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Churches in Wayne PA

Wayne’s wealth of religious institutions has always been one of its most attractive attributes. Churches make up a large part of Wayne’s center, as well as its outlying areas. Each church’s history is extensive enough for its own page, but because there are so many, their histories have been condensed into a single page.

Old St. David’s Church
Founded 1714
Wayne, Valley Forge Rd.
Still Active

Old St. David’s Church is the oldest extant church in Radnor Township. It is also one of the oldest buildings in the township, having been built in 1714. The small, simple, stone church has been called one of the most famous churches in Pennsylvania. It is one of the most documented as well. In 1876 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned a poem entitled “Old St. David’s.” In the early 20th Century, Henry Pleasants wrote an entire book on Old St. David’s, which included information on each pastor, church activities, sermons, etc. It is also one of the most photographed buildings in Radnor, with many different postcards produced. In 1888, the members of the church built a Rectory on Valley Forge Rd., which was demolished in the 1950’s for a new parish house.

Wayne Presbyterian Church
Founded 1870
Wayne, Lancaster Ave.
Still Active

The Wayne Presbyterian Church was founded by J. Henry Askin in 1870 to appease the religious needs of his growing community. The first services were held in Wayne Hall, on Lancaster and Lyceum Aves. Askin then gave land and $25,000 for a new stone church to be built on Lancaster Ave. right next to his public recreation center, Lyceum Hall. The dedication service was conducted by Charles Wadsworth. His son, Charles Jr., headed the ceremonies for the next building in 1892. Originally, North Wayne Ave. ran in between the church and the hall. When the need for a new, larger church arose, North Wayne Ave. had for a time been moved to the other side of the Lyceum, and that land could be used for a new church building. That land had also been the site of the church’s stables. The new church, with its bell tower at rear, was constructed in 1892 on land given by George W. Childs. The Presbyterian Parsonage was located on North Wayne Ave., but had been overtaken by stores after only a few years. Over the years the church made several other additions, including a brick rear addition to the original chapel, and the most recent addition, an arched connection between the 1870 chapel and 1892 church.

Radnor Presbyterian Church
Founded 1907
Wayne, Windemere Ave. and Louella Ave.
Disbanded ?
The Radnor Presbyterian Church was located in a tudor-style building located next to the Radnor High School on Windemere Ave. The Church was in close proximity to the public schools, and the land on which it was located is now the property of the School District. The first minister of the Church, Rev. Frank C. Putnam, was installed on March 10, 1908. The Church building was dedicated a day later. The building was built on the side of a hill, and a stone bridge had to be built to the building’s entrance. Due to the popularity of the Wayne Presbyterian Church just down the street, less is known about Radnor Presbyterian. The church was disbanded sometime in the early half of the century, the building demolished, and the land became part of the School District. There is no trace of the building left, however on the approximate site of it there are several gray stones in the ground. Could these be part of the church’s foundation?

Radnor Baptist Church
Also called First Baptist Church, Wayne Baptist Church
Founded 1832
Wayne, West Wayne Ave. and Conestoga Rd.
Disbanded in 1951

One of Radnor’s oldest religious organizations, behind St. David’s Episcopal, was the Radnor Baptist Church. The first home of the Church was in the Radnor Scientific and Musical Hall, built in 1832 by Willam Siter. The Siter family was prominent in the area in that time, and at one point the location around what is now Strafford was called Siterville. Located directly behind the new church was the school house, built in 1841. In 1889 the old church building was replaced by a new stone building. The Church was demolished in 1951, and stores were built in its place, namely Conestoga Hardware. Today the schoolhouse still remains, as a private dwelling. The cemetery also remains between the schoolhouse and the old P&W trolley line. Since the Church was disbanded, it is remarkable that these few relics remain.

Central Baptist Church
Founded 1896
Wayne, Lancaster Ave.
Still Active

Though Radnor had a Baptist church already, a new one was officially formed as the Central Baptist Church in December of 1896. They held their first meeting three years before in 1893 at Charles Walton’s house, the original Walmarthon (not the future Eastern University) at St. David’s Rd. and Midland Ave. The group later went on to build the Central Baptist Church in the heart of Wayne. The structure was built by Jonathan Lengel in 1897-98 from a design by David K. Boyd. The church’s centralized location on Lancaster Ave. was similar to that of the Presbyterian Church. The original design of the church was interesting: the rectangular tower had a cone-shaped top, and the building had a covered driveway overhang. Both elements are gone today, although most of the original stone building remains intact. The first services in the Church were held on April 3, 1898. Another branch of the Church was the Second Baptist Church of Wayne, located on Highland Ave. This Church was formed some time before 1900.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Founded 1890
Wayne, Lancaster and Louella Ave.
Still Active

The cornerstone of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church was laid on June 27, 1889. It held its opening services April 6, 1890. At that time construction had yet to be cleaned up, and worshippers had to enter using a long wooden plank extended over the dirt. The Church was built by Rev. Thomas K. Conrad, as a memorial to his parents, Harry and Hannah. It was designed by Wilson Brothers and Company, architects, who had designed the Wayne Train Station as well as many of the buildings at the Centennial Exhibition in 1876. The Church’s rectory, built at the same time as the Church, was converted into the Radnor Township Building in 1928. In 1969, St. Mary’s fell victim to an extensive fire. The blaze collapsed the roof and destroyed a substantial portion of the stonework. However, contrary to many other churchs’ practices in the time, St. Mary’s rebuilt the Church to exactly the same specifications as the original design.

Wayne Methodist Episcopal Church
Founded 1891
Wayne, South Wayne Ave.
Still Active

The Wayne M.E. Church was designed by C.A. Davis and T.P. Lonsdale. It was dedicated on June 28, 1891. In 1965, the original stone church was demolished to accommodate a newer and larger brick building, with a very tall spire. This building remains to this day.

St. Katherine of Siena Church
Founded 1893
Wayne, Lancaster and Aberdeen Ave.
Still Active

St. Katherine’s was established in 1893, although their church was not dedicated until August 30, 1896. The land for the Church was given by the Wayne Estate. In 1917 the Church established a private elementary school, and later established a girl’s high school. The original stone church was demolished in 1965 (a bad year for Wayne churches) and was replaced by a newer church with a modern design. St. Katherine’s school has been expanding over the years, and recently built a new gymnasium.

Wayne in the Movies

Oh, Johnny!

Oh, Johnny! was filmed in 1918 at the Walmarthon Estate, in St. Davids. The film was directed by Ira M. Lowry, and was produced by Sigmund Lubin, who ran the Betzwood Studios in Valley Forge. Shortly after the making of the movie, Betzwood Studios was sold. Lubin was responsible for many film studios across the country, the most advanced of which was in Philadelphia, and also opened numerous theatres across Philadelphia.

