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Friday, May 29, 2009


From my "Deutzville" folder, this interesting invoice from Broad Street Park's E.S. Willey company for lumber for use at the Deutzville School.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The new bridge replaced one which was built in the 1870's.


When I was a boy, one of the juvenile thrills was to be able to see the bright red "Broad Street Bank" sign on top of the Trenton skyscraper. It was plainly visible from our neighbor's attic. Here we have a merge of an 1888 article on the founding of the bank, and a 1900 photo of their new quarters.


You have quite a bit of silver in your hair if you remember the Altemus Pharmacy which is seen on the immediate right in the photo. Question: Can anyone tell me the name of that department Store on the left in the photo?


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

1912 Ca. 1912 View of the Mercerville Roadhouse

I purposely scanned this photo in using 300 dpi in order to allow you to place your physical body right in the middle of Nottingham Way near "five points." With just a bit of imagination you can take a walk down that busy 2009 road and get a very good idea what it was like in the early part of the 20th century. Do I ever love these old street and town views! The trolley isheading back to downtown Trenton, passing the Mercerville Roadhouse which we all know of today as being Bill's Olde Tavern. It is said that the very first settlers in "Sandtown" lived in log cabins.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I put this little vignette together with graphics from my World Wars I and II folders. Richard Divine was the brother of popular Hamilton High Physical Education teacher, Don Divine. Lt. Gaudette is my cousin, Sgt. Len Glover is my brother, Bob Dietrich is an old neighborhood friend, and the rest are memories of "The War to End all Wars."

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I wish I was around when the decision was made to destroy these World War II community displays. They were prominently placed all over the area, and I have searched in vain to see if any have survived. If you look closely, and if you have a larger monitor, many of the names are legible in my graphic.

Friday, May 22, 2009

1897: Hamilton Township School Picnic at Broad Street Park

The annual school picnic was a very popular program back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Note that the article talks of 10 schools, but only 6 are listed.

1893: Trenton Schools Summer Maintenance

This graphic gives an interesting detail of the cleaning, painting, and fixup projects taken on by the Trenton School system. The list of schools no longer in existance is particularly interesting.It would appear that the school yards were not paved. One of the schools mentioned had what I assume is a board walk.



I have found that there are a number of visitors who are interested in the Junior 3 - Cadwalader area. Here's a photo from 1937. Is Bill Holcombe the gentleman who went on to have a very talented band? It seems to me that I met him at a recent reunion of Trenton High's class of '42. Bill brought his very talented orchestra, and played all the good stuff.


1954: It was a very good year. some 55 years later, Judy Britton and Tom Glover celebrated 55 years of wedded bliss, along with those infrequent incidents that added wrinkle after wrinkle to our once young countenance. Here's an article I wrote for the Hornets from the class of '54. Unless my math is faulty, they will be headed for their 55th this year of 2009.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


These Hornets would go on to become the class of 1990.


I miss those annual high school operettas. It would really be nice to see the high schools do what is being done on Broadway with musical revivals. Wouldn't it be nice to see "The Red Mill," or one of Gilbert and Sullivans masterpieces? As I was reading over the program which I have digitally re-mastered, I was transported back to the year 1949 where a lovely Bettee Beiger
Farmer loaned her beautiful voice to still another HHS annual operetta. There were a few of my teen age crushes in that cast.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Patriotism was alive and well in the years right after the Civil War. Unfortunately to many people, Memorial Day is a day off for barbecues, trips to the shore, and everything short of honoring our veterans.

1974: Steve Allen-HHS '74- A New Hornet Website

The following is from Steve Allen, HHS '74:

Hi Tom,

My name is Steve Allen (Class of ’74). Recently we started working on our plans for our F35th reunion to be held on Friday, November 27th, 2009. Specific details regarding place, costs, time, etc have yet to be established. However, as a result of the planning, and since I have my own web/graphic design company, I am responsible for all internet communications. Again, since my company designs websites, we created a site for the class of 74 ( It just went “live” this weekend and still have some pages to complete. The reason for my e-mail is to see if you would be willing to mention us in your blog. In return, I have created a link on our site for “Links” which I will be placing, the Official HHSW website and Alumni site and would be more than happy to add your hhs51 blog if you would like.

