Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Profile - Joe Bird, Collingdale's honorary borough historian

Role played in borough: Joe was a long time resident of Collingdale and lived in the borough almost all his life. He served in WW II as a member of the 686th Airborne Anti-Aircraft outfit in the Burmese jungle.His experiences in the China Burma India Theater which involved protecting B-29 bombers, spending time in the Pakistani desert, serving a radar crew chief. He returned to Collingdale in 1945, married and had six children. He and his wife Mary were actively involved in the Collingdale High School Alumni Association. Joe was particularly fascinated by borough history and considered it his mission to chronicle it for future generations.

Accomplishments: Joe researched the borough's history for over a decade before putting words to paper. The result was a series of articles in the ColHums newsletter in 2006. The articles were a great snapshot of the borough's history from its beginnings until the present day. He was awarded for his efforts by the borough which made him Collingdale's honorary historian.

What we are doing today to preserve Collingdale's history: Joe Bird's articles spurred others to take action to preserve local historic landmarks in the borough. On Saturday, September 14th, the Collingdale History Society will have a "Joe Bird" history tour as part of the Collingdale History Day at 4 pm. The tour will be based on the series of articles Joe wrote in the ColHums.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Business-Condon's Flower Cart

Location:  225 MacDade Boulevard

Hours of Operation:  Monday-Friday 9-6
                                Saturday 9-4

Specialize in: Flower arrangements for weddings, parties and other special occasions.

Founded: 1980 original location at Chester Pike and MacDade Boulevard. September 2003 at current location.

Founders: Steve and Marie Condon

A brief history: When Steve and Marie started the floral shop in 1980, there wasn't any floral shops on the south side of Collingdale. It was Steve's vision to fill that need that motivated the decision to open at the orginal location. Once open, it was both Steve's and Marie's efforts that drove their success in providing beauty to the community and serving the community. The decision to move their store further up MacDade Boulevard came with much deliberation as they served at their original location for twenty three years. It proved to be a good move for them, especially when the only remaining flower shop in Collingdale closed its doors in 2011.

Today the owners still enjoy working with flowers, especially wedding bouquets which are their specialty. For more information or to place an order,  visit...:Condon's Flower Cart

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Church-Collingdale Church of Christ

Location: 519 Clifton Avenue

Meeting times: Sunday 11 am
Morning service
6 pm  Evening service
Wednesday 7:30 pm Bible study

Denomination: Protestant

Mission statement: To preserve one faith as taught by the Apostles.

A brief history: This is a new church, having held its first services here in late April 2013. On its newly created website Collingdale Church of Christ identity, it clearly states that it doesn't consider itself a denomination with its strict rules and regulations. Instead the congregation strictly adheres to the Word of God as its guidebook with personal interpretation of its passages forbidden. As a new church trying to fit into a community with a number of churches, it is struggling with being relevant while preaching the Word to a lost generation.

It is however a welcome addition to the community and has brought the soul back to the formerly abandoned First Lutheran Church.

Updated: Collingdale Church of Christ closed April 2015. Building vacant May 2016 and on the market.....

Update Two: Building Church: Deliverance Tabernacle Worship Center....Started May 2017

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Organization-Collingdale Police Department

Location: 800 MacDade Boulevard

Hours of Operation: Office open 8-4 pm Monday -Fridays...patrols run 24/7

Founded: The police department was one of the six departments established in January 1892. For the first six or seven years, only one or two officers patrolled the streets. Much of the history of the department is still buried from the early years.

A brief history: It wasn't until September 1911 that it became apparent that the one patrolling officer needed help. Borough council member Andrew Voss and a few other council members decided to ask for volunteers to support the officer in his duties. It was a few years before a solid group was formed of dedicated men willing to serve their community in this manner. In the photograph seen here from 1915, members of the first police department pose for their picture. Isaac Diehl, second from left on first row, is recorded as serving as a police officer from January 8, 1912 to March 1916. The first chief of police, William Fitzpatrick, took charge of the first non-volunteer police force in January 1928 and served until his retirement in 1948. Under his leadership the department expanded its services and was able to implement community programs. Today the police department shows the same quality of leadership and integrity in keeping the streets safe. One of their many programs is the D.A.R.E. program that educates young people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol

For more information: visit....Collingdale Police Department.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Profile-Charles McCloskey Johnston, 1st Mayor of Collingdale

Role played in the borough: Charles, his wife Florence and their children, Paul, Joseph, Nancy and Eileen were active in the community from the 1940's to the 1960's. Charles started running for public office during the Second World War when wardens were needed to support the war efforts. He helped establish a temporary headquarters (shelter in place) in the basement of the First Lutheran Church. Eileen has memories of performing errands for the headquarters which fortunately was never utilized during the war. His involvement increased in the 1950's when he became a member of borough council and was elected Burgess in 1954. A Pennsylvania state ruling in November 1961 changed the official title of the office to Mayor, and thus Mr. Johnston was the first Mayor of Collingdale until he left office in January 1962.

