1909 Christmas Number New Era—Part 2

Dear Reader,
This second installment of the 1909 Christmas issue of the New Era includes pages 25-44 plus the inside and outside of the back cover of this remarkable nostalgic tour of the various political and social organizations and business establishments of Riverton, Palmyra, and Cinnaminson.

While Part 1 included information mainly about Riverton and a number of advertisers, this second part is mainly about Palmyra, and Cinnaminson, and more advertisers. Some facts may be old news to followers of Palmyra history, but others just seem the stuff of winning bar bets. That is, if you know the answers.

Railroad Station at Palmyra, N.J., once known as Texas
In its early days, Palmyra was known as Texas. Yeah, I know. Living in a place called Texas, New Jersey must have been confusing. In any case, the name was changed to Palmyra by a man named Isaiah Toy who “…did not like the name Texas for a town that had aspired to the dignity of a postoffice, and changed it to Palmyra, a name suggested by his sister, Caroline.”

The pages paint a portrait of the community’s economic vitality as they boast of Palmyra and Riverton’s first schoolhouse and expanding school enrollment, the building of the Camden & Amboy Railroad (the 19th century forerunner of the RiverLine light rail passenger service which follows the same route), and the practice of five neighborhood farmers to ship their produce by boats which each carried 100 baskets of corn. Once part of Cinnaminson like its upriver cousin, Riverton, Palmyra became a separate township in 1894.

The publication traces the origins and 1909 status for a number of social and fraternal clubs and organizations. Among the more curious are the hundred member Palmyra Bicycle Club, the Loyal Temperance Union (a group which spearheaded the crusade for prohibition), the storied Palmyra Field Club, the Independence Fire Company No.1, and several patriotic groups.

Another amazing Palmyra fact involves one of its churches which actually was built in Riverton in 1859 and was moved to Palmyra to “…open for divine service on the new site Friday, May 8, 1885.”

“About Our Advertisers” on page 35-38 is a who’s who of the area’s 45 principal commercial establishments. Brief descriptions of each of the businesses appear for grocers, butchers, painters, plumbers, druggists, tailors, bakers, and other merchants and tradesmen of all sorts.  Advertisements take up the remainder of the publication, some at a full page like the one for Dreer’s Nursery, and others at a half, or smaller fraction, as in the ad for John B. Murphy, Horseshoer at Broad and Cinnaminson.

Altogether, it is a pretty cool history local history lesson in twenty pages from a primary source that you won’t find on your typical public library shelf. Click on the link to download and view the pages. Be advised that it is a large 5.23MB PDF file.

The original copy is about 9¼″x12¼″ but these scans have been cropped to 8½″x11.″ We thank Mr. Fred DeVece for providing the original issue from which I scanned these pages. – John McCormick, Gaslight News Editor
Click here to view a PDF file of the Part 2 of the 1909 New Era Christmas Issue. Be advised, it is a 5.23MB file.  – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

1909 New Era Captured a Moment in Our History

cover of 1909 New Era Christmas Issue

Dear Reader,
Since 2011 is still young, you may find this much sought after collectible to be a realization of how far we’ve come, or perhaps it’s a nostalgic reminder of days gone by. The 1909 Christmas issue of The New Era included descriptions of virtually every social, civic, economic, religious, and educational institution in Riverton, Cinnaminson, and Palmyra.

From A through almost-Z, including the Ancient Order of Hibernians, through each of the area’s nine churches, the DAR, the Loyal Temperance Union, to the Union League and the YMCA, along with a four-page “About Our Advertisers” section, the engrossing periodical serves as a glimpse into life in Riverton during the very early 20th century.

Remember, reminisce, or just imagine a time when Riverton was the destination for tours of Dreer’s Nurseries greenhouses and hundred-acre trial grounds and Riverton’s census included names of wealthy families listed in the Philadelphia and New York social registers as well as the first generation immigrant hired help who served in their elaborate homes.

This first installment includes the charming cover with its portrait of Santa sorting letters through page 24 of the 44 page publication. Of particular note is the selection entitled. “Early Days in Riverton”  on pages 9-24. “Palmyra: Then and Now” and “About Our Advertisers” will be covered in Part 2 of this scan of the entire 1909 Christmas Issue of The New Era.

The original copy is about 9¼″x12¼″ but these scans have been cropped to 8½″x11.″  We thank Mr. Fred DeVece for providing the original issue from which I scanned these pages.   – John McCormick, Gaslight News Editor
Click here to view a PDF file of the Part 1 of the 1909 New Era Christmas Issue. Be advised, it is a 5.31MB file.