Tak­ing a trip down mem­ory lane

Clas­sic car show raises $9,000 for Joseph Boxler fund

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ka­t­rina Ni­chols For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Hun­dreds of peo­ple at­tended the Auburn Heights In­vi­ta­tional His­toric Auto Dis­play over the week­end, a fundraiser fea­tur­ing pre-World War II Road­sters and Run­abouts, held on the bu­colic grounds of the Mar­shall Man­sion and Steam Museum.

The event was per­fect for an early au­tumn day with sunny skies and tem­per­a­tures in the low 70s. Hun­dreds of peo­ple wan­dered the prop­erty in­spect­ing the cars, tour­ing the man­sion, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in the raffle and silent auc­tion.

At least 50 vol­un­teers worked to make the day a suc­cess. Their ef­forts pro­vided the man­sion tours, Mar­shall Steam Museum tours, di­rect­ing traf­fic, giv­ing rides on the small steam train, and sell­ing steam popped pop­corn.

In his wel­come let­ter pub­lished in the event guide book, Tom C. Mar­shall Jr. shared a mem­ory of rid­ing in a 1929 Packard model 640 rum­ble seat coupe when he was only 5 years old. He re­mem­bered climb­ing through a golf-club door in it to emerge into the area of the rum­ble seat. Now, 85 years later, the cars on dis­play made that mem­ory fresh again.

Mar­shall is still an ac­tive part of the In­vi­ta­tional, now in its fifth year, and was highly vis­i­ble through­out the day en­joy­ing every­one en­joy­ing the cars and the prop­erty and man­sion that were his life­long home un­til 2008 when he and wife Ruth turned it over to the Delaware park sys­tem to be op­er­ated as a pre­serve.

The his­toric cars on dis­play looked at home on the prop­erty that in­cludes a man­sion built in 1897.

The fea­tured cars this year were Run­abouts and Road­sters from 1910-1932, in­clud­ing a 1913 Stan­ley Model 78 Road­ster pur­chased in 1949 by Tom Mar­shall’s fa­ther, Clarence, and then fully re­stored in time for its cen­ten­nial birthday, thanks to the ef­forts of the FAHP who sent the car to Charles John­son of the Stan­ley Shop in Wellsville, York County.

A road­ster owned by a lo­cal fam­ily was get­ting a lot of at­ten­tion through­out the day. John and Joyce Ren­de­monti of Thorn­bury, Ch­ester County, drove their 1912 Franklin Se­ries 1 Tor­pedo Road­ster down the wind­ing roads of Ch­ester County and into New Cas­tle County, Delaware, for the event.

“It was a beau­ti­ful drive,” John Ren­de­monti said.

Ren­de­monti holds the dis­tinc­tion of hav­ing trav­eled to 46 con­sec­u­tive Franklin Treks, an event equiv­a­lent to a home­com­ing for Franklin car owners. His love af­fair with the Franklin—his 1912 to be ex­act—be­gan at the age of 13 when he saw it at his first Trek. “I had to have it,” he said. That was 1971 and Ren­de­monti was too young to drive, and by the time he was of age, the owner would not sell. Per­sis­tence paid off for Ren­de­monti and 15 years ago he learned that same car was for sale at an ex­otic car deal­er­ship in Vineland, New Jersey, and he bought it.

Across the drive­way of Auburn Heights was Irene duPont and his 1918 Cadil­lac Type 57 Tour­ing Car.

The 96 years young duPont drove his Cadil­lac from Greenville, Delaware, to Auburn

Heights for the In­vi­ta­tional and de­lighted in it being his fifth year at­tend­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to duPont, the car, which he pur­chased for

$40 in 1939, helped him catch the eye of a pretty girl named Bar­bara, who has now been his wife for 72 years.

“We are hav­ing a grand time on the planet,” he said.

They still en­joy rid­ing in the Cadil­lac to­gether, and he en­joys tin­ker­ing with it.

Aside from an en­gine over­haul and new coat of blue paint in 1962 the car has re­quired lit­tle re­pair, although it does con­tain a large spring duPont took from a screen door to re­place a sim­i­lar part not read­ily avail­able.

Nearby, the West Grove

Fire Com­pany proudly dis­played its 1928 Hale Fire En­gine. It was the first fire en­gine the com­pany pur­chased, pay­ing $4,300, which was a princely sum for a small fire com­pany in the 1920s. The en­gine was in full-time service un­til the mid-1950s, when it was re­placed by a newer model and sold to a pri­vate col­lec­tor for $150.

Ac­cord­ing to Bill Wohl, past pres­i­dent and spokesman for the West Grove Fire Com­pany, they lost track of the truck for many years. Then in 2005, Wohl got a sur­prise phone call. The widow of the pri­vate col­lec­tor who pur­chased the fire en­gine in the 1950s wanted to sell it back to the fire depart­ment. The depart­ment acted im­me­di­ately and 10 days later had the truck back home. It took a three-year restora­tion and $125,000 to re­store her to her for­mer glory.

Wohl said he has been told that Elsie (named in honor of the widow who sold her) is “the most pris­tine Hale fire truck from that era.”

He had the honor of driv­ing her from West Grove to Auburn Heights for the In­vi­ta­tional.

It was a grand day for au­tos and for peo­ple who love them and want to see oth­ers learn about them.

The event raised ap­prox­i­mately $27,000 for the ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram­ming at Auburn Heights with at least $9,000 go­ing to­ward the Joseph Boxler Ed­u­ca­tional Fund, named for a young volunteer from Ken­nett Square who died young. Boxler was killed in a car crash in 2007. He was a ju­nior at Sale­sianum School in Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware.

The Boxler fam­ily spent the day cher­ish­ing the mem­ory of their son as many peo­ple who knew him or vol­un­teered in the Mar­shall Steam Museum with him, stopped by the food tent for Coun­try Butcher, and shared fond mem­o­ries with the Boxlers.

Dorothy Boxler said her son “loved cars and he had a huge heart. “

“Yes, he had a big heart and he was gen­er­ous and thought­ful and loved peo­ple of all ages,” Dan Boxler agreed.

In ad­di­tion to his love of cars, Joseph was a tal­ented mu­si­cian who played the vi­olin and drums. He was also a cross coun­try run­ner.

Ev­ery­where they looked, the Boxlers saw and com­mented on the gen­eros­ity of the peo­ple and busi­nesses who con­trib­uted items for the silent auc­tion and the raffle set up to ben­e­fit the ed­u­ca­tional fund to help the museum’s youngest visi­tors learn about Amer­i­can life at the dawn of the au­to­mo­tive age.

The ed­u­ca­tional fund has ex­panded in the last year and now in­cludes train­ing adults to main­tain the steam cars and even drive the Stan­leys in the col­lec­tion.


Hun­dreds of peo­ple at­tended the Auburn Heights In­vi­ta­tional over the week­end.


Pic­tured are Dan and Dorothy Boxler with friends and fam­ily.


Shown is Irene duPont un­der the hood of his 1918 Cadil­lac.


Elsie the fire truck on dis­play for West Grove Fire Com­pany.

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