One of the earliest was John Fraser back in the 1850’s. He was a famous architect and founder of the Pennsylvania Institute of Architects and the Philadelphia Chapter of the A.I.A. He designed many buildings including the Union League in Philadelphia and Christ Episcopal Church and Rectory in Riverton. He had offices in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. but his home remained Riverton until shortly before his death in 1902.
Isaiac Clothier, son of Founder Caleb Clothier was a resident. He entered into a partnership with his friend Justus Strawbridge in 1862. They founded the distinguished department store Strawbridge & Clothier in Philadelphia. Maxfield Parrish, artist, spent summers and vacations here during his youth with his grandfather Dillwyn Parrish (a Riverton founder) and other relatives whose homes were in Riverton. Joseph Campbell, for whom the soup company was named, lived here from 1872 until his death in 1900. Several members of the Dorrance family, who had joined and later taken over Campbell’s Soup, also lived here. The John Bioren family of banking and stock exchange note lived here for more than a generation. Franklin D. Olier, who organized the American Legion in Paris in 1918 lived on Park Avenue. The Hollingshead family had lived in Riverton for many years when son Richard developed a ‘drive-in’ movie. The first drive-in opened June, 1932 in Camden NJ. During the height of the Pennsylvania Railroad, many of its executives lived in or visited Riverton. This might explain why special trains were often run to Riverton for events like bicycle racing in the 1890’s, and flower shows at Dreer’s Nursery for many years.
The Henry A. Dreer Company had their main office and trial gardens in Riverton from 1868 until 1944. They hybridized and developed many varieties of flowers, grasses, and vegetables. People came from the world over to study horticulture at their Riverton nurseries and to see the gardens in bloom from Spring until late Fall. Special flower shows were held at the height of the seasons. With the loss of three head executives within a short period of time and other circumstances, Dreer’s closed in 1944. This was the last section of Riverton to be developed into residential lots.
Riverton today is almost fully developed. The population is stable at slightly more than 3,000. Changes in population are due primarily to generational cycles. Riverton is governed by elected officials; a Mayor, six Borough Council members, and various appointed committees. Riverton has Police and Volunteer Fire Departments and regular collections of trash and recyclable materials. There is an elementary school that was established in 1865, also, Nursery School, Daycare facilities, Rotary, and Lion’s Clubs. Neighboring communities of Palmyra and Cinnaminson along with Riverton are referred to as the Tri-Boro Area and share some services and activities.
Over the years a small and vital business district has developed in the center of town. Offices and shops offer a variety of services and wares. Included are a tea-shop, deli, bakery, fitness center, post office and bank among others. In a pedestrian town such as Riverton all are easily reached on foot. In addition, the new River Line light-rail service has a station right in the center of town. It runs over the old steam-train route between Camden and Trenton making commuting to work or attending events anywhere between Philadelphia and New York possible.
Riverton has expanded gradually and systematically over the decades. Within its 3/4 of a square mile area neighborhoods display more than 150 years of American architectural styles. Six Victorian styles are represented in the earliest part of Riverton. Those of the twenty-first century are found east of the railroad. More than half of Riverton’s buildings are included in the State and National Directories of Historic Places. Fine old trees, and some streets still lit by gaslights of a century ago help to make Riverton an attractive place to live.