Memorial Day Snapshots – Behind the Scenes

We have more Hopewell Borough Memorial Day Parade photos in the Image Gallery courtesy of Peter Gantz, from 1960, 1961, 1967, and 2005.

These photos continue to demonstrate the tremendous value of even casual family snapshots in understanding our history – not only do they give a glimpse into the life and people of the times, but they also show the streets and buildings in the backgrounds.

Plus, as shown in this most recent set of photos, they reveal even more when you examine the more distant background behind the scene!

== Explore the Hopewell Memorial Day Parade Album (separate site) ==

Lafayette and Blackwell – Methodist Church

Lafayette Street looking west to Blackwell Avenue and the Methodist Church – and North Greenwood Avenue

To start, this is a snapshot from 1961 continuing our theme of snowy days, taken looking down Lafayette Street toward Blackwell Avenue. In the background is the Hopewell United Methodist Church building on the other side of Blackwell with the parsonage next door to the left. (The steeple is partially visible behind the tree.) – See with images on the History Map.

This snapshot is very similar to the center postcard from around 1910, showing the same two sides of the church, on the stone foundation. The right photo shows the new church building that has since been built in the empty area to the right, connected to the original church building, which was repurposed as Burton Hall, with the steeple removed.

But there’s more – behind, to the right of the church, is another tall tower in the distance. This distinctive house (in the inset) is on North Greenwood Avenue – another block away and on the other side of the street! This angle just happens to have an open view across the yards and between the other houses on Greenwood. – See with images on the History Map.

Does anyone have more on the history of the Hopewell United Methodist Church?

Lafayette and Railroad – Chocolate Factory

Lafayette Street looking north to the Chocolate Factory on Railroad Avenue

Then this is what appears to be a simple snapshot from the 1960s of the family house at 18 Lafayette Street, which is on the north side of the street, near Blackwell Avenue. (This is where the snowstorm photo above was taken.)

This house has a heartwarming story – It was built as a community effort for Pete Hurley and his family after he was paralyzed by polio. The Hopewell area responded with donations and volunteer labor to build the house, complete with a shop area in the front for income.

And clearly visible in the background of the photo is a familiar Hopewell building, the Chocolate Factory on Railroad Place. The exterior is essentially unchanged since the center postcard of the building from 1910, in its prime as the Hopewell Chocolate Factory (and without the current smaller addition shown in the current photo on the right). – See with images on the History Map.

Does anyone have more on the history of the Chocolate Factory? It was the Shirt Factory in 1897. And later Rockwell apparently operated there before moving to Hamilton Avenue?

Lafayette and Railroad – Farm Co-op

Lafayette Street looking north and slightly west to the Co-op Building on Railroad Avenue

Finally, this is a fun snapshot from 1960 of two girls with their flags, ready to march in the Memorial Day Parade. The scene almost looks rural, with fields and some kind of barn in the distance.

But this is the same house on Lafayette Street, and the same driveway. The camera is pointing slightly further to the left than the last photo, so the Chocolate Factory is not visible. Instead, we see some kind of structure behind that is positioned on an angle to the street.

If you trace a line on a map, this is 52 Railroad Place, which is indeed set at an angle, and does project out further west than the Chocolate Factory – actually very close to the small freight house building at the edge of the Train Station property. – See with images on the History Map.

You can clearly see the freight house and an angled building behind in the center image of the train station from back to 1897. This property became the Farmers’ Cooperative Association (F. C. A.) from 1948 to apparently around 1970, buying and grinding local grains, and selling animal feed and farm supplies. We do not have other pictures of this building in the 1960s, and so cannot identify the marks on the building.

These images seem to show a building with same footprint and angle in the same location, but with different structures from 1900 to 1960 to today, so we’d like to know more about its history.


So what might your family photo album reveal? As with the earlier snowy day photos, here we have three snapshots from the 1960s that happen to have backgrounds that capture the state of different buildings and properties that are familiar to us today. With the help of the growing collection of old postcards and photos, we can span their development from before 1900 to the 1960s to today.

Please keep the images and other materials coming!

Memorial Day Parade Album

The Hopewell Memorial Day Parade album currently contains 83 files, ranging from the 1950s, though much of the 1960s, plus 1972, 1976, 1992, and 2005. There are also PDF files explaining each of the collections (by contributor). Enjoy the festivities, and do pay attention to the backgrounds!

  • 1950s (Twomey) – Around town
  • 196x (Wyckoff) – West Broad to Mercer
  • 1960 (Gantz) – Lafayette near Blackwell
  • 1961 (Gantz) – Seminary & Columbia
  • 1961 (Devlin) – East Broad past Greenwood
  • 1962 (Devlin) – North on Princeton at East Prospect
  • 1963 (Devlin) – North Greenwood, East Prospect, Mercer
  • 1964 (Devlin) – West Broad toward Greenwood
  • 1966-67 (Devlin) – American Legion post – Van Dyke
  • 1967 (Gantz) – West Broad, at Old School Baptist Church
  • 1969 (Devlin) – West on East Broad at Hamilton
  • 1970 (Devlin) – Seminary Avenue
  • 1976 (Devlin) – East Broad, Seminary to Greenwood
  • 1992 (Sudlow) – Broad at Greenwood & Blackwell
  • 2005 (Gantz) – East Broad from Blackwell

More on Memorial Day Activities

Posts on Memorial Day parades and activities
See also Town Events and Veterans Organizations

Memorial Day Parades

Memorial Day and Related History

Memorial Day Observances

Veterans Organizations


1 thought on “Memorial Day Snapshots – Behind the Scenes

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