Gary Weart’s genuine affection for Riverton and its Glorious Fourth of July celebration is apparent in this next collection of photos. The moments captured in these phenomenal photos moved 365 people to view them on Facebook.
Asked what photo gear he used to produce these memorable images, Gary replied, ” IPhone XI. Have discarded the ole Nikon.”
That settles it – I might as well throw away my Sony Alpha. I can’t top these.
You can hear the exuberance in his remarks that accompanied Gary’s visual love letter to Riverton.
July 3 3:49pm Highlights from the 124th Children’s Parade in Riverton, NJ. The weather cooperated and we had temperatures that were perfectly mild and even some unexpected sunshine. The South Philadelphia String Band is always a highlight and they were in full costume! Love the Scottish bagpipers, from the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band, too! Lots of runners before the parade and the route was lined with many folks happy to see the return of the festivities in “Main Street USA!” Enjoy! Happy Birthday America!
Do you remember the apprehension we felt recently as dire weather forecasts threatened to cancel Riverton’s Independence Day celebrations for the second year in a row?
Listen to the hope in Gart Weart’s voice as he pleas for some divine intervention so that he can see the parade and festivities for which he has made another annual pilgrimage from his home in South Carolina.
His photos reached 624 people and the post elicited 67 likes, loves, and wows.
July 2, 2021 9:47pm Waited out the heavy thunderstorm under a golf umbrella down by the Riverton Yacht Club. Got a little wet. However, just had that feeling that once the rain pushed through about sunset that the aftermath just might be special. Perseverance, patience, and a little previous experience paid off along with a little divine intervention indeed. Be still my humble and grateful heart. Now if we can just get that parade and all the other 4th of July festivities in with a little cooperation from Mother Nature! Stay tuned from “Main Street USA” in Riverton, NJ. Enjoy.
Gary Weart, a longtime friend of the HSR and a photographer with an uncommon perspective has again posted a gallery of photos on Facebook of pre-Independence Day Riverton and Palmyra sights.
Simply because FB posts can be hard to find again, we include Gary’s remarks and a screenshot showing some of the comments of other viewers. Reaching 444 people and earning 47 likes and loves, this is about as viral as we get here.
Thank you, Gary!
July 2, 2021 6:41pm This morning’s walk along the Delaware River from Riverton to Palmyra. A few things caught my eye and brought back memories. More decorations for the 4th of July in these two special patriotic communities at the doorstep of liberty. What a blessing to have my formative years in this cradle of America’s birth and seeds of our independence. Salute!
I have compared historical research to assembling pieces of a puzzle in these pages before.
Admittedly, it is a not-so-original comparison, but the metaphor works here since this is an investigation in which we worked out some of the edges of the topic after Bill and Nancy Steel allowed us to scan some remarkable photos from their family album.
That started us investigating the 1913 suffrage hike from New York City which culminated in an immense suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. timed to coincide with newly elected President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration.
Using clues from the photo captions led to further delving into the Library of Congress website, our own online collection of old hometown newspapers, Porch Club records, and online newspaper archives to fill in some more pieces.
Our interest in returning to this puzzle was recently renewed when Jane Swersey, an independent scholar who is writing a paper on the topic, supplied us with this critical puzzle piece – a letter to suffragist Alice Paul from her brother, Parry Paul.
It confirms that the route of the suffrage march did indeed pass through Riverton!
It is another tantalizing bit of circumstantial evidence that suggests the possibility that some Riverton women may have been involved in the march.
We will have to put this puzzle aside for a while and hope that some more pieces turn up. Perhaps another letter, a diary, a newspaper article, or some other such primary source will yet mention one of the names of Riverton women of that era below in connection with the 1913 Suffrage March.
Mrs. Rachel Foster Avery
Miss Annette Campbell
Miss Amelia Coale
Miss Edith Coale
Mrs. E. S. Cole
Mrs. Catherine B. Lippincott
Miss Helen Lippincott
Miss Elizabeth Lippincott
Mrs. Mary W. Lippincott
Miss Beulah Parry
Miss Susanna Parry
Mrs. Mary L. Thomas
Mrs. E. R. H. VanValin
Miss Elizabeth Williams
Mrs. D. Henry Wright
Q: When does Riverton’s Glorious Fourth not happen on July 4th?
