Two New York City Families
Stanley & Crane
The Stanley Soap Delivery Wagon in the 1850's
STANLEY My Great Grandfather John Thomas Stanley left England at 17, booking passage for America in 1860 and bringing with him his skills in making soaps and candles. He opened his first factory on Jane Street then moved to West 15th Street. In 1892 the John T. Stanley Company moved one last time to 30th Street and the Hudson river, a building pointed out by the Circle Line Tours until it burned down in the 1980's
CRANE My paternal grandmother Mary Augusta Storer was quite a character! Born and raised on Staten Island, she traced her roots back to the New York Schuylers. Married three times, she played and worked hard. She changed her name to Marie, socialized like a grand dame in ball gowns and elaborate costumes (first prize for Cleopatra on her barge), was part of the machine gun squad of the Women's Police Reserve (newspaper showed them in uniform), a preservationist, a superb horsewoman (more newspaper articles) and in 1925, built "an exclusive club hotel" in the Adirondacks of New Jersey naming it "after my boys", Creagh (Heydecker, #2 husband) and Montgomery (Crane) the Cre-Mont Hotel. April 10, 1894. Her first marriage was to John Russell Crane (a Civil War veteran of the 7th Regiment), but he died March 3, 1901. So she took over Crane Oxygen and Ambulance, America's first private ambulance company. In 1905 the New York Sun headlined "Private Ambulances, the Invention of a Woman". The article went on to say "Few people know that the most elaborate ambulances in this country were invented by a New York woman and were built to her order. It took her an entire year to think out all the little points." The article praised and described and never once mentioned her name, an omission they acknowledged in the 20's when they wrote another piece headlined: "HER BUSINESS RISE DESCRIBED Mrs. Crane, Pioneer of Her Sex as Executive, Talks" the interview quotes her: "I never had any trouble with my male employees, even back in the early days." Her first ambulances were horse-drawn till she patented a horseless ambulance. She became an officer of the newly formed National Women's Automobile Club of America. Her last husband was Burnet Tuttle Wenman, a member of the Cotton Exchange. Her west-side house and stable by the park (the Spanish Room, the Italian Room, the solarium etc.) now houses 10 apartments, her horse was Decanter and her yacht was The Tranquil. Quite a life!
In 1934 The New Yorker did a "Talk of the Town" piece about Crane Oxygen & Ambulance and its orchid-colored ambulances tooting around town and delivering two hundred gallons of oxygen daily to the Ziegfeld Follies . With the advent of city-owned ambulances, the company closed its doors in the fifties, but it was a good run!