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.


19th century style Girl Power

abbie rollins, century rider, sporting life, june 15, 1895

Sporting Life, June 15, 1895, p32

Friends of this website already know of our fascination with Riverton bicycle events, especially ones associated with the words “historic” and “century.”

But did you know the 1895 NYC-Riverton relay race produced a pioneering New York cyclist who became the first woman relay rider?

Los Angeles Herald, June 2, 1895

Los Angeles Herald, June 2, 1895

This 1895 illustration shows typical women’s cycling  fashions. We only wish we knew more about Miss Rollins and the gentleman who came to her aid.

Evening Star (Washington, DC) August 7, 1895. Page  3

Evening Star (Washington, DC) August 7, 1895. Page 3

It was that same 1895 Tri-State Relay Race from New York City to Riverton that inspired Rob Gusky to recreate that ride in 2014. In fifteen days he will again pedal a hundred miles to Riverton.

Be there June 11 to welcome the riders of the 2016 Historic Riverton Century with a 3-mile victory lap around town ending with a ceremony at Riverton Park.

Come back the next day on June 12 to witness the thrill of competitive cycling on a .8 course through Riverton’s historic streets in the sixth running of Carlos Rodgers’ Historic Riverton Criterium.  – JMc

 

 

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HSR Meeting May 24 to discuss cycle events and vote on Board seats

Nellie Bly Bi orig (Copy)

What better place for a discussion of upcoming cycling events than Nellie Bly’s Olde Tyme Ice Cream Parlour?

The Annual Meeting of the Historical Society convenes on Tuesday, May 24 at 7pm.

Iris Gaughan, our cycling event liaison, explains our need for some volunteers:

Dear HSR Members and Riverton Friends… Please note that the Historic Riverton Century and 3-Mile Community Ride will take place on June 11th , and the Historic Riverton Criterium on June 12th.  A description of this two-day event is in the current issue of The Gaslight News.

THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF RIVERTON WILL BE THE PRIMARY BENEFICIARY OF FUNDS COLLECTED FROM THE HISTORIC RIVERTON CRITERIUM.

We need your help!  For the Criterium on June 12th, 24 corner marshals are needed…this entails standing at one of the race corners making sure no one crosses the street while the bike racers are passing.  Each marshal will spend one hour at a corner.  The marshal needs to stand for the entire hour.  If you feel you are not able to physically perform this task, perhaps you have someone in your family or a friend who could step in to help.  You must be 16 years of age to be a marshal.  Once you volunteer, specific directions will be sent directly to you.   If you feel you are not able to do this task,  volunteers are needed to sell tee shirts.  We need 2 people per hour for the 5 hour duration of the race, each person working one hour.

Please contact Iris Gaughan at iggaughan@gmail.com or 856-829-8671 if you are able to give an hour of your time on June 12th.

Other items on the Annual Meeting menu include making nominations for Board members and ice cream sundaes for all members attending. – JMc

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Totally worth it

IMG_0798 (Copy)

Linda McCormick, Phyllis Rodgers, Susan Dechnik

Linda McCormick, Phyllis Rodgers, Susan Dechnik

The rain held off this morning and even when it came it was just intermittently drizzly.

Soon we almost had enough people to convene a meeting of Retired Riverton School Teachers.

It was great to catch up with RPS alum, Kim Piotrowski, with her mom, Ann Marie.

We enjoyed conversing with browsers who came by the Porch Club during the Garden Tour.

May Hannah brought by a color postcard of Fulton Street, c.1912, for me to scan.

IMG_0857 (Copy)Shown here framed, click here to see the retouched scan I made from it.

In the course of congratulating Tom Shaw on the work he is doing on his house at 301 Main Street the origin story of the famous Duster sailboat came up.

Local lore holds that Owen Merrill designed and built the first Duster there in a room on the 3rd floor. He and some friends lowered the craft from a window, took it down to the river, and christened it a “Duster”.  It became a world-class sailboat.

Tom is convinced that he has seen a newspaper photo of that moment – but where? Let’s ask the universe to find it. If a reader can direct me, please help. Tom wants to find an old Duster, seaworthy or not, that he can plant in his garden as a kind of “The Duster was born here” historical marker.

IMG_0856 (Copy)After grazing on a luncheon plate of goodies prepared by the Porch Club women, I also bought two table centerpieces composed of papier mache birds and plants in tiny Dreer’s Nursery terracotta flower pots that were found on the riverbank near the Pompeston Creek.

IMG_0851 (Copy)Bunched together here on my picnic table in Delran they will wind up in the HSR Museum at some point. It is coming together slowly… very slowly.

Oh yeah, we also sold five mugs, too, so the day spent was totally worth it.  – JMc

 

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Rain, rain, go away, so the Garden Tour continues Saturday

Porch Club by Richard Moore (Copy)During the Porch Club sponsored 2016 Garden Tour on Saturday, May 20, we plan to have a table set up on the Porch Club lawn with other vendors to have mugs available for purchase.

More info about the Garden Tour here, but we hope that the rain holds off enough so we can last until noon  – maybe later if the rain is light.

Come for the tour (and the wonderful lunch served 11 AM-2 PM), but linger a while and check out our new collection of historically themed mugs.

There have been other Riverton collectible mugs made available over the years, including the cream-colored ones depicting pen and ink scenes of several Riverton landmarks by artist R.C. (Richard) Moore. They remain treasured keepsakes in many homes today.

new mugsIncluding the most recent additions (shown in these digital previews) our choice of mugs has grown to more than 60 different styles now. You are sure to find a few for gifting others or for treating yourself.

Dishwasher safe and microwave safe 11 oz. mugs are $15 each with proceeds benefiting the HSR. – JMc

 

 

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Lest we forget

Honor Roll and Band Stand, Palmyra, NJ undated postcard

Honor Roll and Band Stand, Palmyra, NJ undated postcard

Veterans Honor Roll Monument, Riverton, NJ

Veterans Honor Roll Monument, Riverton, NJ

The meticulously cared for Memorials to veterans in Riverton and Palmyra show the high regard and great respect with which citizens of these sister towns hold their veterans.

The Riverton Memorial Day service will be held on Sunday, May 29, at 10:30 AM. The VFW & American Legion will be present.

Two names, Matthew Basara and James McDermott, will be added.

Should you find yourself in the area on Sunday, stop by and pay your respects.  – JMc

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