I worked with John Strohlein when I was a teacher at Riverton School. He is a maintenance man there, and we often chatted about history at the end of the day when he came by my classroom. He always took an interest in the American and ancient history lessons and he turned out to be a rich source of information about Riverton history.
John Strohlein is a descendant of a Dreer Nursery executive and he also had some relatives in the Riverton Fire Company, two circumstances which resulted in my restoring some old photos for the Society and the fire company.
At right is one of two group photos of firefighters I restored. See what I mean about photos you loan do not have to be perfect?
You can see the framed enlargements on display upstairs at the firehouse. John also had some Dreer’s Nursery postcards and a cabinet card of George Strohlein taken by Lothrop Photographers who, I believe, operated out of the Lyceum that once stood at Fourth and Main. (revised – see below)
John also allowed me to borrow a slim booklet that commemorated the Silver Jubilee of Sacred Heart Church in 1904.
Compiled and written by Reverend J.F. Hendrick, this 16-page Sketch of Sacred Heart Church traces how Riverton Catholics in the early 1870s worshiped in nearby churches at Riverside, Moorestown, and Camden before services shifted to several Riverton homes while parishioners made preparations for construction of their church.
When I scanned the booklet in 2007, I made a slideshow of the pages, burned some CDs, and took them over to the pastor along with some replica paper copies that I made with a color laser printer. He was glad to get them because his one original copy was disintegrating and had to be handled with gloves. Here now was a reasonable looking counterfeit that parishioners could read without worries.
Read more details of how a Presbyterian gentleman donated the land for the church after neighbors objected to the sale. Just as there has been more than one Riverton School, the present Sacred Heart Church was the first Catholic house of worship in Riverton.
Click on the following link to view the virtual booklet PowerPoint Slide Show for the 16-page Sketch of Sacred Heart Church. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor
Revised 05/03/2012 I dread making errors about Riverton history on this website because, once out there on the web, stuff just hangs around forever. Thankfully, I have friend and actual professional historian (as opposed to us amateurs), who helps with damage control here at the Historical Society of Riverton. My sincere thanks to Paul for making this correction.
Nicely done, as usual. Regarding the photographer, he did not operate out of the Lyceum. Rather, if you examine Plate 2 of the 1896 Sanborn maps, you will find his studio directly behind his house. The south-facing elevation of the building was glass, allowing Lothrop to take full advantage of natural sunlight in his professional work.
From the 1896 Sanborn Insurance Map section shown below, you can see the Lyceum at left and the Lothrup Studio at right. Fourth Street runs left and right on this map and that’s Main Street running up and down. For more about the Lyceum, use the search tool at the top right of this page.