In the throes of one of New Jersey’s infamous humidity drenched August heat waves we have to admire the ingenuity of these Rivertonians of old who found a way to keep cool.
Way before postwar prosperity and innovative construction methods of builders such as Phil Anthony and Herman Silverman, respective founders of Anthony and Sylvan Pools, enabled mainstream America to construct swimming pools in their own backyards, the Fitler family of 109 Bank Avenue made one in theirs.
This may be the “first swimming pool in Riverton” described by Mrs. Barbara Page Bartholomew during an interview conducted by former HSR President Gerald Weaber when he researched his feature, “The Fascinating Fitlers,” for the November 2009 Gaslight News. Gerald recorded:
Miss Barbara was fond of her aunt’s husband, Nathan Myers Fitler, whom she affectionately called Uncle Myers and who she said built the first swimming pool in Riverton. Nathan Myers and Mary Biddle Fitler lived in the home known as Graystone at 109 Bank Avenue. The first swimming pool in town was on the same property where the Fitler playhouse once stood. The playhouse, where Miss Barbara played as a youngster, was later the home to Anne Knight-Ruff, author of Ruff Copy, located at 4 Thomas Avenue behind Graystone.
These adorable century-old candid shots of kids at play are from a family album loaned to us for scanning by Mr. and Mrs. William Steel of Cinnaminson.
In it were a number of other photos of historical interest that will be shared here and, since some photos had no captions, we may need your help with names or guessing dates.
Below is a preview of coming attractions. One wonders how many other glimpses into Riverton’s past lie waiting to be discovered and shudders at the thought of the history that is often discarded. – JMc