Beer me!

I knew I had written about the possibility of a brewery opening up in our dry town before, but it just hits me that it was in early 2018.

A June 20 Facebook post by Brewery Thirty-Three promises that it “…will open very soon!” The waiting is the worst part.

Students of local history will recall that the clause forbidding the sale of liquor in Riverton was baked into the deeds of property owners from the beginning.

Even before the time of Riverton’s founding, alcohol began to be widely perceived as a Maybe we need to combine the two with a  serious threat to social order. The temperance movement was in full swing, and the largely Quaker makeup of the Philadelphia merchants who founded Riverton chose to build their village on temperance principles.

This excerpt from “Early Days In Riverton”, an article in The New Era, Christmas Number Nineteen-Nine, explains how it came to be:

The Riverton Improvement Company was created a corporation by the State of New Jersey and approved March 12, 1852. On August 23. of that year, Daniel L. Miller conveyed Riverton to the Riverton Improvement Company by a deed, in which there appeared a “liquor clause,” which read as follows: “Shall not at any time hereafter manufacture or cause to be manufactured, sell or cause, or knowingly permit to be sold, directly or indirectly, in or upon the premises hereby conveyed, or any part thereof, any spiritous, vinous, fermented, or other intoxicating liquors, except as a medicine, or for medical purposes in cases of sickness.” The properties were then deeded back to their several owners. 

The exclusion worked for over 160 years.

It is possible for a dry town to have a winery or brewery that offers tastings since alcohol manufacturing licenses in New Jersey are issued by the state and are not regulated by municipalities.

The workaround came in December 2017 when Borough Council adopted an ordinance allowing a “limited brewery” as an acceptable use in the borough’s business district.

A “mere” five years later, construction crews commenced renovating a 4000 sq. ft. five-bay industrial building on South Broad behind the Light Rail station into a modern craft brewery and taproom called Brewery Thirty-Three.

To paraphrase an old saying, ” The wheels of progress grind slowly.”

Even so, the day seems to be around the corner when a Riverton resident will be able to walk or drive over to 601 Lippincott Avenue and quaff a pint of craft beer.

We’re jealous. Brewery Thirty-Three’s Facebook page already has more likes and followers than we do after twelve years, and they haven’t even opened yet!

If only preserving history was as urgent as the quest for local stout. Maybe we just need to combine the two.

Here is a link to the 2018 article. -JMc, Ed.

Well, ya got trouble, my friend, …right here in River City*


12th Annual Historic Riverton Criterium, Sunday June 11th!

Carlos Rogers captured the interest of the Historical Society of Riverton in 2011 when he christened his inaugural bicycling competition, the Historic Riverton Criterium. The 12th Annual HRC returns Sunday, June 11.

From the HRC website, Since 2011, the Historic Riverton Criterium has been committed to promoting a premier cycling event while supporting Riverton and its surrounding communities by making financial contributions to various organizations and individual causes. To date, the HRC has awarded over $40,000. The HRC is a NJ nonprofit 501(c)3.

We have been fans ever since. Here is a Greatest Hits list of posts published here about this wonderful event.

Bicycle Races – Past, Present, and Hopefully, Future

Anticipation Builds Toward Return of Historic Riverton Criterium Sunday, June 10, 2012

It’s win-win-win as the HRC brings family-fun, prizes for athletes, and aids the RFCo.

Historic Riverton Criterium enters pages of Riverton history

In its third year, the Historic Riverton Criterium is now an official Riverton tradition

Carlos Rogers made Riverton history again June 8, 2014

Many hands contribute to the success of the fifth Historic Riverton Criterium

Gear up, Rivertonians. The Great Riverton Cycling Weekend looms

19th century style Girl Power

The HSR sends a heartfelt Thank-You to Carlos Rogers

June Bicycle Weekend Update

Bicycles Then & Now Program traces bicycle history and heralds June Bicycle Weekend

Historical markers help preserve Riverton’s unique heritage

The 9th Annual HRC is just a month away

9th Annual HRCriterium needs race marshals next Sunday

Speaking of women cyclists…

Historic Riverton Criterium includes women’s races

Click to access 180_Gaslight_News_May_2019.pdf

Historic Riverton Criterium needs sponsors’ financial support

Click to access 181-Gaslight-News-Oct-19-rev.pub_.pdf

No tricks; the treats are on us

The HRC returns – is it a sporting match or a philanthropic endeavor? Emphatically YES!

