Have a Thinner Pocketbook

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

Saturday, August 22, 1914: A cousin came on the train this afternoon. Am recovering from the effects of my trip through the worst one is a thinner pocketbook. It will take it quite awhile to get it fattened up, so as not to look quite so hollow.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

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

Grandma arrived home from her trip to Niagara Falls, Toronto, Buffalo, and Watkins Glen the previous evening. In that diary entry, she wrote:

. . . I don’t believe I spent more than $20, coming out better than I expected. . .

Vacations can be hard on pocketbooks—though the previous day she seemed pleased how little she spent during the trip; but apparently it was enough to continue to worry her.

According to an online inflation calculator, a dollar in 1914 would be worth about $23.81 today. So in today’s dollars Grandma spent about $475—which doesn’t seem too bad for a 5-day trip, but maybe was a lot for a 19-year-old.

I wonder how Grandma planned to replenish her pocketbook. In the past, she earned money by picking strawberries. For example, on July 1, 1912 she wrote:

Stopped picking strawberries today. All my earnings, about $4.00 in all, I still have and expect to keep until I spend them.

It would take a lot of strawberry picking to “fatten” her pocketbook—and, of course, strawberry season was over for the year.

. . . Or maybe she hoped that her cow Mollie would have another bull calf she could sell. For example, on December 27, 1912 she wrote:

Sold Mollie’s calf today. It wasn’t a very big one and I rather feared my fortune would be pretty small, but after all it weighed one hundred and forty-four lbs. Received a neat sum of $11.56.

Cows typically have calves about once a year, so maybe the pocketbook will be partially replenished before too long.

Hmm. . . on second thought, given Grandma’s situation on the farm, $20 was a lot to spend on a vacation.

Watkins Glen and Then Home

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

Friday, August 21, 1914: We breakfasted about seven this morning, after which we started out on our tour through the glen. I was so disappointed that I could not get any pictures. The day was so gloomy. They wouldn’t have been good, so I just had to swallow it. The glen proved to be almost as wonderful as Niagara Falls. We climbed stairs after stairs, and still seemed to be no nearer the top.

When we got part way through, it commenced to rain, but still we kept on for we were determined to see the place. At one spot the water rushes down over the passageway. We ran past this and managed not to get wet. This place is called Rainbow Falls for when the sun shines they say it forms a rainbow. How I wish I could have seen it, but the sun kept himself hid that morning. I am afraid my hat is well nigh ruined from the wetting it got, and Ruthie’s also.

We arrived at the station and still had about fifteen minutes to wait for the train. It stopped raining towards noon, and when we reached Williamsport it was as bright as it would be. I believe I was really glad to get home. Nothing had run away during our absence. I don’t believe I spent more than $20, coming out better than I expected. I will always have the memory of this trip, and the fact that it was enjoyed.

watkins glen rainbow falls 1916

Old postcard showing Rainbow Falls at Watkins Glen

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

What an awesome trip! I can’t add anything to Grandma’s wonderful descriptions, so I’m not going to even try. :)

Day 4: Buffalo and then on to Watkins Glen

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

Thursday, August 20, 1914:  I was the first one up this morning. Addressing some cards for the folks at home, and managed to while away the time until the other girls were ready to go down to breakfast. We spend the fore-noon in the Orphans Home. One had her arm around my neck nearly all the time. It commenced to rain while we were there but not very hard.

Our friend entertained us at Statler’s Restaurant. It is a very fine affair. We left that afternoon for Watkins. I soon began to weary of riding on the train. One gets so tired. We reached the place after dark and to my dismay learned that we were still a mile and a half from the town. We had to take the bus and did not reach our boarding place till after nine, tired and hungry. We didn’t get our supper so we went straight to bed, as we intended getting up early the next morning in order to see the glen. I slept like a rock that night. Daylight was streaming through the windows when I woke.

Statler Restaurant in Statler Hotel, Elliicott Square, Buffalo NY, circa 1915  (Source:  Western New York Heritage)

Statler Restaurant in Statler Hotel, Elliicott Square, Buffalo NY, circa 1915 (Source: Western New York Heritage)

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

Even the most awesome vacations have days that are tiring. This was the fourth day of the whirlwind trip that Grandma, her sister Ruth, and two other young women took—Niagara Falls, Toronto, Buffalo, and now Watkins Glen in the Finger Lake Region of New York. Whew, I’m feeling tired just listing the names of all the places they visited.

