Things that aren’t there anymore

Olds Community, Broad St. Riverton, NJ – later Stan’s Auto, now Marty’s Auto

All of this time secluded at home during COVID has caused a proliferation of FaceBook groups with a nostalgic look back at places and experiences of our past.

One such group I found recently is About South Jersey. The stated aims of admins Rick and Denise Grenda is to provide… “A place to post photos, information or recollections of about the southern part of the State of New Jersey and close by areas.”

Another is Things that aren’t there anymore – South Jersey edition, which has the goal of connecting… “A group of friendly folks who want to remember people /places/ things from South Jersey ‘way back when.'”

It happened in New Jersey “…makes an effort to post current and big stories from the past that are part of the Great State of New Jersey and surrounding areas.”

The best part – none of them tolerate any posts with current politics, controversial views, spam, or selling.

The Eagle, The Grand Court, John Wanamaker, Philadelphia
TTATA WHYY YouTube

For those with a soft spot in their heart for Philadelphia, a look at the 1993 WHYY production of Things That Aren’t There Anymore and its sequel in 1994 will take you back to Connie Mack Stadium, grand movie theaters, and Willow Grove Park.

Heck, play it on your TV and show your kids what you did back in the day.

Inspired by the TTATA theme, many of our earliest posts were about places that have disappeared in Riverton such as the Lyceum, the Lawn House, Klipple’s Bakery, Dreer’s Nursery, the train station, the bicycle track, Wolfschmitt’s Barbershop, even a dairy and an Acme Market on Main Street, and much more.

Some places are not gone so much as they have transitioned to something else, like the former Olds Community dealership at the start of this post.

Riverton is fortunate to have a historical society and a community that supports its efforts. History speaks to us from the pages of old 19th and 20th-century hometown newspapers, from many collected vintage postcards and photographs, and the collected historical research found in 185 newsletters from 1974 to the present.

The late Town Historian, Mrs. Betty B. Hahle, 10-06-09, age 90

Mrs. Betty B. Hahle, former Riverton Town Historian, HSR President, and editor of our newsletter once advised me to not forget to record the history that is happening today.

Our interpretation of local history has depended so long on these analog artifacts of the past, we wonder what primary source material future historians will turn to in order to chronicle Riverton’s events today.

Stay safe, kids, and please support the goals of the Society with your membership dues and donations of items.  -JMc

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John McCormick

Former teacher at Riverton School, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member, website and newsletter editor

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