Another piece of the puzzle that is Riverton history

Ok, so it’s not a confirmation that a founder’s home was a station on the Underground Railroad, but it’s a piece, nonetheless.

HSR members Jill and Hank Croft recently gave us another example of things that aren’t there anymore in these undated photos of Klipple’s Fine Pastries.

The Klipple family’s business was in the building at Broad and Main now occupied by Orange Blossom Bakery and Cafe.

I had only mentioned in a September blog post that a photo of that bakery was one requested by our web visitors.

This excerpt from Betty Hahle’s booklet that accompanied the Romance of Riverton, a 1926 film turned to DVD in 1989, explains earlier incarnations of that spot.

1911 Riverton Sanborn map detail
1911 Riverton Sanborn map detail

The small building on the corner (formerly Klipple’s, now Zena’s Patisserie ) was erected by the Gas Company in 1900, became the Railway Express office (in 1926 moved to 1st floor Price Bldg.) and is seen here very briefly as a butcher/grocery store. Although directories identify it as Riverton Market House at this time, it was occupied very briefly by Ludlow’s Market, and identified as such by Paul Gibbon who, as a boy, made deliveries for Ludlow.

Carl McDermott, 2013
Carl McDermott, 2013

In this 2011 blog post Carl McDermott recalled how his mother was a telephone operator in the upper story of the attached structure to the left of Klipple’s (toward Palmyra).

If a reader can date the photos, please advise.

We are still seeking any photos of the Sharon Shop when it was a favorite lunch spot for Riverton students and teachers, among others. Wishing has worked so far. – JMc

Autumn arrives and we relive past Arbor Days

Highway & Thomas 10-31-16
Highway & Thomas 10-31-16

tree-city-logo1Arbor Day falls on the last Friday of April every year.

Riverton earned its Tree City designation over 27 years ago on Arbor Day, April 28, 1989, as the result of efforts by some dedicated tree huggers.

Then Shade Tree Commission Member Nancy Washington explained why.

To get the circumference, of course, for the tree census.

Commission Chair Mr. Barry Emens and his fellow commissioners had previously measured each one of them and noted their condition as part of the task of applying to the Arbor Day Foundation for the Tree City title.

In marking the occasion that day, Mr. Emens addressed a group of k-5th grade Riverton School students on the Christ Episcopal Church lawn.

Mr. Emens enthusiastically listed some benefits of trees:

  • Trees give us a good feeling inside.
  • They keep the noise down.
  • They keep your parents’ fuel bills down.
  • They increase property values.

The kids cheered when Emens announced they would each get a white pine seedling.

Music teacher Naomi Horn directed students in singing “Arbor Day, Sweet Arbor Day” to the tune of “O Christmas Tree.”

Raise your hand, kids, if you witnessed an Arbor Day tree planting. Or maybe you planted one of those tree seedlings.

One of our town’s trees has even been to outer space.

Well, at least its seed was in space.

During another Arbor Day assembly in 2011, the borough received a white pine grown from seeds flown aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997. Riverton’s new tree was on display in a planter in the school gymnasium before being planted in Riverton Memorial Park along the edge of the Pompeston Creek.

According to the Board’s current Tree Census, Riverton Borough has 2474 trees lining the streets & parks; that’s almost as many trees as its people population of 2,772 (2013). Over the years, Emens and company have succeeded in making Riverton home to a staggering 151 diverse tree species!

Show some love and give thanks for our own Tree City and the members of Riverton’s Shade Tree Board, still vigorously chaired by Barry Emens for over 30 years, by taking a photo and posting it to FB or Instagram, or send in an attachment to

Did you know the creation of Riverton’s Shade Tree Commission followed the presentation of an illustrated lecture (probably in 1908) at the Porch Club? See a description of the Porch Club’s early years in this July 1911 issue of Suburban Life, and about that 1908 lecture in this excerpt from Jersey City’s Evening Journal, May 4, 1908, p5.

