Greetings, and welcome to the Historical Society of Riverton's website for our town, founded in 1851, by a group of ten Philadelphians for summer homes for their families. Displayed within its scant square mile area of Victorian-flavored neighborhoods and gaslamp-lined streets are more than 150 years of American architectural styles. More than half of Riverton's buildings are included in the State and National Directories of Historic Places.

Here is the venerable Porch Club, birthplace of the PTA; Riverton Yacht Club, one of the oldest and still active yacht clubs in the country; the beloved Riverton Public School which just turned one hundred; treasured churches and other institutions, as well as businesses and a hometown to almost 3,000 proud Rivertonians.

Our masthead banner, derived from a delightful folk art painting by Riverton author and artist, Anne Knight Ruff, evokes the charm and vitality of our richly historic borough and serves as your invitation to explore it further with us.

A collector’s postcards stir memories of his lifelong link to Lucy

achotel_0013 [800x600]Doesn’t everybody collect something? Their reasons and manner vary enormously. There are collectors of ancient artifacts, first day covers, comic books, Pez dispensers, medieval armor, a myriad of other items—and thankfully, old postcards.

2 Lucy pix (Copy)Perhaps a bigger draw for website visitors here than even the archive of Riverton images is the collection of vintage views of the New Jersey shore, possibly because they trigger so many fond memories of summers gone by.

Enjoy these images from a collector who has been a fan of Margate’s Lucy the Elephant for more than sixty years. He writes:

Lucy 018As you can readily see, postcard image #18 is a most unusual pair of views (divided) of the interior of Lucy.  This is essentially how she appears now.  No longer is she compartmentalized as she was originally with numerous interior “closets” or rooms.  Today, she is a large, cavernous room with two doors for gaining access to the “howdah” which sits atop this historic landmark.  Spectacular views can be had from the lofty perch as one gets a 360 degree panoramic view of the surroundings.

The view on the left side of this postcard is looking toward the front or head of Lucy.  Two circular windows or portholes are the eyes of Lucy through which patrons can look out of after climbing a short set of stairs.  The view on the right side of this image was taken facing the rear-end of Lucy with an entrance and an exit via the spiral staircases in each hind leg.

stuffed LucyNotably, Lucy is six-stories high and built in 1881 was designed after an Asian elephant.  This tourist attraction has served as a home, a tavern, and now has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.  As the viewer can readily see, we are told that the interior is painted in its original color, a “gastric pink” if you will.

According to architect Margaret Westfield, “Lucy is actually a male.” This is because female Asian elephants do not have big tusks!

For a fact-filled history of Lucy and detailed description of her, er… his dimensions, go right to the experts at

Check out the Official Lucy Plush while you are there.

Enjoy these old and not-so-old views of Lucy. – JMc



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Of course, Schwering’s has it – they have everything

A classic Flexible Flyer sled at Schwering's Hardware

A classic Flexible Flyer sled at Schwering’s Hardware

OK, kids, that was snow I saw Thursday night. Really wet snow, but snow, nonetheless.

I guess that Polar Vortex the weather forecasters warned about has arrived. The season’s first freeze is already expected here during overnight lows this upcoming week.

At least Schwering’s Hardware in Palmyra is ready with its stash of snow shovels, ice melt, and the classic Flexible Flyer sled. I didn’t even know they were still made.

Schwering's 1920s

Schwering’s 1920s

Isn’t Schwering’s Hardware the best? People have been finding quality products and first-rate service there since it opened its doors in 1922 as Schwering’s Wayside Hardware. Knowledgeable advice and neighborhood news are a bonus.

ShopSmallI have heard of Small Business Saturday coming up November 29, and it’s all good, but for many local people, it’s Small Business Everyday.

According to Cecily Tynan’s Winter Weather Outlook we can expect fewer snowstorms but bigger ones and lower than average temps. so we are in for some weather in which some lucky kid would get your money’s worth out of that sled. Just saying. – JMc

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Vets Day Ceremony Sunday, Nov 9 at 10:30 am at Riverton War Memorial

I know it’s late notice, but I just heard myself. Bob Smyth tells me that there will be an observance of Veterans Day at the Riverton War Memorial tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 9 at 10:30 a.m. Previously, Bill Brown had notified me that the Riverton Veterans Affairs Committee will add three new names to the Memorial.

Richard B. Frost-Army, Richard J. Laverty-Air Force, Alan Saville-Army

clipping New Era, Aug 16, 1945WWI veterans New Era July 4, 1919Can you imagine the elation of Rivertonians in August 1945, upon hearing that World War Two had ended?

The pages of The New Era during the years of War II  the may give those of us far removed from that experience a new appreciation of the debt we owe veterans for our freedom. (see all issues for the month – New Era Aug 1945 – big file)

A generation before that, in January 1919, the New Era published a huge list(clipping at right – click to open another window; click again for full enlargement) of men and women from Cinnaminson, Palmyra, and Riverton who had served in the Great War. (see all issues for the month – Jan 1919 New Era - big file)

A treasure trove of hometown news, The New Era continued publishing during the Korean War, but our archive includes none of those years. Nor does it include anything of the Viet Nam era.

We still hope that some of those “lost issues” will surface at some point and help us fill in the missing gaps. (List of available Historical Local Newspapers)

If you have any photos or hometown news clippings that we could include when we next update the Riverton Veterans Album, please contact me. – JMc

I hope you can come out in person and honor our veterans tomorrow.


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Digging up Riverton’s history… literally

Speaking of digging up Riverton’s history…

Did you see this report or one like it during a 24-hour news cycle at the end of October?

If you want a good laugh, scroll down and read the comments made by people weighing in on Riverton matters who have no idea on what they are talking about.

Town Historian Paul W. Schopp tells me that the disinterment of human remains near the Delaware is practically a Riverton tradition. Look for more in the next GN.

And now for some completely irrelevant Riverton fall foliage pix – John McCormick

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‘Tis the season…

tempus fugit - time flies“Tempus fugit,” as my Cramer Junior High Latin teacher instructed in 1961.

Seems like after I passed sixty, time has actually increased in velocity. It’s already time to pay Society dues again.

2015 membership dues form webGN Santa animatedNovember newsletters are in the mail along with a form for paying 2015 membership dues. (Click on the image at left and print that, or print this PDF form.)

Too soon for Santa? The local Sam’s Club didn’t think so in early October, so I think we are safe here on November 4.

Notice that Santa holds in his arm a Gaslight News.

Just $20 brings you four issues of the Gaslight News, either home delivered, or you may choose to read the newsletter online.

Know that when you join the HSR, you are doing much more than simply purchasing four issues of a minor historical organization’s newsletter. You become an ally in our work to discover, restore, preserve, and share local history. Dues dollars underwrite the considerable expense attached to accomplishing that.  – John McCormick

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