May 2021 Update – Industrial Hopewell

The May updates on the Hopewell Valley History Project site supported Hopewell Valley Heritage Week in the Valley, and continued to focus on Railroad Place in Hopewell Borough for the Industrial Hopewell walking tours and the upcoming online virtual tour of Railroad Place.

By the numbers, we finished the month with 225 files in the Archives, including 100 documents and 125 maps and aerials. The Image Gallery now has 1993 files. The Aerial Panoramas Collection has 23 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 15 Property Briefs. The interactive History Map includes 775 addresses with 102 historic places in Hopewell Borough. Please keep the materials coming!

Heritage Week – Slide Shows and Walking Tour

To kick off Heritage Week we held three one-hour Industrial Hopewell Historical Walking Tours of Railroad Place in Hopewell to explore the industrial buildings that helped drive the growth of Hopewell after the arrival of the railroads in the 1870s.

These were sponsored by the Hopewell Public Library.

We also posted two associated historical slide shows for Heritage Week:

Also see Industrial Hopewell: Railroad Place – References for links to the tour handout, the associated briefs for the individual properties, and associated Hopewell Museum videos.

J. B. Hill & Sons

Part of the exploration down Railroad Place is the story of J. B. Hill and Sons – a Hopewell fixture for over a century.

The family-run business for over three generations had its origins as a coal business back to 1890, then added grain & feed, lumber, building supplies, fuel oil, and finally general hardware and paints before closing in 2006.

Smith / Rockwell / Kooltronic

The last stop down Railroad Place is the large Smith / Rockwell / Kooltronic manufacturing facility at the end of Hamilton Ave. The building was once a large manufacturing plant providing over 200 local jobs.

The facility began as the Smith Novelty Co. and then the H. A. Smith Manufacturing Co. (1900 – 1945), but is best remembered under the name of Rockwell (1945 – 1974), which was a major employer in Hopewell. The site was then used by Kooltronic (1975 – 1999), and since has been used for office space and storage.

Chubby’s Lunch Menus

And here are two historic Chubby’s lunch menus as a follow-up to the earlier story of the history of the Rose & Chubby’s Luncheonette building in Hopewell (the corner store at North Greenwood and Railroad Place),

One is from when the store was known as Chubby’s Luncheonette (around 1991 to 2012), and another from when it was Ewing’s, aka “The Corner Store,” (around 1925 to 1945 or later).

The prices for similar foods increased roughly 10 times between the two menus, with a ham and cheese sandwich increasing from 35 cents to $3.40, and milk shakes from 20 cents to $2.70.

The Hopewell Express also published a nice article that covers the history of the building, its restoration into the current Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette, and the nonprofit Chubby’s Project that supports an outdoor food pantry and delivers meals in the community – The scoop on Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette.

1966 Snowy Aerials of Pennington and Hopewell

Roger Labaw also provided two new aerial photos from 1966, showing views to the horizon of Pennington and Hopewell boroughs. The ground is blanketed in snow, with open area and fields surrounding the development in the towns.

The Pennington view looks east over the borough to the horizon – from over Hopewell Valley Central High School, up Delaware Avenue to downtown Pennington and beyond.

The Hopewell view looks east over the borough to the horizon – from over Crusher Road, up Route 654 into downtown Hopewell, and then on in the distance on Route 518 East to Blawenberg and Rocky Hill.

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