Georganne T. Mears

Georganne (known as Jan) (1932-2012) and Bill Mears may be the only people interviewed for this project who lived in a former herring packing plant. Built in 1765, the building at 108 Delancey Street occupied a double lot. It had been completely gutted and was home to rats and pigeons when the Mearses bought it in 1963 from the Redevelopment Authority. They hired John Sacksteder as their architect, but they created the garden themselves and also did painting and many other things to make it habitable.

Jan speaks about her house being only the second one on their block to become occupied. Half a dozen families soon followed. She says, “It was becoming a neighborhood,” not something she had expected. Residents quickly became friends, and there was a lot of partying in houses and on the vacant lot between Front and Second, Spruce and Delancey. That block was also used for dog walking and ball games. Jan recalls the neighbors organizing to get what they did or did not want from the city for the neighborhood, including a cover for I-95 and no Crosstown Expressway. Jan put out the Resident Newsletter for many years.

Jan tells a couple of engaging stories. One is about Harry Batten, who was her boss at N.W. Ayer, and a leader in the redevelopment effort who evidently pulled some strings for her with the Redevelopment Authority. She tells another about how she and her husband created their garden one summer.


DS:      This is an interview with Georganne Mears. The date is March 28, 2007. I am Dorothy Stevens. The location is 116 Delancey Street, Philadelphia, PA. I’m speaking with Georganne Mears, and she used to live at 108 Delancey Street, back in – when did you come?

GM:    I think it was ’63.

DS:      Why did you come, Georganne?

GM:    Because I hated suburbia, and the whole idea of development in suburbia. What was going on out there, it seemed to be…

DS:      You’re talking suburbia Philadelphia?

GM:    Any suburbia.

DS:      Right.

GM:    Suburbia USA seemed to be a bunch of developments where the promised thing was garages. Every house you passed by was a garage first. I just didn’t like (1:00) that mentality. I had lived in the city before, and I worked in the city. So….

DS:      At that time, you worked in the city?

GM:    Yes, at that time I worked in the city for ten years.

DS:      You were working for…?

GM:    N.W. Ayer on West Washington Square.

DS:      Your husband?

GM:    Bill Mears worked for Mobil Oil over in New Jersey.

DS:      It was close for him.

GM:    Not bad.

DS:      What was the condition of the house like?

GM:    It had been a – gutted. It was initially nothing inside and had been turned into a herring packing plant. Everything inside had been removed. We think that the house had a – when we found it, the ground floor was like a major, big garage and (2:00) had been extended all the way out to the end of the property in the rear. We figured there had been maybe an L extension out of the original house that had been torn down when it was turned into the herring packing [plant]. There were pigeons on the third floor, and there were a lot of rats, and there was a pigeon – kind of a nest all in the place next door, ‘cause they were making chicken feed next door.

DS:      Which side?

GM:    On the river side, towards Front Street. I remember the first time – there was some rickety stairwell on one side of this. The first time I looked at the house, I went up to the third floor, and all the pigeons let loose. I’m afraid of birds, but they all let loose, and I looked at that and I thought, “This is the house I want? I love (3:00) this room, but I’m never coming up again until all the pigeons leave.” [Laughs] I don’t think I ever did go up again until all the pigeons left.

DS:      This did not discourage you.

GM:    No, no.

DS:      You were the second family to move into this block?

GM:    First.

DS:      The first family. You were ahead of the Remeters?

GM:    Yes, by maybe a month or so. It seemed to me that within the first six months, there were six of us that lived here, right? You, Dorothy, and David, Mae O’Neil, the Rementers, and the people that lived next door – I forget.

DS:      The Fishers? [Indecipherable]?

GM:    No, I don’t remember. The O’Connors. (4:00)

DS:      The O’Connors. That’s who it was. What did your parents and your relatives think of this whole –

GM:    My mother said to me, “Oh, boy, Georganne, you’ll never get this place cleaned up enough to live in it.” I don’t know what she thought we were going to do, but we certainly weren’t going to move into it as it was.                                              

DS:      Your father?

GM:    My father thought it was a good investment. That was basically one of the reasons we moved. We thought it was a good investment. My dad said, “Look. It’s a wonderful place to live,” he says, “if you’re prepared to be in construction for at least ten years.” He said, “There will be constant construction around you.” And he was right.

DS:      He was right. And your brother? (5:00)

GM:    Oh, my brother was so much younger than I was. He just jumped right in and said, “Fine.” He was in college. It wasn’t anything he was thinking about. He eventually came and lived with us for a while, if you recall. When he was in the Navy, he stayed with us quite a long time.

DS:      Who showed you the house?

GM:    We went to the Redevelopment Authority and just got permission to go into a group of houses. Our closest contact were the Eimans [Bill and Jane]. When I lived in the city, when I was single, the Eimans moved in upstairs from me, when they were first married. Actually, Jane moved in before they got married. This is Jane and Bill Eiman, from the 200 block of Delancey. I had talked to them and said, “What’s the procedure?” because I knew they had moved to Society Hill. Jane said, (6:00) “Stop by and see us.” We looked at some houses from the Redevelopment Authority and then went by and saw their place. It was a nice contrast to see the old and the new. Bill Eiman was carting a tree through the house to plant in the garden, [Laughs] which was good therapy – or a good selling point for my Bill Mears, who thought people in the city didn’t do any work themselves, like carting trees through the house.

DS:      The Eimans don’t have a side alley and you didn’t have a side alley.

GM:    No.

DS:      On your 108 [Delancey St.] property, everything has to go through the house?

GM:    We carted trees through our house, too. We were fortunate enough not to have the back wall originally, so we could bring some stuff over the back, before the properties there were sold. We could unload bricks and all that stuff, but the trees came through the house.             (7:00)

DS:      Did you have any dealing with Ted Newbold? Did he show you any of the houses?

GM:    No.

DS:      Then you bought the house from the Redevelopment Authority. Did you have any difficulty with them?

GM:    Not with [the] Redevelopment [Authority]. We had a couple of difficulties with the city. One that it was – I think we had to wait for zoning, because it was not zoned residential. We had to wait for that – for them to change it. We had to get a variance, and we had to get a variance because we did not have off-street parking. Of course, off-street parking wasn’t allowed, but I still had to go to court and City Hall and say we don’t have any off-street parking. We had to get a variance for that.

DS:      Do you remember how much you paid for the property?

GM:    Approximately, $11,500. (8:00)

DS:      The size of that property was –

GM:    A double lot.

DS:      A double lot.

GM:    Um hum. It always had been. It was always a single-family house.

DS:      Do you know anything about the people who had it before you?

GM:    No. The only thing we know is that it was 1765.

DS:      When it was built?

GM:    That’s all we know.

DS:      Do you remember the taxes on it?

GM:    No. I remember difficulty trying to get a mortgage. We were already invested in the architectural drawings and we had bought the house. When we tried to get a mortgage, the lowest rate we could get was six and one-half percent. [Laughs] We thought that was simply outrageous. By comparison today, it’s pretty funny, but – we never did get a mortgage. (9:00)

DS:      Do you remember the cost or approximate cost of redoing it?

GM:    Well, it seems – I don’t remember the architect’s fees, because they were all up front. It seems to me that the bid for the basic construction to make it livable on two floors was $38,000, something like that. That did not include the garden, and it did not include the third floor, other than putting a new roof on, and some general studding up there. It didn’t include things like shutters. It didn’t include painting. We did all the painting ourselves. I didn’t want to move into any place that wasn’t livable. (10:00) I didn’t want to live among construction. If it was in a different part of the house, I could handle it, but if it was something I had to trip over every day, I didn’t want to do that.

DS:      Did it have a – did you finish the basement, or was there a basement?

GM:    There was a basic – we took some of the – there was a garage floor. They took that out.

DS:      A garage floor. On the first floor?

GM:    Yes, where they had the plant. I think we did some of that demolition ourselves. Took some of that concrete out, because the basement wasn’t tall enough.

DS:      There was a crawl space?

GM:    Yes, it was there, because the heating and all of that kind of – hot water heater – all those appliances were down there. (11:00)

DS:      Did the Redevelopment Authority put any kind of restrictions on you?

GM:    The façade had to comply with historic restoration, so we had to get those plans for the façade.

DS:      Who was your architect?

GM:    John Sacksteder. He was the same architect that did the Eimans.

DS:      Oh.

GM:    He had a partner. His name was Levine, I think. Sacksteder and Levine.

DS:      Sacksteder and Levine.

GM:    Yes.

DS:      The Eimans house is 2 –

GM:    239 Delancey Street.

DS:      Unless you can think of anything else in particular about the house,      (12:00) give me some stories about what it was like after you moved in here.

