Smithville, Burlington County, New Jersey

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Census records of 1880 for Smithville
The Mount Holly and Smithville Bicycle Railway - 1892-1898

Smithville was a village in Eastampton Township, Burlington County, New Jersey.[1] It was originally established as Shreveville in 1831 by Jonathan and Samuel Shreve as a textile village on the Rancocas Creek.[1] It was purchased by Hezekiah Bradley Smith in 1865 and renamed to Smithville.[1] The Smithville post office was established in 1866.[2] The H. B. Smith Machine Company, which produced the American Star Bicycle beginning in 1880, was located there.[1] In 1962, the Smithville Post Office was closed. In 1975, Burlington County purchased the property and created the first park in the county.[1] It is listed on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places as the Smithville Historic District.[3]

Bicycle railroad[edit]

In 1892, Arthur Hotchkiss received a patent for a bicycle railroad and contracted with the Smith Machine Company to manufacture it. The initial track ran 1.8 miles from Smithville, in a nearly straight line, crossing the Rancocas Creek 10 times, and arrived at Pine Street, Mount Holly. It was completed in time for the Mount Holly Fair in September, 1892, and the purpose of the railway was supposed to have been enabling employees to commute quickly from Mount Holly to the factory at Smithville. Monthly commuter tickets cost $2.00. The record speed on the railway was 4.5 minutes, and the average trip took 6-7 minutes. The railway was exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. It only had one track so that it was impossible to pass another rider, and if riders travelling in opposite directions met, one had to pull off onto a siding. By 1897 ridership had declined, and the railway fell into disrepair.[1][4][5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Smithville Conservancey". H.B. Smith Industrial Village Conservancy. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  2. ^ Doug D’Avino (2011). "Smithville - Hezekiah B. Smith's Industrial Village". The Journal of the New Jersey Postal History Society (New Jersey Postal Historical Society) 39 (4): 198–210. ISSN 1078-1625. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  3. ^ "Historic Smithville Park". Burlington County Government. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  4. ^ "The Bicycle Railroad and Its Inventor, Arthur Hotchkiss". New Jersey History's Mysteries. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  5. ^ Douglas Self. "Unusual Pedal Bicycles". The Museum of Retro Technology. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  6. ^ "Of Bicycle Railroads and Moose-Drawn Carriages". Plankton Art Company. 29 June 2005. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°59′09″N 74°44′55″W / 39.98583°N 74.74861°W / 39.98583; -74.74861