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Reference notes for report on West Chester (PA) Board of Health

by Charlotte Bridges, HIS 480, April 28, 1999

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This page contains reference notes for The West Chester Board of Health, 1885-1960 written by Charlotte Bridges (April 28, 1999) for HIS 480 "Computer Applications in History" at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

1. The Chester County Oral History Project is available on tape and on transcript in the Chester County Library in Exton in the Reference section under Chester County History. Interviews with Riggtown residents by Dr. James Jones available at http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his480/.

2. Chester County Health Department Rules and Regulations available at the Chester County Library reference section.

3. Daily Local News, January 21, 1885; March 14, 1885, in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Public Offices, Board of Health For future reference: Unless otherwise specified, any newspaper articles in these notes can be located in the Chester County Historical Society (henceforth CCHS) in the news paper clippings files under West Chester Public Offices: Board of Health

4. Donald A. Kruckeberg, ed., Introduction to Planning History in the United States, (New Brunswick: Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University, 1983), 15.

5. History and Progress of Chester County, (The Commissioners of Chester County, 1967) available in the Chester County Library reference section. I have been in contact with Borough and County Authorities, which have not been able to assist me in finding out what exactly, happened with the Board of Health. However, I found it possible that the Chester County board of Health, which had five members more than likely is the very same Board that was asked to prepare for a Department of Health.

6. Kruckeberg, 14. "Filth Theory" meant that filth was seen as either the direct cause of what we now know as contagious diseases or something that made contagion spread faster. Stagnant water, sodden ground, lack or air and sunlight were considered causes of disease as well. The diseases that were considered being related to filth were typhoid, typhus, scarlet fever, and diphtheria. These theories on filth called for a systematic large scale reshaping of the cities, which became the beginnings of city planning.

7. Raymond A. Mohl, The New City: Urban America in the Industrial Age 1860-1920 (Illinois; Harlan Davidson, Inc, 1985), 174. Advances in science and medicine, particularly the discovery of the germ theory in the 1880's, authoritatively linked contagious disease to environmental conditions. At the same time new technology provided the mechanism for reform. ; Ellis L. Armstrong, ed., History of Public Works in the United States 1776-1976, (American Public Works Association, Chicago, 1976), 237. The Germ Theory of disease which was first announced by Louis Pasteur in 1857 and more firmly established by Robert Koch in the 1870's

8. Jeffersonian, July 29, 1821. A board of Health was created in Philadelphia in 1795; Howard Kistler Petry, M.D. ed., A Century of Medicine 1848-1948: The History of the Medical Society of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg: Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, 1952), prefatory note.

9. Armstrong, 433-434 Most colonial tourist sites does not tell the tourists about the Heaps of garbage lying about the streets and odors of decaying refuse close to even the most elegant homes were not uncommon. Nor were the dozens of pigs squealing through unpaved streets in competition with dogs. Rats. And vermin-all busily rooting through the wastes for a meal. Charles Dickens wrote, after a visit to New York City, about he amounts of pigs and scavenging animals in the street of the city. Sometimes laws were made to protect some of those animals, like carrion-eating vultures.

10. Daily Local News 1860-1870 During this time issues like getting the pigs out of the city and cleaning out the pig pens are frequent in the Board of Health's reports

11. Daily Local News, July 11, 1879; September 7, 1878; May 26, 1884

12. Village Record, April 10, 1866; May 11, 1866

13. Kruckeberg, 23; Petry, 30.

14. Daily Local News, January 21, 1885; September 7, 1878; Village Record, May 11, 1866

15. Daily Local News, 21 January, 1885

16. Daily Local News, June 6, 1900 Woman is a natural born sanitarian a Dr. Lee was quoted saying on a Board of Health meeting about school hygiene; Armstrong, 437

