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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bottles and Other Treasures from the 1960's- New Gretna Style

I've enjoyed doing the recent Blog posts on two old area bottles that proved to be somewhat of a mystery. One was from West Creek (March 23rd Blog) and the other from Cedar Run (April 17th Blog). I got to thinking that some interesting bottles must have been unearthed in New Gretna over the years. Strange that I haven't heard of any from my own backyard.

Seems that two of our regular Blog readers, Elaine Mathis and Phyllis Briggs, have been holding out on me when it comes to New Gretna bottle hunting. They might try to deny it, but I've got the proof in the following April 26, 1966 Tuckerton Chronicle news clipping written by Phyllis Briggs.

Hopefully, this will jog Elaine and Phyllis' memories of some long forgotten bottles that they dug up over 40 years ago. I would be interested to hear about some of their bottle escapades, where their favorite diggings places were, and if any of their finds were embossed with some of our local town names. How about it girls? Let's hear from you!

John Costas, the local Presbyterian preacher during the New Gretna bottle hunting craze, was another avid bottle collector who also branched out into the sport of metal detecting. His hobby proved lucritive enough to help send his children through college. You can read about his bottle hunting by clicking on the link below. The article was written after Rev. Costas left New Gretna for Blackwood, but the old timers tell me that he did some serious bottle digging when he was in New Gretna.

I'm sure that there are some interesting collections of bottles in attics and cellars throughout New Gretna. If anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can tell us about them and their experiences digging for bottles in New Gretna, it would be appreciated.

Pete S


  1. Pete Rev. Costas was also an avid stamp collector. He started a stamp club and we would meet in the parsonage after school. I think we met weekly. As I recall, he had a large stamp collection. We would trade stamps and he taught us something about stamps at each meeting. He also took us to several stamp shows around the state. I think I still have my collection somewhere. I remember him telling us that it was a good hobby because it was something you could do lifelong. You could leave it and start again years later. As a sidebar, he also took some of us kids from Sunday School on several road trips. He would take us in his car all over the state. One trip that I remember was to Sussex county. I remember seeing the big dairy farms and how different the terrain was from New Gretna.

    Jim McAnney

  2. South Jersey bottle hunting was my passion.Sam and I traveled the backwoods white sand dirt roads in our 4-wheel drive Scout looking for abandoned cellar holes, outhouse holes and clam shell piles.These were great fun days roaming the abandoned woodlands.
    We found the old hermit's place off Hammonton Rd after Costas had been there. There still was much to find. Costas found one or two flasks there. We found one in Bulltown. Leektown gave forth a thin blue-green tall pickle jar I found using my long screw driver piercing a hole in its top shoulder. I still have the bottle intact and love it. West Tuckerton, Mott's Creek, more on Hammonton Rd, Atco, Sweetwater, Greenbush all held huge amounts of old bottles.Pauline Allen put every bottle she and her husband, George, found in their attic. It was a wonder her ceilings didn't collapse. You might want to ask their son, Johnny Allen, about what he inherited. Other items were found in addition to bottles; buttons, teapot, glasses,dishes and a white ironstone soap dish which is still in use today on my bathroom sink.
    Phyllis Briggs