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Monthly Open House is Saturday, September 1, 2018, 12 to 3 PM

Thank you to everyone who attended our 2018 Juneteenth program, featuring Baritone, Keith Spencer, accompanied by piano and violin.

Thank you for attending our Perennial Plant Sale at the Beverly Library

Our NEW location is in the old Well's Pharmacy building, also known as the Beverly Library Annex in Beverly, 433 Cooper Street.B>

Come and see our re-organized local history displays. We have a research area for you to research family history.We treasure all our donations from our friends.

In memory of Bette Sever, June McPherson and Allan Denning, members who passed away recently. We also mourn the loss of our friend Margaret Hicks Morris.

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/// CALL THERESA 609-387-1079 FOR INFO


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September 2018
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Dennis Rogers
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St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

Delran Historical Society

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STIRRING TIMES: The lives of NJ Civil War Surgeons

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2011 Holiday House tour article
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RHS Holiday House Tour December 3, 2011 Coopertown Meeting House Cooper Street, Edgewater Park

The tour starts here every year at the Riverfront Historical Society’s HQ and Museum.

While the compact building is typical in appearance for the time (c. 1802) its origins are not. Most religious buildings were intended to serve a particular denomination and congregation. The subscribers who raised the funds for the Coopertown Meeting House decreed it be “open and free to all persons professing and believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ.”

The Meeting House is so chock full of fascinating, everyday “things” from the riverfront towns’ past that it was hard to leave for the tour. For example: local baseball teams and military miscellany, local business and industry relics, personal letters, artifacts and photos (lots and lots of amazing photos). Deeds, school rolls, pins, clothing, insignia, newspaper articles, toys…you name it, it’s probably here. All for you to see, representing the river towns from their earliest days through the Civil War to the past century. The Meeting House was decked with holiday décor, filled with warmth from the antique furnace and offering up yummy refreshments to all visitors.

1 Red Dragon Canoe Club 221 Edgewater Avenue, Edgewater Park

The venerable Red Dragon Canoe Club is one of the oldest boating clubs in the U.S. Housed in a Second Empire-style mansion dating from the Civil War, the Club is a family oriented organization offering sailing, paddling and regattas as well as an active social calendar. In the museum room on the second floor you can see the concise history of the Club through memorabilia of the fetes, regattas and events that filled the long life of the Red Dragon. Especially interesting are the beautiful silver engraved loving cups and other trophies awarded in the races held here on the Delaware and elsewhere.

Other artifacts fill the mansion: the moose heads on the walls, the creative remembrances of the traditional annual “mess” complete with the menus, huge, hand-wrought canoes, enormous actual ships’ wheels, including one from the USS Maine (yes, that one), small cannon, some used over the years to start the regattas and one reputed to have been left behind by the Hessian soldiers in the Revolutionary War. And looking out over the expanse of the lawn to the edge of the Delaware, it is easy to imagine the literally hundreds of colorful sailboat races over the years.

2 home of Eleanor Travia 305 Cliff Avenue, Edgewater Park

This is a magnificent house that the owner proudly says is over 200 years old. It is set back from the street with a semi-circular drive. For the season it is, like all the houses on the tour, brightly lit inside and out. Inside, of course, it only seems its age because of the grand scale of things. It is certainly a modern home. The grand decorations suit the house. The clever use of spire-shaped tree ornaments crowd in a sparkling display on one of the many large fireplace mantels. In the center hall, was the biggest in-home mirror ever seen, and perhaps as old as the house, draped with Christmas greenery. Large framed paintings of winsome cats and dogs could be found in each room, indicating that the owner was a friend to animals. The hostess, festive in all red, agreed with that assessment. Visitors, while oooing and aaahing, were offered some excellent homemade hot cider.

3 home of Rich and Janice Schank 321 Cliff Avenue, Edgewater Park

Here is a great house, skillfully blending the old and the new. It is, says the owner, a “center hall Victorian” and certainly the center hall, with its sharply turning staircase and festive Christmas décor, is beautiful. The front rooms flank the center hall: the formal parlor with the impressive “Angel Tree” decorated in all white and the husband’s study-library which is both comfortable and tailored. The formal dining room was lushly decorated for the holidays. The table was set with hand polished family silver and dinner china depicting the Twelve Days of Christmas. Antique cabinets held lovely pieces of china and porcelain handed down in the family.

