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.
Borough Council discussed the list of tax exonerations (people whose taxes would be forgiven).
Borough Council received a letter from the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Standards, asking for information on local zoning ordinances. Borough Council told Borough secretary Wahl to reply.
Borough Council approved the 1933 budget for $258,738.59. Expenditures include:
Debt Service $47,686.95
Bureau of Garbage $2,280.00
Bureau of Treasury $3,325.00
Bureau of Law $800.00
Board of Health $1,925.00
Shade Tree Commission $1,200.00
Public Library $1,500.00
Real Estate Department $2,354.36
Borough Council voted 7-0 to set the 1933 property tax rate at 6.5 mils. The police chief's salary was $1,620 per year ($135 per month) and the other officers earned $1,450 per year ($120.83 per month. Extra police officers got $4.05 per day. Borough Council also continued their discussion of the Grant company's bill for gun cartridges.
The Sharples Separator Works' water bill payment is still delinquent. Borough Council received a letter from "Mr. Wood saying they would do the best hey could, explaining their present strained financial condition and asking for leniency." Borough Council referred it to the solicitor.
Borough Council approved an electric sign for W. C. Henderson (40 W. Barnard Street), and a banner for B. Guy Iliff (12 W. Gay Street).
Borough Council reappointed George Huey to the Board of Health for five years.
Borough Council approved an electric sign for J. Ivins (Church Street).
Representatives of five boroughs attended the meeting in Phoenixville to discuss how to get PECO to lower their rates for lighting electricity. Borough Council voted to send MacElree and the solicitor to the next meeting.
George A. Johnson, a consulting engineer from 150 Nassau Street, New York City, made a proposal to Borough Council on how he would devise a comprehensive water supply plan.
Isaac S. Walker, 629 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, made a proposal to Borough Council on how he would devise a comprehensive water supply plan.
Borough Council voted 6-1 (MacElree opposed because he doubted the applicant had enough experience) to hire Isaac Walker to prepare a comprehensive water resource plan for the Borough.
Borough Council used this meeting to adjust the 1933 budget and to approve Isaac Walker's contract with an additional clause that allowed him six cents per mile for travel.
There were plenty of delinquent sewer customers. Borough Council referred their bills to the solicitor with instructions to send letters demanding payment.
Borough Council approved a banner for B. Guy Iliff's business at 12 W. Gay Street. They also approved an electric sign for Samuel Levine at 124 W. Gay Street, but refused a sign application by George B. Smith for the Turk's Head Inn.
Borough Council approved the police request for "tear gas shells, one 38 calibre revolver and finger print ink and powder" by a vote of 5-0.
Borough Council awarded the gasoline contract (5000 gallons at three cents under posted price) and oil contract (400 gallons at 35 cents per gallon) to the Gulf Refining co.
PECO offered new rates to the Borough beginning March 1, 1933 which provided a bulk rate discount that would save the Borough $732.73 during the rest of the year.
Borough Council discussed the 1933 budget. To date, the Borough has received $9,000 less than it had by the same date during the previous year.
The tenant at Ingram's mill asked that the rent be reduced from four to three dollars per month.
Borough Council refused another sign permit for the High Street side of the Turk's Head Inn, and for Breyer's Ice Cream, because it gave no location or details on how the sign would be mounted.
The residents of the newly-named W. Preston Street asked Borough Council to add their street to the list for street cleaning now that it was no longer an alley (Pyle Alley).
"A large delegation of men and women, representing the local churches" asked Borough Council "to regulate the sale of beer in West Chester" with an ordinance like that in Norristown. "At present, it is forced on the public through its sale in tobacco shops and grocery stores." The Reverend Elias Baker of the Methodist Episcopal Church said that they were "interested in the boys and girls of the community." The solicitor explained that the Borough had to power to regulate alcohol sales as long as the vendor had a Federal permit and paid the mercantile tax.
Borough Council discussed the final version of the contract between PECO and the Borough regarding the fire alarm system. [JJ: This was discussed many times in the past few months.] PECO agreed to allow the wires and other apparatus to remain on their poles, to allow the storage batteries to remain in their power plant, and to provide maintenance, but they accepted no liability for the system.
The PA Department of Health accepted the Borough's excuse of "financial conditions" for continuing to use treated sewage water instead of fresh water in one step of their sewage treatment process.
