Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

African Queen

This morning at 6:15 AM in 1958 the African Queen broke in half about 9 miles off of Ocean City. Let me say that Shores of Delmarva, on Oct 28, 2007 also did a post on this sinking.
The first SOS was heard by the Ocean City coast guard station at 8 AM and they launched their 35 foot rescue boat immediately. At the same time boats from Cape May were dispatched and a number of helicopters from Chincoteague and Quantico. The African Queen had been running in rough weather all night and suddenly hit the shoal and broke into. The ship drew 32 feet of water and the water dept atop the shoal was 24 feet. At the time of the breakup the seas were running 4 to 8 foot waves with 20 knot winds. The Norwegian Captain ( Kai Danielson) said they had been traveling at four to six knots. Most of the crew were German, Norwegian, Danish and Sudanese. All 47 members were removed safely to Ocean City where they were quarantined until immigration officers from Baltimore processed them.

The African Queen was 590 foot, registered at 13,800 tons and was built in 1955 at Kiel, Germany. It was owned by African Enterprises Ltd, registered in Liberia and operated by Packard Shipping Company. The African Queen was carrying 21,000 tons of crude oil from Columbia to Paulsboro, NJ (outside of Philadelphia). The oil was valued at that time between $600,00 to $700,000. Part of it was pumped off the part of the ship that did not sink, the rest went into the ocean. Let’s see, if it was 21,000 tons of crude and at 7.3 barrels to the ton at today prices of lets say $100 a barrel so today it would have been valued at $15,330,000. The interesting part was in the true ocean front wrecker tradition everyone in the area made for the tanker to steal something. It was an incredible free for all hauling stuff off the ship. A good account of that is here.
The sunken part of the African Queen is on the dive circuit now. It was an interesting time with the news coverage being nationwide and a number of reporters coming in for coverage.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wounded Knee

Today in 1890 the Battle at Wounded Knee Creek occurred. It was the last major armed conflict between the Dakota Sioux and the United States, subsequently described as a "massacre" by General Nelson A. Miles in a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 500 troops of the 7th Cavalry surrounded 350 Lakota Sioux (only 120 were not women or children)with the intend to escort them to the railroad for transportation to Nebraska. Colonel James W. Forsyth was in charge. The fight broke out and by the end of fighting, which lasted less than an hour, over 150 Lakota had been killed and 50 wounded. In comparison, army casualties numbered 25 dead and 39 wounded. Colonel Forsyth was immediately denounced by General Nelson Miles and relieved of command. The tie in to Delaware is Fort Miles at Cape Henlopen was named after General Nelson Miles.

Woodland Ferry

As Elbert pointed out the last days of the "Virginia C." ferry at Woodland Ferry are here. Monday is the last day it will be used. Now like a number of people I gave up trying to use the ferry a while back. It was either out of order or the tide was low and about everything scraped off the bottom of your car when you drove off of it. The question I have however, is why would you remove a ferry and not have another one ready to take it's place. The new one is being built at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury Maryland but it won't be ready for another eleven months, not until November. Not that anyone believes that completion date will actually occur on time. Another example of DelDot planning ability.

The ferry has been there since the 1700's. It was originally known as Cannon's Ferry (not to be confused with the Cannon ferry in Chowan County, N.C.). It's history is interweaved with Patty Cannon. A wooden ferry was used until 1961, when the Virginia C started operation. I can remember crossing on the wooden one, as I remember it it was more like a raft than the current "Virginia C.".

The "Virginia C" was named for the wife of former state highway commissioner Dallas Culver. The ferry was purchased by the state in January 1961 for $47,543. It had ungone a $200,000 retooling in 1989.

The Virginia C. is like an old person who is retiring from a company, everyone says "Oh, what a shame he has been here so long, we are really going miss him", but what they are thinking is "It is about time that old fart left he has screwed up more than what he has successfully completed for the last ten years".

Rain and Fall Leaves

As long as those leaves stay in the storm drains the street are going to flood.

A phrase from the 1950's and 1960's

Make Out Wrinkles
Before 1970 all of your clothes were starched and ironed. Permanent press was a word not yet invented. Within an hour after going to school your clothes were usually wrinkled, for the most part they didn't look good and were not something you would like for people to see with one exception - make out wrinkles. Make out wrinkles were the outcome of making out on the front seat of a car with your date. As you and your date twisted your little teenage bodies around to kiss (didn't have bucket seats then), diagonal wrinkles would develop on your starched shirt or her starched blouse. They were always good for bragging rights as making out was the only way those diagonal wrinkles would appear.

A second item I just remembered, the seats in cars were not bucket seats nor were there seat belts, and the seats were usually vinyl covered. You would wax the seats so when you made a right turn your date would side across the seat over next to you.

A 1939 Delmar Ad - Empire State

A Delmarva Word - Shats

In this area the needles that fall from pine trees are called shats. It is a word outsiders seem to have difficulty with. I don't know why, as it is an Elizabethans English word meaning needles. Way back when I was in elementary school I was sent to the Principal's office for using the word by a teacher who was from New England. As today, back then Wicomico county liked to hire superintendents in from outside the area so when one was hired from New England, New England teachers begin to appear in our schools to teach the ignorant ass Eastern Shoreman how to speak. It didn't take on me. Now why I would like to sound like someone from New England and talk like I have a mouthful of shit is beyond me. Happily the Principal explained to her the origin of the word and it was not a cuss word.

1939 Delmar auction Ad

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Wendy

Today is Wendy Becker's birthday. Happy Birthday Wendy!!!

1942 War Time Controls

Two items today from 1942. The first is about someone in Delmar being charged because they did not follow the blackout orders for lights in WWII. The second is an ad from Reads Drug store in Salisbury selling alcohol to burn in your car. As you may recall gasoline was rationed so people burn a lot of different fuels in their cars in order to be able to travel. My grandmother retained her mule and wagon just so she could take short trips to town and back and not use up her gasoline ration stamps.

The Salisbury Times December 29, 1942
Held Under Bond For Violation of Dimout
Delmar, Dec 29 - Justice E. Wessells, arrested by State Police Officer Charles Cullen on charges of violating regulations governing control of lights in the coastal dimout in Delaware, was ordered to arrange bond for $100 for appearance in Court of General Sessions.

Police said Wessels failed to have the lights of his service station properly dimmed. He pleaded guilty.

Magitrate Patrick Hearn said that Delaware Police now have the authority to stop and arrest drivers of cars failing to blackout their headlights or having them properly shaded.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Chimney Fire

We had a little chimney fire in the neighborhood. It was over at Wayne Barrall Sr house, quite a bit of fire coming out of the chimney.

Looks like they pretty much had it under control when I left.


For those who may do family tree research I have copied the 1917 phone directory over for Delmar. Altho Delmar Delaware is listed on all addresses you can tell, where street addresses are given, Delmar Maryland is included. I have never had any luck putting columns in Blogger so allow for the sloppy columns.


