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100 Years Ago Today – Flower Show at Bickmore Farms

Chester Times, April 17, 1916.

Chester Times, April 17, 1916.

The April 17, 1916 Chester Times carried a report of a horticultural exhibit at Bickmore Farms where Milton H. Bickley had a large nursery operation on his property at Palmer’s Corner (the corner of Providence and Rose Valley Roads).

The flower show became an annual event to which the public was invited every year on Palm Sunday.

Milton Horace Bickley owned, along with his father, a drug store at 4th and Market Streets in Chester. He purchased the 102-acre Cedar Lane Farm from James Miller in 1913 and called it Bickmore; a combination of his last name and his father, Mortimore Bickley’s first name. There, he raised a variety of flowers in 19 large greenhouses (300′ x 75′). There was a 75′ smokestack for the furnace used to heat the greenhouses.

The family also ran a poultry farm on the property. In 1916, there were regular advertisements placed in the Chester Times announcing “we have just installed a big hall incubator and decided to do some custom hatching. You can bring, or buy your eggs from us. We also have baby chicks for sale.”

Milton Bickley died in 1937.

In 1944, W. J. Messmer, a Chester florist, purchased the Bickmore nursery on the south side of Rose Valley Road. The purchase included 60,000 square feet of glass-enclosed greenhouses.

By 1954, the 15 acre site had been purchased by the Wallingford Development Company. When the nursery buildings were razed to make way for 22 houses, it took two blasts of dynamite to level the smokestack. The neighborhood was named Bickmore Hills. The first of the split level houses were completed by July and offered for sale at $15,590.

Bickley Druggist and Apothecary at 4th and Market Streets in Chester

Bickley Druggist and Apothecary at 4th and Market Streets in Chester

In the News…One Hundred Years Ago Today

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

In the January 17, 1913 issue of the Chester Times, Mr. Leiper ran an ad for his quarries – urging readers to “build, don’t rent.” You could reach the company by phoning “36-A” if you had a phone (fewer than 10% of households did).

Among that day’s advertisements was one for a dentist, accompanied by a macabre illustration, offering to pull teeth for free! Myers & Brothers apparently earned their living on the replacements: “Good teeth” for $5 and “Gold crowns” for $3. Using an inflation calculator, the buying power of $5 in 1913 would be worth $116 now – quite a bargain for all that dental work! Today, The Myers’ building at 514 Market Street (Avenue of the States) in Chester appears to be unoccupied on the upper floors. The first floor is Lou’s Jewelry and Pawn Shop.

In the News…Fifty Years Ago Today

17Jan1963

Click image to enlarge.

As reported in the Delaware County Daily Times, the prior evening’s Nether Providence school board meeting had a full agenda. A $290,000 addition to the high school was scheduled to start in 10 days and contracts were announced. The bonds for the project carried a 2.85% interest rate.

Mentioned at the end of the article is an appeal the Board would file against the State Council of Education’s plan to combine Nether Providence school district with Media and Swarthmore-Rutledge districts; the beginning of a process that continued for many years.

In the News…February 12, 1959

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This is the first in a new series of articles, In the News. To receive notification of new postings, subscribe (top of the left column) or ‘like’ us on Facebook (top of the right column) or both!

In its February 12th issue, the Chester Times reported on Dick Clark’s new home and the Nether Providence School Board meeting.

The Clark family lived at the corner of Dogwood Lane and Plush Mill Road until 1964, when American Bandstand moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. It wasn’t to be the property’s last ‘brush with greatness’. In 1966, Ingrid Jacobson married singer-songwriter Jim Croce in the backyard. Rabbi Louis Kaplan of Ohev Shalom officiated. Ingrid Croce confirmed the location of their nuptials in her response to a 2010 email: “My family and I did live in Dick Clark’s home in Nether Providence and Jim and I were married there, on a little bridge over the creek. It was on Dogwood Lane.” Jim and Ingrid Croce were a folk duo Continue reading

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