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Displaying items by tag: Elmwood Park

Thursday, 12 November 2020 18:23

A family photo album

Earlier this year, we learned of the death of long-time volunteer, Martha “Marty” Shinn. Marty spent much of her time at the historical society working on our photo collection. Marty left her collection of family papers to the historical society, and I thought the best way to honor her work was to share some of the photographs.

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The woman in the center might be Mary Stephens, but it was a common name and we can't be sure

This album belonged to Mary Stephens Wentzel (Marty’s mother) and features pictures from about 1912 through 1922. Just like today, many of the photos are from family vacations. The drove this Model T through New England and Quebec.

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Other photos are local. Here are some from Elmwood Park.

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Here’s friends and family being silly at the Stephens’ home on Main Street in Norristown.

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Mary's father, Samuel Stephens, owned Stephen's Music Store in Norristown.  Here he is leading the Boys' Band in a parade.

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And because I’m a total sucker for old time bathing suits, here's some pictures of the family swimming on Barbadoes Island:

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This one is identified as Conshohocken Island.

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And this is from the Perkiomen Creek.

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They went to the beach, too. Here is a photo of an apparently sparsely attended day in Wildwood.

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Mary later married Walter Wentzel, and Martha was born in 1927.  Unfortunately, she died at the young age of 39 in 1935.

Published in Found in Collection
Thursday, 07 November 2019 20:18

1931 Flood

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On July 14, 1931, a storm hit central Montgomery County, dropping so much rain that several local creeks flooded, causing $1,000,000 in damage according the Times-Herald (that’s not adjusted for inflation).

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One of the hardest hit sections of the borough was Elmwood Park, where the miniature golf course was destroyed. At the zoo, two volunteers watched as the flood waters rose toward the cages. They called the assistant borough engineer, Samuel Hart, around 10pm. He ordered them to open the cages. The Times Herald reported that the white tail deer ran off, but that many of the animals could not escape the rushing water. The monkeys, bears, and opossum survived. Even more troubling perhaps, was the reported alligator sightings in flooded areas of the park (they were later recovered).

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The Times-Herald's building flooded, but it still managed to put out an edition for July 15th. Several families were left homeless by the storm and sheltered at city hall.

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Two days after the flood, Norristown had as much trouble with gawkers as it did with debris. Thousands came to view the flood damage, especially in Elmwood Park, as you can see in the photographs. Police had to be sent out to the direct traffic.

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Published in Found in Collection