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Stories of the past found in documents

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Oh, the stories that are found in old documents that have been collected by families over the years!

So it is with the Ryland Lee Mitchell family. Some weeks ago, Wiley Mitchell came to the Aberdeen Room bearing boxes of scrapbooks and letters that had been saved by his mother, Annabel. A few days ago, he brought in some more boxes of programs, photos and letters.

Wiley's grandfather, Ryland, and father, Lee, were very active in the Aberdeen community, so all of the careful collecting by his mother tell about local affairs very vividly. How valuable they are!

Sitting on top of a box is a program from an Aberdeen High School senior play entitled "Intruding on Horace" from 1932. It was presented in June at St. Joan of Arc Hall in Aberdeen. That tells us that the Aberdeen High School did not have a facility large enough for this production. In fact, the auditorium on Philadelphia Boulevard was not ready until 1937, so all high school functions were held in other town buildings.

The program is made up of many pages, filled with advertisements of local businesses. Some of the names bring back many memories to those of us who have lived and gone to school in Aberdeen: William H. Rawhouser, Harry Ivins, Orion C. Michael, The Aberdeen Service Station (Texaco Fire Chief gasoline), J.H. Carroll Co. "The City Store in the County" in Edgewood, H.T. Berry (barber), First National Bank, C.W. Baker & Sons, W.F. Trago, William Allendorf Bakery, E. Del & Co. Druggists, Hutchinson's Department Store, Harford Refrigeration Col. with proprietor Malcolm Y. Tarring.

There appears an ad from A.R. Baldwin. Professor Baldwin taught piano lessons to a host of Aberdeen children for many years in his home on East Bel Air Avenue. E.W. Bonnett sold ladies and gents furnishings. The Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. on West Bel Air Avenue stood side by side with the American Grocery Store.

The B & O Railroad had an interesting ad: "Get Sleeper at Aberdeen B & O Railroad for St. Louis or Chicago without change of trains."

A large ad was from the Harford Printing and Publishing Co. in Aberdeen and Bel Air. The "Harford Democrat and Aberdeen Enterprise" was printed at this location on South Philadelphia Boulevard.

The Colonial Motor Co. sold Auburn, Plymouth and De Soto cars in Aberdeen. Frank Williams had a Sanitary Meat Market and General Grocer on West Bel Air Avenue with Phone No. 118 in their ad. You could "Have Lunch at the Hamburger Inn with the Best Food at Reasonable Prices and Tables for Ladies."

The Aberdeen Ice Company advertised "Save It With Ice," on North Philadelphia Boulevard. There was also the Woolsey Farms Dairy in Aberdeen, with Phone No. 4 at the same location.

Henry Tarring & Sons advertised G.E. electric refrigerators and were distributors for Harford County in Aberdeen.

Advertisers from Bel Air and Havre de Grace appeared. Springer Electric in Havre de Grace, Hirsch's Tailored Clothing had "Gents" clothing as well as dry cleaning and pressing" in Bel Air. Rogers & Livezey advertised Eshelman's feed, lime and fertilizer at Bel Air. McComas Brothers had lumber, coal and hardware in Bel Air. J.W. Maslin sold insurance in Havre de Grace. Havre de Grace Banking and Trust, in Havre de Grace, F.O. Mitchell in Perryman, Mrs. Sanders Florist in Havre de Grace, as well as Carroll's Laundry "Thrift Wash, Damp Wash and Flat Work Ironed" in Havre de Grace.

There was even an ad in Baltimore for Henry Merkel Inc. with marble and granite memorials on Frederick Avenue.

Freddie Baldwin on Philadelphia Road in Aberdeen sold Betholine and Richfield gas and oil. Mrs. M.E. Pritchard had her ad for school lunches, candy and stationery in her little building behind the Aberdeen Elementary School with some of the best soup in town!

The Colonial Inn in Aberdeen on South Philadelphia Boulevard was another ad from proprietors Thomas W. Feasey and William R. Delgar, Waller the photographer and The Little Mill for sundaes and sandwiches, all in Havre de Grace.

There were J.S. Mitchell and Brothers in Aberdeen, Jamison & Mitchell General Insurance Agents in Aberdeen, F.O. Viele & Co. Lumber, Millwork and Du Pont Paints on South Philadelphia Boulevard.

The production of "intruders on Horace" did very well, with Lee Mitchell in the cast.

The program told much about Aberdeen and Harford County, as well as other documents in the R. Lee Mitchell collection. We will be writing more in future columns about days gone by.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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