Thursday, August 12, 2010

Marshallton in the 1920's, Through the Eyes of a Girl -- Part I

Marshallton, about 1905
Anna Mae Hedrick is a lifelong resident of Marshallton, Delaware. She was born in January 1916, in her Grandmother’s house (which is still standing) on the corner of Old Capitol Trail and Newport Road. Anna Mae has a passion for Marshallton and many fond memories and stories to pass along. So many memories and stories in fact, that there are reports of a book being written about Anna Mae and her life in Marshallton. Because of this, I will focus more on what Marshallton was like in the 1920’s and 1930’s, through the eyes of Anna Mae. I greatly look forward to reading the book when it comes out.

We will begin our journey through Marshallton at the corner of New Street and Old Capitol Trail. There is a small brown building with a larger house next door. The small brown building was Hubert’s Grocery Store. What Anna Mae remembers most was the candy counter. The children loved going to the store and buying their penny candy. The mothers would give their lists to Mr. Hubert, who would gather the items. They would then load the groceries into their wagons and wheel them home. There were a handful of butchers in the area as well, but most of the time people would travel into Wilmington and buy their meat from Haldas. There were several grocery stores, the most noteworthy of which was the American Store. It was an early grocery store chain, and a forerunner of Acme. They began popping up in the late teens and early twenties. The original Marshallton location of the American store was on Greenbank Road in the red brick building that now houses Events Unlimited. I was told that Irwin Eastburn was the first to own and operate this location. The store was later moved to Old Capitol Trail where Big D’s Pizza place is currently.

Over near the intersection of Newport Road and Old Capitol Trail was the site of the annual carnival. They were not the carnivals we know today. It was a smaller event that featured entertainment, food and games to play with prizes. The Marshallton community would look forward to this each year, as well as the carnivals held a bit later by the fire company.

As we turned left onto Newport Road from Old Capitol Trail, Anna Mae pointed out her Grandmother’s house in which she was born, the house where the Mullen’s lived (Mr. Mullen was the postmaster, and for a time ran the post office out of his house), and an open lot where Mackison's ice cream parlor used to stand. Anna Mae reminisced of the jukebox that played while her brother danced, and walking over on Sundays to eat ice cream. 

Bridge at the bottom of Duncan Rd., about 1905
As you cross the bridge over Red Clay Creek (the site of the original 18th century Hersey's Bridge) and make a right onto Greenbank Road (which some residents at the time called Mill Road), on your right was the end of the Peoples Trolley spur that came from Brandywine Springs Park. Anna Mae remembers the trolley coming to the end, stopping, and the trolley driver getting out to do something on the pole to reverse the Trolley car to go back the other way. The Peoples Trolley crossed over Greenbank Road, through the fields and towards the Cedars where there was a connection to the main line leading to Wilmington. Across from the trolley line was a row of houses. The reason Marshallton residents called Greenbank Road "Mill Road" was because up on the right was the Marshallton Mill, which at that time was a fiber mill. This is where Anna Mae’s father worked. Anna Mae only went through the mill with "Daddy" once, when she was a small child, and does not remember too much about it.

In Part II, we'll find out about another part of the Marshallton community, the founding of the fire company, and a local florist, among other things ...


As per the comments below, here is the 1893 map section and 1937 aerial of the Newport Road area below Old Capital Trail.



12 comments:

  1. Is there any more pictures or history of the area between Old Capital Trail/Newport Pike up to the railroad bridge by Kiamensi Street? Was Newport Pike a road to the church? Also when they replaced the railroad bridge (2010-2011) that was last updated in 1951, a lot of old pottery, glass, and misc. stuff was unearthed from this area.

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    1. I don't recall seeing any old pictures from this area. As Walt Chiquoine noted in this post about Duncan Road (http://mchhistory.blogspot.com/2014/02/duncan-road-colonial-highway.html), Newport Road looks to have been part of the main north-south route in the area in the Colonial Era. Lots were first put along it (at least, closer to OCT) in the late 1800's, some by the Cranstons. Is that what you mean, or are you talking south of there, in the Glen Berne area?

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    2. Toward Glen Berne area just between the old Big D's pizza shop and the railroad bridge. ( School Lane, James Street, Kiamensi Street) My home was built in 1928 and looking for more pictures of this area. I have pictures dating from the early 1930's to present. I was told the railroad use to be two sets of tracks before doing away with what is now one set. I did find one picture of the school on School lane when it was built but no other angles showing surrounding fields.

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    3. There are some early pictures of Marshallton in Images of America book "Along the Kirkwood Highway

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  2. Also trying to locate photos or find who owned the property land in this area before any structures were built. ( between Kiamensi Street, School Lane, James Street and the old church that stands of Newport Road with the large bell on top.

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  3. I still haven't found any pictures of the area, but I added a couple things to the post above that might be interesting. They are a clip of the 1893 map and a piece of the 1937 aerial photos of this area. As the map shows, it appears the land was owned by the Cranstons, as I mentioned in the recent post about them. It was James Cranston's land, later owned by his unmarried daughter Ella. I just found a page that I believe proves that she did in fact sell the land on which the Marshallton Consolidated School was built. Three transfers from Ella F. Cranston to the Marshallton-McKean School District, dated 1926, 1930, and 1932.
    http://archives.delaware.gov/checklists/xml/State_Deeds.xml

    I don't know when she sold the rest, but it seems likely that the whole area was hers.

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    1. Thank you. The aerial view is the perfect location for what I was searching for.

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  4. What is the Mansion Home?

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    1. I don't see it mentioned in this post, but the Mansion House is the name used for the large, old white house on Kiamensi Road, just past the entrance into Powell Ford Park (if you're coming from Stanton Road). I don't know the full history of it, but I think it goes back to the 1800s and the Kiamensi Mill. It was owned for a time in the 20th Century by Powell Ford.

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  5. Where can you purchase the books? My family was from Marshalltown and Anna Mae was a relative

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  6. My birth date was January 16 she would always call me her birthday girl

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  7. I can remember Docs store on the corner when all the boys would hang on the steps, all cousins

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