Calvin Cooper – 1

Interviewee:  Calvin Cooper
Date of birth/age at interview:  1916/70
Interviewer:  Rita Durrant
Interview date:  March 7, 1986
Interview location:  Cooper home on Aquetong Road
Interview length:  1 hour, 28 minutes
Time span discussed:  1920s to 1986

Summary:  Calvin’s family were long-time natives of New Hope and after his early traveling begun during and after World War II, he finally settled and considered New Hope his lifetime home. The many topics covered in this interview include vivid tales of growing up, games, schools, characters of the town, politics, buildings, social activities, and barbers.

Time markers:
00:00:00 – introductions
00:00:45 – family history; first grade at Main Street one-room school, with jail in the cellar (current tourist office)
00:02:06 – school on the hill; Joseph Pickett’s painting Manchester Valley  in the fourth grade classroom
00:02:44 – sledding from school; one sled accidentally ran under the trolley
00:03:30 – high school in new school on Bridge Street; town meetings about building school
00:04:30 – no school auditorium; dances at Worthington Hall (2 Stockton Street)
00:05:12 – Penn State for architecture
00:05:20 – time in Navy; experiences, postings
00:06:00 – 1944 married in Chicago to Edna Pauline Anderson Cooper (past president of NHHS and its restoration chair); his work as an architect; one daughter
00:09:15 – family history
00:11:35 – his mother’s memories of horse and sleigh races on the frozen Delaware River; bike riding; Bridge Street trees
00:13:30 – father’s coal yard on Bridge Street; coal coming in by barge on canal
00:14:14 – Depression
00:15:18 – charity of Dr. Flood and Margaret Ely who ordered and paid for coal for needy families; Dr. Flood dentist, lived on Main Street; Margaret Ely lived in Cintra (across from high school), active in Red Cross and library
00:18:16 – houses in New Hope; Dr. Leiby house on Main Street (Mansion Inn) expensive to maintain
00:21:18 – oldest house in New Hope (corner Mechanic Street and Main Street)
00:22:30 – bank building (corner Main and Bridge) and Logan Inn
00:23:23 – Hood Estate (Springdale) on Mechanic Street; ballroom
00:24:48 – Jim Hamilton’s house (Mechanic Street and Sugan Road); New Hope mills, paper mill and its impact on New Hope and Lambertville
00:27:00 – working on the dam for paper mill
00:27:54 – fishing from the island just south of paper mill; details of mill owner and family
00:29:05 – toll roads; toll house at Sugan Rd and Old York Road
00:30:22 – canal was playground:  swimming, skating, rafting
00:34:26 – barges on canal; people, families who worked them
00:36:37 – floods, fires near river
00:37:19 – swimming in the river; floats made from gasoline drums
00:38:20 – fishing in the river; Scarborough family shad and roe; river pollution
00:40:49 – Chautauqua traveling circus
00:42:30 – cannon at Ferry and Bridge streets; Boy Scouts painted
00:43:18 – community activities:  everyone participated
00:44:21 – barber shops and barbers; personalities and hair cut styles
00:46:19 – stores in New Hope
00:48:28 – Black families in New Hope
00:49:27 – characters of New Hope: Frank Fetterson, Evelyn brothers, Ed Green, Tom Canale
00:55:25 – Joe Grundy of Bristol; politics; mayors of New Hope
00:58:42 – theater changed New Hope; more stores and restaurants opened; some opposed but changed when it opened and brought business; St. John Terrell instigated idea, got investors like Walkers, Follinsbees, Chapins; Terrell started Christmas crossing at Washington Crossing
01:01:10 – New Hope as a center for gay people: when, why, benefits to New Hope
01:02:17 – New Hope painters (Calvin corrects interviewer that most of the painters interviewer mentions were actually in Solebury); many names mentioned but no insights or details; New Hope artists included Val D’OgriesJohn FollinsbeeJohn SharpBen CrostwaiteR. C. MagillDon Hedges
01:06:50 – NH-S High-School owned paintings displayed in the main hallway; library has art works
01:08:10 – his paintings and story of his home, which he designed; Charles Child painting
01:11:26 – Street Fairs in Logan Inn and school parking lot for community benefit
01:15:08 – Parry Mansion and Parry sister stories
01:18:50 – Doctors in the community mentioned and listed with aside stories
01:20:30 – Dr. Ricker’s work; founder of NHHS; other doctors
01:22:06 – New Hope as a weekend destination or home for writers and actors
01:22:58 – theater people, writers, and music people who came to New Hope/Solebury or lived in area
01:26:15 – good-bye begins

MAM transcript.

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