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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

U.S. Army Bivouacs at Frogtown

I received the following note from a Bass River Gazette Reader regarding the United States army holding a bivouac in the open field in Frogtown. I believe it refers to the open field, adjacent to Route 9, by the Renault wine bottle and probably occurred in the 1940's. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about the incident but thought that, perhaps, one of our Blog readers might. Dave Kalm, down in Florida, might remember something about it, as it was his mother, Monica, that allegedly received the ham.


I would like to read the account and story of the day the United States Army bivouacked in the open field in Frogtown and how they used Mrs. Kalm's backyard to park their supply wagons and dug their latrine pit in Hedavery's corn field. Also, their giving Mrs. Kalm a ham for using her yard.


Monica Kalm with son, David. The Kalm family lived, for a time, adjacent to the opened field in Frogtown where the army held their bivouac. The house where they lived is no longer there. (Photo courtesy of Claire Kalm Allen.)

Another person who might remember the bivouac is George Hedevary whose family's corn field was used by the Army for their bivouac. George, now 95 and living in Oceanville, doesn't have a computer so wouldn't be responding unless someone who reads the blog asks George about it and reports back. Hint ! Hint !

George Hedevary and Ervie Cramer. Can any car buffs out there give me an idea of the make and year of the car? It may help to date the photo. (Photo courtesy of Betty Lamson West)

Well, I hope I get some response, as it would be good to fill in another little detail of New Gretna history.

Pete S

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Jersey Is . . .

I go to breakfast every other Friday with a group of old gents from New Gretna and the surrounding area. Sometimes we are referred to as the ROMEOs,  Retired  Old  Men  Eating Out. 

Last Friday we were having breakfast at Allen's Clam Bar in New Gretna, and Jim McAnney, good naturally,  busted my chops about an email that he sent to me that I didn't post on the Blog. He wanted to know why I post everyone else's email but not his. 

I do try to eventually post most history related emails that I get, so here goes, Jim. This wasn't the email that you were referring to, but it is one you sent about New Jersey that I found interesting. Hopefully, everyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere will find it interesting, too. Seems that New Jersey is a pretty interesting place!

Pete S

NEW JERSEY  .  .  .

New Jersey is a  peninsula.  
Highlands, New Jersey has the highest elevation  along the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to  Florida.  
New  Jersey is the only state where all of its counties are  classified as metropolitan  areas. 
New Jersey  has more race horses than Kentucky. 
New  Jersey has more Cubans in Union City (1 sq MI.) than Havana,  Cuba. 
New Jersey has the densest  system of highways and railroads in the US. 
New Jersey has the highest cost of  living.  
New Jersey  has the highest cost of auto insurance. 
New Jersey has the highest property  taxes in the nation. 
New  Jersey has the  most diners in the world and is sometimes referred  to 
as the "Diner Capital of the World."  
New  Jersey is home to the original Mystery Pork Parts Club (no,  not Spam): Taylor Ham or Pork Roll.  
Home to the less mysterious but the best Italian hot dogs  and  Italian sausage w/peppers  and onions.  
North  Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world,  with seven major shopping malls  in a 25 square mile radius.  

