April 2020 Update – Exploring Hopewell Borough

April was focused on hunkering down in Hopewell Borough, viewing the town from above with some glorious aerial imagery, and then using the resources of this site to produce two Explore Historic Hopewell histories and visual tours for the area – one of the properties at West Broad and Louellen around the Hopewell Presbyterian Church, and the second covering the somewhat convoluted story of the Hopewell Public Library.

More broadly, we also added almost 100 new postcard images of Pennington and across Hopewell Valley.

We finished the month with 152 files in the Archives, including 55 books and documents and 97 maps and aerials. The Image Archives now include 1487 files, with 1302 of Hopewell Boro, 118 of Pennington, 52 of Titusville, and 15 in the Township. These include 840 historical images, plus 647 current-day images in Hopewell Boro. Please keep the materials coming!

New – Explore Historic Hopewell

Two new documents on historical places in Hopewell so you can learn more and explore these locations around town. These provide chronologies, plus historic images and selected quotes from historic sources.

The History of the Hopewell Public Library describes the fascinating history of the public library in Hopewell Borough. It’s a somewhat convoluted story of the ongoing determination and financial risk-taking of the townspeople, including four locations, multiple purchases of the same building, and combining and splitting with the Hopewell Museum.

Explore Historic Hopewell at Broad & Louellen Streets describes the five buildings on both sides of the street between Lanning and Louellen Aves. (as the road curves down to the light), all of which have historical connections to the Presbyterian Church. They include a former schoolhouse, a now-rotated former church, and one of the oldest buildings in Hopewell.

New – Hopewell Borough Aerial Panoramas

To help understand and explain the history and development of the town, we shot aerial panoramas of Hopewell Borough from a drone flying over the town. Hopewell looks great, with the buildings glowing in the sun under the deep blue sky, and the trees not yet filled in (so you can still see the buildings).

West Broad St. at Mercer St. looking North
(Broad St. end to end, past the Old Baptist Church and cemetery)

The resulting aerial panoramas look over Hopewell from six different points along the town, west to east. These are 180 degree views from side to side, with streets visible end to end, close-ups in the center area, and stretching off to the horizon in the distance. 

New in the Digital Archives

The Book Archives added scans of several booklets related to the history of local institutions, including schools, libraries, churches, and fire departments.

Archaeologist and historian Ian Burrow has kindly contributed two documents on the cultural landscape and history of our area. One is his report on a Cultural Landscape History of the Cedar Ridge Preserve on Sourland Mountain. The second provides fun historical notes on the history and construction of the Hopewell Presbyterian Church.

The 75th Anniversary Program booklet for the Hopewell Fire Department, 1911 – 1986 has an extensive history and chronology of the multiple (at least three!) fire departments in town, plus loads of period photos, with lots of fire equipment (not surprisingly).

Some more pamphlets with historical information:

And for more on the history of local churches, here are two anniversary booklets from Hopewell Borough churches – the Hopewell Calvary Baptist Church (1966) and St. Alphonsus Church (1977).

New in the Image Archives

The Image Archives continues to grow, especially with new contributions from local collectors. These images also are displayed when you view the associated properties on the the Hopewell History Map.

Local collector Steven Cohen kindly contributed almost 100 more images, especially rare Real Photo Postcards (RPPC), which are produced by a photographic process using a camera and photographic paper. These include scenes in Pennington, Harbourton, Woodsville, and around Titusville / Washington’s Crossing.

New in the Hopewell History Map

The Hopewell History Map was tweaked to reconcile inconsistent Hopewell addresses and fill in a few missing images, including along Railroad Place.

The History Map shows thumbnail images of the properties — initially just for the current selection, and then for all properties as you zoom in closer. And you can filter the map to animate the growth of the town — to show all 770 current properties, the 100 historic properties with more information, or only properties known to exist by circa 1850 to 1910, or only properties that appear in specific sources or maps. (See the About page for more on how to use the History Map.)

There are lots more opportunities for improving and adding to the History Map. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

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