Riverton Free Library still a treasured asset for 118 years

R Bowden Shepherd c1882 Christ Church Rector 1894-1911

The genesis for the formation of the Riverton Free Library Association originated at a meeting in January 1899, called for by the rector of Christ Church, Rev. R. Bowden Shepherd, for the purpose of forming a free library for local residents.

Within months, a group formally organized, adopted a constitution and bylaws, chose a board, elected officers, and opened in May 1899, in the Parish House with 800 books donated by Christ Church.

Riverton Free Library

The permanent home at 306 Main Street came in 1908, a gift from Mrs. Sarah Ogden in memory of her husband, Edward H. Ogden.

Riverton Free Library, now housed in the Victorian cottage on Main Street, has survived and flourished for more than a century due to the devotion of scores of people who have acted as its stewards, including board members, officers and staff, volunteers, and supporters.

Riverton Free Library October 2017

In researching to prepare for a historical marker commemorating the landmark, Patricia Solin and Roger Prichard have written a feature article for the January 2018 Gaslight News chronicling the history of the RFLA and the building that now serves as its home.

I revisited the building last week and met with Nancy Fort, the new Director. After getting a fresh exterior paint scheme last fall, workers had turned to paint the Library’s altered interior. The spirited conversation of adult card players enjoying a game filtered in from the next room.

Fine Box

Nancy Fort placed this antique wooden box on an old round oak table displaying the worn patina of decades of use. I had to wonder. What changes – not only to the building but also in its operation – had it witnessed over the years?

Please tell us about your memory of Riverton Free Library.    -JMc



Look What Spring Cleaning Turned Up

Cinnaminson National Bank as shown in the 1909 Christmas Issue of The New Era
Gee, you don't look a day over seventy.

Mrs. Patricia Solin reports that years ago she found a wooden coat hanger in her first floor coat closet at 406 Main.

Clearly stamped “Cinnaminson Bank and Trust Company,” the sturdy hanger may have been a promotional give-away.  Or, maybe such hangers were for the use of employees or patrons at the bank.

Dr. Alexander Marcy, Jr. as pictured in the Riverton Gun Club book

Since the hanger came with the house, Pat guesses that it may have belonged to the original owner of the house, Dr. Alexander Marcy, Jr., who was one of the bank’s organizers in 1907, and on its Board of Directors.

(Click here to see how the bank was described by The New Era in 1909.)

We can only conjecture now, as the evidence is only circumstantial, but this hanger may well be over 100 years old.

The former bank is modern office space today

Declining to list the artifact on eBay or sell it at a yard sale, Pat has generously donated it to the HSR archives.

Someday we hope to have a home in which to properly display the holdings of the Historical Society.  Until then, this virtual showplace will have to suffice as our museum.

Please share your Riverton stories, big or small. You are just a phone call or Internet connection away. – John McCormick, Gaslight News Editor