Saturday, March 01, 2008

Lost Dog

Wilmington Trust/ Sussex Trust in Delmar

As the ad says, Sussex Trust, a Delaware-chartered bank and trust company, opened it's branch office in Delmar on September 15th in 1975. For Delmar the triangle shape footprint of the building was a radical architectural change. A brief popular past time for the local natives was to walk around the building looking at it's strange shape. Roy Jones was the first manager of the branch bank, followed over the years by Cliff Parsons, Linda Jones and today's branch manager is Kimberly Watson.

In 1992 Wilmington Trust bought the Sussex Trust Company, which by than was a $400 million-asset bank with 20 branches, and the Delmar Sussex Trust became Wilmington Trust.

The shape of the building is defiant to taking a decent picture of it except from the air.

It in 1895 the Sussex Trust Title and Safe Deposit Company was chartered by the Delaware Legislature. In 1898 on October 25 it opened the Lewes office. On January 2, 1899 the Laurel office was opened and in 1902 the Milton branch was opened. In 1911 the name was changed to The Sussex Trust Company. On April 1 1957 the Rehoboth Branch was opened, followed on April 7, 1971 by the Milton office and than the Millsboro branch on March 1, 1972 and than the most important one, Delmar, in 1975.

Mason Dixon Auction

Well the wife and I have started to have withdrawal symptoms from the winter devoid of yard sales and flea markets so we had to take a trip to the Mason Dixon Auction in Delmar yesterday. Now we really do not need to buy another treasure to pack in to this house but it is addictive so we went. The Mason Dixon Auction is held on Fridays - starts at 4 P.M., preview the stuff starting at 10 a.m., furniture and larger items auctioned at 9:30 p.m. It is located at the corner of State Street and the Railroad tracks. Mike and Patty Conklin own and run the place. Their number is 410-896-3783. Stop by, you are bound to find something you never knew you couldn't live without.

1992 Ad

FDR Quote

"If I went to work in a factory the first thing I'd do is join a union."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Chipman Potato House

On the way back from Del Tech today I went by what is called the Chipman Potato House. It is across the road from Old Christ Church east of Laurel. Those of you who may have visited the church may also have wondered what was that old building across the street. Well it is/was a potato house. In the early 1900's sweet potatoes were a major crop in this area and it lead to special buildings called potato houses. Potato houses were used to sort and stored sweet potatoes. They were heated to prevent mold and freezing and to "kiln dry" the sweet potatoes as they require a curing time before they are at their best for eating. Potato houses were usually used by a number of people who stored their potatoes in the house and paid the owner some amount per bushel or 5/8 basket of potatoes, in the 1920 and 1930 it was in the range of 2 cents to 5 cents a basket. The potatoes were usually stored in October and were sold by February.

In 1986 there was a survey of historic buildings in Sussex County done by Judith Quinn and Bernard L. Herman. Below is a description of the potato house as they gave it in 1986.

The Chipman Potato House is a two-story, front gable, frame structure of tall, narrow proportions built in 1913. The overall condition of the building is excellent. It stands as an exceptional example of potato house construction, and represents a unique variation on the most frequently encountered potato house type.
The greatest difference is found in the building's fenestration which has an unusual total of twelve windows, in addition to a newly enlarged main entry door on the front (south) gable end. The original entry door had a pair of sliding doors, (double thickness) as found in many potato houses. The sliding doors are in the building though no longer in place.

The greatest difference is found in the building's fenestration. Every window and door retains its original hinged shutter/hatch and hardware. The building's original narrow face milled weather boards are completely intact. Four layers of horizontal wooden planking sheath the building. Insulating paper ("red rosin") is still visible between the layers.

Like the fenestration, the plan of the Chipman Potato House is unique. The first and second floors do not follow the characteristic center aisle design. Instead, intersecting partitions divide the two floors into four quadrants. Each quadrant contained at least three bins. Nailing patterns on overhead beams of the first and second stories indicate original placement of the bins. A two and one half foot walk space on the inside perimeter of the building provided easy access to all bins.

The attic story was converted into a third functional storage floor. Its plan is a center aisle plan. The slatted bins are intact. Eleven bins flank the west side of
the aisle and ten the east side. They are narrow and rise to ceiling height. One whole identifying tag listing name of renter, and rent charged remains tacked to an attic story bin post. (Remnants of additional tags also remain.) All the bins in
the Chipman Potato House were numbered. Surviving numbers painted on bin posts in the attic story establish that the house originally had 50 bins.

The roof is a tin replacement for the original wood shingles. At the time the roof was replaced the chimney stack was removed. The interior chimney is still standing at the north end of the building. In addition to the chimney, the cast iron pot belly stove used to heat the building remains in position. No other potato house has been found containing its stove. The date of construction is found written in the concrete stoop of the main entry door.