54-5 Adkins, J G, r…………………………….nr Delmar
51-2 Adkins R W, genl mdse……………………….State
4-2 Bank of Delmar, bank………………………...Delmar
54-14 Bradley G H, r ………………………… Delmar
22-11 Brayshaw Dr. J, Physician ……………….Delmar
22-2 Brayshaw Dr, J, r ………………………….Delmar
50-2 Brewington A, Autos & Supplier State Delmar Del
32 Citizens Gas Co, Office …………….Railroad Ave
41-13 Culver Irving, “The Orchards” …….nr Delmar Del
29 Culver Irving…………………….Fruit Commissioner
35 Culver Irving ……………………………...Residence
36-3 Culver J Willims, genl Mdse………………...N 2nd
7 Culver J W …………………………………..Residence
48-2 Culver M W , genl Mdse…………...Pine Delmar Del
5-2 Culver S. N., Clothier & Furnisher ……….Delmar Del
59 Culver T S , r……………………………….…Elizabeth
21 Delmar Ice Co, Ice Factory………………….Delmar Del
17-11 Delmar Packing Co, Cannery…………….Delmar Del
19 Del Produce Ex, Inc S M Yingling Agt office Delmar Del
15 Delmar Union Store Co …………………Genl Mdse
8 Ellegood Dr Robt ……………………………...Office
14 Elliott F G……………………………….…Hardware
17-2 Elliott J J, Lumber Factory…………….Delmar Del
51-4 Elliott J J, r…………….cor Maple & Highland Av
42-5 Evans Ernest, r…………………..……..near Melson
10 Faulkner F N, r………………….…..State Delmar Del
25 First National Bank……………………………….….
46 Francis Elder A B, r…………………….…Delmar Del
12 Frazier Jos…………………………………...Residence
24 Freeney J W ………………………………….Residence
43-2 Freeney Miss Rosa L, r………………………..Delmar
43-11 Freeny E E, r…………………………….Delmar Del
16 German & Co, M H…………………………..Dry goods
53-3 Gordy O L Hardware & grocs………………….…State
53-3 Gordy & Holloway, mfrs Cement Blocks………..State
2 Haddock S B, r…………………………………….Delmar
44 Hastings G L ……………………………………….N 2d
3 Hastings & Co …………………...Groceries & Dry Goods
11 Hastings & Co, G L…………………………Wood dealer
9-2 Hearn Albert H, groceries……………………….Delmar
51-11 Hearn Geo E, r……………………...State Delmar Del
54-23 Hearn Geo W, r…………………………… Delmar
53-2 Hearn Jos W, r………………………..East Delmar Del
40 Hickey H T…………………………………...Residence
4-11 Holloway Jas, r………………………………...Delmar
28-2 James H B, office………………………..Railroad Ave
26 James H B ………………………………..…Residence
23-3 Jones Geo T, Printing Office………….E Delmar Del
47 Krause S F, r……………………………………….N 2d
56 Long G L, r………………………...Chesnut Delmar Del
13-2 Lowe H S, Farm…………………RD No 3 Delmar Del
42-3 Lowe I S, r………………………………… Delmar
27 Lowe L B …………………………………..…Residence
31 Lynch F E ……………………………………..Residence
36-11 Lynch Dr. Howard, Office…………….……….Delmar
36-2 Lynch Dr. Howard, r…………………………….Delmar
55-2 Marvel Wm S Sr, r……………………Grove Delmar Del
23-4 Melson E J, fancy groceries…………..East Delmar Del
54-31 Mills R J, r…………………………………nr Hebron
54-22 Mills W D, r…………………………………nr Delmar
41-2 Mitchell James W, r………………………… Delmar
42-2 Moore L H, r………………………………….nr Delmar
42-23 Morris J P, r………………………………….nr Delmar
37 P B & W R R co……………………………….Pay station
58 Palm Charles A,r………………………………Delmar Del
23-2 Parker A L Groceries…………….Elizabeth Delmar Del
9-3 Parker Harry L, r…………………..………… Delmar
41-32 Pennewell J J, r…………………..…..…… Delmar
1 Salisbury Brick Co, Inc, Brick yard….………………N 2d
30 Slemons S K…………………………………….Residence
49 Stephens W B, r………………..4th & Chesnut Delmar Del
51-3 Sturgis A J, groceries………………..E State Delmar Del
23-11 Sturgis T A, r …………………………………..Delmar
41-11 Tingle Zeno, r ……………………………… Delmar
57 Truitt W C, t……………………………….East Delmar Del
34 Veasey Mary Augusta…………………..Stone House, State
38-2 Wainwright M H, Bakery & Fancy Grocs….Railroad Av
48-11 Wainwright M H, r …………….2d & Pine, Delmar Del
6-11 Waller S B, r……………..…………………….…Delmar
54-3 Waller W J,r……………………………………nr Delmar
54-11 Weatherly L B, r………………………………nr Hebron
45 Wells J F, r…………………..….Chesnut & 4th Delmar Del
39 West Nathan,r…………………….………………...Delmar
33 Whayland S H…………………………………..Drug store
17-4 Whayland S H,r…………………………….………Jewel
6-2 Whayland W W, Groceries………………………..Delmar
42-13 White C H …………………………………..Residence
20 Wilson Jas T……………………………………...Clothing

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tight as a Tick

It is the morning after Christmas and I am still suffering from the feeling of being stuffed from Christmas supper. It was a wonderful supper, full of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, Hayman sweet potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato biscuits, casseroles, and coleslaw, in such quantities, that when finished I felt tight as a tick. And I have those great leftovers to look forward to for a few days. So why do we do this to ourselves? If there is a word to describe the period from Thanksgiving to New Years it would be excess. Excess puts the X in Xmas. Excess shopping, excess spending, excess eating, excess stress. All of these accumulates to the zenith of excess and consumption in Christmas day. One of the joys of Christmas day is knowing that it is over with, until next year. Well might as well enjoy the food as we all know that dirty four letter word d-i-e-t will be on the “to do” list this coming New Years.

Of note Elbert has a good Christmas post.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Cards

Now I enjoy receiving and sending Christmas cards. Receiving a Christmas card is like finding a present under the tree every day in December and sometime January (from those who just can’t get it together by December 25th.) Cards let people know you care and have not forgotten them. Some people say with emails that the annual Christmas card isn’t necessary, but they lie or are living under a false assumption. I don't care if it does save a tree, I want a card. I don’t want embedded graphics, flash attachments, links to bouncy Web animations, etc, I just want a simple Christmas card, with a handwritten note maybe some pictures of them and their children or dog, and have it delivered by a uniformed government employee. And it has to be a real card and signed by real people, not a card from my insurance company. I am however still waiting for my White House Christmas Card, it is getting kinda of late however, perhaps I was too harsh on him in my blog.

There is a pecking order in which I treasure cards, but any card received is great. First and highest in the pecking order is a card with a handwritten letter and photo that says Merry Christmas, no happy holiday bullshit, the reason for Christmas is Christ. Second, a card with a newsletter and photo, but the card has to be hand signed and my name has to be in the card showing they actually wanted to send it to me. Third, is a card with a newsletter and a signed name. Fourth, is a card with a signed name or a photo card. Fifth and lowest is a card that has the senders name printed in the card with no message that it is to you other than the addressed envelope, totally impersonal, I am glad I got a card but they should have saved their money.

Now I know some people complain about the expense of the postage, the cards and any photographs you may include, but in truth it is the cheapest present you are going to give this year

Christmas Vistors

One of the nice things about Christmas is unexpected visitors that you have not seen in a while.

Howard and Kyndra, from the western shore, stopped by. They had been to Pocomoke to put flowers on her parents graves and were returning home and decided to stop and see us.

Erin stopped by to have a little nosh with us. She will be going to Texas shortly to see her husband Kenny graduate from Air Force Basic Training

Christmas Cheer a Christmas poem by Thomas Tusser
Good husband and housewife, now chiefly be glad,
Things handsome to have, as they ought to be had.
They both do provide, against Christmas do come,
To welcome their neighbors, good cheer to have some.

Good bread and good drink, a good fire in the hall,
Brawn, pudding, and souse, and good mustard withal.
Beef, mutton, and pork, and good pies of the best,
Pig, veal, goose, and capon, and turkey well drest,
Cheese, apples and nuts, and good carols to hear,
As then in the country is counted good cheer.

What cost to good husband, is any of this?
Good household provision only it is:
Of other the like, I do leave out a many,
That costeth the husband never a penny.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Golden Meadows

While on my walk this morning I went thru Golden Meadows Elderly Apartment complex and was pleased to see all the Christmas decorations that the residents have put out.

A while back the manager of the complex Donna Haney received an award from USDA Rural Housing for keeping the place well managed.

As I recall the 34 units at Golden Meadows is owned or operated by Shelter Management.

