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Original Painting by Larry Anderson

OUT OF THE PAST

Most of Newark is not included in Pencader Hundred, but that doesn't mean we ignore the city. There is a wealth of material concerning Newark's history and some of it is contained in the extant minutes of town council. These excerpts of public record minutes, beginning in April 1866, are being transcribed from the original handwriting and will appear regularly here as well as in the Newark Post. To see copies in the original handwriting and a full transcription please visit Pencader Museum.

Various philosophers have said "if you don't know where you came from, you can't know where you're going." In order that Newark knows where it came from the Post will be publishing Out of Our Past, as a companion to Out of the Attic. Content of Out of Our Past will be excerpts from the earliest city government records. These handwritten records frequently have questionable spelling and no punctuation. That's fun to see, but for easier reading this deficiency has been rectified in the transcription by Barbara White. For our readers' enjoyment this account from the past will be published every week and is being made available through the generosity of Pencader Heritage Museum.

Archived Articles from : 2013    2014    2015    2016

Published: Jan. 6, 2017
March-June 1931 - Contractor working on new school was leaving Lovett Avenue in "disorderly condition" and was asked to clear up. Tunneling under B&O crossing on West Main was offered as a suggestion to stop continued damage to water main by vibration from trains. The railroad agreed to supervise any work done on same. H.B Wright Company won contract to supply a year's worth of incandescent bulbs for street lamps. U.D yearbook committee asked Council to buy an ad but was refused. At the behest of National Vulcanized Fibre Council wrote to Levy Court requesting use of County's steam roller, by NVF, to roll a portion of the Company's private road. Attention was called to an open well on Baldwin Manufacturing Company property. Contract at $18,241 for work on West Main, Corbit, Margaret, Annabelle, South Chapel Streets, and New London and Cleveland Avenues was awarded to O'Connell & Sons Company. Payment to Farmers' Trust of $10,000 left a loan balance of $10,000. Mrs. Frank Fader was paid $10.00 for damages to her car by town truck. Clinton Tweed was paid $55.00 for plastering interior of waterworks building. New Century Club urged Council to make an annual donation of $500.00 toward maintenance of Newark Free Library. A dispute arose over electrical work being done at U/D farm by town employees. Local contractors thought it should have been by bid, but Council said town was responsible for work and had it done by town linemen.

Published: Jan. 13, 2017
June-August 1931 - A storm sewer on Wilbur Street, 200 - 250 feet long would cost $1000.00.Wallace Cook complained of damage to his property on West Main caused by street work on Corbit, so Council agreed to visit the site as a group and make recommendations. Frank Wilson complained of Phillips Packing Company's illuminated sign and asked Council to approach the company about turning it off. Council replied town had no jurisdiction as company was outside town limits. Calvin Hess and ten other property owners on East Main asked for curbing all the way to town limits. Changes to entrance of fire station were needed, and Aetna agreed to split the cost of $220.00. Time cards were instituted for Police Department, officers to show on-duty hours, calls answered, etc., during their tours. Dr. Downes, representing Board of Health, had a police officer appointed to accompany him while he issued unsanitary conditions warnings to restaurants operated by Gavatos & Lagges and O. Jackson. Dr. Downes also requested use of a Council room as a tuberculosis clinic for children once a month. There were four applications for positions as police officers, but there being no vacancies the applications were filed. Chief Keely was not paid for two weeks he was off work while ill. Ralph Haney was concerned about possible new street adjoining his property on East Main. Council assured him no new street was planned. Due to increased load, needed upgrades to wiring on South College, were approved.

Published: Jan. 20, 2017
August-September 1931 - Council wanted a warning sign at the Pennsylvania RR crossing on South College. Since Farmers' Trust owned the property, they were approached about repairing a hole in the pavement fronting Cook's store on Main Street. A payment of $200.00 on the sewer construction loan was made. The Board of Health had acquired use of a room in the Academy Building for town welfare purposes and asked Council for a donation toward renovations. Council decided to await renovation totals then decide what to do. George Casho complained, due to bad grade on Lovett Avenue curbing, his pavement was too low. He considered it town's error and he should not have to pay for repairs. For fencing around disposal plant two gates, 6 "Danger" signs, and barbed wire for top of fence were needed. Disposal plant operator Homer VanSant was willing to buy a used Ford, thereby increasing his efficiency, if Council would give him $10.00 a month for gas and Council agreed. The grounds of the plant needed a great deal of work done. The red light at Elkton Road and Main Street often tied up traffic, so it would be changed to an amber globe with "Caution" on it. White lines delineating crossings on Main would be painted in place. A drainage ditch near the Kandy Kitchen would be covered. Two new wells at the waterworks were complete and work on a third progressing.

Published: Jan. 27, 2017
October-December 1931 - Council again postponed donating money to the new Health Center due to unexpected expenses connected to new wells. State Board of Health suggested Newark match state levels on milk safety requirements. Council agreed to build 4 steps to Reginald Rose's property necessitated by changed street grade. Garbage must be drained or collector would not take it. On October 9 Officer Keeley was fired, effective immediately, for conduct unbecoming an officer and being absent without leave. He disagreed with Council's decision to pay only half of October salary. Leroy Hill was appointed to fill the vacancy and William Cunningham was made chief. Phillips Packing asked to have 25% surcharge on water usage levied against out-of-town consumers abated. Council agreed. An extra water meter was installed so contractor would have to pay for water used during construction of gymnasium at new high school on Academy Street. "Safety blocks" would be installed at intersections along South College and at North College and Cleveland Avenue. The Great Depression was being felt. More and more applications for jobs on police force were being received, but no openings available. Lions Club sponsored door-to-door selling by unemployed people, but each must get a free permit from town.
 
January 1932 - A new stove was needed to heat the jail. A new lock was placed on outside door of jail to make that different from cell locks. Police officer Mann resigned and Elmer Morrison was elected to fill vacancy.

Published: Feb. 3, 2017
February-April 1932 – Balance in treasury $6819, remaining $10,000 of indebtedness paid off. Council declined to take an ad in the Del-Mar-VA Eastern Shore Association magazine saying the $150.00 could better be used at home. Informal discussion underway about reducing taxes. B&O RR still hadn’t done repairs to West Main crossing, promised a year ago. Surface water collected and drained into some residential basements. Council asked town engineer to investigate and install drain. With library’s recent change to a free, not subscription, library the Newark Free Library Association asked town to donate electricity. Council declined, without more information on financial standing of the library’s backers. Daylight Savings Time was approved for 1932. The 1-1/2 ton truck needed 2 new tires. The Gates and Duhamel residences on North Chapel Street shared a 3/4 inch water line which was insufficient. The town would install a separate line to the Gates house free of charge. A motor at the sewage disposal plant burned out. It was decided to install 2 overload relays and other equipment to protect the motors. Fifteen gallons of paint were purchased for painting street lines, yellow instead of previous white. Mr. McCann was asked to repair pavement in front of his property. Newly re-elected Councilmen Lovett, Widdoes, and Hubert were sworn in. Frank Collins as mayor and Councilmen Mote, Ferguson, and Stoll continued in office. Laura Hossinger and Alice Kerr continued as town secretary and bookkeeper, at $112.50/month, a reduction of $12.50/month.

Published: Feb. 10, 2017
April-July 1932 – The town's indebtedness for infrastructure improvements was $250,000. Yearly payment for 1932 would be approximately $7500. Cash on hand was $11,937. The drainage field at the disposal plant was seeded with timothy and other grasses. Sixty tons of sand were purchased for the sludge beds at $1.35/ton delivered. John Slack of Prospect Avenue was told to pay his water bill for 1931 or service would be discontinued. U/D sent a letter of thanks for town’s aid during the Spring Frolic. The newly free library asked for $500 per year for three years from Council, the New Century Club offering to pay half that obligation. However Council wanted to consult their attorney concerning town’s right to use money for such purposes. The town property assessment for tax purposes was $5,155,329. The tax rate would be 55 cents/per $100 evaluation. The town dump was filled up and new place being sought. A sidewalk was needed on Academy Street for protection of school children walking along the street. Town engineer suggested improvements to Kells Avenue, Center and New Streets, East Park Place and Elkton Road. The contract went to George & Lynch Company for $12,460. Many complaints of mosquitoes were received and a student at the university, who was working on ways to abolish the pests, would be consulted. Signs at east entrance to town and disposal plant needed repainting and a sign “Drive Slowly” mounted at West Main and Elkton Road.

