Roxborough/Manayunk/Wissahickon Section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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The Roxborough/Manayunk/Wissahickon Section of Philadelphia

My paternal great, great grandmother, Lydia Law Land, (and her children) and her sister, Mary Ann Law Land, (and her husband, Samuel, and their children) lived in the Roxborough/Manayunk/Wissahickon section of Philadelphia in the the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The Lands had come from Batley, England. Batley was the center of manufacturing for a particular wool cloth called shoddy. Textile mills were located in Manayunk since the 1820 and 30s. There was at least one shoddy mill in Manayunk. The Schofield family from Yorkshire, England founded Economy Mills which was built in 1857 near Rector Street (formerly Robeson Street) between Main Street and the Schuylkill River. For more information on shoddy go to Shoddy. For more information on Lydia Law Land go to Lydia Law Land.

This area of Philadelphia is/was made up of several neighborhoods including Manayunk, Roxborough (Roxboro), and Wissahickon. The area is roughly triangular in shape. It is bordered by the Schuylkill River on the south and southwest and Wissahickon Park on the north and northeast. The land slopes downhill on both sides of Ridge Road. The Schuylkill River side is a rather steep incline. Roxborough is above Manayunk Avenue. Roxborough was the neighborhood where many of the mill owners and company executives lived and where St Timothy's Church is located. Samuel Land and his family are buried in St. Timothy's Church yard.

Lydia Land lived for a number of years on Pechin Street near Shurs Lane in Roxborough. A large old mill stands on the corner of Shurs Lane and Pechin Streets.

I have several Manayunk/Roxborough addresses for the Lands. With the exception of 176 Lauriston Street, I believe that all of the building the family lived in are gone - mostly replaced by newere buildings.

Manayunk is below Manayunk Avenue. The shopping area was/is in Manayunk along Main Street at the bottom of the hill and near the river. The area along the river contained many mills and warehouses.

Wissahickon is a small section in the southeast. Vassar and Kalos Streets (where Samuel Land and Lydia Law Land lived for some period of time) are both in the Wissahickon section.

In October 2007 Regina Wakefield emailed some reminiscence of Manayunk/Roxborough,

As I looked at your postcards I remembered the "ageold" discussion about where Manayunk began and ended. I grew up in the 200 block of Rector St. Above Terrace St. and a few houses below Manayunk Ave. We would fight to the last breath to say we lived in Roxborough even though we were below Manayunk Ave. We were above the cliff, our phone exchange was Roxborough 8 and our post office address was Roxborough 28. Manayunk was 7 and 27! Of course, now it is very chic to live in Manayunk but believe me, in the 40's it was not. In fact, to a child of that time, Manayunk was scary. Just thought you might like to read my "looking back" thoughts!

Regina Wakefield
formerly of 250 Rector St - Roxborough!

City of Philadelphia describes the three neighborhoods as follows:
  • Manayunk — North of Schuylkill River, upstream from the mouth of Wissahickon Creek. From the Native term meaning "where we go to drink." Renamed from Flat Rock after a brief interlude as Udoravia.
  • Roxborough — Also known as Rocksborrow and Roxborro. Located between the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek above Manayunk.
  • Wissahickon — West of Wissahickon Creek, adjacent to Roxborough.


Postcard Captions by Harry Garforth

Harry Garforth, a local Manayunk-Roxborough historian, has graciously shared some of his research on the area.


Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Schuylkill River and Expressway

A view of the Manayunk, Roxborough/Wissahicken area of Philadelphia.


The S Bridge over the Schuylkill River at Manayunk, Philadelphia, Pa, built in 1884.

No postmark

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Philadelphia Pennsylvania R.R. Bridge, Manayunk

Not posted


Pennsylvania R. R. Bridge, Manayunk, Philadelphia, Pa.

Posted 1921

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Manufacturing district Manayunk, showing Baker & Co's Ripka Mills and McDowell Paper Mills, Manayunk, Pa.

No postmark

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The trestle in the foreground belongs to the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR). The trestle allowed the PRR to descend from the "S" bridge, high above the Schuylkill River down to the Pencoyd Steel Mill on the west bank of the river. This trestle crossed over the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad tracks and used a switchback to achieve the change in elevation.

Harry Garforth, 2005


Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The large church in the center of the picture is St John the Baptist Roman Catholic, 146 Rector Street, Manayunk.