A: When the Fourth falls on a Sunday.
In case anyone is flying in to experience Riverton’s “Glorious Fourth,” this year Riverton’s festivities and parade for the Fourth of July will be held on Saturday the 3rd because the fourth falls on Sunday.
Since the first Children’s Parade in 1897, July 4th has fallen on a Sunday in the following years: 1897, 1909, 1915, 1920, 1926, 1937, 1943, 1948, 1954, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1982, 1993, 1999, 2004, 2010, 2021.
The next time this happens will be in 2027.
That is not to say that every observance of July Fourth that fell on a Sunday was always moved to Saturday the 3rd.
In 1897, the very first Children’s Parade was held on Monday, July 5.
This 1937 Program mentions that the celebrations also fell on the 5th.
The ’43 festivities also occurred on a Monday.
We determined this by checking available primary sources such as newspapers and old July Fourth Programs.
Obviously, information is essential to the work that we do.
HSR Board Member Bill McDermott recently attended the estate sale for Mr. Ed Hartmann where he thought he saw a “stack” of New Eras from the 1950s and ’60s. When he went back later to inquire about them, they were nowhere to be found.
We are reeeealllly hoping that someone bought them and they were not discarded. Having such primary sources is an invaluable resource in reconstructing events from the Borough’s past.
If you can help locate the papers or know of any others that are not part of our digital archive, please contact us.
If the current heatwave has you wishing that you could spend a couple of weeks at the Jersey Shore, then imagine a time when $12 could book you a week’s stay in a furnished room at the elegant oceanfront Harbor Inn in Stone Harbor.
A 1919 ad for Stone Harbor in the Philadelphia Inquirer boasted, “Twenty degrees cooler than Philadelphia.”
At the beginning of the 20th century, Stone Harbor offered many options for accommodations.
As “New Stone Harbor” developed and took shape, a demand arose for hotels and apartment houses. They helped create a resort community that continues to this day being called “The Seashore At Its Best.”
Stone Harbor’s first permanent structure was the Abbottsford Inn, which opened for business on July 4, 1892, at 83rd Street facing and close to the ocean. New ownership renamed it Harbor Inn.
The early postcard view above shows the new Harbor Inn in all its splendor hosting many guests and perhaps hotel staff assembled for this striking photo opportunity. Open all the year, this hotel was under the management of Neiman and Eisenhuth, formerly of the Clarendon at Atlantic City.
Unfortunately, by the latter 1920s, the Harbor Inn had fallen into a state of neglect and disrepair. This postcard view illustrates its derelict state prior to its being demolished. Unlike the previous image, this view shows the hotel without its distinctive cupola-like roof over the 4th-floor open-air observation deck and the usual well-maintained grounds have been neglected.
On August 1, 1912, a new hotel named the Shelter Haven Hotel opened and it would become the largest building in Stone Harbor.
This building was located at 96th Street and Third Avenue and overlooked the Shelter Haven Basin. This 5-story structure was a popular place to stay and would become the so-called hub of the town due to its central location on the boulevard that led directly into the downtown business district.
Offering 60 elegant guest rooms, Shelter Haven Hotel provided many amenities including a dining room, a barbershop, a pool room, a cafe, a roof garden with splendid views, and a private dock and wharf with excursion boats operating daily service to nearby Anglesea in North Wildwood. Over the years and until its demolition in 1960, ownership had changed as many as twelve times.
The hotel is prominent in the background of this postcard photo of Shelter Haven Harbor taken at 99th Street in what one would call the Back Bay area.
Located conveniently at 96th Street and built on the boardwalk that was also constructed in 1914, The Casino provided a variety of entertainment.
However that idea was soon scrapped and the building underwent a transformation to a hotel, then to apartments, and finally to a rooming house. Research indicates that this building was destroyed in the devastating 1962 Nor’easter storm.
