Category Archives: Blog

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

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

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.

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged | Leave a comment

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?

http://6abc.com/news/human-remains-found-as-workers-dig-for-pool-in-nj/369322/

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

‘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

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Plan of the New Town of Riverton

I have used parts of a certain undated Riverton map to illustrate a few web and newsletter articles (most recently, GN #158) and I have been asked about it. This is what I know.

The full title:plan of new town of riverton titleI do love a good font. So Riverton–no-nonsense.

And the embellishments such as the sidewheeler steamboat at the bottom and locomotive spewing smoke at the top make this depiction of Riverton’s development at its outset worthy of displaying on a collector’s wall.

Except that this one is an inaccurate and half-faked copy.

Marilyn Lippincott had a Xerox copy of the map and she let me scan it. Some parts were very light or missing altogether.  Using a photo editing program I spent hours trying to resuscitate it; I darkened it and extrapolated (basically, guessed) the missing lot numbers, lines, and other components, so I cannot represent this as a faithful copy.

Still, half a loaf…

Riverton new plan map (2400x2427)So by popular demand (for those two people who asked), here is the flawed map.

I publish it in the hope that someone out there on the web can help us fill in missing pieces. Like a date? Was this part of some sales literature to induce potential buyers’ interest? Can I get my mitts on a better copy so that we may make this murky bit of Riverton history more clear?

The Society sincerely appreciates donations of real items which help us reconstruct Riverton’s history. Giving a scan or photo is always an alternative for the collector who wishes to keep ownership while still sharing the information. Please keep us in mind before more local history slips away. – John McCormick

 

Posted in Blog | 1 Comment

Reserve your seat for for Winterthur’s Downton Costume Exhibit

Downton Costume Winterthur publicityDownton Abbey Season 5 will premiere Sunday, January 4, 2015, 9pm ET on MASTERPIECE Classic on PBS.

Until then, we fans will have to get our Downton fix by reserving a seat for the Friday, December 5,  Society sponsored bus trip to the magnificent grounds of Winterthur Museum in Delaware to attend The Costumes of Downton Abbey Exhibition.

Plus, being at Winterthur decorated for the Holidays will be a bonus. – JMc

PS: Yeah, to keep you guessing I had two different spellings of Winterthur here, as I did in the newsletter. Fixed here now, but I will have to look like a dummy again in the Gaslight. Good luck pronouncing it.

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bob Gleason returns Oct. 22 to play Poe at the Porch Club

Le_Corbeau-Manet,Ex Libris(c29)Gleason-Poe publicityNext month the Society will observe the 165th anniversary of passing of Edgar Allan Poe, the man who turned “Nevermore” into an enduring catchphrase, with a special performance at The Porch Club by actor/historian Bob Gleason.

Before Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, and way before Stephen King, this editor, poet, and critic created the very templates upon which the genre of detective fiction, as well as horror and science fiction are based.

Mr. Gleason last performed here at The Bank on Main in the guise of Abraham Lincoln. His trademark in-depth historical research and audience interactivity had us looking at Lincoln with fresh eyes.

By popular demand, Bob Gleason returns to portray Edgar Allan Poe, another of the many intriguing personalities from the more than twenty listed in his American Historical Theater repertoire.

The flyer at right publicizes the October 22 meeting for which there is a nominal $5 admission charge to defray costs of this professional performance set in the historic club house of Riverton’s Porch Club. – JMc

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sept. Gaslight is in the mail; a few seats remain for the Downton Tea

With the Dowager’s wit, Alisa DuPuy reveals the real history behind the popular British TV drama.

Labor Day is behind us, the first Gaslight News after the summer break is in the mail, and here is news of the first of three upcoming events you may want to get in on.

We open with a HSR sponsored Downton Abbey Inspired Tea at The New Leaf Tearoom Sunday, Sept. 28. The captivating Alisa DuPuy returns to regale Downton Abbey fans with a Dowager Countess’ perspective on life in the manor house.

Phyllis Rodgers, member of the British aristocracy for the afternoon

Phyllis Rodgers, member of the British aristocracy for the afternoon

Downton buff Phyllis Rodgers tests guests’ knowledge of the show with trivia games, prizes, and surprises as they enjoy array of sandwiches, savories, scones, and desserts served to you by the attentive staff.

