A Look Back
The 1940s and '50s were a simple yet eventful period in the First State, as reflected by these photographs from the collections of Delaware Public Archives and the Delaware Historical Society. Join us for a nostalgic trip back.
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This exterior shot of Wilmington Dry Goods was taken January 6, 1956. Harry Rogerson, author of “Wilmington: Picturing Change,” writes that Market Street was the hub of the city and the Dry Goods was the anchor store.
Rogerson, who worked there in 1960, recalls the aroma of roasting peanuts from nearby streets. He notes that the store would open early before special semiannual sales, but no one was allowed in until after the national anthem was played. Ellen Rendle, curator of images at the Delaware Historical Society, calls “The Dry” Wilmington’s all-time favorite shopping spot.
She says that though the building appeared shiny and new outside, it was cobbled together from many smaller buildings inside. The Dry Goods opened in 1929 and closed in the 1970s.
Tilton “Pork Chop” Holt Jr. proudly displays his 3-foot trophy as he makes a triumphant return to Wilmington. Holt had just won the 1950 VFW National Marbles Championship at a three-day competition in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. An account of the tournament and five photos of Holt appeared in the June 26, 1950, issue of Life magazine. The article said the title match “ranked with the most exciting in marble history.” Holt, who won city and state titles to qualify for the national championship, was the only undefeated player entering the finals, where he beat Gordon Rowse from Utah, then was promptly picked up and carried by his fellow competitors. As champ, Holt won a motorbike, an electric clock and a three-day trip to New York City, where he was to appear on radio and TV. Described as an “unruffled 12-year-old,” Holt was photographed with his new motorbike, saying, “Fill it up with gas and I’ll drive it back home.”
A man dressed in a space suit (no, it’s not the Michelin Man) promotes a new movie, “Destination Moon,” to be shown at the Arcadia Theater at 500 Market St. in Wilmington. At the time this photo was taken in late December 1953, the space race was a hot topic as the Cold War heated up between the United States and Russia.
Page 3: A Look Back, continues...