IT'S A TITLE MADE IN THE SHADE, Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)April 29, 1989, Page B3
Added 10-13-16: A great friend of the HSR, Gary Weart, contributes over 30 autumn pix, but you need to visit Facebook to see them.

Family pix of 1913 suffrage trek to DC may have a local connection

Luncheon at Haines Pond, Steel Family Album

In 2015, Nancy and Bill Steel’s family photo album yielded early 20th century images of what may have been Riverton’s first swimming pool, H. McIlvain Biddle’s iceboat plying the Delaware River, a bi-wing seaplane afloat near Riverton Yacht Club, and a group of apparent suffragists lunching at Haine’s Pond, Burlington Pike.

Visual treats, indeed, despite the lack of accompanying notes that might have given them more context.

In a year in which a woman is the first female presidential nominee of a major party, the enigmatic photos of crowds walking, singing, and bearing “VOTES FOR WOMEN” signs at several Burlington County locales warrant revisiting the Steel photo album.

Col. Ida Kraft speaking at Bridgeboro
Col. Ida Kraft speaking at Bridgeboro, Steel Family Album

Peculiarly referred to in captions as Col. Ida Kraft (spelling varied), Corp. Martha Kaltschkin, and Gen. Rosalie Jones, the women and their “Pilgrim Army” had piqued my interest.

Mrs. J. Hardy Stubbs, Miss Ida Craft, Miss Rosalie Jones
Mrs. J. Hardy Stubbs, Miss Ida Craft, Miss Rosalie Jones, Library of Congress

Some newspaper research and many Google hits later led me to this Library of Congress photo documenting 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.

excerpt: Mob buffets hikers now in Philadelphia, New York Times, Feb. 17, 1913
excerpt: Mob buffets hikers now in Philadelphia, New York Times, Feb. 17, 1913

Newspaper accounts confirmed that the hikers did indeed pass through these parts.

Turns out, the Steel family album documents an important chapter in the long fight for women’s right to vote.

What would those pioneers think of today’s developments in the Election of 2016?

(Philadelphia) Sunday Evening Times, Feb. 16, 1913
(Philadelphia) Sunday Evening Times, Feb. 16, 1913

Dubbed “The Army of the Hudson” by newspapers, General Jones considered the movement of women to become enfranchised of as much importance to this country as General Washington’s celebrated crossing of the Delaware. Jones and her “pilgrims” marched 230 miles in 17 days to the nation’s capital.

Women Open Headquarters, January 11, 1913 Denver Post, p. 8
Women Open Headquarters, January 11, 1913 Denver Post, p. 8

Meanwhile, Alice Paul, the acclaimed 28-year-old Quaker suffragist from nearby Mt. Laurel, had been in Washington working for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) since December 1912.

1280px-official_program_-_woman_suffrage_procession_march_3_1913_-_cropAs chair of NAWSA’s Congressional Committee she strategized, raised funds, organized, and maximized publicity for the first suffragist parade in Washington, D.C., known officially as the Woman Suffrage Procession.

Woman's Journal and Suffrage News, March 8, 1913
Woman’s Journal and Suffrage News, March 8, 1913
Inez Milholland Boissevain preparing to lead the March 3, 1913
Inez Milholland Boissevain preparing to lead the March 3, 1913 suffrage parade

Imagine a parade of 8,000 marchers with 26 floats with costumed suffragists, bands, speakers, and mounted brigades led by Inez Milholland, acknowledged as “the most beautiful suffragist, dressed in Greek robes and astride a white horse as a half-million spectators clogged the Pennsylvania Avenue route to the White House.

March 7, 1913, Philadelphia Inquirer, p.5

The nation observed the spectacle through countless newspaper accounts.

A later scandal asserting a lack of response by police to the violence perpetrated by suffrage opponents in the crowd fueled tremendous sympathetic publicity.

However, it was not to be until 1920 that the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing no state could deny the right to vote on the basis of sex.

Some circumstantial evidence suggests that perhaps at least some Rivertonians took part in the women’s suffrage events of 1913.