Anyway it is a well kept up complex and the residents seen to enjoy living there.

Melvin Thomas Ardis

December 23, 1942 Salisbury Times


Melvin Ardis Found Dead At Roseland

Melvin Thomas Ardis, 16 year old youth, died late last night from carbon monoxide poisoning in a tourist cabin on the Delmar Road six miles north of Salisbury, State Police said.

Two state police troopers, Sherwood Williams and Charles Prittchett administered artificial respiration for nearly an hour in an attempt to resuscitate the boy.

Dr. E. A. Radememaker, Wicomico County Medical Examiner, pronounced Ardis dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. Dr. Rademaker said when he arrived the jet on a gas heater was still open and the flame extinguished. Time of death was between 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., according to the physician.

Police said Ardis retired to the cabin at Roseland at about 10 p.m. and apparently forgot to turn off the gas heater when he went to bed.

When the oxygen in the room of the cabin was used up, the flame was apparently smothered and the building flooded with escaping gas, Dr. Rademaker said.

Francis Caulfield, with whom Ardis usually slept, discovered the boy’s body in the gas-filled room about midnight when he was going to bed. He then called his brother, James, who felt Ardis pulse and summoned a doctor and police.

Francis and James are sons of the proprietor of the cabins and diner. Andrew William Caulfield is their father. Ardis was an employee at Roseland, police said. He is the son of John Ardis, of Delmar Road.

Somebody Had Fun

Friday, December 21, 2007

Delmar Ad - Heath's Radio Shop

Earle Teat Music, Delmar

In my Christmas Shopping wandering I was in Earl Teat's today. It is a nice music store that mainly sells Guitars, Drums and electronics for instruments. It is located in the State Line Shopping Center.

There is quite a range of prices from a $99 Stagg to a $3,300 Gibson (remember it is in tax free Delaware so it should be 5% cheaper than Maryland). Being a simple Eastern shoreman I am always fascinated by bright colors and the guitars had quite a range of colors on them. So if you want to get the special person a $3,000 guitar I am sure the people at Earle Teats can help you.
Earle Teat Music, Delmar
38650 Unit 5 Sussex Highway
Delmar DE 19940

Buzz and the Christmas tree

A 1964 Christmas Story.

A long, long time ago I was in the Air Force and I served a year of duty on a small island north of Okinawa called Okino Erabu Shima. The island was about 4 by 11 miles and had a whole bunch of Japanese on it and about 80 Air Force people who manned a Radar station. Since most of us were about 19 or 20 years old, the main off duty amusement was drinking. At 20 you don’t have very lofty goals in life. One of my friends was Buzz Van Beaver and he was from Oklahoma. He had previously been stationed at a California Radar Station while I had been at an Arizona Radar station, so we knew a number of mutual friends. We would drink at a bar on the island called Tom’s place. At Christmas time a few of the bar owners, where Americans would hang out, would set up Christmas trees in their bars. Tom’s Place was one of those bars. Christmas Trees were very un Japanese and frankly were offensive looking, merely verifying our thoughts the bar owners were after every yen they could milk out of us. One night, prior to Christmas, Buzz decided he had had enough of the tree so in a moment of drunkenness he attacked it. After they subdued him and the Japanese police worked him over a little, they threw him into the back of a police jeep and took him back to the Radar station, where a special helicopter was flown in to take him to Okinawa for a psych exam.

After a few weeks he was shipped back to us. Shortly after his return we were drinking in the NCO club on the Radar station and during our debriefing session we decided all in all it didn't turn out so bad, after all he got to ride in the helicopter. He got off the island and spent Christmas in Okinawa. The hated Christmas tree was gone. He got to meet interesting medical people (American nurses) and identify ink blots. The bruises on his face were healing nicely along with the tree needle burns, and in spite of being restricted to base for most of his remaining tour we decided it was a good thing as he needed all his money to pay for the damage to the bar.

So this year I lift my glass in salute to Buzz, where ever he may be, who made 1964 an interesting Christmas.

Buzz at a time when he was still allowed in Tom’s Place

Christmas Wreath

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Bottle Tree

From DKY Bar and Grill A beer bottle christmas tree. I wonder what are the chances of my wife letting me make one?

Evil People

This week New Jersey decided to eliminate the death penalty. I believe there are truly evil people in this world who do heinous acts and they should die for their acts and be removed from the face of the earth. As long as they live, as in life in jail, they stand a chance of finding a way to escape from jail and continue their ways. Stop them now. Kill the scum that makes justice in America a mockery in the face of decent people. Make sure Delaware never follows New Jersey's example of allowing criminals to continue to live. Merry Christmas. A few more days of Christmas shopping and you are going to see more of these type posts.

Christmas Wreath

Edward T. Conoway

From The Bi-State Weekly December 20, 1940


Edward T. Conoway, 65 year old farmer living north of Delmar, was killed instantly early Friday morning, while loading logs onto a railroad car in the north yard here. Fellow workmen stated that Conoway was standing under the derrick and aiding in keeping the logs on a course towards the car, when the chain holding the log broke, causing the log to crash to the ground striking him on the head. A physician was called and pronounced the man dead. He was working for Edward Dickerson, owner of a saw mill west of Delmar.

Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at two o’clock at the St. George’s Methodist Church, west of Delmar, with Rev. Walter Pritchard, pastor of the church officiating.

Mr. Conoway is survived by his wife, Mrs. Florence Conoway, and eight children: Edward C. Conoway, one of the first Delaware draftees at Camp Upton, N. Y., Lonney G. Conoway of Laurel, Andrew Conoway of Parsonsburg, Md., Carlton J. Conoway, Miss Mildred V. Conoway, Miss Evelyn M. Conoway, Miss Nellie Conoway and George A. Conoway, all of Delmar. Interment was in the Delmar Methodist Episcopal Cemetery.

This article is of interest to me because my father had told me about the accident a number of years before I came across the Newspaper article. My father was working with Ed Dickerson the day it happened. Ed Dickerson ran a logging operation and sawmill west of Delmar. He and his wife, Maude, had a number of children (Hazel, Helen, Hattie, Noah, Joe, Martin and Paul) and they lived on St. George’s Road. Their descendants are still in the area. Ed Conoway was a farmer who like many farmers in the winter took part time work to bring in hard cash. As the article said they were loading logs (actually my father referred to them as “mine props’) on to a rail car. Joe, Ed Dickerson’s son, was working a tension line to move the logs and the line broke resulting in the death of Ed Conoway. Now logging is a mean business and there are not many older loggers who don’t have crushed fingers and toes and a number of broken bones. This death was viewed as an accident. In 1940 there was not many small business that would carry insurance on their employees nor make any accommodations to the survivors. My father said Ed Dickerson did want to pay for the funeral but his wife Maude refused to let him. Ed Conoway had, beside his wife, five children living at home with him. The youngest was George at age ten, Nellie was 12, Evelyn was 15, Mildred was 18 and Carlton was 22. After a few months Florence Conoway could not keep up the farm and the family was broken up and parceled out to relatives to be raised. It was a Christmas story without a happy ending.

Delmar Ad - Penna Railroad

Today Delmar was founded

Picked up from This Day in Delaware History:

1859 The Town of Delmar was founded with the coming of the railroad.

I don't think I have ever heard of a specific day Delmar was founded on but according to the Delaware public archives; today is that day. In two years we will be celebrating our 150th year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Delmar Ad - Smiley Hasting

1983 Iron and Rust problem in Delmar

As the town entered 1981 there was an increase in the amount of rust in the water system. In 1981 the town entered into a 1.1 Million dollar water system improvement project. The money was obtained from the Farmers Home Administration, in the form of a $600,000 loan and a $500,000 grant. The project had three phases to it. First, new water lines would run to a new well on the south end of town. Some additional lines were installed in a section of town known as Delmar Manor as the system did not form a loop in that section of town and was but a dead end. Phase two was a new 300,000 gallon water tower. Phase three was a new well.

