When we moved into our home on Roosevelt Street in Egypt PA in 2019, there were some things left behind by previous owners including the Diehl family who owned our home for at least 100 years. In the stairway leading up to the attic, I found a dusty yellow yardstick, the kind that businesses used to give out to market their business. This particular yardstick says “compliments of Walter’s Music Store, Egypt, PA 515 Main Street Phone Co. 24832.” I decided to see what I could find out about Walter’s Music Store and I found a lot!
John and Mae Walter, Music Teachers
Walter’s Music Store was owned by John and Mae Walter. John and Mae were both band teachers in Whitehall School District. Mae graduated from Whitehall High School then went to college in West Chester, PA to get her music education degree. She established the first Whitehall High School band in 1936.
In the 1962 Whitehall High School yearbook (which I found in the free bin in the Whitehall Township Public Library) John Walter is listed as a band teacher on sabbatical for the year.
Mae Walter’s Egypt roots go even deeper than her music teaching career.
Mae Walter’s father was Harry P. Grammes who was a prominent business man in Egypt. He and his brother in law OJ Fenstermacher owned the brick silk mill on Roosevelt Street. They opened for business in 1912. It only took 90 days to build the building and they had a grand reception at the hotel in town which is now Riley’s Restaurant and Pub on Main and Church Street in Egypt. The banquet had multiple courses including roast turkey a la Maryland with stuffing and cranberry sauce, puree of peas, asparagus and cream sauce, browned sweet potatoes, Kaltwasses red cabbage, cold slaw and Werley’s punch. Ice cream, cake, Roquefort cheese, fruit, coffee, and cigars rounded out the celebration. There was a five piece orchestra which played. A long list of those in attendence included Dr. Edwin Minner who would move to Egypt not too long after the banquet after his home was finished being built.
Harry Grammes is also listed as a school principal in a newspaper article in 1942 and listed as having a motor vehicle registration in 1917 which tells me they were a family of means since the Diehl family was still using horses to get around during that time.
I was not able to firmly determine yet whether or not Wilman Grammes who lived next door to my home in the yellow house was related to Harry Grammes. There are a few Williams who pop up in Harry’s family according to the History of Lehigh County, but no Wilmans.
Walter’s Music Store Building
The yardstick I have lists the address of Walter’s Music School as 515 Main Street so I know the yardstick is from before 1968 which is when the villages that make up Whitehall Township were incorporated with one post office. To solve the problem of having duplicate addresses since there were now multiple Main Streets, Second Streets, etc, a number was added to the beginning of house numbers to differentiate between the villages. The house numbers in Egypt were given a “4” in front. So today 515 Main Street in Egypt is 4515 Main Street.
Today, the building is a rectangular building with light blue vinyl siding just three doors down from Riley’s Restaurant and Pub and it looks quite different than the Victorian Era homes on the rest of Main Street. On the 1911 Sandbourne Map, the building appears as a rectangular building with the word “MEAT” written on it. I wonder if it was a butcher shop for residents of the area and maybe even the hotel. Maybe that’s even where the meat was purchased for Harry Grammes silk mill reception!
I was not able to find out yet how long the building was used as Walter’s Music Store. I did find pictures of old marketing matchbooks for Walter’s Music Store, one with the 515 Main Street address and the other with the address of 526 Main Street which looks like a garage-turned-home business area recessed from Main Street and attached to 528 Main Street.
The Walter’s in Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey
After retirement, John and Mae Walter moved to Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey and started the Middle Township Community Band which is still in operation, but is now called the John Walter Community Band.
This quick research was not only fun in that I unveiled the mystery of the yardstick, but now I know who to be thankful for in regards to the Whitehall High School Band in which two of my children currently participate.
I’d love to hear from anyone that might remember John or Mae Walter or anyone who might have taken lessons at the Walter Music Store. Please leave a comment or email me at email@example.com
2 thoughts on “Walter’s Music Store in Egypt PA”
I remember Mr. Walters. I graduated from Whitehall HS in 1966 and was a majorette in the marching band. He was our band director. Perhaps some of my fellow class members could enlighten you more about him, if you are interested.
Thank you so much for commenting, Faye. If any class members want to leave some comments here on the blog about what they remember about Mr. Walters that would be wonderful! Then everyone can see and enjoy their memories.