GM:    Well, it was becoming a neighborhood, which was an A plus plus. I never expected that it would be such a neighborhood, where we would all go in and out of each other’s houses and party together and raise children and all of that. My father was right about construction. The property across the street, the whole city block, was not developed. The guys used to play softball and lacrosse out there, and the dog walkers were out there. And they did –

DS:      Do you remember Mayor Dilworth?  (13:00)

GM:    Mayor Dilworth was in the neighborhood, and took his dog.

DS:      Poodles.

GM:    Yes. They did fireworks out there. I used to invite everybody down to sit – to bring their lawn chairs and sit in front of our unit – our house, and we would make ice cream cones and watch the fireworks. Between Front Street and the [Delaware] river was an enormous building. I forget its name. They demolished it.

DS:      Quaker City –

GM:    Yes.

DS:      Cold storage.

GM:    That’s right. I remember that was being demolished. We used to bring our lawn chairs out there and have cocktails and watch the demolition go on. It was really a very unique living situation, I think. I think it probably still is. It’s just a little more popular – populated. (14:00)

DS:      There certainly was a feeling of doing something unique.

GM:    Absolutely. It was saving a city, in a way. All of us became so civic minded in establishing a civic association. It seemed like anything we wanted to do, we had to fight for, and all for the benefit of the city. The expressway to I-95, to get it underground. The Penn’s Landing, for the ramps to get on the expressway. I think I still have a sweatshirt that says, “Save the Ramps.” Or, “Say No to the Ramps,” or something like that. (15:00)

DS:      Crosstown Expressway?

GM:    Oh, yes, I forgot about the Crosstown Expressway. It seemed like we were always either in City Hall or marching. [Laughs] We were sort of the forerunners of all of that.

DS:      I remember a man in the neighborhood who lived on the 100 block of Pine [Street]. We all called him George.

GM:    George. I can’t remember his last name. He didn’t want us in Society Hill at all.

DS:      He owned two houses, behind us, here at 116 [Delancey Street]. I can remember in the summer, you and Bill would be working in your back yard, and you would interact with George?

GM:    I don’t remember that so much. He was next to the Halperns, wasn’t he? (16:00)

DS:      No, the Halperns [Alan and Bomie] were here, and then there was a – where the Dodds were – and then the next two were George’s, and he used them as rooming houses. He had fire escapes on the back. He was a Polish-Russian immigrant – had worked hard and didn’t like us here.

GM:    Absolutely. He didn’t want us.

DS:      Tell us about the security guard.

GM:    Oh, I don’t remember too much, other than a guy volunteered to run his business – I guess it was a business – in Society Hill. His personality was sort of a cops and robbers kind. He being one of the cops. We paid him, and he drove (17:00) around the neighborhood all night long, and would shine up search lights and make sure there was nobody in the back. I can’t remember his name.

DS:      In an interview with Duncan Buell, he talked about how, after dark, people would come in with wagons and take plumbing and architectural features out of the old abandoned houses, and that George used to shoot a shotgun out of his second story window to frighten these people away. I guess after that the guard idea came along.

GM:    I’m really not sure. The guy appeared at our door one time, and we interviewed him, and he seemed like – you know, we’d give him a try. We got a number of other people to sign on. (18:00)

DS:      Dr. Zebooker, who was at 110 Delancey, while they were building the house, hired him also to protect the building and equipment. My David and I also hired him to watch over our building and supplies. Other stories about the neighborhood that you can think of?

GM:    Well, I’m sure other people have told you about the houses that fell down.

DS:      Go ahead.

GM:    Between your house, 116 [Delancey Street], and our house, 108 [Delancey Street], there was two properties, two lots, 110 and 112 [Delancey Street] that they started to renovate. They undermined the common wall between them, and they all (19:00) collapsed. Then a year or so later, maybe even longer than that, there was another house, next to 116 [Delancey Street] –

DS:      114 [Delancey Street].

GM:    – that collapsed. It was just people coming in and trying to jump on the bandwagon and redevelop. They were developers that didn’t know how to deal with old foundations and old walls.

DS:      Do you think they meant to have them fall down?

GM:    Oh, no. They were just trying to do a cheap job. In my opinion.

DS:      Yes. Any other stories? Neighbors? Early neighbors or contractors? (20:00) Suppliers?