This June 10th we will be having our first fundraiser at Applebees on Rt. 33, from 11am till 10pm with 10% of each bill going towards our fundraising efforts. Within the next day or two I will have the flyer online that everyone needs to take into the restaurant in order to get the donations. Of course we would appreciate any publicity your blog could offer as I am sure you have numerous fellow hornets that are avid readers of your blog and would be willing to help out by dining out on that day.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me…


Steve Allen

1949-1950 (Circa) HHS Soccer Team

There's Tommy Corelli on the far right, Jack Pierson on the far left. I also see classmates Donnie Frounfelker, Ronnie Lynch, Kieth Kauffman, Paul Henon.....Memories of our youth!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Once again I call on my somewhat perceptive recollection of the autos of my youth. That's a 1939 Plymouth on the left, and in frontand based on that rather un-scientific guess, I submit this beautiful photo of what I like to think is a Saturday night on the town for these theater goers.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This gem comes from Carl Hoagland via Jack Lacy, both Hornets from the HHS class of '56. It is priceless, and quite typical of human nature.

Many thanks, Carl and Jack!
Every class has one or two classmates who refuse to give in to the ravages of father time and admit that they have aged dramatically from their school years.
If I should be blessed with another reunion for my HHS '51 class,
I herewith forewarn all of my classmates:
As you squint to read my name tag, know that I have earned each and every wrinkle in my 75 year old countenance. Trusting you will forgive my one 50 year old exercise in vanity, when I opted for a man-made hair do, I want you to know that at the golden age of 75, I have no problem reminding myself almost daily that I am no longer a young stud. Don't look for me to do a teenager-type jitterbug, Cha Cha, or polka.....maybe a very slow two step. All the while, remember those eternal words of wisdom from Robert Browning:

"Grow old with me....the best is yet to be.."


Every ten years, as summertime nears,
An announcement arrives in the mail,
A reunion is planned; it'll be really grand;
Make plans to attend without fail.

I'll never forget the first time we met;
We tried so hard to impress.
We drove fancy cars, smoked big cigars,
And wore our most elegant dress.

It was quite an affair; the whole class was there.
It was held at a fancy hotel.
We wined, and we dined, and we acted refined,
And everyone thought it was swell.

The men all conversed about who had been first
To achieve great fortune and fame.
Meanwhile, their spouses described their fine houses
And how beautiful their children became.

The homecoming queen, who once had been lean,
Now weighed in at one-ninety-six.
The jocks who were there had all lost their hair,
And the cheerleaders could no longer do kicks.

No one had heard about the class nerd
Who'd guided a spacecraft to the moon;
Or poor little Jane, who's always been plain;
She married a shipping tycoon.

The boy we'd decreed 'most apt to succeed'
Was serving ten years in the pen,
While the one voted 'least' now was a priest;
Just shows you can be wrong now and then.

They awarded a prize to one of the guys
Who seemed to have aged the least.
Another was given to the grad who had driven
The farthest to attend the feast.

They took a class picture, a curious mixture
Of beehives, crew cuts and wide ties.
Tall, short, or skinny, the style was the mini;
You never saw so many thighs..

At our next get-together, no one cared whether
They impressed their classmates or not.
The mood was informal, a whole lot more normal;
By this time we'd all gone to pot.

It was held out-of-doors, at the lake shores;
We ate hamburgers, coleslaw, and beans..
Then most of us lay around in the shade,
In our comfortable T-shirts and jeans.

By the fiftieth year, it was abundantly clear,
We were definitely over the hill.
Those who weren't dead had to crawl out of bed,
And be home in time for their pill.

And now I can't wait; they've set the date;
Our 55th is coming, I'm told.
It should be a ball, they've rented a hall
At the Shady Rest Home for the old.

