Don’t you just love British programs?

queen victoria_01Lady Sybil’s death on Downton Abbey Sunday night really had us depressed. We needed some cheering up.

A few of us Anglophiles tuned in on Thursday, January 31 to a program that was being shown for one night only. And we didn’t need cable to do it.

Fifty-one intrepid history lovers from the area braved the cold damp January evening to rub elbows with royalty as Alisa DuPuy, the cultivated first-person historical interpreter, brought her program about Queen Victoria to Riverton’s New Leaf Tea Room.

Her Highness shows a portrait of her beloved Prince Albert
Her Highness shows a portrait of her beloved Prince Albert

There could not have been a better venue for this intimate audience with Her Highness than in the century old Victorian building that is the home of Mrs. Phyllis Rogers’ elegant  yet cozy New Leaf Tea Room.

Guests at the Royal Reception helped themselves to an assortment of confections and cheese to accompany their freshly brewed tea.
Guests at the Royal Reception helped themselves to an assortment of confections and cheese to accompany their freshly brewed tea.

She spoke at length about her childhood, her life at court, her romance with Albert, and each of their nine children. I describe it so, because this was no talk given in the third person but an hour-long dramatically acted one woman play.

The performer so seamlessly incorporated solid historical research into her conversation that one could easily mistake the scene for a late 19th century lyceum lecture by a visiting head of state.

This one dressed to the nines and wore the family jewels. She brought family photos of Albert and the kids and her favorite dog. She utterly captivated everyone as she related so many dramatic stories in the life of England’s longest reigning monarch.

queen victoria_07

Find out more about Alisa DuPuy and the rest of the cast of characters that she portrays.

Check out The New Leaf Tea Room, a top ranked tea room by

A Word from Gerald Weaber, President of the Society:

Our appreciation to Phyllis Rodgers and her New Leaf Tea Room and Gift Shoppe for hosting the Historical Society’s Tea with Queen Victoria program. The Society welcomed both members and visitors for tea from Claymont, Delanco, Moorestown, Hainesport, and Laurel Springs New Jersey including Sharon Paden, Rosemary Flatley, Patricia Iannucci, Christine Maiorano, and Rosemarie Milza and friends.

gerald at the acme sepia smKudos to Alisa DuPuy for her flawless portrayal of Queen Victoria to the delight of the fifty-one guests at the New Leaf Tea Room. Join the Society as a member and enjoy programs like this and a subscription to the Gaslight News our fascinatingly written and illustrated newsletter by Editor John McCormick.

Annual membership is $15 per person or $20 for a household. Send your check to Nancy Hall, Historical Society of Riverton, P.O. Box #112, Riverton, NJ 08077. Thank you all for making our tea such a fun event in Riverton!

There is a photo gallery below. Please add any comments or send a photo and I’ll post it. Or, if you have a Facebook account, please”like” us and consider posting pictures and comments there.  The New Leaf  would welcome your shout out as well. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor



July Fourth – Something Old, Something New

undated July 4th photo courtesy of Mr. Ed Gilmore
Note to Self: Phyllis Rogers’ observation about the count of children who were actually in the parade gives me the idea to get a closer look at the mayor’s staff that has the bands which record that headcount through the years. Mrs. Tracey Foedisch, Riverton 4th of July Committee Chairperson, told me by phone that I can go to Borough Hall sometime and ask Municipal Clerk Mrs. Mary Longbottom to see it.

Meanwhile, here’s another great image, courtesy of Ed Gilmore. Undated, but probably from the same time as his photos in the last post, it affords us a glimpse of a Riverton Fourth “back in the day.” Way back. Ed does not know the identity of the children or anyone else in the photo—any guesses?


Elsie and John Showell, July 4, 1920
Elsie Waters again gives us a peek at her family album with this sweet image of big sister Elsie and brother John sitting in wide-eyed wonderment at the 1920 July Fourth celebration. We may infer by the patriotic embellishments to their perambulators that they were participants in the scheduled 9:45 a.m. Children’s Flag, Baby Coach, Velocipede and Kiddie Kar Parade. View the full 4-page 1920 July 4th program in the previous post, Odd Bits of Past July Fourths.


I confess that I feel transported by such vintage photos
At right is one last look back at another of Ed Gilmore’s captivating photos from that undated parade.

Am I that only one that looks at these at great magnification and imagines that I could march down to the river with them?



On July 4th, 2011 I caught these video clips with my iPhone and spliced them together to make three short videos, 2-3 minutes each. Each one is a separate download.





Check out the Facebook wall for the Riverton 4th of July Committee and see what people have had to say there. Also, you’ll find links to other related topics including newspaper articles and the latest photo galleries. The 2009 and 2010 photo galleries are still posted on the 4th of July Committee’s website.



