Hopewell New Year’s Artifacts

Happy New Year! In the spirit of the holiday, here are some Hopewell Valley artifacts related to celebrations, including fluid intake and recovery from the same.

These span the 1920s into the 1970s, and include organizations and businesses that are still operating today, including the Hopewell Pharmacy and the American Legion.

(This is also a reminder that we welcome additional such materials that we can share to remember and preserve our local history.)

American Legion – Dant Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (1969)

American Legion Whiskey (1969) – Label
American Legion 50th Anniv. – Dant Kentucky Whiskey (1969)

This is a commemorative 4/5 quart bottle of 86 proof J. W. Dant Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the American Legion (1919-1969).

For the members of local Hopewell Valley American Legion Post 339, this bottle brings back fond memories of Albert and Rose Marie [Mar] Rathousky, who ran the Hopewell Inn at 15 East Broad from 1970 to 1977. The Rathouskys were strong supporters of the Legion, and these commemorative bottles were available for sale at the Inn.

“Rosie” Rathousky took over the business from her parents, Anton and Rose Mar, who had run the Inn since 1949. Albert Rathousky was an Army Air Force veteran of World War II, and a commander of Hopewell Valley Post 339.

At the time, the bar was on the right side of the building, with the residence on the left. Legion members report that the bar side had a long bar along the left side of the room, tables, and a shuffleboard set up along the right wall along with several dart boards. (Albert organized a darts club that played in a local league.) A shelf above the bar displayed an extensive collection of beer mugs from around the world.

Hopewell Inn – Anton & Rose Mar [HH 8/23/1950]

Rosie is still remembered as “a tough lady,” with “her own rules and regulations.” She did not tolerate cursing or cussing, or you could be “flagged for life.” The “Rosie fund” collected a charge for cussing – 10 or 25 cents. Rosie then used the proceeds of the cuss jar to support Legion members and other people in the community who needed help, “in stress or after a tragedy.”

The whiskey makers, the Dant family, had a long and rich history of Bourbon distilling, starting in 1836 when Joseph W. Dant fashioned a still out of a poplar tree log and started making whiskey at Dant’s Station in Nelson County, Kentucky. (See Bourbon History site.)

Hernig Milk Bottle (1900s) – Hopewell Creamery

Hernig Pint Milk Bottle – Hopewell Creamery

This one-pint milk bottle is from the Peter Hernig Milk Products business, which was one of the most prominent wholesale milk dealers in Philadelphia in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Hernig variously operated six creameries in New York, Pennsylvania, and in Hopewell and Wertsville.

Hernig partnered with Daniel A. Northrup to operate the Hernig & Northrup Creamery in Hopewell from 1892 to 1920. The Hopewell creamery pasteurized the milk, separated the cream and milk, and also made butter.

The creamery processed around 5,000 pounds of milk per day, received from nearly 100 farms in the Hopewell Valley. The products were shipped daily to the Hernig distribution center in Philadelphia in refrigerated train cars.

Holcombe‘s Raw Milk Bottle Caps (c. 1940s)

Bottle caps for G. Newell Holcombe Raw Milk [Carol Kehoe]

These are flat bottle caps for G. Newell Holcombe’s Raw Milk – “Produced by Tuberculin Tested Cows,” courtesy of Carol Kehoe of Hopewell Antiques.

George Newell Holcombe (1894-1958) was born in Hopewell, and lived in his grandfather John M. Dalrymple’s house at 19 West Broad Street – one of Hopewell’s oldest buildings, originally the site of the Hopewell Academy Baptist school in the 1750s, then the Blackwell / Riley / Drake farmstead, and more recently known as the Runyon property.

After serving in France in World War I as a medical corpsman, Holcombe returned to Hopewell and lived in the same house. He operated a plumbing and heating business for multiple decades, and ran his 85-acre farm. He also was elected mayor.

Holcombe Plumbing [HH 7/9/1924]

The Holcombe milk business appears to be a sideline from the original Drake/Dalrymple farm, since there is no discussion of it found in his obituary, or in local newspapers and other sources.

There was strong concern about the safety of milk in the 1920s. The newspaper reported an effort in 1926 to require that all milk offered for sale in the borough be pasteurized, or be procured from tuberculin-tested cows. (The Hopewell creamery had added a pasteurizing plant in 1914.) Reportedly, tuberculosis had only appeared locally in cows a few years previously, possibly spreading because the cows were being shut up into “nice clean warm stables” instead of being allowed to live in open sheds in the fresh air.  [HH 3/31/1926]

Cutter’s Drug Store – Tincture of Iodine (1920s-40s)

Cutter’s Drug Store – Tincture of Iodine
Hopewell Pharmacy / Rexall Drugs, 1965 [Craig Taylor]

This small 3-inch bottle from Cutter’s Drug Store contains Tincture of Iodine, which is used as an antiseptic – to disinfect wounds, and in smaller amounts, to disinfectant water for drinking or to sanitize the surface of fruit and vegetables.

In 1920, Paul S. Cutter partnered with George E. Pierson, who had run a drug store at 1 West Broad in Hopewell since the mid 1880s. The business became Cutter’s Rexall Drug Store, which continued into the early 1960s. The building continues today as the Hopewell Pharmacy.

As listed on the label, the product was produced by the United Drug Co., which was formed in 1921 as a group of franchised drug stores. U. D. C. used the name “Rexall” (“king of all”) for its stores and products, and which eventually became the company name. The company was started in Boston, and moved to St. Louis in 1920.

So this bottle is from after 1920, and before the mid-1940s, when the company was renamed from the United Drug Co. to the Rexall Drug Co.

Please do contact us if you have – or know of – more information or artifacts about Hopewell area local history.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: