Save the date – 4 Historic Churches Wed. Sept. 13th, 2023 6:00 to 8:30 pm

From 6:00 to 7:00 pm an historic overview of the 4 churches will be held at Christ Church Parish Hall, 4th and Howard Streets)

7:00-8:30 all churches will be open for on-site informational visits

Family friendly! Free admission, donations to the churches and HSR encouraged.

Want more information? Just email

All three Riverton restaurants … Early Bird, Juanita’s, and Milanese … will be open for an early dinner before the event. The new home décor shop Home Off Main will also be open at 523 Howard Street.

A joint project of Historical Society of Riverton and the Economic Development Committee of the Riverton Borough Council

John McCormick’s Retirement

Hi everyone –

Mike Solin here. It’s hard to believe this is actually the first time I’ve posted! If you’ve been reading this website for a while, you might have caught mention of me throughout the years. Though Mr. McCormick has been posting this entire time, I’ve handled the technical aspects – silently keeping things running in the background, but also, doing my best to implement any site improvements that Mr. McC has requested.

I want to direct your attention to the latest edition of the Gaslight News, which Mr. McC published at the end of June. Amongst other items, it contains a farewell from outgoing HSR President Bill Brown, a recap of the HSR Awards Night, and an article about Ada E. Price coauthored by Patricia Smith Solin (my Mom!).

With so much packed into a single issue, you could be forgiven for not scrolling towards the end. However, you’d miss Mr. McC’s announcement that he’s retiring from the Historical Society of Riverton as of July 1st, 2023. His bio now reads:

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

I’ve been very, very lucky to have such a partnership with Mr. McCormick. At Riverton Public School, he was my 5th grade teacher, tag teaming with Mrs. Dechnik. Between the two of them, they covered nearly every subject. During my 7th and 8th grade years, Mr. McC moved up to the third floor, and taught History. Mr. McCormick helped me develop an appreciation for both science and history, and Mrs. McCormick fostered my love for technology in the computer lab.

Years later, in spring 2010, both HSR President Gerald Weaber and Gaslight News editor Mr. McC reached out to my Mom for help with a revamp of the website. Having already built the first website for Riverton Public School, she had recently rebuilt the Riverton Free Library’s website, and they were seeking her experience. Here’s a fun email from that era:

From: John McCormick
Date: Mon, May 17, 2010 at 11:24 AM
To: Pat Solin

Hi, Pat

I hand delivered most of the Gaslight News issues myself. I’m glad that I won’t have to think about that again until August. Gerald has been so busy with his new job that I seldom see him. I jogged his memory about the website last night when I emailed him asking if he’d be able to post the pdf file of the most recent issue. I was just perusing the HSR website and thinking what a huge undertaking it will be to re-do that job. I am available whenever things quiet down for you. Say when, and I will come with mass quantities of files.


“Huge undertaking,” eh? He wasn’t kidding.

Months later, on the Fourth of July, Mr. McC stopped by my parents’ house to discuss the website redesign project. Realizing the complexity of the website that the Historical Society required, I volunteered to build something brand new with WordPress, a free and open source publishing tool. We spent months on the first iteration – uploading old Gaslight News back issues, building photo galleries, and more. By January, we’d have a fully redesigned website. In February 2011, we held a meeting to discuss the new website at the Riverton Public School library.

In addition to the many functional improvements associated with the new website, we brought the cost of running everything from $99/year (what Homestead charged) to $0/year (thanks to the continued generosity of DreamHost). At that time, we also launched our Facebook page, which has helped keep us connected with the community at large.

Of course, Mr. McC hasn’t been “sitting around, eating bonbons” (as he’d put it) since this website launched in 2011. Besides writing 587 posts, he’s also produced numerous editions of the Gaslight News, scanned too many postcards and photos to count, designed and printed custom mugs, and so much more to support Riverton history.

I’m immensely proud to have worked with Mr. McCormick on this “huge undertaking” for the past 13 years. Please join me in expressing appreciation for all that he’s done for the Historical Society of Riverton for nearly two decades!

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.