Notes on West Chester,
by Jim Jones, copyright 2006
1. The Borough of West Chester is not responsible for, nor has it authorized this web site. Information on this site is not intended to replace official versions of the same information.
2. The notes presented on this web page do not contain everything that was recorded in the official minutes.
3. All content of this page is derived from public documents, and while every reasonable effort was made to insure its accuracy, information on this site is presented AS IS without warranty, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy, timeliness, or completeness. It is intended as a resource for historians, and nothing more.
4. To report an error or make a comment, please contact Dr. Jim Jones.
After welcoming new members Kerwin, Heed, and Thorn, Borough Council elected J. Paul MacElree president of council and accepted the resignation of John Thorp. Then they made the following appointments: George Dewees to replace Thorp on Council; Fred J. Wahl as Borough Secretary for two years at $900 per year; B. Minerva Davis as Treasurer for two years at $2,000 per year; Lawrence Reagan as Street & Sewer Commissioner at $2,000 per year; John E. Entrikin for two years as chief of the West Chester Police at $1,800 per year.
Borough Council also hired the following police officers for six months at $135 per month: Ed Jackson, Edwin P. Darlington, William P. Brennan, William C. Gill, Abraham Mosteller, Charles Margerum, Howard S. Heed, Abner Glisson, Michael Martin, and Charles B. Dorsey Jr. This passed 6-1 because Belt opposed the replacement of "Alfonso Reed" by Charles B. Dorsey Jr. Belt even presented "a petition signed by four hundred tax payers" who supported Reed/Reid.
Borough Council hired Harry Peterson as the janitor at the Municipal Building for $30 per month; Guy W. Knauer as the Borough Solicitor for four years at $750 per year. The Chief Burgess' salary was set at $1,000 per year despite a protest from one member of Council (Belt?) that this was a bad time to raise salaries. Charles Leedom was appointed "Chief engineer of the Milltown Water Works" for $150 per month plus house rent; and Norman Roth was named his assistant engineer for $125 per month plus house rent. Thomas G. Colesworthy was named Borough engineer at a salary to be determined "from time to time" by Council.
Council continued to discuss the downtown lighting plan but came to no decision. Instead, they set a meeting to discuss it on January 15.
Arthur Steinmetz spoke for property owners in the 600-block of W. Miner Street who asked the Borough to fix the alley behind their houses, which was impassable. MacElree explained that the alley was not Borough property, but Council would consider taking it over after viewing it on January 15.
Council saw a film presentation from the Elgin Company on their mechanical street sweeper. Company representative Mr. Engel used a "portable screen" to show the movie.
Borough Council received a letter from members of the Nathan Holmes Post, American Legion, asking why Willis Denny was not reappointed as the janitor at the Municipal Building. Council asked the Borough secretary to send a letter to the group stating that Denny was "inattentive to his duties."
Council heard complaints about heavy trucks of the "Motor Mileage Corporation" travelling on Borough streets, creating damage and driving recklessly.
The "custodians of the Rest Room" asked for a pay raise. Council stalled by saying that since the Borough and the County each pay half of their salaries, Council must first get the opinion of the County Commissioners.
After meeting at 6:45pm to view the alley behind the 600- block of W. Miner Street, Borough Council met at the Municipal Building.
Members of the Bernard Schlegel Post, American Legion, sent a letter asking why Willis Denny was not reappointed as the janitor at the Municipal Building.
Council agreed to accept the alley behind the 600-block of W. Miner Street if the property owners along the alley first graded it, filled in the low spots and created an embankment along the creek.
There was a further delay with the downtown lighting plan because of flaws in the petition signed by affected property owners which needed 51% of them to agree.
Council resolved that heavy trucks bound from the south towards Downingtown should go north on High Street, west on Market Street, north on Wayne Street and northwest on Downingtown Pike. Trucks bound in the opposite direction should use the same streets.
Council set the 1930 real estate tax rate at one dollar per hundred dollars of assessed value.
The Chester County Board of Commissioners refused to agree o raise the pay of the employees of the Rest Room.
Borough Council approved the 1930 budget for $211,415.50.
