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HISTORY OF THE BOROUGH
Table of Contents:
- The Early Years (1776-1850)
- The Later Years (1850-1892)
- Barrington Emerges (1894 – 1917)
- Barrington Becomes a Borough (1917 – 1920)
- A Period of Optimism (1920 – 1930)
- A Period of Depression (1930 to 1940)
- Barrington in the 1940s and 50s
- Progress in the 1960s and Beyond
Barrington, as with all of New Jersey, can trace its history back more than 300 years. One of its first settlers, William Clark, acquired 250 acres of land in 1703, and part of it remained in the Clark name for about 2 1/2 centuries. The earliest use of the land was for farming, and after World War II there were several operating farms in out town. Early in New Jersey’s history, counties were created which were comprised of townships and a few cities. Some counties were split up; for example, Gloucester County, in the middle of the 19th century, became Atlantic, Camden and Gloucester Counties. Until 1844, “Barrington” was in Gloucester County, and most business at the county level required a trip to Woodbury. Since Clements Bridge Road was not laid out until the beginning of the 19th century, the journey to the county offices involved crossing Timber Creek, which was somewhat formidable. During the first two centuries the area remained agricultural, but outside factors modified farming operations in the 1800s and brought about changes in landholding period. The railroad, in the 1890s, together with real estate development, gave rise to the Village of Barrington. This changed the face of the area, and resulted, in the emergence of the borough (1917). Displacement of the railroad and the trolley car by the automobile and the bus in the 1920s, and the impact of science and technology in road building, home construction and manufacturing (1950s), transformed the area from the residential-rural community to a modern suburb.
The Early Years 1776-1850
Due to natural increases and immigration, the population of Philadelphia, the chief market for South Jersey farmers, and always a substantial influence on the southern part of our state, quadrupled from 1800 to 1850 to 121,000. The increase in population represented a demand for a long list of products, including agricultural products. However, the population in the Barrington area remained at about twenty to thirty, the same as it was at the time of the Revolutionary War.
Farmers needed better roads to transport their products to markets in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Roads and bridges were neglected during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, as money was diverted to the war effort. Barrington farmers undoubtedly utilized Clements Bridge Road, Gloucester Pike, White Horse Pike, Haddon Avenue (via Haddonfield) and Warwick Road. The State Legislature in the early days of the nineteenth century set about improving some of those roads by incorporating private enterprises that would undertake the job of road building and maintenance. Those private businesses were given important privileges including permission to charge travelers “toll” for using the “turnpikes”. Haddon Avenue (laid out in 1792) and the White Horse Pike (laid out in 1807) became such turnpikes.
The Kings Highway (1796), Clements Bridge Road (1807) and Warwick Road remained toll free or public roads. The turnpike companies were responsible for rebuilding solid roads with crushed-stone surfaces, making them better highways than the public roads that, for the most part, remained dirt or gravel roads and were kept free of weeds. Still, during the first half of the nineteenth century Barrington farmers must have felt that they had reasonably good means for horse-and-wagon transport of their products to markets and for the purchase of farm and household necessities.
The principal point of reference for anyone coming to the Barrington vicinity was the intersection of White Horse Pike and Clements Bridge Road, which, according to the 1847 Sidney Map of Ten Miles Round Philadelphia, was known as Union Grove. At that time most of Barrington was owned by the Willits family. Camden Road Return A-83 (1855) refers to the intersection as Cooper’s Corner, and as recently as 1877 Benjamin D. Cooper lived in the northwest quadrant where the Magown family later took up residence.
In 1844, the State Legislature approved the creation of Camden County out of Gloucester County, comprising five Gloucester County townships: Gloucester, Gloucester Township, Newton, Washington and Waterford.
During the many years the Clarks lived in Barrington there were several named Joel. Joel G. Clark was a person of some prominence in the middle of the nineteenth century. He served as a Lay Judge for the county in 1844 and was a state assemblyman in 1845.
