Days of Yore
 
as recounted by

Bill Day

 

Additional information
Hadrosaurus foulkii

The dinosaur
In 1838, John Estaugh Hopkins had workmen digging out marl on his farm, which he used for fertilizer, from a pit which was on the ravine at the end of Narberth avenue.  The worker uncovered some strange looking heavy black objects.

Hopkins gave several of them to friend and he kept several for himself and no more attention was paid them.  Some twenty years later a dinner guest at Birdwood, Hopkin’s home, was William Parker Foulke, of the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia.

The mysterious objects that had been found became a topic discussed and when Foulke saw them he became very excited.  Hopkins gave him permission to have any scientists dig on his land and have any fossils that they found.

The location of the old pit was uncertain after so many years, as it had filled in and had become overgrown with weeds and trees.  With diligence the digging in the ravine continued until finally, at a depth of approximately ten feet, a large pile of heavy bones was uncovered.  Some teeth and sections of a jawbone were also found.

The experts from the Academy studied the finding and announced that the bones were the skeleton of a dinosaur that had roamed the earth about one hundred million years ago.  They estimated that the monster had been twenty-five feet long and twelve to fifteen feet high.

The creature’s bones formed a skeleton that is on display in the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.  The sigh accompanying the exhibit states that it was found on the Hopkins Farm in Haddonfield.

It is one of the most interesting fossil discoveries on record.

The date of the dinosaur remains was secured from the book “This is Haddonfield”, published by the Historical Society.



Which dinosaur? (Aug 13,1981)
To the editor
I found the story of the two old mills in Bill Day’s “Days of  Yore” in the Aug 6, [1981], issue of the Haddon Gazette most interesting - especially during the year when in New Jersey we will elect a new governor to learn some more of the early history of Former Governor Driscoll’s house.

However, the article did not identify what was the pre-historic monster whose fossils were discovered in the ravine in 1968 (?) near Narberth avenue.

Last spring one of the stops on the Camden County Historical Society Tour was the ravine back of American Legion Post No. 38 on Hawthorne avenue near Narberth avenue.  As Edith Blez, your columnist who was on this trip with us should remember, it was in this ravine in 1858 (not 1968 as last week’s “Days of Yore” said) that bones of Hadrosaurus were found on what was then the farm of John E. Hopkins.  Hadrosaurus, a duck-billed dinosaur, was one of the first major dinosaur discovered in North America according to a NJ Tercentenary Commission release.

The remains of this dinosaur have been on display at the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia and also at one time in the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.  A drawing Of Hadrosaurus and his enemy Laelaps was on the cover of the February 1970 issue of NJ Bell Tel-News that came with our telephone bills near that date.

An undated “Days of Yore” column entitled “The Dinosaur” is in the Dinosaur file in the Haddonfield Public Library.  Since this column tells more about the discovery of Hadrosaurus, you might like to republish it for the Haddon Gazette readers.

R. Allen Hammell
Haddonfield



Magazine recognizes a former borough ‘resident’ Feb 9, 1984
Haddonfield - New Jersey’s Haddonfield dinosaur, a huge Hadrosaurus found on the Hopkins farm in an 1858 landmark discovery, is now receiving some overdue recognition by way of a magazine article, according to Douglas Rauschenberger, director of the Haddonfield Public Library.

New Jersey Outdoors, in its January - February issue, is featuring “ New Jersey’s Haddonfield Dinosaur: Surprising History”.

The article traces the twisted history of the discovery, which has kept the world famous fossil largely in oblivion for a major portion of its existence.
 
The article was written by Engene Montgomery, a freelance writer and a teacher in the public schools of New Jersey.

Rauschenberger, who provided some directions in researching the story, said he felt that greater recognition of Haddonfield’s contribution to the history of dinosaurs and to studies in paleontology was log overdue.  Although the discovery is mentioned in every important book on the subject of these ancient creatures, the current magazine article is one of the first pieces of popular writing exclusively devoted to the Haddonfield dinosaur.

Two surprises in the “surprising history” include information that the Haddonfield dinosaur is going to return in a display at the Academy of natural Sciences of Philadelphia and efforts are underway to have the Haddonfield discovery site marked with a commemorative plaque.

The return of the dinosaur will occur in about two years when the fossils are planned as a main attraction in a multimillion-dollar exhibit of the Academy, “Discovering Dinosaurs.”

The dinosaur is the property of the Academy, but has not been on public display since the early part of this century.
 
Efforts to mark the discovery spot, which is now an area covered with brush in a ravine, are reported by Haddonfield’s DeForest Brees, a scouting leader.  Brees’ son Chris, has undertaken the commemorative plaque project as an endeavor for his Eagle scout rank.

New Jersey Outdoors, published by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, is sold only by subscription.  A copy of the magazine is available at the Haddonfield Public Library


DayHikes.org Homepage
Contact Alan Day
Days of Yore Homepage