Images of America: Mount Holly
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 59.724 W 074° 47.197
18S E 518215 N 4427268
Quick Description: A town of contrasts, parts are rural and unoccupied, while other parts, the fun parts, are old, historic 'Main Street' roads with an eclectic array of shops in well-preserved 18th-19th century buildings. This book details al of that.
Location: New Jersey, United States
Date Posted: 1/16/2011 9:22:41 PM
Waymark Code: WMAHG0
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member Bryan
Views: 4

Long Description:

An old Quaker town and the Burlington County seat, MOUNT HOLLY (30 alt., 6,573 pop.) is named for a mountain that has everything except size. The holly-covered hill, a miniature Fuji cone, rises to an altitude of 183 feet from a level clearing in the northern part of the original 300-acre tract upon which the town was built. Rancocas Creek flows from the flatlands east of the hill. The stream crosses Main Street, the principal thoroughfare, near the center of the city and then turns eastward to the Delaware River , 12 miles distant.

--- New Jersey, a Guide to Its Present and Past, 1939; page 292

I had a recent opportunity to visit the historic district portion of this small, Revolutionary War period town. Rich with Quaker influenced, as evidenced by its 18th century meetinghouse, this town has undergone some serious change in the last hundred years. A concerted effort to preserve the historic effort and increase local business in the same area has helped this quaint village turn a corner and write a new chapter in its history. Historic markers abound everywhere and help in providing an interpretive history of this town as well as a factual history as well.

Besides the historic district, found on the NRHP, the town also features several independent NRHP sites as well, most within the historic district. Pretty much everything you touch is a contributing something or other to the historic district. While there are other more polished or 'proper' historic districts nearby such as Moorestown and Haddonfield, both Quaker influenced, this district is by far the most grittiest, not conforming to the pristine or wealthy standards set by the others. This area is what it is, an eclectic array of shops in a neighborhood that exists as it did in the 19th century and the late 18th century.

Another part of the historic district I visited was Mill Race, a restored, 18th century neighborhood, the oldest, in Mount Holly. Now it features the most unique and quaint shops in the district, or anywhere else for that matter. The Mill Race Village is made primarily of 19th century wood frame houses. At one time this was a thriving village of low and middle class workers enjoying a close proximity to the central business district, tree lined streets, corner stores and the Rancocas Creek which, along with The Mill Race Waterway, make the Mill Race Village an island. However, over the last 40 years this neighborhood has deteriorated greatly. Housing stock is dilapidated, drug related activity has further depleted the quality of life, homeownership and home preservation is at a low point as well.

I also found the following on a pro Mount Holly website: Main Street Mount Holly’s vision, in partnership with local merchants, residents and government, is to guide the economic revitalization and historic preservation of Mount Holly’s downtown by creating a friendly, vibrant and attractive place in which to work, live, shop and eat. SOURCE

The Mill Race Shops, located in the Mill Race Village, Historic Mount Holly, New Jersey offers a wide variety of collectibles, one-of-a-kind, hand-made items, fine art, jewelry, clothes, books, accessories and furniture for those seeking distinctive and unusual wares for your home, your loved ones, or even you.

Many of the Village shopkeepers can be found creating their wares on site while watching the shop, whether it be weaving a basket, painting a picture or a piece of furniture, stitching fairies, teddies bears or quilts, or creating gorgeous show rooms. Several merchants also host classes to share with the public their skills and interests.

The Mill Race Village is part of a large historic restoration/neighborhood preservation project and a haven for entrepreneurs, artisans and professionals alike.

ISBN Number: 0738509086

Author(s): Heidi J. Winzinger and Mary L. Smith

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