The Passaic River was  the site of the first submarine ride 
by inventor John P. Holland ..
New Jersey has 50+ resort cities  & towns; some of the nation's most famous: 
Asbury Park ,  Wildwood,  Atlantic  City,  Seaside Heights,  Long Branch,  Cape  May .... 
New  Jersey has the most stringent testing along its coastline for  water quality control than any other seaboard state in the entire  country.  
New  Jersey  is a leading  technology & industrial state and is the largest chemical  producing state in the nation when you include pharmaceuticals.  
Jersey  tomatoes are known the world over as being the best you can  buy. 
New Jersey is the world leader in  blueberry and cranberry production  
(and here you  thought Massachusetts
Here's to New Jersey - the toast of the country! In 1642, the first brewery in  America, opened in Hoboken.  
New Jersey rocks!  The famous Les Paul invented  the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in  1940.  
New  Jersey is a major  seaport state with the largest seaport in the US,located in Elizabeth.  Nearly 80 percent  of what our nation imports comes through Elizabeth Seaport first. 
New  Jersey is home to one  of the nation's busiest airports  (in  Newark),Liberty International 
George Washington slept there.
Several important  Revolutionary War battles were fought on New Jersey soil, led by  General George Washington. 
The light bulb, phonograph (record player), and motion  picture projector, were invented by Thomas Edison in his 
Menlo Park,  NJ, laboratory. 
New  Jersey  also boasts the first town ever lit by incandescent bulbs  (Roselle).
The first seaplane was built in 
Keyport ,NJ .  
The first airmail (to  Chicago) was started from KeyportNJ
The first phonograph records were made in Camden,  NJ 
New Jersey was home to the Miss America  Pageant held in Atlantic City .....
The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the  streets on its playing board after the actual streets in Atlantic  City
And,  Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world, not to mention  salt water taffy.  
New Jersey has the largest  petroleum containment area outside of the Middle East countries. 
The first Indian reservation was in New  Jersey, in the Watchung Mountains 
New Jersey has the tallest water-tower in the world.  (Union,  NJ!!!) 
New Jersey had the first medical center, in  Jersey City 
The Pulaski SkyWay,  from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway highway.  
New  Jersey  built the first  tunnel under a river, the Hudson  (Holland Tunnel). 
The first baseball game was played in 
Hoboken,  NJ, which is also the birthplace of Frank Sinatra.  
The first intercollegiate  football game was played in New Brunswick in 1889 ( Rutgers College played Princeton). 
The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden,  NJ,  
(but they're  all gone now!). 
New Jersey  is home to both of " NEW YORK'S" pro  football teams!  
The first  radio station and broadcast was in PatersonNJ
The first FM radio broadcast was made from  Alpine, NJ, by Maj. Thomas Armstrong. 
All New Jersey natives:    
Sal  Martorano, Jack Nicholson, Bruce  
Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jason  Alexander, 
Queen Latifah,  Susan Sarandon, Connie Francis
Shaq, Judy  Blume, Aaron Burr, Joan Robertson, Ken Kross, 
Dionne Warwick, Sarah
 Vaughn, Budd Abbott,  Lou Costello, 
Alan Ginsberg,  Norman Mailer, Marilyn n McCoo, 
Flip Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Zack Braff,  
Whitney Houston, Eddie  Money, LindaMcElroy, 
Eileen Donnelly, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson,  
Walt Whitman,  Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, 
Joyce Kilmer, Bruce Willis, Caesar Romero, Lauryn  Hill, Ice-T, Nick Adams, Nathan Lane, Sandra Dee, 
Danny DeVito, Richard Conti, Joe Pesci, Joe  Piscopo, 
Joe DePasquale,  Robert Blake, John Forsythe, 
Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, Norman Lloyd, Paul Simon, Jerry  Herman, Gorden McCrae, Kevin Spacey, 
John Travolta, Phyllis Newman, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Eva  Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue, Zebulon Pike, James Fennimore Cooper,  Admiral Wm. Halsey Jr.,
Norman  Schwarzkopf, Dave Thomas (Wendy's),   
William Carlos Williams, Ray Liotta, Robert Wuhl,  
Bob Reyers, Paul Robeson,  Ernie Kovacs, Joseph Macchia, Kelly Ripa, and, of course,  
Francis Albert Sinatra and  "Uncle Floyd" Vivino.
Tom Bottalico
The Great Falls in Paterson, on thePassaic  River, is the 2nd highest waterfall on the East Coast  
of the 
You know  you're from Jersey when . .. 
You don't  think of fruit when people mention "The Oranges." 
You know that it's called Great Adventure, not  Six Flags. 
A good, quick  breakfast is a hard roll with butter. 
You've known the  way to Seaside Heights since you were seven. 
You've eaten at a diner, when you  were stoned or drunk, at 3 A.M. 
You know  that the state isn't one big oil refinery. 
At least three people in your family still love  
Bruce Springsteen, and  
you know the town Jon Bon  Jovi is from.  
You know what a "jug handle"  is.  
You know that  WaWa is a convenience store. 
You know that the state isn't all farmland. 
You know that there are no "beaches" in New Jersey--there's  the shore--and you don't go "to the shore," you go "down the shore."  And when you are there, you're not "at the shore"; you are  
"down the  shore."
You know how to properly  negotiate a circle.  
You knew that the last  sentence had to do with driving. 
You know that this is the only "New" state that doesn't  require "New" to identify it (try . . 
Mexico . . . York ..! . .  Hampshire-- doesn't work, does it?). 
You know that a "
White Castle" is the name of BOTH a fast  food chain AND a fast food sandwich. 
You consider putting mayo on a corned beef  sandwich
a  sacrilege. 
You don't  think "What exit?" is very funny. 
You know that people from the 609 area code  are "a little different." Yes they are!
You know that no respectable New Jerseyan goes to  Princeton--that's for out-of-staters. 
The Jets-Giants game has started fights at your school or  local bar. 
You live within  20 minutes of at least three different malls.
You refer to all highways and  interstates by their numbers. 
Every year  you have at least one kid in your class named Tony.  
You know the location of  every clip shown in the  
Sopranos opening  credits.  
You've gotten on  the wrong highway trying to get out of the mall. 
You know that people from North  Jerseygo to Seaside Heights, and people fromCentral Jersey go to  Belmar, and people from South Jersey go to Wildwood.  
It can be no  other way. 
You weren't raised in  New Jersey--you were raised in either North Jersey,Central Jersey or  South Jersey.  
You don't consider Newark or  Camden to actually be part of the state 
You remember the stores  Korvette's, Two Guys, Rickel's, Channel, Bamberger's and  Orbach's.  
You also remember Palisades Amusement Park.  
You've had a boardwalk  cheese steak and vinegar fries. 
You start planning for Memorial Day weekend in February.  
And finally . .  
EVER pumped your own gas.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Our next issue of the Bass River Gazette will be out in a few days. The following is a preview of it's contents to whet your appetite.

