50 years of preserving Moorestown’s historical legacy

On Saturday, Nov. 16, the Historical Society of Moorestown is hosting a 50th anniversary celebration dinner featuring a silent auction and special guest speaker.

Historical Society of Moorestown/Special to The Sun: A picture of the Smith-Cadbury Mansion, currently the museum and headquarters of the Historical Society of Moorestown, taken around the turn of the century.

The Historical Society of Moorestown, headquartered in the historic Smith-Cadbury Mansion House Museum, has been on a 50-year mission to preserve township history and educate residents about how their hometown came to be, its historical significance and its role in  the surrounding area.

“We give people some insight into why things in Moorestown are the way they are, how different designs came to be and why certain neighborhoods are where they are, and in some cases, it helps us understand who these roads are named after,” historical society president Mickey DiCamillo said.

The township holds a lot of historical weight in South Jersey; it is among the first established towns in the area, dating back to the 1600s. Moorestown’s history includes some of the earliest Quaker settlements and interactions with the Lenape people.

The historical society will host its 50th anniversary celebration from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Laurel Creek Country Club, 701 Centerton Road in Mt. Laurel. Tickets for the evening are $100 per person, or $700 to reserve a table for eight. The event will include dinner, cocktails, a silent auction and a special guest speaker presentation.

Funds collected from the event will go toward maintaining the society itself, the Smith-Cadbury Mansion House Museum and the programs the society provides.

The silent auction will feature a number of paintings by artists from Moorestown and paintings featuring scenes from the township, such as the piece “Mill Street” by artist Benjamin Eisenstat. Also up for auction will be tickets to area museums complete with dinner gift certificates. 

Guest speaker Robert Wittman is a former FBI special agent and founder of the FBI Art Crime Task Force. His presentation will cover his career as an undercover agent and the recovery of more than $300 million dollars of stolen art and artifacts. A significant portion of his work actually took place in the areas of Philadelphia and South Jersey. Wittman is also the author of the books “Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures,” and “The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich.”

Having reached 50 years of existence, the historical society has a past of its own in Moorestown. Its roots can be traced back to the former editor and owner of the local publication The Moorestown Chronicle, Percy Lovell. Lovell was known for his column, “Under the Old Hat of the Country Editor,” and his habit of reporting on good news. 

Historical Society of Moorestown/Special to The Sun: A trolley runs down East Main Street across from the old town hall.

Fast forward to 1969, when a volunteer organization was formed in Moorestown by the local Rotary Club and a group of like-minded individuals interested in preserving local historical documents, artifacts and memorabilia. Among the items collected by the group was Lovell’s old Stetson hat. 

A committee was appointed to explore establishing a local museum of sorts for Lovell’s hat to reside. The effort led to the formation of the historical society, which was organized Oct. 8, 1969 and officially incorporated on Nov. 19 of that year.

For more information about the Historical Society of Moorestown, or to purchase tickets for the anniversary celebration, visit moorestownhistory.org.