Panning for gold at PoCax 2013

pocax2013Saturday I took my wife on a cheap date and went to PoCax 2013, the annual sale of postcards by professional dealers and exhibition of postcard collections by members of the South Jersey Postcard Club.

I spent over an hour panning for gold among the thirty-four tables filled with boxes and boxes of postcards hoping to discover a new image of Riverton.

Lora Moore of Moore’s Postcard Museum, greeting people at the reception table at the entrance of the large conference room that held the event, introduced herself to me when she saw me signing in.

I have used a few borrowed images from her website to illustrate posts on this one (with her permission), and it was nice to put a face to the name. Her fascination with postcards started with a box of old cards that had belonged to her great-grandmother. Now with a collection of thousands of cards, she tells visitors to her blog about paper, postcard, and ephemera shows and the cards she has acquired.

I grew excited when I found a dealer with a handful of cards in the section of his box marked “RIVERTON.” My hopes almost faded when I sifted through the stack and only found Garden State Motel and Kern’s Tourist Home – did someone print like a million of these?

But, what’s this? A few precious nuggets soon surfaced.

Bank Ave and RYC, Riverton, NJ RPPC 1907-1914 (1280x815)Bank Ave and RYC, Riverton, NJ RPPC 1907-1914 back (1280x799)I scored a RPPC, or real photo postcard, of Bank Avenue, another one of 3rd and Main Streets, and an Olds Community postcard showing a 1955 Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday Sedan. At another table I found one more view of Bank Avenue. 


RYC and Bank Avenue, Riverton, NJ RPPC 1904-1920s (1280x815)

RYC and Bank Avenue, Riverton, NJ RPPC 1904-1920s back (1280x820)

Afterwards we went to Amy’s Omelette House in Cherry Hill to eat. Linda picked it because she heard that the décor makes use of old postcards. Hundreds of old-time post cards and lots of retro fifties advertising art cover the walls and border the booths.

All I could think of was I’d like to scan all of those postcards.

See, it was a date with a theme. 3rd and Main Streets, Riverton, NJ RPPC 1909-1914 (1280x822)3rd and Main Streets, Riverton, NJ RPPC 1909-1914 back (1280x813)

We came to Amy’s for the novelty, but our service was great and the food was memorable. Linda had a vegetarian cheese omelette (one of the 200 varieties of omelettes they serve) and I had 8-grain stuffed French toast with strawberries, honey, and granola.

I am not invested in Amy’s, but I just wanted to pass along the information about this unusual eatery with the nostalgic vibe to any postcard collectors in the neighborhood.

Olds Community, 10 Broad St., Riverton, NJ 1955 (1280x763)Olds Community, 10 Broad St., Riverton, NJ 1955 back (1280x764)At home later, I scanned the postcards into my computer. But the three RPPCs were never mailed. How old are they?

Coincidentally, my regular sale alert email from Scview Antique Images  contained some helpful information for dating RPPCs and I used it to date these postcards.

stamp boxesIt turns out that the stamp boxes and backs of the cards are the keys to fixing approximate dates for real photo post cards.

Now I can share my good fortune with you. We welcome comments, additional information, advice and corrections, and are always happy to have additions to our archive from our viewers, wherever they might be. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all; Join the fray and add your chapter to the Riverton Saga

vintage St. Patrick's Day card - image courtesy Moore's Postcard Museum

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!

Today is a good day to reprise the popular back-issue of the Gaslight News from March 2010 that ran the article about Riverton’s Irish Row by Priscilla Taylor.

At the time, so many people asked for extra copies to send to family members,  we had to get more printed.


The article apparently also evoked memories and motivated several comments on the website about growing up Irish in Riverton.

It also irked at least one reader because a family name was not included in the “A Sampling of Irish Row Occupants Living on Cinnaminson Street —Irish Row (according to Riverton’s 1900 Census).”

