Two recent posts of old postcard scans to Facebook prompted several hundred views, a few dozen “likes,” a handful of “shares” and some comments. To help you get your bearings, I include a few more images here along with a History of 606-608 Main Street that was last revised in 2013.
Mary Honeyford is often counted among the names of those liking our posts on Facebook, and she said she did not know that the drugstore pictured in the old postcards was now The New Leaf Tea Room.
We are happy to dig deeper than that, Mary.
Dana Feigenbutz took over The New Leaf Tea Room from former owner Phyllis Rodgers who first conceived the idea in 2003, of starting a tea room and gift shop in the charming Victorian building at 606-608 Main Street. Prior to that, a plant and gift shop, a fine furniture store, two different drug stores, and a news agency occupied that address. See more details in the article below. We welcome more photographs, artifacts, and information about Riverton as we work to fulfill 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.”
We invite you to join in this effort by supporting the Society with your membership. Look in the upcoming September issue of The Gaslight News for meeting announcements, a word from President Bill Brown, project updates, and details on events planned for September and November. We look forward to seeing you. – JMc
One Society member commented that the homes on the December 3rd Candlelight House Tour December were “…historic and all quite beautiful.” This extraordinary biennial event invites the public inside some of the most distinctive homes and buildings in historic Riverton to raise funds for the Riverton Free Library.Hundreds of admirers of 19th century architecture came from throughout the greater Philadelphia and South Jersey areato view the historic buildings all beautifully decorated for the holidays which included five private homes plus the Porch Club, Christ Church, and TheNew Leaf Tea Room and Gift Shoppe.
Mrs. Phyllis Rodgers, proprietor of The New Leaf, generously offered space to the Historical Society of Riverton (HSR) to host its popular Museum for a Day exhibition, a traveling display of local Riverton artifacts, photographs and ephemera from its archives.
The showing offered a special opportunity for its exhibit curator, Mrs. Cheryl Smekal, to display women’s period clothing and furnishings as well as rare objects belonging to prominent Riverton families. Mrs. Smekal organized the event with assistance and guidance from Society Board members Mrs. Pat Brunker, Mrs. Nancy Hall, Mrs. Phyllis Rodgers and Mr. John McCormick.
A table covered with 16 household objects common to the earlier 1900s which beckoned to onlookers, “Can You Guess…?” sometimes created traffic gridlock as museum visitors seriously debated the various uses to which some of the more puzzling objects might be put.
John McCormick was on hand to answer questions from collectors and the public about memorabilia and collectible ephemera. John, a retired educator and local historian, offered reproductions from his vast collection of local historic images with street views from local Burlington County towns.
John devoted a section of the show of artifacts to The New Leaf at 606 Main Street since that address has played a number of roles in Riverton’s business section since it first was the location of Ezra Perkins’ butcher shop about 1900.
You can view a PDF file of that banner that outlines the history of 606-608 Main Street here.
Always of special interest to collectors are the vintage post card reproductions photo-restored by John McCormick featuring Dreer’s Nursery, New Jersey shore resort towns like Long Beach Island, Ocean City, Stone Harbor, and other locales like Burlington, Trenton, Moorestown, Mount Holly, Palmyra, and Riverside.
One collector visiting the Society’s Museum for a Day was delighted to see that John had added considerably to what he had available at Victorian Day 2007, and he pulled up a chair and devoted over two hours to browsing the vintage postcard reproductions.
The Society appreciates Mr. McCormick’s generosity in sharing his collection on the HSR web site and blog for people of all ages to enjoy.
While an adult visitor may recall and perhaps even reminisce with the website’s content, a child seeing those same images and stories may see for the first time how life in his or her hometown was so different a hundred or more years ago.
We commend The Friends of the Riverton Free Library for their successful house tour program which reminds us that our magnificent, historic homes in Riverton can be restored to their past splendor rather than sold as apartment conversions.
The Candlelight House Tour significantly contributes to the rediscovery of Riverton by visitors and homeowners as a special place to live. The following photo gallery of our Road Show Museum will suffice until the HSR can secure a permanent solution to display the wonderful collection to which so many Rivertonians have contributed over the years.
– Gerald Weaber, President Historical Society of Riverton
Alisa DuPuy is a historical re-enactor and middle school French teacher who joined the HSR for an entertaining evening at the New Leaf Tea Room on Tuesday, November 30th at 7:30 PM. Channeling the carefully researched personna of a fictional survivor of the 1912 Titanic sinking, Ms. DuPuy used authentic costume and the Victorian-themed decor of the tearoom to transport the audience back to the scene of the tragic sinking.
Riverton welcomed Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Lincoln, to the New Leaf Tea Room for a special afternoon. Guests were treated to an exquisite lunch tea, complete with a Civil War reenactment by actor Joann Tufo who protrayed a compelling Mrs. Lincoln. The historically accurate and emotionally moving performance by Ms. Tufo brought rears to the eyes of guests upon hearing the tale of personal loss by the President’s wife who outlived three of her four sons and lost her husband to an assassin’s bullet. The public education program was jointly sponsored by the HSR, and the New Leaf Tea Room and Gift Shoppe. A special note of thanks to Phyllis Rodgers for hosting the program at her tea room in Riverton.