This Was Doylestown, 1930

A look back at Doylestown, 81 years ago this week.

From the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer, Week of March 3-9, 1930

Henry C. Mercer, founder of museum, dies -

Doylestown's internationally famous citizen, Dr. Henry Chapman Mercer, A.B., LL.D., Sc.D., died at his home, "Fonthill," on Sunday shortly before 4 o'clock at age 73 of a complication of diseases. He had been in poor health for a number of years and had been confined to his bed for two weeks.

As one of the oustanding archaeologists of the United States, Dr. Mercer was best known internationally as the builder and donor of the famous museum that bears his name on the grounds of the Bucks County Historical Society. This houses the famous "Tools of the Nation Maker" collection that is viewed annually by thousands of persons from every part of the world.

Born in Doylestown June 24, 1856, Dr. Mercer never married. He entered Harvard in 1875 and was graduated with the degree of A.B. in 1879. He read law with Hon. Peter McCall in Philadelphia in 1880 and 1881 and was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in 1881.

He was appointed in 1894 as curator of American and prehistoric archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania and filled that position until 1897.

In the spring of 1897, Dr. Mercer began the collection of what he termed "Tools of the Nation Maker," being tools and implements illustrating the development of domestic industries and the founding of the civilized home. These collections were made for the Bucks County Historical Society, of which he was one of the founders in 1880. Dr. Mercer succeeded the late General W.W.H. Davis as president of the historical society in 1910 and filled that position up until the time of his death.

Dr. Mercer started the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works on his estate east of town in 1898 and built the current works in 1910-1912. He discovered and patented a process for the coloring and glazing of these tiles not before practiced in the United States, which has been eminently successful.

"Fonthill," the home of Dr. Mercer, was built in 1908-1910. It is a unique residence of concrete, with beautifully groined and arched columns, upon which has been lavished Dr. Mercer's finest exhibitions of ceramic art, illustrating history and historical subjects, ancient and modern.

In 1929, Dr. Mercer was granted the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by Lehigh University, Bethlehem.

Arrangements for the funeral will not be completed until Tuesday or Wednesday, when the brother of the deceased, William R. Mercer, of "Aldie," is scheduled to come home from a trip to Europe.

Baseball team in doubt -

It is again doubtful whether Doylestown will be represented by a baseball team this season. A suitable playing field is all that seems to be holding up the works.

Ray Wodock is ready to go ahead with the organization of a town team and a Bucks County League if necessary to get the "old baseball pep" back to where it should be.

The baseball fans of the town are willing to help in putting the community athletic field into shape, but they want somebody to function that has some authority in the matter.

Edison P.T.A. holds supper -

The Edison P.T.A. held its sauerkraut supper Wednesday evening at the Crystal Dance Hall. About 200 dinners were served. There was a large attendance from Philadelphia, Doylestown and vicinity.

The fancy table, candy table and cake table all did a rushing business. After all bills were paid, $113.25 was cleared.

Music was furnished by the P.T.A. Orchestra, conducted by William Plank, of Edison. One of the features of the evening was an old-fashioned cake walk. Cakes were won by Miss Sara Hall, teacher, and Mr. and Mrs. John Whitely, of Philadelphia.

The P.T.A. expresses great appreciation for the patronage given the affair and thanks the students of the Edison school for their co-operation with the P.T.A. in bringing about such a delightful evening.

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Agency helps unemployed find jobs -

Several of the unemployed men and women of Doylestown have been found work by the volunteer employment agency established a few weeks ago.

About fifteen persons have applied to Nicholas F. Power for work and some of them have been placed. Most of the applicants were willing to do any kind of work. One was a carpenter and one had office experience.

"But jobs are not plentiful," said Mr. Power, who looks after work for the men. His statement was corroborated by Mrs. Frank D. Good, who has charge of the women's branch.

Both Mr. Power and Mrs. Good said they were on the lookout for work for the applicants, but that there seems not to be as many jobs as applicants. When it is a special job that is to be filled, it is even more difficult.

Bus route may be discontinued -

Charles Sprague, of Perkasie, who has operated a motor bus line for eight or more years from Perkasie and upper Bucks towns to Doylestown, has given notice of plans to discontinue it.

Before Mr. Sprague started his line with comfortable buses, a trolley and train transfer by way of Lansdale was the only method for reaching Doylestown from Perkasie, Quakertown, Sellersville and other upper valley points. At court times and in other seasons, the Sprague buses ran to capacity on a schedule of from four to six round trips daily.

Patronage decreased gradually with the increasing ownership of automobiles, until now apparently nearly every family having business in the County Seat has its own means of conveyance. Last year, the four round trips daily were reduced to two. These have become profitless now, it is asserted.

Public Service Commissioners will hear Mr. Sprague's application for permission to discontinue the service in Philadelphia, March 11, at which time objections may be heard.

World Day of Prayer held -

A large gathering met Friday afternoon in the Methodist church in Doylestown for the World Day of Prayer. The solemn and beautiful service was led by Mrs. Bernard Repass, and parts were taken by women representing the Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reformed churches, and Friends Meeting.

The most impressive incident of the service was the duet sung by Mrs. George M. Whitenack, Jr. and Mrs. Chester E. Bratsing, "Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid?" Prayer and thanksgiving were offered for personal and church and national efforts towards unity, world peace, international and interracial understanding, and good will.

The offering taken, amounting to $25.59, will be used for missionary work, especially for work in the immigrant camps.

Advertisement -

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Doylestown Town Notes -

The debating team of Doylestown High School will meet the North Wales High School team at North Wales in a practice debate Monday evening. The subject for debate will be "Resolved, That the chain store is detrimental to the best interests of the United States." Doylestown will defend the affirmative side.

Mrs. Elwood Youelis, of West State street, is the possessor of a Chinese lily brought directly from that country to her. The plant stands about 50 inches high and has a very dark purple flower.

The annual meeting of the Bucks County Guernsey Breeders' Association will be held Tuesday afternoon in Court Room No. 2 in the court house.

Victor A. Sharrett has received his commission as First Lieutenant in the Engineers' Reserve Corps. Lieut. Sharrett has won a number of trophies as an expert pistol shot.

A. Stout, of Doylestown township, was treated at the Emergency Hospital on Tuesday. He cut his right hand with a chisel.

Edward B. Watson, manager of the Keystone Automobile Club, has purchased a new eight-cylinder Hudson sedan from the Chester Duckworth agency on West State street.

At a short meeting of the A.R. Atkinson Post of the American Legion on Monday night, Commander Gulick reported that the local post will sponsor amateur boxing matches in the near future. It is possible the bouts will be held outdoors, although no definite arrangements have been made as to dates.

William Scheubel, golf professional at the Doylestown Country Club last season, has been retained as pro for 1930 and will open his shop in the near future when the weather permits.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Anderson, of West State street, announce the birth of a son at the Emergency Hospital on Wednesday.

New Boy Scout troops are being organized at the present time in St. Paul's Episcopal Church and in the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Members of the two new troops are being taken from the American Legion troop that has been divided to form the two new troops.

William Rohrman, of Harvey avenue, underwent an operation for mastoiditis [ear infection] in the Abington Hospital Monday afternoon.

Razing of the old garage buildings on Main street, purchased by Clymer's Department Store some time ago, will get under way next week as the first step in the erection of the new department store building to be occupied by Clymer's store when completed.

Illustrations courtesy of Spruance Library/Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Pa.


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