Days of Yore
.
as recounted by

Bill Day

 



John R. Holloway
Frequently on Sunday in the early 1930's one was in was in a canoe on Evan Lake, tied up to a fallen tree, reading the Sunday paper, enjoying the surroundings.

Often a figure would appear, walking from the direction of the foot of Lee avenue.  It would be John R. Holloway, Sr, a 65-year-old Englishman, who was tall, slender and mustached, looking typically English, in a pleated coat, white shirt and tie.  His vest would be crossed with a yellow gold heavy watch chain.

With a left-handed grip he would be holding a split bamboo fly rod while, without breaking his slow stride, he would be flipping a line back and forth, and with the last cast he'd lay a lure on the lake's surface without hitting a single low hanging branch or landing enmeshed in a clump of weeds on the shore line.  Just an expert in action.  Occasionally, a golden sunfish would attack the fly and meet its waterloo.  The fish was always returned to the water as the flycaster was only interested in practicing his casting ability and not increasing his larder.

Mr Holloway was the manager of the fishing tackle department of Edward A. Tryon's sporting goods store over at 510 Market street in Philadelphia, a position which he had been in for 39 years at that time.  He was known, not only in this immediate area, but throughout the United States for his knowledge of the proper equipment and lures to be used during a season in any section including Canada.

Yes, he was a colorful figure, working the shore line, chewing his cheek-full of Drummond's Natural Leaf cut plug tobacco.  He would, when asked, give his expert advice as long as the question was about fishing.

Mr Tryon would give his employee permission to go with a customers in a private railroad car on a fishing expedition to Canada.  It was a frequent sight on a Sunday morning for a Pierce Arrow limousine to appear on Lee avenue to pick up Mr Holloway and take him on a day's fishing trip down to Alloway Lake.

Field and Stream magazine often quoted Mr Holoway's opinions on the lures to be used in various sections of the country.

It was common knowledge that if a customer in Tryon's bought a new fishing pole of his own choice he received good service, but if he took a pole that Mr Holloway suggested, out in the back alley they would go and a demonstration was given by dropping a lure into a hat to show the quality of the selection.  Whenever Governor Gifford Pinchot was in Philadelphia, he was a regular customer, and if it was a fishing trip to Nova Scotia that he was planning, he would be stopping at Tryon's for expert advice on the bait to take along.

Mr Holoway was one to the colorful personages which our town can be proud it possessed at one time.

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