And the Universe answers… again

Regular readers here know that we here at the Historical Society do not have all the answers and regularly ask for help in finding information and images about Riverton’s past.

Bob Foster’s Facebook post on Klipple’s Bakery

The stars aligned (or maybe it was this year’s post-solstice full moon) and I just happened to see on Facebook a post with a color photo of Klipple’s Bakery.

I immediately shared to our Facebook page and was astonished to see the visions of cream-filled donuts, sugar cookies, twists, onion and snowflake rolls, and butter cakes that the mere sight of that picture activated in folks who commented on it, some of whom live far away.

Crowdsourcing Local History

As folks piled on with sweet reveries, recollections, comments, and questions, others pitched in. Marilyn Hahle recalled, “It was the best bakery. It was always part of Riverton Schools walking trips. Mr. Klipple would show us how everything was made then give out donuts.”

Michael Robinson connected the history dots thus, “Cream doughnuts back then — but as Zena’s and now Orange Blossom Cafe, it offers meals as well as pastry and serves as a center of community.”

Discovering that old color photo of Klipple’s Bakery on Bob Foster‘s Facebook post yesterday reminds me of other times our readers and members have contributed another piece of Riverton’s puzzling history.

Law of Attraction at work?

My quest for a photo of the Nellie Bly express train coincided with the opening of the Nellie Bly Olde Tyme Ice Cream Parlour in 2005. An investigative reporter named Nellie Bly who, in 1890, famously completed a trip around the world in 72 days was the inspiration for the Pennsylvania Railroad’s fast train that once shuttled passengers to and from New York City and Atlantic City.

I wished out loud during a presentation in 2007, and later implored readers of the May 2009 Gaslight News asking for someone to find a photo of the train.

According to news reports, the speedy commute came at the expense of occasional fires started by embers discharged from the steam locomotive’s chimney and as well as taking out scores of pedestrians, motorists, the odd milk truck, etc. that had lost their battles with Nellie over railroad real estate.

Nellie Bly Express leaving Riverton

I had all but given up finding a photo of the legendary train that still somehow stirred nostalgic memories for longtime residents when one appeared through the kindness of Riverton residents Don and Pam Deitz. (See Sept 2009 GN)

old undated cabinet card that Lorraine Gambone rescued from curbside trash collection. Initially mis-identified as the Evans Building until fact-checked by Paul W. Schopp.

Some, like Lorraine Gambone, literally trash-picked something that would have been lost otherwise.

Over time, the wish list of photos of other things that aren’t there anymore grew to include: the Lyceum, the Lawn House, the Sharon Shop, Dreer’s Nursery, the old bicycle race track, Klipple’s Bakery, the Roberts Store, the Evans Building, and many others.

What do you wish to see on these pages in 2019?

If Egypt can continue to give up more discoveries of mummies from time to time, then I can hope that there are still more photos stored in albums, scrapbooks, attics, and junk drawers that will surface when the time is right. is a collaboration

Pages of this website are full of relics of our collective past that contributors thought to share with the Society.

Indeed, without such contributions by Katie Washington HickeyEd GilmoreNancy and Bill SteelKathi GidenHarlan RadfordGeorge BishopBruce Gunn, John Criqui, Ginny Wierski, Jill and Hank Croft, Mary Flanagan, Colin Cattell, Mary Honeyford, and dozens of others, this content seen here would be a small fraction of what it is.

As mentioned in a 2016 post, “Every artifact, photo, ephemera item, old newspaper clipping, etc. we get helps add another stitch to the fabric of Riverton history.”

As illustrated by this recent find of a bakery shop photo, Riverton history is not just about early days, Quaker founders and riverbank villas. It is also a very personal collection of memories that somehow resurface as we take stock at another year’s end.

Thank you also to all who have helped sustain the preservation efforts of the Society with your membership in 2018. Look for the next newsletter later in January.



Scary times? It could be worse.

Imagine the emotions of the townsfolk of Riverton, Palmyra, and Cinnaminson as they gathered in the Parish House of Christ Church at this December 17, 1941 meeting, ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The purpose of the meeting was to prepare the community for an air raid drill to be held the next night at 11:30 pm.

In September, 1944, The New Era, Riverton’s hometown newspaper published a list of persons serving in the conflict that still had a year to go.

WWII Honor Roll Veterans List from The New Era, Sept 14, 1944

I see the names of Carl McDermott and his two brothers about a third down the second column.

McDermott Bros L-R – Bill, Paul Carl

THANK YOU for your service, Carl!

Who do you know in this list? (PDF here)

screen capture from an issue in our online newspaper collection

The New Era of August 16, 1945 issue records the jubilant celebration over the war’s conclusion and gave a sober reminder of the supreme sacrifice given by those “so that this Nation might live.”

