We are very fortunate that our predecessors in Hopewell Borough wrote down and published the stories of their times. For example, we have Ralph Ege’s Pioneers of Old Hopewell book of local history (1908), several booklets promoting the town as a place for potential businesses and residents (1897 & 1909 – see below), and, of course, the Hopewell Herald newspaper reporting town events (1881 – 1954).
And now we have even more: Two special issues of the Hopewell Herald – the 1900 Souvenir Edition and the 1914 Progress Edition – are now available, and also transcribed into more readable and searchable documents.
These provide a wealth of information on local businesses and people – over 120 listings in all – plus over 100 photos of local places and people.
These publications not only show how Hopewell provided an environment that encouraged new people to come and develop their businesses, but also demonstrates how they were intertwined into the local economy and the community. These people, some just out of school, started out as butchers and barbers and bakers, opened stores and service businesses, and then went on – in addition to their main jobs – to also help found other companies, and create town services and infrastructure, including through banks and telephone, electric, and water companies. They also supported community services including the library and fire companies.
“Following will be found a sketch of our representative manufacturers, business and professional men, who are always identified with anything that has for its factor the benefitting of Hopewell.”
… “Our business is not with the past but with the present, with living men and their daily occupations, enterprises and successes; what they are doing for themselves and their borough in manufacturers, commerce and finance, and in contributing to the progress and advancement of the locality.”– Hopewell Herald, 9/19/1900
These two special issues of the Hopewell Herald are each available in two versions – the original scans of the newspapers (albeit degraded over time), and new transcriptions of the contents of the papers into readable and searchable documents.
- 1900 Souvenir Edition – Scan – original newspaper issue (PDF)
- 1900 Souvenir Edition – Transcribed – edited document (PDF)
- 1914 Progress Edition – Scan – original newspaper issue (PDF)
- 1914 Progress Edition – Transcribed – edited document (PDF)
Thanks to Bob Gantz and the Hall family for providing the 1900 and 1914 issues, respectively, and especially to Carol Errickson for the heavy lifting of cleaning up the text from these newspapers that are over a century old.
1900 Souvenir Edition
The Hopewell Herald Souvenir Edition was published on September 19, 1900. The 8-page Souvenir Edition features 52 sketches of representative businesses and business people of Hopewell, and 42 photos, showing mostly businesses plus associated businesses people. All but one of the images are shared with the two promotional booklets, and some were also reproduced on postcards.
The listings in the Souvenir Edition focus on the major businesses in Hopewell and beyond, including several entries for Skillman, Stoutsburg, Mount Rose, Marshall’s Corner, Glen Moore, and Rosedale. These span from factories to stores to individual trades to doctors. They describe the businesses, and give backgrounds on their development and the people who run them.
Each of these descriptions is enthusiastic – but apparently for good reasons. For example, the paper lauds Dr. Theo. A. Pierson: “No medical practitioner in Hopewell enjoys to a greater degree the confidence and esteem of our citizens.” Yet Pierson had only been in Hopewell for six years, having graduated from medical college in 1984. In that time, his accomplishments included: “… an active member of the Board of Health and the Board of Trade, president of the Enterprise Land Association, vice-president of the Hopewell Telephone and Construction Company, director of the Columbia Building and Loan Association …, [and] physician in charge at St. Michaels’ Orphan Asylum.” (The 1914 Progress Edition then adds that Pierson served as mayor for six years, focusing on sidewalks, municipal water, and the High School.)
1914 Progress Edition
The Hopewell Herald Progress Edition supplement was published in May 1914. The 16-page Progress Edition features 71 sketches focusing on municipal leaders and business people of Hopewell and Pennington, and 64 photos, almost all portraits of the people.
The Progress Edition is organized by town, with 47 entries for Hopewell, 1 for Skillman, and 23 for Pennington. The entries are by people’s names (and associated business), and include municipal officers (mayor, council, clerk, assessor), local services (postmaster, school principals), professionals (doctors and veterinarian), and business people from banks and presidents to individual barbers and bakers.
The language in the descriptions is obvious laudatory (“some of the best ice cream ever in Hopewell”), but they do provide backgrounds on the people – their past experience and how they came to the area – and on how the businesses had developed.
For example, the entry for William P. Howe mentions his term as mayor of Pennington, and involvement in the Board of Trade and Pennington Fire Company.
But the focus is on his “Howe Tract” development – with 300 lots, three miles of streets, and 5000 trees, and almost half sold within the first two years.
The 1897 & 1909 Promotional Booklets
The two promotional booklets are wonderfully helpful for historical perspective, with glowing language describing the many advantages of Hopewell, summaries of major businesses, large photos of businesses and homes, and business advertisements.
Healthful Historic Hopewell (PDF) by Normer Gray (1897, 57 pp.) features an extensive discussion of the advantages of Hopewell for new businesses and residents, plus 40 pages of photos of people, houses, and businesses.
1909 Hopewell New Jersey (PDF) by Fry & Whitehead (1909, 54 pp.) has a shorter summary of the advantages of “progressive” Hopewell (Historical Sketch, Hopewell of To-Day, Educational Advantages, and Progressive Spirit) with the remainder of the pages used for photos and business ads.
We welcome contributions of these kinds of documents and other materials that we can share on the History Project site.