In summer our thoughts turn to trips to the Jersey Shore, and if there is one place that families are sure to enjoy, it is visiting the only elephant in the world “you can walk through and come out alive!”
This weekend, Margate’s famous Lucy the Elephant celebrates its 136th birthday on Saturday, July 22. Once a home, a tavern, and now designated as a National Historic Landmark, the unusual six-story high structure is listed on the National Park Registry of Historical Landmarks.
The Phillies may have the worst record in baseball this season, but there was a time in Riverton when the hometown team was quite formidable.
The month of July has been linked with the game of baseball since Riverton’s early days, as the account at right from 1881 attests.
The Riverton Ball Club mentioned in it was founded June 19th, 1865, a respectable two months after the end of the Civil War. Riverton Yacht Club followed suit almost two weeks later on July 1.
Over the years, the ball club utilized various loaned or leased lots in town, but found a permanent home on land purchased that is today bordered by South Broad Street, and Lippincott and Thomas Avenues. (1890 Bird’s-Eye View of Riverton)
The Union League Club in Philadelphia presented the Riverton Nine an award in 1890 as the best amateur baseball team in the area.
As participation in the game diminished, and the bicycling craze grew, the cycling club leased the land in 1894. (Read more details about the amateur Riverton ball team in the Sept. 2009 Gaslight News.)
Over the years, hundreds of Riverton children and adults have marked their participation in America’s National Pastime by posing for a team photo.
Let us add your Riverton/Palmyra baseball mementos to this gallery. Include a caption and identify players, if you can.
Riverton’s rich history is no more evident than in the origins of its houses of worship.
Calvary Presbyterian Church was already 75 years old when this article appeared in The New Era, Riverton’s hometown newspaper.
Everyone is invited to a history talk as part of the church service at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 300 Fourth Street, Riverton on July 9th at 10 AM. The PowerPoint talk will include all the early people of the church, which was founded in 1874 here in Riverton.
Find more photos of Calvary Presbyterian Church, as well as others, on our page Riverton Churches. We welcome more images of Riverton’s places of worship.
Thanks to HSR Board member, Pat Brunker for this notice.
Former resident and PHS grad, Ed Shoemaker, recently found our July 4, 2011 post and left a poignant comment.
In it, he articulates the sweet nostalgia that memories of Riverton can arouse even though years later and miles away.
Riverton’s Fourth of July was a major event as I, my brother and sister grew up on Lippincott Ave. We marched or rode bicycles or in dog-pulled wagons during all of our childhood years. As a drummer in the PHS band it was a thrill to march down Broad Street anticipating all the events afterward. Wish I could be there to see it all again.
Will you settle for some photos, Ed?
Here are some photos of Riverton’s 2017 July 4th celebration by Gary R. Weart, another fan of Riverton and a great friend of the Society. – JMc
The bike events of last weekend may be gone, but the memories remain.
The history and love of cycling came alive Saturday, June 10, 2017, at the start of Riverton’s Historic Weekend of Cycling.
Early morning races directed by The Cynergy Cycling Club attracted about 70 riders on 4 different routes.
Lunch was a huge success thanks to Orange Blossom Cafe (adjusting to an hourly count change)…and thanks to Richard Gaughan and John Laverty for the beverage and ice run. Riverton School could not have been more cooperative.
The Bike Safety Rodeo helped young riders learn how to be confident and safe.
The Community Bike Ride began at Riverview Estates.
Mayor Suzanne Cairns Wells greeted the riders and opened the program.
Ride Marshall, Bill Hall was applauded for his active support of the Society and lifelong participation in cycling events. The costumed wavers along the bike route were just perfect.
Historical Society of Riverton President Phyllis Rodgers welcomed the riders.
And they were off, led by Helen Mack through the streets of Riverton, waved on and greeted at the historic marker where Riverton’s nationally recognized bike track once existed.
Then down Cedar Street and cheered on. And finally returning to Riverview Estates, which was very generous and hospitable.
Thanks to the efforts of chairperson Iris Gaughan from the Historical Society of Riverton and Matt Morse from Cynergy Cycling, it was a very successful day.
Our newsie, Susan Dechnik, distributed the special June edition of Gaslight News by Patricia Smith Solin and Editor John McCormick, which brought the “biking” weekend into the historical focus it deserves. (limited copies available at Riverton Library; also available online)
Thanks also to Susan for photographing and documenting Saturday’s activities.
The history of this town is rich indeed… every event highlights a rich and fascinating facet of our town… we are proud to contribute to a heritage marvel.
After months of planning, securing permissions from Borough Council, soliciting sponsors, and engaging volunteers and technical support, Carlos Rogers again brought the excitement of competitive cycling to Riverton.
Racing in various USA Cycling categories, riders complete 30-45 laps on a .8 mile, 6 turn, flat and fast course through the historic streets of Riverton, NJ, starting and finishing at 4th and Main Streets. (See results here.)
First started in 2011, the family-friendly event this year continues to draw men and women athletes, amateur and pro, in pursuit of recognition, a cash purse, and a shot at the primes, which are prizes awarded for winning specific intermediate laps during a race. A bell is rung to announce to the riders that whoever wins the next lap, wins the prime.
The roster of participants includes many from NY, PA, DE, and NJ, plus others from DE, RI, MO, OR, WA, CO, LA, and NH, making it a national event.
Part sporting match, part philanthropic endeavor, this new slice of Americana known as the Historic Riverton Criterium has provided over $25,000 in charitable contributions from proceeds of the race to local organizations.
In a fitting climax, the DJ’s loudspeakers blared out Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” as Carlos himself led the Masters 45+ race in a rolling start. (19 sec. video here)
Glory Days, indeed.
Thank you, Carlos, riders, spectators, residents, sponsors, and volunteers for another successful Historic Riverton Criterium!
The commentary above is a mashup from remarks by Iris Gaughan, Phyllis Rodgers, Carlos Rogers, and Editor John McCormick
This Saturday, June 10, 2017, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, Cynergy Cycling Club will direct a free Bicycle Safety Rodeo for children ages 7-12 on the Riverton School blacktop. The clinic will teach children riding skills and precautions to take so they can ride a bicycle safely. No need to register.
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.
HSR member Roger Prichard provides the unlabeled picture of a boy from an album of original photographs in the possession of the Riverton Free Library, depicting scenes and portraits taken over several years about 1887.
Roger deduces that the photo was taken at the Riverton home of Edwin H. Fitler, Jr. and his family (407 Bank Avenue). Roger writes:
The Queen Anne-style upper sash of the window is very unusual in Riverton, but was a distinctive feature of this Fitler house after Fitler commissioned its expansion and updating in 1882. The house still has windows exactly like that today, with single-light lower sashes and uppers with small surrounding panes in a pattern of 6 panes by 6 panes…