17. Petry, 4-5

18. Ibid., 65; 70; 73

19. Daily Local News, June 14, 1893

20. Ibid.

21. Daily Local News, August 3, 1893

22. Daily Local News, December 7, 1893,

23. Daily Local News, October 18, 1893; October 7, 1893,

24. Daily Local News, November 22, 1893,

25. Daily Local News, March 14, 1885; April 24, 1885; September 25, 1891

26. Daily Local News, May 8, 1918; June 6, 1923; March 6, 1909; June 29, 1909; September 5, 1923; June 29, 1909

27. Daily Local News, June 28, 1894

28. Armstrong, 447. A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the turn of the century shows that at this time 45 cities deposited refuse on land, nine burned it in dumps, 18 plowed it into the ground, 14 dumped it in the water, 41 fed it to stock, 27 incinerated, 19 employed reduction processes, 11 used irregular methods. 20 years later American Society of Municipal Improvements collected information on some 200 cities and found that things had barely changed. See Page 449 for a description of the garbage disposal methods of municipalities the size of West Chester.

29. Daily Local News, July 16, 1888; September 7, 1878; Kruckeberg, 15.

30. Daily Local News, March 14, 1885

31. Daily Local News, June 29, 1886

32. Armstrong, 438. Horse drawn wagons with brushes would clean streets in American cities in the late 19th Century. Horse drawn carts would collect waste.

33. Daily Local News, October 7, 1893 I couldn't find the result of this venture.

34. Daily Local News, June 29, 1909

35. Daily Local News, December 12, 1906 in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Public Offices, Ordinances

36. Daily Local News, September 1, 1907 in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Public Offices, Ordinances

37. Armstrong, 435. A detailed description of machines like this can be found here.

. Daily Local News, May 3, 1900 The article describes the procedure of incinerating garbage in detail.) Apparently the initial cost was very high even if it was recommended as the best method of garbage disposal available. It was mostly an 38alternative that was viable to larger cities.

39. Armstrong, 448. Feeding hogs garbage brought income to Municipalities. Up until the 1940's a large percent of municipalities fed their organic wastes to hogs. There were health risks involved such as Cholera and trichinae infection. In the 1950's new laws that required wastes to be thoroughly cooked before fed to hogs and killing of large amounts of stock due to health risk brought the percentage of municipalities that used this as part of the waste disposal down. In the 1970's only 4 percent of smaller municipalities used this method.

40. Daily Local News, July 16, 1902; July 27, 1902

41. Armstrong, 434.

42. West Chester Star, November 5, 1913; December 3, 1913

43. Daily Local News, October 30, 1945,

44. Daily Local News, January 10, 1947; February 2, 1949 In 1947 the Board of Health is still fighting to get an incineration plant for garbage erected. In October 1947 they sent suggestions to the Borough Council about forbidding the burning of garbage within the borough limits except for on the dumps and the for the erecting of an incinerator for burning garbage. Two years later still the incinerating plant was one of the primary concerns of the Board of Health.

45. Armstrong, 448.

46. Ibid., 449. For insight into the decisions of smaller municipalities not to get incinerating plants

47. Daily Local News, April 21, 1885 in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Public Offices, Ordinances

48. West Chester Star, November 5, 1913

49. Petry, 66.

50. Daily Local News, May 1, 1885

51. Kruckeberg, 17. In 1842-1844 Edwin Chadwick, prominent English sanitary reformer, envisioned a city with smaller sewer pipes and constant flowing water in place of the large sewer systems designed for a man to be able to go in and clean out animal carcasses or large debris. A small sewer system would clean itself he thought. The sewers would be designed that same all over the city and would work with gravity in transporting the water and debris. Streets should also be paved and waste and dirt washed down into the sewers before it could decompose and cause disease. Chadwick's water carriage sewer system was taken up by American sanitary reformers. Even though before 1890 a total conversion of a city's sewer system to a water carrier sewer system was only done once, the water carrier sewer system took root in America after the civil war.; Armstrong, 400-403 For a description of various sewers used in the 18th and 19th century.