The Chipman Potato House is an extraordinary example of this architectural type. Its exterior and interior conditions are unusually complete and intact. The fenestration of the building is absolutely unique in existing potato house construction. The
plan and bin placement are likewise unique, while the cast iron stove, wooden bins, and identifying tags are rare manifestations of the overall function and production of the potato house. It is an important reflection of significant agricultural and
cultural trends in southwestern Delaware during the early 19OOs, and an excellent example of architectural and aesthetic variation of the building type.

1962 Ad - Bill's "66" Service Center

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Delmar School Board Election

As a reminder there is a Delmar School Board election coming up on May 13th. If you want to run for that one open position, you have to file by March 7th with the Department of Elections for Sussex County. The term will start July 1st and end June 30th, 2011. At present no one has filed to run for that position. The filing packet forms are located on the Department of Elections website.

The Iditarod

The Iditarod starts Saturday (2 p.m. our time, will take an hour and a half to get them all off the starting line), actually the Saturday start in Anchorage is for show, the real race starts on Sunday, March 2, in Willow, on Willow Lake (remember 4 hours difference in time). From Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team of 16 dogs and their musher cover over 1150 miles in 10 to 17 days. In even years (this year) they will use the northern route. The race route is alternated every other year, this year going north through Cripple, Ruby and Galena, and next year south through Iditarod, Shageluk, Anvik.

96 mushers are getting ready to leave Willow Sunday morning on a trail that is described as "about “normal.” There’s plenty of snow where there usually is, and not much — perhaps none — where the going is typically barren." Tells you nothing, Sounds like talking to an Eastern Shoreman describe something.

Yesterday the dogs had their Vet checks.

It cost the mushers an entry fee of $3,000 per musher and the fee had too be in by June 30th. The Iditarod however estimates the cost to run the race is about $23,000 per musher. The cost is made up of air support to move food, personnel and equipment along the trail, communications to track teams and veterinary care. The additional money comes from advertising.


Today in 1993 the United States Government attacked the Branch Davidians' church and home, Mount Carmel Center, outside of Waco, Texas. It would not end until April 19th when the government set fire to the complex and killing everyone.

William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley Jr. died yesterday at the age of 82. He was viewed as a right wing conservative American political commentator, he wrote 55 books and over 5,000 newspaper articles yet what I remember most about him is his way of speaking. It was simply fascinating to hear him talk. He had a slow way of pronouncing each word and some really strange British like sounding accent. He appeared on a numerous TV shows. He was at one time a member of the CIA and wrote a number of novels in which spies were the main characters. He was from a Millionaire family connected with oil. He was just an enjoyable person to listen too even if you did not agree with him.

Marvel Funeral Home

In 1865 William Staten Marvel started a Blackshop business in Delmar, Delaware. The business served the town as a blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop, cabinetmaker shop and coffin maker. In 1875 William S. Marvel moved into the undertaking business. The funeral company was one of the oldest in the State of Delaware. In about 1900, William S. Marvel, Jr took over the operation and operated it until his death in 1941. At that time a company was formed, headed by his wife Bertha G Marvel and two sons Charles and William S, III to run the funeral home. When Bertha Marvel obtained her license in 1920 she was one of the first women morticians in the State of Delaware. About 1937 they established another funeral home in Salisbury. In 1957 William S. Marvel III and his wife, E. Reeves (who also was a licensed mortician) took over complete control of the business. William S. Marvel, III seem to always have ill health and in February of 1972 he sold the business to William M. Short, Jr., who operated the business as Marvel-Short Funeral Home. Known as PIB, William Staten Marvel, III died on February 4, 1975 at the age of 53. Besides the funeral home he was also a Sussex county coroner. He had run for elected office and was involved in most of the town’s organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, Lions Club, Fire Department and the All Saints Episcopal Church. In October 2005 Bill Short’s daughter, Amy, and her husband Tom Jewell purchased the funeral home. It is today called the Short Funeral Home. They also have a good history of the funeral home on their website.

From the Milford Chronicle, Friday, May 31, 1935

William Stewart Marvel, aged 90 years, passed away at his home in Delmar on Saturday. He had been confined to his bed for fifteen months. He was born in Georgetown and moved to Delmar in 1866, where he had since resided and conducted a blacksmith shop for a number of years. He was also engaged in the undertaking business until a few years ago, when he was succeeded by his son, Wm. S. Marvel, Jr. Funeral Services were held from Old School Baptist Church on Tuesday with elder H. C. Ker officiating and interment in the M. E. cemetery, Delmar. He is survived by one son, Wm S. Marvel Jr. of Delmar and six daughters. Mrs Ida Peters of Philadelphia. Mrs. Chas H Mahoney of Glenolden. Mrs B E Cubbage of Wyoming, Mrs Harry Renniger of Pocomoke, Mrs Clarence Matthews of Delmar and Mrs Norman Jefferson of Easton Md. also 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

1962 Ad - Eddie's Place

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

They Continue to Park in the Fire Lane

Just about every time I go to Food Lion there is someone parked in the fire lane in front of Teats Music store or the Cigarette place. It is rare I have seen a Delmar policeman giving out a ticket there.

