When in doubt… DON’T throw it out.

Probably not the best advice for someone trying to move or declutter, but we have gotten some of the best stuff that some folks would have relegated to the trash bin.

Regular visitors to this online virtual museum that we call rivertonhistory.com know that much of it is comprised of photos and scans of items that we don’t actually have; folks often send us files or loan the item for copying. Sometimes a generous donor gives us printed material, an artifact, or a collectible related to Riverton’s history.

We have the space, if you have something to give or loan that will illuminate another bit of Riverton history.

This collaboration between the Society, its members, and visitors to the website has resulted in this ever-growing community resource. Here are some examples.

football team in pieces

In 2008, J. Edward Gilmore, a former HSR Board Member and former Borough Councilman, showed me a cabinet card depicting a Riverton football team.

Well, pieces of a cabinet card, anyway.

football team photo-restored

To shorten the story, just know that spending several hours with PhotoShop resulted in a usable photo.  Cloning a leg from one player and and applying it to another to make up for a missing piece was the tricky part.

Ed Gilmore has been a frequent contributor to this online repository of local history. He has loaned or donated several dozen items, including many old hometown newspapers, vintage postcards, and irreplaceable photos.

It’s not like we can go back and take them again.

Woolston Carriage Works, Riverton, NJ photo

Lorraine Gambone quite literally trash-picked these two cabinet cards from curbside collection in 2007.

This is the only known photo of the Woolston Carriage Works that once stood at 7th and Lippincott Sts., seen restored here.

Butcher Ezra Perkins had his shop at 606 Main Street

Lorraine also plucked from the same rubbish the photo at right of butcher Ezra Perkins who had a meat store in the same building that is now The New Leaf. See a restored photo here.

For every one of these successes there are many, many times more discouraging stories of discarded items that, once lost, we can’t get back.

Like the person who told me that he threw out stacks of old New Era newspapers that were in the attic of the home when he moved in.

Or the too common story of a person’s belongings being disposed of by heirs who don’t understand their historic importance.

I often wonder how some of the items I see on eBay made their way across the miles to locations across the nation and even overseas.

1920 Fourth of July Celebration Program

In 2013, after I lost out on a winning bid for a 1920 Riverton July 4th Program, HSR member Gerald Blaney generously allowed us to scan his rare eBay find and display it here.

Such indispensable primary source material helps us flesh out the details of Riverton’s past. (Click on the thumbnail image at right to see a PDF file showing 4 pages.)

Main St Riverton postcard, c1910, printed in Germany with a menu for an Amsterdam restaurant

Here’s a puzzle – an eBay auction listing from a seller in Britain had a c1910 postcard of Main Street Riverton with a menu printed on the back for a restaurant in Amsterdam.  I also had a Lawn House postcard with a Dutch distillery ad, but I neglected to scan the back before I sold it.

So… to summarize the lesson, kids, here is a list of the kinds of things that the Historical Society of Riverton collects (underlined terms link to examples of content; skip them if you do not want to see the images.) :

The primary purpose of the Historical Society of Riverton is 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.

Won’t you please help us keep it going.

–  JMc, Editor

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