    • 703 – Annie McDonald (hairdresser)
    • 707 – Nora Williams
    • 709 – Julia & Patrick Ford (day laborer)
    • 710 – James Flynn (florist)
    • 712 – Annie & James McIlvain (coachman)
    • 717 – Virginia & Patrick Rarins
    • 721 – Maggie & John McDermott (steamfitter)
    • 723 – Mary & Patrick Jordan (day laborer)

Certainly, there are many more names that could be included for 1900, and more still for other years. With increasing interest in genealogy and the popularity of websites such as that help with the task of discovering family stories, it is very likely that someone reading this can add another paragraph to this article, if not an entire chapter.

The person who is in the best position to tell your story is the person most closely connected to it.  So please, send us more information, and we will incorporate it into what we have.  Maybe someone will write a sequel.

Irish Row children Cinnaminson Ave., Oct. 1922

Since the original publication, several readers have volunteered information or images such as this one sent in by Mary Yearly Flanagan.

In 2011, a reader recognized the photo of Kate the Cook shown in the March 2010 Gaslight News, pg. 5 as her great-grandmother.

That is just the kind of connection I hope that can happen here as we all collaborate on gathering more information.

Catherine “Kate” Toohey McLyndon

At the Museum for a Day this past December, a woman remarked that her mother had been one of those Irish servants working in the big houses on the river. I gave her my card and pleaded with her to contact me so that I could find out more.

But it’s almost four months later, and no word. People get busy and, let’s face it, this stuff is way at the bottom of one’s to-do list.

If there is ever anything whatsoever that you can add to this collection, please do not hesitate to contact us.  Don’t think that something is too small or insignificant because that bit might be just what we need to fill in a missing piece of a larger puzzle. Don’t imagine that we are experts or that we know it all.

We thank Moore’s Postcard Museum for the vintage St. Patrick’s Day card pictured above. This one came from the March 2011 post, but there are three more antique St. Patrick’s Day cards just posted there today, March 17, 2012.

Mayor Bill Brown tells us that so far he has eight names to add to the Riverton Honor Roll next Memorial Day.  Last week we added another photo to the Riverton Honor Roll Album -Donald Rogers Taylor.

The landscape improvements and beautification efforts at the War Memorial  site have truly revitalized that public space. Expanding eligibility for veterans to include “…any present or former resident of the Borough of Riverton, New Jersey who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States of America during a time of war” has brought well-deserved recognition to veterans of other conflicts in addition to World War Two.

Please visit the Riverton War Memorial next to Riverton Square on South Main Street, next to the River LINE tracks. See information on the Veterans Page if you want to submit a veteran’s name for consideration. – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor


There’s one more present under the tree – The Positive Press is now online

another charming vintage postcard from Moore's Postcard Museum at

I hope that Santa treated all of you boys and girls of all ages well this year, as he did those of us at our house.

There is one item left under the tree that you may find yourself enjoying throughout the New Year, particularly if you are a former resident of the Riverton-Palmyra-Riverside area and you care to keep tabs on goings on in your old hometown. Just in time for 2012, The Positive Press, a free community newspaper published in Riverside, has recently become available online.

The Positive Press masthead is its mission statement: Positive hometown news delivered free

True to the newspaper’s commendable title and masthead declaration, “HOMETOWN NEWS DELIVERED FREE TO EVERY HOME IN THE TRIPLE TOWNS,” publisher/editor Regina M. Collingsgru dispatches neighborhood news for Riverside, Delanco, Delran, Palmyra, Riverton, and Cinnaminson with a decidedly upbeat tone. Well… that’s five towns. Even better.

This month’s 40 page ad-supported December 2011 issue is fairly typical of the enjoyable monthly publication whose objective is to print only positive news and stories. Inside, readers will find community news, human interest stories, articles by several historical societies, news of interest to veterans, plus school, church, and senior news, and a community calendar of upcoming events.

Especially noteworthy features include the eighth monthly serial installment of Joseph P. O’Donnell’s “The Shoe Leather Express,” the inspiring story of survival and valor of World War Two prisoners of war, and “Back in Time,” Will Valentino’s popular nostalgic column which looks back fondly at Palmyra’s yesteryear.

The online edition further includes more information and photos that didn’t make the paper due to timing or space limitations. A cool value-added benefit for advertisers is the extra online exposure to potential customers that includes a link back to the company’s website.

