The Southampton Historical Society 1974 – 1999
Celebrating 25 Years!
The Southampton Historical Society was founded in 1974. The first meeting of the society was held on September 16, 1974 in the Sally Stretch Keen Memorial Library. The Officers elected at that time were: President: Esther Irick; Vice-President: Joseph Jordan; Secretary: Mary Robbins: Treasurer: Edward Cliver. On October 7 of the same year, the name “Southampton Historical Society” was adopted.
In 1975, the Township quilt was started by Mary Robbins and on May 26 of that year, the first SHS float appeared in the Vincentown Memorial Day Parade. The theme of the float was “6M to H” (the six-mile marker to “Holly”, referring to Mount Holly — although some say the “H” represents Hainesport). In October, 1975, the Society adopted its first Constitution and Bylaws.
1976 was the U.S. Bicentennial year, and on May 3, the first elections were held under the SHS Constitution. The first elected officers were installed by the light of kerosene lamps at the first meeting held in the historic Telephone Building on Mill Street, Vincentown.
In 1977, the Southampton Historical Society obtained its first grant, from the Burlington County Cultural and Heritage Commission in the amount of $500 for the restoration of the bow window of the historic Telephone Building. In March of 1977, Margaret Morris submitted the winning entry for the name of the SHS Newsletter: Hello Central. In October of the same year, the SHS opened its Telephone Building to the public for the first time.
In 1981, the SHS moved the Haines School to its present site in Millpond Park on Race Street, Vincentown. SHS hosts many visitors each year to its lovingly restored and furnished building. During the same year, New Jersey Bell contributed a 1900-era switchboard to the Telephone Museum and the SHS hosted a Silver Tea at the Telephone Building for former telephone employees.
In 1982, the SHS began its annual Christmas in November — first in the Telephone Building, then in Number 2 School, and now in the Olde Town Hall.
In 1984, the Society celebrated its ten-year anniversary with a roast beef dinner in the Grange Hall with all its past presidents — and many others — on hand. In February of 1984 SHS’ first Taster’s Choice potluck dinner took place in the Olde Town Hall.
In May of 1986, SHS held is first Geranium Sale.
On April 14, 1987, Vincentown was entered into the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.
In the Fall of 1989, Dorothy Best was appointed as Southampton Township Historian. Also in 1989, the SHS received a grant of $500 from New Jersey Bell.
In 1992, the SHS provided docents for the Columbian Quincentenary Museum on Main St., Vincentown. In September, Mr. George Klein and Arthur Leary were honored at a lawn reception, celebrating the installation of the historic switchboard, rebuilt and restored to working order by Mr. Klein.
In September, 1993, SHS’ third museum, in the old Town Hall, opened to the public, and on September 12, the SHS celebrated its 20th anniversary with a dinner at the Buddtown Methodist Church Hall. Past President Joseph Laufer was the main speaker at this event.
During the period 1994-1998, the SHS restored the old Vincentown Lockup (jail) at the rear of the Olde Town Hall, and supported the efforts to restore the Vincentown Millpond, which collapsed in the spring of 1993. The dam was restored at the end of 1995.
On September 16, 1999, The Southampton Historical Society celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The event was celebrated on Sunday, September 19 with an anniversary tea conducted at the Olde Town Hall.
For more information on history and the historic buildings of Southampton, go to http://www.historicsouthamptonnj.org/