Ocean Hotel, Stone Harbor, NJ
Ocean Front Apartments, Stone Harbor, NJ
The popular Alba Apartments were located directly across the boardwalk from the Municipal Pier that housed some small shops and a theatre.
Alba Apartments and Municipal Pier Theater, Stone Harbor, NJ
Alba Apartments, Stone Harbour, NJ
The color postcard above shows people leisurely strolling the boardwalk with the Alba Apartments (misspelled as “Abla“) in the background on the left and the majestic Municipal Pier extending out into the ocean. The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 was responsible for destroying both of these buildings as well as the entire 1.5-mile-long boardwalk. The boardwalk was never rebuilt.
Sunset Drive from 96th Street, Stone Harbor, NJ
Channel Apartments, Stone Harbor, NJ
Both images above depict the Channel Apartments located on Sunset Drive at 94th Street overlooking the Great Channel. This building opened in 1913 offered six fully furnished suites, each with five rooms and a bath. Notice the large front and rear porches.
The Dunbar was located on Corinthian Drive overlooking the Stone Harbor Yacht Basin. While originally built to house patients with medical conditions requiring nursing care, this building later served as a boarding house and an apartment building. Note again the town water tower seen behind and to the left of this building in this c1914 photo.
All we know about this structure is what the caption on the lower portion of this advertising postcard states: “This Apartment House for Rent or Sale: all conveniences. See Larsen Contracting Co., Stone Harbor, N.J”.
This c1920 postcard shows several persons who possibly have just arrived in two snazzy automobiles at the seashore for a stay at the two-story Clapper Apartments.
Located at 107th Street and Sunset Drive, the two-story Wister Apartment building is quite representative of apartment houses during this early period of development.
By comparison, this rather large house was known as the Seamen & Letzkus Apartments, which were conveniently located near the center of Stone Harbor with the prominent water tower nearby in the background. Due to the risk of both bay and ocean flooding on the island, it was built on pilings.
Yet another of the popular apartment houses built in Stone Harbor, The Fairview was also elevated above the ground, and it had two wrap-around open porches for enjoying those ocean breezes.
The first postcard below shows the Duval Hotel. Over time, like many early buildings in Stone Harbor, it would serve many different purposes.
Duval Hotel, Stone Harbor, NJ
Turpins Apartments, Stone Harbor, NJ
The Duval later converted to apartments bearing the name Turpins Apartments. Eventually, in 1939 the building changed over to become a well-known ice cream shop known as Springer’s Ice Cream Shop which is still in existence today. It has become a tradition among vacationers both young and old. The little Real Estate office shown attests to the popularity and growth of the housing market and rental properties in Stone Harbor at that time.
Located at 108th Street and Third Avenue, Ye Olde Tea House was a popular gathering place that offered customers a quiet and comfortable place to sit and relax with an indoor sun-parlor. It might well be considered the counterpart to today’s Starbucks coffee houses.
An American flag flies atop this three-story apartment building. Shown in this c1930 postcard, Stone Harbor Apartments was located on the Great Channel overlooking the inland waterway and the mainland.
The Big Stick, located at 97th Street and Second Avenue, was renamed Haslet’s Hotel.
Still later in the 1940s, it became known as the Sherwood House.
The proprietors advertised “all outside guest rooms and central to all activities”.
Haslet’s Hotel, Stone Harbor, NJ
Sherwood House, Stone Harbor, NJ
Finally, these last three postcards show typical apartment housing in early Stone Harbor. The first shows the Van Thuyne Apartments and Garages located at 172-74 85th Street. The Bihlmaier was situated on Third Avenue and Eighty-eighth Street and The Colonial was on Great Channel and Sunset Drive near One-Hundredth Street.
Van Thuyne Apartments, Stone Harbor, NJ
Bihlmaier and Colonial, Stone Harbor, NJ
The Bihlmaier, Stone Harbor, NJ
Incidentally, according to a CPI Inflation Calculator, $12 for that week’s stay in 1910 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $340.04 today, an increase of $328.04 over 111 years. If only one could get a place for that!
