Bicycles Then & Now Program traces bicycle history and heralds June Bicycle Weekend

Event Coordinator Iris Gaughan writes:

The joint Porch Club/HSR Riverton Bicycling: Then and Now program on Tuesday evening was interesting and informative… a great segue for The Historic Riverton Century and Community Ride and Historic Riverton Criterium!  June 10th and 11th promises to be a weekend of community fun, embracing so many aspects of bicycling.

Veteran Wheelman Gary Sanderson traced the evolution of the bicycle from the draisine to the modern safety bicycle, which turn 200 years old this year.

Carlos Rogers

Carlos Rogers, creator of the Historic Riverton Criterium, explained the origin and management of the cycling competition which has given away over $25,000 to local charities and civic organizations since its inception in 2011.

Matt Morse

Matt Morse of Cynergy Cycling Club gave an overview of plans for the Historic Riverton Century and Community Ride scheduled for June 10, 2017.

Although plans are still unfolding, the all-day event tentatively will include several organized club morning distance rides ending in Riverton… 15 miles, 30 miles, 35 miles, 45 miles, 55 miles. Cost: Cynergy Club Members $10; Non-Members $20 (Cost includes lunch.

Coinciding with the arrival of the distance riders, lunch is scheduled for 11:30 am – 1:30 pm.

From 2 pm to 4:00 Cynergy Cycling Club will direct a free Bicycle Safety Rodeo on the school blacktop. At 4 pm the free Community Bike Ride (approx. 5 miles) will begin and end at Riverview Estates on the riverbank.  Refreshments and activities will take place at the end of the ride around 5:15 pm.

Click here to view the entire 78-slide presentation (7.54MB PDF) given on April 18.

Check back for registration and waiver forms, bike route maps, and more details as they are released. – JMc

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From the HSR Playground

I concluded Illuminating Riverton’s Past, the first post made on our renovated website in January 2011, with “This will be no fun at all if no one out there is listening.”

Embracing the Law of Attraction, the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on, I implored readers to help illuminate incomplete parts of Riverton’s historical record by contributing information and images to our virtual archive to be accessed online.

Six years, 355 posts, 32 newsletters, and thousands of images later, folks are listening, contributing, and I am having a ball.

It seems we may have reached a kind of critical mass where the networking aspect of this outreach effort now results in viewers regularly contributing content to the site.

Roger Prichard’s recent photo commentary on the Clothier Carriage House and scans of a c.1887 Fitler-Lindsay photo album are only the latest in a string of reader contributions.

Jeanette (Jessie) Hunter Choate at right with Bertha Lothrop possibly c.1920s

A penciled note in the Fitler-Lindsay photo album, mentioned above, suggests that either Bertha Lothrop or her father, David Lothrop, took the photos. Last fall, Raven Davis Cotter stumbled across our website while researching her family history and sent us a scan of a photo we believe to be of Bertha Lothrop. The June 2013 Gaslight News tells much more about these commercial photographers.

Riverton’s PRR Station Plans and Elevations CREDIT: Jerry Mooney

Just posted on the IMAGES tab under the RIVERTON RAILROAD STATION section is this architect’s plan submitted by HSR member Jerry Mooney.

These scans of a classic Riverton Fire Company crew photo and a family home on Fulton Avenue c.1885 sent in by cousins Mary Ann Banko and Katherine Strohlein are a treat.

Can you see the faces in the window of the home? Mary and Katharine are trying to figure out who they are.

216, 218 Fulton Street c1885
Riverton Fire Co. c1925

Katharine writes: Adolph Strohlein is in the back row, tall, in-between the 2 torches, 6th from the left. He was a volunteer firefighter. I’m guessing this is around 1925.

Always a bonus when the donor can provide context. Except for Granddad Adolph, we don’t know other identities, but we welcome your suggestions. A google search for an ancestor or a old homestead has directed many visitors our way.