Accomplishments: Charles accomplished some improvements to the civic organizations in the borough and was supported by his wife, Florence and the whole family in his endeavors..She was elected president of the Collingdale Library Association in the 1940's and had been active in the Women's Club for many years. She actually was one of the founders of the Women's Club in 1936. Charles was known as a fair man and very stylish. Easter parades and other celebrations were his forte.

A brief history: The Johnston family had a stable foothold in the community during the 1930's and 1940's. Memories of their efforts on behalf of the library and other civic organizations are well known. What may not be known however is that Mr. Johnston's support of various events such as the annual Halloween Parade helped keep them going. When he left office, that support disappeared and was sorely missed. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Business-Changing Lanes Learning Center Inc

Location: 1200 Clifton Avenue

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 7 am- 6 pm

Specialize in: Teaches and supports Pre-K  (Ages 3-5) children with peanut and other related allergies. Provides special programs such as Show & Tell and special theme days.

Founded: July 2010

A brief history: The catalyst for starting this facility was the need the director, Naomi Pereira-Lane had for her young son who has peanut allergies to have a place where he could learn and grow in a safe environment. Ms. Lane researched area preschools, studied the curriculum and made the discovery that although there were two preschools in the area, they didn't provide the needed support a child with peanut and other related allergies needed. There was some resistance at first for having yet another facility in the borough where there were already three other facilities available in a three mile radius. Ms. Lane addressed that resistance by offering unique programs and by emphasizing the fact that their facility catered especially towards children who wouldn't be able to go to another facility due to medical issues.

Having a facility that would create a safe environment for the children wasn't enough. Ms. Lane wanted to make sure the children were also enriched by the education they received from the center. All teachers are certified for early elementary and Pre-K education and actively participate in both the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Delaware Valley Association of Young Children.

Naomi Pereira-Lane

For more information, visit:Changing Lanes Learning Center Inc

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Church-All Saints Episcopal Church

Location: 801 MacDade Boulevard

Ministry hours: Sunday School 9:15 AM
Church service 10:30 AM

Denomination: Episcopalian

Founded: September 1912 as part of Trinity Episcopal in Collingdale.

A brief history: All Saints started as sub-entity of Trinity Episcopal in its mission to the people of Darby. They didn't have a building to meet in, so they sublet Trinity's building in Collingdale until they acquired land in Darby around 1913. Building commenced rapidly and the congregation moved into the building on Summit and Market streets in Darby about a year later. Research is still ongoing for this church, but it had a very active role in Darby with its outreach programs. Deterioration of the roof which would have cost the church thousands of dollars was the determining factor behind moving back to Trinity Episcopal in November 2010. By that time Trinity had closed its doors forever and was on the auction block to be sold. It was definitely a "win" for them and for the community to keep this church intact.

Update: Church is now closed....December 2013....Building is endangered historical landmark and on auction block to be sold

Update Two....Pilgrim Seventh Day Adventist Church now owns this building. Services started January 2, 2016

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Organization-Collingdale Fire Company No. #2

Location: 310 MacDade Boulevard

Hours of operation: Volunteers are on call 24/7

Founded: October 1916, chartered as a fire company January 31, 1917.

Founding members: Hugh Carlin, Harvey Faust and Andrew Voss

A brief history: The fire company came into being due to the fact that a number of fires on the east side of Collingdale, sometimes also known as the southside, were not being attended to quickly enough. In those days the fire apparatus was a horse and wagon which would pull the attached tank where needed. Having a separate fire company was a smart move for those who lived on the east side and made sense at the time. Residents supported the incorporation and helped raise funds for the new company which then purchased land on Rhodes and Parker Avenue for a building. Before the building was built, the fire company used existing buildings in the area to store equipment. There are no existing records of which building(s) they used. Through the years they supported Collingdale Fire Company No. #1 fighting fires, raising funds and in community services. One of the most memorable events that both fire companies supported was the annual carnival that was held across the street from Collingdale Fire Company No. #2 for a number of years until it wasn't a viable source of revenue anymore. The firemen of Collingdale Fire Company No. #2 still volunteer their time and efforts in supporting community events and offer their hall for rentals.

To learn more, please visit:

Collingdale Fire Company No. #2

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Past businesses-Mena's Kitchen

Location: 1030 MacDade Boulevard

A brief history: This store opened in June 2010 after the Pretzel Factory closed in May 2010. The diner is best known as the MacDade Diner and is still listed as such in the manta website. The MacDade Diner closed in 2009 due to a number of factors. Mena's specialized in home cooked meals such as meatloaf and had a wide variety of choices. They served breakfast, lunch and dinner when they first started, but soon decided not to serve dinner to accommodate groups that wanted to hold meetings there. The staff was very accommodating and went out of their way to serve their customers. Unfortunately both the economy and other factors made it necessary to cut hours which deterred groups from meeting at that location. The restaurant closed January 2013.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Church-Golden Gate Christian Assembly

Location: 815 Clifton Avenue

Ministry hours: Sunday School 9:30 am
Morning worship service 11 am
Wednesday evening bible study 6 pm
Healing services-every third Saturday 10-12 pm
Evangelistic services- every first Sunday  2 pm

Denomination:  Non-denominational

Mission statement: Enter to Worship, Depart to Serve

A brief history: The church started as the Golden Gate Baptist church April 23, 1972 and had its home in the sanctuary of the West Philadelphia Seventh Day Adventist Church, 55th and Haverford Avenues in Philadelphia. They changed locations twice before moving permanently to Collingdale. Once to St. Phillips Evangelical Lutheran church, 53rd and Wyalusing Avenue on November 9, 1975 and once to 28th street in Philadelphia. It was at this location they remained until 2005 when the roof collapsed in the church. The congregation wandered for a time, and finally found a home when the Mariner's United Methodist church closed its doors and the property became vacant March 2010.