Stone Harbor: The Early Years, a 1998 publication of The Stone Harbor Archival Advisory Committee introduces the community’s beginning stages of construction thus:
But where and how did it all begin? Like any good plan, it started on paper with streets and avenues laid out in a rectangular grid pattern and the in-between spaces identified with block and lot identification numbers. …In addition to a hotel, there were only four cottages in existence as their development began. Stone Harbor today is seen just as they planned it with numbered avenues running north and south and numbered streets, east and west.
These surviving examples of early 20th-century souvenir picture postcards display many of the fine examples of Stone Harbor’s architecture as the seashore resort began its earliest stage of development.
An artist’s rendition of “New Stone Harbor” appeared on this early postcard image and it is not all that far removed from what would become a reality as Stone Harbor slowly started to evolve. Printed in Germany, it shows the planned Harbor Inn and impressive large homes and invites its recipient to receive details about the development “Without incurring any obligation.”
However, some of the structures illustrated here never actually came into existence, notably a lighthouse on the bayside, a sizable amusement pier jutting out into the ocean, as well as a large Ferris wheel also facing the ocean.
Stone Harbor’s first permanent structure was the Harbor Inn built in 1892 at 83rd Street facing and close to the ocean. Originally called the Hotel Abottsford Inn, new ownership renamed it Harbor Inn.
The first exterior view shows the “Harbor Inn, New Stone Harbor” with a tall water pumping windmill that also included a water tower for storing water.
The caption on the second postcard states: “Harbor Inn at Stone Harbor. This popular hostelry is run by the South Jersey Realty Company builder of Stone Harbor, and here guests of the company are entertained on the Company’s Free Inspection Trips. It is open all year.”
“The Roomy Parlor” seen in this interior view of Harbor Inn features a flaring horn gramophone, numerous sitting and rocking chairs, a fireplace, floor lamps and ceiling gas lamps for lighting, and a writing desk.
“The Dining Room” shows several ceiling-hung gas lamps and numerous fully-set tables seating 4 persons, each with tablecloths ready for dining.
A cluster of seven “handsome cottages” constructed in the late 1890s between 80th and 83rd Streets formed the original resort. With the construction of roads, curbs, and sidewalks, along with water and sewer lines, and a sewage disposal system the “New Stone Harbor” started to develop in earnest.
Hydraulic dredges like this created as many as seven dredged basins that enabled even more development and established prime lots for more housing.
Hydrangea, the beachfront villa of Vice-President Reese Risley on First Avenue is the main feature of each of the postcards below.
New Stone Harbor in the Making
Hydrangea, the beachfront villa of Vice-President Reese Risley
First Avenue, Stone Harbor, NJ
In the first postcard above, sewer pipes lined up along First Avenue await placement.
In the second, an enormous flag pole stands in front of the Risley beachfront villa with its wrap-around first-floor screened porch and two main sets of elevated stairways. Another tall pole verifies that street lighting and electricity were among the modern conveniences planned.
A family strolls along First Avenue in this splendid colorized third postcard view of the Risley home.
The next eight views illustrate the beginning and early stages of cottage construction.
New Stone Harbor in the Making
One of the recently erected cottages
matchless beach front for bathing and automobiling
One caption boasts, “Stone Harbor has a matchless beach front for bathing and automobiling. The strand (beach) is 270 feet between high and low water.”
Stone Harbor real estate development was undergoing a building boom during its “One-hundred-cottage year.” In six months Stone Harbor had doubled in size and value.
The next two postcards attest to the broad streets and handsome cottages built at the First Avenue and 88th Street area.
Three vintage automobiles flank the c1920s view of the completed Jeurgens and Herbert Cottages shown here in color. These two grand homes have become notable landmarks with their broad ascending staircases and distinctive shingle-style siding as well as wrap-around awninged porches with turrets.
The message side assures its readers, “All these cottage lots have been given Absolutely Free to purchasers of Stone Harbor Bonds.”
This view of “Residence on First Avenue” exemplifies what was termed a “summer cottage” at that time. It features a dramatic elevated front stairway, a wraparound porch, wooden shingled siding, and a “widow’s walk” on the third floor.
