February 19, 2019


This & That By Jack Coll

This & That

By Jack Coll

Well now, it’s been a while since we touched base with a This & That column, I’ve been doing a lot of research for our new book titled “Conshohocken & West Conshohocken, People, Places and Stories.”

This & That column is made up of tid-bits I’ve come across while researching other projects, these tid-bits from long ago is information that doesn’t fit into the current project I’m working on but are kinda interesting, in one way or another, along with a few old business ads. So as I come across these interesting, yet useless tid-bits of info, I simply stack them to my left and every once in a while I pull a few of them off the top of the pile and print them for your entertainment.
Along the way I’ll also throw in at no extra charge any useless thoughts that come into my head that you may or may not share with me. Keep in mind that most of the tid-bits come directly from the Conshohocken Recorder newspapers so you will see a date that the tid-bit came from followed by a word by word account of the piece unless otherwise stated that it has been edited for space purposes.
Another thing, I’ve written a couple dozen This & That columns and I don’t really keep track of what I’ve written in the past, so if I repeat something from a previous column, get over it.
So let’s get started with this week’s This & That with a few of my thoughts.

Has it been painful for anyone else to actually sit and watch a Phillies game this year?
Here’s how I see it, I’ve been a life-long fan of the Philadelphia Phillies Baseball Team, I’m not a bandwagon guy, jump on when things are going good type of guy. When I say life-long I mean I used to sit in the seats and watch the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium, I cheered in 1964, the late 1970’s, 1980, 1983, 1993, and more recently from 2008-2012. But more importantly I cheered for the Phillies every year in between the years mentioned above, I mean I cheered for them.
So as a true Phillies fan I get to say “They Stink” when they stink, I don’t jump ship, I just get to say they stink this year. Now that that is off my chest we can move on.

August 15, 1978

Rita’s Restaurant
(Formerly Fran & Bill’s)

106 Fayette Street
Fine Food—Reasonable Prices
7 Days a Week Take Out, Too!
Thursday Special!

Ham & Cabbage—Boiled Potatoes $2.50

We Do Catering

December 18, 1925
Times Herald

Chief of Police Heald Upholds Borough’s Reputation for Hospitality
Two well fattened complacent pigs taking an early morning constitutional up Fayette Street at one o’clock this morning added a touch of novelty to the usual duties of police officer.
Chief of Police Heald while patrolling the town noticed two figures moving across the Pennsylvania railroad bridge on lower Fayette Street at a leisurely pace and making an investigation saw they were two splendid specimens of the porcine family, just the type to make appetizing items for a winter menu.
Wishing to uphold the borough’s reputation for hospitality, the chief tried to persuade the two promenaders to accept lodging for the night at the Hotel Borough Hall’s annex—the home of the steam roller. (In 1917, the borough purchased a steam roller to help flatten the streets surfaces when they were still dirt roads. The borough built a large barn like structure behind the borough hall/lock-up building once located on West Hector Street at Forrest Street to house the newly purchased steam roller. That’s what is being referred to as the “Borough Hall annex.) Whether one little pig wanted to go to market or the other wanted to stay home is not known but both were firm in their decision to avoid the officer.
Assisted by several young men Chief Heald staged an unexpected pig chase and captured the errant porkers. By much persuasion they were finally removed to police headquarters where they kept company with the steam roller until claimed this morning by an anxious owner and removed to their quarters at 1 Oak Street. The wandering “pork chops” had been purchased just a few days ago and will shortly take a long journey. Their owner searched the town after finding them absent at 5 o’clock this morning and finally called up the police for help and found his roly-poly property.

April 5, 1956
Pool Contract To Be Awarded
Harmonville—A handsome new regulation-size swimming pool is expected to be in use for members by July 4. The newly organized Ply-Mar Swim Club, incorporated as a private swimming unit will place the contract within the next few weeks for an L-shaped pool. The pool will be on Butler Pike east of Ridge Pike.
Membership is limited to 350 families and to 75 single registrations.
Walter P Heck, 1860 Butler Pike, former co-manager of Sherry Lake Swimming Club, Cedar Grove Rd., was elected president of the new club at an organization meeting April 2 at the Whitemarsh Township Building.
C. Armour Rishel, 107 East 14th Ave. is vice president, R. Lincoln Hain, 109 East 14th Ave., secretary and Samuel Glass, 1435 Fayette Street, former county sheriff, treasurer.
Site of the new pool was the former home of Lester Heft.