• Boyhood Memories of Allen's Dock by Jim McAnney - p1+
• Antiquity Revisited, Leah Blackman's description of a country kitchen comes alive in a pen and ink sketch by Ron Kurtz - p3+
• Spotlight on "Dolly" Falkinburg, a pioneer in women's race car diving in the New Gretna area in the 1950's through the 1970's by Pete Stemmer - p 4
• Genealogy Corner - The Headley Family of New Gretna by John and Nancy Headley - p5+
• News From The Past - A visit back to New Gretna on May 19, 1949 - p7+
• Another Thing I Remember - Duck Hunting on the Wading River by Steve Eichinger - p8+

We are introducing a new feature in this issue called "SPOTLIGHT ON". From time to time, it will feature an individual who has made a significant or unusual contribution to the history of the New Gretna area. Our first SPOTLIGHT shines on Myrtle "Dolly" Falkinburg, a pioneer in women's car racing in our area from the mid 1950's through the 1970's. In the latter part of her racing career she was known as "The Racing Grandma." That's about all I'll say for now. You'll have to read the rest of the story in the upcoming Gazette.

Dolly Falkinburg carrying the checked flag in a 1950's race at the Pleasantville track in a car sponsored by New Gretna Esso. (Photo courtesy of Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg.)

While speaking with Myrtle in the preparation of her SPOTLIGHT feature, she asked that I be sure to mention Joe Schmutz who raced in the 1960's and the young people in New Gretna today who are carrying on the racing tradition. Unfortunately, there was not enough room in the Gazette to carry out her wishes . . . but the Blog comes to the rescue.

Joe Schmutz raced on various tracks in the area in the 1960's. (Photo courtesy of Myrtle Wiseman Falkinburg)

Myrtle mentioned two young people from New Gretna that are carrying on the racing tradition today, Jordon Adams and Nikita Cope.

