This Was Doylestown, 1966

A look back at Doylestown, 46 years ago this week.

County buying Doylestown school buildings -

The three buildings that once housed Doylestown's high school, junior high school and elementary school are being acquired by Bucks County for $80,000.

County Commission Chairman J. Justus Bodley revealed Monday that he and Commissioner Joseph O. Canby have authorized County Solicitor Samuel S. Gray to enter into a sale agreement with the solicitor of the Doylestown Borough School District. The county will use the buildings for storage of records and office space.

The main stone building at East Court and Broad streets, built in 1889-90, is a Doylestown landmark because of its castle-like architecture, porches, rounded windows and high-peaked roof and bell tower. The brick building, formerly the high school, was built in 1912. The annex, later known as the junior high school, was built in 1925.

Minority Commissioner Walter S. Farley Jr., who is opposed to buying the school buildings diagonally across the street from the Courthouse Administration Building, wanted the school houses to be put up for public sale to the highest bidder.

"We can't take that chance," said Canby, "because we are liable to have to pay more than at a private [negotiated] figure."

Bodley said the county will formally acquire the school houses at the end of the school year, which is June 30.

"More storage space is the pressing need for the expansion move," said Bodley. "According to the state laws, officeholders must get court approval to destroy any original records."

Donald McClintock, supervising principal of the Doylestown schools, said, "The slate blackboards in the old stone building are still in such good condition and the slate is so good that we are removing them from the grade classrooms and putting them in the new ."

Thousands of former students will want to know what will happen to the famed row of 30 or more rectangular, colorful and thrilling Moravian tiles, made by the late Dr. Henry Chapman Mercer, that adorn the front of the high school auditorium over the proscenium of the stage.

Editor's note - The school buildings were destroyed by a massive fire on Feb. 23, 1973. The Mercer tiles in the auditorium survived and were removed before the buildings were torn down. Today, the site is a reserved parking lot for certain county employees.

Trees to be planted at Borough Dam -

Last spring, when the Doylestown Nature Club was soliciting funds for Operation Railroad Station and other community beautification projects, they received a donation of $50 from Boy Scout Post 18 of Doylestown, to be used in whatever program of beautification the club saw fit.

The beautification committee held this generous gift out of the general fund until they could apply it to some special project with which the Scouts could identify themselves and be proud of. After surveying several possibilities, it was decided to use the money to plant dogwood trees around the Borough Dam on East State Street at the edge of Doylestown--an area .

Arrangements have now been made with the borough to plant these trees, which will be done in the early spring under the supervision of Geoffrey Bullard. The Nature Club is proud of this contribution and wants the community to be aware, when the shores of the dam become a beauty spot of pink and white, that this is a thoughtful gift of a public-spirited group of Doylestown Boy Scouts.


Advertisement -

DOYLESTOWN...Clean, well-kept borough property on spacious corner lot. Landscaped lawn with several shade trees. Quality construction, slate roof, full basement. Living room with fireplace and paneling, dining room, modernized kitchen and breakfast area on first floor. 3 bedrooms, bath and storage above. Big closets. Hot water, oil heat. Detached 2-car garage. Nice, residential area. To settle estate, a quick sale price of $17,500...J. CARROLL MOLLOY, 30 S. Main St., Doylestown...348-3558.


Fire damages Mrs. Paul's seafood plant -

A stubborn fire that raced between the roof and ceiling of a 180-foot building for more than four hours Tuesday caused damage estimated between $40,000 and $50,000 to the Doylestown Processing Company.

George Flynn, plant manager for the processing company, a division of Mrs. Paul's Kitchens, located on North Main Street between Union and Spruce streets, said 100 men and women are employed in the plant. He declined to give an estimate for the loss, but Doylestown Fire Chief Arthur Schmell said the loss will easily reach $50,000.

The fire broke out about 11:50 a.m., and firemen left the scene after 4 p.m., after subduing one of the most stubborn blazes to hit the county seat in recent years. Bucks County Fire Marshal Fred K. Hibbs said a flash fire in the rear of the building near a tank of hot oil is believed to have caused the blaze.

More than 100 firemen, representing , Chalfont and Plumstead, with Midway standing by in the firehouse for Doylestown, were called into action. Yellowish, heavy billows of smoke rolled out of the second story as firemen tried to extinguish the flames that licked beneath the roof at many points.

"The firemen did a good job," said Hibbs. "It was a hard fire to fight because every time you opened the roof at one place to put water on the flames, the fire would spread to another point."

Bucks County Fire Police Commissioner William McMath, who is also employed by the Bucks County Health Department as an inspector, said all foods that have been contaminated from exposure to the fire or smoke will be destroyed.

Editor's note - The Mrs. Paul's plant closed in 1988 and was razed in 1990. The Belvedere at Doyle Square townhouse development was built on the site in 2004.


Lions Club variety show raises $2,000 -

Doylestown Lions Club raised about $2,000 at its fifth annual variety show, "Hills-A-Poppin," which was presented in the auditorium Friday and Saturday nights. More than 2,000 persons attended the two shows.

