Everything Came Up Roses at May 29 Concert

Moorestown Community Band, L. Bruce Smith, conductor

Moorestown Community Band, L. Bruce Smith, conductor

The popcorn was popping and feet were tapping; the river was calm, and the music was lively as the Moorestown Community Band entertained members of the Historical Society of Riverton, residents of Riverview Estates, and other guests in Riverview Estates’ beautiful Rose Garden last Thursday.

MrstnBand_08Originally planned for Wednesday, but rescheduled because of rain, L. Bruce conducted the sixty member band as they played a variety of musical selections.

“Piper’s Rhapsody”, “Viva Italia”, an Italian song medley, “Abba on Broadway”, “Russian Sailors’ Dance”, “The Westerners”, a Western Theme medley, and that patriotic favorite, “You’re A Grand Old Flag” each lightened the mood of an appreciative audience on this overcast spring evening.

Donna Maratea, Director of Activities and part-time popcorn vendor

Donna Maratea, Director of Activities and part-time popcorn vendor

The HSR and Riverview Estates jointly sponsored this free concert.

Thank you to Riverview Estates’ Director of Activities Donna Maratea for another successful partnering with the HSR to bring a free program to Riverview residents, Society members, and the public.

Story and photos by Susan Dechnik

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An afternoon tea fit for Lords and Ladies of Highclere Castle

Downton 3-2-14_01Some South Jersey Downton Abbey devotees held on to their Season Four Finale buzz a while longer as they enjoyed afternoon tea themed to the famous British television drama series at The New Leaf in Riverton, NJ.

Phyllis Rodgers, obviously meant to live at Downton Abbey

Phyllis Rodgers, obviously meant to live at Downton Abbey

Proprietor Mrs. Phyllis Rodgers and Historical Society of Riverton President planned the event as a fundraiser for the Society, and it drew a capacity crowd Sunday afternoon despite the expected arrival of another winter storm later that evening.

The Honorable William C. Brown took our coats. Where else but Riverton?

The Honorable William C. Brown took our coats. Where else but Riverton?

 

The New Leaf’s smartly attired butler hung up guests’ coats as Lady Phyllis invited arrivals to enjoy a champagne punch. (Riverton Mayor and HSR Board Member, Mr. William C. Brown, served as stand-in for Carson.)

Downton Abbey 101

Downton Abbey 101

 

Lady Phyllis warmed up the crowd, literally and figuratively, with trivia questions about the PBS hit series as Mrs.Hughes (played by Vicki) helped the maids serve Cook JoAnn’s piping-hot black currant tea and freshly baked lavender and golden raisin scones served with rose preserves and Devonshire cream.

Downton 3-2-14_11Ever-attentive wait staff delivered to each table towers of delectable sandwiches and savories, each menu item cleverly named after show characters.

 

Downton 3-2-14_14

 

The main course, however, was the grand entrance of actress/historian Alisa DuPuy as she channeled everyone’s favorite dowager countess.

Downton 3-2-14_16In her monologue, part English history lesson, part etiquette class, part stand-up routine, Lady Violet schooled all in attendance in the fine points of the British rules of male primogeniture and the lifestyles of the various social classes.

Downton 3-2-14_19Lady Violet presided over a bingo game and another about lines delivered by characters during the course of the series’ four season run.

Altogether it proved a pleasant fix for our Downton Sunday habit since we will probably have to wait until January 2015 for the US première of Season Five.

Photos by Susan Dechnik and John McCormick

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Did we ever luck out with this last snowstorm!

A droll Mr. Lincoln enlightened and amused a HSR meet on the eve of a severe snowstorm

Lincoln_004a (1600x343)

We held our collective breath for days as we tuned in to weather reports about the approaching snowstorm. Had it tracked a bit differently the HSR Board would have had a lot of birthday cupcakes to eat by itself.

This week marks the 205th birthday of the 16th president of the United States. The folks attending the February 12, 2014 meeting of the Historical Society of Riverton had no trouble imagining that they were in The Great Emancipator’s presence – at least for an hour or so – as actor/historian Bob Gleason gave his mesmerizing first-person account of Lincoln’s life.

The Bank on Main provided a handsome setting to hear how Mr. Lincoln’s rose to our Nation’s highest office from humble beginnings. Our speaker’s liberal use of Lincoln’s wit and humor lightened the narrative of what was a difficult life filled with struggle. He  is so totally immersed in Lincoln fact and lore he effortlessly charmed the assembly as he finished with answering a number of questions from the audience.

