Saturday, January 17, 2009

1876 Married Freeny - Ralph

From the Salisbury Advertiser 1876

1914 Ad for Overland motor car - Salisbury

School Uniforms

I received this comment about school uniforms;

I know uniforms are old news already, however regarding the comment from Uncle Paul, "No more fighting over a jacket crap!"...this past Thursday students were allowed to wear a football jersey OVER their uniform. But not just any football jersey. It had to be one of the four professional teams competing in the playoffs this weekend. The principal is a Ravens fan, the middle school asst. principal is a Steelers fan. At middle school lunch any student wearing a Steelers Jersey (not sweatshirt - they weren't allowed)was given a free ice cream pass by the asst. princ. So much for assuring all students are equal and can focus on learning. Those who don't support the "right" team or cannot afford to go out and buy the "right" jersey ($60-$100) must have felt like crap!

If true it certainly destroyed the idea of school uniforms. Anyone else care to comment on this?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Town Spending and Elected Officials Knowledge of Town Spending

One of the concerns I have about town finances is the lack of knowledge the town elected officials have of Town Spending. In the early days there were few town employees and the elected officials actually wrote the checks and paid the bills. They were on top of things. Today the elected Officials are far removed from this process and do not seem that interested to get involved. Back in the 1940's, monthly there was published in the town weekly newspaper the Town Council report. Typical of this is the spending for December that was published in January. Below is an example;

Expenditures for the month of December, 1942:
Cash on Hand Dec 31, 1942......$6,971.92
G. E. Hearn, patrolman.............40.00
Delmar Water Co...................135.00
Everett Figgs, labor...............17.60
E. S. P. Service Co Lighting
Everett Figgs, labor...............17.60
R. C. Sturgis, postage on tax
..notices and BiState Weekly
Robt. Bynum, labor.................18.20
Interest on Bond...................52.50

Several things stand out, first it was simple, everyone could understand these were the checks written from the town bank account. You didn't have to be a CPA to understand this type of statement. Second, the amount paid town employees were a matter of public record. Third you knew how much money the town had in the bank.

This was kept up in one version or another thru 1950's. Somewhere along the line as more town employees were hired this simple but effective method was dropped by the town. I will admit to do something of that detail today and publish it monthly in a newspaper might take a little more effort than in 1942. Couldn't something like this be published in the Town Newsletter? It would be of more interest to me than the various threats written in the newsletter about what will happen if we don't cut our grass and get our garbage to to curbside the night before it is to picked up. Maybe for a change the town would be accountable to us instead of the way it is now.

When I held public office in the 1980's, each month a list of the bills to be paid for that month was given to the elected officials. A discussion was held on them and a vote was taken to approve them and pay them. At least if you attended a town meeting you would know what the town was doing and the elected officials knew who was being paid and for what reason.

Today the only thing the elected officials get is a financial statement that is usually several months late and difficult to understand. I am willing to bet none of them know who was paid in any given month, or for what amount or for what reason. The elected officials of this town need to become more involved in town finances.

Prohibition Started Today in 1920

At midnight of January 16, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment was put into effect and the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States was prohibited.

The Eighteenth amendment allowed one year after it was passed for it to go into effect. This allowed America to get ready for it. The 18th amendment did not prohibit Americans from owning intoxicating liquors it just prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of them. In the year leading up to prohibition Americans stocked up on beer, wine and liquor as they could legally own them and keep them in their house after the Eighteenth amendment went into effect.

Knowing things were coming to an end the Christmas of 1919 was one of the drunkenness in American history. In the week prior to the act going into effect private golf and yacht clubs give their liquor inventory away to members by way lotteries. In and around Baltimore, Maryland were the famous and established Maryland Rye whiskey distilleries. In the weeks prior to the enforcement of prohibition whiskey was being moved from the government bonded warehouses to the port of Baltimore and loaded on ships waiting to take it to distant and not so distant lands. The whiskey would return a few months later via bootleggers. Nevertheless over four million gallons were left in Baltimore bonded warehouses once prohibition started. Most of it would be stolen or sold thru drugstores. Doctors could write prescriptions for whiskey for medical purposes and the patient with his prescription would pay four dollars for a pint of whiskey at the drugstore.