Oh, Johnny! was a Western comedy, was written by Wilson Bayley, and the cinematography was by David Calcagni. The film is especially important locally because it shows the Walmarthon water wheel, a dinner party on the estate’s patio, and swimming and diving in Willow Lake. There are also scenes inside the mansion.

The full cast includes:

Louis Bennison as Johnny Burke
Alphonse Ethier as John Bryson
Edward Roseman as Charlie Romero
John Daly Murphy as Van Pelt Butler
Frank Goldsmith as Earl of Barncastle
Virginia Lee (I) as Adele Butler
Anita Cortez as Dolores
Louise Brownell as Mrs. Van Pelt Butler
Russell Simpson as Adele’s Father
Frank Evans (I) as Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Ralph Naim as Undetermined Role (uncredited)

The original Betzwood Studio in Valley Forge today, unfortunately falling to ruin.
Click on the image to see a larger version
Photo courtesy of The Waltonian

The Philadelphia Story

It is no secret around the Main Line that The Philadelphia Story, starring Katherine Hepburn and James Stewart, was based upon the life of Hope Montgomery Scott, of Radnor’s famous Montgomery Scott family. It is, however, little known that a scene in the 1949 movie was filmed right in Wayne. The Wayne Memorial Library, on Lancaster Ave. directly across from the Anthony Wayne Movie Theatre, was used to film a single scene in the movie.

Taps

Anyone who can provide more information on the production of Taps and the influence the movie had on Wayne would be much appreciated.

Starring George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise, Taps is the story of Military Academy Cadets who try to save their School from imposing condo developers. A warlike cloud descends on the town as the overly militaristic cadets do anything to protect their school. A warlike cloud also fell upon Wayne as the movie was being filmed in 1980 and 1981. The Military Academy used for the film was none other than Valley Forge Military Academy. Taps was one of Tom Cruise’s first movies, and was Sean Penn’s debut role. Several of the main actors, including Hutton, Cruise and Penn, went through a 45 day long orientation and training at VFMA. Most of these actors did well at the training, and even enjoyed it, although Tom Cruise decided his time was better spent relaxing at a local hotel. It’s not known what hotel this was, although it was likely one on the Main Line.

The Suburban and Wayne Times donated their front window to be used for a Cafe. The Lancaster County Farmer’s Market made an appearance. Numerous other local landmarks can be seen throughout the movie. One of the pivitol scenes in the movie took place on North Wayne Avenue, where one of the cadets’ two trucks break down, and they are assaulted by a town gang. Pictures from this scene can be seen below. One Wayne resident at the time said it seemed to be the “biggest thing ever to hit Wayne.” Ironically, in 2000 the Valley Forge Military Academy was trying to build a condo-like establishment on their property. Though no cadets rebelled, the surrounding neighborhood sure did.

Famous Residents Of Wayne PA

David Brooks -journalist and commentator

David Brooks, who grew up in North Wayne, has become a nationally known journalist. He is a senior editor of the Weekly Standard and in September 2003 became a columnist for The New York Times.

Brooks is best known, at least locally, for his 2000 book “Bobo’s in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There.” In this book he uses how Wayne has changed over the years as an example of the book’s main point. An excerpt about Wayne from the book was reprinted in Newsweek.

Brooks’ parents still live in North Wayne.

 

Fritz Coleman actor, comedian and weatherman

Fritz Coleman, who lived in Wayne and attended Radnor schools, became a well known stand-up comedian and actor on the west coast.

Coleman started as the NBC4 weekend weatherman in 1983 and moved to weekdays 2 years later. He’s been called the “#1 weathercaster in Southern California” and was named one of Los Angeles’ treasures by the city. He recently starred in the one-man stage show “The Reception” in Los Angeles.

In addition, Coleman is the honorary mayor of Toluca Lake, California. He appeared on the Tonight Show a number of times and was once Master of Ceremonies for a Bob Hope special.

 

Al Hunt journalist and commentator

Al Hunt is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and grew up in Wayne. Hunt was a 1960 graduate of the Haverford School where he was classmate of future Las Vegas mayor Oscar B. Goodman. Before he graduated from Wake Forest University Hunt worked locally for the Philadelphia Bulletin.

In addition to being the executive Washington editor for the Wall Street Journal since 1993, he has been a commentator for CNN’s Capital Gang since 1988. Hunt also previously co-hosted CNN’s Novak, Hunt & Shields and Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields. He is married to fellow CNN newsperson Judy Woodruff.

Randal Kleiser motion picture director

Randal Kleiser, who graduated from Radnor High School in the 1960′s, was the director of some of the most memorable motion pictures of the past few decades. Though his most well-known directorial work is 1978′s “Grease,” Kleiser also directed “The Blue Lagoon,” “White Fang,” and “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid,” among many others.

Ed McMahon entertainer

McMahon is a man who hardly needs an introduction. He gained incredible fame as Johnny Carson’s sidekick on The Tonight Show, was host of the long-running Star Search, and is recognizable for a multitude of other appearances.

McMahon lived in Wayne in the 1950′s, the same time that he hosted a late-night interview show in Philadelphia for WCAU-TV. He had to move from the area to work on the Tonight Show, though he never forgot the Main Line and still comes back frequently.

 

Thomas F. Wilson actor

Thomas F. Wilson, who attended Radnor High, became an actor in Hollywood. His breakthrough role is considered to be that of Biff Tannen, the villian in the three “Back to the Future” movies. Though he starred in a few lesser-known films, Wilson has lately been working as a voice actor. His first role as a voice actor was as “Biff” in the “Back to the Future” cartoon; it could be that this role inspired him to do more voice acting. He has provided his voice for such shows as “Gargoyles” and “The Pink Panther,” as well as the upcoming “Spongebob Squarepants Movie” and video games such as “Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force.”

Quita Brodhead contemporary artist

Quita Brodhead, an abstract painter with Main Line roots, gained notable status in the contemporary art world. She was born Marie Waggaman Berl in Wilmington, DE and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She married Truxtun Read Brodhead in 1927 and thus moved to Wayne. In 1930 she and a friend began the Wayne Art Center.

As Quita gained notoriety, she moved to Europe, where she stayed for many decades. Her work is displayed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among many other museums. In March, 2001 a retrospective of her work opened at the Hollis Taggart Galleries in New York, to commemorate her 100th birthday.

Quita Brodhead died at Bryn Mawr Hospital in September 2002 of colon cancer. She was 101.