Guests enjoyed this Downton themed tea in March.

Guests enjoyed this Downton themed tea in March.

Your choice of two brewed teas accompany menu items such as Matthew Crawley’s “Death by Chocolate “ Cake, imaginatively named after cast characters to add to the fun.

The elegance of The New Leaf’s 1910 Tea Room may just transport you back to another place and time, at least for an afternoon.

Here’s the publicity flyer and event particulars.

There are a few seats left for this delightful diversion for an afternoon. – JMc

Downton Tea Sep 2014 publicity

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Will the Floyd L. Moreland Dentzel/Looff Carousel come home to Burlington?

old carousel11

Island Beach Amusement Park Carousel, IMAGE CREDIT: PWS Collection

Following up on the Seaside Heights Carousel post from last week, my friend Paul Schopp forwards this undated image of that same attraction in an earlier incarnation when it started delighting riders in 1901, at Burlington Island, at the Island Beach Amusement Park.

Events today can turn on a dime, and the emotions aroused by the impending auction of the Seaside Heights Carousel have given rise to a new effort to bring the carousel back to its hometown, Burlington.

Guernsey’s Auctioneers posts a press release and many photos accompanied by a tune from the carousel’s Wurlitzer here. No telling how long that will be available.

Connor Newman. a Doane Academy senior, created “Bring Burlington Island Carousel Home” July 14, at gofundme.com.

It doesn’t cost anything to hear about his crusade to save the historic amusement from being relocated elsewhere or sold off piecemeal. Large Letter Greetings from Burlington, NJ [800x506]And his passion for the cause might just inspire you to even sign up to give a buck toward the $2.7 million goal or make a comment on Facebook.

Cheryl Baldorossi-Painter provides this description for the FB group she started to  compliment Newman’s crowdfunding appeal.

Casino Pier, of Seaside Heights, is selling their historic carousel, most likely in pieces. This isn’t just any carousel though, this one of the only four original, hand-carved, working carousel’s left in the world. It started its life on Burlington Island, at the Island Beach Amusement Park, in 1901. It then survived the park’s two fires and its eventual close. It was then sent to Casino Pier and has remained there, one of the only rides to survive both Hurricane Sandy, and the 2012 Seaside Heights fire. What we want to do is bring this carousel back to its hometown, Burlington. This is a historic piece full of life, spirit, and memories, of many people of both Seaside Heights and Burlington. It would be a shame to let it dissapear from the world. That’s why we need your help. We need to raise a lot of funds to save the carousel from destruction. Connor Newmann has started a go fund me campaign to save the carousel up now for auction by Seaside Heights. Support him and his efforts to bring the carousel back to where it originated, historic Burlington City, NJ. Please add friends to this group so we can bring the carousel back home.

Watch as the social network members post news of the latest developments, “exploring every avenue to keep it from being dismantled”, including forming a non-profit and praying for a “Hail, Mary” assist from Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen.

For those interested in pursuing further the origin story of the historic carousel whose survival has now captured the attention of so many people, read about the Floyd L. Moreland Dentzel/Looff Carousel at discoverseasideheights.com. Since there is every likelihood that the webpage will be taken down, we reluctantly quote a portion of it here:

The Historic Seaside Heights’ Carouselthe carousel at the Casino Pier in Seaside Heights