Part, if not all, of the buildings visible in this image are the Economy Mills owned by by the Schofield family. These mills manufactured blankets for the Union army during the civil war.


Philadelphia a Bird's Eye View of Manayunk.

No postmark

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Manayunk

No postmark

In November 2010 Faith L Smith identified the round building at the left of this images as part of the Manayunk Wood Pulp Mill. At Faith Smith's suggestion see The Jessup and Moore Paper Company

The Free Library of Philadelphia online map collection includes several volumes of Hexamer General Surveys (some dated, some not). Volume 9 (1873) indicates that the large round building was the "Evaporating Building & Furnaces" for Manayunk Pulp Works. The small building immediately to the right is the "Filter House". The large white building with the light grey roof housed the "Boiling House", "Bleach House" and " Wood Chopping & Beating Engine House". These buildings are somewhat different in appearance in the 1874 schematic than in the above image.

MANUFACTURE: Wood Pulp only — No paper manufactured on the premise. 140 hands (136 men 4 boys). Lessees: Jessup & Moore and Martin Nixon

The mill was located between the Schuylkill and the Manayunk Canal north of Flat Rock Paper Mill.

The next series of lighter buildings with darker roofs belonged to the Flat Rock Paper Mills owned by Martin Nixon.


Main Street, looking South from Levering, Manayunk, Pa.

No postmark

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The trolley tracks in Main Street belong to the Philadelphia Traction Company's Route 61. The service began as a horse car line but was later electrified on August 30, 1894. The trackage extended to Green Lane and Main Street. The route was further extended to Leverington Avenue and Main Street on October 25, 1909. Designation of this service as Route 61 occurred September 13, 1914. Trolley service continued until1941, when buses ran for a short period to allow reconfiguration of the overhead wire system for trolleybus operation. Trolley buses ran until March 13, 1961 when the line was converted to bus.

Harry Garforth, 2005


Manayunk P. & R.
Station, Manayunk, Pa

Sent in 1911.

Manayunk Reading Railroad Station at the intersection of Cresson and Gay Streets.

Harry Garforth, April 2006

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Interior St. John's R. C. Chutch, Manayunk, Pa.

Not posted

St John the Baptism Manayunk — since 1831

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Posted 1911


St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Roxboro near Wissahicken, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not posted

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Interior St Timothy, Roxborough Philadelphia, Pa.

Posted 1909

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


St. Timothy's Hospital, Roxborough, Pa.

Not posted

St. Timothy's Hospital in now The Roxborough Memorial Hospital

Don Duffy, April 2006

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Ridge Avenue Methodist Episcopal Chruch and Parsonage Roxborough

Not posted

This may now be the Ridge Avenue United Methodist at 7805 Ridge Ave. at Shawmont Ave., Roxborough

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Leverington Presbyterian Church corner of Leverington and Ridge Avenues (1880-1928). No longer standing.


The Old Woods Barn (1750)

Formerly Used as a Church by Grace Congregation, Roxborough, Phila.

Not posted

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Eden Baseball Toxborough Team Manayunk, not dated


Print in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Manayunk section of Philly 1907

The blue "x" shows the 1880 address of Samuel Land and Mary Ann Law Land.

The red "x" shows the 1920 addresses of:

  • Samuel Land and Mary Ann Law Land
  • Lydia Land and her daughter, Adelaide Land Daniels, and Adelaide's family


The Manayunk section of Philly 1907

The red "x" shows the location of St Timothy's Church where the family of Samuel Land and Mary Ann Law Land and several of their children are buried.

Print in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


The Manayunk/Roxborough/Wissahickon section of Philly

I believe that "MANAYUNK" is in the wrong place. It should be below Manayunk Avenue.


Some Facts About Manayunk Development

A wool processing mill was built in Manayunk circa 1870 and by the late 1890s Manayunk had become a world class textile center.

The Pennsylvania Railroad came to Manayunk in 1884. In 1898 there were ads for the train to Atlantic City.

A trolly line to center City was completed in 1894.

In 1895 electric trains began replacing horse drawn carts.

Electric lights were available in 1898 from the Wissahickon Electric Light Company.


