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.


Collector shares his eBay postcard auction prizes

Anyone who collects RPPCs, short for “real photo post cards,” knows that while they may offer some of the most unusual and rare views, we often come up empty-handed at the end of bidding. So it is with special gratitude to our generous collector friend we offer these scans of Camden postcards with his annotations. Click on images for enlarged views.

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #10 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #10 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #10 1909: This 1909 unmailed real photo post card depicts the Pennsylvania Railroad Terminal at Federal and Market Streets in downtown Camden.  Built in 1907, it consists of an overhead covered train shed enclosing all railroad tracks, two Public Service Electric Railway (trolley) loops, and four ferry-boat docks to connect with Philadelphia on the other side of the Delaware River.  The prominent structure in the lower right foreground is the West Jersey Hotel which was demolished and replaced with the Hotel Ridgway.  This photograph was most likely taken from the building that housed The Victor Talking Machine Company which was the forerunner to the Radio Corporation of America or RCA.

 

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #5 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #5 1909

Do you have postcards, photos, ephemera, or collectibles for South Jersey you treasure and would like to share?

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #5 1909: This real photo post card, copyright 1909, postmarked Feb. 26, 1909 at Camden,N.J.  shows a portion of Camden looking north toward the Delaware River. Close examination reveals a neighborhood with row houses, small businesses and churches.  Sailing ships with three, four, and six masts rest at anchor on the Delaware River.

 

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #6 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #6 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #6 1909: A real photo post card view, copyright 1909, mailed and postmarked at Camden on Feb. 15, 1909, it illustrates part of East Camden, N.J. and looking northeast to Cramer Hill.  The church spire on the right is the First Presbyterian Church at 5th and Penn Streets.  This striking view was taken from atop the then-new Victor Chimney.  Cramer Hill was one of Camden’s several up and coming housing developments.  Builder Alfred Cramer was known for his construction of single-family dwellings, stores, as well as tidy brick row houses which were more affordable for Camden’s growing workforce.

 

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #11 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #11 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #11 1909: Another in the remarkable series of W.B. Cooper aerial views of Camden, this unmailed real photo post card view shows a part of downtown Camden, N.J. This image looks north/northwest toward Cooper’s Point Ferry with Campbell Soup and various factories in the foreground and the Delaware River in the background. This sweeping outlook includes several sailing ships, many businesses, factories, warehouses and wharves.  Many large and noted manufacturing companies began to call Camden their home at this time. These panoramic aerial photos give unobstructed views of the then-thriving City of Camden from several directions.

 

Camden Carnival RPPC 1909

Camden Carnival RPPC 1909

RPPC CAMDEN CARNIVAL RPPC 1909: A Camden Carnival on a residential street is the subject of this real photo post card taken Sept. 29, 1909.  The decorated 3-horse-drawn wagon in the foreground is the center of attention. Patriotic bunting and an abundance of American flags adorn the homes.  Many spectators bedecked in their finery view the parade and enjoy this celebratory occasion back in the first decade of the twentieth century! Possibly, the populace was participating in the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, a two-week long commemoration of the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River and the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s first successful commercial application of the paddlewheel steamer. (We welcome any other hypotheses.)

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #1 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #1 1909

Next follow three more Camden images, and while they are already in the Camden Images Gallery, these have descriptions and are displayed in higher resolution here.

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #1 1909: Looking north from center Camden, note the dome of the North Baptist Church on the far right; Tabernacle M.E. Church is the large structure near the center; in the Delaware River in the distance lies 292-acre Petty Island (commonly called Petty’s Island).

 

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #7 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #7 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #7 1909 : This real photo post card depicts the business center of Camden.  The sender of this post card has marked four specific buildings and numbered them as 1, 2, 3, & 4. The domed building on the left marked as #1 is the County Court House, erected in 1905-06, at a cost of $800,000.  Building #2 is the Third Regiment Armory.  Structure #3 is Camden High and Manual Training School.  Finally, #4 is City Hall on Haddon Avenue.  According to the sender of this card, “This is a view of part of Camden taken from the New Victor Chimney.”

 

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #8 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #8 1909

CAMDEN, NJ RPPC #8 1909: The U.S. Post Office at Third and Arch Streets  stands in the left foreground of this view of downtown Camden.  This image certainly captures the vitality and the steady growth that Camden experienced in the beginning of the last century.

PS: Links connect to other images in the collection, although not necessarily from the same era. For example the postcard showing the RCA Building also shows the Delaware River Bridge, now re-named the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which did not open until 1926.