  • Alice Paul graduated from Swarthmore College in 1905, a Quaker institution co-founded by her grandfather, Judge William Parry, an important figure in local history. Accounts inform us that, at the parade, she marched with a contingent of Swarthmore friends.
  • Many members of prominent Riverton families had attended Swarthmore including Beulah and Susanna Parry, Hetty Coale Lippincott, Martha McIlvain Biddle, Clara Atlee, Ruth Hunt Conrow, Abigail Mary Ellsworth, Esther Fisher Holmes, Anna Lippincott Miller, and Elisabeth Somers Williams.
  • Alice Paul’s father, William Mickel Paul, was vice-president of the Riverton and Palmyra Water Company and owned stock in the Tacony-Palmya Ferry Company.
  • Perhaps not coincidentally, the record also shows that Riverton clubwomen such as Mary Van Meter Grice, Mrs. D. Henry Wright, Mary L. Thomas, Amelia Coale, Edith Coale, and others were involved in the women’s movement.
  • In 1904, Helen Lippincott, Swarthmore alum and Porch Club Charter Member, called for the formation of a Suffrage Section, or department, at the Porch Club.  Later she served as a delegate to the November 1912 National Convention of the Women’s Suffrage Association at which Alice Paul was an alternate delegate.

Suffice it to say that the timing and locations allow for the possibility that at least some Riverton women helped advance the cause of women’s rights.

Gen. Rosalie Jones and gospel wagon Miss Alice Freeman in background, Steel Family Album
Gen. Rosalie Jones and gospel wagon Miss Alice Freeman in background, Steel Family Album

Here’s my question: Are the pictures in the Steel album because an ancestor or acquaintance participated in the march? Further, is there a deeper connection to Riverton history somehow?

The captions do not say and the Mr. and Mrs. Steel do not know.

We could use a hand with this one, Readers. – JMc

Added 11-4-2016: See a more detailed version of this story in the November issue of the Gaslight News.

Chrome postcards fast becoming antiques

Richards Restaurant-Caterer, Rt 130
Richards Restaurant-Caterer, Rt 130
Aerial View of Hoeganaes Sponge Iron Corp. 1963
Aerial View of Hoeganaes Sponge Iron Corp. 1963

We have several old postcards that are over a century old, the accepted age of something that is an antique. However, these modern chrome postcards are getting up there.

Just posted these four scans; three are in the Riverton Businesses, Organizations, Public Buildings and one is in the Palmyra, NJ Images section.

Hoeganaes Sponge Iron Corp. is the only postcard that has a date.

Can a car buff date that Caddy at Roger Wilco or any of the autos at Richard’s Restaurant? The phone number for Roger Wilco listed on the back is RIverton 9-1400. – JMc

Farmers and Mechanics Bank
Farmers and Mechanics Bank
Roger Wilco Liquor Store, Palmyra, NJ
Roger Wilco Liquor Store, Palmyra, NJ

Rev. 10/2/16
Roger Prichard: Thanks! Richards Restaurant is today’s Whistler’s Inn, I’m guessing?


Whistlers Inn August 2016
Whistlers Inn, Google Maps,  August 2016

Thanks to HSR member Roger Prichard for his suggestion on our Facebook page that Richards Restaurant is today Whistlers Inn. Although enlarged and transformed, it sure looks like it. My mouth is watering for Whistlers’ Smoke House BBQ ribs. The postcard shows a Route 130, Riverton address, and Whistlers gives a 901 Route 130 Cinnaminson address.


Colin Cattell contributes his eBay auction win to the Society

Every artifact, photo, ephemera item, old newspaper clipping, etc. we get helps add another stitch to the fabric of Riverton history.

colin-cattell-slide-back-animationRecently, Colin Cattell, a Palmyra High School student who loves history, saw this single Kodachrome slide up for auction on eBay, bought it, then went to Phyllis Rodgers’ home and gave it to her for the Society. The HSR President reports that Colin was so proud of his find and would not take anything for it.

Classy, Colin.

