Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wanamaker gets hip and other items from a 1970 Delaware County Scene

This advertisement for the John Wanamaker department store in Wilmington, Delaware, appears on the back page of the July/August 1970 issue of Delaware County Scene. Using a hip font, the advertisement declares 1970 to be "a new decade of young now fashions."1

Wilmington's Wanamaker complex opened in 1950. The building was recently renovated and repurposed to serve as the headquarters of Incyte, a biopharmaceutical firm that, among other things, has developed a drug called Jakafi to treat a rare blood cancer.2

Delaware County Scene was a combination of tourist guide and history guide, filled with local advertisements for the southeastern Pennsylvania county and Delaware. This 24-page issue3 is perfect bound and printed on newsprint.

Silvia Barfield Shay was the editor and publisher of Delaware County Scene, which was published out of Wallingford in cooperation with the Delaware County Tourist Bureau. According to Page 2, its distribution locations included banks, real estate offices, libraries, hospitals, schools, beauty shops, "milk and fuel oil companies," motels and tourist information centers.

Here are some other interesting tidbits from this issue:

  • You could rent a Ford Falcon for $9 per day, plus 9 cents per mile, from Drexel Fleets Inc. in Media.
  • There is an advertisement for Snowden's, which billed itself as "Media's oldest and most complete department store," having been established in 1868. According to "A Brief History of Media: 1850 to 1900," Snowden's continued in operation until a fire destroyed the West State Street building in 1976.
  • The follow is written about the Marrion Blackwell Trio in a section titled "After Dark Discoveries":
    "One of the delights of a visit to the Media Inn is the fine entertainment of the Marrion Blackwell Trio, who like 'the man who came to dinner' came to Media for a two weeks contract and has stayed year and year. Mr. Blackwell is a most versatile man on all instruments, and proudly relates to the days in Yankton, S.D. where he appeared with Lawrence Welk - the year 1932. Assisting at the piano is Bobby Jefferson with 'Streamline' Burrell on the drums. Fans came from the tri-state area week after week to enjoy the Marrion Blackwell brand of dance-forever music."
  • Carroll W. Griffith Co., a Wilmington-based real-estate company offered: "Complete real estate coverage thru 'Realtron,' (IBM computer for finding homes quickly)."4
  • Bethany Beach in Delaware was described as follows: "Quiet and picturesque Bethany Beach located between Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City, Md., is experiencing an influx of vacationists, but despite its growth has retained its family type atmosphere, free of crass commercialism, noise and traffic."

1. If you're interested in Wanamaker's history, check out the entries in Papergreat's Wanamaker Series.
2. For more on Incyte, see "Incyte to lease former Wanamaker building near Wilmington" (November 15, 2013, and "Incyte takes over reimagined Wanamaker building" (November 21, 2014,
3. The July/August 1970 issue was Vol. 4, No. 3.
4. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association: "The Realtron system was programmed so that members could ask it to produce homes from its memory bank to fit their prospects' needs. Within seconds after the question was posed, the computer would print out or speak to the member about appropriate properties." For more, here's a newspaper article from 1969 with the headline "Real Estate Board Will Use Computer To Locate Homes."

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