Racing a 1934 Ford sedan, Jordan has been active on area tracks since 2003, including Atco where Myrtle also raced.

One of Myrtle's not so secret desires is to drive a midget racer. She told me that she would just love to see how they handle. Nikita Cope, from Leektown, is fulfilling Myrtle's dream.

Nikita Cope showing her midget racer at the October 11, 2008 Bass River Day. Her eyes are closed as she day dreams about the start of her upcoming race. (Photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Nikita Cope with her mom, Bass River Township Mayor Debbie Buzby Cope, on a racing day in July, 2008. (Newspaper photo by Pat Johnson.)

Well, I hope I have whetted your appetite for the next issue of the Gazette and have satisfied Myrtle's request of mentioning Joe Schmutz, Jordon Adams, and Nikita Cope. So, ladies and gentlemen, start you engines and start looking for the upcoming edition of the Bass River Gazette. It will be here soon.

Pete S

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Make Room for the Creans

I'm pleased to report that the next edition of the Bass River Gazette will be out in a few short days. Hard copies will be mailed out to our subscribers and placed on the New Gretna Post Office bulletin board. It will also be posted on our Bass River History Web Site, so keep your eyes opened.

I am thankful for the people who send in letters and information for the Gazette. I am not always able to fit all of the information I am sent into the next issue. Such was the case with a letter I received from Eddie Crean about his grandparents, Robert and Evelyn Crean, who were an important part of New Gretna history. Unfortunately, I didn't have room for the "Letters to the Editor" column in this edition as I had planned. My apologies to Eddie; however, the Blog is a great place to make room for people and information that didn't make it into the latest Gazette edition. So, today we make room for the Creans here at the Blog.

I received the following letter from Eddie some time ago.

Dear Mr. Stemmer,

I read several back issues of the Bass River Gazette and there were some great stories and great memories in them but there was some memories missing and they are about my grandparents Robert and Evelyn Crean from New Gretna, N.J., and I would like to share some of them with you and the other readers of the Bass River Gazette,the information below was given to me by my mother Doris Crean and my father and son of Robert Crean Edward Crean.

In the 1960's and 1970's my grandparents were members of the Old Home Society and they worked very hard on maintenance of the Hillside Cemetery and when I was a child I used to help them cut the lawn and pull weeds around the tombstones. They are both buried at Hillside now along with my oldest sister, Ruth Crean Urban.

My Grandfather was a one time fire chief of the New Gretna volunteer fire company and my grandmother was a member of the ladies auxiliary. My grandfather also worked for the Burlington County Road Department and spent many hours plowing the roads when it snowed, fixing potholes, and several other jobs to keep the roads in great shape. They were both very well known and important residents of New Gretna and when my grandfather died members of the fire company, along with one of the fire trucks and the entire funeral procession, circled their home next to Cramer's junkyard on route 542 as a final goodbye. It was very sad, but he would have been very proud.

We miss my grandparents very much, but we will never forget them and they will be in our hearts, minds and memories forever.

Ed Crean

Robert and Evelyn Crean lived in a modest house on Hammonton Road next to Cramer's Auto Recycling yard and within walking distance to Hillside Cemetery. (March 25, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Eddie, I can see that you loved your grandparents very much. I certainly know that they were an important part of New Gretna history. I am presently a Trustee in the New Gretna Old Home Society, the organization that owns and maintains Miller and Hillside Cemeteries in New Gretna, and have heard many stories from the New Gretna old timers about the time and loving care that your grandparents gave in keeping Hillside Cemetery always looking well kept. It was not unusual for someone visiting Hillside Cemetery in the old days to see Robert and Evelyn Crean working to keep the cemetery looking ship shape.