The South Jersey Realty Company prepared advertising postcards with printed information given on the message side to promote the development.
The message side of this postcard showing a just-completed residence at New Stone Harbor located at First Avenue and 91st Street and reads:
Mr. Hall’s Residence – This house just completed at Stone Harbor, occupies 4 lots fronting on First Ave. One block from the beach. The four lots fully improved with sewers, water, cement sidewalks and curbing, on a broad Macadamized Avenue, cost the owner not one dollar. They were given to him on the offer we make to you. Sign and send this card for particulars of the free investors trip.
Another residence just completed
Residence and garage on First Avenue
This Mediterranean-style home had running water, gas, and electricity. A third card shows a separate garage has been added to the property.
“A glimpse of Stone Harbor from Sunset Drive” declares “This drive follows the contour of Great Channel and Stone Harbor’s seven yacht basins, and passes through the Great Channel bungalow colony for over a mile.” Note a shack with two words painted in white on the roof advertising “LUNCH, ICE CREAM” in the upper quarter of this image. The Choir House in the upper left corner of this card appears in the next two postcards.
The caption on this one reads “Next to the beach, Stone Harbor’s greatest charm is her Great Channel (Inland Waterway) and the Great Channel bungalow colony spread artistically along its banks for over a mile. The first house observed is the bungalow of the choir boys of St. Mary’s Church, Ardmore, Pa. The flying flags denote the $20,000 Stone Harbor Yacht Club.”
“Choir House, Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, N. J.” captures a close-up view in full color of this classic Dutch Colonial house, which was one of the earliest houses built on the Great Channel.
The following seven postcards showcase more homes built during the early years.
This c1914 image depicts Mr. Ernest N. Ross’ cozy little double front bungalow on the State Island Waterway or the Great Channel between South Basin and Snug Harbor and facing Sunset Drive near 89th Street. This house was built in 1909.
Next is the “Home of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Brown,” a classic bungalow featuring a large overhanging gabled roof, wood siding in two different colors, and a small porch on the front dormer with a screened-in porch below.
The next five fine homes built along First Avenue faced the ocean.
First looking south and then views looking northward, the cottage in the foreground was located at First Avenue and 90th Street and belonged to G. Franklin Davis of Philadelphia. The description on the back of one of these cards states: “All lots sold under Company’s guarantee of full street improvements including granolithic sidewalks, cement curb, graveled streets, with sewer and water pipes laid in front of each lot free of charge to the purchaser.” Street lighting, as well as electricity, served these fine homes. Research indicates that by 1913 almost 100 new homes were constructed under the free lot bond plan mentioned earlier.
As we continue southward on First Avenue these next three scenes show more building with the addition of the large double-peaked or gabled home built by Philadelphia attorney Charles A. Farnum. Note in two of these images the previously mentioned and distinctive Mediterranean style residence of Mr. Hall.
G. Franklin Davis cottage, Stone Harbor, NJ
First Avenue looking south, Stone Harbor, NJ
First Avenue, Stone Harbor, NJ
Finally, another three-story home is shown with a colonnade with four large columns supporting a third-story porch with several windows overlooking the ocean. An awninged enclosed porch graces the side of this grand home.
The Bittner family residence located at the corner of First Avenue and 88th Street is in this case a charming example of a modified Dutch Colonial consisting of a pair of prominent gables and an expansive wraparound porch with awnings.
Next is the residence and two-car garage of John Kienzle located at 88th and Second Avenue. Mr. Kienzle served as the director of the Stone Harbor Terminal Railroad and the First National Bank of Stone Harbor.
This large house with additions also served as the Bunting and Bunting Real Estate Office situated on 96th Street. , One of the most highly visible features of Stone Harbor, an early water tower stands behind the truck parked in front of the building. The large display sign directly behind the parked truck says “Want a House?”
Originally built by the Horace Campbells, this was the beach house of the well-known Seng family. Eugene Seng served as a councilman as well as the mayor of Stone Harbor during the 1920s.
