Category Archives: Blog

Our Homemade Riverton Holiday Greeting

cyberattackNorth Korean strike in Riverton? Not-so-funny story — My 1 yr., 9 mos. old Dell computer suffered a complete nervous breakdown at the end of November and I had to replace the hard drive – lost everything on it.

Olds Community, Broad St. Riverton, NJ - now Stan's Auto

Olds Community, Broad St. Riverton, NJ – now Stan’s Auto

Like they say at the auto dealer – it isn’t the years; it’s the mileage. This baby has a lot on the odometer. Mostly from doing newsletter layouts, managing this website, and other HSR related work.

I am only just now getting it back into fighting form. I had backed it up with an external Western Digital hard drive, but it was missing the last two weeks of work from mid-November to first week of December.

What it did save was a jumble when I transferred it to the new hard drive. Nothing is where I expected it to be. Some files arrived in multiples and some not at all. Also lost many other folders, emails, my address book, files and settings that the backup drive did not save, plus some programs I had downloaded. It has been a colossal chore trying to get things back so I can work on the newsletter and website.

It’s a good thing I am paid by the hour. Just kidding – from President on down, we all volunteer for this duty.

So with just four days left until Christmas I am a bit behind schedule on getting out this Homemade Holiday Greeting.


Mrs. McC and I went for a drive around Lippincott, Thomas, and Linden Avenues last night and snapped some pix of the light displays.

Now, I now we missed a lot, and probably left out your favorite, but it was c-c-c-cold and getting late. A particularly vigilant dog on Thomas convinced us to head home where I went to work on this Riverton Christmas Light Greeting Card from the Historical Society of Riverton.

You can leave a comment about an individual photo if you click on it to enlarge it and enter your comment in the “Leave a reply” box under the photo.

Nancy Hall remembers her Lippincott grandparents in Riverton having a Christmas tree with real lit candles. What is your recollection of a Riverton Christmas?

If you have a another photo to contribute or a memory of Christmas Past, please contact us below, or at, or post it on Facebook.

Gotta go – I still have shopping to do. – JMc


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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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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


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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.


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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


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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

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