Days of Yore
.
as recounted by

Bill Day

 



Green Grocer Remembered
Once it was a familiar sight to see a man striding all over Haddonfield carrying in each hand a wooden bucket. It was Mr. Brick and in one of his buckets was horseradish, and in the other was pepper hash.

Brick lived on Tanner Street, and he ground his products in his side yard. He always had an audience, as all of the neighborhood children were always hanging on the fence watching him work.

Brick was quite a character, as he would step down off the porch, grumbling loudly if he had not made a sale. His opinion of a non-purchaser was no secret to anyone within hearing.

One hundred percent of the housewives in the town were his regular customers, but occasionally a larder would be full. Mr. Brick never wanted to hear that.

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The fate of the fire bell that rang for years for every fire in town has been brought to light. Howard Griffeth remembers that a derrick was secured from John Holman to lower the bell from a top the rickety tower of the old firehouse.

 It was placed in the rear yard of the firehouse and eventually a Philadelphia junk dealer purchased it for scrap iron. The bell had no historic value as it had been secured from a Philadelphia market place where it had been rung to open the day¹s business, and rung to close the day¹s business.

Howard states that when the fire siren was installed on the roof of the tower, the bell was rung three times to summon an ambulance crew, and tolled during the funeral of a fireman, once for each year of his age. These were the only times that the bell was heard after the installation of the siren.

Fire Chief Russell Hunt sounded the bell one day for an ambulance call. The first sound rang clearly, but the second and third strokes were just a dull "plunk."

First it was thought that a pigeon had been caught between the clapper and the bell. However, Russell and Howard climbed the ladder in the old tower to learn that a crack had come in the bell and its tone was gone.

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 Howard Griffeth remembered when it was possible to shoot marbles out in the middle of Tanner Street or East Kings Highway. Occasionally a farmer¹s horse and wagon, or horse and carriage would appear, but that did not happen often enough to interfere with play.

 A fire destroyed the building on the corner of east Kings Highway and Ellis Street, and it also burned the three stores at the rear, up Ellis Street. The fire was in the era of 1900.

The stand pipe up by the Methodist Cemetery was the only source of water pressure at that time and in any emergency the pressure was soon weakened. A steamer pumper drawn by a team of horses was dispatched from a firehouse near Haddon Avenue and Kaighns Avenue in Camden to the fire in Haddonfield.

The wheels of the engine traveled on the trolley car tracks and the trip was not too difficult, but at the corner of East Kings Highway and Haddon Avenue, one of the horses collapsed and expired. On the floor of the firehouse in Camden there was a bronze plaque given by the citizens of Haddonfield in appreciation and memory of the horse (its name not now remembered) that died that day.

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