Fancy a swim to Philly? II

Our previous post, “Fancy a swim to Philly?” described how Riverton youngsters proved their mettle back in the day by swimming across the Delaware River.

Maybe a knowledgeable sailor can report on today’s state of the Delaware River compared to a century ago, but swimming across now is probably ill-advised for several reasons.

Our dear former HSR Board member, Elsie Showell Waters, now passed, related the following story to Casey Foedisch who interviewed the Grand Marshal for the July Fourth Parade in 2013:

Elsie Showell Waters, 2013 Riverton July 4 Parade Marshal

When Elsie was twelve, she swam across the Delaware River, a rite of passage that all the kids simply “had to do.” Elsie learned to swim at age five in the river, and her love of swimming continued into her time at Palmyra High School. There, she was a member of the Swim Team, eventually becoming captain, as two of her sisters had been before her. She later taught swimming to children with cerebral palsy at Medford Leas, and spent many years with Bay Knight Ruff, another cousin, giving swim lessons to Riverton children. Elsie estimates that the two of them taught a third of the town to swim!

Elsie was truly remarkable and is missed by all.

Fancy a swim to Philly?

The New Era, Aug 12, 1921, p2


Do you fancy yourself a good swimmer? Imagine a time a full century ago and more when swimming across the Delaware River was a right of passage for Riverton youngsters.

Here are some more clippings from that era.


A new gallery of Ed Hartmann’s paintings


Back in March 2021, we introduced a tribute to local artists page. We just updated the section for Edward John Hartmann with 16 more examples of his work pulled from eBay auction pages.  Please contact us if you recognize the setting or subject of a painting or if you can account for the different styles and ways that paintings were signed.

July 3 at 3:49pm pix from Gary Weart

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!


July 2 at 9:47pm pix from Gary Weart

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.

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July 2 at 6:41pm pix from Gary Weart

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!

We do love a puzzle… even incomplete ones

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.

Two of the photos, in particular, Luncheon at Haines Pond and Col. Ida Kraft speaking at Bridgeboro, showed nearby locations and suggested that maybe some of Riverton’s very own members of the Porch Club’s Suffrage Committee might have participated in the event.

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 2016 website post Family pix of 1913 suffrage trek to DC may have a local connection details the progress made on this still incomplete puzzle.

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.

National Woman's Party Papers at Sewall-Belmont House (now the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality Center. It's dated February 20, 1913 and found on microfilm reel 1
1913 letter to Alice Paul from 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

Lisa Hendrickson of Mt. Laurel’s Alice Paul Institute provided the above list of Riverton women for our 2019 post, Suffrage memorabilia needed for educational project.

Our hope is that some descendants of the women or another researcher will stumble across this post and provide another piece of this intriguing puzzle.

More minutiae from the Historical Society and help solve a mystery

sign near the Porch Club, June 30, 2021

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.

Palmyra Weekly News, July 3, 1897, p2

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.



1937 July 4th program pg1, courtesy of Mary Flanagan
1937 July 4th program inside

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.

Our digital newspaper archive helps somewhat, but for many years, few issues after 1949 are available.

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.


Stone Harbor Apartments and Hotels: The Early Years

by Harlan B. Radford, Jr.

$12 weekly Harbor Inn, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 25 Jun 1910, page 14

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.”

Harbor Inn, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.

Harbor Inn, First Avenue, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.

Shelter Haven Hotel, Stone Harbor, NJ

On August 1, 1912, a new hotel named the Shelter Haven Hotel opened and it would become the largest building in Stone Harbor.



Shelter Haven Hotel, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.

Shelter Haven Hotel, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.

Shelter Haven Harbor, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.


Dedicating boardwalk and Casino, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.

The popular Alba Apartments were located directly across the boardwalk from the Municipal Pier that housed some small shops and a theatre.

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.

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.

Dunbar, Corinthian Drive, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.

Apartment House for Sale, Larsen Contracting, Stone Harbor, NJ

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”.


Clapper Apartment, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.


Wister Apartments, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.


Seamen and Letzkus Apartments, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.

The Fairview, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.

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.

Ye Olde Tea House, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.

Stone Harbor Apartments, Stone Harbor, NJ

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.


Hotel Big Stick, Stone Harbor, NJ

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”.

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.

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!

Also see Stone Harbor Cottages and Bungalows – The Early Years