E. Eugene Hickman applied to become a police officer.
Borough Council received notice that the State Dept. of Transportation will place stop signs on Church Street at Price Street, because it is a dangerous crossing.
H. M. Tuthill, Esq. (office in the Woolworth Building), asked Borough Council not to impede beer sales in grocery stores because to do so would be to encourage the revival of saloons.
The Lions Club complained about several dangerous intersections plus the hazard created by the remaining street car tracks in the Borough.
Borough Council approved a banner for the Garden Theater at 33 E. Gay Street.
Borough Council suspended police officer Caserta (or Casenta) after he was warned several times about sleeping while on duty.
Borough Council accepted bids for chlorine, cold patch and other paving materials.
The following men applied for a position as police officer: Clarence Hall, Michael Izzi, John Cotter, George R. Guss, M. L. McCardle.
Borough Council discussed the appointment of one extra police officer.
Borough Council discussed an ordinance requiring that all coal and coke shipments brought into the Borough be weighed.
Borough Council voted to revise the late penalty on water bills, reducing it from 10% to something less severe, but left all penalties previously assigned in place.
Borough Council received a request from Ignatius K. Werwinski of South Bend, Indiana, asking the Borough to participate in the 150th anniversary of General Kosciuszko's promotion to brigadier general during the American revolution. Borough Council ordered the letter filed.
Borough Council approved an extra $200 beyond what was budgeted in order to cover the cost of extending the water main to the new home proposed by Raymond Rettew. (The complete cost is $300-400.)
Borough Council approved an electric sign for Cohn at 200 W. Fayette St. [JJ: W. Lafayette Street]
Borough Council received notice from its insurance company that for an additional fee of $1/week per person, it could provide coverage for "labor furnished by Local Welfare Committees." Borough Council declined because the workers "supplied by the Local Emergency Relief Board ... performed in return for relief secured" (i.e. did not receive cash wages).
Borough Council approved the installation of a fuel tank and fuel pumps by J. P. Yarnall at his garage at 215 W. Washington Street.
Borough Council approved an electric sign for the McMinn, Walter Company at 126 E. Gay Street. [Roger Williams' cigar store (1932 WC Boro Dir)] Borough Council also approved an electric sign for Donald Grubb's business at 10.5 E. Gay Street.
MacElree announced that the Borough will receive beverage license fees in the amount of about $2,000.
Borough Council received a 96-page report and a bill for $2,000 from Isaac Walker for work on the Borough's water supply needs. The actual bill was for $2,344.66, but the contract limited the Borough's cost to $2,000. Borough Council decided to make the report available to the public by putting one copy at the Public Library, a second copy at the Chester County Historical Society, and the other three at Borough Hall. They also agreed to spend $150 to publish it in the Daily Local News.
James Redmond Jr. applied for a position as traffic officer.
James Faccioli and C. Horace March applied to become police officers.
The Italian Republican Club sent a letter to Borough Council requesting that police officer Antonio Caserta be reinstated.
Borough Council voted 7-0 to approve the ordinance requiring all shipments of coal and coke to be weighed upon their arrival in the Borough. For dealers without their own scales, they had to pay a fee to use someone else's scale.
Borough Council decided not to hire any extra police at this time.
PECO applied for permission to install a new steam heat main into the Green Tree building.
Borough Council approved the purchase of new shirts for the police department.
Borough Council refused to approve an electric sign for the Personal Finance Company on the side of the Woolworth Building.
Borough Council approved an electric sign for Terizzi Brothers business on W. Chestnut Street.
Borough Council discussed the water supply report by Isaac Walker. The biggest innovation was to construct a dam on the Chester Creek.
Borough Council discussed making an application to the federal government under the Industrial Recovery Act for money to build a water retention dam on the Chester Creek.
Borough Council voted 5-0 to approve an application to Colonel Don A. Sawyer, Administrator of Public Works Division of the National Recovery Act, for money to build the dam. (Note: The congressman was Kinzer.)
Borough Council received complaints about the construction of a gas station on the Painter property (at the northwest corner of High & Chestnut Streets). Council ordered the work to stop and the builder to apply for a permit so here could be a public hearing.
Borough Council voted 5-0 to approve the construction of a water retention dam at Township Road and to make other improvements to the equipment at the Milltown pumping station. They declined to add any additional water meters at this time. Construction of the dam will require the purchase of 65 to 100 acres, plus $85,000 for construction. The rest of the improvements will cost another $35,000.
Borough Council learned that fifty of the 123 sign permit holders in the Borough have not yet paid their annual inspection fee.
The Borough's insurance company demanded that they change their procedure for paying employees who were injured on the job. Until this point, when someone was injured they received their regular pay and then when they received an insurance check, signed it over to the Borough. The insurance company will no longer accept that, and instead requires the Borough to pay the employee only the difference between the expected insurance settlement and the regular pay check. That means that injured employees will have to wait for the insurance check before they get an amount equal to their regular pay.
Borough Council voted to approve the request by Gus Boortsalas to swap signs between the West Chester Dining Room (northwest corner of Market & Church Streets) and the Exchange Restaurant (E. Gay Street).
Borough Council decided to table the request by David Showalter for a permit to build a gas station at the corner of High & Evans Street [JJ: same as northwest corner of High & Chestnut Streets; i.e. the Painter property] until the public hearing on August 4.
Although the Sharples Separator Works is in receivership, it is still using water without paying for it. The same is true for the Darlington Seminary.
This was the public hearing for Showalter's gas station construction permit for the northwest corner of High & Chestnut Streets.
Mr. Rambo presented a petition signed by 125 neighbors who opposed the project because it was a "residential neighborhood and the station would cause traffic problems and create a danger for school children walking along High street.
Walter Phillips, the Superintendent of the Schools, was opposed. So was the Board of the Barclay Home (unanimous vote), Roland Smedley speaking for the Chestnut Street Friends Meeting, and George H. McMullen of the First Church of Christ, who presented a petition with the signatures of thirteen members. Raymond Elliot of the YMCA was also opposed, as was Edward Jacob.
David Showalter presented a petition in support of the project signed by nine "tax payers." "Mrs. Cunningham, owner of the property" supported it too.
Solicitor Knauer explained to the audience that state law limited what the Borough could do in this case.
Council member Hoopes said he spoke to many residents and "found no serious objection to it." On a motion by Hoopes, seconded by Thorn, Borough Council voted 4-2 (Heed & Kerwin opposed) to approve the construction of the gas station.
Borough Council condemned the awning belonging to V. Ricci at the northwest corner of Hannum & New Streets.
Borough Council voted 7-0 to study the question of creating a zoning ordinance, and appointed a study committee composed of Hoopes, Heed and the Solicitor, Knauer.
Borough Council refused to approve an electric sign at 2 E. Market Street. They did approve a sign for 151 W. Gay Street.
Borough Council received a letter from Washington DC stating that no action could be taken on the Borough's Industrial Recovery Act grant application (for money to build the dam) until the state of Pennsylvania appoints a state engineer.
Borough Council rejected a deal offered by the Chester County Trust Company and voted to shut off water service to the Darlington Seminary.
The Borough still had not reached a deal with the Sharples Separator Works, whose lawyer was J. Paul MacElree (president of Borough Council).
John Martini of Chestnut Street applied for a job on the "street force" (i.e. public works).
R. Grier Miller (19 E. Market Street) sent his attorney, Earl Wynn, to protest the fact that he had to pay the $5 inspection fee for each of seven signs on his property. Borough Council referred the matter to their solicitor.
The sewer at the corner of Washington & New Streets caved in, and it will cost about $200 to repair it.
The State wants to widen W. Gay Street from High to New and Hannum Avenue to the Borough line. The Borough will have to pay property owners in order to take land along the west side of Hannum Avenue.
Borough Council received news of more delinquent water bills and instructed the solicitor to sends letters requesting payment.
Borough Council voted to approve the state highway plans to widen Gay Street and Hannum Avenue, but limited the Borough's contribution to $4,000.
Borough Council received the letter of resignation from council member George E. Brinton after six years of service. [JJ: The service record appears to be in error. It was George S. Brinton, chief burgess, who had served for more than six years by 1933.]
Borough Council voted 5-1 to appoint Ashton B. T. Smith to replace George E. Brinton. Heed opposed the choice, not because he had anything against Smith, but because he said he had only learned of Brinton's resignation when he arrived at the meeting, and he wanted more time to think about it.
BC received a letter from the PA State Department of Highways designating several Borouigh streets including Goshen road as state roads effective May 4, 1933, meaning the state will construct and maintain them.
