Blades looks back, then forward

By Lynn R. Parks

Town councilman Russell Joseph has spent nearly his whole life in Blades. He and his family moved there when he was seven; as for his current age, he said that he recently celebrated the 41st anniversary of his 39th birthday.

I was raised up here, I went to school here and I raised my son and daughter here," he added. Plus, he has served on the town council for 41 years. Blades is a very special place to me."

Joseph was among dozens of people who turned out at the Nanticoke River Yacht Club Tuesday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Blades town charter. To commemorate the occasion, they dedicated a new historic marker that has been placed on High Street, near the entrance to the Blades Marina.

Situated on the banks of the Nanticoke River, the town of Blades was first known as 'Bladesville' and [was] named for the Blades family," the marker reads. The town was chartered as a Delaware community by the General Assembly in 1910 and on March 10, 1915, Bladesville's formal incorporation as the town of Blades was approved by the state legislature."

Having this sign means a great deal," Joseph said. Other towns have historic markers and it's good to know that now, we have one too."

Councilman Bob Atkinson told the crowd that Blades has much to be proud of. The 2010 U.S. census showed that the community is among the most diverse in the state. It has also been recognized for sound urban forestry management by the Arbor Day Foundation through the Tree City USA program. Every Arbor Day, the town joins with children from Blades Elementary School to plant trees in the town park.

Former Mayor David Ruff reminded the crowd that for a long time, Blades was known for its enforcement of speed limits. That reputation spread to AAA, which listed the town in its magazine as a speed trap, Ruff said.

When I grew up here, there were mom and pop stores on every corner," he added. The town's original schoolhouse is now its town hall. I still have a lot of friends around who went to that school," Ruff said.

The town has gathered a number of items for a time capsule, to be buried on the town hall grounds and to be dug up for the town's 200th anniversary celebration. State Sen. Bryant Richardson, who attended the ceremony, said that he took special pride in one item in the capsule: a copy of the Blades town history that appeared in 1976 in The Leader newspaper, where Richardson was working at the time.

One hundred years from now, people will read that and will get a real feel for your community," he said.

A proclamation from the state Senate that Richardson presented to the town will go in the time capsule, as will a proclamation from the State House and letters from Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney. Chip Guy, representing Sussex County, gave the town a copy of the 2015 Sussex County profile, a state pin with the southernmost county highlighted and a bottle of 16 Mile beer, brewed in Georgetown.

I'm not sure how good this will be in 100 years," he said. But maybe it will plant the seed for a microbrewery here in Blades."

Other items going into the time capsule include memorabilia from area businesses, a dress uniform and a training manual from the Blades Police Department and a photo of Santa visiting town, presented by the Jolly Old Elf himself, a.k.a. Frank Raskauskas.

Former mayor B. J. Hardin gave the town documents about his wife's grandfather, John Hastings, a very important member of the community."

The time capsule was on display during the ceremony.

But Atkinson told the crowd that if they want to see everything that it contains, they will have to be at town hall when it is dug up. If you really want to know what's in here, you'll have to come back in 2115," he said.

For your information:
The town of Blades is still accepting items to include in its time capsule. For details, call town hall, 629-7366.

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Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.