Keep up with the latest developments on the HRC Facebook page. -JMc










Memorial Day ceremony – Sunday, May 28, 2023, 10:00 AM

Riverton War Memorial 5-12-2023

There will be a Memorial Day ceremony at the Riverton War Memorial, Broad & Main Sts. on Sunday, May 28, 2023, at 10:00 AM, honoring those who lost their lives while serving their country. The Veterans and Auxiliary Supporters from Riverside’s VFW Post 3020 will carry out Honor Guard duties as they have done many times before.

Courier-Post, 04 Jul 1994, p40

The Riverton Military & Veterans Affairs Committee is pleased to add the name of Larry N. VanHoy, a Riverton resident who served as a member of the US Air Force, to the Honor Roll.

The War Memorial sports a new Riverton sign provided by the Riverton Fire Department. The Riverton Improvement Association purchased and planted the flowers at the Memorial and in front of the businesses at Broad & Main Sts. Public Works Manager Keith Adams and his crew delivered the mulch and cleaned up afterward.

Riverton’s War Memorial c.1946

Built in 1945/46 to commemorate Riverton’s service men and women who served in World War Two, the monument now serves to honor any present or former resident of the Borough who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America during a time of war.

Located in the heart of the Borough, the well-maintained monument serves as a sobering reminder that the sacrifice of generations of veterans secured the freedom and way of life we enjoy today.

The complete list of veterans’ names appears in this Word document. Riverton War Memorial Veterans’ Names.

For more information about how to add a name of an eligible veteran to the Honor Roll, click here.

Garden Tour May 19/20


What: Garden Tour 2023
When: Friday, May 19, 2023, from 3 to 8 PM and Saturday, May 20, 2023, from 10 AM to 4 PM
Where: THE PORCH CLUB, Fourth & Howard Streets, Riverton, NJ 08077 and gardens in Riverton, Palmyra, and Cinnaminson, NJ
How Much: $20, Tour only; $30, Tour plus lunch SOLD OUT

This year’s tour will include nine beautiful private gardens in Riverton, Palmyra, and Cinnaminson in all their late-spring glory. The gardens are all new, none repeated from the previous tour. Come to the Porch Club for lunch on Saturday from 11 AM to 2 PM. LUNCH IS SOLD OUT.

Also included are vendors of garden-related items, displays by local environmental organizations, raffle baskets, plant and book sales, and a boutique of garden items for sale. The Porch Club is a registered 501(c)3 organization, and all proceeds help support their charitable initiatives and clubhouse.

A quilt, done by The Porch Club’s Stitchery Committee as a group project, will be raffled off at the end of the day on Saturday, along with two other baskets of garden and picnic items. Raffle tickets are available at The Porch Club.

OK, our PSA is over. Now, you know that we have to sneak in a bit of history.

Courier-Post, 11 May 1992, p37

Porch Club member Pat Brunker informs us that folks have been saving the dates for the Porch Club’s bi-annual Garden Tour since at least the 1980s. However, a search of area newspapers and our own archive of local newspapers and the Gaslight News has yielded little except small notices on community calendar pages.

From Pat:
The first info I have is from the tour on May 6, 1982. I scanned the program; see below. Shirley Brown provided the luncheon in 1982 – she won the Betty Crocker Cook Off award in her time. I think she won a stove… It’s our big fundraiser every two years. Proceeds support our building maintenance and charitable giving. The Garden Tour was started by the Club’s Garden Department by Chairmen Toby Hunn and Louise Vaughan.

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Pat’s clues about that early Garden Tour set me off to search further. It turns out that Shirley Brown (the woman who provided the lunch in 1982) was a Porch Club president (1978), a dedicated community volunteer, and a longtime Calvary Church member.

Courier-Post, 31 Jan 1967, p15

An avid amateur cook, the mother of six was a regional finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1967. It’s not often that a Cordon Bleu-trained cook prepares your lunch.

In 1991, she was honored at a dinner for 20-year volunteers of FISH, a church-affiliated group that supplied medical and emergency transportation for area elderly residents.