Some Mills in Manayunk

Fire was an ever present danger in most mills. Lists of fires in Philadelphia include the following mills:

  1. Richard Hay, Shurs' Land and Main Street Manayunk, fire 1881. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  2. Sevill Schofield, Canal bank, Manayunk fire 1882. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  3. Sciot Carpet mill of Thomas Scholfield, Manayunk fire 1882. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  4. Albert Lees and Bros Terrace Street Manayunk, Shoddy mill fire 1882. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  5. Enterprise Mills Main Street near Ridge Ave occupied by Joseph M Adams, Kelly & Wilher, Lord & Conner and John Wade a& Bro., cotton and yarn spinners fire 1883. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  6. Canton Cotton and Wollen Mill Fitzpatrick and holt, Liverington Ave Manayunk fire 1883. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)

  7. Woolen mill of Robert Wilde and Son Liverington Ave near Hamilton Street, Manayunk fire 1883. (History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Volume 3, John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott)
  8. West Manayunk Mill, B Schofield, Jr 1892 (Geo History Resources)

  9. Geoffrey Luckhardt, Jr Manayunk, Philadelphia, March 29, 1892, fire (New York Times)

Economy Mill, Schofield Family

In 1883 Economy Mill was listed as a shoddy manufacturer and maker of wool blankets and clothes. The mill employed 850 hands: 480 men, 40 boys and 330 women and girls. For a history of the mill go to Economy Mills

Blantyre Mills

Blantyre Mills


Some Shoddy Mills in Philadelphia

Shoddy was developed in Batley Yorkshire in 1813. See Shoddy

W. M Hall, Shoddy Manufacturers and dealers in Shoddy Material Office No 25, North Front Street, Philadelphia, from postcard dated 1884. William Hall and Co was established by T. C. Hall and John H. Hall in 1867 in Landsdown Delaware C.. They were manufacturers of "fine shoddy' and dealers in wool and woolen rages.


Costs of Living in 1896 and 1898 As Indicated in The Local Manayunk Paper

In 1896 a 6 room house near the RR Station rented for $9.00 per month and was for sale for $800. Other rentals in new houses (no location given) were listed at $12 per month, selling for $1,200 to $1,486.

In 1898 the following rentals were listed:

  • 6 room house at 229 Kalos Street $13, per month
  • 7 rooms on Umbria Street, $10.00 dollars a month
  • 6 rooms on St David's Street, $10 per month

Mortgage rates in 1896 were $2.36 per week for $1,000 and $4.78 per week for $2,000.

It cost $25 for a new square piano and $14.75 for a solid oak bedroom suite.

A plot in west Laurel Hill Cemetery cost from $20 and upwards. There were 14 trains from Manyunk to the cemetery.

In the summer of 1898 it cost 15 cents to go round trip on the Fairmont Steamer. The boat made a circle between Riverside-Strawberry, Belmont, Zoo, Gardens.


Atkinson/Abdale/Wetten Families in Manayunk

In April 2011 Thomas Wetten emailed about his Manayunk connections:

I am descended from a few families that might have crossed paths with yours in Manayunk:

John and Jane Ann ATKINSON, their children, and John's mother & stepfather Jane and Thomas ABDALE came to Philadelphia from Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, England in 1871. William James & Caroline WETTEN and their children also came from Bath, Somerset, England in 1884. I have further researched their roots in Yorkshire and London, respectively. They all attended St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, and resided at variety of addresses in the area over the next 50 years or more. During the 1870s, the Atkinsons rented at Mrs. Israel's boarding house, which church benefactor J. Vaughn Merrick purchased about 1880 and donated to the church so it could become St. Timothy's Hospital. Roxborough Memorial Hospital now occupies that property.

The Abdales lived variously on Ridge Ave., Penn near Mitchell, Cresson near Ridge, Cresson near Dawson, etc. Their surviving daughter Mary Ann married George COOPER in 1875.

The Atkinsons lived variously at James & Ridge Ave., Ridge near Lyceum, Cresson near Adams, Penn near Mitchell (later #445, then 447), 4143 Pechin, & 4127 Pechin St. Their eldest son William Henry "Harry" married Annie DESCHIN. Their eldest daughter was Margaret Ellen who married William Robert WETTEN below. Their remaining surviving children were: Robert Hardy who married Elsie ?; Jane Ann who married Edgar F. MASSEY (both photographers); and Annie who married Howard BARRETT (who ran a flower shop). Several more died as children.

