The home of HSR Members, Mary Louise and Ken Smith, is rich in Riverton lore

Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan designed the Italianate Villa now standing at 503 Bank Avenue for Caleb Clothier, one of Riverton’s original founders. Later, Edward H. Ogden and Sarah Morris Perot Ogden owned the home. Both the Clothiers and the Ogdens had a transformative effect on the development of early Riverton.
On Sunday, July 30, 2017, Mary Louise and Ken Smith hosted a reunion at their historic Bank Avenue home for Ogden descendants.
This video documents the event and serves to illustrate much of the Riverton history witnessed by the home.
Mrs. Mary Louise Bianco-Smith narrates this informative video production that Colin Cattell, our youngest Society member, created.
See our 2011 post that describes a Clothier family reunion held at the Smith home.
In the March 2009 Gaslight News Mrs. Pat Brunker outlined Mrs. Ogden’s many accomplishments as a tireless leader of many Philadelphia social, civic, and philanthropic organizations and as the second president of Riverton’s Porch Club.
The May 2009 Gaslight News Mrs. Pat Brunker traced the life of Edward H. Ogden, the prominent Philadelphia businessman who was elected as Riverton’s first mayor and played key roles in the establishment of several local institutions, including the Riverton Yacht Club and Riverton Golf Club.
View the report by Nora Muchanic, NJ home of Strawbridge & Clothier co-founder spotlights Underground Railroad broadcast on Action News Aug 3, 2017.

– JMc

136 year-old Lucy the Elephant still amazes

In summer our thoughts turn to trips to the Jersey Shore, and if there is one place that families are sure to enjoy, it is visiting the only elephant in the world “you can walk through and come out alive!”

This weekend, Margate’s famous Lucy the Elephant celebrates its 136th birthday on Saturday, July 22. Once a home, a tavern, and now designated as a National Historic Landmark, the unusual six-story high structure is listed on the National Park Registry of Historical Landmarks.

Find more details about Lucy’s birthday here.

See links below for earlier posts about this prodigious pachyderm.

A collector’s postcards stir memories of his lifelong link to Lucy

Boardwalk Empire scenes and old postcards recall shore visits

We always have room for another Lucy postcard. Contact us at


Vintage photos demonstrate Riverton’s devotion to the game of baseball

The Phillies may have the worst record in baseball this season, but there was a time in Riverton when the hometown team was quite formidable.

Riverton Journal, Aug 15. 1881, p3

The month of July has been linked with the game of baseball since Riverton’s early days, as the account at right from 1881 attests.

Sporting Life, April 15, 1922

The Riverton Ball Club mentioned in it was founded June 19th, 1865, a respectable two months after the end of the Civil War. Riverton Yacht Club followed suit almost two weeks later on July 1.

Over the years, the ball club utilized various loaned or leased lots in town, but found a permanent home on land purchased that is today bordered by South Broad Street, and Lippincott and Thomas Avenues. (1890  Bird’s-Eye View of Riverton)

The Union League Club in Philadelphia presented the Riverton Nine an award in 1890 as the best amateur baseball team in the area.

As participation in the game diminished, and the bicycling craze grew, the cycling club leased the land in 1894. (Read more details about the amateur Riverton ball team in the Sept. 2009 Gaslight News.)

Over the years, hundreds of Riverton children and adults have marked their participation in America’s National Pastime by posing for a team photo.

Let us add your Riverton/Palmyra baseball mementos to this gallery. Include a caption and identify players, if you can.


Holy Riverton history! Sunday PowerPoint chronicles beginning and development of Calvary Church

The New Era, Oct 6, 1949, p1
Prominent Philadelphia architect John Fraser designed the original church and was one of Calvary’s founders.

Riverton’s rich history is no more evident than in the origins of its houses of worship.

Calvary Presbyterian Church was already 75 years old when this article appeared in The New Era, Riverton’s hometown newspaper.

Everyone is invited to a history talk as part of the church service at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 300 Fourth Street, Riverton on July 9th at 10 AM.  The PowerPoint talk will include all the early people of the church, which was founded in 1874 here in Riverton.

Find more photos of Calvary Presbyterian Church, as well as others, on our page Riverton Churches. We welcome more images of Riverton’s places of worship.

Thanks to HSR Board member, Pat Brunker for this notice.

Past celebrations remain vivid for former resident

Former resident and PHS grad, Ed Shoemaker, recently found our July 4, 2011 post and left a poignant comment.

In it, he articulates the sweet nostalgia that memories of Riverton can arouse even though years later and miles away.

Riverton’s Fourth of July was a major event as I, my brother and sister grew up on Lippincott Ave. We marched or rode bicycles or in dog-pulled wagons during all of our childhood years. As a drummer in the PHS band it was a thrill to march down Broad Street anticipating all the events afterward. Wish I could be there to see it all again.

Will you settle for some photos, Ed?

Here are some photos of Riverton’s 2017 July 4th celebration by Gary R. Weart, another fan of Riverton and a great friend of the Society.  – JMc

See many more on the Riverton July 4th Facebook page.

We invite readers to say “hi” to Ed or Gary, or add your own remembrance of Riverton here. Include a captioned photo, if you wish.  That dog pulling a wagon would be something to see! -JMc

Riverton’s Glorious Fourth – It never gets old II

Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty

You know a family is really into Riverton’s Fourth when they are in the parade.

