logo for South River's 300th anniversary  

Major Projects and Milestones

of the

South River Historical & Preservation Society, Inc.

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view of Washington Monumental Cemetery
National Register of Historic Places plaque
OSBC cemetery conservation work
1851 map


2019-2021Celebration of South River's 300th anniversary -- Planning for the 300th anniversary celebration was begun in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of events scheduled for the anniversary year (2020). New events will be scheduled when it's safe to resume public activities.
2018-20191918 influenza epidemic project -- The society worked with the Middlesex County Office of Arts and History researching the 1918 influenza epidemic in South River and planning for a ground penetrating radar survey of a section of Washington Monumental Cemetery thought to have a common grave from the epidemic.
2018Ground Penetrating Radar survey of Old School Baptist Church graveyard -- A GPR survey of the Old School Baptist Church graveyard, located behind the museum, was commissioned in an attempt to determine the existence and location of unmarked graves.
2016Conservation and restoration of the Klauser's hotel painting -- Edward Lange's 1882 painting of Klauser's hotel, donated by Woodis Booraem, benefited from the work of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts. The project was funded by a private donation.
201610,000 artifacts -- The museum catalog reached the milestone of including information on 10,000 individually cataloged items.
2015Digitization of 1946 film -- The film showing the parade and other events held during the 1946 homecoming celebration for returning veterans was professionally cleaned and digitized in an archival format.
2015Cleaning of the Frazee urn and the WWI doughboy monument -- Both monuments were professionally cleaned, repaired, and treated.
2014 - 2015Publication of South River, part of the Images of America Series -- The book includes more than 240 images from the museum's Van Dyke Reid Collection of photographs taken in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
2012 - (ongoing)Compilation of a new book on South River history -- A work in progress, the new book will include a time line, biographical sketches, excerpts from oral histories, narratives and photographs on selected topics, and other features.
2012 - 2013Establishment of the Richard K. Meyers South River History High School Essay Contest -- These scholarships are awarded annually to graduating high school seniors who live in South River and are continuing their educations. The original awards were made possible through contributions from Judith Zinis, wife of Richard Meyers, and Bruce and Lee Meyers, his brothers. The inaugural scholarships were awarded in June 2013 to Bridget LaPlante, from South River High School, and Rebecca Walsh, from Bishop George Ahr High School.
2010 - 2012Photographic Survey of Washington Monumental Cemetery -- A continuation of the project carried out between 1992 and 2005, the new survey began with a review and update of the existing database, and expanded to include a photograph of each stone in the six surveyed sections of the cemetery. The photographs have been systematically linked from the existing database so that visitors to the museum can read the information and click on a link to view the related photo.
2006 - (ongoing)Conservation of the Old School Baptist Church Graveyard -- Private donations have thus far provided only partial funding for this ongoing project to rescue the Old School Baptist Church Cemetery from the effects of time. The Borough of South River provided assistance early on with landscaping work and replacement of the existing fence, and conservation work on 11 stones was completed in fall 2007. Repairs to several additional stones were completed in 2015. Additional funding is needed before work can resume.
2003 - 2004Restoration of the War Memorials -- Both the World War I "doughboy" Memorial and the World War II, Korean Conflict, and Vietnam Conflict Memorial located in front of the Museum were restored with funds collected from private donations.
2001 - (ongoing)Cataloging, digitizing, and organizing the collections at the South River Museum -- With partial funding from a series of grants from the New Jersey Historical Commission and the Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission the efforts to catalog the Museum collections continue. The grants have provided the funds to hire a dedicated cataloger as well as for much-needed supplies such as preservation boxes and acid-free folders. Although the majority of the work is focused on the backlog of material collected since the inception of the Historical Society, new material is also being cataloged, digitized, and preserved as it's received.
2000 - 2001Development of a "Historical Hunt" for the South River Museum -- Designed as an activity for Museum visitors, the "hunt" is a series of trivia questions based on items in and around the museum. Bookmarks, magnets, and a video about the Museum were also produced. The project was funded with a grant from the Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission.
2000 - 2001 Creation of a virtual Historical Tour of South River -- Comparing photos from the late 1800s and early 1900s with contemporary photos, the project was undertaken by the South River High School Community Problem Solvers in conjunction with the South River Historical & Preservation Society and the South River schools. The project was funded with a grant from Verizon.
1997 - 2000Conservation of R. Van Dyke Reid's 1851 map of South River -- The earliest known map to depict only South River, the conservation project was funded with money from a private donation.
1995 - 1996Publication of a Commemorative Book in Celebration of South River's 275th Anniversary -- Created to mark the occasion of the 275th anniversary, the 92 page book details the activities of the year, as well as the history of the Borough, the schools, and the churches, with historical photos and other features.
1994 - 1999Restoration of the Old School Baptist Church and the Frazee Urn, and opening of the Museum -- Upon the initiative of the South River Historical & Preservation Society, the South River Borough Council applied for and received a grant for restoration of the building. The grant, approved in June 1995, was funded by the Historic Preservation Bond Program and administered by the New Jersey Historic Trust. The restoration was completed and the Museum opened in 1999.
1994 - 1995Organization of the parade and celebration for the 275th anniversary of South River -- A year-long series of events celebrating the history of the borough, the highlight of the year was the parade on October 22, 1995, one of the largest and most spectacular in Borough history.
1992 - 2005Survey of Washington Monumental Cemetery -- Begun as a Society project in the early 1990s, the intent was to inventory and document the gravestones in the older sections of the cemetery in order to preserve the information contained there. The project was finally completed in 2005 with the help of two Girl Scouts and a Boy Scout. The Girl Scouts each earned their Gold Award and the Boy Scout his Eagle Scout Award for their participation in the project.
1991 - 1992Placement of the Old School Baptist Church and Cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places -- Following the placement of the building on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, application was made to have it added to the National Register. The placement became official on January 7, 1992.
1990 - 1991Placement of the Old School Baptist Church and Cemetery on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places -- A historic preservation consultant was hired to research and prepare the paperwork necessary to have the property recognized for placement on the Register. The placement became official on November 19, 1991.
1988 - 1989Purchase of the Willett Sisters Portraits -- The Society's first major project, funded with money from private donations.