Mr. Prussing of the West Chester Hosiery Mills asked for a connection to the Borough water system for their new mill proposed for Lincoln Avenue.
Council was informed that the fire companies have elected George J. Moses fire chief for a five year term.
West Goshen government asked the Borough to "complete its part of the work in the draining of land South East of the Borough."
These minutes include a copy of the 1930 budget whose total is $211,415.50. These notes show the totals for the departments, but not the line items for each department:
Water Department: $23,320
Garbage Collection: $3,666.66
Public Library: $1,500
Shade Tree Commission: $1,200
Parks: $2,500 (includes $900 for the Everhart Park caretaker and $600 for the Marshall Square Park caretaker)
Sanitary Sewers: $7,325
Fire Department: $7,577.70
Real Estate Department: $1,310
Board of Health: $2,000
Bureau of Treasury: $3,125
Bureau of Law: $800
Debt Service: $51,503.04
Miscellaneous: $7,246.10 (includes $1000 for the Chief Burgess, money for auditors, the town clock, etc.)
Borough Council received a request to sell the land at the corner of Union Street and the railroad tracks, which is currently used as a playground. One Council member said that they had received a similar request a few months back and chosen not to sell the land. The request was referred to the real estate committee.
Borough Council approved a street light on Everhart Ave. north of Miner Street.
The tracks of the West Chester Street Railway are scheduled for removal soon.
The Chief Burgess [George J. Brinton] refused to sign the ordinance directing heavy truck traffic to use Market and Wayne Streets. In his letter, he explained that the trucks of Motor Mileage haul oil from Marcus Hook to through the Borough to Coatesville via High Street, Price Street and Bradford Avenue. He agrees that it is unpleasant for the neighbors who see a Motor Mileage truck pass their house very forty-five minutes, but believes that the new route would have the trucks go past three churches and use low gear to climb High Street from Price to Union, creating congestion in the center of town and more of a nuisance. Despite this, Borough Council overrode the Burgess' veto.
Borough Council voted 6-0 to pay $300 to install a second holding cell in the basement of the Municipal Building.
The iron fence around Everhart Park needs to be replaced.
Council considered a request to pay mileage to police officer Glisson when he uses his own car for patrol on the days when he cannot use the police motorcycle.
Borough Council passed a resolution honoring police chief John E. Entrikin, who died a few days earlier. He joined the West Chester police force in 1894, served as acting chief of police from 1913 to May 29, 1914, and then as chief of police until February 16, 1930 when he died.
Council considered three applicants for the position of police chief: Edwin P. Darlington, William Mullen and Charles S. Cook. They appointed Darlington acting chief for two months, Jerome Monaghan as patrolman for two months at $135/month, and Antonio Casenta as "extra patrolman" at $4.50 per day.
The West Chester Street Railway has sold its "poles, wires, rails and other equipment" to Allegheny Iron & Metal Company of Philadelphia. They sold the poles to Jesse March of West Goshen, who will assume all liability for their removal.
The minutes include a list of 30 blocks that the Borough plans to pave in 1930, including the 600-block of S. Matlack Street and the 600-block of E. Miner Street. Nothing else on Miner Street.
Borough employee Fred Cort is unable to return to work following an accident. Council received a request to help him out.
A representative of the "Tri State Regional Planning Federation" used maps and "airplane photographs" to present Borough Council with plans to develop regional plans for transportation, forestry, aviation, parkways, and more in over 4,000 square miles in three states. This is their third year of five and their annual budget is $500,000 [JJ: so they started in 1927.]
Captain Joseph Reilly [maybe building contractor at 534 S. Matlack St. (1932 Boro Dir)] of Company I, Pennsylvania National Guard, invited Borough Council to observe their federal inspection on Saturday evening, April 12, 1930.
In response to a letter from the "Merchants Association of New York," Dewees said that the decision to follow Daylight Savings Time was made by the state, not BC.
Borough Council agreed to pay a bill from the W. P. Dallet Co. of Philadelphia for work on the Borough pumping station. [JJ: in Everhart Park?]
Borough Council tabled a request to place labels on the trees at Marshall Square Park for about $100.