52. Daily Local News, June 3, 1901, July 10, 1909

53. Daily Local News, September 20, 1902

54. Daily Local News, September 20, 1901 in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Public Offices, Ordinances

55. Daily Local News, May 23, 1908

56. Daily Local News, July 10, 1908,

57. Daily Local News, July 10, 1909,

58. Daily Local News, September 10, 1912, in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Public Offices, Ordinances

59. Kruckeberg, 15. In the 1880's sewer installations became more planned and not only a piece by piece addition. See also Mohl, 174-176. In the early 20th Century sewage and water treatment plants were established. "By 1907 virtually every American city had installed sewers. By the progressive era, most big cities were using filtration and chlorination to assure pure water supplies;" see Armstrong, 402- 403.

60. Interviews with Riggtown residents Dorothea Parker; Charles Carey; Pat Morley, interviewd by Dr. James Jones, transcript, 16 September 1996, available at http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his480/.

61. Daily Local News, January 16, 1940 This was inspired by a National building Code created by the National Board of Fire Underwriters.

62. Daily Local News, May 8, 1918

63. Daily Local News, April 8, 1918 An owner less lot between Sharpless, Nields and Darlington Streets had sewage running in to it and the problem of correcting it was that of whose authority if came under. In the end the State Board of Health was called upon to make a decision in the matter.

64. Daily Local News, January 29, 1957

65. Daily Local News, February 15, 1951

66. Kruckeberg, 23-25. The yellow fever epidemic spread in the lower Mississippi valley and in Memphis alone 5,150 people out of 45, 000 died. In 1879, Congress created a National Board of Health and when yellow fever returned to Memphis in the following year, the Board of Health was urged to come up with a thoroughly and systematized and comprehensive plan with which to attack this problem. Sanitary surveys mapped out the cities' sanitary needs and the health risks involved, and this became in itself a kind of city planning.

67. Village Record, April 10, 1866 and May 11, 1866; Daily Local News, January 21, 1885

68. Daily Local News, March 14, 1885

69. Daily Local News, April 24, 1885

70. Daily Local News, May 1, 1885

71. Daily Local News, May 4, 1894

72. Daily Local News, June 5, 1907.

73. Daily Local News, May 27, 1909

74. Daily Local News, July 23, 1909

75. Daily Local News, June 3, 1909

76. Daily Local News, May 28, 1909

77. Daily Local News, June 6, 1923; April 11, 1923

78. Daily Local News, May 27, 1909

79. Daily Local News, June 6, 1923; 11 April, 1923; 20 April, 1922; 27 May, 1909; 10 July, 1909

80. Armstrong, 434. For further information on just how much of a polluter the horse was.

81. Daily Local News, January 10, 1901

82. Jeffersonian, July 29, 1821

83. Daily Local News, May 26, 1884 in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Public Offices, Ordinances; Daily Local News, 1860-1870; Daily Local News, May 1, 1885

84. Daily Local News, in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Public Offices, Ordinances

85. Daily Local News, March 15, 1918

86. I came to this conclusion by looking at the reports of the Board of Health printed in the Daily Local News from 1885 - 1957. A more detailed analysis should be made, but it is obvious that the numbers of contagious diseases in general, with the exception of an occasional small outbreak, went down during the existence of the Board of Health.

87. Kruckeberg, 25. See also Daily Local News, April 10, 1886. Several articles mentioned that a National Board of Health was created in Washington D.C. after the yellow fever epidemic in 1878 and was approved by congress on March 3, 1879, and that the Board of Health (West Chester) wants more power to act.

88. These reports were printed in the newspapers on a monthly basis, as well as when the individual cases of disease would occur.

89. Daily Local News, August 5, 1854

90. Daily Local News, February 6, 1918

91. Daily Local News, August 3, 1909

92. Morning Republican, February 17, 1897 in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Institutions, Chester County Hospital

93. Daily Local News, November 29, 1901

94. Daily Local News, December 6, 1901

95. Daily Local News, December 6, 1901; December 16, 1901; December 20, 1901; December 17, 1901

96. Daily Local News, December 17, 1901

97. The little I could read about this is in the Board of Health clippings collection in the 1901 section. I found the article underneath the larger article from December 17, 1901, but unfortunately neither the date nor source was indicated. It was most likely from late 1901 or early 1902 and probably in the Daily Local News.

