Another chapter of “Destination: Ewingville” continues this month as we explore what happened to the Ewingville driving track area. But doing so requires a little bit of background. So grab a nice cold drink from the fridge, sit down and consider this…
In 1886, during the height of the driving track years, a Hopewell resident by the name of Clement V. Hill was anxious about making a decent living for himself and his wife of three years, and so he and his wife’s brother started a grocery business in Trenton.
Clement had been a creative and inventive child with an innate ability to develop and build things, and had constructed, among other things, a miniature village with a working, riding railroad in the front yard of his family’s farmhouse in Hopewell. So although he was likely a good grocer, he was most interested in developing better support systems for the grocery business.
Hill immediately realized that improving the crude ice bins used for keeping meat, butter and other foods fresh would result in less loss to the business, and a far fresher, better product for the consumer.
He soon developed a meat cooler (originally of wood!) that kept food colder for a longer period of time. He figured out the principles of refrigeration, and despite some failures, his many improvements and successes eventually became Hill Refrigerator Works.
He patented his inventions, moved to a larger facility on Pennington Road in Trenton in 1896, and began to sell refrigerators and refrigerated display cases to grocers, steamship companies, and the government. By 1910 his products were in great demand. CV Hill had begun both a company and an entire industry.
By the early 1920s, Mr. Hill was a very successful businessman, having devised many innovations and improvements to his refrigerator products. Retail frozen food product manufacturers like Birdseye vegetables and various ice cream companies used Hill products in retail and commercial establishments.
The 1900 census shows Mr. Hill living in Trenton, but by 1920 he had moved out of the city to a home on Pennington Road in Ewing. In 1921, Mr. Hill purchased the entire race track area east of Pennington Road, plus some additional, “pre-college” farm land south of the race track. The driving track had been essentially abandoned for some time, and Mr. Hill’s intent was to create a new, high profile destination in the area. This area of Ewing is still called “Hillwood Lakes” for a reason, and next month we will discuss some specifics of the Ewingville destination this “refrigeration king” created.
* * * * *
In the meantime, regular readers of this column may recall that this past March, the column marked the 100th anniversary of the Flu Pandemic of 1918. In that column, I mentioned that The College of New Jersey would be marking the anniversary, and discussing various aspects of the epidemic.
I’m pleased to share that the first event in the series “Plague, Progress and Prevention: 100 Years after the “Spanish” Flu Changed the World” will occur on Tuesday, Sept. 25, when Gina Kolata, senior science and medicine reporter for the New York Times, and author of the book Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918, and the Search for the Virus that Caused It, will be the featured speaker at “The Great Epidemic: 100 Years Later” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Education Building, Room 212.
The public is welcomed to this free event hosted by the schools of science and nursing at the college. Two additional events will occur on Oct. 3 and 10.
Readers may also recall that my column invited persons to share stories about the impact the pandemic had on their family, which in turn might be shared at the symposium.
This invitation still remains, although stories will have to be shared no later than Sept. 5.
Please contact me at email@example.com by that date if you wish to share a story, or the recollection of another family member’s story. Your story needn’t be shared in person at the symposium; it can be written or recorded. The point is to portray the personal impact of the pandemic.
I hope you will join us in understanding and remembering the 1918 Pandemic on Sept. 25, 2018 at the College.