Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Help with the Sinclair Station and/or Campbell's Store

Location of Campbell's store, next to the library
One of the fun things that has happened since I’ve been writing the blog is that by default (and partially by intent) I’ve set myself up as, well not so much an “expert”, because I don’t claim to be that, but maybe as a clearinghouse of local history information. In that capacity, I often find people emailing me with questions about people, places, and events from MCH’s past. Sometimes I can answer them, sometimes I can’t, and sometimes –like now— I think, “I’ll bet someone else knows about this!”

The most recent query relates to a property that apparently served numerous roles during the early to middle part of the last century. It's a white house, with some obvious additions added on over the years, located on the northeast corner of Old Capital Trail and Wollaston Road, directly across Wollaston from the Kirkwood Highway Library. Anyone who's gone to the library over the years has gone right by it countless times but, like me, probably had no idea that the house had it's own unique history. Problem is, we're not real sure exactly what that history is.

A family member of the current owners contacted me and asked if I knew anything about the history of the property. I don't, but we're hoping someone out there does remember something. The current family came into the property in the mid-to-late 1950's, when it was purchased by Vickers (Vick) and Mary Campbell. They had previously lived on a farm near Richardson Park Elementary, but decided to buy this property instead of that farm.

What we know about the house right now is mostly in the form of stories and vague memories, but I'm hoping to find something more concrete. Taking into consideration what sometimes happens to family stories over the years, this house is said to have at one time or another operated as a general store, Sinclair gas station, truck stop/restaurant, school, and served as a polling place.

I'm continuing to look for anything I can find that might shed some light on this house, but if anyone can remember anything helpful, or if you have or have seen any items or pictures relating to it, please let us know. As with some of the stuff relating to Stanton, we're kind of stuck in a local history gap, or void, here. There's decent documentation of the 1800's, but not so much of the early 1900's. I know more about what was going on in 1870 than in 1940. Hopefully with this story and with others, we can help to fill in some of these gaps for future generations.

Edit 1/11/18: I still haven't found and good photos of the place yet, but here are a couple of aerial shots that might at least give an idea of what the area was like at the time. These were both taken in 1937. They are close-ups of pictures of the newly-opened Delaware Park. For ease of identification, I've circled the site of the store.



11 comments:

  1. Great information on the website. Just wondering, do you have anything planned about more locations in the pike creek area? Particularly the area in the 19711 zipcode, closer to Polly Drummond Shopping Center. Loved reading what you have so far about that area would just like to know more if more was out there!

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  2. Thanks Charlie, I have read everything on this blog in the last few years regarding the Pike Creek area. I was just wondering if there would be anything new or anything in the works about the area.

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    1. I'll see what I can do. I know I've always wanted to get back to the property where the pool is, just below Linden Hill Rd. I might be able to find some stuff in the near future from that area. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  3. in the sixties the store was owned by Charlie Wright

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    1. The delicatessen next door to the old Sinclair service station during the early sixties was Wright's Del. Then it was called Hemsings Deli. That wasent the same house.

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    2. I never knew there was so much going on over there!

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    3. In the late 80s it was The Pit Stop R/C specialist before it moved to the New Castle Square Mall.

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  4. I'd like to breathe some life back into this......

    I am the current owner and was pretty much born and raised here. Vickers Campbell was my grandfather. He purchased this property on May 7, 1956. It had gone up for sale from the previous owners (also Campbells) in January of 1955. County records show it was built in 1930. I have the original deed from my grandparents. It was in fact a country store and gas station. As a small boy I can remember 4' painted sheet metal signage across the entire front of the building. It was painted with, among other things, a giant Sunbeam Bread loaf and logo as well as having a giant Coca Cola Bottle cap mounted to it. My grandfather didn't take it down until the mid 60's. Before Kirkwood Hwy was built it was a popular stop located halfway between the city and Newark. Always a bus stop, the original "coach stop" was still mounted on the front poll until someone stole several years ago. The original store shelving was still intact with various items still on the shelf on the store side until I remodeled it in 1985. I opened the Pit Stop RC shop there until moving it to the old Triangle Mall in New Castle in the end of the 80's. I do know that there was an old style gas pump located right outside the store entrance on the concrete slab and later was replaced with pumps out front. I still have the "bells" from that era that had the old vacuum line running to it as well as some signage from the original front screen door of the store. That is about as much as I can confirm but I've been told that it was a Sinclair gas station and earlier in the century had a "truck stop" style little restaurant on the house side and that earlier served as a public polling place. I've also been told that there was a schoolhouse here as well. I cannot confirm any of that but this place has quite a colorful history and I would love to know more about it.

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    1. I still haven't seen any good shots of it, but I just added a couple of aerial shots that show the area.

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    2. That is so cool Thank you! My email address is tuneman@comcast.net. I would love a nice copy of these to start my scrap book.

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