Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Catching Up and Some Odds and Ends

Old Capitol Trail and Newport Gap Pike, 1965
As you may have noticed, the blogging here has been a bit light the past month. Ok, more than light. Non-existent. I apologize for the hiatus to anyone who looks forward to these posts, but my real life has been busy and hectic the past few weeks. Things are finally starting to calm down a bit now, and beginning to get back to whatever passes for normal these days. For whatever it's worth to whoever might care, I'm hoping to get back to a more regular posting schedule this week.

Now that that's out of the way, I have a few little things that, for lack of a better idea, I'm just going to throw all together in one post here:

  • I missed this one last month, but a new local history book has been released. Sometime last year (I think it was), I briefly had a post up asking if anyone had old pictures of Kirkwood Highway. This was a request from William Francis, who was working on a book on the subject. As of a month ago, the book is out! I believe it can be found in local bookstores and the usual places that have these sort of books. It can also be ordered here, among other places. The book has about 200 wonderful pictures in it, but I'm going to point out one in particular, because it gives a little more information on a post topic from a couple of years ago. The photo at the top is of the intersection of Newport Gap Pike and Old Capitol Trail in 1965, looking west. If you look at the bottom left corner of the intersection, you'll see the Lang and Sturgis Store. It had likely ceased to be that by then, but what stood out to me was that as of 1965 it still had it's original roofline and orientation. I can't tell if the porch is still there, but at least this narrows down when the building was reconfigured.

  • Now the first of two requests for help. I was contacted recently by someone researching the area of Tuxedo Park, just west of Newport, right before the bowling alley. Can anyone recall hearing any stories about any sort of grisly crime committed there? It might have been sometime around World War II, maybe earlier.

  • The second request is for me, and comes mostly from my advanced state of disorganization at the moment. I know that I read somewhere about an old toll house (I think on the Wilmington & Christiana Turnpike (Rt. 4)) that was moved nearby after the toll gates were taken out. I believe it was in one of the books I have, but I can't seem to find it now. I know some of you have some of these books, so maybe someone will remember seeing it, too. The list of possible suspects includes Delaware: A Guide to the First State (Federal Writers Guide), Weslager's Delaware's Forgotten River, and Cooch's Little Known History of Newark Delaware and Its Environs. I can't be sure it's in one of these books, but something makes me think it is. I don't think it was much more than an off-handed mention, but I know I did read it somewhere.
As I said, life is beginning to return to normal, along with my time to work on the blog. If there's anyone who has emailed me recently who I haven't responded to, I'll try to get to you as soon as I can. If anyone has any ideas for future posts, as always, feel free to send it my way. Thanks for your patience, and let's get back to history!

10 comments:

  1. Does anyone know of a Historic Irish Wall existing in Ramsey Ridge?

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    1. I can't say I've heard of it, but I'm interested. I'm not sure what you mean by "historic", but I do know that that area is very near the 18th Century Irish Catholic enclave of Mt. Cuba. Although It's usually placed on the east side of the red Clay, I know of at least one person who thinks much of it may have been on the MCH side. Without knowing anything about this for the moment, I wonder if this wall may somehow be related. Where exactly is it?

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    2. Ok, Kenneth, now you've got me interested. I've taken a look at your area and I want to look at it more. Is the wall just to the right of the pool, behind the house on the end left of the cul-de-sac? The question I should have asked before is, what makes you call it an Irish wall?

      Also, does the gentleman in the house on Dewberry know anything about its history? After years of doing this, I still get excited when I come across an old house I didn't know was there before. There are at least two old houses in or around your neighborhood. They look to date to the 1700's, so I'll have to consult my 18th Century expert.

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    3. Scott, If we are talking about the same old house in Ramsey Ridge (with the barn behind it) I believe it may have been owned by George Montgomery based on the 1849 map. He was a blacksmith-farmer and the son of Robert Montgomery and Jane Herdman, who owned and ran the Mt. Pleasant Inn. George was born in 1797 and died about 1870. On the 1868 map he is living off Barley Mill road near Ramsey road. He was my wife's 3rd great-grandfather. For the record, I'd also like to know what an Irish wall is.

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    4. Very close. The house (and barn) that are still there are labeled J. Pyle on the 1849 map. If I'm correct, the mysterious wall is in the backyard of another new house. On the 1937 aerial shot, there's no house there, but I might be able to see the wall. It's probably the property shown as C. Vanblunk in 1849, later owned by William Hobson. I'm still trying to learn more about them.

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  2. I seem to remember a Tuxedo Park incident where a man was stabbed to death maybe in the 1980's. It was an unusual crime to happen back even in the 80's, and I believe it was a young man that was murdered. I am not sure if this is the crime you are referring to.

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  3. Is it the one that sits in the old end of the parking lot of Prices Corner Shopping Center (toll house), visible from the entrance off of Newport Gap Pike? Seems a bit far off to be the one from route 4, but may be it... Off hand, any news on the Harmony School House? Things are getting interesting there with a lot of construction...

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    1. I'm not sure which one you're refering to by the shopping center, but the house that is supposedly the moved toll house is on Old Capitol Trail in Marshallton. Still can't find where else I read about it, though.

      As for Harmony, I haven't been by there in a while. There's something going on? Is there work happening near the school? I'll have to see if I can swing by there sometime soon. Thanks for the heads up.

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  4. Scott......which house on Old Capitol Trail are you speaking of that was the old toll house?

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    1. According to the people who did the Marshallton survey a while back, the white and green one on OCT and School Lane.

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