Friday, March 28, 2008

Hoopes Reservoir

In the hard copy edition of today's "News Journal" they had 2 page graphic layout of Hoopes Reservoir. I think the section is called "Did You Know?". Anyway I guess about weekly they do a spread on some place in Delaware. It has a lot of maps and 3D views and I find it interesting. As I said today it is Hoopes reservoir - part of the Wilmington water system. The online article isn't bad either. The online article is here for those interested in Delaware Water.

Elbert For Governor

Well another GOP potential candidate (Donna Stone) has declined to run for Governor of Delaware. I would have to say it is time for Elbert to become Governor, naturally I would want to be his running mate as Lt Governor, I can't imagine a more posh job for an old lazy man with no ambition. Elbert has that catchy slogan of "A vote for me is not a vote for Proteck". Unless of course it turns out Outraged Richard does stand a chance for President in which case I would try for Vice President. I guess that couple of years working for employed by Wicomico County just got me use to sucking off the government payroll tit.

Mrs Peapod Teacup Cottage

Howard is someone who believes a birthday party for youngsters should be a cake and a couple friends invited over and it should last about an hour, however, Howard has a wife and that said over the years we have had birthdays for our two daughters that has far exceeded my concept of a birthday party. It has involved a search each year for that special theme and place (different from the previous year) where 100 of their closest friends (couldn't cut even one of the little dears out) are invited for the night. Hopefully since they, in age anyway, are adults I should not have to go thru that anymore. For those who still do those special birthdays I will mention a place that Dana of Civil 3d Rocks called my attention to a place called Mrs Peapod Teacup Cottage It is at 205 S. Fruitland Blvd, Fruitland Md - phone 410-334-3600. Now I have not been there, nor do I know anything more than what their blog talks about. Dana said she took her daughter to a tea party there. It sounds likes something my daughters would have liked - dressing up as a princess and having a tea party. I am throwing the information out there so if you are looking for that "special" place here is a possibility.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

March Planning and Zoning

The Planning and Zoning Meeting came off without a hitch tonight at 7P. M. in Town Hall. Cindy Fisher, the recording clerk, was out so the commission was a little disorganized without her keeping control of things. As I have said before; what I write is not the minutes of the meetings, it is just my interpretation of what took place. If you want to know the real story go to the meeting.

Charlie Towers of Towers Signs came before the P & Z Commission to ask about putting a "For Sale Or Lease" Sign on some property by Ashley Furniture. The commission said it was okay as long as it didn't exceed 6' by 10' (60 sq ft).

Bill Mervine again came before the commission asking for a favorable recommendation to build a house on lot #3 of Bynum Lane. Bynum Lane is located in Delaware on the West side of Delmar off N. Memorial Drive. Mervine of Prestige Homes brought this land at an auction and now wants to build a home for first time buyers on the property. All kinds of arguments have been put up by the Delaware Mayor and Council and the P & Z Commission for him not to build on this lot as they feel it is too small. In 1962 the land on what was to become Bynum Lane was made into an approved subdivision for six houses. Who ever made the subdivision had approval from the "Town" for six houses and that person sold the land and made his or her profit from the six house subdivision. Most all of the houses are on small lots and most have had to have an approved variance for the homes and additions put on the homes. Mr. Mervin has come up, on his second try at building a home there, with a two story design that calls for a 7 foot variance on the backside of the house. The house will have parking for two cars on site. The commission voted 5 to 1 to not give him a favorable recommendation to the Board of adjustments. William Boyan being the only to speak out saying Mervin could build.


Now I have drove by this lot and photos of it are in this post however you can't tell much from photos as to how it fits into the existing property. I suggest you all ride by and look at it. I think this is arbitrary discrimination against Bill Mervin in building this home. The neighborhood has gotten use to having the lot vacant and doesn't want anyone else moving in, so all the arguments about too many cars, the traffic etc are being thrown up. As I said before who ever made the subdivision got their money out of it. Bill Mervin should be allowed to build. The lot is pretty much the same size as the other lots on Bynum Drive. If the people who live on that street didn't want anyone building on the lot they should have purchased the lot themselves and took it off the market.

