Before the steeple came down…..

Found in the Delaware Public Archives is this old print looking north on Union Street, across the Broadkill River. What is notable is the tall structure in the background: the old steeple of the Milton M. P. Church before it was taken down in January of 1906, to be replaced shortly after that with a bell tower. This dates the photograph to 1905 at the very latest, and probably several years earlier. Note the dwelling right on the Broadkill River, where a parking lot sits today. This is the first photograph I have found showing the old steeple, although it does appear in some old drawings and paintings, in the background.

View across Broadkill from the bridge, looking north on Union Street, 1905 or earlier
View across Broadkill from the bridge, looking north on Union Street, 1905 or earlier

5 thoughts on “Before the steeple came down…..

  • Judging by the awning, I believe this was a well taken care property. Is there a possible way to find out who lived in it?
    It also shows that there river was not raising to street level as the property is so close to it.

  • Phil

    To do that, we would have to go to Georgetown and look at county tax records from that time. It can be done, but I won’t have time to do that in the near term

  • Helen Camenisch

    Can you tell me more about these people? PD bought this picture at a sale in Harbeson De. He is wondering who gave you this picture. How did you figure out who the people were? We loaned the picture to Russ McCabe and Hobby Isaacs.

    • Phil Martin

      Always good to hear from you!
      I am a little confused as to which photograph you are asking about. Your comment is connected to the photograph taken from the southeast side of the Broadkill River bridge, looking at the old M. P. Church before the steeple was removed. This came from the Delaware Public Archive, and I did a lot of digital restoration to get it to the state you see on the blog. I did not identify any individual in that photograph. If PD (you husband?) also has a copy of this photograph, it just means that there are multiple prints still out there, and if he bought it in postcard format, there are dozens or hundreds of copies hidden away in people’s desk drawers and attics.
      What may be misleading is a “feature” of the blog software that lists the next and the previous blog post titles below the current one, which might lead you to think that the title “Photos of N. W. White, daughter and son-in-law surface” is a caption to the photo a little above it. It is not; it is a link to a post about N. Wallace White and some of his family members, where the photographs came from a descendant.
      Hope this helps to clarify; if not, please write back so we can make contact by phone and discuss.

      • Helen Camenisch

        I PD have the original and only picture that exists. I several years ago, gave it to Russ to have it enhanced at the archives. I told him he could keep a copy for their records. To his and my knowledge there were never any postcards of the photo. Hobby Isaacs and I have tried to enhance the photo, as it is deteriorating,and fading. If you know of a place that restores old photos at a reasonable cost please let me know. We really love this photo, probably taken in late 1800s’. thanks

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