The new well was drilled by Delmarva Drilling Company of Bridgeville. The well was driven 205 feet into the Manokin aquifer. While the well was being it driven, in December of 1981, the well collapsed during installation. Delmarva Drilling said it would have to charge extra for the additional work involved in drilling again and repairing the well. The town engineers on the project Andrews, Miller associates said the drilling company used grouting not specified in the contract and they, Andrew Miller Associates (Although they were also the inspectors for the project) would have to charge the town addition money for additional engineer studies. The Town said, no, they were not paying any additional money to anyone. Thus started a year long finger pointing contest.

Of note the south well was originally drilled to 180 feet where clear usable water was found, however since Federal money was being used the Federal government required for the well to be deeper. At the 205 feet level the water tested okay but developed iron after pumping was started.

The 300,000 gallon water tower was built by Brown Steel Co. of Newman, Ga. And put on line in early 1982. The water tower is a classical five leg elevated water tower. One of the problems with this design is local daredevils like to break into the water plant compound, climb the tower and paint graffiti on it. The North Water Tower (single pedestal) that was installed in 2000 has so far prevented or discouraged that type of behavior.

By the summer of 1981 the first complains, in large numbers, of discolored water and rust was heard from users of the water system. By the end of summer the town manager, Robert Martin, was announcing the town would be making more frequent flushing of the system and they would add Calgon (Calgon combines with iron and magnesium to form particles that will not precipitate) to the one working well on the north side of town. An independent lab had tested the well and found 1.1 parts iron per million parts of water. Robert Martin, the town manager, would soon be one of the first causalities of the rust problem. He left about 6 months later.

From April 1982 thru 1983 the town started on a town wide flushing program to clean out the water lines. Prior to this indiscriminate flushing had only stirred up the rust and iron. William C. Wolford of the Maryland State Health Department called for a “super Chlorinating” of the town water system to kill iron bacteria and a systematic method of flushing. He said this should relieve the town of it problems. It didn’t. Town residents were told to run water from their taps to clear them and flush their hot water tanks.

By January 1983 the new well was on line. It was using lime and chlorine for treatment. However the town decides to use aquadene (Aquadene is water treatment compound that supposedly will sequester iron and manganese, eliminate discolored water and remove existing scale and tuberculation) to hold the iron in solution, prohibiting precipitation. The iron content is periodically exceeding 2 parts per million. The new town manager, James Peck, predicates the town will be looking at another year before the rust is cleaned up. Since the town residents only wanted to hear the problem would be corrected over night this had the effect of him extending his arms and crossing his ankles over one another and asking for the nails to be driven in. In another 9 months he will resign and take a job elsewhere.

In May the North well (put on line in June of 1981) went down with a bad pump. This made the south well the only usable well. Since the well was on the south end of town and water had been pumped from the north well for 70 years the flow was reversed. In addition the water from the south well had a higher iron contain. The North well stayed down until November.

The original cast iron water mains installed in 1911 had tuberculated. This is hardened clumps of material in the pipes from corrosion and mineral deposits. The tuberculation will be smooth on the side of the flow of water and build up into a wedge with the high part of the wedge being on the side the water is not flowing against. When the direction of the flow of water was reversed it impacted against this wedge chipping it off sending rust and iron through the system.

In February of 1983, out of frustration due to the water problem, a citizen group formed. The Delmar Citizens Committee For Decent Water was made up of ex-mayor Frank Bonsall and a number of other Mayors and council people from the 1950’s and 1960’s. They were in part the cause of the problem as they had refused to make improvements to the water system while they were in office. They expected immediate results to correct the problem. Often heard was the phrase “It wasn’t like this when I was in office”. This group would eventually become strong enough to determine budgets for the town, direct town employees, and dictate town policy.

With the formation of the citizen’s group, the first of a number of major town council/citizen meetings begin to occur. Citizens with mayonnaise jars full of rust colored water cramped into town hall. Richard B. Howell III of the Office of Sanitary Engineering, Delaware Division of Public Health attends the meeting and said “the presence of iron and cooper sulfate is not a health-related standard. It is not physically harmful. Samples taken show that the iron level is running at or below one milligram per liter. This is not much different from 80 percent of all Sussex county water” Residents such as Jim Campbell are quoted as saying “The water is not fit to drink, make tea out of, coffee or anything else”. Town Manager James Peck says the town’s options are to treat the water with chemicals or install a $200,000 filtration system. He says the rust problem has gotten worst since using aquadene.

The meetings brought out the worst in people. There was much finger pointing of either the index finger or the middle finger. Apparently iron and rust stains on the unmentionables of the cream of southern Delaware womanhood will cause them to develop the vocabulary of a street whore and it was displayed at those meeting. Everyone expected the problem to be cleared up over night and any answer that differed from that was shouted down.

Invited to the Delmar Citizen Committee meetings were state officials. Again the Director of the Office of Sanitary Engineering, Delaware Division of Environmental Health Richard B. Howell III said to the group; the water meets all primary health standards. The presence of iron, which may cause coloration, staining or odor is an aesthetics, not a health related problem. Howe suggested two sources of the iron; natural content of the groundwater and the corrosion of pipe. He said “Any metallic pipe will be dissolved by water as corrosive as this”. Don Melson of the Delaware Division of Environmental Health said the least expensive possibility is a complete flushing of the system that would involve shutting off the Maryland well and using pressure supplied by the Delaware well to systematically flush every hydrant in town. The process would take about two months. Chemical treating with Chlorine and Aquadene would continue.

In July Matthew Aydelotte of the Delmar Citizens Committee for Decent Water and the Delmar Fire Department begin a systematic flushing of the town’s water system. The town was divided into five water districts. Each being supplied by a 6 or 8 inch main connected to the new 10 inch trunk line. The trunk line runs down Pennsylvania Avenue and connects the 1911 standpipe at the north end with the new elevated storage tank at the south end. Each water district was isolated by the valves and the water mains were back flushed a great many times. The system designed by Matthew Aydelotte tried to duplicate the flow of water before the new well was drilled and put on line. Fire hydrants when opened will create a higher velocity of flow which will pick up rust and flush it out. In the past the mains were flushed without isolating them and this just created a problem of sending rust into the other mains in town.

Matthew Aydelotte is quoted as saying “With the full cooperation of the citizens and the Public Works Department, we can turn our million dollar lemon into a drinkable lemonade”. At that time the water looked more like tea with lemon in it than lemonade.

During this period about 1/3 of the water pumped into the system was dumped on the street in hydrant flushing (So much water was flushed from the system that you could tell where fire hydrants were from the red rust coloring of the paved streets) or poured down the sewer line when homeowners tried to clear their tap water up from rust by running it an excessive amount of time. This also increased the volume of water going to an aged and overworked sewage treatment plant. There was much damage to ice makers, hot water heaters, clothing in washing machines, and water coolers. The faith the people in town had with their government’s ability to run a water system suffered the most.

Hindsight is always a great way to voice your opinion and it is my opinion that the big rust and iron situation of 1983 was caused by five problems. First, in spite of test wells drilled, the south well had a high level of iron in it. The iron was pumped into the system from the well, where it went to every user on the system. Second, part of the rust problem was caused by the vibration to old cast iron pipe installed in 1911 from the construction and installation of the new water mains. This vibration broke loose rust in the mains. Third, when the south well came on line it changed a 70 year direction of the flow of water in the water mains. This broke off tuberculation and iron particles that went everywhere in the system. Fourth, the town employees in attempting to flush the system did not isolate the areas they were trying to flush causing the increase water flow from flushing to break off more rust particles and send them into the sections of water mains already flushed, in addition somewhere in attempting to isolate areas the isolation valves were left in the wrong positions creating water flow against the direction of the previous 70 years. This reversed direction of course also broke off rust particles. Finally the fifth item was paperwork. An important part of flushing is to have detail drawings of the water main layout. Paperwork and maps, in Delmar, are one of the items that have always (including today) been missing or so out of date they were useless.