The back of the house is the modern part. A ‘great room’ is the family room and features the equally tall “family” tree. The tree’s ornaments are in sets of three, one for each of the family’s sons. A unique, pellet burning woodstove was easily warming the space where the whole family can gather.

4 The Beverly Presbyterian Church 121 East Warren Stree Edgewater Park

This stop on the tour boasted something unexpected. Live music. A solo horn player greeted visitors in the church entryway with lovely, familiar Christmas carols. The congregation of the Beverly Presbyterian Church officially organized in November of the year 1853. Today the church is housed in a stone building in the Gothic architectural style which was constructed in 1873. The magnificent stained glass Memorial Window cannot be missed. Inside the spacious sanctuary one finds Christmas decorations that suit the vaulting space with tasteful grace.

The church has celebrated 150 years and continues to serve the community with everything from traditional and contemporary services to a food pantry to free movies and parties for all families.

5 home of Juliana and Mike Craig 131 East Warren Street, Edgewater Park

Another huge home is this beauty, with its sparkling fresh coat of period-appropriate paint and endless porch. The watchword for these proud owners is “authenticity.” Every restoration they plan is researched thoroughly. Then they add loving personal effort. This includes buying a wood turning machine and creating over 200 spindles just for the renovation of the porch alone. The newly-refurbished porch was decked with ropes and boughs of evergreens and could not have looked handsomer.

Soft yellow walls reflect the cheery Victorian-age Christmas decorations in the spacious front parlor and include not only a traditionally decorated live tree but also stockings hung by the chimney with care. The dining room was ready for a formal holiday dinner complete with red candles on wrought iron pillars and live greenery. The dining room’s three window bay was lovely dressed in lace.

6 St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church 158 Warren Street, Beverly

St. Stephen’s long history is familiar to the Bee’s readers. They know that the congregation of St. Stephen’s has just recently completed the renovation of their historic steeple after a dedicated fund raising effort.

The outside is lovely, but so is the inside. While on the Riverfront Historical Society’s tour, one is welcomed into the sanctuary, which is, like every stop on the tour, beautifully decorated for the Christmas holiday season. Come through the wreathed, double red doors and see the celestial blue ceiling over the altar, the history-evoking baptismal font, lanterns and pews and the impressive organ pipes.

Linger a little and learn about all the programs and activities planned for the season.

7 home of Dick and Cathy Hemler 1011 Stokes Avenue, Edgewater Park

This home is a modern home. But that doesn’t mean there are no surprises inside. These are also owners who take this holiday seriously and their decorating efforts reflect that. Warm, bright, festive and comfortable, we could just stay here awhile.

But there are amazing “little” things to see here. Miniature, precisely to scale houses –and an authentic St. Michaels’s Maryland lighthouse--are the hobby of both husband and wife. Each has a particular expertise: he to plan and construct the house (no kit stuff here) and she to furnish and decorate down to the tiniest detail. There are mansions in miniature and cottages and even a Sears Roebuck “catalog” model home. All are electrified so they are lit, decorated and ready for Christmas. Miniatures, beyond houses, abound here, too. Other precisely-wrought marvels include villages, train routes and a garden-aviary.

8 home of Joseph and Laura Galgoci 26 West Franklin Avenue, Edgewater Park

Immediately on entering you can sense that this home reflects a blend of artistry and craftsmanship. The front room, with the live fireplace and the stately, beribboned tree glow like any wonderful Christmas scene. But looking closer reveals the attention to detail that these owners have lavished on their home for the past decade.

This attention to detail extends even to the ceilings—they are definitely lovely and far from ordinary. “They are,” says the owner, “the fifth wall of a room and deserve embellishment too.”

Each room has its charms and delights. A recurring theme is the gleaming cabinetry and woodwork that is all designed and hand-crafted by the husband. Each room is also perfectly decorated for the holidays, including a full sized Christmas tree in the guest bedroom. The final surprise is in the basement. “Man Land” was also all the work of its owner and includes bar, pool table, table shuffleboard, games, weights and much more.

Conclusion The RHS Holiday House Tour is always a delight. Did I mention that, along with opening up their homes to visitors, everyone offered treats to eat as well?

Make your plans this year to attend next year’s tour. By Karen Van Hoy, Beverly Bee staff

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