Schools for educating the young in South Jersey, for two or three decades after 1776, were much the same as they had been in colonial times. For most rural youngsters, education was acquired inside the family. Some parents, who could afford the outlay, brought in tutors while others relied on churches and Friends Meetings to provide the necessary education. Often church schools later became pay academies where groups of pupils were more formally educated. By mid-nineteenth century more than twenty public schools had been built (outside the City of Camden) in what is now Camden County. Barrington had no such school. The nearest public schools were located in Haddonfield (built in 1809) and in Mt. Ephraim (built in 1825).
Notwithstanding the modest educational opportunities and facilities in mid-century pre-Barrington, Joel G. Clark and his brother James, as other farmers in the area, were nevertheless far better off than their grandparents. Their standard of living was much higher. Farm families were coming gradually to depend more and more on dealers and merchants in Philadelphia and other nearby population centers for manufactured field and household necessities that used to be made on the farms.
The farmers must have discussed the stand New Jersey should take on the issue of slavery and the issue of the union. The women no doubt also discussed the wonderful things they could buy at the stores while the men discussed local and political matters. The people gathered in Haddonfield and Mount Ephraim to meet and shop, as traveling by then was no great hardship. So the issue of slavery and the Union could hardly have escaped their attention. There is no record of the opinions or attitudes of pre-Barrington residents on those matters. Since most of the farm families were Quakers, it can be strongly assumed that they were against slavery. It is known, however, that before the actual conflict between the North and the South had begun, many South Jerseyans held the view that the slavery question was a matter for each state to decide for itself. A number of South Jersey people, evidently believing as individuals in freedom for slaves, freed their own and helped some of them from the South to escape to the North through Snow Hill (Lawnside) which served as a “station” In the “underground railroad.” Some homes in Barrington are said to have rooms to house slaves. There is no record of how pre-Barrington residents stood on the question of the Union. It is on record, however, that many Jerseyans felt the Union should be preserved through political negotiations with representatives of the South; but when war broke out they rallied enthusiastically to the support of the North. Whether any pre-Barrington men responded to the call of arms is not known.
The Later Years 1850-1892
After the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century, many events affected the daily lives of Pre-Barrington and South Jersey residents. Some of these events were the creation of Centre Township, free public education, government aid to farmers and stimulation of agricultural education. The population exploded in the Philadelphia and Camden area, due to the industrialization of these communities. Railroads were built between Philadelphia and Atlantic City and this helped spur real estate development in South Jersey. Better transportation provided opportunities for closer participation in county government by local individuals.
Within the new Camden County the pattern of population suggested another local government change, and accordingly, Centre Township was created in 1855. It was composed of farmlands in and around villages known at that time as Snow Hill (Lawnside), Greenland (Magnolia) and Mt. Ephraim. Officers of the township government were, naturally enough, local farmers, merchants or professional men from the farms and villages. The creation of that government gave Pre-Barrington farmers, township officials and neighbors of such officials a political identity. It enabled them to express the interest of the farm community in such questions as local roads, tax assessments and schools.
The elementary school system in New Jersey made substantial advances after 1868. In 1874 assistance was given to smaller townships in rural areas to build schoolhouses and many were constructed between 1868 and 1872. About fifty elementary schools accommodated pupils in Camden County and outside the city of Camden by the end of the century. School for the Pre-Barrington area was the Mt. Ephraim School, constructed in 1825. A school was built in 1853 at Irish Hill in present Runnemede and was occupied until 1891 when a new structure was erected. In 1855 a public school was built in Greenland, an area which is now Magnolia, at White Horse Pike and Davis Road.
Railroad investors and real estate promoters entered into an undertaking that seemed hazardous at the time. They built the Camden and Atlantic Railroad in 1854 which ran through Haddonfield and Long-a-Coming (Berlin) to the ocean. Their expectation was the development of a seashore resort, which would attract thousands of business executives and workers, mainly from the Philadelphia area and that both railroad and real estate promoters would profit. A competing line, the Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railway, passing through Pre-Barrington (the railroad station was called Dentdale), was completed in 1877. The name of the line was changed in 1883 to the Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railroad and was controlled by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company. Barrington residents called it the Reading Railroad and Reading Avenue went directly to the station. As the railroad tracks were being laid, and even before, farm lands along the Philadelphia and Atlantic City railway were bought up by investors who saw bright prospects in laying out towns and selling lots mainly to people from Philadelphia who wanted to get away from the crowded city and move “to the country.” Competition for the purchase of farmlands brought about increases in the value of those lands. Investors and land speculators evidently believed the building of towns was good business. As a result of those activities, small residential communities sprang up in the 1880s and 1890s along the railroad.