Charles Cajori contemporary artist

Charles Cajori, a Wayne native and Radnor High School Graduate, has become a nationally known contemporary artist. He graduated from Radnor in 1939. His yearbook states that his nickname was “Corky” and he added the caption: “Great thoughts, great feelings came to him, Like instincts, unawares.” Cajori was already a noted artist by the time he graduated from High School. He painted a series of large murals for the Radnor High School auditorium while still attending the school. The paintings were somewhat odd in subject matter, and about a decade later they were replaced by the work of a different student.

Cajori’s work became more and more well known throughout the art world. His work is now in the collections of many major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has also received many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001.

Local controversy began in 2001 when Cajori revisited Wayne and mentioned his RHS auditorium murals. A frenzy ensued, because Cajori’s murals had been forgotten for years. The school district admitted that the murals were lost, but soon afterwards a few photographs of the murals surfaced.

A. B. Frost illustrator

Arthur B. Frost is considered one of the finest American illustrators. At one point in his life, he lived in Wayne. His illustrations, which still remain popular today, appeared in many turn of the 20th century magazines, including Life and Harper’s Weekly, and he even illustrated Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus stories.

Interestingly, Frost is now considered a forgotten master of the comic strip. The humorous nature of his illustrations transferred perfectly to the comics pages, and strangely, little attention is given to his comics today.

Anna Moffo soprano vocalist

Award-winning soprano and Metropolitan Opera star Anna Moffo came from a family who were longtime residents of Wayne. Her father, Nicholas Moffo, succeeded Robert Caig in the shoemaking business. Her mother was Regina Cinti Moffo. She was born June 27, 1932 and began singing at a young age. Radnor schools gave her the opportunity to express her talent early, and it is said that her first public performance was at the age of 7, when during a school assembly she sang “Mighty Lak’ a Rose.” She continued singing in academic as well as extracurricular functions. After high school Moffo intended on becoming a nun, therefore giving up a chance to act in Hollywood films. Her stage debut came in 1955 in Spoleto, Italy. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut on November 14, 1959, as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata. Her popularity in Italy grew, where she was named one of the ten most beautiful women in that country and earned her own television show, “The Anna Moffo Show,” from 1960-73. Despite the fact that she turned down film roles in her early career, she did appear in a few, most of which have been put into obscurity because they’re disliked by critics. Moffo’s second marriage was to RCA chairman Robert Sarnoff, son of broadcast mogul David Sarnoff.

Moffo never forgot Radnor, and visited her hometown in 1963. She corresponded frequently with her high school music teacher, Mr. Zerr. Anna Moffo is still alive and can be written to at:
Anna Moffo / c/o Metropolitan Opera Guild Board of Directors / 30 Lincoln Center / New York NY 10023 U.S.A.

Jane Barkman Olympic swimmer

Jane Barkman was a class of 1969 Radnor High School graduate. In 1968 (before graduating from Radnor), Jane represented the United States in the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics for swimming. She won both gold and bronze medals at the event. In the 1972 Munich, Germany Summer Olympics she won yet another gold medal.

Mary Ellen Clark Olympic diver

Mary Ellen Clark was a 1981 Radnor graduate. She was a seven time United States Diving National Champion and won two bronze medals in platform diving in the Summer Olympics of Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996).

Ted Dean football player

Ted Dean, a 1956 Radnor Graduate, played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1960-64. He played runningback and fullback and was #35.

One of the highlights of Dean’s football career was his 5-yard rush and touchdown in the 1960 NFL Championship Game against Green Bay. The score ultimately decided the game (which the Eagles won 17-13).

Joe Iacone football player

Joe Iacone graduated from Radnor High in 1959. He continued to play football at West Chester University, and eventually became a sixth round draft choice of the Eagles.

Emlen Tunnell football player

Emlen Tunnel was in the Radnor High class of 1942. He began playing football at Radnor and continued football at the University of Toledo. His attempts to join the army and navy were denied because Tunnell broke his neck early in his college career. This injury almost ended his football days forever.

From 1948-58 Tunnell played professionally for the New York Giants. He was the first post-war African-American on the team and one of the first defense-only players. He earned the nickname “Emlen the Gremlin.” Tunnell then played for the Green Bay Packers from 1959-61.

Emlen Tunnell was selected for nine Pro Bowls. He became the first African-American to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. He also became the first black assistant coach in the NFL when he was assistant to Vince Lombardi at Green Bay.

Emlen Tunnell died on July 22, 1975.

 

Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. astronaut

“Pete” Conrad was the third person to walk on the moon as a part of Apollo 12 in 1969. He was a Radnor resident, and attended the Haverford School. He would have been one of the class of 1948, but he was asked to leave before graduation. His lifetime enthusiasm for aviation did in his Haverford School career, for he often skipped school to learn to fly. After his death, one friend of his from school said “We used to meet at St. Davids Station to take the train to school, and half the time he wouldn’t be there. He’d be over at Wings Field in Norristown.” Despite his disciplinary problems at school, Conrad obviously did something right, because he later attended Princeton University and was a member of NASA’s second group of astronauts to be selected.

At 5’6″, Conrad was one of the shortest astronauts, which prompted him to declare on the surface of the moon: “It may have been small for Neil but it was a big one for a little fella like me.” Conrad also commanded the Gemini 11 flight in 1966 and went to Skylab 2 in 1973. On July 8, 1999, Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. died after a motorcycle accident in Ojai, California. He was 69.

Famous Visitors

The following is a short list of some of the prominent people (dead or alive) who visited Wayne and Radnor.

Presidents Abraham Lincoln (corpse in funeral train), Ulysses S. Grant, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush;
Admiral Richard E. Byrd;Actors George C. Scott, Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton

 

Wayne’s Main Intersection


The house which stood for over fifty years on the Northwest corner was constructed around 1883. Since Lancaster Avenue was narrower then, there was room for a lawn and picket fence. When J. Henry Askin moved out of Louella, he lived here until relocating to Florida in the 1880s. It was bought by Lizzie Pugh Fronefield from Christopher and Emma Fallon. At this time the building was a residence with a post office on the side facing N. Wayne Ave. The post office moved out around 1900, and the residence was divided into two stores, one facing Wayne Ave, the other on the corner. Mr. Wemmer operated the “Wayne Mart” on the corner until Mr. Stafford took over in 1910. An addition was made to the rear in about 1905, and Louis de Louis’s tailor shop moved in. David H. Henderson opened a fish market there a decade later. It was taken over by Earl Frankenfeld around 1947. The corner store was home to a variety store operated by William A. Miller and his wife. The store became known as “Miller’s Store,” and its large signs advertised “Breyers Ice Cream  Stationery  Candy  |  Candy & Toys  Coca-Cola  Novelties.” Mrs. Miller died in early 1949, and electrical appliance / floor coverings store Cobb & Lawless took over the space. Cobb & Lawless already operated in the store to the left, in the same building, and reopened with both storefronts later in 1949. They painted all the brickwork white and remodeled the building so that the first floor was at ground level. In 1951 the house caught fire, and Cobb & Lawless were forced to build a new building on the corner. The new structure was just one story tall, and featured many large display windows. Wayne Jewelers and Silversmiths, who had operated for a few years in the Anthony Wayne Theatre building, moved to this location after Cobb & Lawless moved out.