Published: Feb. 17, 2017
July-November 1932 - Sewer on Amstel Avenue was extended through J. P. Wright's property to the main connector. Mr. Nutter was named temporary police officer at $4.00/day, filling in for Office Hill who was absent due to death of his father. A residents' petition was presented asking that U/D install sidewalks along its property on Academy Street, said petition being forwarded to the university. George & Lynch, Inc. was paid $7400 for street work including storm drains, scraping, rolling and patching. George Huber estate property on East Delaware Avenue was weedy and being used as a dumping ground. Owners were told to clean it up or Council would and put a lien on it, under the Nuisance Ordinance. Typhoid was in the surrounding areas and the Dr. Downes would decide if a warning should be published in local papers. November-December Residents on Orchard Road said their sidewalks had been installed to town specifications but when the street was improved the walks were not even. Council had the sidewalks re-done, absorbing the cost of 21.5 cents/foot. Mrs. Christadoro asked that the Water Works get a private phone line as it was currently on her party line and late night calls to the plant were very annoying. Council took no action. The monthly police report mentioned Officer Morrison's arrest of Archie Brooks, but no details were given. Council called for redemption of $10,000 in infrastructure bonds, original due date being December 1936.

Published: Feb. 24, 2017
November-December-1932 - It was now three years into the Great Depression and the Mayor's Committee on Relief and Welfare, previously organized, asked about soliciting funds. Council suggested raising as much as possible through private donations, then Council would make up any shortfall. Town Supervisor reported a number of men had applied for work and Council told him to coordinate with the Welfare Committee on any hiring. The storm drain at Delaware and Academy was not sufficient and water was draining into the basement of William Crow. Re-bids were requested for painting signs, stipulating sanding and two applications each of primer and top color. Moving fire hydrant near Richard's Store on West Main would cost $125.00-$150.00, repairing in present location would cost about $50.00. Fairbanks, Morse Company representatives presented tentative plans and prices for a Diesel engine plant to generate town’s electricity. Delaware Power & Light Company was asked for best deal on renewing town's contract. One $10.00 fine assessed by the Alderman was paid in firewood to that value. It was suggested that an officer be placed at Chapel and Main each afternoon 5:15 to 5:45 to move traffic more smoothly as workers left Continental-Diamond Fibre Company. No action taken. Officers Hill and Morrison said they needed a six cents/mile allowance to use their own cars on official business as they could not always catch offenders on foot. Council said to turn in a report each month showing mileage used for town business.

Published: Mar. 10, 2017
December 1932- Edward Herbener was awarded contract to paint two town signs at $55.00. Reginal Rose thanked Council for cement work done to his driveway on Haines Street. Requests for water rate reduction were tabled. D.P.& L. offered contract for renewal at .0185 cents per kilowatt hour. Alternatives of generating or continuing to buy electricity were presented at a town meeting with majority vote to continue buying. Final negotiations with power company resulted in a five-year contract at .0140 per kWh with $1000 minimum monthly purchase guarantee. Deep snow along curbs was a traffic menace and unemployed men were hired to shovel snow onto town trucks for removal.
January 1933-Balance in treasury $6437.53. Fairbanks, Morse Company wanted a letter of appreciation for their efforts to sell the town a Diesel plant, although town didn’t buy. Council refused to put a policeman at Delaware and Academy, saying it was Board of Education’s duty to man the intersection as they had two special officers sworn for school duty, or they could delegate teachers and older students to help. Mark Malcom complained he had suffered an “injustice” at the hands of Officer Cunningham. Council said nothing could be done until they heard Officer Cunningham’s side of the story and the proper place for a hearing was before the Magistrate. Council revoked the allowance for officers using their own cars when the bill for the first month came in at almost $25.00 each.

Published: Mar. 17, 2017
February-April 1933- Jonathan Johnson was put on notice to improve the quality of milk sold in town or be fined. Fifty dollars were donated to the Visiting Nurse and $500 to Aetna Fire Company. Officer Morrison was reimbursed $10.00 for trouser purchase and told to get permission in future before buying any uniform items. Renters were charged $5.00 deposit to have electricity turned on. George Leak wanted Council’s help to stop State Highway Department laying sidewalk in front of his garage (located in triangle where Ogletown Road and Main Street now meet). Due to the depression Council decided water fee rebates should be made on residences unoccupied at least three months in 1932, although such rebates had not been made in the past. Rebates were not to exceed $7.50. Unemployed men hired to trim trees were to be paid outright instead of through the Welfare Committee. Town Supervisor suggested unused plots of land in town be offered to the unemployed for gardens. The Red Cross would furnish seeds. Curbs and gutters on North Chapel were in poor condition. Sidewalks fronting the Cann and Wilson properties in poor condition and Council asked they be repaired while cement and labor costs were currently low. School Superintendent Brinser wanted an officer at Delaware and Academy for school noon dismissal days. Since the town had provided a traffic light there, Council said it was up to the Board of Education to provide further precautions.

