Beautiful certificate from the Fairmount Park and Haddington Passenger Railway Co
issued in 1895. This historic document and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of a streetcar. This item has the signatures of the Company's President, Isaac Blum and Secretary and is over 117 years old.
Isaac Blum was born in Strasburg, in the province of Alsace, France, March 5,1849. His father is Jacques Blum, now living at Ogontz at the age of eighty-four. His mother was Eve Blum, now deceased. Mr. Blum's father in his early days was prominently connected with the real estate business while living in Europe, and became very successful there as a business man. His grandfather on the paternal side served under Napoleon, and received honorable mention for gallant and valuable services, and he was likewise prominently identified with the municipal affairs of his place, serving as President of Council there. In fact, Mr. Blum's ancestors, on both sides of the house for several generations, were men and women of sterling qualities and high order of attainments, and his progress since his entrance into the business field has practically been a reproduction of their successes.
He received his regular school education, and an excellent private tuition, studying under a master, and in this way gaining a thorough and complete knowledge of three languages, as well as finance and economy. At the age of seventeen years Mr. Blum came to this country, just after the close of the Civil War, and settling in Wheeling, West Virginia, established himself with his brother in the dry-goods business, under the firm name of Isaac Blum & Brother. For a number of years he continued in this field, becoming one of the best known business men of that section.
In 1876 he married Miss Rebecca L. Siedenbach, daughter of the late Martin Siedenbach, one of Philadelphia's pioneer merchants, to which city he shortly after removed, and, two years later, after having obtained a wide acquaintance with the dry-goods trade, as a resident buyer for his western houses, he, in addition, began business for himself at Third and Market streets, there becoming a pioneer in the business of manufacturing ladies' cloaks and suits, which was started by Mr. Blum on a small scale, occupying one room at 301 Market Street, from which place, as the business increased rapidly, he removed to 531 Market Street. As the business progressed a further removal was necessary, and the firm moved into the large and extensive building situated at 1319 Market Street, occupying five floors, in which place Mr. Blum coutinued his immense business until January I, 1892, when he retired, owing to the fact that at that time his health broke down, which necessitated his retirement from active business, two of his brothers who were associated with him continuing the business under the old name. Their place of business is at 1319 Market Street, and a branch house in New York City is carried on by two' other brothers with success. It was shortly after his recovery from this illness that he first became interested in the Hestonville Railroad, which at that time was, comparatively speaking, a wreck. He made a proposition to some friends, and interested them in it, with the result that he formed a syndicate which purchased 7,000 shares of the stock owned by the Lafferty estate, in order to get a controlling interest of the road, and this syndicate, under the direction of Mr. Blum, succeeded in completely restoring the road to a condition of prosperity.
A very clear exposition of the most striking points in Mr. Blum's character was given shortly after he undertook the re-organization and regeneration of the Hestonville Railroad Company. The President, who was elected by Mr. Blum's syndicate, eventually adopted a course antagonistic to that which Mr. Blum believed the proper one for the company to adopt, and there ensued a disagreement with the result that Mr. Blum came out victorious. Although offered the Presidency of the road, Mr. Blum declined, owing to statements made by the opposition element, intimating a reflection that he was seeking the office. He selected the late Johns Hopkins for the office, to which the latter was elected in 1892. Mr. Blum accepting the Vice-Presidency and General Managership of the road. Since that time electricity has been adopted as a motive power, and when the change was made a great financial problem presented itself--how to raise the money to build a new trolley road. Mr. Blum, who was one of the organizers of the Market Street National Bank, and a Director, proceeded to endeavor to raise $1,250,000 by an issue of bonds and preferred stock. He enlisted the good offices of his personal friends and those interested in the Hestonville Railroad, and, by a prospectus which he had prepared, convinced them that the road ,would prove a financial success after being trolleyed. Mr. Blum's friends, having great faith in him as a financier and manager, within forty-eight hours subscribed for $1,250,000 in five per cent. gold bonds, underwritten and preferred stock, the rush made for the stock being largely in excess of the amount required. This was one of the most admirable operations in many years, and the investment proved a magnificent one. On June 15, 1895, Mr. Blum was elected President of the Hestonville, Mantua and Fairmount Passenger Railway Company. He was also elected President of the Fairmount Park and Haddington Railway Company, a branch enterprise. A striking evidence of the fealty of the employes may be seen in the offices of the company. It is a set of artistically engrossed and handsomely framed resolutions, in which they express their appreciation to the President and Board of Managers for acts of kindness, generosity and leniency. The presentation of these resolutions was an agreeable surprise, and made a notable feature at the annual meeting of stockholders on the 13th of January, 1896.
