March 2021 Update – Hopewell & Mercer

The March updates on the Hopewell Valley History Project site included reports on the Second Calvary Baptist Church of Hopewell and the Hopewell Tomato Factory, photos of Tomato Factory artifacts and the back of the Chocolate Factory, new Hopewell Borough 1972 Aerials, and the full 1964 Mercer County Tercentenary booklet.

By the numbers, we finished the month with 214 files in the Archives, including 94 documents and 120 maps and aerials. The Image Gallery now has 1783 files. The new Aerial Panoramas Collection has 18 images for 3 towns. The Pamphlet Collection has 141 files in 7 categories for 3 towns, and the Property Reports Collection has 56 Site Survey reports and 10 Property Briefs. The interactive History Map includes 775 addresses with 102 historic places in Hopewell Borough. Please keep the materials coming!

Second Calvary Baptist Church of Hopewell

Church today – 69 Columbia at Maple

Thanks to discussions with local historian Elaine Buck, we have assembled the story of the Second Calvary Baptist Church in Hopewell.

The current church was built in 1959, and is the anchor of eastern end of Columbia Avenue at the corner of Maple Street.

The original Church was built around 1897 on First Street, and was originally known as The First Colored Calvary Church of Hopewell. The First Street property is still owned by the Church, and contains a small graveyard associated with the original building.

The Hopewell Tomato Factory

The current Tomato Factory Antiques Center on Somerset Street in Hopewell was indeed once a tomato cannery. The Hopewell Valley Canning Company operated for almost 60 years, from 1892 to around 1950.

We now have some fun images of artifacts from the Hopewell Valley Canning Company (click for Image Gallery), courtesy of Mary Ann Browning of the Hopewell Tomato Factory Antiques Center.

And Dean Ashton’s Hopewell News newsletter provides some vignettes of the Hopewell Tomato Factory During World War II, and what it was like trying to get tomatoes to market in the midst of World War II.

Chocolate Factory

Peter Gantz provided more images of Hopewell’s past, with images of the construction of the Pete Hurley home at 18 Lafayette (click for Image Gallery). These also have the fun benefit of showing the back of the large Chocolate Factory building in 1954 – 55.

(For more on the view from Lafayette Street, see the previous Memorial Day Snapshots – Behind the Scenes).

Hopewell Borough 1972 Aerials

Dick Sudlow contributed a few 1972 Aerials of Hopewell Borough (click for Panorama Viewer), showing the town from different angles, and especially along the railroad tracks.

(See earlier post for more on the Panorama Viewer.)

1964 Mercer County Tercentenary Booklet

Finally, the Mercer County – Tercentenary – 1664 – 1964 commemorative book provides a broad snapshot of the time, with extensive discussions of the history, current status, and path forward for the county – from a rather optimistic and positive perspective.

It provides an extensive look at Mercer County of the 1960s, including discussions of each municipality, and perspectives on the County’s past, then-present, and projected futures.

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