The perambulators may have changed, but the delight to see a child in this parade remains the same.

For some real Riverton July Fourth eye-candy, enjoy the photography skills of Mark Brown, a musician and Riverton resident who responded to my request for photos to post here when I distributed the 2011 July 4th Palm Cards.

He has kindly made these large files available to view, copy, print, whatever. Let me know if you need a larger file. One meets the nicest people in Riverton, especially on the Fourth.  – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor



Proposed New Fire House of Relief Engine Co.
P.S. After posting over 300 vintage image of Moorestown here, it is rare to find a new one, but my collector friend just scored another one and sent it for us to enjoy.

P.P.S. Save the Date: The Historical Society of Riverton takes our show on the road to Columbus next week, July 20-23, 2011, as we join every local historical society in the County for a “History Faire at the County Fair.” More info to follow in another post.





May 2011 Annual Meet Convenes at The Bank on Main

The Bank on Main - open for business once again

The Historical Society of Riverton held its Annual Meeting June 9, 2011, at The Bank on Main, courtesy of the Antonucci Family of Riverton. First constructed for the Cinnaminson Bank & Trust Company in 1928, its new owners have transformed the building’s interior into an attractive venue for business and social events.

In the business portion of the annual meeting members approved a slate of new or returning directors, including Pat Brunker, Donald Dietz, William McDermott, J. Edward Gilmore, Nancy Hall, John McCormick, Phyllis Rodgers, Mary Lou Smith, Michael Spinelli, and Cheryl Smekal.  A number of By-Law proposals received approval with one change, suggested by Mr. Paul Schopp. Members approved his motion to change the quorum for a Board meeting to nine.  Click here find the full text of the By-Laws to passed June 9, 2011.

The massive original vault remains the focal point of the room. Round linen-covered banquet exhibit tables flanked the carpeted part of the room and chairs arranged in rows on a magnificent marble dance floor in the center of the space faced the vault. The high ceiling, large windows, and sparkling chandelier hanging from the center of a huge, ornately carved medallion that dominates the ceiling all served to create an elegant setting befitting the main portion of the meeting; to celebrate the life of Mrs. Betty B. Hahle, Town Historian, who passed away on April 17, 2011. A large photo collage poster of Mrs. Hahle placed next to the vault represented some of her many accomplishments and provided a backdrop for the remarks and accolades of the speakers.

President of the Historical Society of Riverton, Gerald Weaber, started by reviewing the life of Mrs. Hahle, highlighting her contributions to virtually every Riverton organization and stressing her dedication and commitment to preserving Riverton’s history and character.  Her meticulous investigating and record keeping, pursued with passion, earned her a place in Riverton’s history.  Mayor Robert Martin then presented a proclamation to the daughters of Mrs. Hahle, Donna Hahle Kirkland and Marilyn R. Hahle.

Several members of the audience shared memories of Betty Hahle by illustrating examples of her generosity in sharing her extensive knowledge of Riverton while others cited her success in raising her three daughters.

A four-part a capella group called Three Good Men smoothly segued into the entertainment part of the meeting by appropriately choosing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” as their opening number. They continued the historical theme by serving up an eclectic mix of songs from classic barbershop to Rock & Roll and Doo-Wop, freely seasoned with jokes and puns. The inclusion of “God Bless America” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” on the same set list indicates the versatility of this talented quartet. We even learned history trivia; “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” (1942) was the first ever gold record. Clearly, the foursome achieved their website’s description of “the essence of Barbershop” by liberally “ringing chords” off those stately old bank walls for the entire performance.

Even a mid-meeting power outage which left only dimmed emergency lights to illuminate the chamber failed to dampen anyone’s spirit or curtail the marvelous entertainment from our a capella quartet, which fortunately required no electricity.  At the conclusion, HSR President Gerald Weaber invited participants to enjoy refreshments.  Three Good Men continued their convivial exhibition by harmonizing “Happy Birthday” for two HSR Geminis, Mrs. Linda McCormick and Mrs. Phyllis Rogers and serenading bride-to-be, Keri Antonucci with a song .

We sincerely thank the Antonucci Family for so generously extending to the Historical Society the use of this splendid facility for our Annual Meeting. Find out more about this new multi-purpose banquet hall and event facility at the Antonucci Ventures LLC website.

That was our last meeting for the summer, but check back often for more additions to this website. Our expanded HSR Board will be busy planning for the next 2011-2012 season. Please consider donating items to the Society as you de-clutter or downsize belongings. We also welcome your submissions of recollections, comments, photos, scans, etc. for possible publication in the Gaslight News or on this website.  – Co-written and photographed by: Mrs. Susan Dechnik and John McCormick