Please check out The Positive Press and tell your friends “across the miles” who will no doubt thank you for its upbeat messages and reporting of events guaranteed to counteract the gloom and depression of the 6 o’clock news.  Publisher Regina M. Collingsgru welcomes reader input (as we do as well, here at the Historical Society of Riverton), and the miracle of the Computer Age makes it possible for contributors to send information, comments, stories, and news from almost anywhere.  – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

P.S. I recently blogged at length about the our December 3rd Museum for a Day, but HSR President Gerald Weaber also posted a story about our one-day show at the New Leaf from his perspective along with 40 image photo gallery on the Programs & Events page here.



Thankful for a postcard Grand Slam and much more

Riverton - Broad & Main - 1905
An antique automobile, a steam locomotive, a railroad station, AND a trolley – all in one postcard! I call that a GRAND SLAM and the HSR is fortunate indeed to have this scan of a 1905 real photo postcard of Broad & Main Streets in Riverton courtesy of collector Mr. Nick Mortgu.

Nick has contributed scans of dozens of his vintage postcards to our online archive of historic Riverton images, but this one is truly extraordinary and rare because it has three modes of transport plus the train station in the same frame.

Times may have changed, but the roofline of the building that is today Zena’s is unmistakable to anyone familiar with Riverton. In 1905, the building served as the offices of the Public Service Corporation of NJ which supplied the gas to the borough.

1905 Sanborn Insurance map detail

This detail of a 1905 Sanborn Insurance Map shows the placement of the station on Broad near Main.

1905 postcard message

Any guesses on what those  few missing words of the message say?


December 5, 1905   My Dear Nancy,  We are still alive. Why don’t you answer my letters. You must excuse me for not writing but this is… Good by Mildred.  This is the Riverton station.


I have straightened, cropped, and adjusted levels on a slice of the postcard image, but that is about the limit of my restoration ability on this image. Click on it to enlarge it and step into a moment frozen in time – 1905.

Riverton Grand Slam slice
I’d love to see those tiny cracks Photoshopped out so if a reader has the skills, please contact me.

We thank Mr. Mortgu and all of the contributors of images and comments for helping to make this website grow in content. We also thank the donors who have given the HSR their treasured historic items so that our archives may become a specialized repository for preserving Riverton history.

We are grateful too, for members who continue to support our mission to create an awareness of our heritage, to discover, restore, and preserve local objects and landmarks, and to continue to expand our knowledge of the history of the area.

If you can help this endeavor by becoming a member of the Historical Society of Riverton, by contributing content to this website, or by donating items to the organization, please contact us.

courtesy of Moore's Postcard Museum

Since the theme for this post seems to be me being REALLY thankful, here’s a holiday wish from Lora over at Moore’s Postcard Museum who recently expanded our inventory with many great vintage Atlantic City and Ocean City postcard scenes.

Happy Thanksgiving!  – John McCormick, Gaslight News editor

Added 12/18/2011 – Shortly after I published the above post, professional historian and HSR member Paul W. Schopp added a comment which greatly amplifies the information that I wrote, and I have added it below because comments often get missed. Every blog post, and often some of the media, have a provision to for the reader to leave a comment photos.  Paul’s comment follows:

While the 1905 Sanborn does, indeed, depict the building that today houses Zena’s as Public Service, that corporation had only just assumed control of the office there. On 21 September 1899, the River Shore Gas Company incorporated with an address of Broad and Main streets, Riverton. The new utility company has constructed the one-story building to be its office and retail store for gas fixtures and appliances. Initial capitalization consisted of $75,000, but less than a year later, the stock had increased to $140,000 for construction purposes. Another increase occurred in April 1901 and the stock now totaled $168,000. In February 1903, the conglomerate known as the South Jersey Gas, Electric and Traction Company—forerunner of Public Service—gained control of River Shore. Public Service Corporation then consummated a lease of the South Jersey Gas, Electric and Traction Company on 2 May 1904. Hence, the reason why the 1905 Sanborn lists the building as the property of Public Service.