At the end of 1984 the iron problem was reduced but still continued at a lesser level. The town continues its policy of refunding the money spent by residents in buying laundry Rust and Iron removal products for the outbreak of iron even today. Today all the suggestions made in 1983 to correct the iron problem such as, a new water treatment plantand replacing and pigging mains, were made in the year 2000.

The Shire Family

I received this email from The Delmar Christian Center in regards to the Shire family;

Dear Friends,

On Sunday, December 9th, one of our Church Families lost their home in a fire. The Fire Marshall has declared the house and contents a total loss. They lived at 417 East East Street, Delmar MD

Eric and Sonja Shires have two children; Alanna (14) and Alex (11). They also have Eric's mother and Grandfather living with them. Eric has his own construction company and Sonja works for the Post Office.

We have gotten them some clothes and food to get through this week. We are strongly recommending VISA gift cards so they may specifically get things they need. Gifts cards to local restaurants would also be nice.

Friday morning December 14th, they found a house and plan on start moving in. It is located at 8533 Shadow Lane, Delmar MD. If you would like to call Sonja directly, her cell is 443-359-0607.

The clothes Sizes are as follows:
Pants Shirt Shoes Coat

Eric 32-30 Medium 8 ½ Large

Sonja 10-12 Medium 6 ½ Large

Alex 10 slim Medium 2 ½ Medium

Alanna 1 petite Medium 7 Medium

Grandfather 28-30 Medium

Grandmother 12-14 Medium

Financial Contributions may be made to:

Delmar Christian Center , 107 East State Street, Delmar, DE 19940

Put Shire Family in the memo portion of the check.

Wednesday night, December 19th, the Shires family will be at Delmar Christian Center from 6 – 7 pm to receive the blessings the community has gathered for them. If you have something, this would be great time to give it to them and to meet the family.

Any questions or coordination issues. Email me at or call me on my cell at 302-381-5274.

Pastor Jim Brown

Christmas Wreath

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dr Long DVM

As many of you may already know Dr. Long has sold his practice at Pet Medical Center to Dr. Joanna Pappas. My wife has taken her dog there a couple of times and Dr. Pappas receives my wife stamp of approval. I understand Dr. Long will continue working there a couple of nights a week.

Delmar Joint Council Meeting December

The Delmar Delaware and Delmar Maryland Joint Council Meeting happened to night.
As usual what I write is not the minutes of the meeting and the items are only what I have decided to mention and is my own impression of what was said. If you want to know the whole story attend the meetings.

A new Town emblem has been painted on the wall behind the council members. It is some what reminiscent of those medieval Catholic iconic images of saints with halos surrounding them, only instead of a saint it seem to surround Mayor Outten, and many have said he is indeed saintly.

There was a presentation by Delaware Rural Water (John Hayes) about the Source Water Protection Program and why the Town needs another Ordinance. He addressed the three wells in the Delmar Area; The Town Wells, Holly Oak Mobile Home Park wells, and Crystal Steel Fabricator well. The Town did a First reading of the Ordinance. Strangely enough Delaware Rural Water references my description of the Town of Delmar Water treatment plant on their website.

Gerard L. Esposito, President of Tidewater Utilities Incgave a talk about how they are dropping the regional concept of a Waste Water Treatment Plant that would also service Blackwater development and are going to concentrate on just servicing Delmar.

There was first reading of the Gateway annexation. As had been discussed before the Gateway retail project would like to take over Stage Road between RT13 and BiState and rework it so it services their retail stores better. The road currently belongs to Wicomico County. Gateway wants additional land annexed, besides what has already been annexed, so they can rework Stage Road. Carl Anderton pointed how collector roads should be 42 feet wide and the plat only shows a 30 foot wide road.

Parks and Recreations - said they did planning for the upcoming year, they want Wicomico county personnel to be more active in Delmar, they want to examine ways to have more free or minimal costs for kids to participate in park projects and they would like more land to expand.

Public works report - The street sweeper is fixed and has to go to DMV for an inspection. The Delaware state inspector wants a top coat put on Stage Road before the problem of the dip in front of Yorkshire Estates can be addressed. There is a bid of $815 to replace the bent light post in State street park. They will reuse the light fixture as it is still good.

There was a discussion about the conditions at the Delmarva Inn and what the town could do about the conditions.

Utility Commission - December 2007

This month the Utility Commission had their monthly meeting. All were present and Marlena Hodgins is our new member replacing Joan Tisinger. A number of the items on the agenda was really held in the Joint Council Meeting. Mainly, the agreement with Tidewater Utility and the Source Water Protection Ordinance. Other items;

The EPA is going to give us a grant that we will apply to the BNR/ENR project at the Waste Water Treatment Plant.

The Maryland side of Town has to do a Comprehensive plan by 2009. Delmar will share some expenses with Wicomico county in completing this.

There has been a recall on the type of lubricant used in some fire hydrant. The town fire hydrants will be inspected to see if they are among the recalled ones.

Doug Sergeant protested a water bill. The commission could see no cause that was the problem of the town and we decided not to adjust his bill.

Christmas Tree Sales

Back in 1977 my brother, Alan, had a used car lot in Laurel and he decided him and I should sell Christmas Trees for the season. At that time you could get trees from Jean and Ken in Salisbury at about $8 a tree and retail them between $16 to $25 a tree. Jean and Ken also had a buy back option if you didn't sell all of them. It was an interesting project, at the end we made a couple of bucks on the deal but what impressed me was the difference in attitude in people buying Christmas trees versus buying other retail items. They were happy and smiling and there was almost no selling involved. They picked their tree, paid us, we throw it on top their car, tied it down and off they went. Once a guy pulled in about 8 o'clock or so in the evening, driving a big Cadillac, he brought a tree, I tied it on top the car and he said he was heading for New York City. I figure that tree didn't have a needle on it once he drove those five or six hour on the turnpike, But he was happy so why should I care.

Today they sell the trees for a whole lot more and I think they make less profit, plus the trees are cut so early how does their conscience allow them to sell a tree so dry?

Christmas Wreath

A Fourth Grade Field Trip in 1948

From the December 10th, 1948 edition of the Bi-State Weekly


On the first of December, the fourth grade of the Delmar, Delaware School, accompanied by their teacher, Mrs. Mabel Hearne, and several parents, made an excursion to the Chesapeake Airways airport. Several pupils and parents of the fourth grade pupils made a local flight while others observed from the ground. The General Manager of the airport was in contact with the pilot by radio, from time to time, during the flight. The pilot described to those who didn't fly but were listening, what the passengers were viewing from the plane (Delmar, Salisbury, Hebron). All pupils went through the planes and had chances to question the General Manager, a pilot and a co-pilot. These experiences have enriched the class program - vitalizing Reading and English, especially.

The fourth grade pupils and teacher wish to thank their home room mother Mrs. Richard Figgs, for her part in making arrangements. They wish, too, to thank those who furnished cars or drove to the airport: Mrs. Herman White; Ms. Thomas Adams; Mrs. Phillip Elliott; Mrs. Lester Smith; Ms. Granville Brumbley; Mrs. Joel Walker and Mrs. Mabel Hearne.

1948 Delmar Ad - Avenue Theater

Robert Dickerson has a Birthday

Today Robert Dickerson of Hammonton N.J. turns 40 years old. Happy Birthday Robert.