Other 2017 posts highlighted items from Sheila Hines, Carl McDermott, Rich Rosmandoand, well…, me. 

Palmyra Record, Mar 15, 1918, p1.

Ninety-nine years ago the Palmyra Home Guard received its weapons for defense of the homeland during the Great War and were planning to unite with Riverton on maneuvers and drill. Watch soon for publication of “On the Home Front,” in the March Gaslight News, which recognizes contributions of Rivertonians to World War I. Such articles help us all appreciate our debt to the past.

I have been working recently with Wheelman Gary Sanderson and Carlos Rogers, creator of the Historic Riverton Criterium, preparing a slideshow to accompany their April 18 presentation at the Porch Club, Riverton Bicycling: Then and Now. Such endeavors remind us that events today are tomorrow’s Riverton history. We appreciate members who send in photos and information about current happenings, too.

When our volunteer web developer, Mike Solin, recently asked me how things were going since he implemented an events plugin, a google search plugin, and performed some maintenance, I replied,

Thank you for your continued care and feeding of the website… But I must say you have given me the best adult playground ever.

Maybe don’t google that.

If you are stuck in the house during this snowstorm, see what you can find to shed further light on Riverton’s rich past. – JMc

Founder Henry A. Dreer on right, son Wm. F. Dreer on left

REV. 3-15-2017: Katherine Strohlein adds: “George A. Strohlein is on the left of the house photo. I think Henry Dreer may be on the right.”

Here is a scan from a 1938 Dreer’s Garden Book. Maybe a reader can can confirm or suggest who else the man in Katherine’s photo might be.

Thanks, Roger. We love getting more stuff


Clothier Carriage House weathervane

Roger Prichard contributes this scanned album of original photographs in possession of the Riverton Free Library depicting more than 40 extraordinary scenes and portraits taken over several years about 1887.

Many of the scenes in this Lindsay/Fitler album are labeled or recognizable as Riverton, NJ; several are from the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, and one is at Broad and Poplar Streets, Philadelphia.

Within his notes and insightful commentary are links to larger versions of the images. Each, in turn, can yield an enlarged view by clicking on the link under the image.

Click on the thumbnail image at right or on this link for the 1.62MB Word file – Lindsay/Fitler Photo Album and Commentary.

Roger Prichard was not alone in lamenting the loss of another historic structure. The impending demolition of the Clothier Carriage House at 3rd and Main compelled him to photograph the building and provide some historical context before it was gone.

We imply no judgment for the decision to raze the historic structure. The ship sailed for that concern a long time ago.

Click on the thumbnail at right or on the following link for the 1.85MB PDF file – Photos and Commentary on the Clothier Carriage House.

Also on our wishlist is a photo of the building when it was in better condition. Please contact the Society if you can provide a photo or scan.

Since new posts will soon push this one off the bottom of the page, its permanent home will be on the IMAGES tab, Riverton Residential Streets. – JMc

The Golden Age of Silent Film at RFL March 23

The Golden Age of Silent Film
& Hollywood Regency

Join us at Riverton Library as Kate Butler examines memorabilia of old Hollywood, including cosmetics & toiletry items, hair products, grooming instruments, now-banned toxic products, and reports on immigrant cosmetologists Max Factor and Helena Rubinstein.

Riverton Free Library
306 Main Street
Riverton, NJ 08077
7:00 p.m. Thursday
March 23, 2017


Spring can’t get here soon enough

confused bulbs Christ Church 2-24-2017
Temperature today in Cinnaminson

At Riverton Library and across the street at Christ Episcopal Church unseasonably warm 60 and 70+ degree days have fooled the spring bulbs into sprouting early.

Although Spring officially arrives March 20, the last frost date for this area is April 23.

Hope they don’t get their little heads frozen off and not bloom as before.

While on the subject of Christ Church, check out this photo of the interior. A little glitchy, but cool nonetheless.