The house in 1919, before it was completely commercial.
From “Radnor: A Pictorial History”A truck at the corner in front of the building. It is unsure what function this truck had.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

Miller’s Store, 1948.
From “Radnor: A Pictorial History”

 

The building in 1949, when Miller’s Store just moved out and Cobb & Lawless was ready to expand.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

The fire which gutted Cobb & Lawless in 1951. After this they were forced to rebuild.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

 

Cobb & Lawless’s new building.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

 

Here’s what the corner would look like today if the original house were still there.
GP Graphic


 

The Wayne Title & Trust Co. was founded in 1890 by local businessmen. They had their building designed by William L. Price and constructed on the Southwest corner in the same year. It was enlarged very soon after. The building is notable for housing many important local establishments, like the office of builder J.D. Lengel. It was also the first home of the Radnor Township Commissioners. They met in the Title & Trust building from 1901 to 1928. In 1930 a whole new Title & Trust Co. building was built, with huge columns and an overall square design. It still stands on the corner. The Company was bought by the First Pennsylvania Banking and Trust Co. on March 16, 1956. It operated as a bank until the late 1990s, when the building was taken over by U.S. Trust.


The original stone building before enlargements.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

 

The enlarged building.
From “Radnor: A Pictorial History”


 

The building on the Southeast corner was commercial from the very beginning. It was built about 1884, and at that time pharmacist J.M. Fronefield moved there from the Opera House. Fronefield was postmaster of the General Wayne post office, which operated in this building starting 1885. Harry LaDow bought the drugstore in 1910. The left half of the building was occupied by Lienhardt’s Bakery, which took over Stritzinger’s Bakery in 1887. Lienhardt’s became famous locally for baked goods, ice cream and much more. The Lienhardt family ran the bakery for 63 years. In 1927 the building was split right in half, and only the left part remained standing. The right half was replaced by a large brick building, which first contained the drug store. The two top floors contained substantial space for offices. The store once home to Lienhardt’s became Harry’s, then Pie in the Sky Pizza. The bottom floor contained a number of stores including most recently the Gap, Robertson’s Seedlings and Robertson’s Flowers.


The newly built storefront, with J.M. Fronefield as the only tenant. Circa 1884.
From “Radnor: A Pictorial History”

 

A horse and carriage at the corner in the 1880s.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

The interior of the Lienhardt Bakery, 1890′s. It can be assumed that the patrons actually did have faces.
Click on the image to see a larger version.
From “Historic Wayne”


A vintage advertisement for the Bakery.
Click on the image to see a larger version.
From “Radnor: A Pictorial History”


The corner circa 1890. The steps lead to the post office.
From “Historic Wayne”

The building around 1927, before the right half was demolished.
From “Historic Wayne”



The new building at the corner, 1928.
From “Historic Wayne”

 

The store “Buttercup” occupying the far left store in the 1970s.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

The Anthony Wayne Theatre

The Anthony Wayne was not, as some think, Wayne’s first movie theatre. The first movies to be shown in Wayne were at the Opera House just across Wayne avenue. George C. and Lawrence Allen ran the movies at the Opera House, which caught fire in 1914. The Allens lost their silver screen and a piano, yet the projection unit was salvaged. The movie film from the time was indeed very flammable, yet this was probably not the cause of the fire. The movie showings were then relocated to St. Katherine’s Hall.

A new theatre was built shortly after at 116 North Wayne Ave. by E. E. Trout. This building resembled a three-story house, and was located approximately where Reader’s Forum bookstore later established itself. It held movies and vaudeville shows for charity. Some charities included the Radnorite, the Radnor High School paper, and the Radnor Fire Company.

The need for a new theatre grew in the 1920s, and Philip DeMarse, a longtime Wayne barber, sold land on Lancaster Ave. to Harry Fried of Fried Enterprises. A new theatre, designed by noted local theatre designer William Howard Lee, was built there in either 1928 or 1929. Lee was a native of Shamokin, PA, where he designed the recently demolished Victoria Theatre. It is little known that Lee designed the Anthony Wayne, and before the discovery of the Terra Cotta advertisement seen below, the architect of the theatre was unknown. Lee also designed the Majestic Theatre in Pottstown, redesigned the interior of the Walnut Theatre (the oldest in America) and designed the Frankford Elevated Railroad.

The architect chose colorful terra cotta details made by the Conkling-Armstrong Terra Cotta Company, Philadelphia. At the time it was the only theatre on the whole Main Line to be equipped with sound. The theatre was a unique art deco design, featuring a main theatre segment in the center and two storefronts (with offices on top) on either side. Stores which operated here include Wayne Jewelers, The Anthony Wayne Sweet Shoppe, Joel’s Men’s Store, and most recently Larmon Photo and Color Me Mine.

In order to keep customers during the Great Depression, Harry Fried joined forces with the Wayne Business Association and gave away tickets at movie showings. In a display that sounds like something from a Jean Shepherd story, all the tickets were put in a big drum, and after turning it, a winner’s ticket was chosen.

The Theatre has undergone some changes. In 1965 the original marquee was replaced by a curved one. Around this time some other details from the top area of the building were removed. The theatre originally had just one screen, then was split to two, and now has around five.

ophousefire1 (1)

The first movies at Wayne were shown at the Opera House until the fire, seen here.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

oldwaynetheatre

Wayne’s first real movie theatre was this building, located on North Wayne Ave. You can see movie posters on either side of the main doorway.
GP Collection

vaudevilleticket

An advertisement for a Radnor Fire Company benefit at the North Wayne Ave. theatre. Keep in mind that fifty cents was a large amount of money in 1918.
Collection of Jake Lofton

backstage

Some interesting details were still visible backstage when Main Line Life took this picture, mid-1990′s.
Click on the image for a larger version.
“Main Line Life” photo; Radnor Historical Society Collection

lancastercorner1 (1)

An unusually large banner hung outside the Theatre when this 1930s postcard was photographed. A Betty Boop cartoon was showing.
Private Collection

lincolnhighway copy

A 1950s postcard showing the “Lincoln Highway,” and the front of the theatre.
GP Collection

 

oldtheatrefront
The theatre in 1976. Click on it to see a larger version..
Radnor School District Archives

1990saw

The Theatre in 1994. At this time Larmon Photo was located in the right storefront of the Theatre. It later relocated to the other side.