Indian River School District Religious Lawsuit

Indian River School District settled their lawsuit over school prayer on Tuesday, or at least part of it. This lawsuit, on first amendment rights, goes back into 2005. In it certain Jewish families state the school fostered Christianity in the school environment. They content Christianity should not be part of school. I think it is bullshit. Christians settle the country and the United States morals and values are based on Christianity. It is another politically correct position where a very small number of people direct the way the majority of people live.

The blog Jews on First has a lot of coverage on it, altho bias.

Ruark and Henderson

Now let me say I know nothing about Davis Ruark other than he is a Maryland State attorney. I do however think the news media is giving his case more news coverage than is really needed. We all like to see public figures take a dive, rather they are elected officials, government employees or TV evangelist. It shows they have warts and weaknesses the same as the rest of us. In Ruark case he was picked up for driving drunk in a government vehicle. He had a gun in the car but he also had a gun permit and the trooper wouldn't have known the gun was there unless Ruark pointed it out (shows Ruark is not that bright). Now maybe Ruark has always been an arrogant SOB, a womanizer, and an abuser of various substances - alcohol included, I don't know. Maybe Karma is just paying him back. Unless it is shown in the news he was those things it just seems to me he is getting more attention than needed. I understand Sheriff Mike Lewis drove to Ocean City to bring Ruark back, I wonder how many other drunk drivers he has done this for or is it favoritism? There is the real news coverage.

The other Maryland person in the news is former Somerset County Detention Center Warden Jim Henderson. Henderson left his post as Warden because he was under investigation for wrongdoing. He has now been hired as dog catcher for Somerset County. I am sure there was no "good old boy" influence given him for this job. Prior to the position as warden he had another government job, state trooper I think. The man just likes to suck on that government payroll tit. No different from Matt Creamer in Wicomico county. They must get use to the easy work and are not interested in looking for jobs with private companies.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

School Uniforms

I understand Delmar High school/ middle school has approved the use of School Uniforms for next year. Sorry Karen.

Delmar Ku Klux Klan - 1920

This photograph, circa 1920s, documents a Ku Klux Klan rally held in the Delmar area.
From The Delaware archives

Jail Costs for Train Riders 1933

From the Milford Chronicle, August 25 1933


Eight Train Riders In Jail At Georgetown For Five Days

Freight train riding is a violation of the law, but at the same time it is an expensive proposition to taxpayers of Sussex County, when they are arrested and incarcerated in the county jail. Therefore, the Sussex County Levy Commissioners is being urged to curb officers of this county in making arrests of this character.

Most of the arrests take place in the western section of the county. None are made in the central section. In this vicinity there are almost as many violations as any section.

Eight train riders, William Bradley, John Jorden, William Smith, Wesley Stubb, Ike Williams, Frank Howard, George Wade and John Scanlon, all wanderers, are now in the jail at Georgetown for five days, having been arrested by Railroad Detective Miles Fitzgerald of Delmar, and committed by Magistrate William H. Aydelotte, of that town. The board of each for five days amounts to $1.25 or twenty-five cents per day. The cost in each case amounts to $9.20. Thus it costs the taxables of the county $83.60 for the eight prisoners to carry in jail at Georgetown for five days.

Taxpayers of the county are indignant, over the matter, since it has been going on for many weeks. The argument is advanced by the taxables that they have all they can do to pay their taxes and make both ends meet, and that it is squandering money to make such arrests, especially when trainriders are coming from the north and strike Delmar, a town on the dividing line between Maryland and Delaware. It is contended that as long as they are leaving the State there is no reason for piling up expenses on the county.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Delmar Joint Council Meeting For February

The Delmar Delaware and Delmar Maryland Joint Council Meeting met tonight. As usual what I write is not the minutes of the meeting and the items are only what I have decided to mention and are my own impression of what was said. If you want to know the whole story attend the meetings. All of the Elected Officials were present with the exception of Lonnie Figgs. Marlena Hodgins, and Carrie Williams who were missing.

WBOC TV was at the meeting tonight. I don't know why but they taped some of the meeting and than left.

