The Bordentown community has embraced the honor of being a part of the great world-renowned nurse Clara Barton’s life.
The Clara Barton Schoolhouse, the first believed public school to be built in the State of New Jersey, still stands to honor Barton, who helped build the schoolhouse, by the Bordentown Historical Society.
For her time as an educator from 1852-54 in Bordentown, Barton is remembered by the Bordentown Regional School District with one of the three elementary schools bearing her name as the Clara Barton Elementary School.
Now, the founder of the American Red Cross and Civil War nurse will have another establishment in the Bordentown community named after her.
It was announced on Dec. 17 by U.S. Representative Andy Kim of New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional district that the U.S. Senate passed a bill to rename the post office located in Bordentown City on Walnut Street after Barton.
“Anything that adds historical value to the city is a great thing for our residents,” Bordentown City Mayor James Lynch said.
“We’re very happy that Congressman Kim was able to pass the bill to have our post office be named after Clara Barton. Anything to do with Clara Barton in our city is a big thing. It goes along with important people in history that lived in Bordentown and it’s an important thing to honor those people and a reason why people come to live in our historical town.”
Kim introduced the bill last year, getting all members of New Jersey’s bipartisan delegation to co-sponsor it.
“I was grateful for the bipartisan work done to make this bill a reality,” Kim said. “In order to rename a post office, you need the consensus of every member of Congress from your state – Democrats and Republicans. I’m glad that we could all come together to get this done.”
The Bordentown area means a lot to Kim, who used to be a resident of the community with his wife and two sons.
Creating a bill to rename the post office after Barton was a “fitting way,” the congressman said, to honor her legacy in the community and represent the importance of history in Bordentown and Burlington County.
“From Alice Paul to Clara Barton to the Underground Railroad, our community has been home to people who have made an incredible impact, and we should celebrate that,” Kim said.
Bonnie Goldman, co-president of the Bordentown Historical Society, was “elated” when she heard the news that the bill was passed.
“It’s just phenomenal,” Goldman said. “It’s very exciting to have the post office be named after Clara Barton.”
Goldman said the historical society and the community are planning to honor Barton in a big way next year for her 200th birthday, which is on Christmas Day.
A big part of those festivities will be events held in person or virtually at the schoolhouse for guests that will feature Clara Barton scholars and other characters, Goldman said.
The historical society is hoping to have much-needed renovations to the schoolhouse done in time for the festivities.
According to Goldman, the schoolhouse will have renovations done to its roof by Trenton Roofing and Siding in the next few weeks.
The historical society has raised more than $43,000 so far in its efforts to get a matching grant from the state to cover the cost of all the renovations to the schoolhouse.
“We’re very excited to do some great things to celebrate Clara Barton’s 200th birthday,” Goldman said.