Thursday, August 8, 2013

Preparing a list of Pennsylvania rental properties for Spring 1915

This postcard was tucked away inside a century-old Harper & Brothers edition of "Redgauntlet," one of the Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott.1

The pre-stamped card is postmarked 8 p.m. on February 3, 1915, in Philadelphia.2 It was mailed to Mr. W.H. Gutelius, who lived in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, and/or Hopewell, New Jersey, as indicated by the scratching out of Wallingford and the writing of Hopewell in pencil.3

The card has a purple stamp on the back for C.P. Peters & Son, which handled "real estate, business opportunities [and] insurance" and had its offices at 608 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.4

On the typed postcard note, C.P. Peters queries Mr. Gutelius on the following:

Dear Sir:-
If the property offered by your daughter last spring is now or is soon to be for rent, we would be glad to take it in hand. We are now preparing our furnished and unfurnished rent lists, and believe there will be an increased demand shortly.

So, who was Mr. W.H. Gutelius?

Here are some clues and possibilities:
  • From the "Proceedings of the Delaware County Institute of Science"... "OCTOBER 1, 1908. - Regular Monthly Meeting, with the President, T. Chalkley Palmer, presiding. The usual reports of Curators and Committees received. William H. Gutelius, of Wallingford, Pa., was elected to membership in the Institute."5
  • A classified advertisement from the March 14, 1911, edition of the Chester (Pa.) Times... "FOR SALE - Dump Cart, harness, good cow, forward springer; 200 bu. cob corn, cedar bean poles. W.H. Gutelius, Wallingford, Penn."6
  • From the February 14, 1920, issue of Advertising & Selling magazine... "W.H. Gutelius, Editor, Dies. William H. Gutelius, editor and publisher, died Tuesday at his home, 34 Gramercy Park, New York, of heart disease. He was in his sixtieth year and had been ill for three weeks. Before purchasing the True American published in Trenton, N.J., and which he used to support Wilson for the presidency, Mr. Gutelius had been managing editor and publisher of the Pittsburgh Times. He had also been managing editor of the Philadelphia Press and of the old Chicago Record-Herald. Mr. Gutelius is survived by a wife and six children."

I would say all of these fit with the man we're looking for, but, of course, I could be wrong.

Finally, in a Google search, I came across this amazing property for sale from our friends at C.P. Peters & Son, in this classified advertisement from the December 1917 issue of Forest and Stream magazine:

FOR SALE-GAME PRESERVE; MOUNTAIN farm, 300 acres, suitable for preserve, in the deer and bear hunting section of the Allegheny Mountains, Pennsylvania; fine trout and bass streams; 230 acres woodland; 80 acres developed; 1200 fruit trees, 10-room house, bars, etc.; a plentiful supply of fine spring waer at house and barn by gravity; and ideal club proposition; abundant cottage sites; near station; offered at low price.

I wonder who bought that property, what it was used for and what that land is like today. With our luck, somebody is probably fracking it.

1. Illustrations from this set of Waverley novels have been featured in these two previous posts:
2. On February 3, 1915, according to The History Place, this is what was happening in World War I: "Turkish troops launch an unsuccessful attack against the British-controlled Suez Canal, which is regularly used by the British to ferry Dominion troops from Australia, New Zealand and India to European battle grounds."
3. Full disclosure: I lived in Wallingford in the late 1980s and early 1990s and graduated from Strath Haven High School.
4. The building at 608 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia is along Independence Mall and is diagonally across from the Liberty Bell. Instead of stating that it is "diagonally across," I was originally going to state that the building is "catty-corner" from the Liberty Bell. But that sent me on an Etymology Quest. Catty-corner (or its alternate form kitty corner) is a corruption of the term cater-corner, which itself has a much-debated and interesting etymology that might or might not involve Scandinavian origin.
5. The Delaware County Institute of Science is still going strong, and has a website!
6. Here are some other classified advertisements from that 1911 issue of the Chester Times:
  • GIRL WANTED - Blake's Candy Store, 402 Market St.
  • FOR SALE CHEAP - 25 homing piegons, banded, 1126 Kerlin Street
  • WANTED - a first-class Butcher. Apply to W.H. Mitchell, Media, Pa.
  • WANTED - Polish girl for general housework. Apply to Mrs. Thomas Davis, 920 Barclay Street
  • LEIPER QUARRIES (1775-1911). When you are ordering the material for that new house, remember that stone will not need a coat of paint each year. We have all kinds - Foundation, Face, Curb, Dimension Stone, Sand and Dirt. C.I. LEIPER, Swarthmore, Pa.

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