Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Cozy Shop

The Cozy Shop was one place to go to socialize and get a bite to eat in La Mott in the 1940’s and 50’s.  Once located at the corner of Keenan Street and Willow Avenue (the 1500 block of Willow Avenue), across from (then) McConnell’s, the shop was owned by William Deck and Paul Giles and serviced the community.  The menu included everything from hot dogs, hamburgers, and cold sandwiches to pies, cakes, and ice cream.  The Cozy Shop also had a jukebox so you could listen to your favorite tune while munching on a sandwich and chatting with friends. 

In the village, as La Mott is considered, was a printer, two grocery stores, a taproom/beer garden (that apparently had good food), a modiste (dress maker), a confectionary store and other businesses.  You could purchase candy, butter, eggs, milk, luncheon meats, get your car serviced and your shoes repaired all without leaving the neighborhood. Years ago, I read that the dollar went around 11 times in a neighborhood of Chicago before it left the area. As I learn about La Mott, I wonder if a similar principle applied there. Now, people leave the area for groceries, locating a restaurant and the like.

Before The Cozy Shop existed, the same space was formally an ice cream parlor owned by Mr. Olvis (who lived on Butcher Street).  He ran the place complete with little round tables and chairs with heart-shaped backs.  Later it was an eatery owned by Ruth Dorsey where single and widowed men often came for some serious home cooking.  I read an ad written in 1952 for Ruth’s Grill, an eatery located east in the same block as The Cozy Shop, and I wonder if it is the same Ruth Dorsey who moved her establishment after The Cozy Shop closed. The same facility eventually became a barber shop and an artist’s studio; it is now an apartment.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What is a pancake?

Recently, a 100-year old family friend gave me her mother's cookbook.  The cookbook was purchased at Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia way back when (according to a sticker in the back of the book).  Published in 1921, it is called The Settlement Cook Book and it was compiled by a Mrs. Simon Kander. (The subtitle on the front of the book reads "The Way to a Man's Heart".) I'm especially interested in the book since it ties in with some of the genealogy and local history that I've been doing around the 1921 time period.

This morning, I thought I'd try a pancake recipe from the book for something a little different.  The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 3 separated eggs.  I followed the instructions for combining the ingredients and wondered why more flour wasn't called for.  Once I completed the recipe, I thought I had more of a crepe rather than a pancake.

So, this little cooking experiment made me wonder "What is a Pancake?" and isn't it interesting to prepare a recipe from a cookbook from a time period different from the one I grew up in. As a side note, for years we made our pancakes using Bisquick.

One of the other things that tickled me was the heading in the front of the book entitled "Care of Ice Box."  My father was born in 1916 and referred to our fridge as an ice box.  Meanwhile, my mother born in 1925, approximately six miles from my dad, and she used the term Frigidaire which was the name of a type of refrigerator.

Anyhoo, the shelves should be wiped of every morning (yeah, right). Also, the pipes and drain should be freed from sediment that could come because of the melting ice. Wow! There is more information about 'ice boxes' that we could consider.  I'm thrilled we have electricity and a modern fridge.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

La Mott's Baseball Team

So many people are aware of La Mott being a neighborhood with a Community Center and playground.  Others are also aware that there is a Fire Company and a community garden where people can much of what comes out of the garden. And still others are aware of its historical significance as the former location of the Camp William Penn, a training camp for Colored Soldiers during the Civil War.

I do wonder though how many people are aware that La Mott had a baseball team. One of my mother's cousins has mentioned the team when she talked about various aspects of La Mott before the 1960s.  When you view my photo of a photo, note that the team is in front of a stone barn that still stands off of Sycamore Avenue south of Willow Avenue.  View the image yourself and see if you recognize anyone.  I think Mr. Ronald Kelly is kneeling right in the center of the photo. I don't know when the photo was taken.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Camp William Penn Reenactors

Saturday, September 21, 2013 was an incredibly beautiful day.  It was also the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Camp William Penn, the former training site for coloresoldiers which was open from 1883 to 1885.  The celebration took place in what is now known as La Mott, PA.  La Mott was named after Lucretia Mott, an abolitionist.

The events, of that day, included a parade, "casualities" at the barn, the opening of a museum, speakers, historians, and activities for children.

The reenactors were in several places during the day and towards the end of the festivities, they stood together in preparation for Taps. Here they are dressed in the uniform that the actual soldiers would have worn in the 1860's.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I was looking at a September 11, 1958 issue of  the Daily Defender while doing some local history research and came upon this listing of television programs. I wonder if my parents' generation which I consider the World War II generation, might have watched any of these shows.  I image that several programs were quite popular in some households whether in La Mott or in Chicago, where some family relocated.

"Ding Dong School" was billed as "the nursery school of the air" and was hosted by Miss Frances. "Romper Room," a similar program, was hosted in Philly by Miss Claire.  "Teen Club" was a teen-oriented music-variety program which I guess was a precursor to "Band Stand."  At one point the singer Leslie Uggams was a winner on this show.  Finally, "The Ford Show" aired and starred singer Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Of course there are several other shows which aired at the time.  These a just a few.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ellwood Ivins Steel Tube Works, Inc.

In the 1920 U.S. Census, I noted that several people in La Mott worked at a place called the "Tube Works." A couple of years before his death, I spoke to my neighbor Mr. Noah Fields hoping for some insight as to where and what this place was. Mr. Fields recalled how the company was near what we know as Melrose Park Station. After doing a bit of research at places like the Old York Road Historical Society, I found some interesting information.

The Ellwood Ivins Tube Works was built in 1893 and first put into operation in 1894 (Directory of Iron Steel Works of the United States, 1939). The Ivins company was located a stone's throw from the Oak Lane Station (now Melrose Park Station) just inside the Philadelphia/Cheltenham Township border in Montgomery County.

The company made all sorts of steel tubes that were components of other manufactured items. The factory is in the 1897 and 1909 atlases published by A. H. Mueller and Company for the Reading Railroad. While I don't know when the factory folded, I do know that in 1952 they advertised in an anniversary publication for Cheltenham Township.

As I research my families' histories and the history of La Mott, I am amazed and surprised at what I am continually learning. I am thrilled at the fact that so many bread-winners were able to work so close to home (Ivins Tube Works was within walking distance of La Mott) which meant more time with their families.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chelten Hills to Cheltenham

Chelten Hills Document

So much of what I've learned through the years is by word of mouth.  I knew at some point that Cheltenham Township was once "Chelten Hills' but I'm not sure when the name changed. 

I found this document with so many others of the late 1800's and photographed it.  Not much else that I want to say about it other than, this is pretty cool.