You can get an ideal of the size of the property by going to the Sussex County On-Line property map click on Search Option and entering the Parcel ID of 532-20.14-6.00 You can expand out and see how it relates to the other properties. You may have some difficulty with entering the website as it took me a couple trys before I made it.

Some years ago a small house was put on a small frontage lot by the post office. I didn't think the lot was big enough and I didn't think that size and style house fit the neighborhood but it was built and now I don't even notice it as I have gotten use to it. I am sure it will be the same way when Mr. Mervin builds the House on Bynum Lane.

McDonalds was given approval for their restaurant

Henry Hanna and Frank Nachay came about the zoning for LightHouse square. This project has been going on since 2002 and still nothing has been built on the property by the Holiday inn. They decided the original annexation agreement called it "Commercial" and they would go with that zoning. This is typical of the developments in Delmar - approval is given - then the owner flips the property to another buyer - nothing is done and they just keep flipping the property until it ends up in a tangle web of paperwork.


Jeff Webb, Robbin Roberts, and Phyliss Roberts came to ask if the "Blue House" on Bi-State Blvd (Maryland) would be allowed to continue as commercial property. As long as I have been here it has always been some kind of low traffic commercial property (Piano store) with a rental apartment in the second story. They want to put a private investigation company in the bottom and continue to rent out the top.

Pat Hurley said he owns a 42 acre farm by Yorkshire estates and he will probably sell it to a developer as with the existing and proposed developments he doesn't see being able to continue farming there.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The History of Nineteenth Century Laurel

I broke down last week and purchased a copy of "The History of Nineteenth Century Laurel" by Harold Hancock. The Laurel Historical Society had the book reprinted and is selling it as a fund raiser. You can buy it at the Laurel library for $45.00 (no tax), yes that is a bit of a hefty price but everything has a hefty price on it now days. I had held off buying a copy for a number of years now, but it is a "standard" to read even if you are not from Laurel as it tells you about common things in Little Creek Hundreds. It has a wide range of historical articles about Laurel mills, roads, basket-making companies, census and advertisements. I had hesitated buying the book because it had nothing about Delmar in it and the layout of the material is irritating to me in the fact there will be an article about something in the 1700's next to an article about something in the 1880's and than back to the 1700's, a logical layout doesn't seem to be in the book. Perhaps H. Hancock was going for the hunting thru Grandmom's attic approach but it doesn't work for me. If you are building a library on Eastern Shore History the book should be included plus the money is going to a good organization.

Karen is posting again

Karen, of a A Woman's Point of View has started to post again. Welcome back Karen!

Heaven's Gate

Today in 1997 39 bodies of the cult Heaven's Gate were found. They had committed suicide so their souls could go to the spaceship waiting for them, hidden behind the comet Hale-Bopp.

Community Yardsale

As a reminder, the Delmar Community Yardsale will be April 19th. Should you want to register for a booth the cost is $20. Contact Sharon Ledvadnuk at 302-846-9574 for additional information. This year's profits will be given to the Little League.

Planning and Zoning meeting Thursday

The Delmar Planning and Zoning meeting will be held tomorrow night at town hall at 7 p.m. As usual there is no Agenda published on the town website for P&Z, perhaps later it will be put on.

Trip to the Delaware Public Archives

I have been down with a cold for the last few days and yesterday finally got to the point where I thought I could venture out. I decided on a trip to the Delaware Public Archives in Dover. Now the archives is a place where I have had varying results from my trips there. What makes the good trips is how helpful the people who work there are. Bad trips is when you encountered some one looking at you asking if Delmar is in Delaware. Now I know I talk about how people in Dover refer to Delmar as the Town that doesn't know which state it is in, but it still pisses me off to hear that from them. Yesterday was a good trip. The person working there was helpful and looked up additional material I had not even asked for. It was what you expect your visit to be like. For those who have not been to the archives, during the week in the day at any given time there are usually only about six other people researching in the research room. Given they have three staff members inside the research room helping you, the ratio of helpfulness should be high.