Just a little fun fact
Just because I happen to have some information in front of me
In 1915 an 18 hour survey was conducted at the Matsonsford Bridge to determine if a new bridge was warranted. An old steel bridge dating back to 1870 was the current structure connecting the boroughs of Conshohocken and West Conshohocken. In an attempt to convince the county and state officials the following survey was conducted over an 18 hour period to determine how much traffic used the bridge.
The survey was conducted on a Saturday from 6 in the morning and ending at midnight.
8183 persons on foot
418 wagons and carts
292 carriages
135 automobiles
11 ridden horses
51 bicycles

A 1964 bridge traffic survey showed 26,000 automobiles crossed the bridge daily.

A 1967 bridge traffic survey showed 35,000 automobiles crossed the bridge daily.
Sorry, I don’t have any figures in front of me beyond 1967
But if I was a bet ‘in man I would say about one hundred million cars a day roll across the bridge just during morning rush hour!

March 23, 1909
A young man attending the picture show at the Gem Theatre might have caused a panic with his thoughtlessness. (The Gem Theatre was located at 26 Fayette Street just off the bridge, the theatre was later home of Benny and Red’s Barber Shop for many years.)
Operator Frank Dumpfee was showing a film when his machine broke. He called the manager of the house to notify him of the accident when a young man yelled “FIRE.”
The audience immediately ran for the exits while the management tried to quiet them. Another machine was set up and put in operation and the shows continued. The film did not catch fire nor was there any fire in the building.
(For a complete history of the Gem theatre and all six Conshohocken movie houses refer to the book “Tales of Conshohocken & Beyond” available at Coll’s Custom Framing.”

I’m no movie expert and I don’t get to watch a lot of television but over the past couple of weeks for some odd reason I saw parts of a couple of old movies and realized they just don’t have the great actors and actresses in Hollywood like they used to. I’m referring to Jack Lemon, James Gardner, Bob Hope, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Robert Redford, Bob Hope and Rock Hudson. I’m sure you guys can add to this list but these guys and girls jump out at me as being part of the cream of the crop, almost head and shoulders about today’s stars

(For some odd reason I thought of Bill Danitz when I read this)
March 25, 1949
Restaurant May Operate All Night
Supreme Court Ruling Reverses Decision of Common Pleas
All-night operation of Bill’s Restaurant at Fourth Avenue and Fayette Street is permitted under a decree handed down by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania this week. The decision reverses that of President Judge Harold G. Knight, filed last May. The ruling was made in a suit started June 25, 1947, against Aaron and Gertrude Pounds, operators of the restaurant by their next-door neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart B. Molony. The Supreme Court’s order imposes upon the Molonys all the cost of the action.
Judge Knight had issued an injunction against the Pounds which forbade them to operate the restaurant between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. It also related to other details of operation which were not in dispute in the appeal. Justice Patterson delivered the opinion of the Supreme Court. He stressed that “no one is entitled to absolute quiet in the enjoyment of his property. All that may be insisted upon is a degree of quietness consistent with the standards of comfort in the locality in which one dwells.”

July 23, 1953
“Cowboys” Corral Calf as Canter Comes a Cropper
A calf with an urge to do some summertime traveling escaped from the farm of Prosper War at the foot of W. 10th Avenue Tuesday and galloped through the borough for several hours.
Weaving through the heavy traffic of Fayette and numerous side streets, the sturdy little cow sped, dodging cars, flying over lawns, hurdling hedges, and at Ninth and Wells, leaping to a garage roof.
At Elm and Walnut Street the combined efforts of two young “cowboys” Jackie Gambone and Jimmy Sands, together with police Sgt. Francis Blake and Officer Jesse Zadroga, succeeded in corralling the animal. War showed up and hauled the fugitive back to “the home on the range.”

In 1956, Robert Racich, Elwood Lebold, Brian Thomas, Horace Wilmer, Anthony Timbario, Bob Laskey, David Fulmer, Bobby Moore, Francis A. Blake, Tony Moore, and John Salmons were just a few of the racers participating in the annual Fourth of July Soap Box Derby event, Charles Caikoski was the 1956 champion.

January 4, 1965
New Theatre For Plymouth
The Plymouth Township Planning Commission has approved the application of Plymouth Square Inc., owners of the Plymouth Square Shopping Center, Ridge and Butler Pikes, for an 810 seat movie theatre.
The Sampain Corp., Philadelphia will be the operators. They presently hold an interest in 23 movie houses in the Philadelphia area.
The proposed one story structure will be built in the shopping center, next to the row of stores on the Butler Pike side.
The present parking capacity exceeds that required by the zoning code, the planning commission pointed out. The code calls for 600 spaces; the present capacity is over 900.
November 25, 1984
Horses Around with Police
Drunken Equestrian Jams Hector Traffic
(This is a long article so let’s see if we can shorten it a bit)
Let’s just get right to the police report on the matter, George Fairel Jr. was a guard at Lee Park located at North Lane and Hector street, while making his rounds he noticed an unattended tied up horse outside Jack’s Tavern on the 700 block of Hector Street. The guard then noticed what seemed to be an inebriated man mounted on the horse and almost falling off the horse as the horse and rider made its way east on Hector Street past Lee Park so the guard called the cops.
Officer Guy Anhorn responded to find the suspect on the horse, sliding out of the saddle and blocking cars on the street. Officer Anhorn ordered the intoxicated equestrian to get his horse out of the street, the rider replied ordering Anhorn to get his car off the street.
The rider made the horse rear back on its hind legs, refusing to dismount, by the time Officer Paul Davis arrived on the scene traffic was beginning to back up. Officer Davis snatched the reins of the horse and tried to hold on but the rider turned the horse and galloped about 50 yards down the road with Davis in hot pursuit. Officer Anhorn was quick to maneuver his squad car in the way of the fleeing horse and rider in an effort to cut them off but once again the horse reared back and the rider dug in with his spurs for an exit.
By the time Officer Jesse Stemple arrived he was in no mood to wrestle a horse or rider so with two of the officers holding the horse Stemple jerked the rider off the horse. The man spent the night in jail and the horse spent the night in a nearby stable.

November 26, 1963
(Just a little walk down memory lane)
Remember When

The Brown Derby
123 Fayette Street
Patrick S. Bello, Prop.

Anthony’s Men’s Shop
117 Fayette Street

Adam F. Mackiewicz
Real Estate Insurance
815 Fayette Street

Rafferty’s Pharmacy
57 Fayette Street

Frank R. Gussoni Jr
Real Estate—General Contracting
48 West Seventh Avenue

Connor’s Used Auto Parts
5 Colwell Lane

Fleming Motors, Inc.
601 Hector Street

Glass & Glass
1516 Fayette Street

Conshohocken Launderette
Anna D. Rosetta Prop.
First and Harry St.

Fayette Pharmacy
902 Fayette Street

Cathy Ann’s Beauty Salon
200 Fayette Street

Wearing Apparel
73 Fayette Street

January 13, 1966
Plymouth Mall Merchants Planning February Opening
Plymouth Meeting Mall will be the area’s first example of the concept of a shopping mall as a regional community center. Plymouth Meeting is the area’s first two story enclosed shopping center and will be anchored by Strawbridge & Clothier and Lit Brothers.
A number of the other stores that will mark the opening of the Plymouth Meeting Mall include:
Adams Clothes
Annette Shops
Barricini Candy
Bata Shoes
Cherrrydale Farms
Edison Stores
Edwards Shoes
Fashion Bug
Flagg Shoes
Florsheim Shoes
Food Fair
Hanscom Bakery
Holiday Shoes
Home Unity
Howard Clothes
Jacob Korn
Jacob Reed’s Sons
Joyce Lewis
Mary K. Shop
Thom McCann
Continental Bank
Parklane Hosiery
Peoples Drugs
P. S. F. S.
Regal Slacks
Rug Crafters
Scot Ties
Shoe Realty
Silk Furs
Singer Sewing
Calico Restaurant
Steigerwalt Shoes
Peck & Peck, Tailored Man
Tuerke’s Tweed Shop
Walden Book Store
A Shop Called East
Card Mart
Bombay Shop
Ochs Opticians
Dunbar Stanley Studios
Lambert’s Bakery
The Cheese Shop
The Fabric Tree
J. E. Caldwell
Barr & Sons

A Few Conshohocken Businesses From 50 Years Ago

Anthony Smolczynski
Funeral Home
219 W. Elm Street

Dougherty’s Pharmacy
Fayette and Fourth Avenue

Edward B. Russell
Funeral Home
925 Fayette Street

Peoples Drug Store
Sam Katz
301 East Hector Street

Felix K. Jemionek
17 West Elm Street

Fayette Pharmacy
902 Fayette Street

Ray’s Tavern
10th and Spring Mill Avenue

Plymouth Hotel
474 Old Elm Street

Kehoe Hardware
109 Fayette Street

Vince’s Restaurant
1032 E. Hector Street

Just Outside Conshohocken

F. W. Woolworths
Plymouth Square Shopping Center

The Walton Gift Shop
412 Germantown Pike

Marchese Pontiac
Ridge Pike

Plymouth Hardware and Home Decoration Center
Plymouth Square Shopping Center

The Spring Mill Country Store
164 Barren Hill Rd

They were just a few businesses 50 years ago

Thanks to all the volunteers for another great car show

Let’s Go Phillies

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