Shortly after 1880, residents could tell their friends they lived in Barrington. In 1880, Burr Haines acquired a large tract of land on Clements Bridge Road and sold part of it to a syndicate. The name “Burrwood” was proposed for the sold portion. William Simpson, however, a member of the syndicate impressed with the beauty of Great Barrington, his former home in Massachusetts, won over his colleagues, naming the tract “Barrington.” In the first few years of development lots on Clements Bridge Road and on Barrington, Second, Reading, Kingston, Austin, Albany and Haines Avenues were sold. About a dozen houses were built on them by the end of the century. The name of Barrington was applied not only to the lands developed for residences but also to those farmlands that extended farther west to what became Bellmawr and Runnemede and to the south which became Lawnside and Magnolia. The whole area was part of and governed by Centre Township. By the end of the nineteenth century, probably a hundred people lived on the farmlands and eighty people in “town.”
Clyde Clark might have thought how much better off he was than his ancestor, William Clark, whose household luxuries consisted of little more than a thermometer and a pendulum clock. Modern farmers could use disc cultivators, Portland cement and could fence in their property with barbed wire. They could write with a fountain pen, could shave with safety razors and wear celluloid collars to church. They could shop in retail stores in nearby towns or at department stores in Philadelphia for factory-made men’s suits and women’s coats. They could telephone from Haddonfield. They could order articles from Sears & Roebuck by mall and pick up the articles, when they arrived, at the post office in Mt. Ephraim. Sewing machines, carpet sweepers and cream separators were in use and Mason jars were available for preserving fresh fruits and vegetables for winter. Clyde Clark’s family took pictures with a camera and listened to the talking machine in the parlor. He surely was thankful for such a high living standard and wondered what further advances could possibly be in store for future generations.
Barrington Emerges 1894 – 1917
The area emerged from an essentially farming community to an area, which while still “countrified”, was showing the characteristics of a suburb. Even before 1910, Tommy Williams filed a plan for one acre lots in a development he called “Farmhurst” and a few lots were sold. Later, as that area along Shreve and Williams Avenues became further settled, it was referred to as the “Acre Tract.” By 1910, the Haines farm was virtually all residential and areas to the west and southwest were dotted with new homes. Clements Bridge Road, from the railroad to the Gloucester Pike and even beyond, was becoming lined with homes separated by vacant lots. By 1917, a number of new homes had appeared on lands that were formerly parts of the Williams, the Fitzgerald and the Weaver farms.
A major factor in this period of growth was the improvement of railroad service. A flag station was built by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Co. at the Clements Bridge Road crossing in 1894, and additional passenger trains were put into service as demand increased. In 1903, Public Service completed its trolley-car line adjacent to the railroad. The charge was five cents to ride between Camden and Haddon Heights. The ease and reasonable cost of commuting drew people living in the nearby crowded cities to live in the “country”. These new residents were willing to sacrifice the conveniences of big city life for a new and less expensive style of living available in Barrington.
In general, new homes were unpretentious five or six room frame houses built on lots that could accommodate flower and vegetable gardens and a few fruit trees. It was not uncommon to have a few chickens in the yard and, in some cases, a few pigs. Typically, water for drinking, cooking and washing was drawn by a pump in the kitchen, from a well under the house. Each home had its own backyard privy. Later, pressure pumps were used to hoist water from the well to a cedar tank or cistern in the attic, bringing the luxuries of a bathtub, flush toilet and hot and cold running water. A pipe carried wastes to a cesspool.
