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Long before Ellis Island, there was Lazaretto.

Where Route 420 ends at the Delaware River, you’ll find Lazaretto.

Considered both the oldest surviving quarantine hospital and the last surviving example of its type in the United States, it was built by the newly created Board of Health after the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 killed off one tenth of Philadelphia’s population. Thereafter, every vessel headed toward the port of Philadelphia first stopped at Lazaretto.

Later, it was the home of the Philadelphia Athletic Club, then a flight school during World War I and then a seaplane base.

Speaker Barbara Selletti will paint a vivid picture of Lazaretto’s long and fascinating history.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Known as the “Lazaretto Lady,” Barbara Selletti is a local historian, genealogist and Neumann University librarian. She and her husband, Tony, were instrumental in the effort to save and restore the Lazaretto.

The program is free and open to the public: Monday, June 12 at the Helen Kate Furness Library on Providence Road in Wallingford, starting at 7:30.

An Oyster Cart on Every Street Corner?

Celebrated historian Nancy Webster will present A Brief History of Popular Street Foods, an exploration of sidewalk cuisine from American Colonial times through present day. Some will be familiar (we’ve been frequenting hot dog and pretzel vendors for ages) and others will be surprising.

Bonus: Samples of old-fashioned street foods will be available for tasting!

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: A highly engaging speaker, Nancy Webster was named Delaware County Historian in 1988. The Principal Planner with the County Planning Department for 25 years, she was head of historic preservation and won state and national awards. A Delaware County native, Nancy holds a BA from Harvard, and a double MA in American history and museum curatorship from the College of William and Mary.

Uniquely qualified to speak on this topic, Nancy is a member of the Historical Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley and chairman of the Foodways Committee of the international Association for Living History.

The program is free and open to the public: Thursday, April 27 at the Helen Kate Furness Library on Providence Road in Wallingford, starting at 7:30 pm.

RSVP:

Colonial Christmas Open House

LeiperHouse

You’re invited to The Friends of the Thomas Leiper House’s
annual holiday celebration,

Sunday, December 18th from 1:00 until 5:00 pm.

521 Avondale Road, Wallingford

Program: Helen Kate Furness – Portraits of a Life

Rogers FamilyThe library that bears her name has been a center of community life for more than a century, but who was Helen Kate Furness?

Join us for a look at the life of Helen Kate through her portraits.

Our speaker is Harwood Johnson, a member and past President of the Furness Library Board of Directors.

Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm at The Helen Kate Furness Free Library, 100 North Providence Road, Wallingford

The program is free and open to the public.

RSVP here:

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

Program: An Armchair Tour of Crum Woods

Oak Knoll

Oak Knoll

 

Have you happened upon the ruins of an old fountain and steps while walking along the Leiper Smedley Trail? 

Have you wandered the Swarthmore College woods and wondered about the trees and flowers you saw?

Mike Rolli, of the Crum Woods Restoration project at the College, is a graduate of Longwood Gardens’ horicultural program and has done much research into the historic significance of Crum Woods.

He’ll talk about the former Oak Knoll estate (which was razed to make way for the Blue Route) and its formal gardens. And, he’ll teach us about the diverse ecosystem that’s right under our noses in Crum Woods, one of the last remaining forested areas in Delaware County. Roughly 3.5 miles of walking trails extend over more than two hundred acres.

Click this link for an excellent map of Crum Woods Trails. The woods are open to visitors from sunup to sundown. Remember to “leave no trace” and keep four-legged companions on leash.

The program, presented by the Nether Providence Historical Society, is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, April 13th at 7:30  |  The Helen Kate Furness Free Library

100 North Providence Road, Wallingford

To register, complete the contact form:

Program: The Architecture of Frank Furness

Frank FurnessFrank Heyling Furness (1839 – 1912) designed more than 600 buildings, most in the Philadelphia area. Toward the end of his life, his bold, eclectic, idiosyncratic buildings fell out of fashion and many of his most significant works were demolished.

Join us for a lecture about the magnificent buildings designed by Furness. Our lecturer, James Tevebaugh, is President of Tevebaugh Associates architects and a member of the executive committee of Friends of Furness Railroad District, a group dedicated to preserving the Wilmington train station and its associated buildings.

Wednesday, October 21st at 7:30 pm
The Helen Kate Furness Free Library
100 N. Providence Road in Wallingford

How are Helen Kate and Frank related?  The son of prominent Unitarian minister William Henry Furness, Frank Furness was the brother of Horace Howard Furness, a Shakespeare scholar, for whom our Library was originally named. Dr. Furness made a large donation to the Library with the stipulation that the name be changed to honor his late wife, Helen Kate Rogers, who also studied the works of William Shakespeare. The Library sits on ground that was originally part of Dr. and Mrs. Furness’ estate, Lindenshade. Dr. Furness’ brother, Frank Furness designed his brother’s summer house and nearby Idlewild, the house at the intersection of Gayley Street and Idlewild Lane in Upper Providence where Frank Furness spent summers with his family.