Bellevue Hotel in Wayne

The famous Bellevue Hotel in Wayne, on Lancaster and Bellevue Avenues, was built in 1881 and consisted of 200 rooms on four stories, each story with a porch. A. J. Drexel and George W. Childs built it one year after buying the Louella mansion in their continuing efforts to make Wayne a fashionable summer resort for city dwellers. It was situated on a plot of land with Bellevue Avenue on one side and William Wood’s property, “Woodlea” on the other. Soon after completion, the Bellevue was leased to Mary Simmons and her sister by George Childs and was then called the Bellevue mansion. In an article dated July 2, 1884, a newspaper writer from the Germantown Telegraph described his visit to Wayne, devoting part to the then Bellevue mansion:

“We now come to the beautifully situated Bellevue mansion on Lancaster Avenue. The mansion has been leased by Mr. Childs to Miss Mary Simmons and her sister, and is a charming summer resort. It has one hundred rooms, and each room has a private porch. Four porches run entirely around the mansion, and the building and surroundings cost over eight thousand dollars. The mansion stands in the centre of a beautiful lawn, and is approached by a fine macadamized road. The parlors present a most luxurious appearance, and the large and elegant dining-room is where the ‘Aztec Club’ took their annual dinner before the death of Gen. Robert Patterson. A handsome billiard room or hall is near the mansion, and there are ice-houses, servants’ quarters, stables, gas-houses, etc.
The mansion is well supplied with fire-escapes, and the heating arrangements are excellent. There are a smoking-room, card-room, private parlors, etc.”

One of the Bellevue’s most prominent features was a long boardwalk, beginning at the hotel’s right side and ending at the train station platform. Tennis and croquet ground were another bonus for the Bellevue, especially since the Louella had neither. There were at least two separate buildings on the Bellevue property, one being the ice house, the other a stone house. This included inside billiard and pool tables, a library with a fireplace, and tow card rooms; one for men only and one for ladies only.
In 1885, Mary Berrell Field bought the Bellevue from George W. Childs. She owned it until 1895. During this period, the hotel hosted numerous forms of entertainment, including the Aztec club meetings and conventions. It is said that some time during these years, General Ulysses S. Grant stayed at the Bellevue. Field hosted masquerades and sleighing parties. One night in 1886 Wayne contractor and quarry operator R.H. Johnson said that “Every young lady and gentleman in Wayne had the pleasure of a sleigh ride on Jan. 20 to the White Hall in Bryn Mawr and back.”
Mary Field Arms Davis, granddaughter of the Bellevue’s owner, lived there with her grandmother, great-grandmother, parents and brother. She wrote a manuscript, entitled “Through Six Generations” which describes the hotel. She said it had no private baths, but each room had a wash stand, bowl and pitcher.

“On each floor were several bath rooms that were kept locked. When a bath was wanted, the chambermaid was called and given a ticket or 25 cents. She would get the bath and then straighten up.” Apparently these baths faced the tennis courts.

Saturday nights were hop nights from 8:30 to 11:50. This time allowed guests to catch the last train into Philadelphia. On Sundays, hymns were featured and concert music was played on Wednesdays. The “Mikado party”, a large masquerade party in mid-summer, was remembered by all who attended. The Fourth of July held a major event for the hotel annually, with sports events, a one o’clock dinner, fireworks, and an evening hop with an extra large orchestra.

Although it was primarily a summer resort, the Bellevue still got a fairly good business in the winter of about 50 guests.During one winter, the family of “Little Lord Fauntleroy” ‘s Frances Hodgson Burnett rented eight rooms on the second floor, according to Davis.
The Bellevue came to the ground on March 15 and the morning of the 16th, 1900, around 2:30 a.m.. Frances Fronefield Crawford Gant, daughter of drugstore operator J.M. Fronefield, recorded her memories of the fire for the Radnor Library Oral History Project:

“The only fire equipment in Wayne at the time was a hose and reel. Dr. Leinhardt, the veterinarian (and brother to the Leinhardt Bakers), had two horses that were supposed to pull the reel and hose, but this was in the middle of winter, there was 2-1/2 feet of snow, and of course, the horses couldn’t do it. They couldn’t get any water to the fire. They just had to let it burn all the way down to the ground.”

Another dairy entry reads:
“On March 15, 1900, the frozen ground was covered with snow and a heavy wind was blowing. The blaze was detected by an employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who wakened the Wood family whose property adjoined the hotel to the east. Mr. William Wood called for the firemen.
“Embers blew as far as Audubon Ave. People flocked to watch. A colored servant famous for her enthusiasm for firewatching was early at the scene. Unlike the aging John Baker (who was the chief of the Wayne Hose Co.), she was a good runner.
The North Wayne firemen dragged their hose all the way up the hill to the Station but were unable to prevent almost total destruction of the hotel, though they were successful in preventing its spread to nearby stables and houses.
“A little girl was present, dressed in her brother’s trousers. Mrs. Case recalled her disappointment in being unable to run out and watch, too, because she could not find suitable clothes. Dr. George Miles Wells, the Wayne physician, mistook the illumination in the sky for moonlight and unlike most of his fellow townsmen went back to sleep.”

Gant was a girl at the time, and lived directly across the street from the hotel. Dr. Leinhardt, the veterinarian, was her neighbor. On March 17, the Philadelphia Public Ledger published the following: “It is believed that tramps, having made a fire in one of the large fireplaces on the first floor, carelessly permitted the flames to spread. When the town watchman first saw the blaze the fire was progressing rapidly.” It also stated that the loss was $58,000, and that after that was covered by insurance, the building was never rebuilt.

The Fire Chief at the time was Robert McCaig, Wayne’s Practical Boot and shoe maker.
Many years after McCaig served in the fire company and the fire, the Old man’s Club Minstrels gave a show in honor of the Fire Company, in which McCaig was in attendance. The show included a skit entitled “When We Ran With The Old Machine”, which concluded with these creative, however humorously erroneous verses:

And do you remember
When Bob McCaig was chief
And the Bellevue Hotel met its doom?

The people all turned out
And there was a fearful shout
For a child was left asleep in its room.

Bob rushed into the building
And he staggered up the stairs
Oh, it was a terrible scare!

Threw the baby out the window
Carried the cradle down the stairs
Then we ran with the Old Machine!

At the conslusion of this performance, McCaig himself stood up and yelled, “It’s a damn lie!”
Where the once great hotel stood, William W. Hearne built a house, apparently using the two detached buildings from the Bellevue. Hearne, who was the first president of the Radnor Fire Company of Wayne was succeeded in this residence by A.M. Campbell. During this time, Red Cross meetings were held there. During the house’s last years, Helen Kellog ran her Dining Room.
In the 1950’s, Bell Telephone, seeking land high above sea level, built its long lines building, later ran by AT&T. Bellevue Avenue still commemorates the memory of the great hotel, although all other traces of it are lost.

 

bellevueengraving

An engraving of the hotel from a Real Estate brochure
Radnor Historical Society Collection

bellevueband

A band of some kind at the foot of the building
Radnor Historical Society Collection

Wayne Opera House

The Wayne Lyceum Hall, later renamed the Wayne Opera House, was built by J. Henry Askin from designs of David S. Glendale on the corner of Lancaster and Wayne Avenues. The commencement ceremony fo rthe Lyceum took place on March 7, 1871, and it was officially dedicated on October 24, 1871. In its first years, Wayne Avenue was on the building’s East side, in between the Lyceum and the Presbyterian Church. An issue of the Weekly Wayne Gazette published this at the building’s opening: “The object of the erection has been for the extension and development of knowledge and we dedicate it sacred to the promotion of morality, purity, and mental development. Let that which is just, virtuous, and righteous be tolerated kind obliterated.” It was originally three stories tall, with a mansard roof (which came to be Askin’s theme throughout his new commuminty). This roof had three large windows on the North and South sides and one on the West side. On the East, however, a statue of some kind inside a window-shaped enclosure is visible in photographs.

The first floor consisted of four large rooms which housed a library-reading room and stores. The second floor was reached by steep stairs and consisted of a 450 seat meeting room and stage which was home to lectures, concerts, demonstrations, and even church services. The stage was originally very small, but was enlarged in 1889 with the help of the Wayne Estate. The third floor was originally used for meetings, and as of 1890 housed the Masonic Lodge. Askin was a mason himself, and it was his plan to dedicate a whole floor of Wayne’s public hub to the organization. The building’s cornerstone, located twenty feet above ground on the building’s east side, bore the date “1871″ and a masonic emblem, all inside a keystone shape. The cornerstone remained in the same spot until March of 1951, when it was removed as the building was being remodeled. It contained many mementos from the dedication year, including deteriorated copies of the Wayne Literary Gazette, and a small box of coins. Also in the box was the manuscript of a song written especially for the dedication of the building.

Beginning in 1871, Wayne’s first newspaper, the Wayne Gazette, was published in the Lyceum. It had previously been produced at Wayne Hall. The paper ran until only the next year. The Wayne Lyceum School was one of the earliest known businesses to set up shop in the first floor. R.H. McCormick, the local assessor, began in April of 1872 his household furnishings business. A short time later, he became Louella’s first Post Master. The Post Office was located inside his store. Future Post Masters also operated here, including J.H. Brooke in 1881, Theodore F. Ramsey in 1883, Joseph M. Fronefield in 1885 and Mrs. Sallie P. Ramsey in 1890. In 1903, an addition was put onto the West end to accomodate the Post Office.

Other businesses which operated in the Opera House before the turn of the century were George E. Mancill’s grocery and provisions store (who was followed in the business by David D. Mancill), and W.H. Welsh and Co. Welsh’s hardware business, which later became George R. Park and Sons. In addition, Childs and Drexel’s office was contained in the Opera House building.

On December 30, 1914, fire was discovered at the office of the Counties Gas and Electric Co., located in the building’s west side. It was found by the foreman of the company’s power plant, Robert Tisdale, at 1:30 a.m. He then notified the Radnor Police Department’s Sergeant Rahill, and fire companies from Wayne, Devon and Bryn Mawr responded. Included in the eight streams of water that were shot at the fire at one time was the Radnor Hale Pump, the first motorized fire pump in the country. It was the fire at the Opera House that truly showed the power of this little machine; it pumped water for six hours continuously.

The fire spread to the top floor, where the walls caved in. The stage and auditorium floor were gutted, and the bottom floor suffered smoke and water damage. Welsh and Park Hardware sustained major water damage to their stock of goods, and the office of real estate dealer Charles M. Davis was also badly damaged. The tenants lost and estimated $50,000. Fortunately the records and stamps from the post office were saved by postmaster Milton J. Porter and other employees and volunteers. They had to relocate for about a week into the Wayne Title and Trust building, diagonally across the street, after which they moved back to their previous location. Other businesses had to relocate; Welsh and Park went to the Union Hall building, the Wayne Plumbing and Heating Company went to the second floor of the Wayne Estate Building and the gas and electric company went to the J.C. Pinkerton house on the corner of Lancaster and Louella Ave. There thankfully were no fatalities, although post office clerk Miss H. Ada Detterline was injured severely by a falling piece of cornice. The opera house was the first place in Wayne to see silent movies. Although movie film of the time was extremely flammable, it is not known whether this caused the fire or not. The movies, which were shown by George C. and Lawrence Allen, were shown in St. Katherine’s Hall until a house on North Wayne Avenue was converted into a new theatre. The projectionists lost the silver screen and a piano, although miraculously the movie projector was salvaged.

The building was remodeled, and was kept as an office building on Lancaster Avenue, albeit without it’s top floor. The two-story tall windows from the auditorium were split in half, and two floors for offices resulted. The building, which was renamed The Colonial Building, was again remodeled in the 1950’s, losing some more of its ornamentation on it’s South side. One thing that has not changed since the building of the Opera House in 1871 is the continuation of commerical business on the first floor. In the past they have included “My Country Store,” “Sweet Daddy’s,” “Beethoven Wraps” and the “Blackbird Bakery.” Although each new store that moves in tends to last a few years at best, they continue Wayne’s longest business legacy, one that goes back to when Wayne was a small development called Louella. The current owners of the Opera House seem to have revoked the name “Colonial Building” and the sign at the foot of the stairs now reads “Lyceum Hall.” What goes around comes around.

