Remembrances: Acton Lot Sale, 1919

Today, we bring you one of Sylvia Henricks’ “Remembrances.” You can read more of Sylvia’s columns weekly in The Franklin Township Informer, or in her book From The Ash Grove (available directly from the FTHS, and via the web site).

This promotional flyer, saved these many years by a township resident, and given to the Historical Society a while ago, is “an historical document” in several ways. It gives a picture of the times – a period of expansion after the end of the first World War, it takes advantage of the rapidly growing interest in automobiles and “motoring,” stresses the value of home ownership, and invites visitors to be entertained by “the jazziest band you ever heard.”

Whether the flyer drew a big crowd to Acton that day, Saturday, August 23, 1919, I do not know. The activities of the day are not mentioned in any history or reminiscence I have seen. The subdivision of Sunnyside does not appear on any map we have at the society although it may be mentioned in some abstracts. Of the promoters, Arthur Swails and Alfred Schloesser, Mr. Swails was a member of a large and influential family and an Acton medical doctor for many years.

“Sunnyside – the addition that made Acton famous – is located in the best residential section of Acton,” the flyer tells us. “It has improved streets, cement sidewalks, electric lights, and good sewerage system. The lots are large, affording plenty of space for garden, fruit, and poultry. Twenty-six beautiful well-kept homes are evidence of the desirability of this location.”

Acton is described as “a town of eight hundred inhabitants, the very center of a rich agricultural community. In keeping with its location as a community center Acton’s churches, school, fraternal orders, bank, and business houses are sufficient to provide for all demands, whether social or industrial. With the positive assurance from the promoters that Acton is soon to have a large packing plant, we conscientiously recommend that you buy one or more lots and start a home.”

A paragraph is given to describing the “new, modern up-to-date GARAGE and MAXWELL-CHALMERS SALES ROOM.” “We have increased our space and facilities for service by erecting a beautiful fire-proof building which will be open for your inspection…. We are making a sale on our complete line of auto accessories, tires, tubes, and oils…We will also sell medium weight motor oil at 50 and 55 cents per gallon – less than the wholesale price… BE SURE TO COME, and bring all of your friends.”

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