Published: Mar. 24, 2017
April-June 1933- Following 1933 election Councilmen, Widdoes, Stoll, Ferguson, Lovett, Wollaston and Hubert took office with Frank Collins as Mayor. American Legion and VFW requested financial aid to fund Memorial Day observation and Council agreed to give $40.00 maximum. Louise Baldwin was considering filing suit against the town because her car had skidded on ice and hit a pole which was too close to the curb. The Campbell estate was requested to repair the sidewalk in front of Dale’s Jewelry Store. Estimates were sought for cost of painting Council office and putting in a partition upstairs. Fire hydrants and street lines were to be painted and 2 pushcarts to collect dirt on Main Street were ordered at $24.50 each. Any ten-year resident who had always been current with electric bill would not have to pay a deposit when moving within the town. Town tax base for 1933 was assessed at $5,176,929. Trucks hauling dirt to the new high school grounds were dropping some dirt on Lovett Avenue in passing and residents complained. Delbert Nabb was at the end of the water line on Elkton Road and complained of rusty water and the pipes were to be flushed. Bids came in for painting town water tanks, but they were from out-of-towners and Council wanted bids from local parties. Complaints were received about dirty conditions in front of Armstrong’s Paper and Newark Department Stores on Sunday. Tenants were asked to clean up.

Published: Mar. 31, 2017
June-August 1933- George Porter of Choate Street wanted help in paying for cleaning tree roots from his lateral sewer pipe. Council said “no” because it would set a precedent. Two more police light, Main/Academy and Main/South College were okayed. A new police motorcycle was approved. Mayor Collins and Chief Cunningham went to Wilmington dealers seeking very best price on Harley-Davidson or Indian cycle, with trade-in on old damaged bike. Town attorney Charles Evans died and J. P. Cann was offered the position at $100.00 per year. The tax rate was set at .50 cents /hundred dollars, a reduction of .05 cents over 1932. Fifteen tons of small stone were needed for street work, so it was decided to get prices on a carload and possibly purchase that amount. Six hundred fifty feet of thirty-inch pipe was needed at a cost of 2.35/foot, but action was tabled. Louis Handloff’s request to have the A&P Store, apartments and Newark Department Store assessment lowered was denied. Some residence rates were reduced, but Thomas Maclary’s $10,000 was not. Assessments were exclusive of the land. Some streets and storm sewer extension were considered for work and bids were confined to in-state contractors. Five bids, labor only, to paint two west end water tanks ranged from $74 to $175.00 John Moore at $74.00 got the job. An estimated thirty gallons of aluminum paint cost $2.15/gallon and Kuehule Company would take back unused portion.

Published: Apr. 7, 2017
June-July 1933- Council temporarily let stand a tree in the middle of Ray Street because the adjacent property owner requested it, saying there is very little traffic on the street. He would be responsible for any work needed on it. Officer Hill was reimbursed $7.65 for tire repair on his personal vehicle, damaged in discharge of his duty. George Bennett complained power to his store was disconnected. Council said it was because he had a Kelvinator which had been connected in front of the meter, thereby not being charged to him and power would not be restored until he paid $3.00/month for as long as the refrigerator had been in use. Mr. Bennett said he would not pay, therefore Council considered the matter closed. The traffic light at Main and Chapel was readjusted to give both sides equal time to accommodate “autoists” leaving Continental-Diamond Fibre in the afternoon. Oliviere Construction Company won the bid at $13,216 to work on N. Chapel and Academy Streets, Lovett and Amstel Avenues and a storm sewer extension.
 
August 1933- Continental-Diamond had staggered their shifts, so the traffic congestion was eased and the Main/Chapel light timing would not be changed. The five-year payment option on property sewer assessments had ended. Any accounts in arrears would be subject to legal collection with fines. Bertha Tweed complained she should not have to pay excess water fees when some houses were not yet metered, but Council took no action.

