Historic Places in South Jersey

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

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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Historic Hugg-Harrison-Glover House in Bellmawr UPDATE

In this mornings Courier-Post, Saturday, December 31, 2016, there was exceptionally good news in regard to the preservation of this historic house.  I will quote directly from the article then I have a couple of anecdotes of my own relating to the history of this house:

"The state Dept. of Transp. has slated teh house for imminent demolition as part of the Direct Connection project, a trreamlining of the congested and busy intersection of Interstates 295 and 76 with Route 42...."

"The State of New Jersey has determined beyond doubt the historical significance of the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House.  These brand new findings - quite frankly what we believed all along - compel us to take urgent and meaningful action to save this historic home" said Rep. Donald Norcross, D-NJ"

What a good piece of news to end the old year 2016.  It broke my heart whenever I drove by the old house to think they would demolish a house that had survived so much to the present day.  "No respect,"  I would say.  

So, Captain William Harrison fought alongside the Marquis deLafayette at the Battle of Gloucester, an almost forgotten even in the more than 700 battles and skirmishes fought in New Jersey during the Revolution.  We were, after all, the Crossroads of the Revolution.  But, unlike New England, we failed to capitalize on our history.

There are at least two extant Glover residences too, in Haddon Heights, I have visited them both:   the story I like best about Glover was one I learned researching the house of one John Glover, later connected to the Haddon Lake Park watercourse, where he had a mill, Glover's Mill.  He had been engaged to a young woman in England when he was conscripted into the British navy.  While he was at sea, his fiance' moved with her family to Pennsylvania, in the new colonies.  You would think the chances of them ever finding one another again would have been slim, but he came to the New World, found her, married her, built a house in what is now Haddon Heights, and ran the mill.  

As for the Huggs, they ran a tavern in Gloucester City, now memorialized at Proprietor's Park by a structure and a plaque, as the place where Betsy Ross was married.  Her family, the Griscomb family, had a farm along the Delaware on the Jersey side, where the Walk Whitman bridge now rises out of the ground.  When she eloped with Ross, they took a ferry from her workplace in Philly, to the tavern to be married.  The Gloucester City Historical Society, located on King Street near the Mill blocks in Gloucester, used to put out a postcard with a photo of the old tavern before it was demolished.  But how could anyone have known the important place Betsy Ross would one day hold in American history as a representative to give a name and peron to the 50% of American's left out of history, women.  And to represent the laboring class, the artisans who made everything that everyone used to live in Colonial American times.  

I am so happy that the hosue will be saved and that part of our shared Revolutionary War history saved along with it and I wish more people shared my love of history.  Some losses haunt me, such as the loss of the trains and the train museum in Pemberton/Browns Mills.  What a wonderful opportunity lost.

I don't know what you or I can do to support this decision but we can write the author, ccomegno@gannettnj.com or call her at (609)533-0306, to offer our opinion and let her knew we read her article and are glad she is keeping up the news about it!

The house is dated in the brick1764, but I read and earlier report that says the middle house was built even earlier and the 1764 addition is the newer section.  

Happy New Year and Happy Trails!  Jo Ann
ps you can reach me at wrightj45@yahoo.com

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Things To Do Places To Go - Book: Springsteen

As I mentioned some posts back, my life has changed and I no longer volunteer at the historic places where I worked after I retired.  First my knees went bad, then my back, not so bad that I can't hike with the dog at Timber Creek Dog Park, or around Pakim Pond or down the Cranberry Trail, just too bad to stand for 4 hours giving tours.  

When I retired, I first joined the Outdoor Club, but aged out of that eventually too.  I ruptured a disc taking a kayak off the top of a car, and that was the beginning of back troubles, but again, my back isn't bad 99% of the time, but I can't sleep on the gound, or portage a kayak or carry a 40 pound back pack anymore.  Nor can I hike 6 or 7 miles.  I am aware that people much older than I am can do all of those things and I'm not saying people my age can't, only that I can't.

That said, however, my point is that I don't volunteer anymore or do Outdoor Club activities anymore.  But I do other things, 2 mile hikes, historic town visits, lunches with friends at interesting places, and I READ A LOT. 

All my life, from early childhood, I have been an avid reader. And I LOVE to write.  I have a trunk full of diaries dating back 50 years!  So, as you saw by my last post, I had just finished my third independently published book, a memoir of a road trip around 38 countries of Europe which I finsihed a month or so ago and launched at a reunion luncheon of my high school classmates in mid-December.  

I have read a lot of books this autumn but the ones I enjoyed the most were the two I blogged about earlier that had to do with the life of trees, and one I finished a week ago, the autobiography of Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run.    

Now, even if my blog is not longer about historic places necessarily, it does still stick to the tri-state area and places to go and things to do, so, Bruce belongs here since he was raised in Freehold, New Jersey, a place I have visited often, and since his career started in such places a the Stone Pony (no longer existant) a historic place, to be sure.  

True I don't get up there often now as my car is also experiencing the effects of aging.  It is 10 years old and still running fine, but I am reluctant to do the long trips I used to do such as to Jim Thorpe, Pa., or Manasquan and points north along the shore, Sandy Hook, etc.  

What I liked about Bruce Springsteen's Autobiography, Born to Run,  is that (1.) it talks about his childhood and his conflicted relationship with his father.  I am very interested in family relationship narratives (2.) the behind the scenes of the music busines (my daughter and her boyfriend are both in this business (3.) the inspiration and motivation for his writing and lyrics (always interesting to me as a writer, and (4.) his philosophy and outlook as he enters the same period of his life as I am now in.  

Bruce struggled with depression, of a far more intense version than the wispy clouds of melancholy that often drift across my consciousness as I reflect on my life and the loss of loved ones.  It was very interesting to me to see how he deals with that. I found the book enlightening and entertaining.  In case you think that because I love reading, I am a Pollyanna and love everything I read I can tell you I followed Bruce's book with one I HATED:  P. J. O'Rourke's The Baby Boom.  It was meant to be funny, and I suppose even witty, but I found it silly and annoying, like a drunk at a party who makes snide comments about everything when you are trying to hear the guest speaker.  I learned a lot from Bruce's book, nothing at all from P. J. O'Rourkes' book, though I forced myself to finish it.  

Where did I hear about these books?  I read a LOT of magazines:
Harpers, Atlantic, Oxford, Time, This Week, Early American Life, Vanity FAir, Martha Stewart Living, to name a few, and I will sometimes buy a few I haven't subscribed to such as Genealogy and Ancestry magazines.  I read the book reviews and buy books that sound as though they might be interesting, and I listen to NPR on the radio and I hear a great number of interviews with authors.  

I do not belong to a book club and I don't want to read books chosen by members of a book club.  Popular fiction rarely holds any interest for me and I prefer to follow my own jagged path through the forest of available books.  

So, I do heartily recommend this Jersey Boy's Book to you:  Born To Run.  You can probably get it second hand from amazon.com by now at a good price.  I will end this post with a quote from it:
actually two quotes:
1  "Just when I thought I was in the part of my life where I'm supposed to be cruising, my sixties were a rough rough ride." pg.500
2. "Writing about yourself is a funny business.  At the end of the day, it's just another story, the story you've chosen from the events of your life."  pg. 501

The end is so filled with wisdoem and interesting thoughts, I have to add one more:
3."In analysis, you work to turn the ghosts that haunt you into ancestors who accompany you."

Whether you path takes you through the woods or through a book, Happy Trails!  Jo Ann
Wow, in a couple of days it will be 2017.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Launch

Two days ago, Wednesday, December 14, 2016, I took my newly printed book, about 30 copies to Fontana's in Maple Shade.  Every two or three months, those students who lived in  Maple Shade and went to Merchantville High School, graduating in 1963, get together for lunch.  I thought it was the perfect venue to launch my book because, of course, we all shared that period of time - leaving our teens and entering adulthood.

