How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Gretna Pool Halls Revisited- Don Maxwell

Hi Pete, 

Still down here in sunny Florida Keys. I was reading the Blog's February 4th article about New Gretna's pool halls. My father in law, Joseph Dayton, once told me that, as a young man, he played pool at Levi Downs' pool hall. I would judge it was sometime between 1900 and 1915, because that's when he and his family lived up Allentown Road [now North Maple Avenue] in New Gretna. 

Levi Downs with his daughter, Ann, who would later marry Win Salmons who became a noted New Gretna artist. (Photo courtesy of Tom Williams.)

Also there was a pool hall across from our house on New York Road [now Route 9] right in the middle of town. It was around 1940 and was run by a man named Frank Azzorino. He and his wife came in town, and he established a barber shop in the front and a pool hall in the back room. He ran it nearly all through the war, as he and his wife rented Benny and Elaine Allen's house for a while. I don't think Benny and Elaine owned it then, as it belonged to a man named Johnny Newcome. I think he built it, and I remember him as an oyster watchman stationed at the ditch in the Mullica. 

Ben and Elaine Allen's house on Adams Avenue, circa 1940's. It was built for Johnny Newcome by Ben Broome and Russy Adams. (Photo courtesy of Ben and Elaine Allen.)

Anyway, before Frank Azzorino there was a younger man by the name of Bob Steelman . He had a gas station and pool hall in the back. It became quite a hangout for the younger men at the time. I remember some of the church leaders from both churches complaining about all the young boys hanging out there. However, the depression finally solved the problem for them, as  the depression finally forced him out of business. I think he rented the place from Fred Minor.  

Don Maxwell 


I checked out your facts with Ben and Elaine Allen, and you're right on the money! Ben said that he bought the house from Johnny Newcome and, also rented the house out to Frank Azzorino for a while.

Do you know where Bob Steelman's gas station-pool hall was? I'm assuming that it was diagonally across Route 9 from your house.

I believe that the Allentown Road residence of Levi Downs that you referred to may have been the house adjacent to the New Gretna Elementary School. Am I correct?

Also, you mentioned that Frank Azzorino had a pool hall behind his barber shop. Levi Downs was also a barber. Wonder if there is any connection there or just coincidence?

Pete S


  1. The last place to play pool in New Gretna, as far as I know, was the back room of the Fire House. (now the municiple building) It was not a for profit place. The table was donated by someone who owned the White Oak Inn. Probably cleaning it out. The firemen let us boys play there for a couple of years around 1955 until the room was rebuilt to use as the court room.

    Bob Mathis

  2. Pete,

    Bob Steelman's pool hall was almost directly across from our home on New York Road [now Route 9], just about where the bank used to be [now Munchies Deli]. He was from Linwood. How I know is when our Aunt Phoebe Haines and Uncle Linford Haines came over to visit, Uncle Linford would go over and visit with Bob, and he said that he came from his hometown, Linwood. There were a ton of Steelmans in that Somers Point-Linwood area.

    Don Maxwell

  3. Thanks for your information.
    We are committed to providing quality professional chimney cleaning and chimney repair at fair prices to keep our customers and their families warm.

    Chimney Cleaning NJ | Chimney Repair NJ