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

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Great Al Jolson Stops In Tuckerton

Back in the day, Route 9 was known as New York Road, as it was the route connecting New York City with Atlantic City. Famous people traveling from the "Big Apple" to the "Playground of the East Coast" would frequently travel through Tuckerton. Occasionally, they would stop. Sometimes by design and sometimes unexpectedly. Al Jolson, the famous singer, actor, and comedian, known by his generation as "The World's Greatest Entertainer", was one of these people. 

Click on the arrow below to hear Al Jolson sing
"Toot, Toot, Tootsie!"

While traveling through Tuckerton on Saturday, June 16, 1923, Al was stopped for exceeding the speed limit. 

Evidently, Mr. Jolson had a heavy foot. Trooper Lipgen clocked him at 55 miles an hour. Not one to be outdone, Jolson claimed that he was actually traveling 69 miles per hour. 

Brought before Justice of the Peace Potter, Jolson was fined $25.00 plus court costs and was quickly on his way, the residents of Tuckerton unaware of the celebrity's brief visit to their tranquil village. I wonder if Al whistled "Toot, Toot, Tootsie!" on his way out of town.

Pete S

PS- Other celebrities were known to have traveled through Tuckerton and New Gretna on their way to Atlantic City. Click on the photo below to read about Al Capone's visit to New Gretna.

PPS- Jolson's "Toot, Toot, Tootsie" may not play on an Apple iPad as it is a Flash file.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Some Early 1960's New Gretna Businesses

This is the last in a series of Blog entries from the September 4, 1960 "2nd Annual Power Boat Regetta Souvenir Program". 

A few New Gretna businesses placed ads in the booklet. I thought some of you out in the Blog-O-Sphere might enjoy seeing the ads with an accompanying photo from my files. I added a few questions to test the memories of old New Gretna-ites who might be reading this blog. 

Eddie's Market in downtown New Gretna.

What present day business is located in the old Eddie's Market building?

Belk's Esso Station in background of the 1976 Bicentennial Parade

What business was and still is across the street from the old Esso Station?

Who can remember Helen and John's last name?

The New Gretna House in the 1960's

The Rustic Inn was built by Frank Cramer and had many owners over the years. Can anyone name some of these owners, other than Frank Cramer and Frieda Shedaker?

 The Soroccos and Dot Cramer (left)

Does anyone know the Sorocco's first names and where they lived in New Gretna? Who was Dot Cramer?

What present day business is on the location of Sorocco's Luncheonette?

Capt. LaRue Mazelle

What was the name of LaRue's party boat?

Well, that ends our little Power Boat Souvenir Program New Gretna business tour and quiz. I hope it brought back some pleasant memories. Check back for answers to the above questions.

Pete S

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Bass River Marina Comes To Town

Last week we talked about garvey racing sponsored by the Tuckerton Fire Company and the September 4, 1960 "2nd Annual Power Boat Regetta" Souvenir Program.

Throughout the booklet, local businesses placed ads to support the garvey races and to solicit business. One of these ads from a New Gretna start up business caught my attention.

It appears that the Bass River Marina was under construction in the fall of 1960 with plans to develop a "Boatmen's Paradise" that would be "The Finest Marina on the East Coast". They sure were lofty goals! I'll leave it up to those out in the Blog-O-Sphere who were witnesses to the marina's birth to judge whether those goals were met.

A subsequent ad from a 1963 New Gretna Minstrel Show program shows that the marina, indeed, may have met their high expectations. They offered a wide variety of services to boat enthusiasts, some of which were not generally available in the area at that time. 

It's hard to believe that the early 1960's were fifty years ago. Somehow, it seems like only yesterday. The following photo was taken in the mid 1960's along Rt. 9 in New Gretna. The Bass River Marina building is on the left, looking very much as it is today. Some wooden boats were displayed for sale along Rt. 9 which was concrete. The Garden State Parkway bridge, crossing over Rt. 9, is in the rear.

