I hope you enjoy learning some of Maple Shade's history.
Maple Shade Historical Society Open House-
Come on out this Saturday, March 23, 2019. The Chesterford one room schoolhouse will be open from 10 AM to 2 PM. It is located on West Main Street across from Steinhauer Park nearby Coles Ave. and the Custard Stand.
Maple Shade schools class visits to the Chesterford School-
Maple Shade Cable Company in the early 1980s would film the class trips to the "Little Red Schoolhouse." (you probably know it as) Edith Cutler would talk about the school and show old items. One talk she would give was "Maple Shade before electricity." Here is some videos that are on VHS tapes which I rendered years ago into MPEG files. (years ago) Now I have tried to lighten up the dark periods and resaved them as MP4 files. Not fantastic but. These kids in the films are now probably in their late forties.See the 3 class visit videos
We do not have the old items at the school now. It was emptied for renovation work around its 200th anniversary and put on the National Register of Historic Places as "The Chesterford School built in 1811."
It's the year 1860 and you're taking a wagon of farm produce down the Moorestown and Camden Turnpike to the ferries to Philadelphia.
Open it up in Youtube to read the description.
The 1794 straight road from Moore's Town to Cooper's Ferry-
Our Main Street was the road to market in Philadelphia. It replaced the old Market or Ferry Road from the 1760s which branched off Kings Highway at Schoolhouse Lane. In 1849 it became the Moorestown and Camden Turnpike and was graveled.
The Moorestown and Camden Turnpike, however did not itself go all the way to Cooper's Ferry but stopped at Cooper River. This is because the Village of Camden was started and laid out in the early 1800s and the part of the road in the Cooper's family land was renamed as "Federal Street" after the Federalist political party.
Here are two toll gate houses which are the earlier ones and how they look to be built the same-
That Moorestown toll gate was on the Turnpike as later on Camden and Federal Street extended across the Cooper River.
Here is a link to a photo someone has on the internet of another Toll Gate house which looks also similar, except the front porch has been enclosed. It was on another turnpike to Camden.
I got the above photo on left from Phil Cohen's Camden website. Federal Street page
I have the book "Tricentennial Reflections of Moorestown" which shows the toll gate house which was across from Mt. Carmel cemetery in Moorestown and it is somewhat similar also. I think the best looking toll house was the one at Coles Avenue. With the roof dormer it looks more homey. Oh the one in Camden is still there and is a Mexican Restaurant now.
Philadelphia in 1800-
When our Main Street was laid out as a straight road in 1794 to Cooper's ferry to Philadelphia. This is the Philadelphia you would have seen.Philadelphia in 1800
End of the Turnpikes-
The Moorestown and Camden Turnpike was one of the last of the state's turnpikes to go. It ceased in 1907. Around 1850 there was a Turnpike movement to improve roads. Around the turn of the century there was a movement to do away with Turnpike roads and make them free. (Public roads)
Here are books you can view/ download from the State Library in Trenton who has digitalized them-NJ State Library- Roads Reports
Here is a few segments I screen captured from them-
New page about the corner where the Custard Stand is. The house next door was never the toll gate house. The Custard Stand lot is where a toll house was.
Note- More info added on March 1. BTW- This is the page which starting me getting into getting more toll gates information.Custard Stand lot
On February 22, I went to the Burlington County Clerk's Office in Mt. Holly and got the title chain for it. Now added.
In the 1800s NJ School Reports only one holiday is mentioned- Arbor Day. You did not have off but went to school and sang songs and heard talks and then planted a tree somewhere on the school grounds. I think they knew back then something we do not realize as much now. How important trees are!
The following is from the (Philadelphia) Evening Public Ledger., April 10, 1918, Postscript Edition, Page 11-
WETS MAKING FIGHT AT MAPLE SHADE, N.J.
Local Optionists Discover Quiet Efforts to Defeat Dry Voters Next Week
Moorestown, N.J., April 10,
With the election less than a week off, when the residents of Chester township will vote on local option, the dry advocates have awakened to the fact that the saloon element that was supposed to have abandoned the fight has been hard at work in Maple Shade. Residents of that town are being lined up in hope that the local option advocates in Moorestown, feeling secure in their strength, would be caught napping and be outvoted by the residents of Maple Shade.
The anti- saloon men and women of Moorestown who have been idle are now making big effort to arouse the town to the dangers of the situation. It is generally believed that the local optionists will win. If Moorestown was a borough it would be found that nine tenths of the voters are against the saloon, but the town is a part of Chester township. The election will be on next Tuesday.
Here is the link to the newspaper (hard to read because of light print)-
The outcome of that election is in the book "The Progress of Maple Shade."
Years ago when Joe Laufer, the official Burlington County historian, was alive, he had meet ups with the Historical Societies and local historians and history lovers. He was very much involved in the restoration of Smithville Mansion as that's natural as he lived in Smithville. He got started in history after moving to New Jersey and he noticed the area had many Quaker Meeting Houses so he photographed them. A emphasis of his was "NJ historic tourism."
Have you ever gone on vacation to a family member's home out of this area and had time you wanted to get the most out of and so you said, "What is there to see around here?" You then went to some local historical place and you LEARNED THINGS and enjoyed the visit. Perhaps the surprising thing is many locals who lived there for years perhaps never bothered to go to the place you visited.
To see 1700s houses there is the Burlington County Historical Society, the Griffith Morgan and Burrough Dover houses in Pennsauken, Moorestown Historical Society, Camden County Historical Society, and others.
We have variety- the Air Victory Museum in Lumberton, Kirby's Mill in Medford, Burlington County Farm Fair, Burlington County Prison built in 1811 in Mt. Holly, and don't forget Maple Shade Historical Society's Chesterford Schoolhouse. I know I am leaving a lot out. I would think that about every town has somewhere to visit.-Dennis Weaver
NJ Schools in the 1800s-
I took screen captures of interesting items from the New Jersey School Reports-
Progress of Maple Shade books Note-
If you are interested in buying a copy or want to know more about the book then scroll to this webpage's bottom. In the making of the book of the scans of the 1916 and 1917 Maple Shade Progress newspapers I have one regret in that in the indroduction I did not state that the scans (or images) in the 8.5 by 11 inch book are actual size. That is exactly how big the original newspapers were! The first ones measured like 7.5 by 10 or something which let it work out well with the needed book margins. The size you see in the book is the size the papers were.
Edwin F. D'Ancona-
Photo from the Maple Shade Progress newspaper, Nov. 4, 1937
He and Catherine Sixberry won Township committee positions.
Unless you're fairly old, well let's just say it- real old, you probably never heard of him before. In the history of Maple Shade he was a very important powerful etc.... person. I haven't researched him but have run across enough things to at least mention them. (and research him in the future!)
Arthur Cutler said that Barlow & Company was started by Thomas Barlow Sr. and his sons Thomas and Frederick and adopted son Edwin D'Ancona who was a salesman. A earlier census for the Barlow family listed him as living with them at Main Street and Holly Ave. and as having been "taken in." Arthur Cutler also said that Edwin D'Ancona and his wife opened The Sweet Shoppe at about 113 E. Main Street. It was a favorite spot of children and adults alike.
A 1916 or 1917 Progress has Edwin leaving the Childs' Store in Maple Shade to work for the new Acme in Moorestown and states something like "He ought to know sales." I saw later Progress articles where he was the Mayor of Maple Shade and some where he worked for Barlow & Company. He seemed to be in and out of working at Barlow & Co. Anyhow he would probably best be remembered for being involved in politics.
Chester Twp. Old School Numbers-
From the "1900 Hauck's Excelsior Directory"-
Now if we were to go up to the year 1920, Maple Shade's one room school, named "Maple Shade School No. 1" was replaced in 1909 with the Poplar Avenue school as "Maple Shade School No. 1." There was also a "Maple Shade School No. 2" on Chestnut Avenue. (Steinhauer School)
I don't know everything involved but I looked in the book "Moorestown and her Neighbors" by George DeCou and it states that in 1917 the Chester Brick Schoolhouse was sold to Joseph Matlack where it stayed on the farm and was later used in the summers to house berry pickers.