About 30 people attend at any given month, and as in high school, I generally sit with the women who were my best friends back in the first 3 years of the 1960's, Phyllis Ryan, Terry Donovan, Chris Gilbreath, and half a dozen other women I was friends with if not Besties, such as Barbara, Sue, Phyllis and Gail.  The women have different last names now because they are married.  The fellows I was friends with were Ron Williams, Romeo Ventura, and Berry Robey.  Some of these folks have other connections to me or lived near my old neighborhood, Roland Avenue.  For example, Ron married Joanne Nicholas, whose older brother was my ex-husband's best friend.

The friend I stayed closest with over the years was Chris Gilbreath.  She was my neighbor on Roland Ave. and my number one best friend.  Phyllis and I stayed friends for some years because we worked together at W. B. Saunders Publishing Co. on Washington Square, Philadelphia, Pa. from 1963 until I married in 1967.

It is very unnerving to launch a memoir.  Novels are simple because it is all made-up - the plot, the characters, and you'd have to be a pretty deep reader to find the personal about a writer in a novel, but at memoir like 1969:  A Road Trip, is deeply personal, and also, a bit of a fiction, because the person that you are when you are 21 to 25, is deeply buried inside someone completely new by the time you are my age, which is 71!  It is very apt to compare it to a metamorphosis such as the caterpillar to the moth.  Perhaps in reverse is more accurate because you begin as a beautiful winged creature and are forged into a creeping leaf browsing cow of the canopy.

Anyhow, for better or worse, the book is launched.  And, finally, finished.  And I am ready to move on to a new book!  Yes, despite my assertions that I would never do it again, I am already writing the chapters in my head.  I have a mission.  But I am impeded by needing to get set up correctly from the start this time so as not to end up in the morass I endured last time with too many files flying back and forth between me, editors, and the printer.  Many important corrections were left out of the final printing because, I think, the printer used an old file rather than a corrected and updated one.  Next year, I can go to DPE in Cherry Hill and get the work done for $200 less and there was a much more helpful fellow there, named Ed, to work with, not the impersonal anonymity I found at Perfect Printing.

So, I finished a very interesting book called A Life Discarded, by Alexander Masters, about the person who wrote 148 diaries discovered in a dumpster in England.  He writes it like a kind of mystery, as he reads through the diaries, he discovers clues to the identity of the writer.  This was bound to interest me as I have a trunk of diaries covering 50 years, my entire adulthood.  I have just begun Born To Run, the autobiography of Bruce Springsteen which I am enjoying very much, his childhood and mine being somewhat similar as are our ages, and both of us New Jerseyans, though I was born in Philadelphia.  I also like how he weaves family history into his narrative.  This is good weather for reading as it is cold and less enticing to chuck everything and go for a walk in the woods.

Had lunch at Local Links in Haddon Heights last week, always delicious, and shopped for stocking stuffers at the Free Trade Store, next door.  I bought a charming Retablos, a little box that houses the nativity made in Mexico.  I had one years ago that was a gift to me, but I haven't seen it recently, so it was an impulse purchase.  

No historic places recently, but I did write a short piece for a Christmas brunch I'm attending on Monday about my favorite Christmas and it features the Winky Dink screen and Bertie the Bunyip!  Anyone remember these?

Christmas is only a week away!  If you still need gifts, try the Mill Race Shops in Mount Holly or the Free Trade Store in Haddon Heights on Station Avenue, they have jewelry, coffee, chocolates, clothes, all sorts of interesting things at fair prices!

Happy Trails!  If you are reading Bruch Springsteens autobiography too and want to talk about it or about my book, you can reach me at wrightj45@yahoo.com (though don't old your breath - the same way commercials have ruined tv, ads have ruined e-mail and the slog through the detritus makes me more and more reluctant to bother with it - still, if I know you are writing, I will check it out!)
Jo Ann

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Old Conveyances

I hope I spelled conveyances correctly.  My eyesight is getting poorer as is my hearing, and thanks to the gym, I can still walk a good three miles, but my knees aren't what they used to be.  Along with these minor insults, I seem to have lost my former unerring spell talent.  

