McAdoo Clan

This McAdoo genealogy blog has been created to share family information. It will be used to record genealogy data as well as to communicate family news.

My Photo
Location: Metuchen, New Jersey, United States

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Germantown Revisited

Ginnie and I made another trip to Germantown and the Germantown Historical Society yesterday to review additional Boys’ Club Newsletters that the librarian had located since my last visit.  We reviewed all of the weekly newsletters written between 1918 and 1928 that were in the file.  While I found only a few references to Jimmy’s competitive career, I discovered several other interesting pieces of information.

The Swarthmore connection to Germantown continues to grow with the discovery of an article in the March 17, 1922 newsletter issue announcing the hiring of J.W. Stevens as the swimming coach.  The article stated, “Mr. Stevens is one of the best known swimming coaches in the United States, he having had a large hand in developing a number of women swimmers, who were on the Olympic team that represented the United States in the games held two years ago.”  Here is the Swarthmore connection.  “He was largely responsible for the development of Charles Crownover, the Girard College boy, who is now at Swarthmore College.”  There is an undated article in Jimmy’s scrapbook reporting on the results of an A.A.U. meet held at Germantown Y where Crownover, representing PennA.C., beat Jimmy, who was representing the Boys’ Club, in a 100-yard freestyle race.

So, Jimmy had three coaches at the Boys’ Club-J.W. Stevens in 1922, Gil E. Tomlinson in 1925, who at that time was also the coach at Swarthmore, and Bob Dippy, Sr. in 1926-27 whose son, Bob, Jr. swam for Jimmy at Swarthmore before and after WWII.  I think that is amazing.

I found a short article in a November, 7, 1919 issue, (Jimmy was 10 years old)-“Last week Jimmy McAdoo, diminutive with a very wistful expression, asked if he might “organize a Self Governing Club.”  A group of prospective workers were being shown through the club at the time and it looked as if he had been coached in his part.  He was so earnest in his desire to start a club.  He explained to the prospective workers what he wanted and one of the men offered to start a club.  Jimmy hunted up some of his cronies and a new club is the result.  Everyone is watching Jimmy’s latest attempt to be a good citizen of the Big Club.”

The July 30, 1920 issue contained this item-“A new club has been organized in the swimming pool.  Since the name of the club is a secret, it will be known only as the E.T.B.  The purpose of the club is to help around the pool.  The club has already divided itself into two teams, the Eagles and the Bears.  There is a great rivalry between the two teams as to which can prove to be more useful.  A meeting of the club will be held Wednesday when the final details will be completed.  The members are Dick Brambley, Will Mitchell, Jimmy McAdoo, Paul Mangel, George Jacobs, Roy Townsend, Peter Tyler, and Spike McNeill.”

I have often mentioned that my dad did not talk much about his childhood.  Even though we lived only a mile from where he grew up, I had never seen his boyhood homes at 20 E. Ashmead St. and 127 W. Ashmead St., only the one at 5203 Germantown Ave.  After finishing up at the historical society, we drove the few blocks south on Germantown Ave. and found the three houses.  Although the neighborhood is bleak, as is most of Germantown, the exterior of the three houses appeared in reasonably good condition.  I took photos of all three.

We then traveled north on Germantown Ave. to the Philadelphia Print Shop in Chestnut Hill, where I found an 1860 Mitchell Street Map of Philadelphia showing the newly formed wards of the city.  I was able to locate Savery St. in the 18th Ward, where my great great grandparents, William and Sarah McAdoo lived in the 1860’s prior to moving to Port Kennedy, Montgomery County.  It was a bit too expensive, but something to consider in the future.

Those of you who know me are aware of how much I love cities and how I tend to try to envision possibilities for future renewal of our decaying urban areas.  I left Germantown yesterday with a feeling of sadness and pessimism for the future.  I saw no renewal efforts, vacant lots where familiar landmarks had stood, a lack of cleanliness around the neighborhoods, and little vibrancy in the air.  Yes, it was just a quick, focused tour, and yes, I might have been trying to relive my own youth, but I drove away from Germantown with the strong feeling that the town I love is still in urban decline.  


Post a Comment

<< Home