You see after Moorestown separated they were stuck with schools like "Schools No 5, 6, 7" etc... and we had Schools 1 and 2, so we just continued on with 3 on Mill Road, and 4 on N. Forklanding Rd.
The Chesterford School was at the opposite end of the spectrum before the "Township School Act" of 1894 changed the district numbers from county to townships. It was then "School No. 27."
It was Camden
When Charles F. Shuster filed the "Shuster Tract" subdivision plan of the once Benjamin J. Stiles farm in 1887 he advertised-
Advantages of living at "Maple Shade"
Well before the Cutler Agency took over this in about 1906 you could practically count the houses built there on one hand!
The train wasn't enough to suburbanize Maple Shade. Or bring industry as some have eluded. A brickyard was already going since the mid 1800s.
If we jump way ahead of ourselves, you might say the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (previously the Delaware River Bridge) which opened in 1926 (You can always remember because it was the Sesquicentennial.) was the most powerful factor. Maybe in the Post WW2 housing boom but not earlier.
You see since the 1700s when Cooper's Ferry crossed farmers over the Delaware River to Market Street in Philadelphia something else was in the future. It was getting there when the Moorestown and Camden Turnpike Company bought the 1794 stage road to market but by post WW1 and into the twenties it was a fully emerged force-
Here is a segment from a 1920 Maple Shade census showing presumably as employers- the New York Shipyard, Victor Talking Machine, and the Campbell Soup Company.
It's made from Chalkley and Asa Matlack Stackhouse writings on the Stiles family
All the quotes are from the "Matlack Family PDF" in this folder-
I copy pasted the text, but then like a third to half comes out gobbily gook and you have to fix it, but it still saved a lot of time from just hand copying it all. I organized it with Stiles names. As of February 5-7, if you print out things I would wait because I am still correcting uncapitalized words, etc...
Maple Shade in the 30s & 40s movie
This collection of old movies of Maple Shade, NJ aired on the Maple Shade Cable TV network. This has been copied from a VHS tape and is not the best quality, but I am not sure how good it got. The beginning and end photos of the Roxy have been added.
Do yourself a favor and open the video up in Youtube- Maple Shade, NJ in the 30s and the 40s That way in the Description you can see the contents and time stamp links.
Martin Luther King marker at East Main St. and Route 73
Well I hope people appreciate me going out in 12- 13 degree temperature this morning Jan. 21 (MLK Day) to take photos of this marker. Here are a few more photos taken- MLK Day photos
Not to defend Ernest Nichols, who owned Mary's Cafe, but I think this would have been common around here and Martin Luther King being from somewhere else didn't expect it in a northern state like New Jersey.
There is papers concerning this in King's book- from Google books
From the above book in the chronology segment
Willingboro got notoriety by their anti black happenings and the Twp. now being predominantly black. Maple Shade developers spelled out their "policy" earlier on. And Maple Shade was basically almost an all white township until Kings Highway Towers apartments and Spring Hill Apartments let blacks in near the early 70s.
Zoning type of restriction from a Maple Heights section deed of 1916
When the Ku Klux Klan made a come back in the 1920s and 30s. Maple Shade's chapter had a parade and later a cross burning in 1926. The site marked a little down the hill from Pine Ave (cross burning was on hill) is now the "Southern Cross Apartments." Please note that while some people liked the KKK, most people grew very sick of it and it really lost a vote of popularity to say. There was even a meeting where Maple Shaders were going to throw stones at the KKK members!
I talked to a lady who grew up in Maple Shade working first at her Aunt's newspaper store. She said ALL, repeat ALL of the realtors came in their store and said, "If any black people ever come in here asking if there are homes available in Maple Shade, tell them that there are none."
Another racial discrimination is how after World War Two, the government didn't want to make waves so the newly forming suburbs were whites only as blacks coudn't get FHA loans and the whites for the most part didn't want them living near them. (For one reason or another)
It is interesting that Pennsauken started to go the way of blacks moving in and the whites leaving until a movement stopped it. They had meetings and asked, "Why are you moving?" The result is a very ethnically diverse township having whites, blacks, Asians, etc... Here is one article on it-
Anyhow, Happy Martin Luther King Day and a thank you to all those responsible for the marker put in this past year at East Main Street and Route 73, Maple Shade, NJ. Special thanks to the Maple Shade Township Council who placed the marker.
