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Waddy George’s Curioseum in the Accomac Hills

Display of Arrowhead Relics (Source: Pinterest)

Bill Neff wrote if I could provide further details about the following message; written on a postcard sent to his grandfather in Virginia and postmarked York, Pa. on June 15, 1937. “The Waddy George Curioseum on the Wizard Ranch is something you gotta see next time you’re up this way.”

Waddy’s George’s Curioseum contained over 20000 curious objects and was housed in a museum built by Mahlon Haines on his Wizard Ranch in the Accomac Hills. Waddy was the nickname of longtime York newspaper reporter Wadsworth M. George.

In the late 1950s I remember stories of when my aunts or uncles brought someone new to the Smith family bungalow at Accomac, a visit to nearby Waddy’s George’s Curioseum was sure to be included amongst the weekend activities. By the time I was old enough to visit the bungalow, the curioseum was no more, however if we’d find arrowheads any particular weekend, you could count on one of my aunts or uncles mentioning something about Waddy George’s displays of arrowheads. Arrowheads were but one of many curiosities found in the curioseum.

Waddy’s George’s Curioseum

The May 18, 1936, issue of The Gazette and Daily contained an article entitled, “New Museum Building At Wizard Ranch Park.” Quoting the whole article:

Mahlon N. Haines is having constructed at his Wizard Ranch park in the Accomac hills, a new forty by twenty foot one-story building, to house a museum which will be open free to the public.

Rare pictures and weapons will adorn the walls and large antiques including the iron treasure chest of a pirate of the Spanish Main, will be displayed in ten by ten foot lobby.

From the lobby an entrance will lead in to a room thirty by twenty feet, where a continuation of the big collection of curiosities, relics and pictures known as “Waddy” George’s Curioseum will be housed.

In the curioseum 20,000 interesting and curious objects will be exhibited.

Ex-Congressman E. S. Brooks has presented to Mr. George for the new curioseum, a large air view photograph of the northern section of the city of York, one of the earliest photographic views of York taken from an airplane.

Waddy was the nickname of veteran newspaper reporter Wadsworth M. George. Wadsworth was born in York during 1869. His obituary noted he was a typical reporter of the old school. He worked for newspapers in Altoona, Pittsburgh, Bryn Mawr, for the York Press, the York Age, the York Daily, and finally the York Dispatch; where he was on the staff for 39-years.

The July 6, 1943, issue of The Gazette and Daily contained the obituary for Wadsworth M. George. He was buried in Mt. Rose Cemetery and his pallbearers were Felix S. Bentzel, Mahlon N. Haines, James E. Chalfant, and Arthur W. Patterson. Quoting that part of the obituary dealing with his collecting habits.

Another side of Waddy’s complex nature was his love for collecting all sorts of curiosities. This collection, called a curiouseur, was donated to the Wizard Ranch. Among the articles are old manuscripts, a menagerie of several hundred, miniature horses and about 5,000 models of elephants, all types of baskets, a library of over 400 books, various Indian relics, pipes and pictures of many figures familiar to the American way of life. Some of his manuscripts are originals.

I wanted to know what ever happened to Waddy George’s collection. The answer is found in the December 2, 1949, issue of The Gettysburg Times. Quoting the whole article:

Scouts to benefit from sale of relics. Indian relics—arrowheads, pipes, axes and spears, manuscripts, dating back to Queen Elizabeth’s reign and dime novels of 75 years ago are among the articles that will go on sale today and Saturday at York, at an auction, which will raise money for the benefit of the York Boy Scout camp, Tuckahoe.

The articles are from the collection of Wadsworth M. George, which had been on display at the museum at the Mahlon N. Haines’ “Wizard Ranch” near Hellam. In addition to the Wadsworth collection some items owned by Haines, including a boat brought from Oslo, Norway, rare stuffed animals from South America and the like will be included in the sale. One-third of the proceeds will go toward the Boy Scout camp. The sale is being held in the Hotel Yorktowne.

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