Do you see how the smallest thread of a recollection can unravel a trove of forgotten history?

What else can we add to this chronicle of how the Garden Tour started?


Calling all Riverton residents who served in the Armed Forces in time of war

Last week former US Marine, former Riverton Mayor, and current HSR President Bill Brown Jr. personally called upon local business owners and asked that they help get out the word by displaying a flyer. Results were super-gratifying and so typical of the support that our local businesses deliver.

The Early Bird, 519 Howard

The Riverton Military & Veterans Affairs Committee is renewing its efforts to identify Riverton residents who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America during a time of war and honor them during a special Memorial Day ceremony.

Juanita’s Mexican Cuisine, 517 Howard

Since 1946, the Riverton War Memorial and Honor Roll, listing names of veterans who served in the US Armed Forces during World War Two, has stood on Main Street.

Guido’s Barber Shop, 600 Main

This 2013 post describes how a simple change to the eligibility requirement resulted in adding dozens of veterans’ names from post-WWII conflicts being added to the Honor Roll.

Tillie’s Trinkets and Treasures, 304 Broad

The Riverton’s Veterans Affairs Committee seeks to add more names to the memorial and is also interested in obtaining service photos of veterans, old military uniforms, medals, and military equipment.

If you landed on this page, you don’t need to find a store with a flyer.

To verify eligibility, you must present a copy of your DD-214 (discharge papers) or a copy of your military orders to Bill Brown at 215-805-7866 or

Thank you to Borough Hall, Nicole at The Early Bird, Juanita’s Mexican Cuisine, Guido’s Barbershop, Patty at Tillie’s Trinkets and Treasures, the Post Office, and Al at Milanese Pizza for helping us get out this important message. -JMc

We’d like to add another Riverton artist…

…to our Local Artists Page but can’t make out the name. Any clue who it is?

Marion Laffey’s RYC painting signature

The owner thinks that the artist used to live in Riverton. Any suggestions? Please let us know.

We profile seventeen people on our Local Artists Page. Please send a photo of other works by these artists or suggest someone that we missed to -JMc

Added 4/18/2023: After enlisting the services of people who visit our website and Facebook, we have made a start on establishing a page for William Munro, an artist who resided in Riverton. As an added bonus, we learned that his wife was also an accomplished fine artist.

Added 4/30/2023: We have a huge update to the story about William Munro on our Local Artist page written by Edith Munro. It’s an endearing story of what it was like to grow up in a family that nurtured and encouraged creative endeavors in 1960s Riverton, and it serves as a sweet tribute to the lives of her parents, Bill and Jeanne Munro. Click here to be directed.

ISO a company that can supply woven throws like this

Marion Laffey’s Riverton throw

Saw this at Marion Laffey’s place, and now I think I really want one.

When these were around years ago, the New Leaf had them for sale – maybe Victorian Thymes, too. I guess the market got saturated, and demand dwindled. Now I can’t find them anywhere.

The design is not printed but is a woven jacquard pattern. Am I correct that some other towns like Palmyra and Moorestown had their versions? If you have one, please send a photo.

Please advise if you know of a vendor that can make these.

Maybe it’s time to update the layout.

What scenes do you imagine that today’s Rivertonians would respond to? Please respond in the spot below. -JMc

Alternatively, you can just send an email to

HSR Board Member Tyler Putman contributes an update to an old story

Tyler Putman, reenactor, March 2023

Introduction: We are fortunate to have Public Historian Tyler Putman, Senior Manager of Gallery Interpretation at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, serving as one of our Board Members. Last year Tyler interviewed Anna Delaney, a state forensic scientist, and he wrote the following update to our story from seven years ago about the finding of human remains in the 600 block of Bank Avenue. -JMc, Editor

An Update on the Human Remains Found at 603 Bank Avenue

by Tyler Putman, Ph.D.

A swimming pool excavation in October 2014 brought news cameras to Riverton when workers unexpectedly uncovered skeletal human remains.

In 2015, Paul W. Schopp, Honorary Emeritus HSR Board Member, documented the find and provided a history of other unexpected Riverton discoveries and of the Bank Avenue property in question in a series of articles for the Gaslight News (Part 1Part 2, and Part 3) in 2015.

