Very nearby the intersection of Water Street and West Market, along the stone wall embankment after the PNC Bank Drive-thru, you have probably noticed that there are two windows and a doorway that have been filled in with concrete blocks.
Now you might think this was an old rear entrance to one of the buildings in the Lyon Block, or perhaps was a City of Salem storage facility, but that would be way wrong.
For a great many years (38), in my mother’s childhood and before, there was a man named Orville Kenworthy, who resided in this little structure.
Now the structure itself did belong to two of the stores in the Lyon Block, but both of the owners were fine with this man living here and reportedly charged him $20 a year rent.
Orville was known all over town as “Dad Fox” and later, “Old Dad Fox” and Dad was a Raggedy Man.
I’m sure today’s youth are probably unfamiliar with the term and job description of the Raggedy Man, but he essentially was a recycler, long before that term or notion became popular.
He pushed his hand cart all over town and called out for anyone wishing to dispose of their old rags, papers, metals, ashes and other non-wanted items.
After collection he stored most of these items in his little house in the wall until he sold them off to scrapers or other interested parties.
Orville was really originally from Memphis, Texas, born there in 1872 and after traveling extensively, settled in Salem for reasons unknown.
Most residents here had no idea his name was Orville until he died in 1955 and his obituary was released in the paper.
Everyone just knew him as Dad Fox. This colorful character is buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery.