West Chester >> The staff of state Sen. Andy Dinniman’s office recently presented him with a historic Pennsylvania Senate license plate from 1933 as a holiday gift.
The plate, which features the number “19S,” dates back to the time when Chester County’s 19th Senatorial District was represented by the late state Sen. William Hannum Clark, who served from 1927 to 1935.
Clark, born at Doe Run in 1877, attended public schools in West Marlboro Township and the Maple Grove Institute in Delaware County before graduating from Coatesville High School. According to Senate records, he pursued the bonding business and served as superintendent of Chester County Highways, automobile inspector, and register of wills before being elected to the state Senate on Nov. 2, 1926.
Clark, who succeeded T. Lawrence Eyre, served five terms from 1927 to 1935 (at that time Pennsylvania state senators served two-year terms).
“While we may know little about state Sen. Clark, he certainly does seem to have had an interest in cars, as county superintendent of highways and automobile inspector,” said Dinniman, D-19. “I thought this was a really neat, unique, and thoughtful gift and want to thank my staff.
“When you have the opportunity and privilege to serve in public office, you join part of a long line of individuals and leaders who stood for and represented the values of your region. This really helps put that into perspective,” he added.
Dinniman said his staff came across the historic license plate in an online auction after being alerted to it by his Chester County colleague, state Rep. John Lawrence, R-13, who has an interest in historic automobiles.
Dinniman, a historian, history buff, and professor by trade, serves on the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, is known for his interest in local history and preserving local artifacts associated with his office. The building that houses his office, located at One North Church Street in historic downtown West Chester, has been home to various businesses since the early 1800s. From 1914 to 1947, it was a candy store and confectionary, Marakos Candy Kitchen, and Dinniman has preserved a clock and menu from the store that remains on display.