The early portion of the day was spent in Buffalo with a friend who worked at an Orphans’ Home—probably St. Vincent’s Female Orphanage Asylum. The previous day Grandma wrote:

. . . There we took the train and went on to Buffalo. We arrived there about six, got our supper and started out for the home of a friend. It was dark when we reached our destination. This friend is a governess in an Orphan’s Asylum.

Visited Toronto and Buffalo

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

Wednesday, August 19, 1914:  We got up pretty early this morning, so as to be in time for the train at Lewistown. As I walked down the gangplank, I caught sight of the boat that was to take us to Toronto. Thought it was a fine one. The Chippewa was soon steaming down the river, and e’er long, we were on the broad bosom of Lake Ontario. The ride proved to be delightful, even though I did get a little chilly.

We arrived in Toronto about eleven, and were conveyed around the city in an automobile. We passed many beautiful places. There seemed to be a great many banks in the city. They must have lots of money there. We stopped at the State House, and were allowed to spend ten minutes within the building. I was impressed with the beauty of the architecture. Pillars of marble reached from ceiling to floor. Many paintings of men were suspended from the walls. These we could only glance at for our ten minute stay was soon up.

We took dinner at a restaurant after which we left at once for the dock. We did not have to wait long for a returning boat. Came home on the Cayuga, a larger boat than the Chippewa. We arrived in Lewistown late in the afternoon. There we took the train and went on to Buffalo. We arrived there about six, got our supper and started out for the home of a friend. It was dark when we reached our destination. This friend is a governess in an Orphan’s Asylum. She showed us her kids that evening. She has about thirty. Nearly all of them were fast asleep, but she woke them up any way. Thought it was rather hard on the youngsters, but it seems they were used to it.

This friend secured us a boarding place, and we left for it at eleven o’clock. I was ready to go to sleep when my head touched the pillow.

Old Ontario Government House postcard

Old Ontario Government House postcard

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

Wow, what an adventure! Grandma and the “gang” sure crammed a lot into one day.

I think that the “State House” that Grandma visited in Toronto was the Fourth Government House of Ontario (Chorley Park). According to Wikipedia, it was the home of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Upper Canada. It was built between 1911 and 1915, and was “one of the most expensive residences ever constructed in Canada at the time.” Wikipedia continued:

During the Great Depression, Mitchell Hepburn made it a key component of his party’s election platform to close Chorley Park, promising that an opulent palace would not be maintained by the taxpayers of Ontario; Chorley Park used 965 tons of coal to operate, whereas the average Toronto home used only six to seven. After Hepburn was appointed Premier, following the Liberal Party’s victory in the 1936 provincial election, he was as good as his word and ensured that Albert Edward Matthews would be the last Ontario Lieutenant Governor to live in an official residence; in 1937, after only 22 years and seven viceroys, Chorley Park was closed. The contents of the house were auctioned off in 1938, bringing in a profit of $18,000.

The estate was bought by the federal government and served various functions including as a military hospital during World War II, the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Toronto, and residence for refugees of the 1956 Hungarian uprising.

Under Mayor Nathan Phillips in 1960, the City of Toronto bought the house for $100,000 in order to destroy it and create municipal parkland. At the time, Chorley Park was considered dilapidated and outmoded, and municipal dollars were being spent demolishing heritage structures throughout Toronto to make room for modern buildings. The building was demolished in 1961, and the grounds of the estate were added to the civic parks system.

The Buffalo Orphan’s Asylum may have been St. Vincent’s Female Orphanage Asylum. According to the Buffalo Spree:

At the turn of the century and for at least forty years afterwards, St. Vincent’s Female Orphanage Asylum was a thriving institution—it did not just house orphaned girls; it educated them and provided them with technical training so that they could become self-supporting. In the nineteenth century, this was considered an innovative concept. Their dressmaking school often provided ballgowns and trousseaux for Buffalo’s wealthiest women. But as the twentieth century progressed, government assistance for dependent children increased, and the new trend of foster care emerged, so in 1948, after housing and training 10,000 young women, the orphanage closed.

Source: Buffalo Spree

Recent photo of building that once housed St. Vincent’s Female Orphanage Asylum  (Source: Buffalo Spree)

 

Traveled to Niagara Falls

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

Friday evening, August 21, 1914: Back again to you dear book and ready to tell you what all I have been doing.

