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.


Winterthur’s Downton Costume Exhibit a hit with HSR

downton tixHSR President Phyllis Rodgers sends this short review of our recent trip to Winterthur Museum.

On Friday, December 5, thirty-nine HSR members and guests enjoyed a Holiday excursion to Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, DE.

First treated to a guided tour of the Historic Dupont Mansion, all were enthralled with the spectacular furnishings and Holiday décor.

After a leisurely lunch and visit to the outstanding gift shops it was time for the much anticipated viewing of the Costumes of Downton Abbey.

The vast variety of the collection from the hit series did not disappoint as samples of clothing from the upstairs and downstairs characters made one feel as if they were visiting with the actors themselves.

All made for a perfect day with good weather, good company, and a memorable Downton experience.

Downton Abbey returns for its fifth season starting Sunday, January 4th.

If anyone who went can send more photos, I will gladly include them. JMc

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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.

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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 rivertonhistory@gmail.com, 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 lucytheelephant.org

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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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?

http://6abc.com/news/human-remains-found-as-workers-dig-for-pool-in-nj/369322/

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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