photo of 2 women and a boy standing on running board of car 1933
photo of 2 women and a boy standing on running board of car 1933

Memories | Sue Bibus (Sophie Halata)

Memories is a place for folks to tell us the stories they remember of Horsham Township. Please contact us if you would be interested in sharing your stories (long or short) to become part of the history of the area.. You can send us written stories, audio or video - and we would love some of your photos - old buildings, locations, activities, people in the stories, etc. Additions - comments - photos that could add to the story below would also be appreciated.

from Sue Bibus (Sophie Halata b1923)

Memories from Mrs Bibus as told to her daughter Susan Gilbert...

Sue was born Sophie Halata in 1923 in rural Springhouse and moved to the western corner of Horsham shortly after. Her father, Michael Halata, was from Ukraine and worked as a gardener on some of the estates nearby.

The Halata moved from Springhouse to Melody Lane off Lower State Rd just above Welsh Road.sometime in the mid 1920s. Sue's father built their home with help from a cousin. It had a barn, corn crib, chicken coup and other small out buildings, which were there for years. She was one of 9 children who lived to be adults. Sue lived at this house until 1942 when she got married but moved back after her husband was sent overseas - staying until 1952. Her children Susan and Sheridan were born there. Melody Lane is shown on the map now as being within the English Village Apartment complex.

Michael Halata gave some of his land to his sister Stella Halata Kwortnik when she got married. She and her family lived in a home in the second house on the lane that they built from wood reclaimed from a building from Oak Terrace. The wood was reported to be so hard that the carpenters had a hard time working with it. This home became known as "Down Home" or Down the Farm, a place where their "huge" family's gathered for holidays for many years. A sister of Ms Halata lived in lived in the large first house on the lane, and a family named O'Conner lived there in the 1940s...they had quite a number of horses I (Susan) enjoyed visiting there....After my mother moved out my Aunt Mary Halata Schmidt lived in the house with my Grandfather. Grandfather always had a fine stepping horse and drove a surrey literally with a fringe on sat rusting on the property on lower state when I was a kid.

Sue's father, Michael, worked as a gardener at many of the nearby estates - including for Doctor Atlee, who lived in the farmhouse at the corner of Lower State and Welsh Road. (this farmhouse was recently restored and an addition was built on the back to become the offices of United Capital). Sue remembers the Atlee family as being very kind and generous with a pipe smoking cook who would send her home with treats for the large Hakala family. She became friends with the doctor's daughter Christafiana and remembers the two of them being allowed to play dress-up with her aunt's fine gowns and furs. Doctor Atlee once removed a cork that Sue's younger brother who had put it up his nose playing

Mom said summers she and her siblings would also work on large estates picking berries and such.

Susan: My Mother attended the one room school house on Cedar Hill Rd (Pen Blair School). along with 2 older brothers from 1929 until 1932 When the Dorothea Hughes Simmons Elementary School opened on Limekiln Pike. She thought it was really a big deal to have 4 classrooms compared to the one room school. The Teachers Name at the Cedar Hill Rd one room school was Miss Connally (who Mom said had very prominent buck teeth) She learned the Palmer Method of Penmanship there using dip pens and ink wells in the desks. In winter it was so cold at times that class was held in the basement around the furnace to keep warm. Moms teacher at Dorothea Hughes Simmons Elementary was Miss McNair. She said it was a Direct Walk across the fields from the end of their Lane on Lower State to the One Room School House on Cedar HIll Road (crossing a couple creeks along the way...They ran home for lunch too each day. There was a bell on top of the School. Mom said the school was still there for quite a number of years afterward, but had been replaced by a Home...l (pretty good Memory for a 94 year old woman.)

Sue and her brothers took a bus to the new Simmons school. Her friend Christafiana did not attend school but would be waiting for them at the bus stop after school. Sue tutored Christafiana and was given fresh fruit in return with bananas being her favorite.

There was also a cabin in the woods nearby. It was there when I was a kid (Susan ..c1950s), and my Mom said it was occupied when she was a kid with little checkered curtains in the window..there was also a hand pump built into the kitchen, an outhouse, and a large barn type building. It was on the Hirokawa (spelling ?) property. We all swam in the creek there as kids. I see on Google map the creek (Upper part of Park Creek) is still there. The only way to get to the cabin which sat in a little clearing in the woods along the creek was to follow the trail that went along the fields.... then cut through some young saplings and light underbrush....We spent great times there well into our teen years.

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Horsham, PA 19044 USA
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