98. Daily Local News, November 22, 1902; July 6, 1902; June 30, 1902; November 6, 1902 in Chester County Historical Society's Newspaper Clippings Collection: West Chester Institutions, Chester County Hospital

99. Daily Local News, February 13, 1909

100. Daily Local News, November 2, 1902; November 4, 1902

101. Ibid.

102. Daily Local News, December 11, 1902, November 19, 1902

103. Daily Local News, December 17, 1902

104. Daily Local News, November 12, 1902

105. Daily Local News, July 8, 1902; July 7, 1902; July 5, 1902 In another case--that of Horace Temple, whose household was quarantined because of diphtheria-- the quarantine was done in the home and was shorter than that for smallpox. After fumigation and a thorough check, the quarantine was lifted fairly quickly.

106. Daily Local News, February 22, 1954

107. Daily Local News, October 14, 1918, October 7, 1918

108. Daily Local News, October 5, 1918

109. Daily Local News, November 5, 1918

110. Grace Hickman Weaver, interviewed by Nicolette Myer, tape recording and transcript, April 6, 1978, Chester County Library Oral History Project, West Chester, PA.; Wayne Gable, interviewed by Nicolette Myer, tape recording and transcript, November 4, 1978, Chester County Library Oral History Project, West Chester, PA.

111. Daily Local News, October 8, 1918; October 5, 1918; October 9, 1918; October 12, 1918; October 7; 1918

112. Daily Local News, October 10, 1918

113. Daily Local News, October 28, 1918; October 30, 1918; November 1, 1918; November 3, 1918

114. Daily Local News, October 5, 1918

115. Daily Local News, February 2, 1949. In 1948, West Chester had an unusually high amount of contagious diseases and there had been a small epidemic of diphtheria in another part of the county. The Board felt that there was cause to stress the immunization of babies and your children.

116. Daily Local News, March 31, 1888

117. Petry, 30.

118. Ibid., 37.

119. Wayne Gable, interviewed by Nicolette Myer, tape recording and transcript, November 4, 1978, Chester County Library Oral History Project, West Chester, PA.

120. Daily Local News, November 12, 1902

121. Daily Local News, June 6, 1900; Petry, 94

122. Daily Local News, April 7, 1906

123. Daily Local News, April 6, 1906. This article criticized the way vaccinations were performed in schools because parents had to pay the cost and police officers came to the house to find out if a child that is not in school is sick. The author was critical of the State Vaccination Fund and the fact that people were expected to support it.

124. Daily Local News, April 30, 1923

125. Daily Local News, February 9, 1950; February 22, 1954

126. Daily Local News, June 17, 1955

127. Petry, 60

128. Daily Local News, February 18, 1889 on Microfilm in Chester County Historical Society. The author claimed that 200 to 300 children died from consuming adulterated milk.

129. Daily Local News, April 23, 1908

130. Daily Local News, June 6, 1923

131. Daily Local News, December 5, 1923

132. Daily Local News, January 16, 1940; February 2, 1940; January 15, 1942; October 30, 1945; April 14, 1956

133. Daily Local News, November 13, 1942

134. Leon G. Woodward, interviewed by Nicolette Myer, tape recording and transcript, March 27, 1978, Chester County Library Oral History Project, West Chester, PA.

135. Ibid.

136. The People's Chronology Henry Holt and Company, Inc, Microsoft Bookshelf CD-ROM, (Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1993)

137. Daily Local News, June 11, 1908 Ice cream manufacturers James Ricco at 320 West Chestnut Street and Salvatore de Renzi at 418 Hannum Avenue were examined

138. Daily Local News, June 11, 1908

139. Catherine Mason, interviewed by Nicolette Myer, tape recording and transcript, February 1, 1978, Chester County Library Oral History Project, West Chester, PA.

140. West Chester Star, September 10, 1912

141. Daily Local News, April 11, 1922

142. Daily Local News, January 16, 1940; January 29, 1957

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