Days of Yore
.
as recounted by

Bill Day

 



Interesting Items
A busy body, on an angle iron attached to the frame of a second story window, was once used on properties around Haddonfield.

Its mirror, properly adjusted, permitted anyone peering into it to see who was ringing the front door bell down on the porch. Other mirrors showed who was walking on the sidewalk.

A bar was on the Ludlow property on Grove Street near Lake Street from which a riding academy once operated. Ten or more fine riding horses were stabled there, which were for hire. Town boys spent much of their time grooming the horses and working around the stable. A free ride would be their payment for their work.

On the site of the Seven Eleven store on Grove Street once stood a house that was rented for five dollars a month. When a gas main was laid on the street, the rent was raised a quarter a month. When the electric wires were strung on the street, another quarter was added to the rent, but the tenant objected to paying five dollars and fifty cents a month. She moved her family to a house on Lake Street where the houses still rented for five dollars a month. Who needed gas and electric!

When Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney fought for the heavyweight championship of the world about 50 years ago the bout was radio broadcasted.  There were not as many radios in homes then and a radio dealer set a loudspeaker out on his front porch down on Tanner Street. The throng that gathered to listen to the fight really slowed traffic down and even the trolley cars had difficulty passing the spot.

Remember when Grove Street was being worked on and a big steamroller broke through the surface of the bridge across Cooper¹s Creek down where the Camden County Park is now? Traffic had to be detoured for a number of days until the damage could be repaired.

Remember the second-hand store belonging to old Cooper Watson. He operated it in the old frame building opposite the firehouse on Haddon Avenue? That old-timer, Cooper, was called "Coop" by everybody in town.  This establishment today would be known as an antique shop, as most of the articles piled in Coop¹s room were older than antiques. He acquired his stock by purchasing whole housefulls of furniture when executors of estates wanted to clear out the houses when the last members of families passed away.  Tables, chairs, dishes, mirrors, light fixtures, lamps and tools were stacked high in Coop¹s and even out on the porch.

Newlyweds in town furnished their first rooms with this secondhand furniture.  In that time antiques were not as prized as they are today. If some Haddonfield families could relive their lives, what a difference there would be in some homes today, because after getting established in married life that secondhand furniture was replaced with new. Those old china pieces, bisque images, cut glass, wall plaques and matched vases that Coop sold for a pittance would have a different value now.

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