Industrial Hopewell Historical Walking Tour

“Trains, Tomatoes, and Chocolates”
by Douglas Dixon

Hopewell Chocolate Factory
(Hopewell Dainties)

The arrival of two railroads in the 1870s spurred the growth of the towns of Hopewell and Pennington, as more convenient transportation brought greater opportunities for residents and businesses. But local boosters in Hopewell also saw a greater opportunity, and invested in developing Railroad Place as an industrial district that could support larger-scale manufacturing to provide more jobs and stronger growth.

On this one-hour walking tour, Doug Dixon of the Hopewell Valley History Project explores the turn-of-the century Railroad Place as an open industrial area crisscrossed with railway spurs serving multiple factories and freight businesses.

We’ll investigate the sometimes convoluted history of the larger industrial buildings that have been passed down to us from that era, including the Chocolate Factory (manufacturing bon-bons for 25 years), the Tomato Factory (canning tomatoes for 55 years), J. B. Hill’s (coal and then lumber for over a century), and Rockwell Manufacturing (back to Smith Novelty in the early 1900s).

Hopewell Tomato Canning Factory

And we’ll discover other lesser-known stories, some missing from today’s landscape, including a shirt factory, vibrator company, farmers’ co-op, ice cream factory, and bobbin and spool factory.

Doug Dixon is an independent technology consultant and writer, now morphed into a history enthusiast. Doug is a board member of the Hopewell Museum, the Hopewell Valley Historical Society, and Heritage Week.

In the past few years, he has developed the Hopewell Valley History Project (, which is working with many local contributors to collect and share digital copies of local historical materials – now with over 400 documents and maps, 1800 images, and an interactive historical map of Hopewell.

As a software technologist, Doug specializes in Web technology, databases, and digital media. He has consulted to the Aberdeen Test Center doing large data testing and visualization, and previously was a product manager and software developer at Intel and Sarnoff. He has authored four books on digital media, published hundreds of feature articles, and presented over a hundred seminars and talks.

More Information

Registration Required for these Tours – Space is Limited

Saturday, May 22, 2021, 11 am, 2 pm, & 4 pm – Hopewell Public Library

Three tours will be held, at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm.
Meet at the HPL, 13 East Broad Street.

See the Hopewell Public Library events page for more information.
To register, visit the HPL, call 609-466-1625, or email

This event is part of Hopewell Valley Heritage Week, May 22 – 31, 2021, celebrating the rich heritage of the Hopewell Valley with a full week of events.

Thursday, June 10, 2021, 1:30 pm – Hopewell Township Recreation

See the Hopewell Township calendar for more information.

Registration required – space is limited. To register, call 609-737-3753.
Meet at the Hopewell Train Station, 2 Railroad Place.

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