Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 363



Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.

Page 363

for a special magazine article in which he declared it to “stand as a model in civic matters.” To-day it may be conservatively said of The Merion Civic Association that it is pointed out as one of the most successful suburban civic efforts in the country; as Doctor Lyman Abbott said in The Outlook, it has made “Merion a model suburb, which may standardize ideal suburban life, certainly for Philadelphia, possibly for the United States.”

When the armistice was signed in November, 1918, the Association immediately canvassed the neighborhood to erect a suitable Tribute House, as a memorial to the eighty-three Merion boys who had gone into the Great War: a public building which would comprise a community centre, with an American Legion Post room, a Boy Scout house, an auditorium, and a meeting-place for the civic activities of Merion. A subscription was raised, and plans were already drawn for the Tribute House, when Mr. Eldridge R. Johnson, president of the Victor Talking Machine Company, one of the strong supporters of The Merion Civic Association, presented his entire estate of twelve acres, the finest in Merion, to the community, and agreed to build a Tribute House at his own expense. The grounds represented a gift of two hundred thousand dollars, and the building a gift of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This building, now about to be erected, will be one of the most beautiful and complete community centres in the United States.

Perhaps no other suburban civic effort proves the efficiency of community co-operation so well as does the seven years’ work of The Merion Civic Association. It is a practical demonstration of what a community can


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