Milton A Hundred Years Ago

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, May 2, 1911: Ruth and I went to Milton this morning. Her highness got a dress and a pair of pumps. Don’t know when I will get mine, perhaps next winter.

Postcard showing Marsh Shoe Store in Milton a hundred years ago (postally used December, 1910).

Advertisement in Milton Evening Standard, May 4, 1911

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

We’re five months into the diary–and even though Milton is probably only about 5 miles from the Muffly farm–this is the first time that it is mentioned in the diary. The only towns previously mentioned were McEwensville, Watsontown, and Turbotville. Whew, by today’s standards, Grandma never got very far from her home.

A trip to Milton probably felt like a trip to the big city.

A hundred years ago Milton had a humming downtown with lots of wonderful stores. Back then there were trolley tracks that ran between Watsontown and Milton, so Grandma and her sister Ruth probably walked to Watsontown and then took the trolley to Milton.

Milton Postcard, circa 1911 (Source: Milton Historical Society)

The trolley system was dismantled a few years after the diary was written:

 With the automobile came on the scene in the early years of the twentieth century, the trolley business began to slack. After a sharp decline in business, the L.M. & W. trolley company changed to gasoline buses in 1922. Even the buses couldn’t complete with the automobile and service ended in the early 1930s.

George Venios in Chronicles and Legends of Milton (2002)

An aside: I had a wonderful visit with George Venios, Deb Owens, and Joan Nunn at the Milton Historical Society yesterday. I enjoyed learning more about Milton, and they shared many wonderful artifacts with me including the early postcard in today’s posting. Additional Milton pictures from the historical society will illustrate future posts. Thank you!

I’d also like to thank the Milton Public Library and the Montgomery House Library for their awesome assistance with finding and navigating my way through old issues of the Milton Evening Standard and the Watsontown Record and Star. I’ll be periodically sharing materials from those newspapers.

4 Responses

  1. [...] the May 2 entry for a 1911 advertisement and photo from a shoe store in [...]

  2. [...] It’s also interesting how Ruth is standing a little separate from the others and has her hand on her hips. It reminds me of the times in the diary when Grandma refers to Ruth as “her highness.” [...]

  3. I’ve recently discovered the whereabouts of a historical society in my local area and will be paying them a visit to (hopefully) learn some more about the history of my area. It sounds as though you learned a lot on your visit.

    • The people were very friendly and helpful at historical society. They had a large number of local postcards, pictures, ,and other memorabilia. I hope that you find your local historical society equally wonderful.

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