Little Known Facts
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Did you know that:
  • Washington Township has not always been in Gloucester County? We were part of Camden County from March 14, 1844 until February 28, 1871. (That was the day Camden County was formed!)
  • In September of 1846 someone came up with the bright idea of putting Franklin, Washington, Gloucester and Winslow townships into a new "Washington County?"
  • Monroe Township was a part of Washington Township until March of 1859?
  • Benjamin Franklin Goodyear, son of Charles, of the Goodyear Rubber Company used to live in Washington Township? He provided rubber tires for his cousin's "new fangled" autos. His son Ben, Jr. attended Turnersville School, the site of the Bradlees store.
  • Three front-wheel drive autos and one truck were developed in Grenloch from 1914 to 1920 by the Bateman family, cousins to B.F. Goodyear? (Their mothers were sisters.) The Bateman homestead is still there on Central Avenue in Grenloch Terrace!
  • The swampy land in and around Cross Keys is really the South Jersey watershed? All the rivers of South Jersey start there and flow either to the Delaware or on to the Atlantic Ocean. All of our drinking water comes from there!
  • Joseph E Hurff, M.D. was born in Turnersville in 1856 and graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1881? He was our first local area doctor!
  • the Hurff homestead is on Hurff Lane in Turnersville and the Turner homestead was in the village now called Hurffville? (King Marina is now on the Turner home site.)
  • Washington Township has 21 Indian sites and burial grounds registered in the State archives in Trenton.
  • Before 1850 almost half of Washington Township was owned by one person? It was sold off after he died.
  • Fish Pond Road, Bells Lake Road, and Bells Lake Drive were once one very winding road called the "Glassboro-Turnersville Turnpike"?
  • "Stone Road" (Route 47) jokingly received a new name of "Delsea Drive"? A Woodbury Times reporter said that it went from the Delaware River to the Atlantic SEA, thus Delsea Drive! It was made official in the State Legislature in 1933.
  • Route 42 used to be called the "Good-Intent-Squankum Turnpike? Good Intent is Blackwood and Squankum is Williamstown!
  • Washington Township has never had a single piece of railroad track laid in it except the "gravity railway" ride that used to be in Grenloch Park? (It was pulled back up the hill by Bateman's horses!)
  • Washington Township had more than 200 farms in 1885?
  • Washington Township has the smallest registered cemetery in New Jersey? Bunker Hill Presbyterian Cemetery has only 4 graves and only 3 have tombstones!
  • in 1956 Washington Township had only a "Chief of Police" and 2 or 3 "deputies?" Chief Hubert Read received from township officials a two-way radio for his car. He confided in me that it was "funny, because I didn't have anyone to call!" My, my - how times have changed!!!
  • "Original Hurffville School" on Delsea Drive was owned by the Bethel Methodist Church during the entire time the School Board was using it for a public school? When the school system stopped using it in June of 1993 the building and property were turned back to the Church. It stood vacant and "for sale" until 1999 when it was purchased by a day care organization. It was opened again as a "school" in late 1999! It's wonderful that this lovely old landmark was not destroyed.
  • Bells Lake was owned from 1899 to 1954 by the Bell family who started - and still own 51% of - General Mills, Inc. - the "Big G Cereal Co. Gold medal has been the Bell family's brand name since establishing their first mill in Philadelphia in 1801!
Here's hoping that you learned something new while reading this "capsule history" of our great township -- and that you had a good time doing it!