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Monday, January 5, 2009

The Tuckerton Race Track Revisited- The New Gretna Connection

It's not surprising that there would be a New Gretna connection regarding the Tuckerton Race Track of the early 1950's, as there were many small gas staions in New Gretna that fostered an interest in car racing. 

Four New Gretna businesses are listed in the September 14, 1950 Tuckerton Beacon article below as donating prizes to the Tuckerton Race Track - Allen's Dock (owned and operated by Ruby McAnney), New Gretna Esso (owned and operated by Harvey Houck & Albert Block), The Sunoco Station (owned and operated by Walter and Margaret Roberts), and the Atlantic Station (owned and operated by Clarence "Buddy" and Almira Steele). I believe that Jay Belk, who purchased the New Gretna Esso station around 1956, sponsored a race car driven by various New Gretna drivers.

The photos below show the changes that have taken place in the Sunoco and Atlantic stations that donated prizes to the Tuckerton Race Track in the early 1950's.

Walter and Margaret Roberts owned and operated the Sunoco station at the fork of Route 9 and Hammonton Road during the hayday of the Tuckerton Race Track. (1947 photo courtesy of Barbara Roberts Schmutz.)

Today, the old Robert's Sunoco station is a Delta station and mini mart. (1/5/09 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Clarence "Buddy" and Almira Cramer Steele owned and operated the Atlantic station on Route 9 in the early 1950's. (1947 photo courtesy of Almira Cramer Steele.)

Little Rickie Steele helped his father "Buddy" out at the Atlantic station from time to time. Notice the white shoes on Little Rickie. Must be before Labor Day. (Photo courtesy of Almira Cramer Steele.)

Today, Buddy Steele's old Atlantic station is a Sunoco station owned and operated by Bernie and Paula Zaremba.  They continue to provide that personal "mom and pop" service that was the hallmark of the old New Gretna gas stations. (1/5/09 photo by Pete Stemmer.) 

I don't have any photos of the Tuckerton Race Track. I would appreciate anyone with photos of the track, race cars, drivers, etc. to get in touch with me.

Here's a trivia question for all you New Gretna history buffs: There were many gas stations in New Gretna throughout the years. Which number would you say is the closest to the number of New Gretna (Bass River) stations that can be identified? 5, 10, 20, or 30?

Pete S


  1. Pete: The gas stations I remember are as follows:
    Going west 1. Kitnicher Farm -just past lily pond on right. 2. Kruse's German Rest (Esso)3. Waiderson Sunoco just past Ben Chews on right. 4,5 & 6. Sinclare, Rogers Texaco, and the Wigwam. 7. Allan's Dock 8.Steele's Atlantic 9.C. G. Mathis 10. New Gretna Esso (various owners)11. Sunoco -junction Rt 9 Hammonton Rd. 13.Dot Williams luncheonette (prior owner) opposite local landmark "steamshovel" 13. Loveland's Garage now State Hwy Facility Tydol was the brand.13 is my quess as identified. Submitted by Clif Brown. Just how does one input comments without using Anonymous

  2. Clif,

    Thanks for the listing of gas stations that you remember. You seem to have a great memory for detail. I'm familiar with them all, except for Waiderson's Sunoco, just past Ben Chew's house. Haven't heard of it. Do you mean past Ben Chew's toward Tuckerton or New Gretna? What side of the road? Can you tell me any more about the owner, etc.?

    Unfortunately, you're not even close in the gas station number tally.

    Pete S

  3. Pete; The station in question was on the left side of Rt 9 going towards New Gretna past Ben Chews residence. It was a one story and half house with sun porch in front painted cream color. A garage and pumps were located to the right of the house. They were a New York couple with a daughter named Elizabeth. She was considered unusual as she both smoked and drove a car.I'm not sure of the last name spelling.

    Just identify the locations of all the gas stations.
    Clif Brown

  4. My Uncle was Jay Belk and I spent a few summers in New Gretna in the late 60's.
    I remember playing pool at the gas station and exploring the junk yard. My aunt Dottie was his wife and I had an aunt Millie who lived across from the gas station. I recall a bar on the same side of the road just a short walk away. Great memories from a time long ago.

  5. I can be reached at 239 603 9572