With so many members expressing a positive review of the performance, HSR President Phyllis Rogers immediately set about making plans to have Mr. Gleason return as Edgar Allan Poe. Here’s more information about the many personas of Bob Gleason.

We welcome member comments or questions, and will gladly add to this photo gallery any more pictures taken that evening.

 

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Reserve your place now for a Dickens Tea and Dessert, Nov. 21, 2013

Fan Scrooge web publicity

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Scandalous rumors and gingersnaps served at HSR fall meeting

HSR Vice President Mrs. Pat Brunker welcomes members to the October meeting.

HSR Vice President Mrs. Pat Brunker welcomes members to the October meeting.

HSR members converged on Riverton School’s library to reconnect with colleagues after the summer hiatus and hear Society Vice President Mrs. Pat Brunker outline some of the organization’s projects for the coming term.

One agenda item of particular interest to homeowners may be the revival of awarding historical plaques. Many Riverton homes and buildings have displayed these badges explaining the structure’s historic pedigree for some time, but the HSR has not granted any new plaques for several years.

Pat Brunker (l.) and HSR President Phyllis Rogers (r.) display a new plaque.

Pat Brunker (l.) and HSR President Phyllis Rogers (r.) display a new plaque.

Now available—the Historical Society of Riverton will award historic plaques for qualifying structures, minimum 100 years old, of particular architectural significance or of local historical significance. Call 856-786-8422 for an application which the HSR will review. Plaque donation: $150.

Further details on the simplified application process, program particulars, and an online application will be forthcoming in an upcoming post.

Then, Vice President Cheryl Smekal (yes, we have two VPs) told of an upcoming Dickens Tea by returning presenter Alisa DuPuy at the New Leaf on Thursday, November 21 at 7:00 p.m.  Your $15 includes tea and dessert, an evening’s diversion and entertainment, and supports the preservation efforts of the HSR.  Call 856-786-0323 for reservations.

Cheryl Smekal, 2011 Museum for a Day Curator

Cheryl Smekal, 2011 Museum for a Day Curator

Cheryl further explained that on December 7, in conjunction with Riverton Free Library’s Holiday House Tour, Phyllis Rogers and the New Leaf Tea Room will again host an HSR Museum for a Day, last done in 2011, in which the public may inspect rarely displayed artifacts, ephemera, vintage clothing, and photos from the Historical Society of Riverton’s archives. She invited anyone with something to loan for display to contact her at 856-829-9375.

Indentured servant Dorothy Stanaitis shocked this audience with scandalous tales of colonial society she overheard while serving tea.

Indentured servant Dorothy Stanaitis shocked this audience with scandalous tales of colonial society she overheard while serving tea.

Cheryl introduced our evening’s presenter, essayist and certified Philadelphia tour guide, Dorothy Stanaitis.

Speaking from the perspective of a colonial-era indentured servant who has eavesdropped  while serving tea to her well-to-do Philadelphia employers, Ms. Stanaitis divulged scandalous tidbits about American and British figures of her day.

She surprised even the most ardent of history buffs among us with some of the revelations included in her well-researched soliloquy that the history books left out.

Propriety, however, prevents me from repeating such gossip here. You may have to book this chatty domestic for your next club gathering and hear her Scandals, Rumors, and Dirty Rotten Lies for yourselves.

fall refreshmentsAfterwards, light refreshment accompanied many spirited conversations as members resumed that familiar society pastime as though the summer had not interceded at all.

Palmyra Police Officers

Palmyra Police Officers

Meanwhile, Dr. Cliff Johnson obliged by identifying some Palmyra police officers in a scan of a photo that I have had since 2004 when Betsy Ransome kindly let me scan about two dozen old postcards in her choice collection.

Elsie Waters treated us to homemade gingersnaps.

Elsie Waters treated us to homemade gingersnaps.

She used to hang them in her store, Grayson’s Flowers, on Broad Street in Palmyra. Betsy was one of the generous contributors who got the virtual image archive displayed on these pages off to its start.

Eventually, most discussion threads intersected on the wonderful contents of the refreshment table and, in particular, the remarkable homemade gingersnaps that Elsie Waters brought.

The recipe, you ask. I’ll check with Elsie and get back to you.