The Everhart Park iron fence replacement will cost about $200.
Following the recommendation of the Fire Committee, by a 6-0 vote, Borough Council approved an electric sign for the Dunlop Tire Company (308 S. High Street) [Dunlop was at 114 E. Gay (1932 Boro Dir)] and Stroud & Rulon (112 S. High Street) [cigar store (1932 Boro Dir)]. Each must post a $2500 bond with the Borough before erecting the sign.
The solicitor reported that Chief Burgess Brinton's pay increase to $1000 a year, beginning in January, was illegal due to PA "Act of May 13th, 1927" (Pamphlet Laws 992, Section 1) which prohibits raising the salary of someone while s/he is in office. As a result, Brinton returned $66.66 for each of the first two months. [JJ: That means his old salary was $200 and the increase was $800 per year.]
The Board of Health notified Borough Council that "Certain properties on South Matlack Street owned by Mrs. Mary Apple" [widow of Lewis, 220 E. Gay (1932 Boro Dir)] were not connected to the sewer system and caused a nuisance. By a 6-0 vote, Borough Council ordered her to connect her properties to the system.
Arthur Hoopes [229 E. Washington (1932 Boro Dir)] urged Council go ahead with labelling the trees in Marshall Square Park in part because "Hoopes Brothers & Thomas would revise the list." After discussion, Borough Council voted to go ahead for a cost not exceeding $100.
By a vote of 6-0, Borough Council granted Esco Cabinet Company to build a frame and sheet metal warehouse at Franklin and Matlack Street."
Council head that "two old horses had been disposed of at Forty Dollars each and a cart for Fifty Dollars."
A sample of the Borough's water supply taken June 9 by LaWall & Harrison was polluted. Borough Council referred it to the Water Committee and Board of Health for action.
Borough Council received a letter from the Wilmington Delaware Chamber of Commerce regarding the "proposed Delaware-New Jersey bridge."
Borough Council gave the Bell Telephone Company permission to "bond its cable to the tracks of the Philadelphia & West Chester Traction Corporation at West Chester Pike and Milltown Road."
Borough Council received a petition to improve E. Virginia and N. Matlack Streets.
Borough Council voted 7-0 to change their water billing system. They will read meters every quarter (instead of every half) and bill every half.
Patrick H. Corcoran [10 N. Darlington (1932 Boro Dir)] protested a $209 water bill for one of his properties, saying that it was more than double the last bill. Borough Council sent it to the Water Committee to investigate. [JJ: From later minutes, Washington-Evans Apartments, 16 W. Washington Street (1932 Boro Dir)]
Borough Council received twelve petitions from downtown property owners in support the "Ornamental Illumination" project (i.e. downtown lighting) and approved the relevant ordinance by a vote of 6-0. Architect Ralph Minnich asked Borough Council to extend sewer service to a house on the south side of W. Ashbridge Street between Church and Darlington that is under construction by William Smith. Council agreed to extend the water lines but would not promise to extend the sewer line pending repairs to the sewage treatment plants.
The Borough caught Mr. V. Ricci using a residential water hookup to supply his business [West Chester Ice Cream Co, 243 W. Gay (1932 Boro Dir)] and voted 6-0-1 (MacElree did not vote) to bill him $592.76 or cut off his water in ten days.
Borough Council voted 7-0 to use money left over from repairs to the Taylors Run sewage treatment plant (also called the Howell's Run plant) to make repairs at the Goose Creek plant.
Borough Council agreed to advertise for bids to construct the downtown lighting project.
Borough Council voted 7-0 to pay for a phone installation in the fire chief's house.
Borough Council approved electric sign permits for DeStarr & Dantos (southeast corner of Walnut & Gay Street [JJ: DeStarr & Dantos, 102 E. Gay Street (1932 Boro Dir)]), and the Solter Company (to be located in front of the Postal Telegraph Company office [31 N. Church Street. (1932 Boro Dir)]).
The Bell Telephone Company asked for permission to open S. Church Street between the West Chester State Teachers College Old Library and the Men's Dorm to install conduit.