Oh well, Today I took the time to change some photos in the columns because I haven't felt like doing that for awhile as my continuing cell phone changes make learning new processes a strain on my creativity.  I get lazy and would rather read than tinker with the downloading and re-formatting, and so on.

The old sleigh is from an antique shop, probably the one in Burlington in the old car shed.  I love that place.  The Stage Coach, of course is from one of the Batsto outbuildings.  I missed their Christmas tours last weekend.  The date just didn't get to me in time, and I do love to go to that - oh well, hopefully next year.  My Christmas outings this year may be limited to the Christmas displays at the garden centers.  I'm going to McNaughton's on Friday and I wrote about the Riverton Christmas store a couple of posts ago.

Nothing freezes anymore so there isn't any ice skating, and I suppose next, we will say goodbye to snow.  Maybe not in my lifetime.  But, I don't want to get all gloomy on you here.  There was one bit of good news in this day, my book is printed and ready for pick-up this afternoon at Perfect Communications.  I told you I would call it less than Perfect, but I suppose a good deal of my dissatisfaction is simply from my not understanding the canges that have taken place since I printed my own books last, a decade ago.  

As I said before, when I had Black Horse printed, they did the whole thing for $700.  This time, it turns out every thing was a la carte - to me it was like going to a restaurant to have a dinner and having the chef tell you you had to bring your own carrots and potatoes, peeled and ready to cook.  I had to re-format my word documents (which I didn't know how to do and had to get a friend to help) and other details I won't bore you with.  Anyhow after I did all that myself, it was $880!  I said I had rarely paid so much for such a disappointing experience.  On top of it, I felt like I was a bother, too small to be worthy of their time and attention.  

It may be the last book I independently publish, or perhaps my daughter will show me how to use the right pdf format from the start.  Who can tell the future - not me!

I'm going to put the Christmas station on the radio, turn on the lights, burn some cedar incense in my German Smoking man, bought at the Nuremmberg Christmas Market in 1970, and get in the spirit of the holidays.

Happy Holidays to you and may your days be Merry and Bright and may you be lucky enough to have found the best timer for your outdoor lights!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Riverton Christmas Wonderland, cost of a wreath

A few days ago, a friend and i drove to Riverton Christmas Wonderland at 6 Hartford Road, Delran NJ 08075, phone # 856-829-3560.  To be honest, you are better off using the address of Route 130 and Hartford Rd, as the shop is in the corner of a small strip mall facing the highway, Rt. 130.  

It is a small shop but it had a model railroad display and lots of railroad supplies so I was happy.  I priced the live wreaths because I am entirely decorated except for that one item.  I like to hang a wreath or two indoors for the fragrance of pine.  I have an artificial tree that is from W.Va. and I like it because my living room is very small and the tree is tall and thin, perfect for the space.

The wreaths were $12.95, but I didn't buy one.  Instead, I bought an artificial kissing ball which was $8 and a very good bargain.  I have two others on my porch and paid more.  Live Kissing balls can cost nearly $50 because of the labor that goes into making them.

I waited to get a wreat because they sell them at the local ShopRite and I though they might cost less.  They didn't.  I ended up spending $15 per wreath at ShopRite but they were full and fresh, so it was worth it.

Next stop McNaughton's where I hear they have a Gaudio's display.  It gives me inspiration and cheer to go to the Christmas Display shops.  I'll let you know how McNaughton's is this year. 

Then, it is time for Railroad Days in the towns further north, Bordentown and Burlington.  Can't put my trains up this year due to kittens.  Nothing can move without an attack from my sharp eyes little fur friends, but they are worth the sacrifice and they haven't touched my tree, so it's a deal.

I'll be back with more before Christmas, I promise, not to mention time to change the picture up above.  

Happy Holidays,
Jo Ann