It's Keith Dennis Birthday

Wow! today Keith Dennis turns 39. If you see him out at Perdue's give hime a big Happy birthday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Survivor - China

The only reality show I watch is Survivor and tonight was the wrap up for Survivor - China. Rarely does anyone I rooted for make it to the final selection and tonight was no exception. The three that lied, double crossed, and back stabbed the most (Amanda Kimmel, Todd Herzog and Courtney Yates) made it to the top three, with Todd Herzog winning the million dollar prize. I know it is all in the way the show edits the program that makes you form the impression you have of the various people but still James Clement and Denise Martin certainly had my sympathy vote to be the winners. I also think what is bad is to be the first person voted off. You know in your mind it can only be random chance as to how the first person is selected to be voted off, in Survivor - China it was Steve 'Chicken' Morris. Neverless it seems to be the one of the shows I am hooked on.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Tipping

Okay it is that time of year for presents for everyone and gifts for the needy and tips for people who normally get paid for doing their job. As may be suspected, Howard, is not the most generous tipper, normally, and at Christmas time he becomes literally a manifestation of his idol Scrooge. I think 5% is an adequate tip for a waitress, waiter or pizza delivery person, I know they think that is good because they fight over who is going to wait on my table. So who out there does Christmas Tipping? There is always some newspaper or TV Article on Christmas Tipping and they must be aimed at 'city people' as I sure as hell don't have no doorman, dog walker or handyman. Our kids are no longer kids so thank God babysitters and school teachers aren't in the picture anymore. So we pretty much come down to Newspaper delivery people, Trash Collectors and the mailman. I don't think I even know their names, which makes me wonder if I should bother with them.

Delmar Police History Search

The Delmar Police force continues their search for information or items related to the police force. If you have photos articles, police badges or items pertaining to the Delmar Delaware or Delmar Maryland or the Railroad Police let Ed Ferro know and let him make copies. Ed can be contacted at

Delmar Ad - Doris Truitt

Friday, December 14, 2007

1940 AD - Rothskeller

Manokin Village

From the December 14, 1928 edition of The Salisbury Times


Indian names most of which are peculiar to the Eastern Shore are to be perpetrated in the suburban village being developed on the Spring Hill Road, west of the city proper, by Community Land development Company Incorporated.

The village, restricted to residential buildings, is to be known as Manokin, which, in the language of the original natives of this section, means “a fort”.

The property containing 110 acres has been subdivided into avenues and boulevards, the avenues running east and west and the latter intersecting, north and south.

Each thoroughfare bears the name of an Indian chief, a tribe, or a village.

To those who eventually occupy the 428 buildings sites, the Indian language will become familiar household words; Here are some; Nokomi, Pochonata, Minneola, Kenosha, Tuscola and Shawnee.

The names given the boulevards are perhaps more widely known to students of Indian lore and history. Chippewa, Manos, Seminole and powhattan boulevards completely dissect the village.

Manokin is one and a quarter miles from the courthouse, exactly the same distance from the building as is College Avenue.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ribbons of Love Gift Wrapping

While getting my hair cut over at Campbell's Barber Shop I saw an advertisement for Ribbons of Love Gift Wrapping. It is a Christmas gift wrapping service started by Ashely Campbell and Alyssa Minton. Check out their web page for prices and services.

Delmar Well Head Protection Program

The town of Delmar is currently working on a Well Head Protection Ordinance. The purpose of it, besides being mandated by Federal and State agencies, is to preserve the area around our wells so they will not become contaminated. Next Monday at the Joint Council Meeting I understand there will be a presentation on Well Head Protection Programs in Delaware by some one from Rural Water.

Since America has been in existence each town has made some attempt to protect their water system. Governor Gage of Jamestown Virginia in 1610 gave this proclamation to the residents: "There shall be no man or woman dare to wash any unclean linen, wash clothes,...nor rinse or make clean any kettle, pot, or pan, or any suchlike vessel within twenty feet of the old well or new pump. Nor shall anyone aforesaid within less than a quarter mile of the fort, dare to do the necessities of nature, since by these unmanly slothful, and loathsome immodesty's, the whole fort may be choked and poisoned. "

Delmar has three wells that it uses to pull ground-water from. If contamination occurs, it is very costly correct and it will remain contaminated for a long period of time. The continual selection of the location of the wells in Delmar always mystify me but perhaps the locations are as good as any other. The location of the two north wells (this well field has been used since 1911) are next to Delmar Grain on York Street and a few hundred feet east of the railroad tracks. The railroad is a problem with potential chemical spills from rail road accidents. In the past there has been chemical spills ranging from unloading chemicals to refueling the engine with the overflow of diesel fuel. There is a 40,000 gallon propane tank that sits a hundred feet from the wells and water tower. About 400 feet away was the storage tanks (gasoline and heating oil) for William Gordy Fuel Company. A couple of blocks away from the wells is a retired Delmarva Electric Power Transformers station that use to have signs up stating PCBs present. An old town dump was about a half mile from the North water well.

The location of the south well is at the corner of Pennsylvia Avenue and Foskey Lane and again it sets next to the railroad tracks. It is also close to a rail switching track where railcars are loaded and staged for points north or south. The land, before the well and water tower was developed, was the site of the Blue Hen Canning Company and later the Hungarian Pickle Company. When the Pickle Plant was torn down I have been told the brine in the 6,000 gallon pickle vats were dumped on the ground. There was also a propane tank company (Pyrofax Gas Co.) in existence a few hundred feet from the tower and well.

How long it takes for contaminates to sink into the ground down to the level of our wells varies considerably depending on rainfall, ground saturation, and type of ground, I have been told that what ever was dumped on the ground surface 30 years ago is now reaching the level of our 143 feet deep north well. So we should now be drinking our environmental sins from the 1970s.

Come on out Monday night and listen to the presentation it should be interesting and one way or another it is going to effect you.

The Coliseum at Delmar

South of Delmar, about where the current IBEW Union building is today, stood The Coliseum. The Coliseum was the largest dance hall on the Eastern Shore from 1936 until 1942 when it burnt. The road we now call Bi State Boulevard was than called the Delmar Road and it went from the overhead bridge in Salisbury into Delmar. It was a popular strip for beer joints, night clubs, dance halls and tourist cabins. The most popular was the Coliseum. It started life known as the Chatterbox Night club and was later converted to the Coliseum Roller Rink. It seem to have been built by a Thomas Philips and was later owned by a Mr. Harvey M. Ruble. Mr. Ruble also owned the Pier Ballroom in Ocean City.

The Coliseum had roller skating, square dances, banquets, amateur boxing, big band orchestras and 24 hour walkathons, anything to make a buck. On a Friday night in July of 1940 it held an amateur boxing match that drew over 700 fight fans to it. I think the real draw was they had Jack Dempsey as the referee and Red Burman, a protege of Dempsey, was in the audience. Some of the Bands and singers of the era at the Coliseum were the Larry Clinton band, Will Osborne and his Slide orchestra, Rudy Vallee, and Don Bestor. The 24 hour walkathons seem to have been the equivalent of a 24 hour dance marathon and were described as controversial in the newspaper, apparently because of the large crowd that they drew.

When it burnt at the end of November 1942 a Mrs Annie Jackson, 82, died in the fire. She is believed to be the mother of Mrs. Ruble and lived at the Coliseum. The flames were reported to be 150 feet high and the smoke could be seen in downtown Salisbury. Winds whipped the fire around sitting fire to the surrounding bushes and grass in the area. A photo from the Salisbury Times December 2nd 1942 edition is shown below of the remains of the building.

The owner Harvey M. Ruble died in Tucson Arizona in September of 1951. He had gone to Tucson for his health several years before. He was buried in Parkesburg West Virginia.