“The Home by The-Sea, First Avenue” features what would become one of the most popular types of houses built in Stone Harbor, namely a Dutch Colonial style with an enclosed porch.
This twin bungalow was called the “Lohengrin” and “Parsifal” model. Today we might refer to this as a “double” that housed two families under one roof. The building has a long open porch with two separate stairways and entrances for access and two chimneys, one located at each side. Offered by N. M. Rennyson of Norristown, Pa., this type house was advertised as having: “Seven rooms and bath, all modern conveniences, terms reasonable, central location to Yacht Club, Railroad Stations, across street from Snug Harbor Basin.”
The caption on the message side of this next postcard states: “Mr. Dorr E. Newton’s new cottage on Ninety-fifth street, near Sunset Drive, Stone Harbor, N. J. A very popular type of cottage at ‘The Wonder City by the Sea’.”
Camden lawyer Newton B. T. Roney originally owned this California-style shingled bungalow located at the Stone Harbor Yacht Basin at the 104th Street bridge.
One of Stone Harbor’s founding brothers, David Risley who served as secretary and treasurer of the South Jersey Realty Company, owned this Channel Bungalow. This beautiful house enjoyed a prime location overlooking both the Great Channel and the Snug Harbor Yacht Basin at 92nd Street across from the Yacht Club.
This “General View of Stone Harbor, N.J.” clearly shows how more homes are being built in this growing seashore resort. The prominent water tower appears again in the background.
In the beginning, the Risley brothers catered mainly to the well-heeled and wealthy clients of Philadelphia who could afford to build large and expensive homes. Astute businessmen, the Risley Brothers soon recognized a need for a more modest form of housing and by 1914 this new business concept led to what became known as the Bungalow Colony, consisting of small bungalows on small lots arranged on two narrow alleyway or “court” streets.
These two courts were located at the southern end of the town between 108th Street and 111th Street and were named Bower and Weber Courts. Shortly thereafter and due to their immense popularity and affordability, a third alleyway of bungalows was created bearing the name Stone Court.
Built during 1914-1915, South Jersey Realty Company auctioned off these relatively basic 12-by-24-foot bungalows in 1917. A religious organization known as the Stonemen’s Fellowship purchased all of these cottages and decided to offer them for rent to like-minded individuals by forming the Stonemen’s Vacation Club. Was this arrangement a precursor to today’s time-share programs?
These fully furnished cottages rented for $4 to $8 weekly during the summer months or for 50 cents nightly. By 1920, these bungalows were selling for around $300 each. The Great Depression of the 1930s hit real estate very hard causing the Borough of Stone Harbor to foreclose on these properties.
Still standing today, most of these little houses have undergone significant second-story add-ons along with new porches and decks as well as other major improvements and renovations. Many of the bungalows have also been winterized for year-round use. As one source aptly put it “…the quaint charm and timeless appeal of the humble cottages of the Bungalow Colony have helped to define and even reflect the history of the seashore resort known as Stone Harbor.”
These eleven chronologically arranged postcards show various views of Stone Harbor’s unique residential Bungalow Colony.
Stone Harbor offered many different types of houses during the development’s early years. Did you see a house that you know in this article?
I publish this urgent plea to the Universe in the hope that the person who won the eBay auction in 2010 for this incredible photograph of cyclists participating in the Bicycle Century Run organized by the Riverton Athletic Association in 1894 will see this request and send us a high-resolution scan for our files.
While helping to promote the return of the Historic Riverton Criterium on FaceBook recently, I posted the Century Run photo. I explained to a couple of readers who asked about it that it was a screen capture I had made from eBay in 2010. I lost out on the auction to a higher bidder and this fuzzy low-resolution image was all I could get.
Some readers may not realize that of the thousands of images displayed on our website, the Historical Society of Riverton owns only a small fraction of them. Most came from the collections of generous people who either provided scans or lent the items so we could scan them.
See our December 2018 post, “And the Universe answers… again“ for a list of other times that The Law of Attraction has turned up some amazing images of old Riverton that we had all but given up on finding.
Somebody out there knows where this original photo is. Please help get this message to them.