We sincerely thank Kate Washington Hickey for gifting the Society the air raid fliers seen above as well as many other items, some of which we will show here another time.

postcard scan courtesy of Mrs. Betty Hahle

We are proud to be caretakers of Riverton history and invite you to join the conversation with your recollections and remarks. This archive is made richer every time another part of local history emerges and readers can simply learn from it or even contribute more to it.

While we enjoy getting likes and comments on Facebook, your thoughts are more likely to become part of the record here. If you think the history of our community is work keeping, scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on the link – Leave a comment.  – JMc


Yesterday’s news rediscovered informs that the idiom “yesterday’s news” means that the topic is something that everyone already knows about and is no longer interested in.

Let’s see.

Who or what will you find mentioned in these gazettes of bygone times?

Folks near and far often check our online resources for information on Riverton. Thanks to resident Ed Gilmore, we just added 16 more old out-of-print local newspapers to our archive.

Click on links below to see each issue.

The New Era, Jan. 30, 1936

The New Era, May 21, 1936

The New Era, June 11, 1936

The New Era, Dec. 29, 1938

The Palmyra News, Jan. 23, 1948

The New Era, Feb. 5. 1948

The New Era, March 3, 1949

The New Era, Jan. 31, 1957

The New Era, Feb. 7, 1957

The New Era, Oct. 26, 1961

The New Era, July 1, 1965

The New Era, July 8, 1965

The New Era, Feb. 3, 1966

The New Era, June 2, 1966

The New Era, Aug. 18, 1966

The New Era, Feb. 9, 1967

All but five of the 16 issues are ones which were not part of the Society’s original effort HSR President Betty B. Hahle started to save the vintage periodicals back in 1985-1986.

She’s looking for yesteryear’s news, BCT, Feb. 7, 1985, pg 9

Despite some missing and incomplete issues, the project preserved on microfilm over 130 issues of four local newspapers (1894-1949) –  The New Era (Riverton), The Palmyra Record, The Riverton Journal, and The Weekly News (Palmyra).  

Years later, in 2012, the RFL Association and the Historical Society of Riverton worked to complete the digitization of these four locally historic newspapers so they could be made available on the web at See them on the Historical Newspapers page.

As anyone who has browsed the files here can attest, the image quality varies and the search feature can miss a lot. These issues just posted are clearer and can be more accurately searched. 

Mr. Gilmore gave these issues to us a couple of years ago, but we did not have a way to scan the pages. I used an iPhone app called Adobe Scan to turn the pages into searchable PDFs.

While not up to the quality that we might have gotten from a $2,500 roll scanner, the Adobe Scan app produced a decent image and the text recognition is far more accurate than what we achieved on the microfilm to digital transfer. 

Well, anyway, I’m excited. 

The folks at explain how it’s done here.

While they cannot compete with a scanner’s reproduction, mobile phone apps such as this or similar ones do open up the possibility of persons collaborating across the miles to add to the historical record.

If anyone else out there in cyberspace has an old hometown newspaper or other document to share, please send us a PDF we can post.  -JMc

HSR’s Museum for a Day event piggy-backs with RFL Candlelight House Tour Sat. Dec. 1

Almost ready – countdown to Saturday

During Riverton Free Library’s 2018 Riverton Candlelight House Tour this Saturday 4-9pm, be sure to make a stop at the Library where the Historical Society will offer a glimpse at some seldom seen items in our collection.

The Historical Society’s Museum-for-a-Day, last seen in 2016, returns with displays on the first floor as well as in the basement.

See this Riverton mini-mansion on the House Tour

On the first floor, be sure to see the tiniest house on the tour. This painstakingly detailed doll house is a replica of the real dwelling at 806 Main Street. You will have to come on Saturday to see the inside furnishings and details, complete with a Christmas tree and doors with crystal doorknobs.

RFL Then&Now mug

Among the local history themed items for sale are our mugs, Romance of Riverton DVDs, Bay Ruff’s Ruff Copy, Bill Washington’s Historic Rivertongift memberships to the Society,  and some reproduction prints and enlargements.

Yacht Club illustration from Reddy by Mary Biddle Fitler, 1929

Downstairs, see displays of vintage clothing, photos of old Riverton, our salute to veterans, a number of Dreer’s Nursery garden implements and photos, plus original manuscripts, novels, and scrapbook by Riverton author Mary Biddle Fitler, and much more.

Mrs. Biddle’s fictional book series for children began with the publication of Reddy in 1929 using Riverton as a backdrop.

