How many times have you heard that word used to characterize Riverton?
Below, HSR Board Member Roger Prichard updates us on the Society’s Historical Marker Project – our effort to commemorate Riverton’s treasured past. – John McCormick, Editor
Our historical marker program has its next two markers in the ground, at Riverton Free Library and Riverton Public School.
Our volunteer Sub-Committee on Excavations (i.e. Pres. Bill Brown, John Laverty and Roger Prichard) planted them both on a recent Sunday morning. Stop by and have a read!
The marker for the Library tells the story of the tiny cottage first occupied by a nationally known motivational preacher. It was then for many decades the home of a lifelong bachelor who was a beloved figure in Riverton. It was transformed into the home of the new Riverton Free Library and Reading Room Association, which has been a treasure for the town for about 110 years since then.
Riverton Public School is actually the fourth public school attended by students of the area – the first being long before there even WAS a Riverton. The marker tells of how its expansion paced the evolution of the whole concept of public education in America and includes a “then-and-now” graphic with groups of children from about 1915 and 2018.
The idea to recognize remarkable examples of historic preservation of Riverton homes with an award in honor of Daniel Campbell originated with former HSR President Mr. Gerald Weaber, and this meeting now bears the fruit of his research efforts last year.
In succeeding him as HSR President, Phyllis Rodgers and an expanded HSR Board followed through this season to launch a new Preservation Award Night,held April 10 at the Porch Club, in which The Society recognized a number of people for their noteworthy home renovation projects. (The March 2014 Gaslight News previously profiled the homes and briefly explained the award. )
HSR President Mrs. Phyllis Rodgers called the meeting to order and a short requisite business portion of the meeting included various announcements as well as a customarily thorough treasurer’s report by Paul Daly, our own esteemed CPA on the job.
Phyllis introduced Paul W. Schopp and congratulated him on his recent (March 5) designation by Riverton Borough Council as Borough Historian. Mrs. Rodgers noted Mr. Schopp’s vast knowledge of local history as well as contributing his invaluable expertise to the Society to past projects.
Mr. Schopp said that it is “hard to fill the shoes” of the former Town Historian, Betty Hahle, but he would do his best. (The position of Town Historian has been vacant since Mrs. Hahle passed in April 2011.)
Paul has certainly been my go-to guy for fact-checking stories and getting hard-to-find resources during my tenure as editor of the Gaslight News. Our former HSR President, Gerald Weaber, concurs saying, “No one else comes close to his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Riverton.
At the meeting Mrs. JoAnn DiNoia, Porch Club President, and Phyllis Rodgers displayed the Porch Club’s new sign, a cooperative project of the HSR and The Porch Club.
The sign was erected at a later date near the Club’s entrance.
Mrs. Rodgers then turned attention to our honored guest, former Riverton resident, Mr. Daniel T. Campbell, AIA. A distinguished past president of the Historical Society of Riverton and editor of the Gaslight News, Daniel Campbell is a Historic Architect widely recognized for his experience in restoration and preservation of historic architecture.
Citing his past preservation projects and honors, she explained “…it is therefore fitting” that the new HSR Preservation Award be named for him. Read more about Dan Campbell here and see more details about the award named in his honor here.
Then matters moved on to the main event – the presentation of five 2014 Daniel Campbell Preservation Award certificates and crystal diamond paperweights etched with the Society logo.
At the meeting we heard from Dr. and Mrs. Horn, Helen Hughes, John Laverty, and Michael Spinelli as they recounted the pleasures and pitfalls of renovating an old house.
Ummm… I think I saw that movie before.
Some of us even remember the original 1948 Cary Grant/Myrna Loy comedy film, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, in which a hapless couple purchases a 200 year-old farmhouse only to meet a long litany of unforeseen troubles and setbacks.
But these Riverton characters had studied their parts and each story had a happy ending, resulting in homes absolutely transformed from their former states.
Check out the continuing saga of Helen Hughes’ renovation of the Biddle Mansion at 207 Bank Ave., and another about John Laverty’s home at 616 Main.
Here’s a few more snaps from the meeting.
Above photos by Susan Dechnik, John Laverty, and John McCormick
Start looking around your neighborhood for some potential Preservation Award nominees for 2015. – John McCormick