Collective Federal Savings fire 1979 scanned photo-edited slide image

According to the date stamp on the cardboard slide mount, photographer Bucky Reeves documented this 1979 Riverton fire that destroyed the Collective Federal Savings building that once stood next to Freddy’s Shoe Repair on Main Street.

008_1979-07-27 Huge Riverton Fire Trenton Evening Times p4
008_1979-07-27 Huge Riverton Fire Trenton Evening Times p4

This dovetails nicely with a number of photos posted here in 2011 from Mary Yearly Flanagan’s family album. Among them was this newspaper clipping that summarized the event.

Can a firefighter or resident add any further context for that incident?

You may know Colin’s dad, Mike Cattell, as the author of those cool Then and Now videos that show a vintage image of a local landmark morphing into a modern scene, matching sizes and perspectives perfectly.

Here’s one he did for Riverton and Palmyra.

Find Mike’s Riverside clip here.

We thank Colin for his generous donation of this slide and appreciate the fresh perspective his dad, Mike Cattell has given to some vintage local images. – JMc

9/24/2016: Friend of the Society, John Hartnett, sends in these 3 pix of the 1979 fire mentioned above. He writes, “This photo was taken by George Mathis who, at the time, lived in the apartment above what is now Milanese Pizza.”

!979 Riverton fire photo by George Mathis
1979 Riverton fire
photo by George Mathis
!979 Riverton fire photo by George Mathis
1979 Riverton fire
photo by George Mathis
!979 Riverton fire photo by George Mathis
1979 Riverton fire
photo by George Mathis

My history homework is never done

new-images-web-2016-collage-copyAfter teaching for 38 years I still have homework; it’s just different.

If you are here, you see the result of one summer project – refreshing the website template. Still tweaking some bits, but mostly done now.

Among the self-imposed homework assignments I kept putting off was completing the captioning for a few hundred images on the IMAGES page.

Finished now, I moved on to something more diverting – posting a few dozen new… make that old, but new to the website… images in several categories.

Some were donated, others bought online, and for a few auctions that eluded me, I could only capture the eBay auction image.

Just choose the IMAGES tab and browse.

short-history-of-camden-central-airport-pt-ii-snapshotPhilatelists among you will not want to miss a new chapter in A Short History of Camden’s Central Airport in Postcards and First Day Covers, 1929 – 1940, posted in the Camden Images section in 2013.

Scroll way to the bottom and find  Part II: A Short History of Camden’s Central Airport in Postcards and First Day Covers, 1929 – 1940.

Those almost forgotten vintage postcards, family photos, and old newspaper clippings tucked away in attics and drawers still are the best sources for images about the Riverton of yesteryear.

If you have something you can find, please donate it or send us a scan. Recent requests for pictures include Klipple’s Bakery, The Sharon Shop, Woolston’s EssoPalmyra’s bowling alleyMillside Farms, and others. – JMc

PS: Did you see the latest Gaslight News?

Riverton’s WWI Gold Star Boys

WWI Gold Star Boys pix

When World War I erupted in Europe in 1914, the majority of Americans favored neutrality. As German aggression developed, the U.S. later joined its allies –Britain, France, and Russia–on April 6, 1917, to fight in World War I.

As the anniversary of the US entry into the conflict approaches, the HSR is preparing a series of articles to honor the service of its armed forces, as well as to depict what life was like in Riverton during the war.

We are asking for your help.  While we have access to online resources, we are hoping that you, our readers, may have photos that can be scanned, stories that we can share, and letters from those Rivertonians who were dedicated to the cause during those years.

Can you provide any additional information, especially on Riverton’s Gold Star Boys?

(In order of their passing)

  • Raymond T. McGivney
  • Thomas Roberts Reath
  • Raymond Pratt
  • Walter Kennedy
  • Charles Kelly
  • James A. Bradley

Riverton fire engines past and present

RFCo Engine #10. by Gary R. Weart
RFCo Engine #10. by Gary R. Weart

As Riverton’s recent July Fourth Parade attests, it’s not a parade without the fire engines and the fire fighters.