J. L. Boals, Inc. offered to sell the Borough a used "63 ton" International truck [should probably be 3 ton] for $95, but BC determined that the Borough did not need a truck like that, so they voted 7-0 to decline the offer.
BC received more challenges to water bills from Mrs. William J. Haley, who received bills for service used by George Tridimous whose restaurant she had purchased at sheriff's sale. Also Mrs. George J. Palmer (419 S. Walnut Street) complained about her bill. [JJ: From the 1932 Borough Directory, Haley's husband was a clerk at Samuel Taylor's grocery and hardware store at 131-133 W. Gay. The Haley's owned their home at 224 S. Walnut St. and their son was a student.]
BC opened bids for stone and soda ash.
Cornelia Dilworth requested an extension on the water bills for 701 and 703 E. Barnard Street because she was a widow and her tenants could not pay their rent. This was her first time to fall behind in twenty years. BC voted 7-0 to grant her a thirty- day extension to make a partial payment.
BC ordered late notices to be sent to 34 people who still owed their sign inspection fee.
BC applied to PECO for a 4% reduced rate if the Borough agreed to use its water system pumps only during off-peak hours.
BC refused to issue an electrical sign permit for Olin's business at 109 N. High Street.
On a motion by Hoopes, seconded by Thorn, the Borough ordered the solicitor to commence filing liens on properties where the sewer bill was nearing the statute of limitations (3 years).
Borough Council approved an electric sign permit for Frank Miyone (234 W. Chestnut Street).
Regarding the state project to widen Gay Street and Hannum Avenue (State Route #5), the cost estimate to move the water, sanitary and storm sewer is $9,000. The solicitor advised Borough Council that the County must pay for the land taken to widen Hannum Avenue, so they sent a letter to the County Commissioners.
"N. Harlan Slack, Chairman of the Municipal Affairs Committee of the Board of Trade," asked Borough Council to prepare an ordinance "prohibiting the display and sale of merchandise on pavements in such manner that same interferes with pedestrian traffic on our sidewalks." Borough Council referred his request to the Police Committee.
Borough Council received word that their ordinance of June 13, 1933, requiring all loads of coal and coke to be weighed upon entry into the Borough, was declared unconstitutional by the Chester County court after George Mendenhall appealed a $50 fine. Since there was several months within which to file an appeal, Borough Council decided to wait and see what other municipalities with similar ordinances did.
Borough Council set November 10 as the deadline for paying delinquent sewer bills (there were 25 to 30 totalling about $190 dollars) and delinquent sign inspection fees.
Regarding the Gay Street/Hannum Avenue widening project, due to delays by County officials, the Borough will not be able to apply in time for National Recovery Act money to help pay for the project. Borough Council referred this matter to the solicitor.
A sheriff sale of tax delinquent properties is scheduled for October 26, 1933. In order to insure that the minimum sales price on parcels within the Borough is high enough to cover the tax bill, Borough Council set aside $500 and authorized the solicitor to place bids.
Borough Council received more complains about water bills. In response to one from Joseph McKeeney (714 Price Street), Water Commissioner Reagan testified that he found evidence of an attempt to tamper with the water meter.
Borough Council approved Fame Fire Company's request to start the process of purchasing a new fire pumper by advertising for bids.
Chester County Hospital asked Borough Council to trim the trees along Marshall Street from Marshall Square Park to the Hospital.
Gaspari Santori asked Borough Council to extend the sanitary sewer to his property at 530 W. Gay Street. There was discussion about the cost.
Regarding the Gay Street/Hannum Avenue widening project, Mr. Windsch of the State Department of Highways said that the money for that project has been shifted to another county, so the project will not take place.
Regarding delinquent water bills, Council voted unanimously (6-0) four times to shut off the water of I. Lomax (210 W. Washington St.), Sarah Howard (410 E. Miner St.), Francis Brown (330 [W.] Washington St.), and P. J. Reilly (380 E. Gay St.). They also voted 6-0 to deferred for one month the bill of E. Black (331 S. Adams St.) because she "is old and unable to pay."
Borough Council approved a sign for John Milhizer at the rear of 24 S. High Street [owned by A. O. Englund & Son, confectioners (1932 WC Boro Dir)].
Fame and First West Chester fire companies hired a fire captain from Philadelphia to give ten lessons on firefighting at $5 a piece, and asked Borough Council to pay or half of the cost. Borough Council decided to consider the request next year after the newly elected council takes office.
Isaac Walker presented his complete plans for upgrading the Borough's water supply. He estimated the cost of the dam at $89,528, the coagulating basin [at Milltown] at $43,455, and extending the water mains at $27,638. He added ten percent ($16,072) for "engineering and contingencies." Borough Council voted to submit the plan for approval to the "State Departments of Health and Forests and Waters."
Borough Council reviewed the final proposal for Fame Fire Company's new pumper.
On a motion by Hoopes, seconded by Smith, Borough Council voted 6-0 to approve Walker's water resource plan. On a motion by Smith, seconded by Hoopes, Borough Council voted 6-0 to apply for a loan of $223,000 to construct the water supply improvements under the National Industrial Recovery Act.
This meeting was called because the Borough received news that the Federal Civil Works Administration was offering money to pay wages for labor on local public works projects. On a motion by Kerwin, seconded by Heed, Borough Council voted 5-0 to apply for money to pay workers to remove the trolley tracks and repair High, Market, New and Wayne Streets.
Borough Council discussed the money available from the Civil Works Administration and how to use it. They voted to use some of the money to remove the trolley tracks on Market Street between High Street and the Pennsylvania Railroad station -- a $15,000 project that would cost the Borough only $6,000 after they receive federal assistance.
Borough Council received approval to use Civil Works Administration money to paint the two sewage treatment plants and the work is underway.
Borough Council decided to apply for additional Civil Works Administration money to lay 1,200 feet of sanitary sewer along Hannum Avenue.
Borough Council decided to create a special committee to oversee Civil Works Administration projects, with council member Thomas Hoopes Jr. as the chair, plus council member Heed and Borough engineer Colesworthy.
Borough Council voted 6-0-1 (MacElree abstained because he was the lawyer for the PMAC insurance company) to approve a contract with the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Casualty Insurance Company for the Borough's 1934 workmen's compensation insurance, and to cancel the existing policy with the Pennsylvania State Workmen's Compensation Company.
The State Department of Highways designated Price Street from High Street to the western Borough line as a "thru highway" and part of state route 52.
Borough Council set the 1934 sewer rate as follows: on class A (assessed) properties, 2 mills. On class B (unassessed properties), 1.5 mills on the Borough Assessor's "valuation" plus 75 cents for each connection. On class C (various institutions and some businesses), the rates were: steam laundry $75; creamery $40; hospitals $25; public schools $25; private schools $10, churches $10; and post office $64. [JJ: Need to go back and see if these rates were per month or per year.]
On a motion by Dewees, seconded by Heed, Borough Council voted 7-0 to approve a special election on Thursday, January 28, 1934 to allow voters to approve or reject the water supply improvement plan.
Borough Council voted to move forward on the Civil Works Administration projects to remove the trolley tracks, lengthen the Hannum Avenue sanitary sewer, and to hire an "engineer or other competent person to classify, file, and index all Borough Maps, Blue Prints, and Tracings."
Borough Council held a long discussion during an executive session about the Fame Fire company pumper because Fame's specifications called for a Seagraves pumper but Seagraves' bid was the highest.
Borough Council approved an electric sign for Olin's (109 N. High Street) by a vote of 5-2 (Hoopes and MacElree opposed), but then after more discussion, they voted 6-1 to reconsider their approval (Hoopes opposed), and then voted 1-6 to refuse approval (only Smith voted to approve the sign).
Borough Council voted to hire a photographer to photograph the municipal building, burgess and members of Council and to have the resulting pictures framed and mounted in the municipal building beside sets of pictures from two earlier periods in Borough history.
The "Town Planning Council" asked Borough Council to pass two ordinances. One would "refuse permission to mar the beauty of High Street by the erection of further Gas Stations o other such temporary or unsightly construction" and the other would create a "Zoning Plan" for the Borough.
Borough Council approved an electric sign for Olin's (109 N. High Street) by a vote of 5-2 (Hoopes and MacElree opposed).
Borough Council voted to purchase a Seagraves 600-gallon pumper for Fame Fire Company for $9,031.65.
Borough Council approved bids for various paving materials including one from Bituminous Service Company for 20,000 gallons of "90 to 110% penetration asphalt oil" at a price of $.084 per gallon, delivered and applied.
|Copyright 2010 by Dr. James A. Jones|