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.

News from the front

HRC riders in NYC this morning

HRC riders in NYC this morning

This just in… heard from Helen Mack on the road to Nancy Hall’s phone to Susan Dechnik’s, to mine, then directly to you…

It looks like the riders will be delayed in their arrival to Riverton by an hour or more. I am going over to Riverton now to help cheer them upon their arrival around 6:30-7:00 p.m.

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Make some noise Saturday and welcome the riders

rivertons bike track signHere are the event details Rob Gusky posted on about the Historic Riverton Century bike ride, scheduled for this Saturday, and the historic marker dedication, slated for the next day.

Come out and give the riders a big Riverton welcome.

Come out and give the riders a big Riverton welcome.

Although no gold medals await the finishers of this recreational ride as did the winners of the of the 1895 New York Times Relay Race, we can give the riders a big Riverton welcome when they get to town around 5:30 p.m. after their 100+ mile ride.

A police escort will meet them and lead the them on a circuit through Borough streets on their way to the finish line behind the Riverline Station. Check out the map and come out and make some noise to welcome the athletes to Riverton after their arduous journey. - John McCormick


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Be here this weekend for two cycling events and a historic marker dedication

The Start, June 8, 1895

The Start, June 8, 1895

Rob Gusky has given frequent updates on his Facebook page about the Historic Riverton Century ride he organized. Like the original 1895 cycling event, this one originates from New York City and ends here in Riverton.

But the landscape has changed considerably between the Big Apple and our little borough in the intervening 119 years since six-man teams representing the states of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey competed in the New York Times Tri-State Relay Race.

Rob writes from his home in Wisconsin:

We are leaving for Riverton tomorrow morning (Thurs.) and plan to arrive in Riverton Friday afternoon, then head up to NYC by train with our bikes.  If all goes well, we will be back in Riverton after the 100 mile journey at around 5:30 pm, the Riverton Police Dept. is providing us an escort once we return to town and we will ride about 3.5 miles through town ending up at the Riverline Station.

In 1895, the New York Times reported…”there were gathered crowds of interested people at every town and hamlet through which the cyclists flew.” Teams were easily recognized by their colored sashes; New York racers wore blue, Pennsylvania men wore white, and the New Jersey team wore red.

At the Finish in 1895

At the Finish in 1895

The grandstands of the Riverton Athletic Association’s bicycle track were filled to capacity with fans, many of whom had arrived by special train. Winners received gold medals and rock star-like popularity during that Golden Age of Bicycling.

Be on hand to cheer on Rob and the two dozen or so other cyclists when they arrive at Riverton some time after 5 pm on Saturday.

RAA Bicycle Track historic marker

RAA Bicycle Track historic marker

On Sunday morning at 10:00am there will be a dedication celebration of the historical marker at the former site of the Riverton Bicycle Track near the Riverline station. Incredibly, Rob raised all the money for the sign through crowdsourcing and obtaining a grant from the NJ Historic Trust.

I have to be there to thank the man who organizes such a complex event from halfway across the country and then leaves us with the bonus of a free historic marker. Won’t you please be there, too? 

This event will take place at 10 am on Sunday June 8, 2014.  Later on Sunday at 1 pm, Carlos Rogers’ 4th Annual Historic Riverton Criterium returns to the streets of Riverton.

- John McCormick


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Annual Meeting and Concert May 28

HSR 2014 Annual Meeting publicity



The Historical Society of Riverton and Riverview Estates will be your hosts on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, for an entertaining concert by the Moorestown Community Band.

Founded in 1991 for people who were out of school and wanted to continue to play their instruments, the Moorestown Community Band started with twelve members.  Since that time the band has grown to fifty-five members of all ages.

The troupe, directed by L. Bruce Smith, will entertain with a variety of musical styles including pop, Broadway, march, patriotic, classical, and music from abroad that appeals to everyone.

First, at 6:30 we need to conduct a meeting to do a little business that should conclude around 7.

Afterward, the spring blooms in Riverview Estates’ lovely Meditation Garden and the sun setting on the Delaware River will be the scenic backdrop for an enjoyable musical performance.

Please join the Historical Society of Riverton and residents of Riverview Estates for this free concert. Light refreshments will be available.

- John McCormick





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If it’s baseball, it must be Spring…or is it the other way around?

Pal-Riv BB CollageIt seems for as long as anyone remembers, and farther back than that, Riverton has loved its baseball.

Pages here and in the Gaslight News have detailed Riverton’s rich baseball tradition which dates to the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and possibly earlier. Recent improvements in the playing field and grandstand at Riverton Memorial Park open a new chapter in Riverton history as the Riverton Athletic Association tries out its refurbished digs on Opening Day, April 12, 2014.

Grandstand Sept. 2011 - April 2014

Grandstand Sept. 2011 – April 2014

Even so, we must acknowledge the achievements of past generations and realize that the loss of such a familiar touchstone of one’s youth might yet cause a nostalgic twinge, no matter how improved the venue.

Enjoy our virtual scrapbook of opening day photos and commentary by my former Riverton School teaching partner, Mrs. Susan Dechnik.

scrapbook coverClick on the cover at left for the PowerPoint slides or here for the faster downloading PDF file.

Contribute your remembrances of the old grandstand, regale the younger generation with a bit of Riverton baseball lore, or tell us JMc8your impressions of the new grandstand and opening day.

- John McCormick

From across the miles, Gary R. Weart writes:

Great to see that the grandstand has beeen renovated. I remember riding bikes there in the 50′s and 60′s because it was a nicer facility than we had in Palmyra. We used to play pick-up games on that field. The wall of the grandstand was also great for “pepper,” as we didn’t have to chase the ball. Sometimes we stood at home plate and played a game “backwards” by trying to hit the ball up into the seats by lifting it just over the fence allowing it to fall in the seats for a “homerun.” We could also record an out on defense by catching the ball off the fence. A ball hit over the grandstand was recorded as an out. It was sort of a game involving bat control. We could play a game of 9 innings with just two people. Needless to say, I have many great memories of spending many hours at that old grandstand.

I also heard from a source that prefers to remain anonymous that it was a great place to make out.

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