After discovery, forensic anthropologists with the State Police excavated the Bank Avenue remains and currently hold them in safe and climate-controlled storage. A recent conversation with Anna Delaney, Forensic Anthropologist with the New Jersey State Police/Office of Forensic Science, Forensic Anthropology Unit, provided an update on this Riverton discovery.

While the news media stories in 2014 reported the discovery of a single human skeleton, the remains are actually even more interesting. Buried in a small, deep hole, the skeletal fragments are “commingled,” meaning the bones of multiple individuals were interred together, possibly at some time well after the individuals had died and perhaps when a number of pre-existed graves were excavated and the remains reburied.

The pit contained the fragmentary remains of at least five individuals, including four adults and one child of perhaps 2-4 years old, based on dentition (teeth). Two cranial fragments exhibited female characteristics, and none of the teeth are of the “shovel-shape” form that is often indicative of Native American ancestry, suggesting that the remains date to sometime after the arrival of non-Native peoples in the region.

The deteriorated state of the bones suggests that they had been buried for quite some time. There were no artifacts interred with the remains that would help suggest when they were buried in the way that even small things – buttons, pins, wood fragments – can sometimes do with burials.

Given the fragmentary nature of the remains, it was difficult for the scientists involved in the initial analysis to make further conclusions. Future study may reveal more information.

In the grip of nostalgia… again. We look back at MaryLou’s

An older generation recalls where they were when JFK was shot.

For the children of Riverton, the day of infamy was in the summer of 1985 when they heard that MaryLou’s Candy Store was closing forever after twenty-seven years!

MaryLou Day, 06-30-1985

When Mary Odorizzi retired, Emily Barth coordinated a sweet surprise party at Memorial Park for the beloved Candy Lady attended by scores of children and some adults who had patronized the store when they were kids — and they brought their kids.

MaryLous, Courier-Post, 07 Jul 1985, p17

In a news article published then, Mary observed that she opened in 1958 with 85 kinds of penny candy. By 1985, her stock of penny candy had dwindled to ten varieties, and candy bars had increased to 35 cents.

When Mary passed twelve years later, the news headline read, “Town mourns death of its ‘Candy Lady.'”

In her own way, the mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, Sacred Heart Church member, and Riverton Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary member memorialized in her 1997 BCT obituary certainly made another page in Riverton’s history book.

Several readers have expressed interest in wanting to know if we had any information or photos of the store back in the day, but until Marion Laffey, Mary Odorizzi’s daughter, called me recently, our archive was lacking.

Word had trickled down from their friends on social media to Marion’s daughters, Theresa Laffey Englehart and Eileen Laffey Conville, that we were seeking material on MaryLou’s.

I visited Marion Laffey, who let me borrow the following photos and news clippings. A bonus was seeing her two daughters, whom I had taught at Riverton School.

What was your go-to confection back in your day? Please leave your memory of Mary Odorizzi and the store she lovingly oversaw for 27 years. -JMc

Just adding some comments here that readers sent in by email or Facebook.

4/13/2023 from Chuck C Cattell: Piggy banks, change stashes, sofas and every square inch of my house was searched for every possible penny we could locate for each memorable visit to Marylou’s.

4/13/2023 from Susan Sheets Smith: Any time my friend Cyndee and I had change, we would run to MaryLous for a bag of penny candy, at lunchtime or after school. My mother loved the candy cigarettes and us kids would always buy her a whole (big) box for Mothers Day or her Birthday. MaryLou also sold Stockings, hankies and some greeting cards, I loved walking around her shop looking at everything. Great childhood memories ❤

4/14/2023 from Susan Dechnik: Loved going to Mary Lou’s with my kids and seeing my Riverton students there carefully making their choices and putting each piece in the little bowl. Next step was to count the pieces and pay. MaryLou would coach them and expect them to know how to count the coins!
Yes, and I taught granddaughter, Theresa!

4/14/2023 from Elana Lotman Fariss: Sometimes I had spare change, or a few extra pennies, and my immediate thought was what I could get if I went to MaryLou’s shop. I’d get so excited because with just a few pennies, I could satisfy my sweet tooth. My favorite was the red Swedish fish. I also liked squirrel nut zippers, and Maryjanes. I think that the MaryLou shop was a favorite for every kid that I knew from Riverton.