Mary's Cafe was lastly the Moorestown Pub.
I don't have a date on this ad but it looks 1930s
and pretty much tells a story in itself.
Maple Shade Historical Society November Open House-
This is a picture of me, Dennis Weaver, at the November 24, 2018 Maple Shade Historical Society Open House
Real Good Historical Books on PDF-
This is like the best of the best. Download the whole folder! (Go up a directory to Public, then click on the folder and choose to download it.)
The one called MatlackFamily has writings from Chalkley Matlack and also covers some of the Roberts family and Stiles families, etc...
From a January 25, 1963 Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper
Maple Shade newspaper clip scans-
I joined Newspapers.com one week free trial and over about 30 plus hours got these images.
If you have a fast internet connection download the "NewspaperClips" folder. Save the whole thing if you want a "Maple Shade historical library of readings!"
Or open the "NewspaperClips" folder and read ones . Scroll down slowly cause OneDrive loads image thumbnails. (250 MBs!)
Dennis Weaver's Clippings
Ad from an April 1912 Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper
Thomas J.S. Barlow, the president of the Maple Heights Land Company, formed Barlow and Company in 1912. Soon after, Camden attorney John F. Harned bought the Levi Lippincott farm then owned by Henry T. and Emma E. Bleam. It became the Plan for "The Orchards" containing One Acre Farm lots for Barlow and Company. Old timers today remember pear trees at the right side of South Lippincott Ave. near Main Street. They might have been part of the original 3,000 fruit trees.
More great clips-
Boy in contest near Lester Collins' orchard on Forklanding Rd. (1930)
1925 Trolley Wreck- It smashed into the Sealect Seafood- Alden Cafe (before the fire and rebuild) building.
Here is a link to the full article- 1925 Trolley Wreck at den's OneDrive NewspaperClips folder Also have a picture.png and a PDF version in the folder as well.
Maple Shade's first Police station
From the Philadelphia Inquirer March 24, 1912, page 42
Paul Altobelli's Maple Shade Postcards
Paul is a family friend. Here is the link-
From the Maple Shade Progress July 5, 1973.
Only lists 24 although says 25
From the Maple Shade Progress March 1, 1973
From the Maple Shade Progress December 27, 1973
Nice Tribute, but William F. Brown founded the Progress in 1916.
From Lumber Trade Magazine 74 (Google Books snippet view only)
John S. Collins & Son Lumber Co. on N. Forklanding Rd., Maple Shade in 1959
Photo by John P. Stroup
Good "book" online to save and search through-PDF book Burlington NJ Post Towns by Jack Edge
Do yourself a favor and click FILE, SAVE PAGE AS at your left top corner of your web browser thereby saving the PDF file which will take a minute or two to load as it is 14 MB!
When it is a saved PDF the magnifying glass or SEARCH will let you find instances of things say for example "Maple Shade" quickly.
Great read as it tells of the times back when post offices started there was not even a concept of a telephone. This is how important they were! Also it says Stiles Corner (or Corners) for Maple Shade's earlier name.
Buying "Progress of Maple Shade" Books-
If you live in Maple Shade and did not get out to the sale and want to buy it direct-
Or buy off Amazon.com-
Progress book at Amazon.com
Amazon.com Description for the book-
919 East Main St., Maple Shade
John Muffet & Son Brick and Tileyard house
Originally a double house, built about 1863. Read the Brickyards page for more info.
This house is highly historical and should be preserved and revered in that manner!
21 Bars? (Well liquor licenses)
There was always that elusive number 21. You would see a few Maple Shade Progress headlines saying 21 licenses this year, and when you read down the list there was always only 20. Well here is a real candidate for number 21 (never opened) Again one would have to double check this out-
Burlington County Twps. Population for 1950, 1940, and 1930
Compare Maple Shade esp. to 1930 and see how early we turned mostly suburban! Be sure to think of the land area sizes of each of the Twps. as well!
den's email addy is firstname.lastname@example.org