Musings from the Archives
Linda Schelin, Archivist
Looking back 100 years in Saint Mark’s history can be amusing. It can also raise questions to ponder.

In 1915, Dr. James E. Freeman was the Rector of Saint Mark’s. We were not yet a Cathedral, therefore Rector not Dean. In reading the Vestry Minutes for the April, 1915 meeting, I found that the Rector’s Warden (Sr. Warden) and the Church Warden (Jr. Warden) and the Vestrymen for the next term were elected by the Wardens and Vestrymen. There is no reference to an Annual Meeting in the minutes. And, Saint Mark’s got its revenue from Pew Sittings or Pew Taxes. Pew Sittings in 1915 ranged from $5.00 to $50.00 per annum. I do not find any reference to even discussing doing away with the Pew Taxes before 1919. (Find more on Pew Taxes in Mary Sicilia’s Building Honestly, page 38-9)

But, in exploring the 1915 Outlook, what caught my eye was The Recreation Club. Mary Sicilia made a brief reference to the Recreation Club in Building Honestly, p. 109. The 1915 Outlook, however, has a more detailed report on it. “The Recreation Club was organized this spring, its first work being to utilize all the available property about Saint Mark’s Parish House for playground purposes. Voluntary subscriptions were secured and two splendid tennis courts were built and equipped. It is planned to gradually lay out all of the property south of the Parish House as bowling greens, croquet grounds, hand ball court, etc.” This, of course, is before the Education Wing was built, so there was a lot of property to develop. And, one must consider that very few people had cars in 1915 so we certainly did not need a parking lot. Membership in the Club was $3.00 per year. The plan was to have the “playground” available for activities in all seasons. And, “Arrangements will be made with the Wells Memorial House to have the young women use the courts, etc.” It was also stated thar “Anyone attending Saint Mark’s is eligible for membership.”

These old Outlooks do make fun and interesting reading!