The Bass River Marina on Rt. 9 in New Gretna

The next photo, taken from a slightly longer distance from the marina shows additional boats for sale. The sign across from the marina announces "Custards Last Stand". This would be an earlier version of today's Patio Drive In which still sells custard.

The Bass River Marina on Rt. 9 in New Gretna

The last three photos of the marina were taken in the mid 1960's. Other than the older style of and the preponderance of wooden boats, the marina's moorings, like the Rt. 9 building, look pretty much as they do today. The Great John Mathis house, a bit of history that no longer exists, can be seen in the background if you look closely.

The marina with the Great John Mathis house
in the background just right of center. 

Another view of the marina with the Great John Mathis
house in the background to the right.

A good view of the floating docks

That ends our 1960's tour of the Bass River Marina. Any information those out in the Blog-O-Sphere may have about the marina or the Great John Mathis house during the 1960's would be appreciated.

Pete S

Sunday, September 8, 2013

J. Mason Price and the 1960 2nd Annual Power Boat Regatta Souvenir Booklet

The Tuckerton Seaport sponsored its annual wooden boat show this past weekend. Unfortunately, I had other commitments, so I was unable to attend. 

I did; however, stumble across an interesting April 4, 2010 Atlantic City Press article about the "Wasp", a 1960's racing garvey that was being rebuilt by Ron Spodofora at the Tuckerton Seaport.

Ron Spodofora looking over the "Wasp"
at the Tuckerton Seaport
(Atlantic City Press Photo)

(Atlantic City Press Photo)

The "Wasp" was built in 1960 by J. Mason Price, considered by many to be the father of garvey racing in our area. Ever resourceful, Mason used a beer keg for the "Wasp's" gas tank. One wonders who had the pleasure of emptying the keg so that it could be used in the "Wasp's" construction.

J. Mason Price aboard the "Wasp"
(Atlantic City Press Photo)

Coincidentally, I was visiting with Shirley Whealton, my good history buddy, just before the weekend. I always enjoy our visits, as she often surprises me with a "history goody" to scan for my collection. Again, she didn't disappoint. She loaned me a 1960 souvenir booklet for the "2nd Annual Power Boat Regatta" sponsored by the Tuckerton Fire Company that she got from her brother, Malcolm Burd, who was a member of the Tuckerton Fire Company that year.

I eagerly looked through the booklet for a mention of J. Mason Price and the "Wasp". Sure enough, there was Mason Price, Sr. mentioned with a G-24 entry. While the "Wasp" was not specifically named as his boat for the race, the Atlantic City Press photo of Mason on the "Wasp" clearly shows the "Wasp's" official number as G-24. So, it appears that Mason was racing the "Wasp" that day!

The follow was the racing schedule for the day.

The racing program also included a list of flag signals used by the racing officials so that the spectators could better understand what was going on during the races. They remind me of today's NASCAR races.

It would be interesting to know if Mason won his race that day. Perhaps there is someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere who might remember. If so, let's hear from you. I would also like to hear from anyone who remembers attending the Tuckerton garvey races in the 1960's.

Pete S

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Boardwalk Empire, New Gretna and the E. Kirk Loveland Connection

The new television season will be starting soon, and Boardwalk Empire will be continuing into its third season. 

It's a popular show in the New Gretna area as it deals with nearby Atlantic City around prohibition times. Many New Gretna families moved to Atlantic City to take advantage of the variety of economic opportunities that were not available in little old New Gretna, so it is not surprising that there are ties between Boardwalk Empire characters and New Gretna families.

I came across an interesting obituary for E. Kirk Loveland the other day and couldn't help thinking about Boardwalk Empire

Kirk was born in New Gretna and moved to Atlantic City where he became a successful entrepreneur. The obituary points out a Boardwalk Empire connection, if the reader is savvy enough to notice. Normally, I would point out the connection, but I thought it would be fun to see if anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can find it.

E. Kirk Loveland
Photo courtesy of Sara Mathis Guertler

E. Kirk Loveland tombstone
in Hillside Cemetery, New Gretna
Photo by Pete Stemmer

Tuckerton Beacon - September 3, 1936

E. Kirk Loveland's summer home on the corner of Amasa Landing
Road and Rt 9 in New Gretna where the wake was held.
Photo courtesy of Sara Mathis Guertler

Now that you've read the obituary, can you point out the connection between E. Kirk Loveland and Boardwalk Empire? If you can, let's hear from you.

Pete S

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rescue on the Mullica

Over the years there have been many an unsung hero with New Gretna roots. Stanley Cramer is one such hero as the following January 5, 1940 Tuckerton Beacon article documents.

Ralph Maxwell

Horataio "Tater" Cramer, Stanley's father,
at the Bridge Tender's House window

Stanley Cramer, age 21, at the Mullica River
The old Iron Bridge is in the background.

Tuckerton Beacon - January 5, 1940

Stanley went on to become the owner of the Chestnut Neck Marina on the Mullica River for many years.

I'm wondering if there are any relatives or friends of either Ralph Maxwell or Stanley Cramer out in the Blog-O-Sphere. If so, I would like to hear from you. Perhaps, you can relate an old story about Ralph or Stan that you might wish to share with us.

Pete S

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tuckerton Numerology

Numerology is the study of the special relationship between a number and some coinciding observed event. Frequently, people associate a number with either good luck or bad luck in their lives.

For instance, the number 13 is considered to be unlucky by many. This belief goes way back in history. Some believe it goes back to the Last Supper where twelve apostles joined Jesus and the thirteen had the Passover meal. Others believe that it is related to the practice of witchcraft as witches often formed groups of 13 called covens.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was especially fearful of the number 13 and took great pains to avoid hosting a meal for a group of that size. If he had a cancellation and it looked like 13 people may show up for a White House luncheon or dinner, he would invite his secretary to join them so there won't be thirteen people sitting at the table.

The Jersey Devil, born in Leeds Point not far from Tuckerton, was the thirteenth child of mother Leeds. Wikipedia says the following about Mother Leeds and her thirteenth child. 
. . . Mother Leeds had 12 children and, after finding she was pregnant for the 13th time, stated that this one would be the Devil. In 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night. Gathered around her were her friends. Mother Leeds was supposedly a witch and the child's father was the Devil himself. The child was born normal, but then changed form. It changed from a normal baby to a creature with hooves, a goat's head, bat wings and a forked tail. It growled and screamed, then killed the midwife before flying up the chimney. It circled the villages and headed toward the pines. In 1740 a clergy exorcised the demon for 100 years and it wasn't seen again until 1890. 

Click on the Jersey Devil to read
what Weird New Jersey says about him.

Some believe that the Jersey Devil roams the Jersey Pines to this day. I have spoken to people who swear that they have seen him.

Friday the thirteenth is considered unlucky in our culture by many people. There are people who hesitate to get out of bed on this day.

Since the number thirteen is considered so unlucky, I was somewhat perplexed to find the following article involving the number 13 and the Tuckerton Bank in a 1903 newspaper article. If I kept my money there and read this article, I might feel a little uneasy. How about you? 

I wonder if there was a run on the bank back then. After all, that's a lot of thirteens!

Pete S

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Animal Planet - Tuckerton Style

There are many home video shows on TV. One of my favorites is Animal Planet which showcases videos of animals doing some strange, funny things. 

Click on the video below to view some horse bloopers that are bound to make you chuckle.

Well, Animal Planet has nothing that Tuckerton didn't have 140 years earlier, as evidence by the following August 20, 1870 newspaper article. As you read it, think about how the story might unfold in a Tuckerton themed Animal Planet video. Then close your eyes and play it back in your mind. I bet you can't help smiling.

Now, that's entertainment - Tuckerton style!

Pete S