Historical markers help preserve Riverton’s unique heritage

There’s that word again – UNIQUE.

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

RFLibrary marker, June 2018, PHOTO: JMc

Our historical marker program has its next two markers in the ground, at Riverton Free Library and Riverton Public School.

John Laverty, Roger Prichard, RFL marker PHOTO: Bill Brown

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.

RPS historical marker, June 2018, PHOTO: JMc
Roger Prichard, John Laverty, RPS marker PHOTO: Bill Brown

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.

Carlos Rogers directs the action at the 6th Annual HRCriterium, 2016, PHOTO: JMc

Carlos Rogers kickstarted our Historical Marker Program when in 2016,  he donated $4000 of the proceeds from his 2016 Historic Riverton Criterium to the HSR. We partnered with Riverton Free Library Association and the 2018 Class of Riverton Public School respectively to fund these historical markers. Previous markers installed under this program include those at the Caleb Clothier Home at 503 Bank Avenue and Riverton Yacht Club. – Roger Prichard

THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF RIVERTON REMEMBERS BETTY BAILEY HAHLE

On Saturday, April 30, 2011, friends, family, community members, and colleagues from all points gathered at historic Christ Church in Riverton to celebrate the life of Mrs. Betty B. Hahle, Riverton Town Historian, former HSR President and editor of its newsletter, and relentless champion of historic preservationist battles, who passed away Sunday April 17, 2011.

Possessed of an encyclopedic knowledge of all things concerning Riverton, Betty recently expressed regret that writing her book on Riverton’s history had eluded her. Nevertheless, the body of authoritative historical works that she produced is prodigious. Renowned for her thoroughly researched articles on historical subjects, she authored Riverton’s history for the borough website, wrote the history of the Porch Club, contributed to Riverton School’s Riverton Project, consulted on community planning projects, and produced over 100 of her signature “Yesterday” columns for the Historical Society of Riverton’s newsletter, the Gaslight News.

Her tireless activism in the pursuit of preserving Riverton’s heritage has resulted in a number of victories which will stand as her lasting legacy to the town which she so adored. In 1978, in concert with borough officials, Mrs. Hahle helped save Riverton’s cherished gas streetlamps from oblivion; in 1989, she rescued the fragile vintage film Romance of Riverton by preserving it to videotape; and she was one of the main persons responsible for saving rare late 19th and early 20th century New Era newspaper issues to microfilm. In 2009, the Burlington Board of Chosen Freeholders recognized both Betty Hahle and a colleague for their work in preserving the Romance of Riverton and making it accessible to modern audiences. Perhaps her most gratifying accomplishment was her 20 year-long quest to win for Riverton’s historic district a listing on the coveted state Register of Historic Places.

Betty Bailey married Joseph W. Hahle, and they raised three daughters in Riverton. Mrs. Hahle was active in Riverton’s Parent Teachers Association, the Palmyra High School Band Parents Association and was a Girl Scout leader. In the early l970s, Betty became interested in genealogy and local history, favorite hobbies she pursued with a passion. She was a member of the Porch Club of Riverton, holding various chairs there, and in 1989, the group honored her as their Woman of the Year.

The Betty B. Hahle Excellence in History Award is given to an eighth grade student each year at Riverton Public School. Betty Hahle’s many decades of historic research and writing as Town Historian and her interest in cultivating the interest of young people in the study of history inspired the award.

Mrs. Betty B. Hahle

Always generous with her expertise, just days before she passed, Betty was dictating notes from her hospital bed to encourage one author on the content of a future Gaslight News feature story while supplying an essential fact she recalled from one of her many interviews for the writer of another article.No one can deny her passion for pursuing Riverton’s history or her unwavering commitment to preserving Riverton’s character. Clearly, more than any other single person, Mrs. Betty B. Hahle has made our understanding of Riverton history what it is today. By so faithfully documenting Riverton’s past with her meticulous investigating and record-keeping, Betty has indeed now assured her own place in Riverton’s history alongside the very founders, merchants, industrialists, and social activists she researched, certain to be quoted and cited for years to come. She was 92.

Find the complete Burlington County Times obituary here.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF RIVERTON

 

 

Reprising a Popular HSR Program

 

Alumni, staff, parents, and board members marked the 100th birthday of the present school building
As her AVA guy, I themed much of the design of the slideshow around Mrs. Kloos’s personal memories. Mrs. Kloos invited "class participation" as she reminisced about her alma mater and her thirty-three years as a teacher in the school. - JMc

On January 19, 2010, sixty former students, staff, and interested community members assembled in the Riverton School gym to observe the 100th birthday of the present school building. Retired teacher, Mrs. Mabel Kloos, showed a PowerPoint presentation called “A Short History of Riverton Public School” created by myself which was very much enjoyed by those in attendance. You can read the March 2010 issue of Gaslight News for a fuller recap of the events of that evening.

Since then, several people have expressed regret that they had missed it. Now, if you wish, you can replay the entire slide show from that night.

 


RPS Grade 3 1921 Mabel's dad 3rd from right
Click here to download the 23MB PowerPoint,”A Short History of Riverton School.”If you do not already have it, you’ll need the free PowerPoint viewer or the PowerPoint program in order to watch the slide show.

Click here to download the PDF file of notes that go with the slide show and you’ll also have the narrative which explains the images as well as prompts for the animations and advancing the slides.  – John McCormick, Gaslight News

100th Anniversary of Riverton Public School

John McCormick created a Power Point presentation of the history of the current building, as well as previous school buildings here in Riverton.

The presentation, held at Riverton School’s gym/all purpose room, invited current and former alumni and staff to share in the celebration.  Special events are planned throughout the year at the school district.