For more information: Golden Gate Christian Assembly

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Organization-Collingdale Fire Company No. 1

Location: 510 Clifton Avenue

Founded: October 18, 1906

Hours of Operation: This all volunteer organization is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A brief history: The fire company started with six volunteers meeting in a house on Beechwood Avenue. A house on Sharon and Pusey Avenue was acquired called "Floral Hall" because it was right next door to Max LaRoche's greenhouse. In those early days firemen would store equipment in one house and use another residence to set up meetings. It soon became apparent that the fire company needed a building of their own to both store equipment and have a place to meet. The building seen here was the 2nd fire house built on land acquired for the purpose in 1917. The fire company moved once in the 1920s after acquiring land at their present location on Clifton Avenue. This was also around the time that a women's auxiliary was formed to help with administrative tasks and provide food for the firemen. The women's auxiliary became a necessary part of the fire company by taking those tasks that seemed tedious and providing much needed support. It was actually also the only way women could get involved with the fire company for a number of years.

Today women can become more involved and train as firefighters along with the men. So after many years of service the women's auxiliary was disbanded in the late 1980s. For more information, please visit:

Collingdale Fire Company No. 1

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Business-Fruits In Bloom

Location: 640 MacDade Blvd

Hours of operation: 8-5 pm Monday-Friday
                              9-3 pm Saturday

What they specialize in: Sculptured fruit dipped in chocolate for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.

Founded: December 2000

Founder: Anthony DiMorrow

Mission statement: To use only the freshest fruit and to ensure the customer receives the best quality product at the quantity they need, at the best price.

Brief History: By the year 2000, there was an emerging market for decorated fruit. This was partly due to the need for something different and partly due to the health consciousness that was prevalent at that time.Decorating fruit requires a certain talent because a person needs to have the ability to remain patient while working with the fruit and the fruit has to be at a certain temperature. At Fruits In Bloom, you can select the bouquet you want and request specialized arrangements that will fit any occasion. The DiMorrow family runs the business utilizing each member's artistic abilities to create the perfect bouquet and/or fruit arrangement. For more information, visit their website:

Fruits In Bloom

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Church-Collingdale Gospel Chapel

Location: Hillside and MacDade Blvd

Ministry hours: Worship meeting- 9:30 am Sunday
Family Bible Hour & Sunday School 11 am Sunday
Prayer and Bible study-8 pm Wednesday

Denomination: Protestant non-denominational

Mission statement: To teach the message of the Bible in an understandable manner to both young and old.

A brief history: Mr. Nickelson, an Irish evangelist, held meetings in a rented room in the Odd Fellows Hall in Darby in the fall of 1914. Many came to know the Lord during those meetings and the attendance became an issue. The congregation needed a bigger space. The land the church now resides became available for purchase in the fall of 1920 and arrangements made for a groundbreaking ceremony. No record available yet as to when it took place. The present building was constructed during the spring and summer of the following year by the men of the congregation. The church has in the past sponsored a Pioneer Girls group, and other activities such as the "Friday Nighters". a youth group that would meet Friday nights to participate in various activities.

Mode of worship: Four pastors "shepherd the flock" by leading in worship, but everyone is free to speak during the service.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Organization-Collingdale Public Library

Location: 823 MacDade Boulevard

Founded: May  14,1937 by Women's Club of Collingdale

Hours of Operation: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 12-8 pm; Wednesday 10-8 pm, Friday 12-4 pm, Saturday 10-5 pm.

Brief history: The Collingdale Public Library Association was formed as an auxiliary to the Women's Club in 1937. Members of the Women's Club ran the library for many years as Presidents of the Collingdale Public Library Association. It was mainly through their efforts that the library became viable as a source of information and recreation for young and old readers. When it first was incorporated in 1937, books were packed in a small office on Clifton Avenue that left little room for scholars to study. The Women's Club raised enough money to move into a bigger space on Clifton Avenue but by the early 1950s that space become untenable and another space was desperately needed. Trinity Episcopal Church saw the need and decided to donate their old rectory to the Library for $1 a year in 1957. It served as the library until 1976 when fire marshals decided that the building presented a fire hazard and had to be torn down. It took two years for contractors to build the new building which was dedicated in the fall of 1978. Collingdale Public Library is now part of the Delaware County Library System and more information can be accessed here: Collingdale Public Library