William & Caroline Wetten operated a store as confectioners in the 1880s, then again around 1900. They lived variously at 4096 Pechin St., 172 East St., on Cedar St. at an address that was #231, then was changed to 236, then 234, before the street name was changed first to James then to Jamestown. They remained there from 1888 until after 1933, when widowed Caroline passed away. Their eldest son William Robert married Margaret Ellen Atkinson in 1895 and they moved to 411 Walnut Lane until he died in 1904. Margaret Ellen ("Nellie") eventually moved to 189 Kalos St. before her death in 1921. Her eldest son Bob lived one block over at 223 Sumac. Wm. & Caroline's other children were: Laura Kate, who married George Jackson JOBBINS in 1895; Maud Caroline, who married Edward P. LUDY in 1897, George Richard, who married Margaret BOWEN in 1915; Harry, who married Esther GRAVER; Mabel Annie, who never married; and Maurice Alfred, who married Florence May WESTERMAN.

Although the Masseys were photographers, almost no photographs exist of any of the aforementioned people and places. If such things still exist, then they must have been passed on to relatives that lost touch decades ago.


Flat Rock Tunnel Manayunk, Philadelphia

Posted 1911

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Flat Rock RR tunnel is between exits 337/338 (mileposts) on I-76, the Schuylkill Expressway. Exit 338 is Green Lane/Belmount Avenue, and 337 is Armore. This is very close to the Schuylkill River across from Manayunk section of Philly. On a map, look for RR tracks which disappear across the Schuylkill Expressway. That's the tunnel.

West Manayunk, PA seems to be a valid Mapquest name, and is in Montgomery County, earer to exit 338 than 337. You will see there is a Flat Rock Road, NW of West Manayunk (Left ). Which is parrallel to Hallow Road. Flat Rock Road deadends into Hagy's-Ford Road.

MarcZ

January 2008


Zoological Gardens, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, Pa.

The Philadelphia Zoo opened July 1, 1874. It was the first zoo in America.

The zoo was accessible by steamers on the Schuylkill River.

Not posted

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Henry Avenue Bridge over the Wissahickon Creek, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not dated. Printed on back

Henry Avenue Bridge was erected in 1932 at a cost of over $2,000,000. It is of Masonry constrution 915 feet long, 84 feet wide and 185 feet above water level in Wissahickon Creek. One of the most beautiful bridges in the city it connects Roxborough and Germantown.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Henry Avenue Bridge Over Wissahickon

Thanks to Don Duffy, April, 2006

Not posted.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Boating on the Wissahickon, Philadelphia,

Not dated.

The Wissahickon River runs along the Wissahickon Valley through Fairmount Park. This area of Fairmount Park formed the northeast boundry of Manayunk/Roxborough. The Wissihickon was popular for boating in the summer and skating in the winter.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Tall Bridge over Wissahickon Creek Philadelphia,

Not posted. Copyright 1905.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Entrance to Wissahickon, Farimont Park, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not posted.

The bridge is the Reading Railroad Bridge.

Don Duffy, April 2006

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Wissahickon Creek, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia

Copyright 1907 by Taylor Art Co. Not posted.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Valley Green, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia

Dated October 12, 1906

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

River Drive, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pa. No date.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

September 2008 William Ross wrote:

"The road paralleling the river was then called East River Drive, and is now called Kelly Drive. The town in the background at the time was called the Falls of Schuylkill, and is now called East Falls. The intersecting street (on the right) was at the time called Nicetown Lane; it is now called Hunting Park Avenue. Both sides of said street were and are the property of Laurel Hill Cemetery. I biked by there twice today on the Schuylkill River trail, and rowed by there yesterday. It is now much more heavily wooded.  William Ross, September 3, 2008"

The Schuykill, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1911.

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

River Drive and Tunnell, Philadelphia, Pa

Posted in 1905

"The intersection shown is East (Kelly) River Drive and Brewery Hill Drive."

MarcZ, December 2007

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

East River Drive Fairmont Park Philadelphia Pa.

Printed on the back of the card,

"Drive in East Fairmont Park, beginning at Girard Avenue and extending north to the Wissahickon, among the most romantic and picturesque scenery."
Hand written notes in pencil

"East Side looking South

P & R RR Bridge

Girard Bridge is in the background"

Artist redrew the blocks of the P & R RR Bridge"

Not posted


The Tunnell, River Drive, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, Pa

No date.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Schuylkill Canal at Flat Rock, Philadelphia, Pa.