Normally, houses had wood or coal burning furnaces for heating and stoves for cooking. Perishables were kept in insulated “ice boxes” and supplied periodically with “cakes” of ice delivered by the “ice man.” Kerosene lamps were usually used for indoor lighting. Later gas and electricity were used. Garbage was often buried in the garden or was consumed by chickens, crows, or other scavengers. Trash was burned. Paper trash was minimal since grocery and meat articles were not, at that time, packaged in cartons or wrapped in cellophane.
Groceries and other household necessities were available to the new residents at local stores like the one established by Allen Grover at the turn of the century on Barrington Avenue, southeast off Clements Bridge Road. They could also patronize Evaul’s (est. 1898) or Crooke’s (est. 1902) in Haddon Heights or various stores in Haddonfield. Attracted by the possibility of profitable trade, Luke Page began a general merchandise store about 1905, on the convenient southwest corner of Reading and Barrington Avenues. He supplied Barrington residents for a generation. Yost’s General Store, 112 Clements Bridge Road, was in operation during this period, and gave competition to the Page store. In 1915, Child’s Grocery Store opened on the corner of Clements Bridge Road and Reading Avenues.
The mailing address of early Barrington residents was Mt. Ephraim, where a Post Office had been established in 1837. Mail was brought from there by horse and buggy under the Federal Rural Free Delivery Service inaugurated in 1896. Individual metal mailboxes, each bearing a resident’s name, were posted in the ground along Clements Bridge Road and Gloucester Pike. Outgoing mail was picked up from the box and incoming mail was delivered to it. Before the “RFD” service, farmers living on the lands that became Barrington received their mail at Post Offices in Collingswood, Chews Landing, Magnolia or Haddonfield, depending on where they lived. After settlement began in Barrington, the mailing address of some residents was Haddon Heights and others were Haddonfield, depending on their proximity to those towns. Such a pattern continues even today. The mailing address of most of Barrington’s residents was changed to Barrington in 1911, when the town got its own Post Office and Edward L. McMenomay was made Postmaster. Luke Page became the Postmaster in 1913 and ran the Post Office from his general merchandise store for the next five years. The residents who lived along Gloucester Pike, Davis Road and the western end of Clements Bridge Road continued to receive their mail from Mt. Ephraim via the RFD until 1932. After that time, their address was changed to Barrington and they picked up their mail from the Barrington Post Office.
Barrington, along with the villages of Mt. Ephraim, Magnolia, Lawnside and the surrounding farmlands, was a part of Centre Township, which was governed by a Township Committee. The new residents of Barrington had a voice in electing members to the Township Committee and took part in bringing to the Committee’s attention such issues as public safety, fire and police protection, road maintenance, local public schools, property assessment and, of course, taxes.
During 1905, the people of the Barrington area began to organize both for religious and security reasons. On May 16, 1905, Mr. Reese M. Ford held a prayer meeting in his home at 209 Austin Avenue along with seventeen people. This was in response to a public invitation posted in the town and it was probably the first religious service held in Barrington. From this meeting the First Presbyterian Church was organized and the first church in Barrington built. It was located at 207 Kingston Avenue and the dedication took place on April 8, 1906.
In the area of public safety, the need for community fire protection was foremost. The new houses in the core village were close together and used highly flammable kerosene for lighting. In 1905, a small group of public-spirited citizens formed a “bucket brigade” known as the Barrington League. They met to discuss ways and means of furthering fire protection for the community. As a result, the Barrington Fire Company No.1 was incorporated on April 1, 1907 with twenty some members comprised of both town and farm residents. George W. Silvers was elected the first President and Benjamin Hudson was elected chief. The Fire Company started with a treasury of $73.53, apparently the balance of the Barrington League. Initiation into the Company was 50 cents, later increased to $1.00, with monthly dues of 25 cents. The dues have remained nearly the same for 75 years. To augment dues, the organization sponsored such events as lawn parties, turkey races, pig chases and other entertaining activities.