Street and Water Commissioner Reagan reported that he found a large number of unreported connections to the Borough's water system. Borough Council voted 6-0 to require plumbers to report new water connections within one week or else lose their license to work in the Borough.
William Hickman of the Senior Cab Company asked Borough Council to give him a reserved parking space on the south side of Gay Street at High Street. Council members replied that they could not do that, so he asked them to allow him to place a telephone on a pole. Borough Council referred that request to the Police Committee.
Council discovered that one reason that mew water connections went unreported was that the Borough secretary had run out of water connection permit forms, so they ordered more to be printed.
W. O. Lamson, the PECO District Manager, explained to Borough Council the benefits of replacing an "old type Arc lamp" with a "more modern incandescent system." The only benefit mentioned in the minutes is a slight cost savings.
Clarence Lear [owner of the Morris Nurseries and resident at 601 N. Matlack Street (1932 Boro Dir)] of the West Chester Lions Club asked for permission to "purchase a street shower for the use of colored children on Adams Street" and to connect it to a Borough fire plug and receive water at no charge. Borough Council was reluctant due to the current drought, but voted 6-0-1 (Belt abstained) to refer it to the Water Committee.
Regarding the drought, Borough Council received a report that the "large storage pond was down two feet and it is losing two inches a day." There are 20-22 days' supply of water remaining. Borough Council voted 7-0 to place advertisements in the Daily Local News asking people to conserve and prohibiting car washing, sprinkling of lawns and golf courses, watering gardens and washing pavement.
Borough Council received permission from the state of PA to install a traffic signal at the intersection of highways 147 and 133.
[JJ: A month ago, one council member said that he had received an offer of $3,500 from an unnamed buyer] Borough Council voted 7-0 to advertise for sale the lot bounded by E. Union Street, the Pennsylvania Railroad railroad tracks, Magnolia Street and Fassnacht Alley.
Borough Council refused P. H. Corcoran's demand for a rebate on his water bill for the "Washington & Evans Apartments." (see June 11, 1930 minutes).
Borough Council voted to order the removal of an illegal electric sign at the corner of Nields and Matlack Street after its owner ignored "several notices."
The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the downtown lighting project. A problem has arisen because the property owners were expected to fund it. Who would own the light fixtures and other apparatus of the "Ornamental Lighting System," the Borough or PECO? Since three members of Council were absent, Borough Council voted to table the issue until August 21.
Borough Council received several complains about water bills.
Borough Council approved applications from the Supplee Ice Cream Company to place an electric sign at two locations: Matlack & Nields Street [Frank Giunta's Store (1932 Boro Dir)] and Darlington & Biddle Street [Pietro Giunta's store (1932 Boro Dir)]. Borough Council also approved an application from Willard Ronk for a sign at 20 Linden Street. [Purple & Gold Tea Room (1932 Boro Dir)]
Borough Council voted to accept PECO's bid of $9,486 to install the downtown Ornamental Lighting System and a service contract of $60/year for each 600 candlepower incandescent lamp.
PECO asked for permission to close Chestnut Street so it could install electrical equipment in the "new Warner Theater building" but Borough Council refused and instead referred the request to the Street Committee.
Borough Council voted to condemn the fire escape on the Courthouse side of the Grand Opera House (also known as the Assembly Building at 16 N. High Street, according to the 1932 Boro Dir) because it was in a dangerous condition. They gave the building's owner, the Stanley Company, five days to remove it.
Dean & Groff, owners of a miniature golf course on Rosedale Avenue, asked the Borough to provide water for construction work at their property. Borough Council discussed how to do this without allowing them to misuse the water during the drought.
Ed Haley owned property east of the Borough where a circus was due to open on September 1. Borough Council refused to allow him to connect to the Borough's water supply, but voted 6-0 to loan him the "Borough sprinkling cart."
Borough Council voted 6-0 to permit PECO to extend the "heat mains" on High Street south of Magnolia Street.
Borough Council approved an arc street light at the corner of Rosedale and Walnut Streets.
Borough Council approved PECO's plan to replace arc lamps with incandescent lamps around the Borough at the following annual service contract rates: 600 candlepower, $60/year; 400 candlepower, $50/year; 250 candlepower, $45/year; 100 candlepower, $24/year.
