September 2021 Update – Hopewell Inn

The September updates on the Hopewell Valley History Project site included an extensive history brief on the Hopewell Inn / Central Hotel, and a collection of Hopewell photos by Gary Saretzky.

Other posts showed examples of historical artifacts that still can be found in local homes and attics – and at yard sales, and examined the emptiness of older photos, showing our towns before all the trees had filled in.

By the numbers, we finished the month with 234 files in the Archives, including 106 documents and 128 maps and aerials. The Image Gallery now has 2214 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 77 files, with 58 Site Survey reports and 19 Property Briefs. The interactive History Map includes 775 addresses with 102 historic places in Hopewell Borough. Please keep the materials coming!


The Hopewell Inn / Central Hotel

The Hopewell Valley Bistro and Inn building at 15 East Broad Street and Seminary Avenue has a nearly 150 year history as a residential home and store, bar and restaurant, and lodging and apartments (view the location and images on the Hopewell History Map).

It has been known as the Central Hotel, Cray’s Hotel, Gebhart’s Hotel, and the Hopewell Inn. It has seen multiple renovations with additions and porches. It even was briefly a national landmark with the Lindbergh kidnapping press frenzy, while to the town it has been a local gathering place.

See the Hopewell Inn / Central Hotel post for a brief summary of the different uses of the building, and the associated owners, extracted from an extensive new History Project brief on the property.

== See the full Hopewell Inn history brief (PDF) for much more detail on the history, people, and renovations to the building, plus references for this information ==


Hopewell Photographs by Gary Saretzky

Gary Saretzky has kindly shared his collection of photographs of Hopewell Borough – 22 black and white photos from 1978 to 1980, which also conveniently provide a record of the buildings and businesses of the time.

Saretzky lived in Hopewell from 1977 to 1980, when he created this collection of photographs. He also printed postcards with local scenes, and published a book of Hopewell photos.

== See all the Saretzky photographs in the Image Gallery,
including copies organized by address ==


Hopewell Trees: 1900s vs. Today

Bob Gantz has provided a set of photos that show views east from the Hopewell public school, with a tennis court and the buildings along the back of Seminary Avenue to Columbia. These also highlight the amazing tree-less views around town, so different from our current streetscapes filled with mature shade trees.

We are used to our current tree-lined streets, but this was the state of our towns at the turn of the century – even as the towns were growing rapidly there still were large empty areas, and the mature trees were long gone for use as lumber and firewood.

Additional aerial images of the town, further contrast the open visits of the past to the greenery of today. However, the trees can be a pain for historians trying to reconcile old photos with current streetscapes.

== See all the new Gantz photos in the Image Gallery ==


Preserving Hopewell Artifacts

Finally, Doug and Linda Robbins shared some recent discoveries of historic materials around the house, including 1940s ice cream cartons from the Eagle Bakery on Mercer Street, 1930s egg cartons from M. A. Zwaaf on Blackwell Avenue, and a variety of medicine bottles embossed and labeled with local druggists, from around the 1880s to the 1920s.

Hopewell Borough’s 2021 Annual Town-Wide Yard Sale weekend provided the opportunity to remind folks that as you clear out the attic and browse the sales, please be on the lookout for historic artifacts that we can preserve and share here on the History Project site.

We welcome all types of materials that illustrate and explain our past, including:

  • Printed – Books, pamphlets, deeds / plans, or other papers on local people, organizations, places, events, etc.
  • Geographic – Maps or aerial images of local areas
  • Imagery – Photos, drawings, artwork, or even family snapshots of local people, places, and events
  • Artifacts – Physical mementos of local organizations, businesses, etc.

== See the full Hopewell Mementos album in the Image Gallery ==


So please keep looking for more images and artifacts like these that we can share to help illuminate the history of our Hopewell Valley.

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