So even as prohibition started there were loopholes that existed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coos Bay, Oregon

On days like today I like to do a little web surfing for places that I probably will never visit but look interesting. One place is Coos Bay Oregon. Coos Bay is one of the towns in a large harbor between San Francisco and Seattle. It looks very scenic and seems to have a number of recreational areas. It also seem to have a lot of business; both shipping and manufacturing. They are forecasting 60 degrees thru the day and 40 degrees at night for the next week which sounds better than here. It was 77 degrees on January 12th. They also have their own blogger in the form of John Overmeier's The Coos Bay Thunder Pot. Bloggers are everywhere aren't they? It is a nice looking area.

1907 Ad J. B. Savage, Nassawadox VA

1958 Doris Ellen Figgs

From the Bi-State Weekly January 1958

The Debit Insurance Salesman

I have written before about door-to-door salesman from the 1950's. One article I read said that two percent of the American workforce in 1952 was involved in Door-to-Door sales. Anything and everything that could be sold was sold. My father in the 1940's use to sell used cars door-to-door. One type of salesman I remember was the debit Insurance salesman. Debit insurance was simply life insurance but the salesman would come to your house weekly, bi-weekly or monthly to collect the premium. Almost all of those type of insurance policies were for under a thousand dollar (burial insurance). The premium was anywhere from ten cents a week to a dollar. I remember when living in Pocomoke in the 1970's with my wife's grandmother, Thelma Redden, the insurance man (Vernon Baylis, I think was his name) from Home Beneficial Life Insurance would come by every other week with his big carrying case of portfolio of account sheets and collect seventy five cents from my wife's grandmother for her $500 policy. He use to always mention if she wanted to pays a year's worth of premium he could give her a big discount. He would than flip thru the account pages until he came across her account and write down she had paid 75 cents. They were patient men that would track you down all over town for that small premium. The insurance was not the best but it was cheap and I would imagine everyone's grandparents or great grandparents had an insurance policy like this. They would of course also knock on doors selling insurance. These type policies are still being sold only now the salesman call themselves Financial Advisers.

Maggie's Farm by Bob Dylan

I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more. No, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more. Well, I wake in the morning, Fold my hands and pray for rain. I got a head full of ideas That are drivin' me insane. It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor. I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more. No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more. Well, he hands you a nickel, He hands you a dime, He asks you with a grin If you're havin' a good time, Then he fines you every time you slam the door. I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more.

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more. No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more. Well, he puts his cigar Out in your face just for kicks. His bedroom window It is made out of bricks. The National Guard stands around his door. Ah, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more.

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more. No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more. Well, she talks to all the servants About man and God and law. Everybody says She's the brains behind pa. She's sixty-eight, but she says she's twenty-four. I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more.

I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more. No, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more. Well, I try my best To be just like I am, But everybody wants you To be just like them. They sing while you slave and I just get bored. I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more." Bob Dylan

Maggie's Farm was released today in 1965

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Luise Rainer at 99

Luise Rainer was born January 12, 1910, I had intended to mention her birthday on the 12th but the mind does wander. Yes, she is still alive. She was born in Europe, worked in German films and came to Hollywood to work at MGM in 1935. She won two Oscars and at 99 is the oldest living Oscar winner. The movie I liked her best in was Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth" in which she played a Chinese peasant named O Lan. She had a very versatile face. The movie was good but did not follow the book completely, like "Doctor Zhivago," the movie ends about 3/4 thru the book. She is a remarkable woman.

Rainer at age 93

Union Church - Woodlawn

I have been in the attic this morning going thru and throwing away some of the papers I kept (in the event I was ever named in a lawsuit) from the period I was a councilman and mayor. One of those papers was a 1985 invitation to Delmar Union United Methodist Church in Woodlawn. They were having a mortgage burning and were celebrating their 116th anniversary. With Union Church in Woodlawn it is always hard to determine a beginning date, since a church is the people not the physical building. The physical building originally started out on the corner of Williams and Stage Road. It was a "white" church that when the members built a new church (St Stephens) sold or gave it to the ex-slaves who had been allowed to attend the services but were restricted to the balcony. The building itself dates to about 1841 with the colored congregation taking over about 1869. At some point (I would guess about 1920) the Church (building) was moved from William and Stage Road to Woodlawn. The original building is no longer used. So if we use the 1869 date, Union Church will celebrate their 140th anniversary as Delmar celebrates it's 150th this year.

