This Was Doylestown, 1923

Santa Claus pays a pre-Christmas visit, Doylestown High School bans mash notes, and a women's temperance group contributes to Prohibition enforcement, 89 years ago this week.

Santa Claus pays pre-Christmas visit (as told by Santa) -

After meeting the 500 or more Doylestown kiddies Thursday afternoon in the Strand Theatre through the courtesy of Mr. Power, manager of the theatre, I could not leave town without expressing to the young folks what a fine time I had and how well they behaved.

So I stopped at the "Daily Intelligencer" office and wrote a few lines for the editor to publish today. I hope that all the kiddies will read my message.

There was such a fine bunch of my boys and girls at the show that my large pack of candy gave out before all the kiddies had been served. My orange supply was called into action and was given away instead of candy. To the boys and girls who did not get candy, I want to say that next Christmas I will be sure and remember them first.

Many letters were handed to me by the good boys and girls of Doylestown, and I have glanced over them in a hurry. I will try my best to return on Christmas Eve and bring you what you want.

One little girl by the name of Alice has asked me to bring her a set of dishes, a baking set and a broom, and then ends her letter by asking Santa to bring her a stick to "wip" her doll. I will do the best I can with Alice, but I am not sure about the stick to "wip" her doll.

In another letter, a boy by the name of Ferdinando asks for a radio set and a lot of other toys. I expect to bring as many radio sets as I can carry this year, and I hope that Ferdinando will receive one of them.

If the boys and girls are good, I expect to come back to town early next Monday night [Christmas Eve] to be present at the community Christmas celebration at Court House Park. I will be there to see you again, but I will have to leave early as I have so many houses to visit that night.

To the boys and girls I do not have the chance to see personally this year, and to the big-hearted Mr. Power at the Strand Theatre, I wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And I want to add that the better boys and girls you are between now and next Monday night, the better I am going to treat you.


Doylestown High School bans mash notes -

One of the quickest and at the same time, most complete changes that ever took place in the Doylestown High School has been in evidence within the last twenty-four hours. The change has been in the action of several pairs of boys and girls who hitherto had been making themselves conspicuous by the frequent and uncovered displays of so-called affection to each other.

No longer do they broadcast languishing glances at the apple of their eye; no longer are they seen in conversation with each other; no longer do they pine and sigh over something that has come between them to impede their mutual fondness; but, above all, no longer do they pass notes to each other in order to make "everything Jacob in the state of Denmark," or in order to make arrangements for some trysting place.

Some things are forever taboo in the Doylestown High School. Cupid is permanently barred from the institution. His arrows will never again be able to pierce the hearts of the students of the school. This was the result of the accidental interception of what later proved to be a very eloquent appeal, from a boy of the tender age of 16, to a fair lass, requesting that she reconsider her actions of the past few days and be reconciled.

After reading it and enjoying it immensely, the authorities decided that such wastefulness in time and paper would have to cease. Accordingly, frightened by the threats of the officials, the former authors of such epistles have, to a man, and likewise, to a girl, stopped their operations.

And in the meantime, there are no fewer than three-fourths of the student body, it is said, thanking their lucky stars that is was not one of their notes that was captured, and that they were spared the embarrassment suffered by the unfortunate parties of the one just snared.


Council considers purchase of traffic semaphores -

Doylestown borough council held its last regular session of 1923 Monday night and established a good precedent for the new council that will take charge of affairs in January. There was very little lengthy argument and the business was transacted by 9:40, which is believed to be a record.

Council has about decided to purchase and adopt for service in the County Seat an electric semaphore system which will control traffic along Main street at all corners where necessary, all under the supervision of one officer. The new system is somewhat on the order of that used on Broad street, Philadelphia, in the downtown district.

Editor's note - Traffic semaphores, an early version of traffic lights, had separate "Stop" and "Go" arms that were alternately lowered as a bell sounded. At night, a red light signaled "Stop" and a green light "Go." Traffic signals similar to those of today, with red, yellow and green lights, were not widely used until the 1930s.

In Doylestown, the central control station will probably be located at Main and Ashland streets. Installation will cost about $500, and the only expense will be the cost of electricity after installation. It is estimated that operating twenty-four hours a day will cost $50 a month for electricity. It will not be necessary to operate twenty-four hours.

The system like the one Doylestown intends purchasing has not been completed as yet, but will be in another month when council will take final action.

A red-light system for the police was also suggested. Bristol uses the same system. Whenever the police are wanted at night, the telephone operator is notified. The operator immediately presses a button which turns on all the red lights in the town located on the regular electric light poles. A committee was instructed to see what the cost of installation of such a system in Doylestown would be.


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Doylestown township farmers seek road improvement -

Improvement of the Doylestown-Furlong-Pineville road with State aid was heartily endorsed Tuesday evening by the Doylestown Township Farmers' Club, which met at the home of Harry M. Clemens, Pebble Hill.

Mr. Clemens presented the question of improving the Doylestown-Pineville road, and urged the importance of interesting Doylestown residents in the movement.

Remarks were also made on the subject of good roads and school consolidation by C.S. Kratz, of the New Britain Community Association. [Editor's note - In 1923, New Britain was a village in Doylestown Township. It did not become a borough until 1928.]