The Town Auditor's Trice Geary and Myers gave a presentation of the 2007 Financial Statements shown in photo above. Unlike Salisbury there was no ten million dollar mistake in the books. It does concern me, however, that the Town government whose accounting year ends in July and here the audited statements were not complete until February, eight months later. The purpose of the audit was of course to produce the unqualified statement that everything looked good with the town's accounting and they gave the town that opinion. This year however there was an additional letter required of CPA's and that was the Report on Internal Control and the town/Utility commission received a control deficiency comment; "The number of post June 30, 2007 adjusting journal entries made during the audit period has impaired the commission ability to produce accurate timely financial data." A look at the cash the town has in the bank will show how well they are doing and how much they are overcharging customers and taxpayers;
Maryland $1.9 Million
Delaware $367,000
Utility Commission $3.4 Million.
you can of course stop by Town hall to look at those Audited Financial statements if you want to.

Tidewater Utilities returned tonight to have the agreement signed with the Town of Delmar to operate a water plant on the east side of town. As you may recall last month they were at the meeting for a Waste Water Treatment Plant agreement. Once again they gave the council gift bags of goodies and cookies. Both sides of town passed a resolution to allow the agreement to be signed and after a flurry of movement and papers it was done. see Photo above.

Maryland passed an ordinance (#705) to purchase the land on Foskey Lane for a Public Safety facility at a cost of $399,000.

The Police department said they had grants that allowed the town to purchase three more surveillance cameras for the town.

Strangely (for this council) there was a discussion on the Lecates building (corner of Pennsylvania and State Street) and the run down condition of it. Apparently with the recent fire in the down town section of Cambridge there is concern that the building could be entered by vandals and set fire to and the fire could spread to the rest of the downtown. The person who supposedly is buying it is Chris Mills and he is can't seem to get a clear title to the property. The Council suggested the town try to get the present owner to seal it up better.

The Delmar Revitalization committee said there would be a meeting on March 3rd at 6:30 at Town Hall in which the Delaware Main Street Economics group would give a presentation.

The Public Works Department said vandalism in State Street park continues. They had repaired two lights and poles in the park and now the locks on the rest rooms have been cut off the doors.

The town website is suppose to be current now with minutes and agendas, altho I do not see any Public Works Meeting minutes.

Delmar Utility Commission February Meeting

The Delmar Utility Commission February Meeting had it's monthly meeting tonight. Commissioner Hodgins was missing. There was nothing of significant to mention that happened in this meeting.

The Georgetown Oyster Roast

Friday night the Georgetown Fire Department Oyster Roast will be held at the fire hall from 8 p.m. until midnight. It is for men only. It is an event that has been going on for 71 years and is one of the unique events in Sussex county. I think everyone should go, at least once. It has been well over 30 years since I have been to one of them. There was a plentiful supply of oysters and beer. The News Journal article didn't mention beer but it seems to me the price of the ticket included all the beer you could drink, perhaps they have changed that.

Steamer Governor Emerson Harrington

The Steamer Governor Emerson Harrington was finally towed from Pocomoke this week in in 1949. The old bay steamer was a familiar landmark in Pocomoke in the the 1930's and 1940's as it was moored at a pier in Pocomoke for twelve years. C. K. Duncan brought the vessel into Pocomoke in 1937 and made it into a restaurant, nightclub and hotel. It was one of the shore's most exclusive eateries in it's heyday. The superstructure was stripped off and her furnishings purchased by the VFW for their new post home in 1949. The vessel was hauled to a Baltimore scrap yard.

The Gov. Emerson C. Harrington was built in 1871 It was originally named Thomas Patten. It could carry 42 vehicles and 1,000 passengers. It was placed in service on 19 Jun 1919, under Capt. Thomas Mann with the Claiborne-Annapolis Ferry Company. It was removed from service in 1937 and replaced by the Gov. Harry W. Nice. The Gov. Emerson C. Harrington was named for the 48th Governor of Maryland and later President of the Claiborne-Annapolis Ferry.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hattie Moore

I was sorry to hear that Hattie Moore passed away Friday. She lived to be 101. She lived in our neighborhood and was always an active person. She was a Delmar Citizen of the year and involved in a number of organizations in Delmar.

Sharma and Lofink

There are two cases of government fraud currently going on. One is in Delaware with Anthony Lofink stealing $1.2 million. The other is in Wicomico County with people at the landfill stealing a half million in fuel and materials. The Wicomico County Public Works Director, Rai Sharma, has retired due to it. In Delaware however no supervisor of Anthony Lofink has done anything except continue to draw a check. Delaware Finance Secretary Richard Cordrey should resign due to the ignorant ass way he handled this fraud case. He has always been an arrogant person and he just continues to be. It is Delaware however, and this is where the good old boy system of government is a way of life. If you are a state department manager or elected person your relatives get state jobs and you can go from an elected position to a paid government position.

I thought it was unique when I worked for Wicomico County, each department is a fiefdom onto it's self and the department managers jealously guard any investigation into their department. There is no central control of Wicomico County. I suspect Rai Sharma has for the last year thought about retiring anyway. Since Wicomico County now has as many chiefs ( Pollitt, Creamer, Shea etc etc) as Delmar has council people, it is just to much interference in their departments.