Posted 1911

Postcard in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


The Corner of Daniel and Hermit Streets 1923

The following four photos were taken in July 1923 in what appears to be changes planned by the railroad. These photos where attached to the map dated 8-22-23.


Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Daniel Street and Hermit Street, July 19, 1923

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Daniel Street and Hermit Street, July 19, 1923

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Daniel Street and Hermit Street, July 19, 1923

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Daniel Street and Hermit Street, July 19, 1923

Map collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Written in the larger block outlined in green "SOLD TO CITY 4-4-24"

Written in the smaller block outlined in green "Box 2613-12"

Written in the largest block outlined in red "ROXBOROUGH R. R. CO."


Comments from Harry Garforth, February 21, 2006

Henry H. Houston, who was a Pennsylvania Railroad Company Director from 1881-1895, was instrumental in developing a plan to acquire substantial land holdings in upper Roxborough. The acquisitions were in anticipation of building a new railroad extension into the territory.

It was named The Roxborough Railroad. The new line was to branch off the Chestnut Hill Line, constructed in 1884. The railroad extension was never built, but land was acquired and the map you show on your site was evidently part of the planned land acquisitions.

Although existing on paper until 1926, it was dissolved by the Pennsylvania Railroad on August 16, 1926.

Henry H. Houston was very successful in developing land acquisitions in Chestnut Hill after train service was commenced in 1884.


Images courtesy of Phebe Morgan, February 2012
The Robeson home, Shoomac Park (or Roxboro) taken about 1834 . Built possibly 1752 or before.

Image shared by Phebe Morgan, Febraury 2012.

See An historical and genealogical account of Andrew Robeson: of Scotland, New ... By Susan Stroud Robeson, Caroline Franciscus Stroud (a google book).


Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1907.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Art Museum and Washington Monument, Philadelphia

Not posted.

Go to Philadelphia Museum of Art for a history of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck


North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

No date.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Market Street West From 11th, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1918.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1907.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1904.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Chestnut Street west from Eleventh Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Post marked 1913.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

2361 Chestnut Street, West from 8th Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not dated.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Strawbridge and Clothier's
8th and Market Streets
Philadelphia, Pa.

Not dated.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

View of Philadelphia as seen from Deleware River, Philadelphia, Pa.

Not dated.

Post Card in the collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Other Sources For Old Philadelphia Photos

Anita McKelvey sent the following helpful email in December 2007:

The best and most comprehensive database of photos is the city-owned website Philly History. Sometimes, accessing the database can be a little tough, trying to find what you're looking for, but it's a treasure trove once you get the hang of it.

About two years ago, the City got funding to web publish its entire Street's Department photo archive, which dates from 1840! From photography's earliest days, the City's Street's Department took photos to document road repairs, building demolitions, city-managed construction projects and the like. As a result, the City archives hold over 2 million images. To date, the website has maybe 50,000 images available online but it continuously adds a couple thousand more each month.

I tell tourists (I'm in the cultural heritage tourism business -- Day Trips And More) that if they want to see what Phila looked like in the old days, to simply google --"historic Philadelphia photos." At least a dozen terrific photo websites are online.

Universities such as Penn, Bryn Mawr, Temple and others, have all put their photo archives online free for public access. Also, the Historical Society of PA, the Library Company of Phila, and the Free Library of Phila also have their photo archives online. Here are the three best, after the City archive collection.

Bryn Mawr

Places in Time: Front door Link to the City of Philadelphia's Photo Archive web site, a searchable, GIS-linked database of photographs, many historic, from the City's collections

Jefferson:

Philadelphia Historical Digital Image Library C1-013, Art/Photo Collection, Thomas Jefferson University Archives, Philadelphia, PA. For images from collections at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Library:

FLP - Historical Images of Philadelphia

THANK YOU, ANITA

Mike Ettner's Blog contains two lovely paintings of Manayunk in the snow by the artist James Jeffreys.


If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com

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Samuel Land and Mary Ann Law Land and Their Children
Lydia Law Land and Her Children
Shoddy

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Maggie


©Maggie Land Blanck - page created 2004 - latest update, March 2012