Yesterday's project was to look at the Sanborn Maps of Delmar. Sanborn is a company that did maps of towns for use by the fire insurance companies for insurance assessment. The company is still in business. On microfilm, the archives have for Delmar; the 1911, 1923 and 1931 maps. They are fascinating to go thru. Okay you have to be interested in history, infrastructure, etc for them to be fascinating but there is something about a map that draws you too it. Over that 20 year span of maps you could see how the motor car effected the town with stables being replaced by service garages and gas stations. The detail information is great also, it doesn't just show a square indicating a house is on a certain lot, it shows the shape of the house, the pourches that were on it, and the out buildings, stables etc that were on the property. Of course the street names changed over the twenty years and business that were going full blast then, today are just residential homes. As to be expected water lines and fire related infrastructures are marked. I found it a surprise that in 1911 the movie theater was along side the Bank of Delmarva, and the tomato canneries in town supplied housing to their work force, and the undertaker was located across Grove Street in which is now the funeral home parking lot. I finally gave up as my cold was returning.

After leaving the archives I stopped off at Spence Market for a midweek fix on my flea market addiction. Always a good crowd there and I had some of that good food they have. It intrigues me how these "flea Market' operations work, one will be open here one day during the week, another will be open there a different day of the week. The people that work them travel from one to another and they have complete operations set up at each one for that one day a week that it is open. I would think to set up a complete kitchen must be some expense and to only use it one day a week seems like a waste. Yet being open only one day a week must be the attraction as they have a better crowd turn out than places I have been that are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I have been to Green Dragon on their one open day during the week and had difficulty finding a parking space.

As I said I have had a cold for the last few days so traffic bothers me more than usual. On the way up to Dover, besides the road construction, I must have encountered every backhoe, piece of earth moving equipment, farm equipment and overloaded truck that couldn't get out of second gear that could be put on the road that morning. On the way back it was no better. Certainly my cold had returned and when I got to Seaford and came across their usual two mile backup I cut off onto old RT13. I discovered old 13 is the route all the scrap metal dealers use, so I got behind about three different pickup trucks loaded to the sky with scrap metal going about 30 miles an hour. Driving was a no win deal yesterday.

First Street Work


As I left town yesterday I saw construction equipment on First street and thought they were finally getting ready to re-pave it. On returning later that afternoon I found they were just putting in a new water line to the laundromat. On a street that had a number of pot holes before now it has three more street cuts and holes. Won't be long until we look like the Maryland side of town.

1962 Ad - Delmar Fire House

Monday, March 24, 2008

Delaware Property Tax reassessment

Well they are walking around my neighborhood today taking down data to reassess the tax value of the Delmar, Delaware houses. The last time it was done was about 1990 in Delmar. At this time I don't object to them reassessing my house, even I know the cost of everything has gone up since 1990, and the way the town gets their money to pay for things is thru the tax assessment. Of course once I see what they value my house at than it might be another story. I am not planning to sell it and if they value it based on houses that sold two years ago when the market was out of sight than I will no doubt argue it out with them. Unlike Maryland which reassess houses every three years, Delaware doesn't. Matter of fact I think Sussex County tax assessment is based on 1974 and this assessment doesn't apply to them. The question is how are they going to handle the increased tax assessment - phased in or lower the tax rate? It won't be used for next year's town taxes and I understand we won't first see it until 2009-2010 tax year.

First Cutting of the Grass

Well it had to happen sometime, I went out and fired up the lawnmower and made the first pass at the lawn. Found all those beer bottles I had tossed on the lawn last year with the intend to pick them up before winter came. Hope the kids don't step on that broken glass. The first pass is always hell on a lawnmower blade - bottles, bricks, sticks, and limbs.

