|The Delaware State Highway Department's|
Kiamensi Truck Storage Shed, in 1941
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.
Although the photograph at the top of the page was taken in 1941, I'm sure the building looks familiar to many of you. It's the truck storage shed (or garage) that stood on the east side of Stanton Road, between the B&O (now CSX) tracks and Kiamensi Road. It was built by the State Highway Department in 1936 for about $3200, and remained standing and in service until about 10 years ago. In case you're wondering, in 1941 it was valued at $4949.51, with the accompanying outhouse valued at $15. DelDOT still maintains a facility at the site, albeit with larger and newer garages (and indoor plumbing).
I had never seen this particular picture of the shed, although I had seen a similar one taken soon after it was built. If you look in the background of this shot, you can see (in addition to some cool, period cars) the railroad tracks, Stanton Road heading up to its crest, and what I'm fairly sure is the Springer-Cranston House. Another interesting fact is how high the tracks appear on the right (east) side of the picture. The current DelDOT yard extends much farther in that direction, and there must have been a good amount of leveling done at some point.
The shed picture is nice, but now we get to the good stuff. Below is another picture attached to another valuation in Kiamensi. This was a new photograph to me, and I'm still not sure exactly what it is.
|The Kiamensi Inspector's Dwelling, 1941|
This house was also owned by the State Highway Department in Kiamensi, and is listed as "Inspector's Dwelling". As you can see, it appears to be an old house, probably 19th Century, with what looks to me like an addition on the right side. It was certainly not built by the state in the 1930's, but probably purchased when the truck yard was built. It was valued at only $2759, slightly more than half of the truck shed. It doesn't appear that it was in particularly good shape at the time.
I don't know who the Inspector was who would have lived there, what exactly he did for the department, or what the relationship was with the garage. From the fact that it's listed as Kiamensi and was owned by the Highway Department, I have to assume it was located near the truck shed. However, I really don't know what house this was or where it stood. The picture makes it look as if the house stood on top of a bit of a hill, which confuses me even more. Since it's definitely not the Springer-Cranston House, if it was nearby then it is not longer standing. If that's the case, then where was it?
If we're staying in the very near vicinity, then there are two possibilities, neither of which can I yet prove to be right. The old maps show two other houses near the shed location: one owned (in 1881) by C. Derrickson and the other by Benjamin Cranston. Derrickson's house was on the same side of Stanton Road, between the shed location and Kiamensi Road. It certainly has the possibility of being as old as the house in the picture seems to be, as a dwelling is shown in this location as far back as the 1849 map. The historic aerial photos are tricky to judge, but there does seem to be something in this spot in 1937, and possibly into the 1960's. The location appears to be right about on the southern edge of the current DelDOT property. Even today there is a bit of a rise from the road in that area, so although I can't be sure, this one is a possibility.
[The above paragraph has been edited from its original form to reflect the fact that I now realize the Derrickson house was south of the tracks, not north in the Tracy Court vicinity as I first thought. Sorry for any confusion.]
The other closeby house was a tenant home owned by Benjamin Cranston, and located on the west side of the road. It stood about where Joseph Frederick and Sons is now. The problem there is that I don't see where there could have been the kind of topography that the photograph seems to show. So I'm stumped. It's definitely a picture of an old house that we've never seen before, but I don't know which one! Anyone else have any ideas or thoughts?