Monday, August 17, 1914:  My mind was so filled with thoughts of the coming trip that I could not sleep sound last night. I was up before three this morning. We left here about five. Pa took Alma and me to town. Ruth came with Rachel. We left before they did. I was in such awful anxiety for fear they would not get there, for then it would be no go. We crossed the Susquehanna in a row-boat and got to the station in time for the train.

We changed cars at Williamsport. There were so many in the station getting tickets. We had to wait quite awhile before we could get ours. When we entered the train all the seats were taken. We were sent back in a Pullman. I thought it was simply grand; and wanted to stay there all day, however we had to move when we arrived at Corning. Arrived in Niagara after six. Was long enough to leave the cars.

We proceeded at once to the Temperance Hotel. We were on the fifth floor. It seemed rather monotonous climbing all those stairs. We washed and dressed and then went down to supper. It was the first time I had ever eaten in a hotel. Guess I didn’t commit any serious mistakes. From my place in bed I can look out over the lighted city.

Old postcard showing  Temperance House Hotel, Niagara Falls, New York

Old postcard showing Temperance Hotel, Niagara Falls, New York

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

When Grandma got home on the 21st, she wrote an entry for each day of the trip. Over the next several days, I’ll share the trip description on the appropriate day. I guess that I’m technically jumping ahead by posting this entry—but this is how Grandma organized the diary.

Wow, what an adventure for Grandma, her sister Ruth, their cousin Alma Derr, and their friend Rachel Oakes. . . from crossing the Susquehanna River at dawn in a row boat (The first bridge across the river at Watsontown was not built until 1927.) . . . to riding in a Pullman sleeping car for part of the trip. . . to eating in a hotel restaurant for the first time. . . to looking out on a city lit with (probably electric) lights!

Recent picture of the Susquehanna River at Watsontown

Recent picture of the Susquehanna River at Watsontown

Went to Family Reunion

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

Saturday, August 15, 1914:  Got up earlier than usual so I would soon have my work done. We went up to Turbotville on the train, the place where the reunion was held. Met Alma there. She came along home on the train with us, so as to be here on Monday morning.

John and Sarah Derr Family. Taken about 1900. L to R. Front Row: John, Annie (Derr) Van Sant, Sarah. Back Row: Miles, Fuller, Alice (Derr) Krumm, Elmer, Phoebe (Derr) Muffly, Judson, Homer (John Derr would died prior to this reunion.)

The family of Grandma’s mother (John and Sarah Derr family); Taken about 1900. L to R. Front Row: John, Annie (Derr) Van Sant, Sarah. Back Row: Miles, Fuller, Alice (Derr) Krumm, Elmer, Phoebe (Derr) Muffly (Grandma’s mother), Judson, Homer (John Derr would have died prior to this reunion.)

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

Alma Derr was a cousin of Grandma’s, so it must have been a Derr family reunion. There probably were lots of aunts, uncles and cousins there since Grandma’s mother had seven brothers and sisters.

There was a whistle stop of the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick train at the feed mill near the Muffly farm. Turbotville was only about 5 miles from the farm so it would have been a short train ride.

It sounds like the trip to Niagara Falls was a go, and that Alma would be going with Grandma and her sister Ruth.

Runs, Creeks, Brooks, Cricks, and Other Streams

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

Friday, August 14, 1914:  We are getting ready for the reunion. Ruthie made two cakes today. Was busy washing Daddy’s wagon down along the run this afternoon.

Warrior Run Creek near the Muffly farm

Warrior Run Creek

Source: Farm Implement Magazine (Novermber, 1913)

Source: Farm Implement Magazine (Novermber, 1913)

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

I wonder why the wagon needed to be washed. Warrior Run (sometimes called Warrior Run Creek) flowed along the edge of the Muffly farm. In central Pennsylvania small creeks are often called runs—though my sense is that the term is not used in many parts of the US.

In a previous post I mentioned Warrior Run, and Jim in IA commented on the regional variation in terminology used to describe creeks and other geological features. He provided a link to several very interesting Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) maps that show which parts of the US use various terms—brook/creek/branch/run, gulch/hollow, gap/pass/notch/saddle, etc.

Geographic Terminology Maps

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