As publicized by the RFL Assn., tickets for the Candlelight House Tour are $15 Pre-Sale/ $20 Tour Night and are available at The Riverton Free Library, The New Leaf and The Guitar Guild. Ticket proceeds benefit Riverton Free Library.

Admission to the Historical Society’s exhibition is free. 

In addition to seeing the five beautifully decorated homes on the Tour, local establishments will offer entertainment & refreshments. And while here, don’t forget to the visit downtown Riverton’s Christmas Village, with horse & carriage rides and local vendors! -JMc

Added 1/26/2019: Highlights from our Museum for a Day


HSR merch for sale at RFL Sunday

After restocking some of our mug inventory that had sold out, I will be at Riverton Library on Sunday from 2-3 pm to offer some items for the history buffs on your list.

Our exclusive historically themed designs feature vintage images of Riverton, Riverside, Palmyra, and Moorestown from our archives. Back in stock are mugs depicting Christ Church, Palmyra train station, Riverton’s 1890 map, Riverton Golf Club, and the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge matchbook.

Biddle Mansion mug

Joseph Campbell mug

Riverton’s rich history provides no shortage of inspiration for designing these mugs.

Here are two of the latest.

This 5-page PDF shows all the mug designs we offer. Not all are in stock. New orders can take two weeks so those taken after this week may not arrive before Christmas.

The Romance of Riverton DVD, Bay Ruff’s Ruff Copy, or Bill Washington’s Historic Rivertonand a gift membership to the Society also make great gifts. – JMc


Events conspired against getting this month’s GN to members in time to publicize the Nov. 14 meeting

It’s not like I didn’t try to get done on time.

The feature article about the history of the recently razed Cinnaminson Home was already running long, but I was missing some bits, so colleague Paul W. Schopp helped direct me to more sources.

Reshuffling the story delayed my getting the issue to the printer, which pushed back the job to Monday. After quickly stuffing envelopes with the issue this morning, I rushed to the post office only to find them closed for Veterans Day.

So, there’s no way that folks will get the issue in time to tell them of the November 14 meeting @ 7pm  featuring Keith Henley’s presentation on the life of World War I hero Sgt. Henry “Black Death” Johnson.

So, that’s my excuse for my homework being late.

Check out the November 2018 GN issue #177 here.

Look for the enclosed 2019 membership form. 

We hope to see you at the Nov. 14 meeting and at our display at the Library during the Candlelight House Tour on Dec. 1, 2018.

A “like” or “share” on Facebook might circulate this in time to help some people to show up Wednesday night. -JMc

Redevelopment of former Cinnaminson Children’s Home will provide low-income senior housing


site of former Cinnaminson Home, 10-25-2018

Demolition of the Cinnaminson Home, at 1410 Riverton Road, is a sign that the long-awaited $12 million project to transform the site into 54 units of low-income senior housing is finally underway.

So what was the Cinnaminson Home?

The answer depends on when you mean.

Children’s Home 1897 from The New Era 75th Anniv Issue, 1965, p15

Most recently, the Cinnaminson Home for the Aged served as an assisted living facility for elderly adults. It closed in 2002, and Cinnaminson Township purchased the site in 2005.

Cinnaminson Home for Convalescent Women

But long before that, the building opened for ten weeks in the summer of 1897 to give a visit of one week for a total of three hundred poor children of Philadelphia. The story of how that endeavor originated and how the home evolved is the subject of a developing story for The Gaslight News.

Children’s Summer Home, Riverton, NJ

The HSR has some images from the 1890s, early 1900s, and very recent ones, plus a Cinnaminson Home Cookbook, and some newspaper articles but would like other photos and information to help in completing this story. -JMc


Mugs for sale Sunday in RFL basement 1-3pm

If there was ever a gift idea for someone from this area that would make them ask, “Where did you get this?” it’s one of these mugs with a local history theme derived from vintage photos, postcards, and maps from the archives of the Society

We even turned an old matchbook into a mug! The new Tacony-Palmyra Bridge mug sold out at its first showing at our Sept. 26 meeting.  More are on order.

Our area is too rich in history to just offer two or three choices for mugs.

If you have a memory of a place in Riverton, we probably have a mug about it. Our exclusive designs depict vintage images of Riverton Golf Club, the Porch Club, Riverton Fire Co., Riverton Yacht Club, churches, businesses, railroad stations, street scenes, old maps, and more.

Riverside, Palmyra, and Moorestown are also represented.

See dozens of mugs on Sunday, Oct. 7, from 1-3 pm. (The RFL runs its used book sale at the same place and time.) Cash or check accepted. All proceeds benefit the Historical Society of Riverton.  – John McCormick