Preservation Awards Night a big success

The presentation of the Society’s Daniel Campbell Preservation Awards took place on Thursday, February 16 at the Porch Club.

Preservation Awards 2017 screenshot

That night each of five presenters gave an overview of their respective projects as they narrated a prepared PowerPoint slide show illustrated with before and after photos, various vintage maps, newspaper articles and ads, and some web links to more content.

This version also includes several candid shots, Dan Campbell’s printed remarks, and Michael Cattell’s poem at the end.

See what you missed here: 41MB PowerPoint Show, or 25MB PDF

HSR President Mrs. Phyllis Rodgers sums it up this way:

Our Preservation Night turned out to be a big success. The presenters all did a great job, and it was so nice to have Dan Campbell’s daughters present to read his comments and help give out the awards.

The attendance was wonderful – about 60, with many new faces.

Everything just flowed together and was beautifully topped off with Michael Cattell’s amazing Then & Now video and poem about Riverton, and of course, the beautiful cake!

Thank you to all who helped with the set up and take down.

Out next program will be March 23, at 7 pm, at the Library – The Golden Age of Silent Film & Hollywood Regency by Kate Butler.

Best to all,

South Jersey Delaware River bridges vital to commuters and commerce

Burlington, NJ Bridge, Bristol, PA – opened 1931 (not the Tpke bridge)

We see how much we take the Delaware River bridges for granted when in January, discovery of a crack in a supporting truss for the Delaware River-Turnpike Toll Bridge connecting Bristol Township and Burlington Township caused the span’s shutdown.

Tacony – Palmyra Bridge Over Delaware River, Philadelphia, PA

Out of service indefinitely now, the closure has created commuting problems and exacted a toll (pun intended) on local businesses.

Those hardships and the measures taken to solve the problem are better described elsewhere.

Few today can recall a time when there was no Benjamin Franklin Bridge (completed 1926), Betsy Ross (1976), Walt Whitman (completed 1957), or our own Tacony-Palmyra (opened 1929).

Delaware River Bridge 1926 invitation engraving detail – donated by Mrs. Sheila Hines

Two recent donations, as well as some previously published items found here, might help us better appreciate these remarkable achievements in engineering and construction.

Benjamin Franklin Bridge postcard – donated by Mr. Carl McDermott

Pop-quiz question, kids. How did folks around here get to Philly before 1926?

Honk if you remember.

Or, if you don’t, see the feature article in the September 2013 Gaslight News.

“When the well is dry we know the value of water” – Benjamin Franklin




The Daniel Campbell Preservation Awards Night, slated for Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 7 pm, at the Porch Club, will be devoted to recognizing achievements in historic preservation.

“Why bold red letters?” you ask. Simply because someone on the staff did not mention in the January newsletter where the meeting was to be. See more info on the meeting in this previous post.

Newsletter Staff

See how your neighbors planned and completed some serious home improvements. You might take away some renovation tips with a side order of history.

This Old House could learn a thing or two from Riverton.




Check out how Mike Cattell and his crew rehabilitated Palmyra’s neglected bowling alley and transformed it into Batter’s Alley.


And wait until you see the cake L&M made. – JMc

Palmyra Bowling Lanes convert to Batter’s Alley

The New Era, Sep 4, 1930, p7.
The batter is always up at Batter’s Alley

Speaking of Then and Now… Mike Cattell and company have turned the old Palmyra Bowling Alleys into Batter’s Alley, a recreational and training facility. In planning a presentation on how the transformation took place, we could use some help with how to describe and illustrate the building’s former incarnations.

The bowling lanes opened in 1930, closed sometime around 2004, and in between, had several owners and managers, and operated first as Palmyra Bowling Alleys, later in the 70s and 80s as Celebrity Lanes, and finally as Executive Lanes.

With all the folks who patronized the lanes over more than eight decades, someone must have some photos of the place in their family photo album. Please contact us below or call 609-220-8040.