George W. Carver Jr., International Counsellor, said more than 950 people attended Friday night's performance and there was standing room only at Saturday night's show. William Burnside served as the master of ceremonies, introducing the performers and building up each musical or choral number.

"The Hill-Bettys" performed song and dance routines. Raymond Hopkins played Daisy Mae and Lester R. Gordon was Li'l Abner. Soloists were Harold Haldeman, Fred Plequette, Dr. Manning B. Smith, Samuel Carr, Councilman Walter E. Bachmann Jr., William Seuren, Willard Meyers, Harold F. Hellyer Jr. and Ray Mills.

Mrs. Margaret S. Shelley was at the piano. The production was under the direction of William M. Robinson, veteran community theater song and dance director.

"We want to thank everyone who helped to make our show such a success," said Carver. "It was one of the most successful we've ever given."


Advertisement -

, Doylestown, Penna....NOW SHOWING...Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman present SEAN CONNERY in "THUNDERBALL"...2 Shows at 7 & 9:15 P.M....MPA Rating: Adult...Phone 348-4014.


Major construction boosts borough building permits -

Doylestown Borough last year issued building permits totaling $2,766,256 in construction, including two new churches, a new elementary school and two factory expansions.

Last year's construction was $1,421,512 higher than in 1964. There were 142 permits issued in 1965, compared with 112 permits in 1964, according to the annual report on building permits submitted by Borough Manager J. Gardner Pearsall.

The biggest project was Doyle Elementary School on North West Street, which called for an outlay of $760,200. Fonthill Apartments was granted a permit for a $50,000 expansion.

, which is moving from to Swamp Road, where it is building a new edifice, was issued a permit for $277,000. The , which is building a new structure along West State Street between and "Villa Hammer," was issued a permit for $265,000.

Cartex Corp., located along Chapman Lane [now Veterans Lane], was granted a permit for $46,000 for industrial expansion. Mohawk Devices, located at Broad and Doyle streets, was granted a $90,000 permit to enlarge its factory.

The supermarket received a permit for $52,000 to increase its emporium in the Doylestown Shopping Center.

Last year, there were 74 new housing units built, compared with 166 in 1964, 61 in 1963, 39 in 1962 and 137 in 1961. The average value for new houses is $14,706; for total new construction, $30,785; for alterations and additions, $5,702.


Union Horse Company conducts public "hanging" -

The Union Horse Company of Doylestown and Vicinity for the Apprehension of Horse Thieves and Other Villians renewed its ancient public hanging ceremony on Saturday before a crowd of several hundred amused spectators surrounding historic Fountain House Plaza.

The blindfolded culprit atop the wooden gallows turned out to be Doylestown Borough's first Democratic mayor in some 40 years, the popular Daniel D. Atkinson. The shrouded hangman was identified as the defeated candidate for mayor, retired Bucks County Boy Scout Executive Raymond Hoxworth, a Republican.

Forty Colts (new members of the horse company) voted unanimously to hang the mayor, but an excited lady nearby pleaded loudly, "don't, please don't, he's my boyfriend."

Further pleas from the mayor's wife, Mary, now Doylestown's First Lady, had an appealing note to Hangman Hoxworth, and the mayor dismounted the gallows intact.

It was a banner day for the Union Horse Company, which marked its 131st anniversary. Attendance numbered 250, including the 40 Colts, who were given a fitting initiation in midtown and at the American Legion Home, where the meeting and program was presented.

Unioneer Joe Kenny, vice president and stable attache, was at his best as emcee after the business meeting was capably presided over by the company's new president, Warren B. Watson, Doylestown insurance broker. A delicious dinner was prepared and served by Unioneer Goldie Meyers and his staff from the Dublin Diner.


From The Daily Intelligencer, Week of Feb. 6-12, 1966

Mark Glidden February 07, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Any idea of where the tiles decorating the proscenium at the old high school ended up? Also wonder if the slate boards transferred from the old high school to Doyle Elementary are still in use. I think CB went to chalkless boards years ago but if anyone knows can you reply? Thanks
Sarah Larson February 07, 2012 at 05:04 PM
I wondered the same thing about the tiles, Mark. I've asked Ed Levenson to look into it.
Edward Levenson February 08, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Henry Mercer's "Tiles of the New World," set in concrete, were removed from the high school auditorium in June 1973 by cutting out each panel with a hardened saw. Twenty-nine complete panels, including the concrete backing, remain in storage at the county-owned Moravian Pottery and Tile Works in Doylestown Township, according to curator Vance Koehler. He said similar "Tiles of the New World" are on public display at the tile works and Fonthill.
Mark Glidden February 09, 2012 at 11:42 AM
That's a shame. It would be great to find a way to incorporate them into a public building in town. The justice center would have been a good place to do it.
Toby June 30, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I was a member of Union Horse Company with James Michner, Tom Stringer and many others in late 60's and 70's. Email me @ ybotybot@aol.com if you have info. Thanks, Toby


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