Riverton Children's Parade c.1950's
Riverton Children’s Parade c.1950’s

The purpose of this post is to consolidate some information and images from past posts on this subject.

Former Mayor Bruce Gunn provided the c.1950s Kodachrome slide for this fire engine (possibly Palmyra’s) from more than a half century earlier.

This past June, I posted this scan of a photo I bought on eBay to our Facebook page, and asked if anyone could identify the men. The only description for the small undated photo appears at the bottom – “192 American LaFrance, 750 GPM type 75, Riverton, NJ.”

American LaFrance, Riverton, NJ
American LaFrance, Riverton, NJ

A few days later, we received this response from Cara Vandy:

My mother, Mary Vandy, who was born in Riverton, says the driver is her uncle, Earnest “Ernie” Bishop and the other man is Jesse Perkins.

So now, can we assume that the photo was taken during a July Fourth Parade, or was it taken elsewhere, as was the case with this other photo I bought in 2013?

1956 photo 1926 RFD ALF 750 pumper in AC
1956 photo 1926 RFD ALF 750 pumper in AC

The seller’s description reads: “A very nice old 1956  original B & W 4 by 6 inch photo of the Riverton NJ Fire Dept  1926 ALF 750 pumper. This photo was taken by me at the  NJ State Firemen’s Parade in 1956 Atlantic City.”

If a reader can identify the driver, please advise.

See other fire apparatus photos which appeared in February and November 2011 posts.

courtesy of Mike Nowacki, Jersey Shore Photography
image courtesy of Mike Nowacki, Jersey Shore Photography

We come full-circle to Riverton Borough’s newest fire apparatus, Riverton, NJ Engine 2412, a 2015 Pierce Impel 2000/750, which made its Children’s Parade debut in 2015.

Read more of the history of Riverton Fire Company, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2015, in a series of articles written by former Town Historian Betty B. Hahle reprinted from July Fourth Program booklets in this June 2013 post.

Let this post serve as an invitation to readers to exhibit more photos of RFCo apparatus, old or new.

RFC1927ALF, chief's auto DGusky
RFC1927ALF and chief’s auto by DGusky

David Gusky, an avid model builder uses such photos to create incredibly detailed miniature duplicates of Riverton Fire Company vehicles.

And just maybe someone else will recognize an ancestor or acquaintance in this tribute to Riverton Fire Company equipment and fire fighters.

For more information, visit the RFCo webpage and Facebook page– JMc

The HSR sends a heartfelt Thank-You to Carlos Rogers

L-R. John McCormick, Carlos Rogers, Phyllis Rodgers
L-R. John McCormick, Carlos Rogers, Phyllis Rodgers

HSR President Phyllis Rodgers and newsletter editor John McCormick verrry gratefully accepted a check this afternoon on behalf of the Society from Carlos Rogers, creator of the Historic Riverton Criterium  – our biggest contribution ever!

THANK YOU, Carlos!!
THANK YOU, Carlos!!

This evening, Phyllis messaged her fellow Board members the awesome news:

Hello Board Members,
Carlos just brought a check for his Criterium Donation—-$4,000!!!
Many thanks to Carlos for all his efforts.
The HSR is so lucky. Life is good in Riverton!
Best to all,

Yes, it is good, and Carlos Rogers is one citizen who helps makes this town the great hometown it is.

Carlos Rogers directs the action at the 6th Annual HRCriterium
Carlos Rogers directs the action at the 6th Annual HRCriterium

He has devoted hundreds of hours over the past year to stage and promote the biggest and best Historic Riverton Criterium yet, drawing competitors and spectators from all over.

The Historical Society of Riverton is pleased to have again supported the event this year and truly honored to benefit from Criterium proceeds.

Thank you, Carlos, for your tireless efforts in continuing to bring such an exciting cycling event to our town. Your incredible generosity toward the many individuals and local organizations you have given to since its inception has just been a bonus! – JMc