Mr. Blum was one of the organizers and is at present a Director of the Market Street National Bank. In the affairs of public life he takes great interest, especially in matters connected with charitable work. He is Secretary of the Executive Committee, and a Director in the Foster Home and Orphan Asylum at Germantown, Philadelphia, and he is a Director in the Sanitarium Association of Red Bank, New Jersey. Mr. Blum has three children, two sons and one daughter, Milton C., and Arthur Blum, aged twenty and sixteen respectively, and Eva Blanche, aged twelve years.
PHILADELPHIA RAPID TRANSIT CO.
Incorporated 1902, acquiring Union Traction Co., which had been incorporated 1895. Also acquired the following street railway companies.
Bucks County Railway Co. - sold 1900 to Doylestown & Willow Grove Railway, leased 1900 to Electric Traction Co. of Philadelphia.
Citizens Tenth & Eleventh Street Railway - leased 1895 to Union Traction Co.
Hestonville Mantua & Fairmount Passenger Railroad - incorporated 1859, in 1864 acquired Fairmount & Arch Street Passenger Railway Co., in 1865 acquired Fairmount Passenger Railway Co. leased 1898 to Union Traction Co.
Fairmount Park & Haddington Passenger Railway - incorporated 1892, leased 1895 to Hestonville Mantua & Fairmount Passenger Railroad, leased 1898 to Union Traction Co.
Darby & Yeadon Street Railway - incorporated 1904, leased 1904 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Media Middletown Ashton & Chester Electric Railway - incorporated 1893, merged 1906 into Darby Media & Chester Railway, leased 1906 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Philadelphia Morton & Swarthmore Street Railway - incorporated 1899, leased 1900 to Media Middletown Ashton & Chester Electric Railway, merged 1906 into Darby Media & Chester Railway, leased 1906 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Darby Media & Chester Bus Co. - incorporated 1937 as bus subsidiary of Darby Media & Chester Railway, for the conversion to buses of streetcar routes 71 and 72..
Philadelphia & Chester Railway Co. - incorporated 1900, merging Philadelphia & Delaware Street Railway and Prospect Street Railway, reorganized 1910 as Chester & Philadelphia Railway Co., leased 1910 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Philadelphia & Willow Grove Street Railway - incorporated 1901, in 1903 acquired Glenside & Willow Grove Street Railway, leased 1904 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Holmesburg Tacony & Frankford Electric Railway - incorporated 1890, reorganized 1910 as Frankford Tacony & Holmesburg Electric Railway, leased 1926 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Champlost Street Connecting Railway Co. - incorporated 1923, leased 1923 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Frankford Street Connecting Railway Co. - incorporated 1923, leased 1923 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Germantown Loop Railway Co. - incorporated 1920, leased 1920 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Pelham & Frankford Street Railway Co. - incorporated 1923, leased 1923 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Sansom Street Connecting Railway Co. - incorporated 1920, leased 1920 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Tioga & Frankford Street Railway Co. - incorporated 1923, leased 1923 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Wayne Junction Connecting Railway Co. - incorporated 1923, leased 1923 to Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.
Pennsylvania Rapid Transit Co. - incorporated 1923 to operate trolleybuses on Oregon Avenue.
Philadelphia Rural Transit Co. - incorporated 1923 to operate motor buses in Philadelphia area.
Market Street Elevated Passenger Railway Co. - incorporated 1901 to operate rapid transit trains in Philadelphia.