 

Wayne Hall, March 7, 1871. 
    No better day could have been chosen for the commencement exercises of Wayne Lyceum than that of Tuesday.
    Everything was auspicious; the sunshone magnificently, the sky was cloudless, and at night the stars came out in all their brilliancy, followed by the full moon in all its silvery splendor, while the pleasant, balmy air made the evening all that could have been desired.
    Long before the appointed hour crowds were seen flocking towards Wayne Hall. Everything being read, the curtain was drawn at a few minutes past seven, and a most lovely scene was presented from the platform.
    Radnor’s talented and beautiful daughters were assembled in full force, as well as Radnor’s anxious beaux and sturdy farmers and matrons. These, with the beautiful decorations of the room and the stage with its natural flowers, presented a magnificent picture.
    The President, ever alive to improve the moments as they fly, announced the music, “Away, Dull Care,” which was well executed under the efficient management of Professor John F. Kaufman, conductor, and Miss Annie Brook, organist. The brilliant eyes, as well as musical talent of this young lady, have won for her the cognomen of the “Bright-Eyed Organist.”
    A few remarks were then made by the President, alluding to the object, purpose, and progress of the Lyceum. He then introduced the orator for the evening, Mr.  ——————————- -ably delivered, gave to the friends of the Lyceum a “hearty welcome.”
    “Beautiful Snow,” a declamation by Miss M. C. Everman, was given in a most brilliant manner. Miss E. has won for herself quite a reputation for her excellent attainments. 
    The  ———- on the flute by Mr. Harry Martin, wa well appreciated by the entire audience. As a flutist Mr. M. excels.
    Knowledge, —– by Miss Sallie Martin, was written in her usual clear and comprehensive manner and displayed finely her abilities. It was also exceedingly well read.
    “The Fireman” was declaimed by Miss Seba Bittle in a style that held the audience enraptured. This was one of Miss Seba’s most successful efforts.
    “The Troublesome Investment,” a dialogue by Mr. Feniore and assistants, brought out full rounds of applause, and convulsed all with laughter.
    “The Mariner’s Grave” was then sung by the Musical Committee, whose names we have mentioned before, and who took entire charge of that department.
    “Palestine in History,” was the title of a finely-written essay by Rev. S. P. Linn. 
    “The Lost Pantaloons,” a humorous declamation by Mr. Craig McMitchell, was spoken in a comical manner. 
    The Ninetieth Psalm was then read by Miss Mary Campbell, in a manner never to be forgotten by those who had the good fortune to hear her. Miss Campbell’s sweet voice, her reverential manner, and her lovely expression, gave to her rendition of this grand majestic Psalm of David a sublime force.
    “The Beautiful Hills,” solo, by Miss Brooks, was very prettily sung, and deserves comment.
    “Paubasius Captive” was a bold stroke for Mr. James Mariott, and he did his best.
    “Hezekiah Bedott” was read by Mr. Charles Pugh most excellently.
    “Love at Home,” an essay, by Miss R. L. Clinger, was elegantly written, and the thoughts that swelled the heart of Payne when writing the well-known song of “Home, Sweet Home,” were expressed truthfully by her.
    “The Bashful Lover,” a dialogue by George Martina nd Miss Nellie Marsh, received a hearty applause; it was acted exceedingly well.
    Music, “The Flag,” preceded the presentation of awards, which were as follows:
    The First – A Lady’s Gold watch and chain. To Miss Sallie Martin. Presented in a neat speech by the President. 
    The Second – Halls and Homes of Britain. Illustrated with colored chromos. To Miss Seba Bittle, for the best Essay.
    The Third – Women Kind of Western Europe. Finely illustrated with colored chromos. To Miss Mary Campbell, for the best declamation.
    The Fourth – Tennyson’s Poems Illustrated. To Miss M. C. Everman, for the second best declamation.
    The Fifth – A copy of “The Innocents Abroad.” To Mr. Craig McMitchell, for regular attendance.
    The Sixth – Tennyson’s Poems, with Dore’s illustrations. To mr. W. H. Bittle, for prompt and early attendance.
    The Seventh – “Evenings with the Best Authors,” in three large volumes. To Mr. F. Fenimore, for meritorious services as “Crier of the Court.”
    To John F. Kaufman, Musical Conductor, a large volume of “Tennyson,” with beautiful full-page illustrations.
    And last (but not least), a beautiful rosewood writing-desk, fully equipped and ready for use, to Miss Anna Brooke, the organist.
    On behalf of the members of Wayne Lyceum, an elegant solid silver gavel was presented to the President, J. Henry Askin, by John Campbell, Esq., in a most elegant and brilliant speech. It was one of those speeches made from the promptings of the heart, and as only such speeches can be made by one of “nature’s gentlemen.”
    This present was so quietly gotten up that Mr. Askin was completely taken by surprise. He returned his thanks to the Lyceum in a few earnest words.
    Every member of the Lyceum feels deeply indebted to him for the favors so lavishly bestowed on them by him.
    All eyes were then attracted by the appearance of a wedding cake, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Baldwin, a newly-married couple. It weighed about one hundred pounds. Mr. Theodore Ramsey cut the article, and we can assure Mr. and Mrs. B. that their acceptable present was appreciated.
    Refreshments were then handed around among the guests, and the roll was called, and sentiments given.
    A delegation from the Barean Literary Association of Philadelphia was present, and were well pleased with the evening exercised, as were all present.
    The gavel tapped to order; “Bright Eyes” took her seat at the organ, and with Professor Kaufman and the entire audience standing, singing “Auld Lang Syne.”
    The evening’s entertainment was over and the happy people betook themselves to their homes, each speaking in looks that were louder than words the sentiment so lately expressed by a member, “The Wayne Lyceum, may its shadow never grow less.”
    On Thursday evening the exercises were repeated, and the hall was crowded. Full particulars will be given in the April number of the Wayne Literary Gazette.

 

Photo Gallery

ophouseengraving

An engraving shows the building before the addition of 1903. This is from a Wayne real estate booklet.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

ophousefloor3

The Masonic Lodge on the third floor.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

operahouseproduction

A production in the Opera House of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Patience.”
From “Radnor: A Pictorial History”

ophousefire1

Radnor Historical Society Collection

ophousefire2

Radnor Historical Society Collection

1916ophouse

In 1916, after the renovations.
From “The Suburban and Wayne Times”

Wayne’s Businesses, Past and Present

This section features photos of businesses in Wayne in chronological order. These establishments cover a wide variety of different types of businesses. More will be added as time goes by.
lkburkett

Scene from the property of L.K. Burkett on Pennsylvania Avenue in Wayne. Burkett is Wayne’s oldest operating business, in service since 1881, and still located in its original building.
From “Suburban and Wayne Times”

coffeehouse

Store located in the Wayne Opera House before the fire there in 1914. The store must have gained a large profit from selling “Spratt’s Dog Cakes.”
From “Radnor: A Pictorial History”

ironworkstruck

A truck from the Wayne Iron Works. This company operated on Lancaster Ave. where the Ford dealer is today.
GP Collection

fronefieldrealtor

The J.M. Fronefield realtor building, Lancaster avenue. Fronefield was the first tenant of the building, which is now the Gryphon Cafe.
From “Historic Wayne”

boilerroom

The boiler room of the Wayne Steam Heat Plant on Plant Ave.
Radnor Historical Society Collection
cardealer1

cardealer2

Car dealerships in the same building. The building was a Ford and Chevrolet dealer before becoming upscale nature store Anthropologie.
From “Radnor: A Pictorial History.”

parkhardware

Park Hardware, a popular Wayne institution for many years. Located on Lancaster avenue next to the Wayne Hotel.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

hellmanstruckacme

Looking down Lancaster Ave. in the 1940′s or 50′s. The store on the left is Wayne’s first Acme, and a Hellman’s mayonaisse truck is making a delivery. Park Hardware can be seen on the right.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

lynamemployees

Lynam Electric Company Employees at the Main Line Golf Club May 10, 1948 for the inauguration of the Quarter Century Club.
From “Radnor: A Pictorial History”

matchbookcovers

An assortment of matchbook covers from various Wayne businesses.
GP Collection

conestogahardware

Conestoga Hardware, corner of Conestoga and West Wayne Ave. Yes, they demolished a church at this corner for . . . this. The Radnor Baptist Church stood here, and the original school house and cemetary still remain.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

straffordhardware

This is all that remains of Strafford Hardware, on the 750 block of Lancaster Ave. (now Topper’s Spa). The sign was kept in the back of a neighboring building since the store closed, and is now being restored.
Private Collection; GP photo

lancasterbrickbuilding

A brick office building on Lancaster Ave. This picture was used in a real estate ad when the building was up for rent.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

waynemensshop

The Wayne Men’s shop when first built on North Wayne Ave. The store later became C.W. Agnew realtors.
Radnor Historical Society Collection

harrisons

Harrison’s Department Store, just a month before closing in January, 2003. Harrison’s came to Wayne as a branch of the Ardmore store of the same name, in the 1950′s. It moved to this location in the 1960′s.
GP Photo

The Louella Mansion and Estate

The original Louella Estate was located on Lancaster Avenue in the heart of what is today Wayne. The estate consisted of eight buildings in 1870: the main house was accompanied by another dwelling, a sheep house, a barn, a granary and coach house, a spring and tenant house and two milk sheds. They were built for banker and Chester native J. Henry Askin, who bought 91 acres in 1864 from Jacob and Louisa Lukens. The land had previously belonged to the family of Thomas Maule. The next year Askin bought 73 more acres, and in 1870 129 more acres from the heirs of the Abraham family. The center of Askin’s property was his estate “Louella,” named after Louisa and Ella, two of his three daughters. At the center of the estate stood the mansard-roofed mansion “Louella.”

Askin began to develop some of his land, beginning on Bloomingdale Avenue. He added several public buildings, including a Presbeterian Church and public hall in 1870, and a year later Lyceum Hall next to the Church. Askin’s brother George supervised agricultural operations in the community, which had now adopted the name “Louella,” and he sent milk to Philadelphia via the railroad. By 1870 the railroad stop had adopted the name “Wayne,” after General Anthony Wayne, giving up the previous title of “Cleaver’s Landing.”

Askin built the Louella mansion in 1865, and while construction progressed he stayed in the old Maule house until the mansion was completed. The Wayne Hall was built on the corner of Edgewood and Lancaster Avenue. It had multiple purposes, including holding meetings and lectures, a library, polling place, and offices, and the first services for the Wayne Presbeterian Church. Services were relocated when the new church building was completed in 1870. Wayne Hall was moved at one time, but no longer stands.

The development on Bloomingdale Avenue was first occupied in 1872. Each house had a mansard roof, which was an architectural theme throughout Louella. The street also housed a reservoir, which had wicker furniture around the top for residents to use.

Askin went under financial trouble with the depression of 1873. His eyesight failed soon later, and he was forced to sell his whole property. Anthony J. Drexel and George W. Childs bought Askin’s land and some adjoining property in 1880 and called the whole the Wayne Estate. In 1890 they converted the Louella Mansion into a hotel for city dwellers visiting Wayne. They added two large wings to the east and west ends of the building which copied the architectural style of the original building.

Louella joined the Bellevue as Wayne’s premier hotels. Askin moved from his old home to Florida, where he spent some years. During the winter months when few visited the area, Louella was used as Miss Armitage’s School, a private school for girls. In a few decades the building was converted into an apartment house, which it remains as today.

Wayne History Timeline

Wayne in 1870

1870 was the beginning of Wayne’s first real development. Askin had built his mansion on Lancaster Avenue a few years before, and construction had begun on the Opera House, the Presbeterian Church and on a small community. Askin had huge plans for Wayne in 1870 which included a planned community, with entertainment and religious services. Two halls int he town included the Opera House and Wayne Hall, both on Lancaster Avenue. The site of Wayne Hall later became the American Legion Post. later became the site of the American Legion Post. Askin’s plans for Wayne would soon be numbered. He was going blind and the financial depression of 1873 halted his plans for further development. In 1880 he sold his prized land to which he had given so much to Anthony J. Drexel and George W. Childs, the banker and publisher who planned to build an enourmous community out of Askin’s holdings. Askin stayed in Wayne for a few years, living in a brick cottage across from the Wayne Opera House. He eventually moved to Florida where he spent the rest of his life.

1870timelinepic

The Louella Mansion
The Wayne Train Station
The Wayne Opera House



Wayne in 1880

Drexel and Childs began their dream in 1880 with the building of the Bellevue Hotel, which may have originally been a mansion. The hotel gave potential residents from the city a chance to see what living “out in the country” was like, hoping to entice them into buying a summer home in Wayne. A commercial district was established in Wayne, beginning in the bottom floor of the opera house and continuing along the pike. In 1885 construction began on North Wayne Avenue of the new development of North Wayne. Small cottages were originally built, and then construction spread throughout the neighborhood.

North Wayne
The Bellevue Hotel



Wayne in 1890

As the development of North Wayne continued, South Wayne began to develop. Businesses streamed in with the new residents, and prosperity was more evident. As residents grew in number, so did Wayne’s status. The Louella mansion joined the Bellevue as Wayne’s hotels, and city dwellers were discovering the beauty of Wayne.

1890timelinepic


South Wayne
North Wayne
Louella Mansion
History of Radnor Schools



Wayne in 1900

As Wayne grew in status and population, it lost one of it’s greatest attractions. The Bellevue Hotel burned down in March of 1900. Despite this loss, new estates and businesses gave Wayne a new identity.


The Bellevue Hotel
History of Radnor Schools



Wayne in 1910

Another loss came in 1913 with the fire that gutted the Wayne Opera House. Although the top floor had to be given up, the rest were kept and surprisingly still remain as offices and stores today. The coming of automobiles also changed the face of the town and it’s residents.



 
The Wayne Opera House

Wayne in 1920

The twenties started with a bang in Radnor with a huge train wreck in Radnor.


Train Wrecks
History of Radnor Schools