Repairs have been made on my hearing aid;
My pacemaker's been turned up on high.
My wheelchair is oiled, and my teeth have been boiled;
And I've bought a new wig and glass eye.

I'm feeling quite hearty, and I'm ready to party
I'm gonna dance 'til dawn's early light.
It'll be lots of fun; But I just hope that there's one
Other person who can make it that night.

Author Unknown

Saturday, May 16, 2009


After the dam broke in May, 1987, I was one among at least 10 or 15 other metal detector operators as we searched for the hundreds of coins, rings, bracelets, and other treasures which were lost under the water at "Lakeside" over the years. Most detector operators are honest. When they find an item of jewelry with a name engraved, an attempt is made to find the owner. In fact, the only thing I found was a sterling silver identification bracelet with the inscription, "J. or M. O'Keefe." And don't you know, I found Mr. O'Keefe. I called him and sent the bracelet back to him. Needless to say, he was a very happy camper. He was a veteran of WWII and he remembered when he lost it.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Honest now, would you buy a used car from these guys? Count on it; I would. Were it not for Rafferty, Lacy, Angarone and the members of the "The Rafferty Team," there would be no Hamilton Township Public Library Local History Collection. Many years ago, I approached Jack Rafferty with a proposal to set up an archives featuring Hamilton's splendid historic heritage. Bottom line: He did. I have been an archivist at the Hamilton Library ever since, and as it says in my profile, I'll be digging out local history until I reach the age of 100, or my gray matter ceases to compute; whichever comes first!

1987: Nottingham High Cheer Leaders

These gals had it all! Perhaps an alumnus from the 1987 era can let us know how the ladies made out in their Dallas competition.

1987: Phyllis Destribats

From the "NOTABLE PERSONS" folder in the library database, this photo of Ms. Destribats as she was chairing a fund raiser for Hamilton Hospital. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Destribats when she attended one of my Kuser Mansion "The Music We Grew Up With" programs. Phyllis is the Mom of Tracey Destribats, charged with the daunting task of overseeing operations at Kuser Mansion, Sayen House, and the Grafton House.


Even then citizens were up in arms about the high taxes. Those folks would tremble with rage if they saw our tax bills today. (You will note that the graphic is not quite as clear as those I scan in "grayscale." Grayscale is much cleaner, but large text files can take up huge amounts of space. The graphic above has been scanned using the "Black and White" mode, which is a "bare-bones," non-adjustable graphic, but very small in relation to the size of a grayscale graphic.


Add ImageIn my life journey, I remember a number of Trenton Mayors from Donal Connolly to today's Mayor Douglas Palmer. If we were dealing with "class," on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the max, Art Holland would score a resounding 10. This was one of two letters I received from Art during my time as a writer for the late, great Mercer Messenger. The written note on the bottom was added by my boss, Editor-Publisher Jack Lacy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Mr. Hutchinson could well be called, "Mr. Homedell." The Hutchinson farm was on the border of Cedar Street (Cedar Lane) and the Liberty Street area where the old Homedell School is located. Today's Hutchinson Street off Cedar Lane is named for the family. It is interesting to note that the old Friendship School, once located on the Cedar Street (Cedar Lane) hill, probably had a Hutchinson connection, but as of this writing, I have found no connection.

Monday, May 11, 2009

1954: Dorothy Boulden Ridolfi Obit

Many thanks to Marion for sending this heads up regarding the passing of Dorothy Boulden Ridolfi:

Hello Tom,

Hope all is well with you and yours!
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Dottie Boulden-Ridolfi passed away, I think from cancer. She was a very nice and very sweet person and a classmate of mine at HHS, as was Ed Ridolfi (Class of 1955). I have attached the link to her obituary:



As my local history collection evolves, I find that numerous articles and/or photos can be combined to add a more detailed account of an historic event. In this case, the article on the Pilgrim Presbyterian Chapel from the Daily State Gazette was united with an old post card which has been in my collection for years. The graphic that follows this on the obit of Mr. Joseph Wright is in the same category: in that case, combining a map of the area showing the Wright family farm land with the 1894 obit of Mr. Wright.

