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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Aunt Alice and the Old Barbershop

The other day Steve Eichinger, my history buddy, stopped by to show me a few old Bridgeport and New Gretna photos that he had come across in an old album belonging to his Aunt Alice Adams Weber. Aunt Alice was one of the few old timers who was interested in the history of our area and collected data and old photos which she passed on to Steve.

Alice Adams Weber spent many hours collecting local history and genealogy data which she passed on to her nephew, Steve Eichinger. (Photo courtesy of Steve Eichinger)

Steve Eichinger carries on his Aunt Alice's love of area history and genealogy. (Photo by Pete Stemmer)

I had a good time going through the photos in Alice's old photo album with Steve. He really paid attention to his aunt when he was a child, as he remembered quite a bid about many of the old photos and how they tied in to his family.

One of the photos in Aunt Alice's album caught my attention - the one of the old barbershop on Rt. 9 in the vicinity of the present day New Gretna Munchies deli. I've heard about the old barbershop but had never seen a photo of it.

The photo was taken from the front yard of Curtis Maxwell's house and features Joyce Maxwell, Curtis and Dorothy Maxwell's daughter, and Donald Maxwell's sister.

The focal point of the photo was Joyce Maxwell sitting on the hood of a car parked in front of the Maxwell family house. As luck would have it, the old barbershop can be clearly seen across Rt. 9 in the background. South Maple Avenue, called Eel Street by the locals in the old days, would be to the right of the barbershop.

Joyce Maxwell with the old barbershop building in the background.

I didn't know much about the old barbershop, so I emailed Don Maxwell and ask him about his memories of the old building that has been long torn down. As usual, Don did not disappoint. His reply may be found below.

Memories of the old Route 9 Barber Shop
by Donald Maxwell

The old barber shop started out as a gas station. The property was owned by the Aubor family in Green Bank. They had one daughter, Dolly Aubor, who was a school teacher in the Green Bank school system. She was single all her life, a typical dedicated old maid school teacher. She inherited the property and owned it until the Tuckerton Bank bought it and built a satellite or New Gretna Branch on the property. She was always at the local card parties and hobnobbed with the local school teachers at card parties, PTA meetings etc.

Sometime in the late 40's just before the war, the Aubors had the small building built, and it was a two pump gas station. They leased it to a Robert Steelman from the Linwood-Somers Point area. He ran it for a couple of years until WW2 started and gas got scarse and it closed up.

An Italian barber named Frank Azzorina rented or leased it during the war. He had a barber shop there all during the war. After the war he and his wife gave it up and moved away and it became vacant. They rented Benny and Elaine Allen's home on Adams Avenue, until Benny came home from the war.

Ben and Elaine Allen in front of their Adams Avenue home.
(Photo courtesy of Ben & Elaine Allen)

I remember my brother Jack, as a boy, set some steel traps under the vacant building to catch a fox and instead caught a skunk. He got me to help him to get the skunk out and it sprayed him right in the face and eyes. There was quite a scene when we got home and mom got on us. She finally washed his eyes out with something or other.

Jack Maxwell, a few years before his skunk hunting days.
(Photo courtesy of Donald Maxwell)

After the war a couple of guys rented it for awhile to live there. After that a man and his wife lived there for a number of years. I can't remember their names, as he worked outside of the community and they didn't socialize with the towns people. I remember you could hear him coughing as he was a heavy cigarette smoker. I don't remember anyone else living there, as I moved out and got married and lost touch with the area.

Don Maxwell

Should Donald's account of the old barber shop evoke memories from anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Pete S


  1. Hi Pete: Is the Alice Adams Weber pictured by any chance my 1st cousin once removed. I know the name is probably quite common. I don't have her husband's info in my records in
    If she is related it is through my grandmother Stella Adams Mathis. Thanks
    Beverly Mathis Robinson

  2. Does anyone know the year of the car Joyce Maxwell is sitting on?

    Pete S

  3. 1953 Pontiac Google it to be sure but DH says so and the pictures look good.
    Beverly Mathis Robinson

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