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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How Fur Bridge Got Its Name

Each new season brings its own beauty to the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and there are many beautiful spots in the pines of Bass River Township. One that immediately comes to my mind is Fur Bridge near the head of the Bass River on its East branch. I traveling over the bridge on my trips to Tuckerton when I decide to take the Stage Road route.

A present day aerial view of Fur Bridge.
Map from Bing Maps.

A modern day photo taken from Fur Bridge.
July 21, 2004 photo by Pete Stemmer.

There was a CCC Camp a stone's throw from Fur Bridge on East Greenbush Road where the Jersey sandstone monument now sits. The camp produced a monthly newspaper, the "Bass River Log", which was also called "Mosquito Bites" for a short time. While thumbing through copies of the old newspaper, I found a short article on how Fur Bridge got its name and the CCC Camp's role in rebuilding the bridge and thought I would share it with you.

Fur Bridge

Many former beauty spots on Bass River State Forest, Burlington County, particularly the vincinity of Fur Bridge, a relic of the good old days when sea-faring men navigated their sailing craft up Bass River, are being restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps workers quartered on the forest neat New Gretna.

Before the disastrous forest fires of 1929 and 1930, Bass River State Forest delighted the eye of the aesthetic with its natural beauty. The vicinity of Fur Bridge, with its dense cedar woods and clear, potable stream, was exceptionally attractive. Its proximity to good roads and its refreshing coolness during the hot, South Jersey summers brought relief to many towns-people and travelers.

Fur Bridge acquired its name not from the opossum, coon, fox or rabbit that may still be seen by the quiet observer but from the quaint language of the baymen and sea-faring gentry who plied the waters of Great Bay. Sailing vessels, many years ago, came inland in search of fresh water. Some obtained water at the first bridge, but the best water was secured not at the “Near” bridge but at the “Fur" bridge. Thus the cedar bridge across the East Branch of the Bass River became Fur Bridge.

Since the fires, dense scrub oak on one side and charred, dead cedars on the other invited few visitors. The Civilian Conservation Corps workers have removed the dead and dying trees, destroyed the brush and greatly improved the place. It is further planned to clean out the stream, widen it below the bridge, and to complete a small, sandy beach on the East Bank. Soon a New Generation will find Fur Bridge a tempting resting place during the day and an irresistible trysting spot when the full moon hides behind the shadowy cedars.

March 11, 1935

The last sentence of the article has proven to be true, as I have seen many photos of locals, mostly of girls, at the scenic bridge. I guess the fellas were the ones usually taking the photos.

Talbert Loveland and Marjorie Jillson at Fur Bridge.
(Photo courtesy of Gladys Loveland.)

Betty Lamson West and Mildred Mathis Kauflin at Fur Bridge.
Photo courtesy of Betty Lamson West.

Peg Cramer McAnney and Mildred Mathis Kauflin at Fur Bridge.
Photo courtesy of Betty Lamson West.

Helen Sears Carty at Fur Bridge in 1941.
Photo courtesy of Helen Sears Carty.

Harold "Toots" Elberson at Fur Bridge.
Photo courtesy of Betty Elberson Petzak, "Toots" Elberson's daughter.

If anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere has an old photo of yourself, a friend, or relative taken on Fur Bridge, I would appreciate hearing from you, as I am always looking to add Fur Bridge photos to our History Photo Collection. It may even be interesting to see a modern day photo taken at Fur Bridge. How about it folks. Just grab your sweatie and camera and snap a photo on Fur Bridge to send to the Blog.

Pete S


  1. I got the following comment from eagle eye Jim McAnney. What do our Blog readers think?

    Pete S

    Pete - I don't think that two of the pictures are at Fur bridge. Take a look at the picture of Betty West/Mildred Kauflin and the one with Mildred Kauflin/Peg McAnney. There are no cedars and the river looks too wide. They look more like Jobs Creek. What do you think?

    Jim McAnney

  2. After looking at the photos more closely, I think those two photos may have been taken at Lake Absegami.
    Jim McAnney

  3. Jim,

    You'd make a heck of a witness at a murder trial.

    Pete S

  4. When Sam was about 10 years old
    he lived in the old Klein house in Leektown. He used to walk with several others to Fur Bridge via the old Club Road across from Pat's Stand. The group cooled off swimming in the icy water. Helen Carty sitting on the railing IS Fur Bridge. Jimmy is right,the other 2 questionable pictures do not look like Fur Bridge.
    Sam Briggs