Eps 32 McLhinney – End of an Era

Historic Buildings, Local Residents, Retail

This past week, Annie McLhinney with her mom, Mary, closed the sale of a building that marks the end of an era of an icon here in town. For the wonderful story of McLhinney’s News Depot, listen to our ‘casual historian’ explain why so many have stories of this business and building!

Thanks to Annie and Mary, the Havre de Grace History MuZeum at Bahoukas Antique Mall has access to boxes of old films, slides, papers, and other documentation from Walter and Charles McLhinny’s collections. The stories will be shared over the coming months in the muZeum, on our blog, and on our youtube channel. It’s so exciting discovering the memories they preserved and helping to continue sharing them.

Amazing McLhinney Collection of Havre de Grace Memorabilia

From complete newspapers to a variety of important news clippings, over 2,000 slides, scores of 8mm and 16mm films, and so much more. Our ‘casual historian’ is determined to get every movie, slide, and photo scanned into the computer. Yep, hours of work, but so much to capture from 1925 on…

Kennedy Visit to Havre de Grace

Also discovered are numerous photos, slides, and a film of visits from Senator John F. Kennedy! That will be a blog post all its own!

McLhinney’s News Depot

Many locals can still recall working as delivery boys for Walter McLhinney at McLhinney’s News Depot. The news depot began in 1923 at 212 N. Washington Street. This long, narrow building was a perfect fit for the newsstand.

In March 1930, during Prohibition, a tenant on the third floor of the building was operating a whiskey still that blew up and caused a major fire. The fire burned the entire building, including the small McLhinney News Depot then on the ground floor, and also damaged the adjoining Newmeyer Building, particularly the third floor. A local contractor, C.A. McCommons, redesigned and rebuilt this as a one-story concrete, steel, and brick building. He also restored the next-door Newmeyer Building but had to reduce it from three stories to only two—a ground floor store with a one-story apartment above it. An old photo clearly shows the adjoining Newmeyer Building at #212 with three floors.

from HistoricHavredeGrace.com

“The old place was about 6-feet wide but kind of long. There was only room for two people to stand side by side,” said the late Eleanor McLhinney, who worked in the store selling papers and dipping the Breyers Ice Cream they also sold. Eunice Powell was proud that she could dip Bing Cherry Ice Cream for a customer and play numbers all at the same time. The shop was a regular stop during the height of the racing and gambling era as visitors to The Graw racetrack stopped in here to get their Daily Racing Form.

from historichavredegrace.com

From 1951-1957 and again 1959-1961, Walter McLhinney was Mayor of Havre de Grace. Local Havre de Gracians have fond memories of him and the store, where Earl Blansfield worked for many years. Pam Barker Murray remembers walking there every summer evening to get the News American while Kathy Perrett recalls the delicious aroma of their roasting peanuts.

A few hundred young boys worked for the McLhinneys delivering papers, either walking or riding their bicycles, along short routes in town over seven decades. And that was all before school. McLhinney held a banquet or other special event each year for the delivery boys. To “Mr. Mac,” the color of the boys did not matter—every boy got a newspaper route and he treated them equally. For any boy who didn’t have a suit to wear to the banquet, Mr. Mac would get them one. He often held the banquets at the Colonial Hotel on Union Avenue—it has been said that the Colonial was the only place that would allow black boys in. However, we know that Mr. Mac also hosted the banquet at times on the second floor of Susquehanna Hose Company Division #2 at 125 North Union Avenue. Another example of an event Mr. Mac hosted for the boys was in 1938 when he arranged for all of them to travel to Carlin’s Park in Baltimore by automobiles. The Aegis reported that in high spirits they rode every attraction in the Park and filled themselves with ice cream and hot dogs. The McLhinneys ended home delivery in the late 1980s

from HistoricHavredeGrace.com

(1972) The McLhinneys moved their News Depot into this ground floor space from 212 North Washington Street, where they had been for five decades. Under Charles, they continued to operate their news business as before, complete with the welcoming aroma of hot roasting peanuts floating out onto the street. They suffered a small fire in the late 1980s on the dock in the rear of the building where the boys’ newspaper delivery bags were assembled. They recovered but ended home delivery that year and the business closed in 1997 when Charles McLhinney retired.

from historichavredegrace.com
Photo of McLhinney's News Depot - News Stand on N. Washington St, Havre de Grace, MD
Photo of McLhinney’s News Depot – News Stand on N. Washington St, Havre de Grace, MD

100 years ago, began the story of McLhinney’s News Depot. Stay tuned for future posts as we share more information. And yes, you can stop into the Havre de Grace History MuZeum at Bahoukas and see that old Peanut Machine!

Again, a huge, HUGE, ‘thank you to Annie McLhinney and her mom, Mary’
for sharing this amazing collection!

Remember, don’t throw the Havre de Grace ‘stuff’ out when you’re cleaning out a home, settling an estate, or just ‘downsizing,’ without checking in with George. Don’t give him cause to cry!!!

Our ‘casual historian’ is always waiting for your stories and any memorabilia you may want to share.

Please SHARE these posts and SUBSCRIBE to his youtube channel.

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