An election of officers resulted as follows: President, Crosby Sellick; vice president, Raymond Rogers; secretary-treasurer, Miss Bessie Wonder; editor, Mrs. Cora Flack Stover; reporter, Mrs. Harry M. Clemens.

"Farm Wood Lots" was the subject of an address made by C.R. Anderson, of the State College forestry extension service. Mr. Anderson explained there is an average of three acres of idle land on every farm in Bucks county which could profitably be set out to trees, with no expense to the owners except for shipping and planting the trees.

Two questions were discussed as follows: "How can large trees be removed successfully?" by Harry Houk and Joseph Gerbron; and "How can Christmas be celebrated in the country homes" by Mrs. William Wonder, Mrs. Charles Case and Mrs. Harry Houk.

Other features included music by the young people's chorus; a reading by Mrs. Cora Flack Stover; and a recitation by Emma Cougenour.


Temperance union contributes to Prohibition enforcement -

The Doylestown chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union has given $26 to Governor Gifford Pinchot's Prohibition enforcement fund, it was announced at a meeting held Tuesday in the home of the president, Mrs. Laura Barnes.

Bucks county's W.C.T.U. chapters have already contributed $1,700 to the fund, it was stated. Mrs. Page Crawford read a letter from State Treasurer Ella B. Black urging continued assistance.

After the meeting was opened by singing "Sound the Jubilee" and "Work for Enforcement" with Mrs. Crawford at the piano, Mrs. Barnes led the devotionals.

A letter of thanks from Mrs. Evelyn Gore, "Mother Gore" of Philadelphia, for the tumblers of jelly, jars of fruit, cookies and $5 in money sent was read. Her annual "Jelly Party" proved a great success. Mrs. Barnes spoke at length concerning her great work among unfortunate city girls, 60,000 of them ruined in America last year.

Miss Ella Campbell read an article entitled "Facts Demolish the Wets" [opponents of Prohibition].

"A great life insurance company in New York made a careful examination of statistics, and found that in 1912 the death rate from alcoholism, among those who paid premiums to the company, was 5.3 per 100,000. In 1921 [the second year of Prohibition], this death rate was 0.9 per 100,000.

"Over on the Bowery in New York, previous to the enactment of the Volstead Law [which implemented Prohibition], there were 44 saloons. Now there are none. A careful survey was made of 29 of these saloon properties. Since Prohibition, the value of these has increased nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Where once was a saloon with its loafers and its crime, is now a shop, or a restaurant, or a savings bank; and these legitimate enterprises pay rentals which justify the increase in the assessed value."

The meeting closed with the Lord's Prayer, in concert.


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Doylestown Town Notes -

The Doylestown Nature Club, instead of holding a regular meeting next Monday, will take the junior section out to "Fonthill" to provide a Christmas celebration for the birds. They will meet at the school house at 3 p.m. Older members may attend.

Mrs. Henry A. James was among the number appointed by Governor Gifford Pinchot as a member of the Bucks county board of trustees of the Mothers' Pension Fund.

Springlike weather this Christmas season is causing a great deal of comment. A resident of Shewell avenue reports dandelions in bloom on his lawn. Another resident called attention to a pussy willow that has undoubtedly been deceived.

Sheriff-elect Abram M. Kulp and family will occupy the prison residence vacated several days ago by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gants, who moved to Morrisville.

Seventy-five children received treatment on Thursday afternoon at the Doylestown Emergency Hospital during the administration of the inoculations for diptheria prevention.

Midshipman Roy Gulick, of the United States Naval Academy, will spend the holidays at his home in Doylestown.

Next Saturday night at the Moose Home on East State street, Joe Lawrence and Bill Kerns will entertain at an old-fashioned snapper supper. Lawrence says he has imported the snappers from Sweden and the "feed" will be a real one.

Persons who attended the Christmas musical entertainment given on Thursday night at the Doylestown High School complimented the students on the fine program rendered.

Miss Elizabeth Keenan, of Doylestown, who has been teaching at Hulmeville, has filled a vacancy in the grammar school at Sandy Ridge [Doylestown Township].

Wynne James, Jr., a student at Princeton University, is spending the Christmas vacation with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wynne James.

"Stewardship" was the topic for discussion Tuesday evening at the meeting of the Lutheran Brotherhood at the home of Ralph Hamilton. Rev. Bernard Repass led the discussion. Arrangements were made to convey the children of Tabor Home in automobiles to the annual Christmas festival.

As a result of the annual Christmas moving picture benefit given for the police department of Doylestown, members of the department will receive Christmas checks amounting to approximately $52. Packed houses attended the several showings of "The Green Goddess," in which George Arliss was featured.


From the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer, Week of Dec. 16-22, 1923

Jeff Lugar December 18, 2012 at 01:11 PM
"This was the result of the accidental interception of what later proved to be a very eloquent appeal, from a boy of the tender age of 16, to a fair lass, requesting that she reconsider her actions of the past few days and be reconciled... After reading it and enjoying it immensely, the authorities decided that such wastefulness in time and paper would have to cease" Possibly my favorite sentences in the history of this wonderful column. I feel like I'm living in the 20s.
Sarah Larson December 18, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Agreed. That very sentence made me smile.


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