An antique automobile, a steam locomotive, a railroad station, AND a trolley – all in one postcard! I call that a GRAND SLAM and the HSR is fortunate indeed to have this scan of a 1905 real photo postcard of Broad & Main Streets in Riverton courtesy of collector Mr. Nick Mortgu.
Nick has contributed scans of dozens of his vintage postcards to our online archive of historic Riverton images, but this one is truly extraordinary and rare because it has three modes of transport plus the train station in the same frame.
Times may have changed, but the roofline of the building that is today Zena’s is unmistakable to anyone familiar with Riverton. In 1905, the building served as the offices of the Public Service Corporation of NJ which supplied the gas to the borough.
This detail of a 1905 Sanborn Insurance Map shows the placement of the station on Broad near Main.
Any guesses on what those few missing words of the message say?
December 5, 1905 My Dear Nancy, We are still alive. Why don’t you answer my letters. You must excuse me for not writing but this is… Good by Mildred. This is the Riverton station.
I have straightened, cropped, and adjusted levels on a slice of the postcard image, but that is about the limit of my restoration ability on this image. Click on it to enlarge it and step into a moment frozen in time – 1905.
I’d love to see those tiny cracks Photoshopped out so if a reader has the skills, please contact me.
We thank Mr. Mortgu and all of the contributors of images and comments for helping to make this website grow in content. We also thank the donors who have given the HSR their treasured historic items so that our archives may become a specialized repository for preserving Riverton history.
We are grateful too, for members who continue to support our mission to create an awareness of our heritage, to discover, restore, and preserve local objects and landmarks, and to continue to expand our knowledge of the history of the area.
If you can help this endeavor by becoming a member of the Historical Society of Riverton, by contributing content to this website, or by donating items to the organization, please contact us.
Since the theme for this post seems to be me being REALLY thankful, here’s a holiday wish from Lora over at Moore’s Postcard Museum who recently expanded our inventory with many great vintage Atlantic City and Ocean City postcard scenes.
Happy Thanksgiving! – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor
Added 12/18/2011 – Shortly after I published the above post, professional historian and HSR member Paul W. Schopp added a comment which greatly amplifies the information that I wrote, and I have added it below because comments often get missed. Every blog post, and often some of the media, have a provision to for the reader to leave a comment photos. Paul’s comment follows:
While the 1905 Sanborn does, indeed, depict the building that today houses Zena’s as Public Service, that corporation had only just assumed control of the office there. On 21 September 1899, the River Shore Gas Company incorporated with an address of Broad and Main streets, Riverton. The new utility company has constructed the one-story building to be its office and retail store for gas fixtures and appliances. Initial capitalization consisted of $75,000, but less than a year later, the stock had increased to $140,000 for construction purposes. Another increase occurred in April 1901 and the stock now totaled $168,000. In February 1903, the conglomerate known as the South Jersey Gas, Electric and Traction Company—forerunner of Public Service—gained control of River Shore. Public Service Corporation then consummated a lease of the South Jersey Gas, Electric and Traction Company on 2 May 1904. Hence, the reason why the 1905 Sanborn lists the building as the property of Public Service.