Woodlawn has an interesting history and I hope to do a post on it sometime in the future, along with the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Frogtown, Wetcher Park and Hollyoaks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Letter From Delmar - 1876

From The January 1876 Salisbury Advertiser

Letter From Delmar
Delmar, Del. Jan 11th, 1876

Sore throats, bad roads, inclement weather, together with a reported dread of appearing before some of the musical talent of Salisbury, combined to keep our concertists at home on the appointed evening to appear in concert in your court room. The idea, however, of yet appearing in your town has not become obsolete.

The holidays came and went, and without anything occurring to give their memory lengthy perpetuity. Very little drunkenness was seen, the only one dealing in the liquor traffic having conscientious scruples about selling to those who make beasts of themselves. Everything was "quiet along the line."

The revival in the M. E. Church has closed with about twenty conversions, and the membership improved. On Sabbath the service in this church were multiform and very interesting. First, seven adults were baptised, then four were admitted into full membership, after which sixteen were received on probation.

Improvements of lesser note are going forward. The dwelling in which D. M. Foskey resides is undergoing repairs. Cooper Williams is finishing his dwelling.

Considerable business is being done in the pile and tie trade. Otherwise times are dull.

1914 Ad - Climax Potato Digger

Black Cat Delaware

Black Cat, Delaware is not a place you will find on a map but it's general location is just south of the RT40/RT13 intersection in Delaware. Today it is just an uninteresting strip of commercial businesses you see as you leave the Wilmington-New Castle area. At the end of prohibition however the Black Cat Ballroom started life here and from that entertainment spot the area became known as Black Cat.

The Black Cat Ballroom had a restaurant and a ballroom for dancing.  It also had a hotel attached to it.  It had high quality dance orchestras such as Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, Cab Calloway and his older sister Blanche Calloway.

In 1933 Victoria George an 18 year old, 5’7” 126 pound lady became the first Miss Delaware. She was selected for this honor at the Black Cat Ballroom. Victoria Died on March 17, 2003. This is from the article written by Jaime E. Cherundolo printed in the Book; "Friends, neighbors and Folks down the Road" by Ed Okonowicz and Jerry Rhodes

It later evolved into the vaudeville circuit playing to dance teams such as Kathleen O'Hanlon and Theodore Zembuni, Europe's greatest character dancers. Various Carioca and apache dancers teams performed with Floyd Mills and his Orchestra ( also called Floyd Mills and his Marylanders) the Sani Noma Orchestra and various juggling acts.

The proprietor of the Black cat was Joseph Engel.  Joe was born in 1886 in Russia and grew up on the east side of New York, by his 20’s he was hauling show girls to South American to dance in carnivals and then running a dance hall in western Canada. He would die in 1940.

The only person I have found that gave his birth place as Black Cat, Delaware was Ed "Ace" Stone who was born on August 21, 1910. So the place may have had the name Black Cat even before the Black Cat Ballroom. Ed Stone was a famous baseball player from the Negro League. An outfielder he played from 1931-1950 with such teams as; the Wilmington Hornets, Atlantic City Bacharachs, Brooklyn Eagles, Newark Eagles, Philadelphia Stars, New York Black Yankees, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Kansas City Monarchs, Nuevo Laredo Owls (Mexico), Veracruz Red Eagles (Mexico), Torreon Cotton Dealers (Mexico),Mexico City Red Devils, and the Havana Lions (Cuba). He died on April 11, 1983 in the Bronx, NY.

The place was known for it entertainment but it was just as well known as a meeting place for truckers and travelers due to it's location at the intersection of RT40 (heading west to Baltimore) and RT13 (heading north and south). Like many entertainment spots the Black Cat was sold a number of times and the name changed but the Black Cat name remains to this area of Delaware. It started as a high class place but by the late 1940's had started on a decline.

Delmar Maryland Council Meeting For January

The Delmar Maryland Council Meeting was held Monday night. All except Commissioner Marlena Hodgins were present. There was little to discuss and the general meeting was over with by 7:40 P.M. when they went into executive session. I was the only person who attended the meeting as the general public. Among the items Mayor Niblett wants to address in future meetings are; the railroad crossing, voting districts, term limits for volunteers, labor code and charter amendments, and the agreement with fire Department for the paramedic.

Commissioner Carrie Williams said the parks and rec committee was looking at hiring someone for 5 hours a week for ten weeks to look after the ball fields etc. She also was concerned about the portable basketball hoops purchased last year by a resident but the town were unable to use them. Currently they are stored at the Police Department.