Can you help us further to “connect the dots” by giving to the Society any scans for this or another category in our online image collection? If you have any South Jersey or Jersey Shore postcards, photos, ephemera, or collectibles you would like to give to the Society please contact us. Either way, we are glad to add your collection to our virtual archive so all may enjoy and learn from them. – JMc

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The last refuge of the unimaginative

65 degrees, green grass and emerging bulbs on a brilliant  day. Must be Jan. 10.

65 degrees, green grass and emerging bulbs on a brilliant day. Must be Jan. 10. Whaaaat??

Widely regarded as the most banal topic for conversation in the world, nevertheless, many people find themselves mentioning the weather every day.

Oscar Wilde declared that conversation about it was the last refuge of the unimaginative.

It is the default small talk topic. Even strangers discuss the weather. Looking back at past posts, I bring it up a lot.

On the phone to my friend across country or with my daughter on a business trip, I inquire, “How’s the weather?” And I picture it.

So, since I brought it up…again… The weather is a bit weird here in River City.

Picture this.

Brilliant sun and shirtsleeve temps in December and January have kept lawn mowers going here and coaxed spring bulbs from their dormancy.

high water at the RYC

high water at the RYC

The Delaware was just over the top of the river wall just after noon today (Jan.10). Those dark skies on the horizon brought more rain in the evening.

Winter lovers, take heart. The Polar Vortex is waiting in the wings. That should freeze the little heads off those daffodils. Since they only flower once a year they may not revive in the spring.

We’ll talk more then, my friend. – JMc

2016-01-10 Yacht Club

 

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This IS historic – A Christmas Eve warmer here than in LA

Christmas Eve 2015That is a sign on Rte.#130 in Cinnaminson, across the highway from Riverton Garden Center, recording a temperature higher here than in Los Angeles (according to ABC News).

I don’t know whether to mow my overgrown grass or open the pool.

Such a literally record-breaking event is bound to be memorable for its befuddlement of the area’s flora and fauna as well as its change in our Christmastide activities this year.

Lori McCurdy’s Bank Avenue photo from December 13, testifies to Mother nature’s recent confusion.

Old-Time-Christmas-Typography-thm-GraphicsFairy (Copy)One need only look back five years to find our area paralyzed by a late December snowstorm in 2010, or consider the Blizzard of ’96 that still stands as the all-time biggest snowstorm for Philadelphia.

If you really do miss the snow, here’s a post from 2010 with some Riverton snapshots.

So, enjoy this sure to be short-lived quirk of Nature.

Everybody, have a wonderful holiday and a healthy, happy, and safe New Year. – JMc

 

 

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Post Office may be ‘Snowed Under’ but it still delivers

Post Office 'Snowed Under'“Post Office Snowed Under With Parcels” read the headline in the old yellowed newspaper stored in our archive box in the Library basement.

I first saw this when working a few years ago on a piece about the Riverton Post Office – or offices – since there were a few over time.

No date – I looked on both sides for some hint.

But someone will know.

Al ‘Zipcode” Zidock, the BCT photog, captured Postal Clerks Frank Vacanti and William Wildman, Postmaster Joseph Yearly, and Postman Samuel Procopio on the job at the big brick former Riverton Post Office on Main.

Then, as now, the US Post Office continues to deliver.

Let me illustrate.

Jeff at Joie Budget Printing in Cinnaminson turned around our print job in just one day, so I printed, stuffed, and stamped envelopes Tuesday and rushed the newsletters to the post office before 5pm.

Coming right as the US Post Office prepares for its busiest delivery days of the year, I figured it would take a Christmas Miracle for newsletters to get to Society members before the New Year.

Despite handling record-breaking volume again this year, the USPS has already delivered at least one newsletter to a Riverton address. I spoke to Nancy Hall this morning (Weds.), and she had already received her mail-delivered copy.  Pretty remarkable.

And thank you very much, USPS. – JMc

P.S. For more history of Riverton’s Post Office, posted in 2012, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

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Mugs with vintage imagery evoke memories and make great hostess gifts

RYC-lady mug

No guest wants to show up to dinner empty-handed, especially around the Holidays.

Such so-called bread and butter gifts, or hostess gifts, are what a guest gives as a thank you to the host, whether for a dinner or as an overnight guest. 

But finding the perfect present can be tricky, even if you’ve known the host/hostess for years.

This is one unique gift that will have everyone asking, “Where did you get that?”

We have on hand over fifty 11-ounce dishwasher safe and microwave safe mugs; 31 different cups each display vintage photos and/or maps from our extensive image archive.

Come to the used book sale at Riverton Library this Sunday, Dec. 20, from 1-3 pm and pick yours.  – JMc

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