227 Spring Mill Avenue
Former Home of Stone Cutter Michael Daly
By Jack Coll
Editor’s Note: (This is one in a series of short articles on random houses throughout the borough of Conshohocken, enjoy) This segment was taken from the book “Conshohocken & West Conshohocken People, Places and Stories.”
Houses up-and-down the avenues and streets of Conshohocken are, well, today, just houses, but back in the early part of last century, say a hundred years ago many of these houses provided needed services to the community. Many of them were corner stores or mid-block stores, the living rooms of some of these houses doubled as pool rooms, barber shops, cigar stores, candy stores and doctors’ offices. Sometimes the house was owned by a borough business-owner, or someone who contributed to the success of our community. I thought it might be fun, and interesting to point out of few of these houses, that today are occupied by residents who I’m sure had no idea that their house was at one time something more than just a house.
The Victorian style house located at 227 Spring Mill Avenue was built in 1875 and occupied for many years by Michael Daly and his wife Hanna (DeVaney). Michael Daly is another one of Conshohocken’s unique residents that few living residents today had ever heard of.
The segment below was taken from the book “Conshohocken & West Conshohocken people, Places and Stories.”
Michael Daly Died in 1928, but all of Conshohocken has seen his work.
Conshohocken Marble and Granite Works
Michael Daly is another one of Conshohocken’s great immigrant stories. He was born in Cork County Ireland in 1858 and sailed to America with his brother in 1867. Michael’s older brother James came to America first and stayed in New York. A few years later Michael followed James with his other brother Walter to this country, when Michael arrived in America he had but one shilling in his pocket and found work in the quarries in Connecticut where he no doubt learned the stone and marble business.
Michael arrived in Conshohocken in 1886, and followed his vocation in stone cutting. He worked on two of the buildings in this vicinity during their construction from start to finish including St. Joseph’s Convent, in Chestnut Hill and St. John’s Church, in Manayunk.
In 1893 he purchased a property at 227 Spring Mill Avenue where he lived and opened a Marble and Granite, Building and Cemetery Works on the adjoining properties. His Marble and Granite Yard office was located at 229 Spring Mill Avenue while his marble yard stretched from 231-235.
His business was successful from the beginning and many of the prettiest and most elaborate monuments in all of the cemeteries in this vicinity stand as examples of his craftsmanship.
In June of 1924, Michael donated a beautiful cross erected in St. Matthew cemetery, (Old St. Matthew cemetery located at 13th Avenue and Fayette Street). The donation of the cross in memory of the deceased priests of St. Matthew’s church as well as departed leaders and members of St. Matthew’s parish. Michael’s work can be seen in both the old and new St. Matthew’s cemeteries.
Michael and his wife Hanna DeVaney had six children including Margaret who worked in advertising for Campbell Soups, upon her retirement she served for a number of years on the Conshohocken School Board.
Their daughter Mary was a milliner who made what was called the most beautiful hats in Conshohocken.
Their daughter Rosalie married Patrick Leary, father of Joseph Leary. Patrick ran a grocery store at 37 Fayette Street for many years before his death.
Daughter Madeline was a well-loved and a well-known “Voice Instructor,” in Conshohocken. Madeline lived at 145 East Fourth Avenue and following graduation from St. Matthew High school she worked for many years at the Coopers Creek Chemical Corp. in West Conshohocken as a secretary. But for decades she was known to many as a “Voice Instructor” who directed the choirs of St. Theresa’s Church, located at Broad and Catharine Streets in Philadelphia and the Epiphany Church at 11th and Jackson Streets also in Philadelphia. Madeline passed away in January 1963.
Son Walter married Margaret V. Kehoe, their son Walter J. Daly became a Reverend and served for a time at St. Monica’s Church in Berwyn. Walter and Margaret had a total of seven children including four sons Joseph, Thomas, Father Daly, and Philip and three daughters Catherine, Margaret, and Mary Anne. The couple resided at 1231 Fayette Street for many years.
Mary Anne Daly Green was the granddaughter of Michael Daly, and the daughter of Walter, she provided us with much of the information pertaining to the Daly family
Michael and Hanna’s sixth child was Martin, a twin brother of Walter who died at one year old.
Michael Daly cut many of the marble curbs throughout the borough of Conshohocken, a lot of it is still in existence as well as many of the horses “Hitching Post” that can still be seen in front of houses throughout the avenues. He also cut many of the stone walkways, steps and garden paths that are still in use in many of the older Conshohocken houses.
Michael Daly passed away on October 9, 1928 following a minor surgery at St. Agnes’ Hospital in Philadelphia. Mr. Daly was a long-time member of the Conshohocken Council, Knights of Columbus and a dedicated member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He was a good man who took an active role in the advancement of this borough.
An Advertisement from the Conshohocken Recorder; January 4, 1924
The Indiana Limestone Trimmings of the
Conshohocken Trust Company
Were furnished by
& Granite Works
Artistic Marble and Granite Monuments
Headstones and Markers
All Kinds of Cemetery and Building Work
Curbing, Flagging, Etc.
Office and Yard 229-235 Spring Mill Avenue
Michael Daly, Proprietor Conshohocken Pa
The Photographs above and below include
******Early 1920’s, the Daly family poses on the front
porch of their home located at 227 Spring Mill Avenue.
******227 Spring Mill Avenue as it looks today,
on the left of the photo shows the more recent twin houses
where Mr. Daly’s office was once located and further left was his marble yard.
******A close-up of 227 Spring Mill Avenue as it looks today
******A surviving “Marble hitching” post located on East Fifth Avenue, while we can’t say Michael Daly carved this particular hitching post (He might have) we can say that Mr. Daly did carve hundreds of these post around the turn of the last century.
******Three samples of Mr. Daly’s work at both St. Matthew’s Cemeteries.
******An advertisement that was published in the Conshohocken Recorder Newspaper in January 1924, bragging about his work on the new Conshohocken Trust Company building located at Second Avenue and Fayette Street. The cut stone is still part of the building but was covered up with renovations in the mid part of last century. (Two Photographs)