4/14/2023 from Susan Esworthy: I remember going to MaryLou’s for candy at lunch break buying penny candy. It was the highlight of my day!

4/15/2023 from Doug Wargny: I would scour the sofa for change and spent almost every penny on strawberry shoestring licorice. It was on the counter in front of Marylou in a long box and you could pick them one at a time for a penny each. They had a tiny bit of white powdered confection of sorts to keep them from sticking together. Man I miss those days!

4/16/2023 from Lauren Perkins: Favorite memory is after coming home for lunch. My brother and I could rush to Mary Lou’s with the quarters our mom gave us and get our candy. We always had to agree to get her a couple caramel creams and bring them to her after school.

To this day, whenever I see caramel creams, I think of my little brown bag of candy with them in it from Mary Lou’s.

Her store was part of a great childhood!

4/17/2023 from Julie Dziak: What a wonderful tribute to our beautiful Grandmother, the sweetest woman ever ❤.

Ain’t We Got Fun? The 2023 History Writing Prize Question

Huge crowd at the Yacht Club, c1920s (colorized)

Ain’t We Got Fun?: The 2023 History Writing Prize Question


Scene on the boardwalk and Beach, Stone Harbor, NJ Aug 15, 1927
The New Era, Aug 27, 1920, p2

The Historical Society of Riverton (HSR) is awarding a cash prize of $500 for a 1500 word essay that answers a question about Riverton’s history. The winning entry will be featured on Noteworthy essays that do not win the primary prize may also be published on the HSR’s website. Essays will follow MLA guidelines for published works (see below).

The Question: What did Rivertonians do for fun 100 years ago?

Our gang on the 600 block of Irish Row in Riverton, c. 1928
Pictured are (left to right) three McDermott brothers—Bill, Paul, and Carl— also, Les and Joe Yearly, and Ducky Spear
Golf c1926, RoR frame 40600 screenshot

In your essay, discuss the ways people entertained themselves in the 1920s. How and with whom did they socialize? Where did they go to have fun when they weren’t working? What social, political, economic, and technological changes were happening nationally and in this region that affected what people did for fun in the 1920s?

Where to start?

Keating’s Drugstore  c1924
McAllister Victrola ad, The New Era, Nov 29, 1923, p2

Our website includes many photographs and articles on Riverton’s history that may help inform and illustrate your essay. The HSR has many issues of historic Riverton-area newspapers digitized and available online at:

Who may submit an essay?

Broadway Palace ad, The New Era, Jan 18, 1923, p5
Broad Street, Palmyra, NJ

Any high school student living in Riverton may apply.


1925 Palmyra Riverton Twilight League
Charles A. Wright, ferry starts, Courier-Post, 03 May 1922, p18

Essays and questions related to the prize should be submitted to HSR’s Membership Chair, Heather Huffnagle, at, (856) 505-7087.

Review Committee

Riverton Golf Club
Riverton Country Club dance ticket

The Review Committee will be comprised of HSR Board Members and professionals among its membership with education and/or experience in historical research, education, and writing.


Entries will be accepted until May 15th. Awardees will be contacted on May 31st.

General Guidelines for Submissions

Yacht Club illustration from Reddy by Mary Biddle Fitler, 1929

MLA Paper Format General Guidelines
• Use standard 8.5 x 11 white paper.
• Number your pages.
• 1-inch margins (all sides)
• Readable font
• Double-spaced
• Indent new paragraphs.
• Only one space between sentences

MLA cover page includes a few things like:
• Title of your paper
• Your name
• Your email
• Your school’s name

What should an MLA paper look like?
An MLA paper has a standard look for every page, including 1-inch margins, a readable font, a running header including your last name and page number, and author-page in-text citations. At the end of your paper, you will include a works cited with a list of all the sources used in the paper.

Click here for PDF files: History Writing Prize, 2023 and Guidelines,HSR Essay Contest 

The HSR’s History Writing Prize debuted last year and was won by Palmyra High School senior Ben Small. The winner of this year’s award will be recognized in a ceremony in Riverton Park on the 4th of July.