I was able to find information on the Coliseum from a few newspapers, but mostly from Jane Brown, Joseph Long and Gary Horseman.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Possum Possum

Every so often we end up with a possum or some other woodland creature living in our garage or under the shed. This time it was another possum. You would think with a dog and a couple of cats they would keep these creatures away but the dog is old and can barely hobble around and the cats, with anything as big as they are, have a live and let live outlook. Delmar has an animal Control Officer in the person of Robert Kenney. If you have these animal problems you can call the Town police at 410-896-3132 and they will send Bob Kenney by for stray dogs, cats, possums, goats, deer, etc. He left a live animal trap set here and in about five hours the possum was in the trap. He was a young one so fricassee possum would have been a waste of time. I guess Bob Kenney found a place for him to go.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Delmar Planning and Zoning December

Well tonight the Delmar Planning and Zoning Commission had their meeting. Joe Dixon was unable to make it and Stan Benson left the commission tonight. As usual what I write is not the minutes of the meeting and the items are only what I am chosing to mention and is my own impression of what was said. If you want to know the whole story attend the meetings. Some of the items discussed tonight were;

James Rostocki of Chesapeake Bay Reserve, George Danneman of Wolf Block Real estate Law Practice, and Jennifer and Bruce from GreenStone Engineering gave a concept plan of the Chesapeake Bay Reserve. This is a little over 200 acres to the east of Stage Road in Delaware. The land has a petition for annexation pending an agreement for Sewerage. They plan to built 481 single dwelling homes on this land. The lots will be about 9,000 square feet. They will have about 30% open area in the development. Many of the homes will be 1100 to 1200 sq ft starter homes for the first time buyer. Carl Anderton asked about them including a soccer field or some kind of athletic field. Rostocki said they could put in several mini parks of a half acre and make a donation to a more central athletic field the town could own and maintain.

Doug Warner and Sarah Holland from Element Design gave a concept plan of Delmar Grove. Delmar Grove is 97 acres that is to the east of RT13 off Iron Hill road. The majority of the land is wetland so only 10 or so acres will be developed. They are looking at putting five buildings with 24 condominiums in each building - 120 units. They will be three story buildings. There will be 234 parking places. He said it may be possible to put an athletic field in the wetland area. The units would be a combination of rent, rent to own, and own. They are looking at affordable housing, starting as low as $120,000. Other projects they have done are the Tides at Rebohoth, Creekwood in Rehoboth and Five points in Lewis.

Christmas Lights

One of the many light displays on Spruce Street

Cemetery Decorations

Today was the day to go visit cemeteries and put out "Christmas" flowers. I drove my mother around Salisbury and Princess Anne to visit grave sites and she told me all the old tales and stories about each one, how they died, who they dated, what troubles and successes they had. I still have one more day to do for the ones around Laurel and than sometime in January the return trip to pick up the "Christmas" flowers.

I am old enough to have known some of the people buried around my relatives so today I saw the graves of a married couple, side by side, and I remember how much they use to fight and argue. He was big on saying "Make sure when I die I am not buried next to that bitch". So today, sure enough, his family buried them side by side. I think I could hear the ground rumbling when I walked past their grave - they are still arguing.

They say a person is never dead as long as someone remember them, so this Christmas remember someone and maybe even put a little decoration on their grave.

Old Monie Church

1940 Ad - Duffy Cabs

Four Items From the Delaware Public Archives

From This Day In Delaware History

1856 The ceremony for the opening of the Delaware Railroad in Seaford was subdued somewhat due to torrential rains and strong southwest winds.

1863 Annie Jump Cannon, later a nationally famous astronomer at Harvard, was born in Dover.

1925 A new stoplight was installed in Laurel. A red sign was for stop, blue was to go straight ahead or make a right turn, and yellow was for a left turn.

1944 The US Army, headquartered in Dover's Richardson Hotel, seized chicken trucks up and down the state in order to guarantee adequate food supplies for the armed forces and their wartime needs.

Today's facts were compiled by historian Roger Martin and brought to you by the Delaware Public Archives.

It is interesting that Laurel's love for traffic lights extend back to at least 1925.

And once the railroad pushed past Seaford in 1856 Delmar would be put on the map.

Annie Jump Cannon of Oh Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me fame was of course a noted astonomer known for examining the spectra of stars.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Santa At The Fire House

Santa is at the fire hall in Delmar. He will be there Monday and Wednesday Night 6PM to 7:30PM and on Saturday have breakfast with Santa at the Fire Hall.

Christmas Lights

600 block of East Jewell Street

Sunday, December 09, 2007

William and Mary, another politically correct college

Another politically correct event happened this week when William and Mary College removed the two feathers in their logo. The college had a ruling from the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 2006 that deemed the athletic logo with feathers impermissibly “hostile and abusive,” the College announced it would begin the process of developing a new logo. A committee of alumni, faculty, staff and students helped develop an updated logo (they removed the two feathers from the logo, if it had been one group less in the decision to do so they wouldn't have been able to do it) for the College, which was unveiled Dec. 6. What a group of wimps.

This has left a number of college store now selling obsolete merchandise

Next the Wildcat Anti-Defamation League will be in Delmar saying our logo is offensive, hostile and abusive to wildcats

Grotto vs Grottino - Boycott Grottos

This problem between Grotto Piza and Grottino Pizza is silly. Here there is a big Rehoboth Beach chain,Grotto,(that sells mediocre pizza) trying to tell some one shop pizza owner that they can not use the name Grottino. They have said they will haul him into federal court if he continues using the name. Grotto - Grottino I don't think I would confuse the two names and I am just an ignorant ass eastern Shoreman. It is like threatening a pizza place if they have the word "Italian" in it. But I do know Grotto makes mediocre pizza and their Seaford location has had a number of shootings in the parking lot. I doubt I would go to either one since I don't like the pizza or atmosphere at Grottos and Grottino is in New Castle.

So what is Grotto's doing about Jimmy's Grotto Pizza and Filippi's Pizza Grotto and Moma N Papa's Pizza Grotto. I guess Grottos figure they run the state of Delaware and can get away with pushing their way around, another reason to boycott their pizza chain.

The Week After the 1892 Fire

From the Salisbury Advertiser Sept 3, 1892


New Houses and Business going up in Delmar and other Homes to follow

This fire swept town today presents a better appearance than it did a week ago. The braver victims of the fire who are able have cleared away the debris and begun work in earnest. T. A. Vessey has contracted with the Tolberts, of Laurel to erect on the old site a handsome three story Hotel at a cost of $6000. They begin work Wednesday. W. L. Sirman has an architect in Wilmington preparing him a plan for a new residence and no doubt his house will be the finest structure ever erected in Delmar. Wm. M. Mason has the foundation of a very pretty cottage building laid on his lot, the work being done by Mr. Lewis of Salisbury. The Delmar Union Store Co. has erected a temporary building and is already doing business and this is true of B. B. Freeny and W. B. Elliot. Levin Hastings is putting up the largest store in Delmar – 50 x 150 ft – this building includes store for him self, post-office, drug store and barber shop. The firm of Elliott and Ellis has by mutual consent dissolved partnership. F. G. Elliott continues the business and has erected a temporary building in which a stock of hardware was placed Wednesday. Cooper & Wilson also opened quarters in a building of M. H. German’s Wednesday. They will build a large brick building in the future. Those preparing to build are; Michael Elliott, W. B. Sirman, M. M. Hill, Harry Renninger, J. F. Clarke, Phillip Hearn, W. S. Marvil, B. B. Gordy, Jas. Venables and Smiley Parker.

The young man, Wm. Adkins, who was so badly crushed a week ago at the coal bin, is still lingering with little hope of recovery.

Mrs. Walter Stephens, who was so badly frightened by the fire, died on Saturday last. Her baby, which was only three weeks old, died Wednesday. The case is one which calls for the sympathy of all. It is really sad. Mrs. Stephens was sick in bed at the time the fire occurred and seeing that her house hold effects would be destroyed, she rose from bed and attempted to save them by removing them to a place of safety. Lifting an organ and the extreme fright were too great a strain and she died from the effects.

Papering the walls and ceiling has much improved the interior of the Missionary Baptist church here. Last Sunday morning Rev. Mr. Howe, the pastor, preached a deeply interesting sermon, taking for his text, “and we know that all things work together for good to them that loves God,” In the course of his sermon the reverend gentleman made a local application of the text to the recent destruction of Delmar, and its present condition. His words had an electrical effect upon many who had lost their all in the recent fire and gave them renewed hope. Rev. Mr. Corkran of the M. E. church preached in the evening…

St Stephens

Saturday, December 08, 2007

St Stephens Youth Group

I encountered the St Stephens United Methodist church youth group returning from a visit to the nursing home. A nice non-money present is visit some one who is older and does not have that many visitors.