GM:    Oh, a regular supplier, before many of the houses were done, particularly [before] the houses 104 and 106 [Delancey Street] were developed, the rats continued to be around. A major supplier of ours was an exterminator, and there would be rats on the front steps. I went to – there was a knock on my door one early morning, before I went to work – and I went down and answered the door. It was the exterminator, who was on a regular contract. I looked at him, and I said, “I don’t recognize you as being our regular guy.” He said, “Oh, Mrs. Mears, no. I’m not the regular guy, but I know your house. I killed 23 rats in this house when it was under construction.” So I said, (21:00) “I guess you know it. Come on in.” [Laughs]

DS:      Did you have any trouble in restoring the house? You had to replace all the utilities, of course.

GM:    There was nothing there. Everything was new. The steps, I think I might have mentioned to you, our marble steps came from a house over on Pine Street, in the 300 block, I guess. We had a friend who lived over there, and he noticed that a house was going to be demolished over there, and somehow or other we arranged to get the steps from that house. I’m not sure whether we paid for them or not. I have no (22:00) recollection, but I know we had to go through some dealing to get it. It was not that we just went up with a dump truck and tried to load them in our car.

DS:      Was that happening a lot in those days?

GM:    I don’t know. I was pretty naïve about a lot of stuff.

DS:      Did you get anything else for your house from neighborhood houses?

GM:    Not that I recall. Bricks. Paver bricks. For the garden. And paver cobblestones.

DS:      Yes, you did tell me that.

GM:    I think there were some houses still standing across the street when we bought – when we were looking at the property.

DS:      On the north side of Delancey.

GM:    Correct. I think they were wonderful pavers, or they may have been (23:00) the little cobblestones. I’m not sure. Maybe they were the little cobblestones. They were just so great that we went and pulled them up by wheelbarrow load and carted them through the house. It seemed to be the way we did things. We did the garden entirely, the construction, all by ourselves.

DS:      I remember seeing you out there, weekends.

GM:    We had this big tarpaulin that we could put up over the walls so that we could at least have a little shade. We’d get up at dawn, in the summer. It was so hot that summer. That year it was 104º or something, on the Fourth of July. We’d get up at dawn and go out there. It was just turning away from darkness, and we’d work till about ten or eleven o’clock, when the sun would come up. Then we’d come into the air (24:00) conditioned house and rest, sleep, and then go back out around five o’clock and work ‘till dark to get the paving done. It was a work of love, really. It was a wonderful garden, though. I don’t know what it looks like now.

DS:      I don’t either.

GM:    We had that garden designed.

DS:      You did?

GM:    Yes. Skelley? Carol and …. I forget what his name is.

DS:      They lived on the 600 block of Delancey.

GM:    They did.

DS:      Skelley?

GM:    Yes, Skelley. They also did the Mews, over behind Headhouse Square, in the 200 block of Headhouse Square.     (25:00).

DS:      Blackwell Court.

GM:    Is that what that’s called?

DS:      Yes.

GM:    They did that, too. They were very good with city gardens. I thought they did a kind of different take on city gardens.

DS:      A lot of people used them, I think. I remember seeing their gardens all over the neighborhood. They were unique. Each one was a little bit different.

GM:    Yes, but they used a lot of the indigenous materials and – we wanted a green garden. I didn’t want anything that I had to – well, it was the whole back wall of the house [that] was glass. I didn’t want to look out on anything that was dead all winter long. I wanted to look out on green.

DS:      Were there people living behind you at that point on Pine Street?

GM:    When we were doing the garden, no, because we brought in a lot of (26:00) the bricks [from the back]. Those houses had been negotiated for, and we could get into the back yards. They didn’t have side walls yet in their gardens, so we could get in with a flatbed truck and unload bricks and that sort of stuff.

DS:      Were the Masons [Tom and Patsy] behind you?

GM:    The Masons were directly behind us, but they were later. They came after we had done our garden. The Halperns were after that, too.

DS:      Had – your decision to come here was based more on wanting to live in the city; [did that] sort of help do it? Was there a feeling of energy that Redevelopment –? (27:00)

GM:    I think there was a vitality to the city. I also worked for N.W. Ayer, and that was on Washington Square, a very prestigious advertising agency. Mr. Batten, who was chairman of the board, was very instrumental in having this area of the city planned. He was instrumental in getting the Food Distribution Center out of this area and building the new one down in south Philadelphia. As a matter of fact, the model for that whole thing was in – on the floor that I worked on at N.W. Ayer. He would parade all these people through, dignitaries, investors, whatever, and he created through that association a vitality for the city. (28:00)

DS:      This was Harry Batten?

