Regular readers here know that we here at the Historical Society do not have all the answers and regularly ask for help in finding information and images about Riverton’s past.
The stars aligned (or maybe it was this year’s post-solstice full moon) and I just happened to see on Facebook a post with a color photo of Klipple’s Bakery.
I immediately shared to our Facebook page and was astonished to see the visions of cream-filled donuts, sugar cookies, twists, onion and snowflake rolls, and butter cakes that the mere sight of that picture activated in folks who commented on it, some of whom live far away.
Crowdsourcing Local History
As folks piled on with sweet reveries, recollections, comments, and questions, others pitched in. Marilyn Hahle recalled, “It was the best bakery. It was always part of Riverton Schools walking trips. Mr. Klipple would show us how everything was made then give out donuts.”
Michael Robinson connected the history dots thus, “Cream doughnuts back then — but as Zena’s and now Orange Blossom Cafe, it offers meals as well as pastry and serves as a center of the community.”
Discovering that old color photo of Klipple’s Bakery on Bob Foster‘s Facebook post yesterday reminds me of other times our readers and members have contributed another piece of Riverton’s puzzling history.
Law of Attraction at work?
My quest for a photo of the Nellie Bly express train coincided with the opening of the Nellie Bly Olde Tyme Ice Cream Parlour in 2005. An investigative reporter named Nellie Bly who, in 1890, famously completed a trip around the world in 72 days was the inspiration for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s fast train that once shuttled passengers to and from New York City and Atlantic City.
I wished out loud during a presentation in 2007 and later implored readers of the May 2009 Gaslight News asking for someone to find a photo of the train.
According to news reports, the speedy commute came at the expense of occasional fires started by embers discharged from the steam locomotive’s chimney and as well as taking out scores of pedestrians, motorists, the odd milk truck, etc. that had lost their battles with Nellie over railroad real estate.
I had all but given up finding a photo of the legendary train that still somehow stirred nostalgic memories for longtime residents when one appeared through the kindness of Riverton residents Don and Pam Deitz. (See Sept 2009 GN)
Some, like Lorraine Gambone, literally trash-picked something that would have been lost otherwise.
Over time, the wish list of photos of other things that aren’t there anymore grew to include: the Lyceum, the Lawn House, the Sharon Shop, Dreer’s Nursery, the old bicycle race track, Klipple’s Bakery, the Roberts Store, the Evans Building, and many others.
What do you wish to see on these pages in 2019?
If Egypt can continue to give up more discoveries of mummies from time to time, then I can hope that there are still more photos stored in albums, scrapbooks, attics, and junk drawers that will surface when the time is right.
rivertonhistory.com is a collaboration
Pages of this website are full of relics of our collective past that contributors thought to share with the Society.
Indeed, without such contributions by Katie Washington Hickey, Ed Gilmore, Nancy and Bill Steel, Kathi Giden, Harlan Radford, George Bishop, Bruce Gunn, John Criqui, Ginny Wierski, Jill and Hank Croft, Mary Flanagan, Colin Cattell, Mary Honeyford, and dozens of others, this content seen here would be a small fraction of what it is.
As mentioned in a 2016 post, “Every artifact, photo, ephemera item, old newspaper clipping, etc. we get helps add another stitch to the fabric of Riverton history.”
As illustrated by this recent find of a bakery shop photo, Riverton’s history is not just about early days, Quaker founders, and riverbank villas. It is also a very personal collection of memories that somehow resurface as we take stock at another year’s end.
Thank you also to all who have helped sustain the preservation efforts of the Society with your membership in 2018. Look for the next newsletter later in January.