The arrival of railroad service in the 1870s along the foothills of the Sourlands helped drive the development of Hopewell into the town that we know today.
See below for the presentation video and slides, and references from the Life in 1900s Hopewell With the Arrival of the Railroad presentation by Douglas Dixon, held on October 27, 2022 at the Hopewell Train Station for the Sourland Conservancy.
- When The Railroad Came to Hopewell – Products that helped Hopewell grow
- Hopewell Valley Railroad Artifacts – Railroad track and kerosene lantern
- Life in 1900s Hopewell With the Arrival of the Railroad – Presentation description
The Growth of Hopewell
This presentation celebrates the community of Hopewell in the late 1800s and early 1900s, who took advantage of the arrival of the railroads in the 1870s, and worked relentlessly to develop the institutions and utilities and businesses needed to grow Hopewell into a full-fledged town where people wanted to make a home. Their legacy is still visible in the streetscapes that we think of the historical look of Hopewell, in the local institutions that are still with us today, and in the strong community spirit of contributing back to the town.
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.
The maps also show the development of industrial sites along Model Avenue and Railroad Place that helped provide jobs for the town, and a path to market for local farmers through the Saw Mill, Creamery, and Tomato Canning Factory.
Then the talk 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.
They volunteered and raised funds for community organizations including the library and the museum. They worked and invested to build services including banks, fire companies, and the water company. And they continued to promote the town by funding associations to encourage new business through land grants and financial support.
This work and these investments by our forbearers in the late 1800s and early 1900s created the Hopewell that we know today. They founded our town institutions including the Hopewell Fire Department, Public Library, and Museum. And they built our charming historical streetscape, with the many local buildings that were their residences, businesses, and industrial sites.
Presentation Video & Slides
Life in 1900s Hopewell With the Arrival of the Railroad presentation by Douglas Dixon, held on October 27, 2022 for the Sourland Conservancy Train Station series.
- See the Hopewell Borough History Briefs for a full list of the extensive research reports on the various institutions, businesses, and properties discussed in this presentation, from the Library and Fire Department to the Cox Barber Shop to the industrial buildings along Model Avenue, Railroad Place, and Seminary Avenue.
- See Industrial Hopewell: Railroad Place – References for more on the development along Railroad Place and Seminary Avenue
- See Golden & Van Doren Lumber Yard and Finney & Fetter Saw & Feed Mill for more on the development on Model Avenue
- See The Railroads of the Frog War for more on the two competing railroads
- See Hopewell Reference Books – HHH 1897 & 1909 Hopewell for more on the Healthy, Historic Hopewell and 1909 Hopewell New Jersey booklets
- See Hopewell Borough Historic Town Maps to explore the maps of the town
- See Hopewell Borough Town Index for a list of Hopewell Borough documents, maps, images, and other materials archived on the site.