A Place Called YORKSHIP - The Auction
World's Greatest Auction Sale Ends
Joseph P. Day Sells 1,574
Dwellings in Fairview, N.J.
WARTIME TOWN SPLIT UP
Householders Who Feared Loss of
Homes Jeered at First, but Re-
mained to Buy and Cheer
Special to The New York Times
CAMDEN, N.J., Dec. 14--The largest auction sale of real estate ever held in this country, if not the world, was completed at 8:45 o'clock tonight when Joseph P. Day disposed on the auction block here of 1574 houses and lots at a total value of $3,822,500. The dwellings were the property of the Fairview Realty Company, a subsidiary of the United States Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation.
The houses were used by the Shipping Board during the war and represented in fact a wartime village. The sale began last Saturday afternoon under conditions which were decidedly hostile on the part of many occupants of the village, who feared they would lose their homes and be turned on the street. It was held in the moving picture theater of Fairview Village, and the crowd that attended on the first day was so great that doors and windows were smashed, and order was restored with difficulty.
The resentment of the people was leveled against the auctioneer himself. Every time he offered a house for sale he was yelled down, and there were even threats of violence. Mr. Day held his ground, however, and proceeded with the disposal of the buildings. After the first hour things began to change, and soon the crowd, caught with the infection of buying bargains, began to cheer the auctioneer. Many who jeered at first began to buy and cheer.
The sale ran through Monday and continued all day Tuesday and was adjourned about 2 o'clock this morning, and then moving pictures of the sale taken a short time before were shown in the theater, several hundred people remaining through the performance.
Crowd Cheers Auctioneer Day
When the adjournment was taken some 800 people in the theater gave Mr. Day a demonstration. They cheered the auctioneer and otherwise expressed their approval of what they termed his fairness in giving every one present a chance to get the kind of home he or she wanted. Similar scenes attended the closing of the sale tonight. When the sale was over and the results were computed, it was found that the average price of the 1,574 homes was $2,428. Mr. Day expressed himself as being delighted with the result.
"The Shipping Board were called upon to make a very big and important decision when they decided to offer this property at auction," said Mr. Day. "It was the biggest job that I ever tackled in my life. Never before in the history of the world were even 500 houses offered at auction, let alone more than three times that number. The next biggest sale to this was the Remington Arms sale in Bridgeport, Conn., comprising 400 houses, which I sold at auction a year ago. There is no other individual ownership in any section containing 1500 houses today, so this will go down in history as the greatest auction sale of individual houses in the history of the world."
The bidding throughout today's session was more spirited than on the previous days and better prices prevailed. The home buyers throughout the sale outbid the speculators in the majority of cases, which means, according to one of the officials, that the future of Fairview is established and that what up to now has been a dormant section held under one ownership will be in the future a live community full or real estate activity.
Mr. Day started the sale yesterday with 3001 to 3009 Tuckahoe Road, and the houses sold for $1,950 each. No. 2964 to 2990 brought prices ranging from $3,050 to $2,600 each. Dwellings on Kansas Road brought from $2,950 to $2,600, and those on Essex Road from $2,600 to $2,850.
Republican Club Buys A Row
The members of the Republican Club were the successful bidders for a row of houses, and they were so pleased with their purchase that John J. Bell, President of the club, representing the members, wrote a letter to President Harding at Washington praising Mr. Day for what was termed his fair and courteous treatment. William Towers of Washington, President of the Fairview Realty Company, also praised the auctioneer for his methods in conducting the sale.
"The results all the way through were a revelation," said Mr. Towers. "The prices exceeded our expectations, and, best of all, everyone got a fair, square deal. Mr. Day was untiring in his efforts to please every one, and whenever a question came up the tenant always got the best of the decision. One of the outstanding features of the sale was the universal courtesy shown by all the Day staff. The result was smooth sailing and satisfactory prices."
Some of the prices obtained today were as follows: Collings Road, $3,900 to $2,000; Alabama Avenue, $4,050 to $3,200; Hartford Road, $2,750 to $2,600; America Avenue, $3,900 to $2,650; Congress Road, $3,150 to $2,300; Constitution Road, $2,000 to $1,850; Merrimack Road, $3,000 to $2,300; Atlanta Avenue, $2,800 to $2,150.
Commencing Saturday Dec. 17, Mr. Day will sell at auction 320 houses at Harriman, Bristol, Pa., also owned by the U.S. Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation.
to Yorkship Main Page
your Yorkship memories to Michael Kube-McDowell, Class of '68