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The first person to correctly identify the house in the photo above will be recognized as a truly perceptive scholar. Please send your responses to: Info@downingtownareahistoricalsociety.org
Recollections of Downingtown in early 20th Century
Here are some highlights of the recollections of Raymond Dennis, a longtime borough resident who graduated from DHS in 1906, about life in Downingtown in the early 1900s. The recollections were originally published in the August 3 1978 edition of the East Branch Citizen.
- Most people rented their home. Their monthly rental was $5 to $10. A coal stove in the parlor had a pipe that extended into the ceiling in order to heat the second floor bedrooms.
- There were two bakeries in town that had delivery routes. They charged a nickel for an unwrapped loaf of bread. Pies were 5 and 10 cents, and a half dozen cinnamon buns cost a dime.
- When a woman went into labor, someone from the family had to walk or ride a horse to the doctor’s since there were no phones. As a result, babies were often delivered at home by midwives. And surgery was usually performed at the patient’s home.
- When someone died, neighbors often prepared the body for burial; embalming was not done.
- Most employees worked 10 hours a day, six days a week. Dennis’s father was a carpenter for the Pennsylvania Railroad, earning $60 a month. Store clerks made $10-$12 a week.