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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
If 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.
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
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 email@example.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
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.
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.
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
See related story in October 2012 Gaslight News.
The Historical Society of Riverton’s June meeting ended with a stop at Nellie Bly’s Ice Cream Parlour. By the time members had covered on foot the route of a seventeen-stop walking tour, they were ready to sit down and relax with one of the shop’s refreshing treats.
We planned that last meeting before our summer hiatus as a practice run for the recently revised Walking Tour of Historic Riverton. (See related story here.) President Gerald Weaber called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Riverton School Media Center and dealt with several Society matters before adjourning to the outdoors.
The group watched a short slide show to introduce the planned activity–with a draft copy of the Walking Tour in hand, we were to hike the course and scrutinize it for errors of any kind so that we can get copies printed and make them available.
The link for the PowerPoint slide show is here.
Gerald hosted a parallel tour on a bus provided by Riverview Estates for the convenience of Riverview residents and any Society members who did not care to walk. Among the thirteen passengers was a 102 year-old former employee of Campbell’s Soup, a fact volunteered when the bus stopped in front of 308 Main, the former home of Joseph Campbell who founded that company.Mrs. Pat Brunker directed the group on foot as we completed the circuit of seventeen locations that went along Main toward the river to Third, then went back toward Broad along Howard Street. As our small but ardent force of curious sight-seers trekked from pillar to post, we were sometimes met by a quizzical homeowner who came out to see why all these nosy people were gesturing toward their house.
It was definitely an asset to have several new faces at this Walking Tour rehearsal because much of the history of these homes and structures in Riverton is oral history– stories and anecdotes passed down by word of mouth, that may or may not remain accurate with each retelling, and are seldom found in books or documents.
You know the danger when one assumes? Homeowner Mr. Dennis DeVries explained that although the carriage mounting block at the curb was original to the house, the cast iron hitching post and fence posts were modern reproductions. Mrs. Jan DeVries pointed out that Joseph Campbell built other homes for his children close to this one.
Mr. and Mrs. DeVries then invited us for an impromptu tour of their garden, a gesture most appreciated by anyone who missed seeing it on the recent Porch Club Garden Tour. (See related post here.)
This illustrates why the best authorities about these homes are the residents themselves as I found out when I spoke to Mr. Keith Betten previously while I tried to reconcile some contradictions between dates on house signs and dates on the old Walking Tour brochure.
Mr. Betten, the current owner of 404 Main Street, explained how he researched his deed and that he had found the signature of Edward Pancoast, the home’s first owner, scrawled on a wall inside an upstairs closet. I knew that Pancoast had designed and built 404 and 402 Main, but Keith showed me why his home and 402 Main, next door, are “sister” houses–the exteriors and roof lines may seem different, but the floor plans are identical. I had not seen that before.
As Mr. Betten invited me to see the splendid English garden at the rear of the home he explained that the driveway just outside the gate afforded Charles Flanagan, a later owner of the home, access to the Riverton Lyceum which once stood at Fourth and Main where he served as secretary and treasurer.Surely there are many more stories about Riverton’s people and institutions that are not well-known or recorded. When our tour patrol got to 301 Main someone in the group said that they thought a photo exists of that Duster being hoisted out of the third floor window. Now, that’s one I’d like to see!
Another one I heard the night of the meeting that I must try to verify was about a Riverton homeowner who cut into an interior wall in his house because he was perplexed that the wall dimensions did not make sense with the room, only to find a hidden liquor still within the space. Whaaaat???
Such stories only grow more faint with the passage of time. If you would care to share any facts or stories which may help us in compiling information for other walking tours, please contact us with your ideas.
It turns out that the group did catch a few errors. After a few minor fixes to the text and renumbering several map locations we were ready to go to press.
You can see the finished result at the New Leaf where copies of this first Walking Tour of Historic Riverton are available for $1.00. Other tours in the series will include Riverton Yacht Club and homes along the river, homes along Carriage House Lane, as well as locations south of the railroad tracks. We hope to design a separate children’s version and possibly offer a means for smartphone owners to access additional information from our website. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor
Songs of the Civil War: History and Myth was a free concert, part of an ongoing series of HSR history programs to commemorate the Sesquicentennial.of the American Civil War.
Part-historical interpreters, part-storytellers, part-music instructors, and part-accomplished musicians and talented songwriters as well, they fiddled and strummed, plucked and sang for the enjoyment of the public and the residents of the Baptist Home.Plus, whatever you call it when you clack those bones together. Lisa tells more about her fly swatting technique of getting sound from the percussion instrument with an ancient past.
Besides singing and playing songs authored during the Civil War, the pair performed new original songs from their album “No Longer Gray Or Blue” which sounded just as authentic as the ones from the 1860s.
Between our Publicist, Susan Dechnik, and myself, we captured the still shots that you find displayed on this post. Click here to view a 3 minute 167MB MP4 movie file with several video clips of their performance that evening. Give this big file a few moments to load.You can find out more about the harmonious collaboration that is Plum Run at plumrunmusic.com and on any one of several other places on the web like myspace.com that post some of their music.
For a concert on your computer, check out ourstage.com and click on play all to listen to 19 full versions of their songs plus two videos. The selections there represent a wider range from the pair’s musical repertoire than just the historical variety.
A good part of the real estate of the current Riverview Estates, or the Baptist Home, once belonged to Mr. Ezra Lippincott whose home and family have been the subject of many of Betty Hahle’s Yesterday columns in the Gaslight News over the years.
Use the search box on this website and you’ll find some of the more recent text and image references to Lippincotts and 303 Bank Avenue. Riverview Estates publishes a history of beginnings and website located here.
This program was funded by the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
As always, comment, challenge, complain, or contribute, if you please. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor