South Jersey Delaware River bridges vital to commuters and commerce

Burlington, NJ Bridge, Bristol, PA – opened 1931 (not the Tpke bridge)

We see how much we take the Delaware River bridges for granted when in January, discovery of a crack in a supporting truss for the Delaware River-Turnpike Toll Bridge connecting Bristol Township and Burlington Township caused the span’s shutdown.

Tacony – Palmyra Bridge Over Delaware River, Philadelphia, PA

Out of service indefinitely now, the closure has created commuting problems and exacted a toll (pun intended) on local businesses.

Those hardships and the measures taken to solve the problem are better described elsewhere.

Few today can recall a time when there was no Benjamin Franklin Bridge (completed 1926), Betsy Ross (1976), Walt Whitman (completed 1957), or our own Tacony-Palmyra (opened 1929).

Delaware River Bridge 1926 invitation engraving detail – donated by Mrs. Sheila Hines

Two recent donations, as well as some previously published items found here, might help us better appreciate these remarkable achievements in engineering and construction.

Benjamin Franklin Bridge postcard – donated by Mr. Carl McDermott

Pop-quiz question, kids. How did folks around here get to Philly before 1926?

Honk if you remember.

Or, if you don’t, see the feature article in the September 2013 Gaslight News.

“When the well is dry we know the value of water” – Benjamin Franklin




The Daniel Campbell Preservation Awards Night, slated for Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 7 pm, at the Porch Club, will be devoted to recognizing achievements in historic preservation.

“Why bold red letters?” you ask. Simply because someone on the staff did not mention in the January newsletter where the meeting was to be. See more info on the meeting in this previous post.

Newsletter Staff

See how your neighbors planned and completed some serious home improvements. You might take away some renovation tips with a side order of history.

This Old House could learn a thing or two from Riverton.




Check out how Mike Cattell and his crew rehabilitated Palmyra’s neglected bowling alley and transformed it into Batter’s Alley.


And wait until you see the cake L&M made. – JMc

Palmyra Bowling Lanes convert to Batter’s Alley

The New Era, Sep 4, 1930, p7.
The batter is always up at Batter’s Alley

Speaking of Then and Now… Mike Cattell and company have turned the old Palmyra Bowling Alleys into Batter’s Alley, a recreational and training facility. In planning a presentation on how the transformation took place, we could use some help with how to describe and illustrate the building’s former incarnations.

The bowling lanes opened in 1930, closed sometime around 2004, and in between, had several owners and managers, and operated first as Palmyra Bowling Alleys, later in the 70s and 80s as Celebrity Lanes, and finally as Executive Lanes.

With all the folks who patronized the lanes over more than eight decades, someone must have some photos of the place in their family photo album. Please contact us below or call 609-220-8040.


Ray Banks Barbershop Then & Now

Ray Banks Barbershop, c.1940

We get a lot of requests for information about the history of a property, who lived there when, and business records, but every once in a while someone just drops something in our laps.

The latest to do so is Rich Rosmando, nephew of Ray Banks, who checked in on our CONTACT TAB and offered to send in some pix of his uncle’s barbershop circa 1940. Rich explains:

Orange Blossom, 2-1-2017

Thanks for the pics of Klipple’s and the ad. Awesome. My Uncle Ray died in 1981 and probably closed the shop in the mid-late 70’s as I remember.  I can see in the Klipple’s pictures that his shop is gone, and by the cars it looks like the 80’s. 

My Uncle Ray’s Barber Shop is now the auxiliary dining room at the “Orange Blossom.” I snapped a picture this morning (Feb. 1) from the same vantage point as the photo from the 40’s.  I only know the picture was pre-1949 because that’s when my uncle went with three chairs. 

Business directory, The New Era, Nov. 2, 1939

Jill and Hank Croft supplied the long sought after photos of Klipple’s Bakery to which Rich refers for a November post.

According to reader requests, still needed are vintage photos of Palmyra Bowling Alley, the Mary Lou Shop, and the Sharon Shop.

The November 1939 New Era ad for Ray Banks Barber that Rich mentions came from our Newspaper Digitalization Project. This larger full-page 1939 business directory shows dozens of local establishments from that era. Can you see the one that still stands today, almost eight decades later?

Add to the conversation here any time. What else would you like to see on these pages? – JMc

HSR Preservation Awards Night 7pm Feb. 16 at the Porch Club

Join us as five recipients of the 2017 Dan Campbell Preservation Award explain their home improvement projects with a Power Point presentation and we recognize the service of long-time Board members Aggie Kennedy and Elsie Showell Waters.

Then and Now screenshots

We will also feature Michael Cattell’s intriguing area video display “Then and Now” which morphs vintage photos of local landmarks into present-day views of the same places.

Then, enjoy refreshment while viewing the HSR’s classic 1926 video, “The Romance of Riverton.” Copies will be available for $20.

It promises to be a most entertaining evening!  Hope to see you there.

Phyllis Rodgers, President

Riverton’s most familiar icon captured in extraordinary photo

But not by me.

In case you are not one of her 100 Instagram followers, just had to show you Deb Lengyel’s perfect pic of Riverton Yacht Club captured during last week’s snowfall. Thanks, Deb!

First real snow in tiny town. #delawareriver #shotoniphone7

A photo posted by fly2pluto (@fly2pluto) on

Taken with an iPhone7, no less.

I am scrapping my digital camera in the morning. – JMc