The main entrance to Hillside Cemetery located on Hillside Avenue in the Frogtown section of Bass River Township. The old Methodist Church once stood at the site mark by the present flagpole and bronze plaque. (July 26, 2007 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Robert and Evelyn Crean are buried in Hillside Cemetery. (March 25, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

The veteran's stone at the foot of Robert Crean's grave commemorates his service to his country during World War II. (March 25, 2009 photo by Pete Stemmer.)

I'm sure that the New Gretna old timers also remember your grandfather working throughout the township on the County road crew and both Robert and Evelyn working hard on some Fire Company event, including the annual Clam Bakes that were so well attended and enjoyed over the years. Following are two newspaper photos showing the Creans hard at work during a clambake in the 1950's.

Well, Eddie, thank you for sharing some memories of your grandparents, and I hope you enjoyed seeing them on the Blog. Hopefully, it brought back some fond memories for you and for some of our regular old time New Gretna Blog readers.

Pete S

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring and a Young Man's Fancy

Well, Spring is finally here, and a young man's fancy turns to  .   .   .  BASEBALL!  I knew it was just a matter of time until I would hear from an old New Gretna boy about baseball in the good old days. It was the sport of choice in New Gretna from the 1930's through the 1950's.

Here's a baseball story I received from Dave Kalm just a few days ago. He lives down in sunny Florida where Spring training is really heating up. His story should bring back some memories of exciting New Gretna baseball games for many of you out there.

Hi Pete, 

My name is Dave Kalm Sr. You know my sister Claire. I read all of your posting and find them very interesting as I grew up in New Gretna until I was 35. 

I have a 1947 New Gretna Baseball score book here. If you would like I can send you a couple of the score sheets, also all the players on the team that played that year. In 1950 I took over as manager of the team for five years. 

An incident that happened is kind of funny. The Presbyterian Pastor, Stan Wilson at that time, got the Session of the Church together and sent a proposal to the Township Committee that there would be no baseball in New Gretna on Sunday. 

Stan Wilson, the pastor of the New Gretna Presbyterian Church, was not a fan of Sunday baseball. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Cramer "Peg" McAnney.)

Boot Mathis and Woodrow Allen were two of the Session Members, I forget who else. Anyway, we tried Saturday baseball, and it didn't work. Too many of the players had to work. So, I scheduled a baseball game on a Sunday against Barnegat. There sitting on the old telephone and electric poles that were laid down as our stand was Boot and Woody. I guess about the third inning, hearing the cheers, Pastor Stan Wilson came strutting down Maple Ave. from the Manse. He asked me who scheduled the game, I told him I did. Then he saw Boot and Woody sitting there, went over to them, said a few words, and left. We had a Sunday afternoon game for the next 5 years.

Seems that Boot (left) and Woody were baseball fans after all, and maybe Pastor Stan was too. Take note of the price of gas on the pump next to Woody. (Boot's photo courtesy of Beverly Mathis Robinson.)

Here are the names of some of the players that played on the team at that time. Ron and Richie Voorhis, Elvin Mathis, Roy Zerritt, Richard Pflaum, Lew Allen, Bill Sears, and Butch Downs. There were others too. We also had Mason Price from Parkertown pitching for us, and a couple of players from Port Republic. Some of the old time players also still played. They were great days, including an annual Memorial Day double header, usually against Tuckerton.

Here is a 1947 box score:

New Gretna vs Tuckerton, June 15, 1947

Team Player





Calvin Wilson





Kenneth Wilson





Orville Mathis





Harold Downs





Stan Cramer





Hubie Adams





Richie Hickman





Earl Allen





Lew Allen





Fred Kalm  8th










Tuckerton beat us that day 6 to 1.  Jim Brown pitched a 1 hitter, struck out 5, and walked 1.
Keep up the good work.

Dave Kalm

Looks like the New Gretna team could use a few heavy hitters. Any volunteers out there? We'll supply the bat.

Pete S

PS- Thanks for the baseball story, Dave. It's appreciated. Unfortunaltely, I don't have too many baseball photos from the old days. How about everyone out there checking out you old photos for baseball pictures and emailing a few to me for our history collection.