GM:    Harry Batten. Maureen Murdoch, who was a writer at N.W. Ayer, I think is credited as being the first resident in the redeveloped area. She lived at 233 Delancey, I believe. [It] was next to the American Legion, and I talked to her a lot. She was very brave. A single lady. She moved in that place without any plumbing. There was still the outhouse in the back yard that she had to use.

DS:      Did she ever say why she was doing it?

GM:    No, Mr. Batten used to say it was kind of the thing to do. [Laughs] If you ever got to talk to Mr. Batten, and I did get to talk to Mr. Batten once. Seriously. I used (29:00) to play tennis once a week down in south Philadelphia with a friend. I was leaving Ayer one night, and I had gone into the ladies’ room to change into my tennis clothes. I came out, and I had a raincoat on, and I got on the elevator. Of course, the only other person on the elevator was Mr. Batten, and I’m there in my sneakers. Today, you wouldn’t even think about things like that, but I was just mortified. Mr. Batten says to me, “You look scared.” I said, “Well, I’m actually trying (30:00) to hide my tennis clothes.” I figured I might as well say that to him. He said, “Oh, where do you play tennis?” and I said, “Down in south Philadelphia.” He said, “Oh, do you live down there?” I thought, “OK, you’ll never have another chance like this” so I said, “No, but as a matter of fact, we’re trying to get a place in Society Hill, and we’re having a zoning problem. I’ve got to go down there first and look at the zoning notice, to be sure it’s posted.” He said, “Where?” and I said, “On Delancey Street.” We chit chatted, and he walked me up to the corner. There I am, standing with this man with a flower in his boutonnière, and dressed to the dogs out of Brooks Brothers, with his custom-made everything, and me in my raincoat covering my (31:00) tennis clothes, [Laughs] which weren’t even elaborate tennis clothes. I didn’t belong to a club. I was playing on the public courts. The last thing he said to me was, “Oh, you won’t have any trouble.” I said, “Thank you, sir.” It was within a week that the zoning variance went right through. He was a real gentleman, but I’m always thankful for my tennis clothes. [Laughs]

DS:      You had said earlier that you thought there were a lot of other people, like Harry Batten.

GM:    Well, yes. Anybody who looks back into the history of the city at that time, it was the [Joseph] Clark administration that started the whole redevelopment, and Mr. [Richardson] Dilworth. They were a group of men who were called the (32:00) movers and shakers of Philadelphia. It was very well known. You didn’t do anything in Philadelphia without getting their approval. They really did move it, with the City Planning Commission, and getting the Chinese Wall torn down, and getting Society Hill started, and the Food Distribution Center [moved]. Richard Bond was another, [Jared] Ingersoll was one, Henry Watts. They were all a part of it, and it was interesting to move into a neighborhood where some of them were our neighbors, and we were all on a first-name basis. I had never had that happen before.

DS:      On your days off from work, you’d work on your house or on your garden? Did you go out anywhere in the neighborhood? To eat or for entertainment? (33:00) Was there anything to do here?

GM:    No, Bookbinder’s was sort of the only restaurant nearby, and we went there once, after our house was open on tour. I had all my own guides come in as hostesses. When we left there, we made a reservation at Bookbinder’s. We got there, and I think we walked out without tipping, because the service was so awful, and they were so awful to us. They literally threw the bread on the table at us, the waiters. We never went to Bookbinder’s again. It was years later, when things started to happen in the city, on South Street and Headhouse Square, where you could go and do stuff. Mostly it was just neighbors.

DS:      Private parties? (34:00)

GM:    Yes, if it was snowing, somebody would call and say, “Hey, let’s have a snow party.” You went through your freezer to see what you had to eat, and get along and grab a bottle of booze, and off you went.

DS:      I remember one winter, afternoon, evening, and there was a snowfall. We were out there shoveling, and we got interacting with everybody, and you said, “Why doesn’t everybody come to my house for dinner?” You made a quiche and [had] a bottle of wine, and we had a fantastic evening.

GM:    I don’t remember that, but it sounds like something I would do. I remember once going up to the Eimans and people just kept coming. It just grew and grew, and there was six, eight inches of snow on the ground. There was a good camaraderie. The Fourth of July was always pretty good, too. We’d all kind of congregate in somebody’s – usually our yard, I think. (35:00)

DS:      Tell me about your husband and his love of blowing the trumpet. Remember that?

GM:    No.

DS:      Your husband would – I think it was some type of horn.

GM:    No. No musical instrument.

DS:      It wasn’t him, then.

GM:    No, I guess not. He liked music a lot, and traditional jazz. He would befriend musicians a lot, and we had a lot of music parties in the back yard, but he himself didn’t play. There was a banjo player that came a lot of times. We would go up to the Red Garter. They would play traditional music there. Then the musicians would come back to the house and play.

DS:      It was probably them that I was hearing. It was usually late at night. (36:00)

GM:    It could have been records. We just had a phonograph.

DS:      Did you ever go down to the river? 

GM:    Yes, I guess we did. I kind of forget. Remember the railroad down there? Remember, all night long you would hear the trains going up and down on the –

DS:      They still do.

GM:    Really?

DS:      Yes. Now you left the neighborhood – that house, actually, in what year?

GM:    I think it was ’74.

DS:      And you moved to –?

GM:    Society Hill Towers; I lived there for three years.

DS:      Then moved to –?

GM:    Chestnut Hill.

DS:      Which is where you live now?

GM:    Yes. It was an eeny, meeny, miney, moe. I just felt I had to get out and start a new life. So, I did. (37:00)

DS:      Anything else that you can think of? I thank you for the twelve photographs and the Resident Newsletter that you worked on. Can you tell me about the Resident Newsletter?

GM:    Well, only that I know that it was started originally by Bill Suresky. I forget when I took it over, but I worked on it for a good number of years.

DS:      This would have been in the late ‘60s?

GM:    Yes, it was while I was still living on Delancey Street. I think I gave it up when I moved to the Towers. I was on the board of the Civic Association. I was secretary one term, and I was on the board a couple of terms. Alan Halpern helped (38:00) me on the Newsletter and we had a lot of fun. I can see Alan sitting at my kitchen table at the typewriter, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, typing away. What else? Oh, yes. I worked actively on Stanhope Browne’s committee. The expressway. How to preserve Philadelphia’s historic waterfront. Preservation Committee of Philadelphia’s Historic Waterfront. I did a lot of that, I did all the literature for that. I had it all printed. (39:00) There were meetings that would go on and on forever. Then I’d be up ‘till two, three 3 o’clock in the morning, getting it organized to present to everybody. There was a really big folder I produced. I had it donated, the printing and preparation of it. I can’t find a copy of that. I thought I had some. It was a piece that sort of worked. We never got it completely covered.

[Tape is turned off, then on again]

DS:      Georganne, looking at some of the material you brought, there’s a list of – (40:00) an event that occurred with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, June 9, 1970. And one of the people on the list – one of the houses to be visited, is a Dr. and Mrs. Frank Elliot. Do you remember them?

GM:    Dr. Elliot – I don’t remember them personally – but he was, I believe, a neurosurgeon or head of the neurology department at Penn – Pennsylvania Hospital. The house was the Morris House, which was behind the N.W. Ayer Building.

DS:      At 225 South Eighth Street?

GM:    Right. I think it was the original home of Morris, who was some dignitary [Robert Morris, financier of the Revolution and signer of the Declaration of Independence] in colonial Philadelphia, but N.W. Ayer used the house as lodging for their out-of-town employees, who would come into Philadelphia, and God forbid they should (41:00) spend money on a hotel, when they could stay in this historic house.

DS:      It had its own staff, you said.

GM:    Oh, yes. It was staffed. No women were allowed even inside the front door. When the guys would come there, they would go out to dinner with some of us, or whatever, they could never bring anybody back there. They hated it. They would use the house for entertaining – some corporate entertaining. It was a beautiful garden. We could look down in the garden from the Ayer Building. It was purely Quaker.

DS:      And the Elliots?

GM:    I think they bought it when Ayer moved to New York and moved out of the building. They were not the original owners by any stretch of the imagination. (42:00)

[Tape is turned off, then on again]

DS:      Another name on this list of people is Mr. and Mrs. Harry Prock at 301 South Third Street.

GM:    Yes, that house is on the corner. Actually, there is a garden on the corner, and they had a gazebo moved out on the corner to anchor down the corner. The house next door opens up on that garden. They moved into the city from somewhere out in the country. I know they raised Black Angus cattle. I think they were very wealthy people. I’ve seen them written up in some books on Philadelphia, old Philadelphia families.

[End of Interview]


©2007 Project Philadelphia 19106™. All rights reserved.

About the Interview

Dorothy Stevens
Cynthia J. Eiseman
Interview Location
116 Delancey Street
Interview Date
March 28, 2007
Mears, Georganne T.
Narrator Type
Redeveloper - Restoration
Oral History Sources