In the event you didn't read the comment from "Mack" McNicoll, it is transcribed herewith as a valuable addition to th Pilgrim Presbyterian Church graphic above.

Mike wrote:

WOW Tom:)
I took a picture of this a few weeks ago and posted it on my blog.
Its 250 Woodland Street. Known as "Century Hall" in my day.
I spent many days sitting on these steps with friends long ago.
The building still looks to be in good shape judging from the exterior:)
I could see this place from my house long ago:)
The homes in the back of this picture are on Rusling Street.


The death of Joseph Wright in 1894 coincides with the 1875 map adjacent to the obit, wherein I have highlighted the streets, along with the two listings of the Wright family. Note the toll house that was at the intersection of what was then Cedar Street at the intersection of So. Broad Street, (then the White Horse Turnpike), and Lalor Street. The map gives just a tantalizing indication of th extent of the Wright family land holdings in Hamilton Township. When the farm was broken up for development, the real estate ads listed it as the "Wright Land Association."

Sunday, May 10, 2009


"A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
It's lovliness increases.
It will never pass into nothingness."

A very grateful tip of the hat to those Hamilton workers throughout the township who have worked so hard in all weather to make the many beautiful parks and recreation areas in Hamilton Township. Another tip of the hat to our former Mayors Maurice Perilli, who was responsible for the acquisition of the original "Hamilton Park," (today's Veterans' Park), and Jack Rafferty, who was instrumental in the acquisition of Kuser Farm and Sayen Gardens.

Friday, May 08, 2009


The article above does NOT refer to the photo of the original Edgebrook school, shown in the photo. The article is referring to the red brick school house on Route 130 that was closed years ago. Most recently it was the meeting place of the American Legion.

Thanks to Gary Lippincott (, I have learned that the veterans' building that I couldn't remember was POST 31. Thanks,'re the best.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

1914: Trenton Fireman "Honest Tom" McGinty Retires

These capsule biographies are completely fascinating and historically interesting. Mr. McGinty was from the old "Irishtown" area of Trenton, and chances are nearly unanimous that he and his family were communicants at old St. John's-Sacred Heart Parish. McGinty's career spanned the era from Trenton's volunteer fire years up 1892 when Trenton went to the paid fire department.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

1987: The RKO Broad Theater

It's quite a hike from the Kuser Farm neighborhood in which I lived, to the "Broad" on South Broad in the Chambersburg section of Trenton. Given that distance, there were numerous times we walked there for an especially good move. We often walked to the neighboring "Bijou"
on So. Clinton Avenue. Even though the latter theaters was the "Beeezhoo," we Americanized it with the unlikely name of the "BYEJOE."

Monday, May 04, 2009


This engraving was sent to me a week or so ago by Alan Wildblood. I had completely forgotten that I had enhanced it and thought that I had posted it. It took an email from Alan, asking about the engraving to remind me that I had just experienced another senior moments.


As we prepare to formally celebrate the centennial of Kuser School, I will be posting various historical photos and documents from my extensive collection of Kuser memorabilia. Above is an extract from the minute book of the era, wherein the Board of Ed presented a formal resolution authorizing the purchase of land on which to build the new school. Arthur Wildblood is highlighted. Along with the P.J. Hoare, Bachman and Petitt familes, the Wildblood family is included among the pioneer residents of the Hamilton-Newkirk-Kuser School area.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

1908:Kuser School Genesis: In the Very Beginning

Many years ago, Mr. Al DeMartin, then Superintendent of Hamilton Township Schools, let me have access to the Hamilton Township School Board minutes. At the time I was researching the history of Kuser School, the grammar school of my youth. Al was approachable in that era before "voice mail," and "he's in a meeting," and other personal access problems which plagues always busy 21st century Americans. In a phone call that took all of 3 or 4 minutes, Al gave me permission to borrow the minute book which pertained to the founding of Kuser School. Above is just one page from the meeting which led up to the construction of Kuser School, now celebrating an historic centennial year.