1892 Delmar Fire

Delmar has been destroyed by two major fires. The first was in 1892 and the second was in 1901. The article below describes the 1892 fire. It is interesting most of the towns on the Eastern Shore had major fires in in the 1890s. When neighboring fire departments sent aid to those towns they would load their equipment up on the train and the train would take them to the town where they would unload and start to fight the fire. Obviously the response time left something to be desired. In the case of Delmar in 1892 it was pointed out that there was no source of water to put out the fire and water had to be taken from the tanks on the train engines sitting in the rail yard at the time. It would not be until 1911 before Delmar would have a water utility that would supply fire hydrants and sufficient water pressure to put out fires.

Salisbury Advertiser August 20, 1892


Eighty-Seven Houses burned including Every Business Place, the Hotel, Railroad Station and M. E. Church

Another Peninsula town has been reduced to ashes. Delmar was burned last Tuesday afternoon. Between noon and the hour of one, Fire was seen to burst from the roof of the building, corner Railroad avenue and Grove street, occupied by Mr. Tyre as post office. Being a frame structure, the flames fanned by a brisk wind from the north-west, soon enveloped the entire building, and before the thoroughly aroused populace could take action the fire was spreading from house to house and continued to spread until ten acres on which thickly stood eighty-seven buildings of various kinds, mostly wood, had been burned over.

The burned district extends from Grove Street on the north, down Railroad avenue on the west three squares south to Elizabeth street, east from Railroad avenue two squares to Second street. In this territory stood every business house, the hotel, Methodist Episcopal Church and the railroad station, all of which were burned. The fire did no damage west of the railroad track. The origin of the conflagration is supposed to have been the igniting of a match by a mouse in an old sugar barrel which stood in the hall on the second floor of the post office building.

The Salisbury fire service responded promptly to an appeal for help, but owing to the fact Delmar is an inland town, with no artificial water supply, and having no natural streams nearer than two miles, our boys could do little toward keeping up a stream of water. What water they did get was drawn off the tanks of a number of engines.

The losers of the fire are; Levin Hastings store and goods partly insured; M. H. German private residence and several tenement houses, loss heavy, only partially covered by insurance; Joseph W. Hastings, residence valued at $1300, insured for $800; Dr. Ellegood, drug store and bedroom set $2000, insured $1200; W. S. Marvel, residence, barn, smith shop, $3500, total loss; J. M. Elliott, two dwellings and one more, partially insured; Elliott & Ellis, stock of goods, $5000, insured $4000; Cooper & Wilson store and stock of goods, $7000, insurance $4500; W. B. Elliott, post office building and butcher shop, $4000, partially insured; Mrs. Hayman, millinery store, total loss; Delmar Union store, store and stock lose $3500, insurance $1200; Perdue & Hastings millinery store , $1,000, no insurance; W. S. Hitchens, store $1500 total loss, E. J. Melson store $300, total loss; E. J. Freeny, several houses all partially insured; B. W. Freeny, green grocer, $1,000, no insurance; Jas. Mills, leather, $300, total lose; R. S. Stevens & Bro, jewelry valued $1000, no insurance ; W. I. Sirman, residence, partially insured, stock of goods$1000, no insurance; H. B. James, residence, light insurance; Methodist Episcopal church and parsonage, loss partly covered by insurance; Smiley Parker, residence, some insurance, Mrs. Sarah Williams, residence, no insurance ; James Williams, W. I. Sirman, H. B. Sirman, W. Elliott, James Venables, John Gillis, all residences, with more or less insurance; H. B. Kerr’s barber’s fixtures, no insurance; T. A. Vesseys hotel, loss, $5000, insurance $1600; L. B. Kerr’s livery stable, P. W. Vincent’s residence; W. S. Mason’s residence; B. B. Gordy; residence, Mrs. B. B. Gordy, dwelling; Mrs. Elizabeth H. Slemons, residence, office, stables, loss $1500, insurance $1000; M. M. Hill residence partly insured; John W. Melson, residence; Isaac Watson, residence and shop, partially insured, John Neugebaum, residence partly insured; Charles Hill, residence, partly insured; Mrs. Mills, residence, no insurance; Dr. Josephus A. Wright, residence, $1800, insured $800; Harry Renninger, residence, no insurance; Philip C. Hearn, residence, insured; John I. Clarke, residence, partly insured; Charles Elliott, residence, partly insured; B. W. Parker, residence, partly insured; W. C. Truitt, residence, partly insured; Roy German, residence insured; Jos. J. Restein, residence, insured; railroad station, freight house, etc $10000, partly insured; Algy Dennis, residence, partly insured; E. P. O’Neal, residence, partly insured; A. H. Morris, candy store, loss $300, no insurance; Total loss is conservatively estimated at $150,000 and the aggregated insurance is placed at $75,000. Mr. A. G. Toadvine of this city had nearly all the property destroyed on the Maryland side in his companies.

Delmar is situated six miles north of Salisbury on Mason Dixon Line, at the juncture of the P. W. & B. railroad and the N. Y. P. & N railroad, which two systems uniting at Delmar, traverse the seaboard states from New York to Norfolk. It is a new town, owing its thrift and prosperity to the railroads. Within the last decade it has grown from a hamlet of a few scattered houses to a town of 800 inhabitants.

The fire of last Tuesday was the first considerable blaze the little town ever suffered and during its progress many land marks were destroyed.

Among the first homes to burn was one as old as the town itself and in which two poor but enterprising boys- E. E. Jackson and W. L. Sirman – set out in business in 1859. The former has since amassed a large fortune and has honorably served his native state as its governor. The latter is at present speaker of the Delaware House of Representatives and has always been identified with the best interests of Delmar, where he has succeeded in acquiring a competence.

Mr. T. A. Vessey, proprietor of the hotel, was offered $4000 cash for his property on Monday by a Cincinnati gentlemen but refused it.

Dr. Josephus A. Wright had made all arrangements to move into his handsome new home on Wednesday.

Among the more prominent buildings not destroyed are the Missionary Baptist Church, O. S. Baptitist Church, and the Methodist Protestant Church. All the mills were saved.

Undauted by the diameter the people at once turned to work and began to erect temporary structures in which to do business until more substantial buildings can be put up. In twenty four hours after the fire Mr. B. W. Freeny had a house on the site of his burned butcher shop. The railroad company have a temporary station house completed and several other rough structures are up. The unfortunates whose homes were destroyed are residing for the time with those of their neighbors who were not burned out. Mrs. Slemons and her daughters are guests of Dr. F. M. Slemons of Salisbury.

Hogs and Chickens were burned as well as provisions and it is said that when night settled over the devastated town Tuesday there was not enough food in the place to give all the people a hearty meal. This alarming condition was soon relieved however by the quick and eager response of neighboring towns Salisbury, Cape Charles City, Wilmington, Laurel, Seaford and other places send food and money, Mayor Humphreys and messgrs Randolph, Humpreys, A. A. Gillis, Charles Birkhead, and R. T. Fowler, a committee to solicit aid. A purse of $445.35 was soon made up and presented to the provisional committee at Delmar.

A dispatch from Wilmington, Del. Wednesday night to Hon. W. L. Sirmen, said; “At a public meeting held in this city hall of Wilmington this morning to respond to the call for aid from Delmar $500 in cash was raised in twenty minutes and William L. Sirman of Delmar, speaker of the Delaware House of Representatives was directed by telegraph to draw on the treasurer of the meeting for that amount at once. A car load of provions, bedding, clothing and furniture will also be sent down”. The railroad are transporting provisions free.