A Word to the Wise

Vol. I No. 2 - WINTER 1988

By: Frances A. Posner

All was not sweetness in the 1920s. Wild boys from west of Clark Street invaded the 1300 block of Thorndale and frightened children playing on their own front lawns. Residents on both sides of the alley between Ardmore and Rosedale were constantly breaking up clandestine penny-pitching games. Early in 1929, the police searched lockers at Senn for liquor and other contraband.

A grim-looking, red brick, girls’ reform school stood on a hill on the west side of Clark Street between Thorndale and Elmdale. Several times a week the teenage inmates, dressed in somber black uniforms with white blouses, would be marched two by two down the residential streets. Mothers pointed to the sullen lines of girls and warned their daughters: "If you aren’t good, I’ll call…" The threat worked. The school was razed when Clark was widened, but wise daughters remembered well the words of caution.