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Tracks of History: The Role of the Railroad in Shaping Haddonfield

September 2, 2015 Events Comments Off on Tracks of History: The Role of the Railroad in Shaping Haddonfield

Orchard_NJ002-v2September 30, 7:30 PM, Greenfield Hall

As one hears the rattle of the PATCO trains and the whine of the NJ Transit whistles blowing late at night, it’s easy to think of the rail lines in and around Haddonfield as a convenient benefit and occasional nuisance. But much as the rivers had shaped the town in its founding, during the latter half of the 19th century and well into the 20th the railroads made their mark on Haddonfield, bringing it into the modern world and tying it inextricably to other communities both near and far. Traces of this history, both obvious and hidden, can still be found around town and nearby. Join us at our next general meeting, on September 30th, where Dr. Hank Cutler and Randy Acorcey will serve as guides to locating this history and relate the tale it tells about the transformation of our town.

Mr. Acorcey and Dr. Cutler have long held an interest in local history, but their present passion was sparked by the discovery of an old rail bed uncovered in Cherry Hill while Mr. Acorcey was walking his dog. They have done extensive research on the Philadelphia, Marlton and Medford Line of which this was part. The Medford Branch also ran through Haddonfield, where it joined up with other railroads, making the town a true locus of railway transportation and contributing to its growth. The presentation will include images of rare railroad maps, historical photographs (some from the Society’s collection), aerial photographs taken over the years, present day photographs and satellite maps of the path of both this railroad and the other lines that served Haddonfield. They have prepared and presented this presentation to the Cherry Hill Rotary and elsewhere, but September’s talk will specifically focus  on the Haddonfield’s role in local railroad history, a focus that comes naturally to Dr. Cutler with whose dental practice on Kings Highway many of you may be familiar.

The presentation will held at Greenfield Hall at 7:30 on Wednesday, September 30. Please note the slightly later date scheduled in order not to conflict with surrounding holidays. All are welcome. Join us for an evening of socializing with your fellow friends of the Historical Society and to share your own memories and thoughts on these images of Haddonfield’s history, carefully curated to evoke a time when the railways dominated and to heighten our awareness of the traces they left behind.

Article by: David Stewart

The British Are Coming June 6!

May 29, 2015 Events Comments Off on The British Are Coming June 6!


General Membership Meeting: Wed, May 27th

May 20, 2015 Events Comments Off on General Membership Meeting: Wed, May 27th

Authors Bob Shinn and Kevin Cook discuss their recently published book,
Along the Cooper River: Camden to Haddonfield

Along the cooper riverIt’s no exaggeration to say that the modest waterway we call the Cooper River put Haddonfield on the map. The town was first built near the highest navigable portion of the tidal River, providing a link to the ports of Camden and Philadelphia. Its waters provided power for mills, bringing farmers from the surrounding area to the town. As its role in industry and transportation diminished, its shores provided recreation for thousands and the focal point for a massive park project. This history, and its lessons for the future of the river, has been brought together by authors Robert Shinn and Kevin Cook in the new book Along the Cooper River: Camden to Haddonfield and will be brought to life at the May general membership meeting on May 27th, 2015.

Authors Shinn and Cook were first allied in the fight to save the Wallworth Club House, a 1928 structure that stood as testament to the park’s history and was threatened by neglect. Their efforts proved unsuccessful and the Club House was bulldozed by Camden County last year. The fight to save it energized them in their efforts to both recognize the history that had taken place along the Cooper River, and to protect what vestiges of this remained by having the park system lining it declared a Historic District. The book serves not only as a chronicle of the history and a nostalgic look at former sights and pastimes, but as a call to action.

Many local individuals and organizations contributed to the book, including the Historical Society of Haddonfield, and thousands of fascinating images were supplied. The presentation will share many of these in an interactive format, with plenty of opportunity for the audience to share their own memories and knowledge. The authors have presented a series of talks about the book in the area, but each one takes a unique shape based upon the location and the interests of the audience, making it a worthwhile trip even you’ve previously attended.

Copies of the book will be available to purchase, and the authors will be happy to autograph these or any other copies brought to the meeting. Please join us and your friends from the Society for a journey

Along the Cooper River at Greenfield Hall on Wednesday, May 27 at 7:30pm for an important look at our hometown waterway’s past and future.

Indian King Tavern Sat, May 16

May 3, 2015 Events Comments Off on Indian King Tavern Sat, May 16

11018163_859133010824419_3593179416759208846_n May 2

Annual Candlelight Dinner – Walt Whitman’s Life in Camden County presented by Dave Stedman

February 24, 2015 Events Comments Off on Annual Candlelight Dinner – Walt Whitman’s Life in Camden County presented by Dave Stedman
Walt Whitman photo  courtesy Library of Congress

Walt Whitman photo courtesy Library of Congress

Join us for the Annual Candlelight Dinner this year!
(Deadline extended to March 23!)

Walt Whitman’s arrival in Camden, NJ in 1873, may have been “originally an accident” in his words, but it was certainly a happy one for those who cherish the great poet and his unique imprint on local history. Traces of his influence can be found in his carefully preserved home on Mickle Street, in the memorial he helped design at his final resting place in Harleigh Cemetery, and in the tales of his travels throughout the area, including some Haddonfield encounters. The Historical Society of Haddonfield is pleased to welcome David Stedman to share some of these stories and to map the Poet’s progress when he presents “Walt Whitman in Camden County” at the Society’s annual Candlelight Dinner on March 25.

Mr. Stedman has served as President of the Walt Whitman Association and has previously led tours of the Whitman House and Tomb. Trained as a Philadelphia tour guide, he has explored Old City, Valley Forge, the Powell House (built for Charles Stedman) and other historic sites. He is the Historian of the St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia and is on the local board of the Presbyterian Historical Society, while also serving as Secretary of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation. He has presented talks on Whitman throughout the area and across the state, including to the Haddon Fortnightly and the Haddonfield United Methodist Church.

After graduating cum laude from Dartmouth, Mr. Stedman studied at the University of London, traveled extensively through Africa and elsewhere, and pursued a life full of varied interests. He served as a schoolteacher in Camden for 32 years, winning honors as the City and County Teacher of the Year. He currently serves as President of the Clan Campbell Society and has led tours with the group in Scotland. A Haddonfield resident, he has devoted much time to local organizations such as the First Presbyterian Church and the Interfaith Caregivers.

In perhaps another happy accident, he was confirmed in his interest in Whitman by the poet’s quote regarding an early advocate, Edmund C. Stedman, of whom Whitman stated, “that Stedman is a lovely fellow.” We’re sure you’ll find Haddonfield’s Mr. Stedman the same. And, just as Whitman said of his accidental arrival, “but I shall never be sorry…. It has brought me blessed returns,” we know you will not regret joining with your Historical Society of Haddonfield friends, on purpose, to share fellowship and to celebrate Whitman’s life. (Take from The Bulletin article by Dave Stewart.)

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Funding provided by the Camden County Cultural and Heritage Commission at Camden County College, the officially designated county history agency of the New Jersey Historical Commission.

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Historical Society of Haddonfield
343 Kings Hwy. E
Haddonfield, NJ 08033
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