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Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Couple of Old Stanton Schools

Stanton #38 School, 1928
When you're sifting through collections of old photographs and you come across a "new" picture of a house or building, there are a couple things that can make it really exciting. One, is it could be an image of something that you've never seen before. You may or may not know what it is, but this is the first time you've actually seen what it looks like, or at least seen a decent (or close-up) picture of it. This was the case with the photographs recently posted of the State Industrial School and of the old stone house across from Emily Bissell.

Some other things that can make a newly-discovered picture interesting are if it shows a structure you're familiar with in a different state or condition, or if it provides new information about the building. It's these last two that prompted me to want to share a couple of old photographs of some neighboring buildings in Stanton. Of the two buildings, one is long gone, as should be obvious from the picture itself. The other is still standing, although heavily altered and looking very different than it did 85 years ago, when the two briefly shared a bond besides their close proximity -- a bond I only became aware of because of one of the pictures.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Two Lost Houses from the Brandywine Sanatorium System

Nurses' Home on the move, 1941. From the
collection of James and Anita Brady
I'm going to group together here stories and photos of two different houses, both of which were owned by the Brandywine Sanatorium, later renamed Emily Bissell Hospital. They go together not only due to geographic proximity, but because in each case a new piece of information has shed some light on a long-standing mystery. Unfortunately (as often seems to be the case), in neither case, however, is the mystery completely solved. But in both cases, though, I was excited to see these new images and find this new information.

The first case has to do with the picture above, which was sent to me a while back by James Brady III. It was taken from one of his grandmother's photo albums, but at first neither he nor I knew anything more than was readily obvious. It's from 1941, of a house being moved, and has something to do with the Edgewood Sanatorium. The only thing I could add at first was that Edgewood was the "Colored" facility, for African-Americans with tuberculosis. It was located not far from Brandywine, on the bend in Hercules Road, at the top of the hill.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The State Industrial School for Colored Girls

The rear of Denney Hall
In the last post about the Kiamensi Truck Shed, I mentioned that in the photo collection from the Delaware State Archives there were shots of a site that I vaguely knew about, but which I had never seen photos of before. While it was not technically in Mill Creek Hundred, it was listed as Marshallton, so close enough. The site was in operation for about 40 years, but comes from a corner of history (and society) not often celebrated. The facility in question was the State Industrial School for Colored Girls, and it sat on Newport Gap Pike, just south of the CSX (B&O) railroad tracks south of Price's Corner.

In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, the issue of how to deal with delinquent minors was just beginning to be addressed in a more modern way. Instead of going to prison, children (mostly teens) were sent to Industrial Schools to (hopefully) be reformed, educated, and reintroduced as productive adults. In Delaware, both white and African-American boys were remanded to the Ferris Industrial School on Center Road (Rt. 141). White girls ended up at the Industrial School for Girls, later called the Woodshaven School, on Darley Road in Claymont. There was, however, two decades into the last century, nowhere in Delaware set aside for the care and rehabilitation of girls of color.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Kiamensi Garage and Inspector's Dwelling

The Delaware State Highway Department's
Kiamensi Truck Storage Shed, in 1941
One of the things I have to consciously keep in mind as I do my research (which, due to my time constraints is primarily computer-based) is that after all this time, we are still in the early days of the Digital Age. Although documents have been digitized and posted on the internet for more than 20 years now, what's available is still only a small fraction of what's out there. The good news, though, is that more is being added every day. This makes it important to occasionally go back and revisit sites and online collections to see what's been added lately. In looking for something else, I recently checked out the Delaware Archives website for the first time in a while, and saw that they had some new stuff posted.

Amongst this new stuff were a few really cool pictures that I had never seen before, and that in a few cases raise more questions. On the plus side, at least one lingering question has been (mostly) answered and one site I'd only kind of known about is shown in great detail. These pictures all come from insurance evaluations done in 1941 for government-owned facilities, like schools, armories, medical facilities and such. I'll roll out some of these over the next couple weeks, but we'll start here with two related photographs, one of which I'd seen something similar to before and one of which was new to me.