Selling the Past

Lansdale Historical Society held a community presentation Tuesday night called "Selling It!" which looked back on old advertisements from long-gone borough businesses

The Broad Street Speedway. 

Lansdale Marble Works.

Lansdale Excursion Grounds.

Bartholomew's Mens Store.

Starr's Big 12th.

Evan's Toy Land.

To some, these names are familiar as the slogan "Good to the last drop." To others, not so much. 

Yet if you lived or grew up in Lansdale and the North Penn area from the 1930s through the 1970s, you probably frequented some of these stores or saw the slogans on advertisements.

On Tuesday night, presented "Selling It!" a community presentation at the Lansdale Parks and Recreation Building that looked at the bygone advertisements of extinct businesses in the area.

For instance, there was an ad for the Lansdale Marble Works, which was located where stands today. At that time, the Montgomery Traction Trolley track ran past the building.

Another ad in the slideshow queue was one for Swanson TV dinners.

"It was either this or the Tremont. Think about it," said presenter Steve Moyer. 

Another ad promoted a public auction at the Lansdale Excursion Grounds on May 30, 1887, which is now White's Road Park. At the time, it was known as White's Woods and Edgewood Park.

"People would take the Montgomery Traction Company and go to White's Road Park," said Moyer. "You could get tongue sandwiches for 10 cents. There was a carousel there that was sold in 1905 in a sheriff's sale."

Edward's Shoe Store was just one of many shoe stores that existed in Lansdale, and whose ads could be seen in The Reporter.

There were also the favorite retail stores: Beinhacker's, Keiser's Variety Store, Geller's Emporium and Bean & Slifer's General Store. The latter was located at Main and Broad where McQuillin Studio stands today.

Do you remember Godshalk and Company's lumber yard and coal mill? L.M. Landis Carriage Works (which was located across the street from the Lansdale Marble Works where Lansdale Library stands today)?

At one point, Lansdale National Bank was across the street from its permanent location at Susquehanna Avenue and Main Street. One year, it gave $35,777.97 to members of its Christmas Club.

Ever go to Tex-Mex Connection in North Wales? Across the street, where the parking lot is, was once H.G. Hendrick's. Its phone number: 79.

One resident who attended the presentation remembered when Hoshour's at Dresher Arcade sold records. He said he still had the records, complete with the Hoshour's labels.

An ad from North Penn Motor Company promoted the Lauton Truck Unit, which converted a Ford or any other car into a truck.

Perhaps the most interesting ad was one for Charles Jenkins, who promoted more than 15 ways that his patented adjustable plow could be used around the home and garden.

"We have enough files to do a show like this every night for the next 100 years," Moyer said.

The idea for the presentation, he said, came about after he and Lansdale Historical Society President Dick Shearer were organizing files and began to see the amount of historic advertisements piling up.

"This wasn't even the tip of the iceberg," Moyer said.


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