October 2022 Update – The Railroad in Hopewell

The October updates to the History Project included several posts on the railroad in Hopewell, plus the Model Ave. Lumber Yard, more on the Twin Pine airport, and Hopewell toys of the 1920s. (See Site Updates for more.)

By the numbers, we finished the month with 284 files in the Archives, including 137 documents and 147 maps and aerials. The Image Gallery now has 3012 files, and the Aerial Panoramas Collection has 23 images. The Pamphlet Collection has 177 documents, and the Property Reports Collection has 85 documents, with 58 Site Survey reports and 27 Property Briefs. The interactive History Map includes 775 addresses with 102 historic places in Hopewell Borough. The History Project YouTube Channel is hosting 21 videos, plus 10 external local history videos, including 4 videos of History Project presentations. Please keep the materials coming!

When The Railroad Came to Hopewell

Hopewell Train Station, 1905

On October 27, 2022, Doug Dixon presented Life in 1900s Hopewell with the Arrival of the Railroad, exploring how the arrival of the railroad drove the development of Hopewell into the town that we know today.

The talk first visualizes the growth of the town of Hopewell through historical town maps, expanding from its origins along the Old School Baptist Church on West Broad Street – along east Broad and then north and south – and with the development of industrial sites along Model Avenue and Railroad Place.

The talk then digs deeper into the feel of the time through the words of the people of Hopewell, and from seeing their actions – as they continually invested their time and money to create the kind of town where they wanted to live.

See the full Presentation Video and References for Hopewell with the Arrival of the Railroad.

Hopewell Valley Railroad Artifacts

Rich Anderson and family shared some amazing artifacts of the early railroad service in the Hopewell Valley. These include a short section of track that may be from the Mercer & Somerset Railroad line, which shut down in 1879. Plus a railroad spike that may be of the same vintage.

And there is an Armspear brand kerosene lantern for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad locomotive shop. Prior to battery operated lanterns and two way radios these kerosene lanterns were used to communicate the movement of trains.

Railroad Track Section, c1880
Phila. & Reading Railroad Amspear Lantern

Model Ave. Lumber Yard – Golden & Van Doren

The lumberyard on Model Avenue is remembered in Hopewell Borough as “Van Doren’s,” with Bob and George Van Doren, but its history there goes back over a century – to their father, J. C. (“Jake”) Van Doren, who took over in 1923, and earlier to A. S. Golden, who founded the coal, lumber, and feed business there in 1892.

== View the full brief on the Model Ave. Lumberyard (PDF) ==

== View Van Doren / Golden mementos in the Image Gallery ==

Current Model Ave. Lumberyard Site
Bob Van Doren at the lumberyard office, 2000

“Pole Farm” History – 1929 – 1975

The History Project site added several pamphlets on the Pole Farm – the history and operation of the Lawrenceville Transmitting Center, and associated historical photos of the site and operation.

== View all the Pole Farm images in the Image Gallery ==

== View all the Pole Farm documents in the Pamphlet Collection ==

Aerial view of Lawrenceville (Pole Farm) transmission site, Fairchild Aerial Surveys, 1930
Antennas for South American circuits at Lawrenceville, 1930

Hopewell Toys of the 1920s

Hoproco Carousel

Another post looked at Hopewell Toys of the 1920s, in anticipation of the upcoming presentation on Hoproco – Hopewell’s 1920s Toy Company

The 1920s saw the beginning of mass-produced toys, especially from metal.

The Hoproco toys were manufactured from metal, using machinery to print, cut, fold, and assemble each product. We have evidence from newspaper ads of the five known products being sold from 1925 through 1928. At least some of these products were sold through New York City distributors. The newspapers with ads for the products span Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina, and even Hawaii.

Please contact us if you have – or know of – other images and materials that we can share to help illuminate the history of our Hopewell Valley.

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