Above photo of Commissioner Carl Anderton Jr intensely reading council paperwork

The January 2009 Police Commission Meeting

The January 2009 Police Commission Meeting was held last night. For those who may not know the Police Commission is made up of; Delaware Mayor John F. Outten, Sr., Maryland Mayor P. Douglas Niblett, and Maryland Commissioner Carrie Williams. All were present last night. Carl Anderton and I were the only "general" public there to listen to the meeting. It was an interesting meeting as Chief Harold Saylor discussed several robberies that had occurred over the last couple of weeks.

The January 2nd incident at 9327 Colonial Mill Drive in Delmar MD was discussed. Lt Remo and Sgt Wade Alexander came upon the robbery occurring there and apprehended one of the individuals. The other got to his car and made a high speed (130 mph in a Honda)get away. He and others in the car were arrested in Delaware by Maryland State Police and Wicomico County Deputies. Chief Saylor showed us the chase video made from the Wicomico County deputy car. Five people were arrested and charged with a list of things from Burglary to carrying a handgun. Chief Saylor highlighted the fact that this was a gang initiation. The Bloods, a predominately black gang, from the Western shore with some members on the Eastern shore were breaking in one of their new potential member by doing some stealing in our area. This group at been involved in a number of crimes since December 22nd beginning with stealing a Honda in New Carrolton MD, to a shooting in a mall in Wheaton MD, to stealing another Honda, a burglary in Lorton VA, a burglary in Milford DE to the burglary in Delmar. The Chief requested Lt. Remo and Sgt Alexander receive an accommodation for a job well done.

The same people (Waltemeyers) that broke in to a house next to Mayor Outten's house about six months ago were released from jail decided to break in to Bunk Jones house at 603 North Second Street and steal video gaming systems. They were arrested. I am sure they will be out and about shortly once again.

On Sunday January 11th a man was crossing RT13 from Pond's Edge apartments to go to Gordy's Exxon and was struck and killed by a car. The driver was given a sobriety test and no alcohol was found in him. It was discussed about the lack of lighting in that area and the fact more people are crossing RT13 from Pond's Edge to go to the convience store.

Nate Benson will be sworn in on January 26.

A grant is in the works to purchase and train a K-9 dog and train officer John Dallam.

The RailRoad crossing was also discussed and how the Town could get money to repair it.

If you have need of the Delmar police the Telephone numbers are:(302) 846-2320 Delaware, (410) 896-3131 Maryland and the fax number is (410) 896-3870.

1960 Ad - Harrington's Flying "A" - Eddie Shultz Well Drilling

Monday, January 12, 2009

Enclaves Of Delmar

A look at the various neighborhoods in the central part of Delmar. There are many new ones in addition to these that are in the more recently annexed areas. Click map for larger view.

Bits of News in Delmar in January 1934

From the Milford Chronicle January 12, 1934
Delmar News

Mrs. Spriggs and Mrs. Tyler of Fairmount, Md. were recent guests of Mrs. Susie Marsh.

Fred Hearn has employment at Lewes.

Miss Mildred Hastings of Philadelphia has been visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. H. Hastings.

Mr. and Mrs. J. Paul Ellis left this week for Florida where they will spend the winter.

The remodeled building of the Delmar Methodist Episcopal Church had its reopening on Sunday, January 7, Rev. Leonard White, a former pastor of the church, and now superintendent of Salisbury District of the Wilmington M. E. Conference was the speaker at the morning service and Rev. J. W. Jones, also a former pastor of the church, but now pastor of Mt. Salem M. E. Church in Wilmington, filled the pulpit in the evening.

Meetings Tonight

Tonight at 6:30 P.M. at Town hall there will be the quarterly Police Commission meeting and at 7 P.M. there will be the Delmar Maryland Mayor and Commissioners meeting.

1960 Ad - Shelton Drive-In

Glenn Yarbrough has a Birthday

Glenn Yarbrough was born today in 1930. Perhaps best described as an American folk singer Glenn was a tenor with a folk music group called called the Limeliters in the early 1960's. He has or had one of the best voices around. Since he would be 79 today I am assuming his musical voice has gone. I suppose his one big popular song was way back in 1965, "Baby The Rain Must Fall". The Limeliters were one of my favorite groups in the 60's and when they reorganized and started back up again in the 1980's. By far, tho, they were at their best when Glenn Yarbrough was with them. About once every five years I will go up in the attic and setup the record player, find those warped records albums of the Limeliters and listen to them.