Street Van: One of Dodge’s 1970s Adult Toys

During the heyday for customized and airbrushed vans, Dodge capitalized on the trend by offering hip options straight from the factory. While the custom van craze faded by the early eighties, the Dodge B-Series cargo van soldiered on until 2003, when it was replaced with the Sprinter van sourced from Mercedes.

Source: Dodge/caranddriver.com

The Street Van, offered from 1976 through 1980, was advertised as an “Adult Toy,” alongside other full-size Dodge offerings like the Ramcharger SUV and Lil’ Red Express pickup. It featured factory options such as chrome, chrome and more chrome, wide five-slot mag wheels, custom interiors and wild graphics packages, plus the psychedelic “Street Van” logo on the passenger and driver side doors. Even better, Street Van buyers got a “Customizing Idea Kit,” which included suggestions for paint schemes and interior choices, as well as a listing of aftermarket suppliers that could outfit your boss rig with spoilers, fender flares, sunroofs, vents and, of course, portholes of nearly every shape under the sun. By 1977, membership in the “Dodge Van Clan Club” was also included.

Tara Hurlin, https://www.hagerty.com/media/archived/shag-wagons/
Enjoy that basement rec room vibe no matter where you park it. 1977 Dodge B200 Tradesman. Source: barnfinds.com

The seller notes that all of the carpeting was recently professionally cleaned, which is likely one of the biggest concerns/fears of anyone looking to get into a van of this style and vintage.

Jeff Lavary, barnfinds.com

Updike Farmstead in Winter

It’s cold out and there’s been snow on the ground for two weeks so it was a short visit to the Updike Farmstead, part of the Princeton Battlefield/Stony Brook Settlement Historic District and headquarters of the Princeton Historical Society.

Corn crib at Updike Farmstead. Source: TCM
Source: TCM
Back of farmhouse. Source: TCM

Wild and Historic New Jersey: Prints and Paintings

Detail from View on the Delaware near Bordentown. 1839. Artist: Karl Bodmer. Engraver: Charles Vogel. Source: Morven Museum/Joseph Felcone.

Fantastic historic prints and maps of New Jersey can be see in an online exhibition by the Morven Museum. Like the images above, a view of the Delaware Water Gap by an unknown artist, and an engraving of Bordentown Landing by Karl Bodmer, because of course he and Prince Maximillian stopped by to visit Joseph Bonaparte’s estate before heading west.

The original exhibition, Portrait of Place: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints of New Jersey, 1761–1898, was held at Morven in 2013 and was drawn from the collection of Joseph Felcone.

The place where the Packet Ship John Minturn was wrecked. July 1846. G. R. Bonfield. Squan Beach, New Jersey. Source: Morven Museum/Joseph Felcone.

Visiting the Historic Site of Woodstock and the Bindy Bazaar

As the plaque above clearly shows, the 1969 Woodstock Concert is legitimately a site of historical importance. While the rule of thumb is that only sites at least 50 years old are considered for listing on the National Register of Historical Places, Woodstock was placed on the Register in 2017, only 48 years after the three day festival of music took place on Max Yasgur’s farm near Bethel, New York.

The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and the Museum at Bethel Woods maintain the Woodstock site with the goal of preserving the historic landscape. The actual stage and seating area are now open grassed areas. Across the road there is a small wooded area known as Bindy Woods or Bindy Bazaar. In 1969, trails were cut through the woods and rocks were gathered and stacked to create simple foundations where vendors at the “Aquarian Crafts Bazaar” could set up makeshift stalls to sell goods to the concert goers.

Historic Maps of Tyrone and other Towns around Lamoka

A while ago, I posted about the New York Public Library’s Map Warper project, which is making thousands of historic maps easily available. Well, the Map Warper project is still going strong, and here’s another map from their collection, which shows three small towns around Lamoka Lake. Taken from the 1874 Atlas of Schuyler County, the map also lists many of the farmers and other businessmen in the area.

Detail of 1874 map. Source: New York Public Library

You can also see what Wayne, at the top of Waneta Lake (which was still called Little Lake in 1874) looked like in the 19th century at the NYPL.

New Jersey’s State Bird

In association with the Fine Feathered Friends exhibit, here’s history behind how the Eastern Goldfinch became New Jersey’s official state bird.

Anthony Kuser, who is introduced late in the video, was also a sponsor of the search for a surviving passenger pigeon. In 1909, he offered a $300 reward for proof of an undisturbed passenger pigeon nest. The ensuing search was unsuccessful (many sightings of presumed passenger pigeons turned out to be mourning doves) but the reward, and the publicity surrounding it, helped establish with certainty the extinction of passenger pigeons in the wild.

Spring Lake Park E-Biking

Staircase at Spring Lake. Source: TCM

Spring Lake is part of Roebling Park, which is in the Abbott Marshlands of New Jersey. The park has had many names over the years. In the early twentieth century, this was the White City Amusement Park. It was renamed Boiling Springs Park a few years before it closed in 1922.

The Casino restaurant, a c. 1820 mansion that is now privately owned, provided patrons a view of the landscape below. A grand staircase allowed them to walk down to the lake, where there were more rides. The staircase is one of the few visible remnants of its past.

Most of the trails are for walking only, but the Spring Lake loop is bikeable. This park is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The staircase at Spring Lake. Overlook Mansion, formerly the Casino Restaurant, is visible at the top of the bluff. Source: TCM
Spring Lake in 1907 postcard. A staircase is visible in the center of the photo, but may be a precursor to the existing one.
White City Park in 1908. The top of the staircase is depicted on the left edge of the map. Source: Insurance Maps of Trenton, New Jersey. Sanborn Map Co., 1908.
Spring Lake. Source: TCM
Mural at Spring Lake
Source: TCM

A Bit More on Trenton’s Hog Island Cranes

Several gantry cranes in operation at the Hog Island Shipyard in Philadelphia, 1919. Source: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History. catalog no. 335550.2,
accession no. 1977.0003

Here’s a few more details on the cranes at the Marine Terminal Park. According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form, the cranes were originally 15 ton oil burning, steam powered locomotive gantry cranes built by McMyler Interstate Company of Cleveland, Ohio in 1917. Twenty-eight of them were purchased by the new Hog Island shipyard in 1917. There is an excellent summary of Hog Island by John Lawrence on the also-excellent Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Detail of gantry crane from the above photo. Source: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History. catalog no. 335550.2,
accession no. 1977.0003

The steam gantry cranes have a 15 ton capacity at 15 ft. radius, mounted on tracks, with holding and closing lines and clam shell buckets of 3/4 and 1 1/2 yard capacity. Provision is made for magnets at 35 ft. radius with portable electric power. In 1952 they were overhauled and the boilers replaced. They stand on four legs, and are approximately 40 ft. tall.

TAMS 1952