Borough Council discussed the water shortage and whether to begin pumping water from an emergency well at Milltown.
Borough Council gave permission to the owner of the Tom Thumb Golf Course in Sharpless Park, and the Knights of Pythias, who plan to hold a carnival in the Borough, to rent the Borough tank to haul water from elsewhere in the county.
The Borough received a single bid of $3,500 for the property at Union Street and the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks from the Bituminous Service Company. Borough Council voted 7-0 to accept the bid.
The Borough received bids for the trolley rails which the Borough had removed from the streets, but Borough Council was not sure if they had the right to sell the rails since they belonged to the trolley company. Borough Council voted to send a letter to the trolley company asking either for permission to sell the rails or money to cover the cost of removing them.
Reverend Geiter of the Church of the Nazarene asked Borough Council to turn the water back on at the church because it was cut off after someone violated the conservation order. He attributed it to a member of the congregation who was unaware, but after Belt's motion got no second, Borough Council took no action.
Borough engineer Colesworthy told Borough Council that the water supply was in critical condition and recommended that they spend $3,500 for a pump and pipe to draw water from Ridley Creek. Borough Council voted to do that.
Borough Council agreed to sell the street car rails to the highest bidder, Lewis Robinson, for $90.25, and to apply that against the money owed the Borough by the streetcar company for the removal of the rails.
Borough Council received several complaints about merchants blocking the sidewalks with their merchandise.
The Chester Valley Bus Lines had an electric sign on N. High Street and the T. E. Walter Corp. had one on N. Walnut, both erected in November 1929, but not approved by BC. Borough Council voted 5-0 to require them to post a $2,500 bond for each sign.
The owner of the Mansion House requested a permit for an electric sign.
Borough Council received a complaint about "the distribution of handbills around town in violation of Borough ordinance."
Borough Council created a committee composed of W. Orne Lamson (PECO), Boro engineer Colesworthy and Boro solicitor Knauer to meet with property owners to solve the conflicts that have arisen from shop awnings that interfere with the new downtown ornamental lighting.
Borough Council voted 6-0 to post "No Hunting signs" on a Borough-owned property in the northeast part of town called "Lake in the Woods" following complaints about trespassers.
Bituminous Service applied for a permit to build a wooden building on their lot at Union Street and the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.
PECO sought permission to extend the gas line on New Street north to Ashbridge Street.
Neighbors on Everhart Avenue complained that J. Leslie Rupert has not paved in front of his property [519 W. Miner, at the corner of S. Everhart Ave. (1932 Boro Dir)] so Borough Council voted 7-0 to pave it and bill him.
Borough Council voted 7-0 to keep the lights in Everhart Park on all year.
Borough Council requested that PECO start up the downtown ornamental lighting system on November 14, 1930.
Borough Council saw a presentation by the engineer Vosbury (of Remington, Vosbury & Goff) on extensions to the sewage treatment plants that will accommodate the Borough's growing population. The Goose Creek plant will handle 750,000 gallons a day and the Howell's Run (Taylor's Run) plant will handle 1,000,000 gallons per day. He also recommended that Borough Council hire a "trained supervisor to run both plants and employ one laborer at each plant."
Borough Council received applications for electric signs from Lewis J. Hickman Jr. (108 N. High Street) and Samuel Taylor (131 W. Gay Street).
Borough Council set the 1931 sewer rates.
P. H. Corcoran and W. W. Heald complained that the Borough's W. Market Street dump "is constantly smoldering and causes much annoyance to the residents of that section." [Heald was not in the 1932 directory and Corcoran lived at 10 N. Darlington Street. The dump was west of Brandywine Street. (1932 Boro Dir)]
Borough Council approved a special election (referendum) on January 27, 1931 for the voters to decide if the Borough should take on $150,000 in debt to finance the expansion of the two sewage disposal plants. The election will cost about $600.
Borough Council hired four special police officers because of "the need at this time in the Borough of extra police protection during the night."
|Copyright 2010 by Dr. James A. Jones|