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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

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Old Tuckerton Water Tower

The August 30, 2012 Blog featured a 1890's photograph (below) of a horse drawn railroad side car with a barn and windmill in the background.

Click on the above photo to go to the 8/30/12 Blog Entry.

The windmill in the photo was the subject a few comments: 

I was just looking at the 1895 Sanborn fire insurance map for Tuckerton and see a windmill noted behind the bank (now Tuckerton Liquors) and the funeral home. There are still concrete piers there that may have been associated with the windmill. Perhaps this is the windmill in the photo? German Georgieff

Great idea to look at the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for Tuckerton; however, I don't think the windmill behind the bank is the same windmill that is in the photo. P Stemmer 

The concrete piers behind the old bank/funeral home are the base of the old TUCKERTON water tower, seen in many old town pictures. Arnold Cramer

My good history buddy, Shirley Whealton, tells me that the concrete foundation at the rear of the old bank, now a liquor store on Rt 9, is from an old water tower, not a windmill. P Stemmer

It is obvious from the comments that the windmill in the photo is not linked to the concrete foundations behind the old Tuckerton Bank Building as suggested by German Georgieff.

The old Tuckerton Bank on Rt 9 is now a liquor store.

Arnold Cramer and Shirley Whealton correctly pointed out the the concrete foundations are remnants of the old Tuckerton Water Company tower. These foundations, which look like a miniature Stonehenge, can be clearly seen in the following aerial photo.

Map courtesy of Bing Maps

Seeing the old water tower foundations got me thinking about the origins of the Tuckerton Water Company and when the tower was built. I asked some Tuckerton old timers if they knew when the water tower was built, but no one seemed to know. It's not surprising, as there are no eye witnesses of the tower being built, as I discovered, while reading some Tuckerton Beacon "Out of the Past" news articles, that it was constructed in 1898.

A series of brief Tuckerton Beacon articles chronicles the formation of the Tuckerton Water Company and the building of the tower.

The Tuckerton Water Company was granted a franchise in 1898 with the condition that it would provide 5 free fire hydrants throughout the town.

The 45,670 gallon water tank was completed by the Tippet & Wood of Phillipsburg, N.J. at the end of June, 1898

The water for the tower was obtained from the headwaters of Lake Pohatcong to ensure that the water was pure.

Half price specials were offered to induce new subscribers to hook up to the newly available water service. It sounds a lot like today's advertising.

The Everett House, a popular hotel on Tuckerton's Main Street, was the first to connect to the new water system.

Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.

The services of the new water company were so popular that plumbers were in high demand. Not having air conditioning, it seems a cool bath in the hot summer hit the spot with many residents.

Common stock was issued to raise capital for the start up costs of the water company. The stock certificates list the official name of the company as the Tuckerton Water Works Co.

The total value of the stock issued in 1898 was $12,000.00. Adjusted for inflation, that value would be about $320,000 today. That is a very modest sum to start up a water company today.

Following are a few postcards, from the Tuckerton Historical Society's collection, showing views of Tuckerton taken from the water tower. If you recognize any of the buildings or can estimate when the photos were taken, let's hear from you!

Notice the outhouses lined up like soldiers behind a group of houses and Lake Pohatcong in the background in the following postcard.

Lake Pohatcong can also be seen in the view below.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate a photo of the water tower, nor do I know when it was dismantled. If anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can help me with these issues, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Pete S

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stage Road and the Starship Enterprise

A few months ago Jackie and I had to go to center city Philadelphia. It's not my favorite trip; however, the drive through Hammonton to catch the Atlantic City Expressway at Williamstown, and over to the Ben Franklin Bridge to Philly only takes about an hour and 15 minutes. All in all, it's not a long trip, but the traffic sure is heavier than in good old New Gretna and finding a parking place can be frustrating.

As I was cruising up the Expressway, my thoughts wandered to one of my all time favorite TV shows - Star Trek. 

The crew of the Starship Enterprise

I got to thinking that Captain Kirk wouldn't have to fight traffic on his way to Philly. A trip to the Enterprise's Transporter room and a simple command to Scottie to beam him to center city, and the good captain would be walking in Philly within a few seconds. It sure beats my hour and 15 minute journey, and Kirk wouldn't have to fight for a parking spot.

This futuristic journey to Philly seems unimaginable to us, today; however, man's quest for progress would tend to prove otherwise. After all, an hour and 15 minute trip from Tuckerton to Philadelphia would have seemed just as preposterous to the Tuckertonians in the 17th century as a 3 second trip to Philadelphia seems to us today.

Back in the early 1800's a trip from Tuckerton to Philadelphia would take a few days by stage coach. 

The main route was Stage Road which ran from Tuckerton on sand roads through the Pine Barrens to Camden where a ferry trip would take the traveler across the Delaware River to Philadelphia. Multiple stops would be made along the way at taverns strategically placed at distances allowing the stage coach to change horses and the travelers to stretch their legs and partake of refreshments. The trip would require a nights lodging in the middle of the Pine Barrens, often in less than desirable circumstances. Heat and high humidity combined with hoards of mosquitoes, pine flies, and green heads in the summer and the freezing cold of winter made the trip a challenge.  It was clearly not a journey for the faint or weak hearted.

Steve Eichinger, my history buddy, wrote about traveling along Stage Road from Tuckerton to Philadelphia, highlighting the many taverns along the way. You can read his Stage Road articles which appeared in the June, 2002 and June, 2003 issues of the Bass River Gazette by clicking on the 1820 Tuckerton Stage newspaper ad below.

The July 18, 1820 newspaper clipping advertises a Monday and Thursday trip a week from Tuckerton to Camden followed by a ferry ride to market Street in Philadelphia. On the return trip passengers could disembark in Tuckerton and take a ferry to the beaches on Long Beach Island where they could procure room and board for $4.00 a week. The stage ride cost $2.00.

Following is an August 27, 1840 ad which hawks stage rides from Philadelpia on Wednesdays and Saturdays to Tuckerton for $1.50 and to Manahawkin for $2.00. It lists the route as ferrying to Camden then traveling through Marlton, Tauton, Atsion, McCarthyville, Bass River, Tuckerton, and Manahawkin. McCartyville was a papermill town which later became Harrisville.

The ads sure put traveling from Tuckerton to Philadelphia in perspective. I guess I can't complain when I'm caught in heavy Expressway traffic. After all, it's better than a day or two's stage travel over bumpy old Stage Road. It seems that I'm Captain Kirk to that 17th century stage coach traveler.  Beam me up, Scotty!

Pete S

PS- A special thanks to Paul Schopp, a history colleague, who provided the Tuckerton Stage ads.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Gretna News- January 14, 1943

It's been a while since I posted here at the Blog. Sorry about that! It's due to a combination of writer's block and computer problems. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back in the grove with weekly Blog posts.

I thought I'd take you on a trip back to New Gretna in the early part of 1943 via a clipping from the January 14, 1943 Tuckerton Beacon. It was the beginning of the year I was born and the middle of the war years. We see mention of a few New Gretna boys who served in the war. There were many young men and women from New Gretna that served in the war.

Rev. Huckaby and family - 1961

Private Harold Gerew

Win Salmons

Ruy and Marietta Allen

Delwin Downs in Clarence Mathis' store

Jack Mathis

Milton and Mildred Kauflin

I hope that the news clipping and added photos bring back some memories for some New Gretna old timers out in the Blog-O-Sphere. If so, let's hear from you.

Pete S