Delmar Maryland Real Property Tax Increase

I see in today's "Daily Times" there is a notice that the Maryland side of town will have a real property tax increase. The tax rate of $0.676 per $100 of assessment will not change but in total the amount collected in taxes will go up. The notice said the town was not considering reducing the tax rate to lower the amount taken in. They did the same thing last year and the same thing the year before. Now I assume the increase amount collected is from the increased housing being built on the Maryland side of town. As long as it doesn't increase your rate why would you complain about it? Well wasn't that the whole point of annexing land and the selling point the Mayor and Commissioners gave to everyone was that if the tax base increases the tax rate could be lowered because now we have more people paying for the town services. What went wrong? You went wrong. You didn't attend the council meeting and you let your elected officials pull the wool over your eyes and at what point and year will it be that not only the tax assessment base will increase but they will also increase your tax rate. If you don't go to the meetings they will screw you over every time. The Maryland side of town isn't known for complaining about town services or taxes and I don't know why with those roads they have but anyway there is a public hearing on this at 7:15 Monday March 31 at Delmar Town hall (the usual joint council meeting).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Adam Express Co.



Before there was a banking industry in Delmar (1897), Merchants had to rely on other ways to do their banking. I guess they had two ways; one was deal with a bank in a town along the rail line, train traffic being much more common then as opposed to now - Salisbury or Philadelphia might be used. A second method however was Adam Express. Adams Express, with it’s competitors of Wells Fargo, and American Express, were the UPS and Fedex of the day. The express car of trains (the one with the gold and money in it) were usually owned and run by them and the train holdups so frequently shown in western movies were usually directed at them. Adam’s Express offered additional services other than just delivering documents and moneys to where they were directed. I am under the impression Adams Express would buy the merchants checks and money orders, at a discount of course, and give the merchant cash or act as his agent to cash the check. If the check later bounced Adams Express would come back to the merchant for reimbursement. This was in the days before effective clearinghouses for banks. In my post on a
fraudulent check
, Adams Express was handling the cashing of the check.



Adams Express was started in 1840 by Alvin Adams. He had a business that carried small parcels, bank drafts and other valuables between Boston and New York. The express company grew and expanded into the mail business. Altho there was a US Government postal Service established in 1775 it was not efficient and small independent companies were cheaper and more efficient in sending mail. By 1845 the US government had crushed those mail companies and mandated only the Post Office was authorized to carry letters for a fee. In the 1850, with the gold rush, Adams Express expanded to the west coast where it would transport gold or buy gold from the miners and transport it back. Due to holdups etc it lost money on the operation and eventually settled on the Midwest, South and East Coast as it areas of operation. During the Civil war it split the company into the Adam Express company for the North and the Southern Express for the Confederates. It operated as pay master for both the Union army and the Confederate army. In 1918 the US Railroads were federalized and the US Government degreed the railroad express carriers of Adams Express, Southern Express, American Express and Wells Fargo would become the American Railway Express. The Railroads eventually purchased the shares Adam express had in American Railway Express and with this money Adams Express moved into the Stock trading business forming a closed fund in 1929. In 1976 they moved from wall street to Baltimore where they continued to deal in stock.

1948 Ad

Girl Scout Sunday - 1990

From the State Register March 23, 1990

Girl Scout Sunday was observed March 11 at St. Stephen's UMC with Girl Scout Troop 208 attending as a group. Leading in the impressive service were co-leaders Karen Gordy, Joanne Gum and Elaine Messick. Processionist was Kara Gordy, and greeters were Karen Hill and Kristy Short.

The following were ushers; Dawn Palmer - head, Alice Perchin, Shawn Scott, Jeanna Cooper and Michelle Messick. Acolyte was Brandy Smith with presentation by Rachel Gum, Erica Wagenhals, Emily Wilson and Michele Messick.