonel said it is often possible to escape from the dangers of lingering radiation either by moving some 25 miles, or else by seeking shelter in basements, where 90 percent protection from fallout is usually assured.


Burgess asked to proclaim "Navy Day" -

Doylestown Burgess [Mayor] George C. Butler, an Army veteran of the Spanish-American War and World War I, will be asked by the Doylestown Lions Club to root for the Navy for one day in April.

"We realize that Captain Butler, a retired Army infantry officer who is one of the few Spanish-American War veterans now living in Bucks county, has always been loyal to the Army, but maybe for a good cause we can persuade him to switch to the Navy for a day," said Dr. Manning B. Smith, chairman of the U.S. Navy Band's visit to Doylestown on April 20.

Because it is the Navy Band's first concert appearance in Doylestown, John T. Welsh, president of the Lions Club, will ask Burgess Butler to proclaim Wednesday, April 20, as "Navy Day."

"Captain Butler has always been willing to aid any group he can which aids Doylestown and has as its purpose the welfare of people and the community," said Welsh, also a County Commissioner. "Since the Navy Band is playing here as a benefit for the Lions' general welfare fund, we are not hesitating to make it one of the gala days in Doylestown."

Chairman Manning said there will be two performances by the Navy Band in Central Bucks High School's 1,200-seat auditorium. A children's matinee will be given at 1:30 in the afternoon and an evening concert at 8 o'clock. Tickets will go on sale March 24.


From The Daily Intelligencer, Week of Feb. 13-19, 1955


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