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.

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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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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