Honest Abe, Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty

Main Street resident Barry Solin and daughter Anna have channeled Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty respectively every year since 2011.

Son Matt joined in the next year as Abe Lincoln.

Good times with the Solins

At the wheel of their ’62 Studebaker Lark is son Paul.

Show us how you mark the 4th of July.



Riverton’s Glorious Fourth – It never gets old

Just type “july 4” in our search box and you will find hundreds of images and references relating to Riverton’s Glorious Fourth.

HSR Board member Bill McDermott recently shared these.

July 4, 1950
July 4, 1976
July 4, 1976 Mayor Kenneth May

Show us a picture of your good ol’ days, and remember that 2017 will be the start of remembrances for another generation.







Glory Days in Riverton

The bike events of last weekend may be gone, but the memories remain.

The history and love of cycling came alive Saturday, June 10, 2017, at the start of Riverton’s Historic Weekend of Cycling.

Early morning races directed by The Cynergy Cycling Club attracted about 70 riders on 4 different routes.

Lunch at Riverton School

Lunch was a huge success thanks to Orange Blossom Cafe (adjusting to an hourly count change)…and thanks to Richard Gaughan and John Laverty for the beverage and ice run.  Riverton School could not have been more cooperative.

Bike Safety Rodeo

The Bike Safety Rodeo helped young riders learn how to be confident and safe.

Community Bike Ride

The Community Bike Ride began at Riverview Estates.


Paul Schopp

Riverton Town Historian, Paul Schopp gave an excellent and concise history of bicycling in Riverton. (See Paul Schopp’s remarks here.)

Mayor Suzanne Cairns Wells

Mayor Suzanne Cairns Wells greeted the riders and opened the program.

Nancy Hall, Bill Hall, Paul Schopp, Phyllis Rodgers

Ride Marshall, Bill Hall was applauded for his active support of the Society and lifelong participation in cycling events.  The costumed wavers along the bike route were just perfect.

Historical Society of Riverton President Phyllis Rodgers welcomed the riders.

At the marker, Richard Gaughan rides as Paul Schopp waves

And they were off, led by Helen Mack  through the streets of Riverton, waved on and greeted at the historic marker where Riverton’s nationally recognized bike track once existed.

Then down Cedar Street and cheered on. And finally returning to Riverview Estates, which was very generous and hospitable.

Iris Gaughan, Matt Morse

Thanks to the efforts of chairperson Iris Gaughan from the Historical Society of Riverton and Matt Morse from Cynergy Cycling, it was a very successful day.

Susan Dechnik, Phyllis Rodgers

Our newsie, Susan Dechnik, distributed the special June edition of Gaslight News by Patricia Smith Solin and Editor John McCormick, which brought the “biking” weekend into the historical focus it deserves. (limited copies available at Riverton Library; also available online)

Thanks also to Susan for photographing and documenting Saturday’s activities.

Undated photo, courtesy of Ed Gilmore. Riverton Athletic Assn. Bicycle track

The history of this town is rich indeed… every event highlights a rich and fascinating facet of our town… we are proud to contribute to a heritage marvel.

Sunday saw the return of the Historic Riverton Criterium for the seventh time.



Carlos Rogers

After months of planning, securing permissions from Borough Council, soliciting sponsors, and engaging volunteers and technical support, Carlos Rogers again brought the excitement of competitive cycling to Riverton.

Starting in the shade because of high temperatures in the 90s

Racing in various USA Cycling categories, riders complete 30-45 laps on a .8 mile, 6 turn, flat and fast course through the historic streets of Riverton, NJ, starting and finishing at 4th and Main Streets. (See results here.)

Newest HSR Board member Keith Fencl checks out the food truck menu

Music from Don’t Fake the Funk DJ Crew, Rob’s Craft Sandwiches and Kitchen Crewser food trucks, a merch table, plus balloon artistry from Twist It Balloons completed this cycling spectacle to kick off the summer of 2017

Josh Matisoff, balloon twister, entertainer, and decorator. He can twist anything out of balloons.

First started in 2011, the family-friendly event this year continues to draw men and women athletes, amateur and pro, in pursuit of recognition, a cash purse, and a shot at the primes, which are prizes awarded for winning specific intermediate laps during a race. A bell is rung to announce to the riders that whoever wins the next lap, wins the prime.

License plates seen in CVS lot

The roster of participants includes many from NY, PA, DE, and NJ, plus others from DE, RI, MO, OR, WA, CO, LA, and NH, making it a national event.

Wade McDaniels’ snow cones are a Riverton favorite. He recently retired from Riverton School. Happy retirement, Wade!

Part sporting match, part philanthropic endeavor, this new slice of Americana known as the Historic Riverton Criterium has provided over $25,000 in charitable contributions from proceeds of the race to local organizations.

Carlos Rogers waves as he starts the race

In a fitting climax, the DJ’s loudspeakers blared out Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” as Carlos himself led the Masters 45+ race in a rolling start. (19 sec. video here)

Glory Days, indeed.

Iris was EVERYWHERE those two days

Thank you, Carlos, riders, spectators, residents, sponsors, and volunteers for another successful Historic Riverton Criterium!

The commentary above is a mashup from remarks by Iris Gaughan, Phyllis Rodgers, Carlos Rogers, and Editor John McCormick