Please join the conversation about Riverton history here or on our Facebook page. - John McCormick

 

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Waaay overdue blog post on joint HSR/Riverview Estates sponsored Antique Fair

Mr McC HSR editorDid you ever just keep putting something off?

This post is a follow-up to our very successful Riverton Antique and Collectible Fair co-sponsored by the Historical Society of Riverton and Riverview Estates back on March 2.

I just could not seem to get the piece done until today.

Expert Personal Property Appraiser, Ronald Shaffer, ISA assesses Nancy and Bill Hall's music box.

Expert Personal Property Appraiser, Ronald Shaffer, ISA assesses Nancy and Bill Hall’s music box.

As advertised, expert personal property appraiser, Ronald Shaffer, ISA really was witty and informed – extremely well-informed. He not only evaluated heirlooms and offered a Verbal Opinion of Value, he often knew some relevant anecdote about a similar item or offered hints on how to care for the item. A few times he referred the owner to another person with expertise in a specific area, such a furniture repair expert.

Mr. Schaffer informed and entertained as he carefully considered the value of each possession and coaxed from the person what details of provenance they could give.  Often the article had come from an ancestor, and the present owner probably would not part with it for any price. Still, good to know.

By all accounts the affair was such a success that we expect to repeat it in the future.

Here is a 3 min., 40 sec. highlight reel of the 2013 antique fair. We have not progressed to the point of streaming video yet, so the best we can offer is for you to download and open the 48.7MB Windows Media file on your computer.

More photos…

Many thanks to all who came and helped support the work of the Society.

What prized possession would you bring to the next Riverton Antique and Collectible Fair? – John McCormick

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May meeting at Riverview Estates features the Pine Barons

I have a backlog of posts to get out before the Fourth of July, so here are some pix from the May 16 meeting at Riverview Estates that included entertainment by the Pine Barons Chorus. -JMc

A short video of the Pine Barons ringing a chord

 

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Find out what it’s worth at the Riverton Antique & Collectible Fair Saturday, March 2

antique fair 2013 graphicIf you have ever wondered about the value of an old painting, sampler, hooked rug, vase, set of dishes, sterling flatware/hollowware, oil lamp, mantle clock, cut glass pitcher, early tops, tree ornaments, quilt, needlework,  valentines, family bible—the list goes endlessly on—come to the Riverton Antique and Collectible Fair co-sponsored by the Historical Society of Riverton and Riverview Estates.

Veteran Personal Property Appraiser, Ronald Shaffer, ISA will be present to evaluate heirlooms and offer a Verbal Opinion of Value. Be prepared for his witty and informed banter as he speaks about each piece.

Please note — so you will not be disappointed — Mr. Shaffer claims no general knowledge of firearms, swords, jewelry or modern day collectibles.

Furniture items are always welcomed — if they easily transportable by the owner.  Photographs of items, too large to carry, are acceptable as long as they are clear, true views with sufficient detail.

Information shared by Mr. Shaffer is not intended as a certified appraisal but merely his opinion of the  history and value of an antique or collectible. We invite those needing a certified appraisal to arrange an appointment with Mr. Shaffer following the Antique and Collectible Fair.

At our last Fair participants were delighted to learn about Americana and decorative works of art including a collectible American silver water pitcher, silver table articles, flatware and tea service, earthenware, salt-glazed stoneware & porcelains, an enameled cameo glass vase, a signed 19th century color lithograph,  vintage model trains, an appliquéd quilt, carved and painted wood toys, military collectibles, a poplar slat-back armchair, burl wood bowl, and more.

Call Gerald Weaber at 856-786-6961 to reserve your seat for this popular event. Please leave your phone number and the number of items on which you wish to receive an opinion.

Our host, Riverview Estates, will have refreshments for sale.

Free parking is available on Lippincott Avenue adjacent to the entrance of Riverview Estates on 303 Bank Avenue. Click here for directions.

Well-known Philadelphia antiques expert, Mr. Ronald E. Shaffer, ISA, a graduate of the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, is President of Exemplars, Inc. of Philadelphia. Schaffer has been appraising antiques for many years and is a member of the International Society of Appraisers, an ethical appraisal organization which requires demonstrated expertise and ongoing training.

Mr. Shaffer has extensive experience in personal property appraising with particular specialties in American, English and continental furniture, glassware, china, paintings, silver, needlework, as well as hooked rugs, quilts, samplers and such textiles.

