Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey - Places to Go and Things to Do

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, and encouraging exploration of South Jersey.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Old City Hall, Bordentown, NJ

Sorry for such a delay between postings, so many places to go, so many things to see - especially this time of year with the Historic House Tours and luncheons and dinners for us volunteers.
Today, I was supposed to go to a luncheon at the Gloucester County Historical Society Library, but my car on the fritz and, fortunately, the dinner for volunteers at the James and Ann Whitall House, Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, was postponed, or I would have had to cancel out of that as well.
The list of things I want to mention today are:
The Whitall House Candlelight Tour
Bordentown Model Railroad Show and the Old City Hall Restoration Project
The Burlington County Historians Roundetble at the Lyceum in Mount Holly
The First Snow - Timber Creek Dog Park

On Friday, December 6, I was a docent in the room usually known as Ann's Parlor.  Our new director, Jennifer Janovsky has not only opened two upstairs rooms this year, but she has launched a number of interesting new events and themes.  This year for the Candlelight tour, our theme was A Soldier's Life
and I was fortunate enough to share the room, not only with Patty Kehler, DAR member and docent, but with a guest, Tracy Fallon, a Re-enactor, not only for the Revolution, but also WWII.  He was so knowledgeable and he and Patty offered historical details on the house, the War for Independence, George Washington, and numerous other interesting subjects.  The hours flew by.

This must be the year of the model railroad, because displays have been held all over the place.  So far I visited the Burlinton City Railroad Days display and the Bordentown exhibition at the Old City Hall, a wonderful building to visit in its own right.  There were two floors of wonderful exhibitions of model railroad platforms.  One woman model engineer reminded me to mention the John Bull in my blog.  I think that platform was hers.  
The John Bull was a British-built steam locamotive operated for the first time on September 15, 1831.  It became the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian operated it in 1981.  The John Bull was initially purchased by and operated for the The Camden and Amboy Railroad the first railroad in New Jersey where it was used  extensively from 1833 until 1866.  

My father, when he was a younger Ironworker, was part of the team that moved a locomotive to its site in the Smithsonian and we often visited it there and he talked about that historic job.  I wonder now if it was the John Bull.  

Anyhow, there was also a display called "Remembering Seaside" which is noteworthy for its unuusual display of ferris wheel, other rides and sandy platform.  Everyone there was friendly, informative and the whole experience was enchanting.

In a side room where sweatshirts, tea shirts and train whistles (I wish I had bought one) were being sold, I met two volunteers in the Restoration Project for the building which is located at 11 Crosswicks Street in Bordentown.  How I admire volunteers in the history community.  Where would we be without their selfless devotion to rescuing and maintaining our cultural history.  The Old City Hall boasts a Seth Thomas clock tower also in need of financial assistance.  The clock is neighbor to a bell which has tolled continuously on the hour since the 1880's.   There is a marvelous brochure on the Old City Hall available if you visit the model train exhibition, which I heartily recommend that you do!

This entry is long enough, so I'll save the rest for tomorrow!
Happy Trails!  Happy Rails!  Jo Ann

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