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, July 12, 2009

Remembering the White Oak Inn- Clif Brown

Hi Pete,

Trying to catch up on your blog articles is not very easy as you set a fast pace. Instant recall is not always a correct option, so here are some delayed comments, as you know some articles get "legs".

Oak Lawn Country Club

There were a series of advertising signs along RT9 southbound from Mathistown inviting travelers to stop & relax at the Oak Lawn Country Club in the 50's. Should be plenty of locals who remember these signs and perhaps some photos. They might have been there when you began visiting New Gretna.

White Oak Inn

In the 20's & 30's there were few establishments that accepted black travelers. It was my understanding this was one facility to do so and advertised in the black community, especially New York City as many traveled to Atlantic City. It was never a local watering hole as a liquor license would have to be obtained and getting one in Bass River would have been a miracle.

The Father Devine connection is doubtful as his effort was devoted to recruiting converts. The black community in New Gretna and vicinity was very sparse. The only black family I remember was Olga Morton, her mother & father, and her son Jimmie. The others were operators of the White Oak Inn and occupants of the old Great John Mathis home.

In '38/'39 The White Oak Inn was occupied by Mr. Joseph Blees who was an Real Estate Agent and the local Justice of Peace. He was Commander of the Tuckerton American Legion Post and was instrumental in establishing a First Aid squad to serve the area. I remember him speaking at the New Gretna Grammar School soliciting contributions of food, clothing, etc. for the victims of the Johnstown, PA 1936 flood. In 1946 I returned from service in the Army, and he had moved or past away. As he had a lot of connections with Tuckerton, your buddies might help you with additional information.

In this transition period my mother purchased 10 pieces of wicker furniture from the operators of the White Oak Inn. This paragraph has no historical significance, only to provide insight. The cost was $15.00 and delivered by Rollin Mathis with his dump truck. My mother moved to CA in 1980 and some pieces came with her. Today we enjoy them in our living room. When having them reupholstered, a 1907 manufacturing date was found. Perhaps I should light some candles, burn some incense, sip some Southern Comfort and wait for the spirits to tell me tales about the White Oak Inn.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Thanks for your recollections on the Oak Lawn Country Club and the White Oak Inn. It must be neat to relax on the White Oak Inn wicker furniture in your living room, knowing you are sitting on an authentic piece of New Gretna history. I bet no one else in the country, or world, can make that claim. It would be great if you could email or snail mail me a photo of those wicker treasures, so I can post the photos on the Blog.

I am especially glad to hear Joe Blees mentioned. His name pops up, now and then, during some of my conversations with New Gretna old timers, but, other than a few brief comments here and there, I know little about him nor do I have a photo of him. I gather he was a rather colorful character.

I'm going to search through my files and cyberspace for info on Joe Bless and write Wednesday's Blog entry about him. I would appreciate anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere who might have a photo, information, or a story about him to email me here at the Blog, so I can include the data in Wednesday's Blog.

Pete S

PS - I want to thank Clif for his comments and interest in the Blog and encourage others with New Gretna roots to email me some of your thoughts and remembrances. Other people's comments make the Blog more interesting. It's also how we increase and preserve our knowledge of New Gretna history - one memory at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment