James H. Birch

James H. Birch

Death 2 Nov 1927 (aged 88)
Burial Burlington, Burlington County, New Jersey, USA
Plot Section I
Memorial ID 23212224 · View Source
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Manufacturer. In 1862 he founded a carriage and rickshaw repair and production factory in the heart of Burlington, New Jersey, and developed it into a renowned worldwide business. At it's peak it encompassed 15 acres, and contained innovative techniques that helped facilitate easy mass production.

He bought the former residence of Governor Joseph Bloomfield on Burlington's High Street, and his carriage-making business was located behind it. He later built the Birch Opera House in the land to the right of his house, which became a popular destination for the patrons of the arts. He was also considered for a seat on Congress, a nomination he declined. However, he was still involved in politics, and in 1903 when Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan visited New Jersey during his campaign, he stayed at James H. Birch's residence.

Ohe of his sons, Thomas H. Birch, became US Minister to Portugal, was an adviser to Governor Woodrow Wilson, and served as a Colonel in the New Jersey National Guard.

Although very successful, times would pass Mr. Birch by. When auto magnate Henry Ford visited Mr. Birch's factory, he offered to have it produce his automobiles. However, Mr. Birch rebuffed Henry Ford's offer, believing that motorcars would never replace horse-drawn carriages. His business dwindled, and in 1918 the factor was shut down forever.

Today, although Burlington has changed a great deal since James Birch's time, reminders of that by-gone era remain. The Bloomfield-Birch House still stands on High Street, used as law offices, and is a preserved part of Burlington History. The Opera House, which had hosted such luminaries as Buffalo Bill Cody and John L. Sullivan, closed in the 1927 and was torn down in the 1960s. The present Burlington Post Office occupies the site. In front of the post office still stands a statue of the Greek god Mercury, which James H. Birch erected at his Opera House. It reads simple "Birch 1881".

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  • Created by: R
  • Added: 2 Dec 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 23212224
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James H. Birch (10 Mar 1839–2 Nov 1927), Find a Grave Memorial no. 23212224, citing Odd Fellows Cemetery and Mausoleum, Burlington, Burlington County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by R (contributor 309) .