Published: Apr. 14, 2017
September-December 1933- George Baker complained that store circulars were being thrown about town, suggesting merchants substitute little booklets instead. The American Legion has weighed in on the question of an officer at Delaware and Academy during coming and going of students. Council had been refusing the school superintendent’s request, but Mayor Collins finally agreed to consult with Chief Cunningham and try to work out manning the intersection at least when school is dismissed. Weeds on vacant lots were an eyesore so town attorney Mr. Cann was consulted. Overhanging branches on South College Avenue trees were a problem so permission to trim them was sought from property owners. The Wilson Family offered to deed, free, some lots adjacent to those already owned by the town, but Council said “no”, having no use for them. The water works needed a new deep-well turbine pump at a cost of $743. Mayor Collins advocated placing of “stop buttons” at Kent Way-Orchard Road and Amstel Avenue-Elkton Road. Chief Cunningham was to get a flat $12.00/month for gas and oil. Mayor Collins was to see about getting town employee Mr. Ellison a raincoat. A large percentage of town taxes were outstanding so a newspaper notice went out reminding citizens that unpaid taxes would incur a penalty after January 1. Questioned about town’s liability for damage to officers’ personal cars while on town duty, attorney Cann said Council was not responsible for any damage outside of town limits.

Published: Apr. 21, 2017
January-February 1934- Council wanted a State police officer headquartered in Newark, so Mayor Collins agreed to contact State Police commander. Council was looking into liability insurance for officers’ accidents while on duty. Approximately 482,000 gallons of water a day were being pumped. Clarence Crossan was warned milk he was selling had too high a bacteria count. Council put the water works phone on a private line, removing it from the local party line. Residents of Winslow Road wanting street improvements were told no new work was planned until after the town election in April. The Imperial Order of Red Men invited Council to a February 20th patriotic rally. The Visiting Nurses’ Association got $75.00 for their annual donation instead of the usual $50.00. Mayor Collins said he had been approached several times by federal agents in regard to building an airport here, but he did not feel that the town should be involved in a project of that kind. Permission for sale of alcohol at hotels was mentioned but no action on the question was recorded. Fraternities were told snow must be cleared from their sidewalks whether college was in session or not and all residents were reminded snow must be cleared within the required time or they would be fined. Children were hitching sleds to backs of cars, so officers were told to warn them off and a notice would also go into the newspapers.

Published: May 5, 2017
March-April 1934- The Delaware Food & Grocery Distributors Code Authority thanked Council for use of the Chamber for a meeting. Council agreed to cooperate in a celebration of the U/D’s centenary with illumination, decoration, etc. possibly at Memorial Library and Old College. Total outlay to be no more than $100 and cost of lighting. Louis Baldwin filed a formal suit against the town for an accident suffered on a slippery street in 1933. Chief Cunningham reported on an accident between Sheaffer and Gallagher, stating a child was in the hospital and the driver at liberty under $500 bond. The Methodist Church scheduled a conference and asked that certain parking regulations be waived. Officers were told not to give tickets in specific areas. Improved electrical service was needed on East Park and Council was looking for the most economical way to accomplish this. One ton of Amosite was ordered for patching streets. Frank Lutton and Walter Blackwell were appointed judges for the town election. Mr. Black, superintendent of lighting for the town, was arrested a second time for DUI and without a license so he was fired. Delaware Power & Light agreed to recommend someone, Council setting his salary at $150/month. Arthur Hill asked permission to install gas pumps at his garage on New London Avenue. Council agreed, but reserved the right to approve location. Yellow paint for street lines cost $1.95/gallon. Ongoing controversy over police protection at Delaware/Academy for school children.

Published: May 12, 2017
April-June 1934-After 1934 election Council consisted of Mayor Collins and Councilmen Stoll, Ferguson, Wollaston, Widdoes, Lovett and Hubert. Council petitioned Delaware Liquor Commission saying the present three licenses for the sale of malt and spirituous liquors were enough to accommodate the needs of the populace and asked that no additional licenses be issued. Council suggested that at license renewal time, the hotels in town be restricted to sale of liquor for on-site consumption. Council paid $100 for 30 streamers commemorating U/D centenary celebration. Town office would no longer be open on Wednesday nights. Town police were commended by the Methodists for their cooperation during church conference. Two complaints received: radio interference during windy weather and boys were digging holes in Mr. Huber’s field which caused a hazard. Bids were requested from Chevrolet and Ford for a new half-ton truck. A supply of calcium chloride, a dust deterrent, was ordered for street application.
 
June 1934-Mrs. McKelvey complained limiting sale of alcohol by hotels to that consumed onsite would cut into her revenue forcing her to close her hotel. Vic Willis owner of Washington House concurred. Council withdrew its objection to hotels selling packaged liquor, saying the Liquor Commissioners should use their own judgement in the matter. Two “Stop” buttons were ordered for the intersection of Main and Center. Cost of new half-ton Chevrolet truck was $469.55 with trade-in. Due to extension of gas mains, Delaware Power & Light’s tax assessment was raised by $17,000.