The author of numerous articles about antiques, he is a frequent speaker on the subject of Fakes, Frauds & Flimflams. He is in demand by historical societies and civic groups for numerous Heirloom Discovery events such as this. He is a docent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a position requiring on-going intensive study.

You are certain to be informed and entertained by Mr. Shaffer as he speaks about his profession and offers his opinions of value for items brought to the event.  See you on Saturday. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

 

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Take tea with Queen Victoria (a.k.a. Alisa DuPuy) Jan. 31 at The New Leaf

Queen Victoria publicity poster January 31, 2013

Queen Victoria publicity poster January 31, 2013

Alisa DuPuy, the creative first-person historical interpreter with the remarkably authentic gorgeous gowns returns to the HSR in the guise of Queen Victoria Thursday, January 31, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. $10 admission.

The longest reigning British monarch whose name defined an era will visit the New Leaf Tearoom at 606 Main Street to enjoy tea and dessert with us as she dishes about the inside stories of her family, her life at court, and her romance with Albert with whom she had nine children.

After an assassination attempt this “Grandmother of Europe” once quipped, “It is worth being shot at to see how much one is loved.”

Regular attendees of such performances are well-familiar with the historical interpreter’s convention of staying in character and referring to the past in the present tense while employing inventive dramatic techniques and often encouraging audience interaction.

The New Leaf’s genteel decor is a fitting  setting for this special visitation of Her Highness that includes tea and light refreshments served on the Tearoom’s beautiful china .

$10 per person. Seating is limited for this reserved seating event with Queen Victoria . Please call  Gerald Weaber at 856-786-6961, or contact him at  rivertonhistory@usa.com .

Find out more about Ms. DuPuy’s repertoire of real and fictional characters and see some amazing gowns and dresses from time periods spanning the 18th through 20th centuries at historicalteas.com. - John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

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Jane Peters Estes brought Christmas cheer to the November HSR meeting

Presenter Jane Peters Estes bought her vivacious speaking style and another      spectacular period-design outfit to ease those attending the November Historical Society meeting into the holiday spirit. ARTICLE PHOTOS BY: SUSAN DECHNIK

Presenter Jane Peters Estes bought her vivacious speaking style and another spectacular period-design outfit to ease those attending the November Historical Society meeting into the holiday spirit.
ARTICLE PHOTOS BY: SUSAN DECHNIK

We received our first Christmas greeting of sorts when Jane Peters Estes delivered in person her delightful and informative presentation, “A Christmas Past” to our November Historical Society meeting at Riverton School.

Ms. Estes illustrates her talks with plenty of visual aids, not the least of which is her authentic outfit.

Ms. Estes illustrates her talks with plenty of visual aids, not the least of which is her authentic outfit.

Like a time-traveler from the 19th century attired in authentic holiday apparel of the American Civil War era she explained the origins of dozens of Yuletide customs and traditions and cited various sources to support her findings.

The highly regarded and sought after lecturer has published articles in Civil War Lady Magazine, Citizen’s Companion Magazine, Philadelphia Bride Magazine and People Magazine. Her well-researched stories about the inception of mistletoe, wreaths, Christmas trees, and Santa Claus, of course, proved a welcome diversion for an audience suddenly faced with thinking about the preparations for the holidays that lay ahead.

She frequently illustrated her historical narrative with antiques and collectibles such as vintage greeting cards and postcards, children’s toys, and typical Civil War era Christmas gifts. An audience of historical society types must be a tough crowd to teach new tricks, but Ms. Estes succeeded with such examples as the “church baby”—a handkerchief doll used by little girls during the Civil War which, if dropped during the service, made no noise.

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“church baby” handkerchief doll

“church baby” handkerchief doll

Perhaps Ms. Estes’ less well-known holiday references such as the infamous 1826 Eggnog Riot at West Point appeared to elicit the greatest fascination from the audience. All eyes were certainly on her when she agreed to show the room what held up her  hoop skirt.

And, on that note, we end this recap of that most entertaining presentation.

Note to readers: If you see on any Community Calendar an invitation to hear this exceptional speaker, please consider this summary an endorsement to attend. Jane’s other topics include: Civil War Nurses, Fashions of the 1860s, Victorian Mourning Customs, History and Lore of Weddings, Women’s Lifestyles of the 1860′s, Vivandieres, Pets of the Past, and Women at the Battle of Gettysburg.    - John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

 

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