The Casino Pier carousel has, like many storied carousels, an interesting history. The machine was originally part of a trolley park called Island Beach Park. Oddly enough this was not the Island Beach found just miles from Seaside Heights but was located in Burlington, NJ. In 1928 the park burned and the fire damaged the carousel. An area resident, Linus Gilbert, rescued and rebuilt the machine. He bought and added carved figures that were not part of the original. This resulted in a carousel with a mixture of animals from a few different revered carvers, some of whom had worked from different carousel manufacturers. The work of William Dentzel, Marcus Illions, Charles Carmel, and Charles Looff are all represented in this one carousel. The carousel was brought from Burlington to Seaside Heights in 1932. It was placed in an open frame building and was still under the care and management of Linus Gilbert. This first building was the beginnings of what would later become the Casino Arcade and Casino Pier. When the carousel building was first built there was a fishing pier located a short distance away. The pier then had nothing to do with what was soon to become a growing amusement area. Eventually the “Seaside Heights Casino” was built to house the carousel and to add more attractions around it. This same building is still in place today. The most recent large scale change to the structure took place in the 1980’s. The building was made smaller to keep it from blocking Ocean Boulevard, which is the main street paralleling the western side of the boardwalk. The Casino Pier carousel was almost lost to another disaster – selling off the animals to collectors. The owners of the carousel seriously considered dismantling their machine in the 1980s. Some animals fetched more than $100,000 at auction during that decade. The selling off of the animals met strong opposition from an unlikely corner, Dr. Floyd Moreland. At the time he was Professor of Classics and Dean at the City University of New York. He had ridden the carousel as a child and later operated the ride as an employee of the Casino Pier. Dr. Moreland convinced the owners they should let him restore the carousel. This project took a number of years and involved numerous people chipping in their time or money to help Dr. Moreland. Their collective efforts helped bring back the vibrancy and beauty of the carousel.

Riverton Yacht Club & Columbia 1905

Riverton Yacht Club & Columbia 1905

For more history of Island Park on Burlington Island and truly rare old images see the scans and information our expert Town Historian has posted here (scroll about halfway down the page).

You have seen before on this website here  several image variations of the steamer Columbia.

Mr. Schopp reveals more details about the amenities of the boat that “…became the queen of the excursion trade, operating innumerable trips to the various picnic groves along the river shore, moonlight dance cruises and, beginning at the turn of the twentieth century, to the many amusement parks that dotted the Delaware River shore.”

Waiting for my Columbia ticket

Waiting for my Columbia ticket

Actually makes me wish I could go back in time.   – John McCormick

P.S. To further illuminate the topic for extreme carousel devotees Paul explains that the terms merry-go-round and carousel are not synonymous – “A carousel features a menagerie of different hand-carved animals while a merry-go-round only carries horses.

Pride of London Carousel, IMAGE CREDIT Flickr

Pride of London Carousel, IMAGE CREDIT Flickr

Another tidbit of information concerning these wonderful amusement rides: American carousels and merry-go-rounds travel in a cyclonic or counterclockwise direction while those in Great Britain go around clockwise.”

Remember you read it here. You know you’ll use this bit of minutiae in a conversation soon. Thank you, Paul.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t try this these stunts today, kids.

New Era, July 20, 1920, pg. 2

The New Era, July 20, 1920, pg. 2

As Labor day approached in late August 1920, Riverton’s hometown weekly gazette, The New Era, reported, “It is astonishing the great number of children from 12 to 14 years of age who have swam across the river and back. At least 30 have made the one-way journey, and over a dozen both ways.”

Just as it was once a Riverton rite of passage to walk across the frozen Delaware and touch the Pennsy shore (see GN 2013), so too, was it the custom for youngsters to swim across and back in summer months.

Mrs. Elsie S. Waters, Oct. 2013

Mrs. Elsie S. Waters, Oct. 2013

You can take Elsie Waters’ word for it.

She recalled learning to swim at five years of age and making the crossing at twelve in 1930, in this 2013 interview.

With safety in mind, Riverton Yacht Club’s Secretary and Treasurer and famous distance swimmer, Charles Durborow (see Mar 7, 2014 post), accompanied the juvenile tadpoles as they paddled into adulthood.

The New Era article noted that swimming had “…risen rapidly in popular favor in Riverton of late and the Yacht Club has been kept busy handing out bronze and silver medals to its members.”

Riverton Yacht Club - View opposite Lawn House, from Nick Mortgu's collection

Riverton Yacht Club – View opposite Lawn House, from Nick Mortgu’s collection

A week later, The New Era described how Riverton’s Miss Harriet Holder swam from Riverton Yacht Club to Race Street, Philadelphia in three hours and twelve minutes.

And I get winded backstroking across to the other side of my swimming pool!

Do you have more to add to this chapter of Riverton history? If anyone has a photo of one of those swimming awards or additional information, we would like to publish it.  – John McCormick

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment