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A Guide To Its Present And Past
Compiled and Written by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey
American Guide Series

Originally published in 1939
Some of this information may no longer be current and in that case is presented for historical interest only.

Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Tour 26
Lakewood–Wrightstown–Camden; unnumbered roads and State 38.

Lakewood-Wrightstown-Camden; unnumbered roads and State 38.
Lakewood to Camden, 52.2 m.
The Pennsylvania R.R. parallels the highway between New Egypt and Camden.
Good hotel accommodations at both ends of the route; service stations at frequent intervals.
Paved roads in the eastern section; concrete, 3 lanes, at the western end.

West of Lakewood this unnumbered route runs through a sparsely settled pine-covered country. There are few hills; any elevation of more than 300 feet is considered a mountain. Cranberry bogs are numerous in the lowlands drained by Toms River. The central section of the route traverses first-rank dairying country, with patches of deciduous woods. Several small communities are much more interesting than those found on main highways. The western part, between Pemberton and Camden, penetrates an old suburban section, studded with many Revolutionary landmarks. Here the road is State 38, a modern highway that skirts the edges of the most thickly settled areas.

LAKEWOOD, 0 m. (80 alt., 5,000 pop.) (see Tour 18). West from US 9 (see Tour 18) in Lakewood on Central Ave., just south of the business section.

WATERING RACE BROOK (L) has a name that has survived horse and buggy days when this region sheltered the stables of many wealthy men whose animals were exercised on the road.

Central Ave. becomes a county road that ascends with low hills on both sides. The head of the ALLIGATOR, a ridge of reptilian form, rises 0.5 mile R. About 2.5 miles long, the ridge includes a menacing curved tail apparently about to strike.

The road passes evergreen woods with an occasional hennery in a clear- ing of the pines. The few houses between Lakewood and Holmansville are unimposing.

HOLMANSVILLE, 5.8 m. (110 alt., 98 pop.), is a small cluster of houses. Left is the STATE QUAIL FARM of 128 acres. For many years it was thought impossible to rear quail. Then the State established this farm where nearly 10,000 fowl are raised annually for liberation throughout New Jersey for hunters.

VAN HISEVILLE, 8.2 m. (100 alt., 85 pop.), is a small community with a general store and a few old houses at the crossroads. It was named for the Van Hise family, settlers of about 1750.

West of Van Hiseville the devastating results of forest fires are seen. Deer in this region form a traffic hazard, particularly at night. It is estimated that there are 8,000 of the animals in the New Jersey pine country.

At 10 m., just west of Toms River, is (L) JACKSON STATE FOREST (open; no picnic grounds), a tract of 43 acres where experiments in pine culture are conducted by the State Department of Conservation and Development, aided by Federal agencies. Forestry experts here are seeking ways to reclaim New Jersey's 1,000,000 acres of pine barrens; to change scrub oak to pine forest, which once covered most of south New Jersey and in the Colonial period provided much income. White pines and two-leaf pines are cultivated here.

CASSVILLE, 10.7 m. (120 alt., 205 pop.), a tiny old village once known as Downsville, then as Goshen, was named Cassville for Gen. Lewis Cass when a post office was opened in 1850. Cass, a veteran of the War of 1812, was the Democratic presidential nominee defeated by Zachary Taylor in 1848.

The southern part of Cassville is known as Webbville in memory of John Webb, "old Peg-leg John," a schoolteacher who, about 1845, was the first to cultivate the native wild cranberry. Watching the growth of the small, vine-like bushes in a swamp that he had drained for meadow purposes gave him the idea of creating a cranberry bog. The first year he received about $50 a barrel for his crop, the berries being bought by Philadelphia ship chandlers who sold them to whalers as a preventive for scurvy. Webb's innovation has brought bread to many people who cling to the impoverished soil of the pine country. Since 1911 cultivation of the swamp blueberry, as a result of experiments of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, has been important. Blueberry growers around Cassville have organized a cooperative association for marketing this crop, which has yielded $600 an acre.

Right from Cassville on a macadam road is ROVA FARMS, 0.2 m., a social experi- ment under the direction of the Russian Consolidated Mutual Aid Society of Amer- ica. A group of Russian emigrees occupies 1,400 acres of woods and farm land with an attractive pond and stream, and a large community hall, administration build- ing, dormitories, and cabins. Founded primarily as an old-age annuity home, the colony offers recreational facilities for transients and preserves Russian folklore, songs, and dances.

In the wooded country west of Cassville the highway crosses large ponds that are used to flood nearby cranberry bogs. Laurel, scrub oak, and pines are abundant.

Houses are isolated and cheaply built. A brown carpet of pine needles and cones covers the white, sandy soil in many places up to the edge of the road, yielding a resinous, balmy odor. Often the whistling of the bob- white and other quail, or the drumming of grouse, is heard.

ARCHERS CORNERS, 14.4 m. (160 alt., 88 pop.), was formerly Davistown. Here are seen a few attempts at farming the poor, acid soil enclosed by zigzag rail-fences.

Westward the road is on higher ground, the DIVIDE between the Delaware and coastal slopes. Scrub barrens are replaced by farming country.

On an old farm (L) at 15.7 m. is ZION METHODIST CHURCH, first of that denomination in Ocean County. About 1789 Methodism was introduced in the log house of job Horner, who lived on the farm that included the present church site. The existing church replaced an earlier building that burned in 1837.

NEW EGYPT, 18.6 m. (75 alt., 500 pop.), a small agricultural village, straddles Crosswicks Creek. One-story shops and stores line both sides of the highway. Irregularly spaced along the graveled streets and surrounded by broad lawns and old trees are frame houses of Colonial and Victorian architecture, brightly painted in white and cream.

Crosswicks Creek here has been dammed to form OAKFORD LAKE (L), a vacation spot with woodlands on the shore. The creek was the route followed by the first Quaker colonists soon after their arrival on the Delaware in 1675.

At the time of the Revolution the village was known as Timmons Mills. After the victory at Trenton in December, 1776, Washington needed grain for his army. Benjamin Jones, one of the General's New Jersey advisors, had a large quantity of buckwheat flour and cornmeal stored at the mills; he sent his secretary, Joseph Curtis, to bring the milled grain to Trenton. Hailing the welcome arrival, Washington said: "Joseph has been in Egypt and gotten the corn." The village was Egypt until 1845, when the prefix "New" was added to avoid confusion with other Egypts. Center of a fine farm and dairy section, New Egypt still has a never failing corn crop.

The FORT HOMESTEAD (private), Main St. and Fort Ave., set in the ruins of vanished gardens, is flat-roofed, southern Colonial in style, with a three-story winding staircase, huge fireplaces and a large cauldron built into the kitchen wall, and even a "sweet potato hole" between floors. This was the home of former Gov. George F. Fort, and of his nephew, another Governor, Judge John F. Fort.

Left from the center of New Egypt on a graveled road is HOCKAMICK, 2 m., the remains of a lumbering village dating back to 1750. The name came from a peddler named Mick, widely known in the Pines as Hawker Mick, who lived here. In Hockamick are the RUINS OF A SAWMILL once run by the power of jumping Brook. The old dam and the large millpond remain, water still running through the rotten spillway.

West of New Egypt the macadam road passes through an almost flat country, with broad fields enclosed by split-rail fences. Rambling, red brick farmhouses, some of them built more than loo years ago, are half hidden in small groves of old trees. Chicken raising is extensive here.

COOKSTOWN, 21 m. (90 alt., 110 pop.), has a few small clap-boarded houses huddled around an old dam holding back the water of North Run, once used to turn the wheels of Cook's Mill, which served the Colonists before the Revolution. A METHODIST CHURCH by the highway L) was built in 1839; it stands within a graveyard that has served the neighborhood for nearly 200 years. Cookstown is large enough to maintain garage and automobile sales depot, and 20 feet of sidewalk before the saloon at the bridge over Crosswicks Creek.

The HENDRICKSON MILL (R) dates back to 1732 and is still grinding flour and feed. From the timbers hang great cobwebs, formed not by spi- ders but by spray from the rush of water over the dripping wheel and by cast from the grain.

The COOKSTOWN HOUSE, SE. cor. Main St. and Brinteltown Rd., is a two-and-one-half-story building of whitewashed brick. It has a fanlight over the front door, a palladian window on the second floor, and fine arched dormers of leaded glass. A recent porch and a beer sign mar the old mansion, which is now a tavern.

MAHALALA, 21.7 m., the Indian name of a section where the Boy Scouts of Burlington County have a camp, is close to a LAKE (R).

WRIGHTSTOWN, 23.3 m. (130 alt., 400 pop.), is a small community on the edge of an extensive military reservation, CAMP Dix. Thousands of ex-soldiers remember the little village with a few dingy old houses, many converted for the war period into stores and lunchrooms. A few scattered houses, a small group of one-story stores with squared fronts that hide the gables of their roofs, and a little used railroad station remain. The highway cuts through the military reservation, covering 8,700 acres of low hills. Long rows of deserted barracks, huge parade grounds overgrown with grass, and an occasional concrete gun emplacement are left. There were once 1,600 buildings here, and 85,000 men were in training. CMTC and National Guard units still train here for three months each summer, and the camp has motor transport quarters and barracks of the 311th Infantry. An airport is used for military flights.

LEWISTOWN, 26.8 m. (80 alt., 120 pop.), at the southwestern edge of Camp Dix, is another hamlet that was lifted into temporary prosperity during the World War. The road winds W. over a rolling terrain in dairying country.

At NORTH PEMBERTON STATION, 29.6 m., the highway crosses the Pennsylvania R.R. at grade. This point has long been known as Comi- cal Corner, apparently for no reason except that a county and a township road meet at the railroad.

PEMBERTON, 30 m. (75 alt., 783 pop.), is a quiet old farm center whose streets disclose the sturdy frame and brick residences of middle-class occupants. Old trees shade the streets and wide lawns. Time-stained houses attest the age of Pemberton, which largely escaped damage during the Revolution because it was a few miles off the line of marches and raids along the old King's Highway. Many of the residents, owners of large farms, now live in the town, while "renters" till the fields that have been owned by the same families for generations.

The business section consists of a number of small stores in a single block. Three well-filled cemeteries within grilled iron fences are on main street.

The Pemberton district was settled by Quakers before 1690. Among older buildings are the GRISTMILL (R) on Main St., still doing business is a very long two-and-one-half-story brick building of strong Pennsylvania Dutch influence. It is flush with the sidewalk, with a narrow fanlighted door. Across part of the front is a one-story porch with an ornate wooden and the old PEMBERTON INN, SE. cor Hanover and Elizabeth Sts. The inn railing. The inn closed after the prohibition act was passed. The bar corner the ground floor. is unoccupied; an antique shop and three other stores occupy the rest of

Pemberton was first called Hampton Hanover because it lay in both Northampton and Hanover Townships. Later the name was changed to New Mills, and in 1826 the present name was adopted in honor of James Pemberton, a Philadelphia shipping merchant.

CANNON RUN joins the Rancocas at Pemberton. A huge cannon is said to be buried deep in the mire here. The gun was built at Hanover Furnace, 10 miles east, to defend Marcus Hook on the Delaware River against British forces during the War of 1812. It was hauled as far as Pemberton by eight oxen. Here the wagon was mired and overturned, the gun going deep into the bog.

Left from Pemberton, on a hard-surfaced read, along the banks of the North Branch of Rancocas Creek, is BROWNS MILLS, 6 m. (60 alt., 255 pop.). It has been a health resort for many years, chiefly for tubercular persons, for whom the air of the pine forest is recommended. The mills, which gave the town its name, were operated by water from a lake 2 miles long, still here. western end of a lake. Between 1791 and 1864 iron was smelted here from nearby hogs. Cannon and balls were made for the Army and Navy in 1812, and Commo- dore Stephen Decatur is said to have served here as an inspector of munitions. East from Browns Mills to the RUINS of HANOVER FURNACE, 9.2 m., at the Later the plant made much of the pipe that went into Philadelphia's early water system. Part of the great pile of slag that surrounded the old works remains, but much has been used to improve nearby roads.

The highway crosses Rancocas Creek at 30.1 m. Here stands an immense PACKING SHED (L) in which cranberries are made ready for market. Berry pickers, brought from Philadelphia and Camden each year, live on the edges of the bogs in tents, cabins, and crude shelters.

Roadside stands with farm produce appear west of Pemberton, some built of boards, brightly painted white or pale blue, while others are of slabwood to give a rustic appearance.

Orchards of peach and apple trees edge up to the highway. Road signs warn pedestrians to walk facing traffic and to carry a light after dark, but well-lighted pedestrians are rarely encountered.

At 32.8 m. is the junction with US 206 (see Tour 6).

At 33.8 m. is the junction with a macadam road. of two-family houses of weathered clapboards. The village was founded in 1865

Right on this road is SMITHVILLE, 0.8 m. (30 alt., 100 pop.), consisting mainly by the once famous Hezekiah Smith, whose high-wheel Star bicycle with a small wheel in back was a menace to life two generations ago. Here, on the country road that leads to the Newbold's Corners Road along the south bank of Rancocas Creek, is still the SMITH FACTORY that manufactured the bicycle about 1882, but now produces machinery. Smith sent the wheel to Washington, where his exhibition rider tried to pedal it down the steps of the Capitol and was arrested. Between Smithville and Mount Holly the inventor built his monorail bicycle railway to carry his employees to and from work. Bicycles resembling the present type hung from a rail laid on posts about 4 feet high. In 1879 Smith completed a steam wagon with kerosene firebox and boiler. It is said that the car made good speed but Smith decided that the people were not ready for such a vehicle, so he stored it in a barn. Later the citizens showed their appreciation by electing Smith to Congress and to the State senate. He campaigned in a carriage drawn by a trained moose from his native New England, driving about Burlington County and frightening every horse on the road. Workmen at the plant were organized into a widely known band which finally led Smith's funeral procession.

At 35.4 m. State 38 begins and continues to Camden.

At 35.4 m. is the junction with a paved road.

Right on this road is MOUNT HOLLY, 1.1 m. (30 alt., 6,573 pop.) (see MOLT HOLLY).

Points of Interest: Courthouse (1796), Brainerd School, Stephen Girard House, John Woolman Memorial Building, Mount Holly, and others.

Westward the highway runs through a prosperous area of small farms. a region of egg production. The cooperative movement is strong in this section, the farm organizations maintaining regular egg auctions at Mount Holly.

At 37.6 m. is the junction with a macadam road.

Left on this road, which follows the twisting South Branch, is LUMBERTON. 1.4 m. (20 alt.), which has only one structure not built of wood. From a section of newer houses, the road enters the old treeless main street where stoops and front porches of the low, closely built houses are level with the sidewalk. The LUMBERTON HOTEL, Main St., is a three-story frame building, built c. 1790. The METHODIST CHURCH on the same street, was erected in 1812 on Church St. and later present church in 1813. Dimsdale Run or Bobby's Run, flowing into the Rancocas, was named for Dr. Robert Dimsdale, a wealthy Englishman who bought land here in 1684 from William Penn and built a sawmill. Large quantities of lumber, cord- moved to this spot. Bishop Francis Asbury, pioneer of Methodism, preached in the of Landing St., on the creek, is the BURLINGTON Co. IRON WORKS, which miss the horse-head hitching posts once common in hundreds of cities. wood, and farm produce were shipped from Lumberton to Philadelphia. At the the foot

At 37.7 m. State 38 crosses the South Branch of Rancocas Creek, water highway for nearly 200 years, now a favorite resort of canoeists. Tiny fir trees have been planted in cut-over tracts by CCC workers.

At 39.5 m. is the junction with an improved road. Left on this road to the EDWIN CRISPIN FARM, 1 m., where in 1916 scientists from the University of Pennsylvania uncovered Indian relics from a mound. Many banner stones and argillite implements of fine workmanship were obtained.

At 43.3 m. is the junction with an improved road.

  1. Left on this road to MOUNT LAUREL STATE PARK, 2.3 m., a 20-acre recreation area. The mountain rises 450 feet above sea level, highest point in this region, and offers views of spreading farm lands, streams, and old Quaker villages. Before the invention of the telegraph, Mount Laurel was one of a series of hills between New York and Philadelphia used by New York Stock Exchange brokers as signal towers from which were wigwagged reports and prices of stocks and bonds. Reports reached Philadelphia in 20 minutes. The apparatus was still in use in 1846.

  2. Right from State 38 at the same junction is MOORESTOWN, 1 m. (70 alt., 6,500 pop.), laid out in 1722 by Thomas Moore. The most important building is the COMMUNITY HOUSE, Main St., a handsome stone structure of two stories in Tudor style that, with its old-fashioned garden, sets the pace for private homes and gardens in the community. It is a center for the town's social and civic activities. Main St. is a thoroughfare divided against itself. Most of the stores and other busi- ness offices are on one side of the street; directly across are dignified old residences and gardens. The FRIENDS SCHOOL and MEETING HOUSE, a group of red brick buildings of Georgian design, is the largest Friends' school in southern New Jersey. Classes are held for more than 350 pupils. The SMITH MANSION, 12 High St. (private), was erected 1738. General Knyphausen and other Hessian officers stayed overnight here in 1778 during their retreat from Philadelphia. Some of the soldiers deserted in Moorestown, and their descendants are said to live in the neighborhood. The ZELLEY HOUSE (private), on Stanwick Ave. 200 yds. east of Central Ave., has the date 1721 on its wall. It is built of red brick and has hand-hewn timbers. Around the house are the vineyards and orchards of its present owner, a fruit grower.
At 46.5 m., at a traffic circle, is the junction with State S41 (see Tour 37). Here State 38 is a part of the King's Highway of Colonial days, the route of Clinton's army on its retreat from Philadelphia in 1778.

The CAMDEN COUNTY PARK is on both sides of Rancocas Creek.

At 51.8 m. (L) is CENTRAL AIRPORT (see Tour 19).

At the airport traffic circle is the junction with State 40 (see Tour 27).

At 52.2 m., at a traffic circle, State 38 forms a junction with US 130 (see Tour 19).

Straight ahead on Admiral Wilson Blvd. to the Delaware River Bridge Plaza at the intersection of Broadway; L. from the Plaza on Broadway leads to the City Hall and Courthouse.

CAMDEN, 54.5 m. (25 alt., 118,700 pop.) (see CAMDEN). ,P> Points of Interest: Friends School, Johnson Park, RCA-Victor Manufacturing Plant, Campbell Soup Plant, Walt Whitman House, Joseph Cooper House, Charles S. Boyer Memorial Hall (museum), and others.

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