Barrington Fire Company No.1 was in need of a firehouse. Public Service Electric and Gas Company had a small building that was used to house some of the workmen who were building the trolley line to Magnolia. It was located on Atlantic Avenue in Haddon Heights, just northwest of their present power station. The trolley line was completed in 1907, and the building was given to the Fire Company as a gift. Moving the building to a lot on the corner of Barrington and Haines Avenues was quite an undertaking. It was rolled on logs out to White Horse Pike, down and along Clements Bridge Road to the railroad, and over the railroad tracks after the last train passed through at 11:00 PM. Two years later, the building was moved again to a lot at Second and Haines Avenues, the present location of the Fire Company. This building was, for many years, the center of all government activities as well as many social and religious activities. It also provided a home for the library and headquarters for Boy Scout Troop 87.
The first major piece of fire-fighting equipment was a hand drawn ladder truck, complete with buckets and some tools, purchased in 1909 for $435.00. In 1911, the Company added to its inventory a “barrel on wheels”, a well-built metal tank of about 40 gallons capacity pressurized with soda and acid. On the top of the “barrel on wheels” was a square container in which was coiled the hose line. This piece of equipment was vital in the absence of an area water system. In addition, the Company spread five hand extinguishers about the town with public notices as to their location and set about educating the public on fire prevention. People were exhorted to rid themselves of unneeded and flammable materials in the home and especially to clean their chimneys. Chimney cleaning was emphasized because many people burned wood, which led to a build up in the flue, causing chimney fires. One of the firemen, a carpenter by trade, convinced many people to put a trap door in the roof next to the chimney to be able to easily service it more frequently.
There were no uniformed policemen patrolling the village during Barrington’s first 25 years, as there were no major dangers serious enough to warrant protection by an organized police force. The Centre Township Committee had appointed constables at various times whose main task was to serve writs for the courts. These constables were ordinary town residents without formal police training. They assumed police functions only when the need arose but otherwise carried on their own private occupations.
Maintaining, repairing and improving the village streets and public roads were under the Jurisdiction of the Centre Township Road Commission. Public routes, including streets, had to be systematically scraped, to maintain a “semblance” of a grade, and mowed to keep down the weeds. As new houses were built and the nucleus of the village expanded, Barrington residents urged the Township to lay down sidewalks along some of the village streets to replace footpaths. About 1913, the Centre Township assigned a surveyor and employed engineers and other workers to provide such improvements. Clements Bridge Road, of particular importance to suburban residents and also to Barrington farmers (the Williams and Weaver farms were still in operation), was maintained and improved through a joint effort by the Centre Township and the Camden County road authorities. Meanwhile, tolls were lifted from the White Horse Pike in 1893 and from Haddon Avenue in 1909 making them public roads.
The children of early Barrington residents were educated in the Centre Township schools. With Barrington’s population boom, the need for a school close to the heart of the village became apparent. Probably the same civic-minded group of residents who initiated the organization of a Fire Company also spearheaded the demand for a new school in Barrington. The Centre Township Committee and its Board of Education agreed to the request and in 1907, a new two-room frame school was built in a field near Haines Avenue between Second and Third Avenues. Two more rooms were added in 1909. This school, staffed with four teachers, served the educational needs of the village until the Borough was formed in 1917. The present Municipal Building is located on the site. These expanded public services were paid for in the form of taxes. Each taxpayer paid his share to an elected Centre Township tax collector in one yearly lump sum and the Centre Township distributed part of the monies to Camden County.
As the population of Barrington grew, civic and social activity increased among its residents, serving to draw together both farmers and townsfolk. An event of special significance was the establishment of an informal volunteer group of citizens in 1909 called the Improvement Association. They met in the Fire Hall and in the homes of various members to discuss proposals for the betterment of Barrington, and proceeded to translate those proposals into action. As the Association merged suburban and farmer interests, a strong community spirit developed.
On the social side of life, residents formed various religious, fraternal, athletic, musical and political associations. Nearly all of these groups and their auxiliaries sponsored special “events.” The village’s central meeting place for dances, social, sales of all kinds, movies and religious services was the Fire Hall. It also served as a polling place at election times and as a temporary tax collecting office at the appropriate times.
Another popular meeting place was Heake’s Hall, located on Barrington Avenue between Kingston and Albany Avenue. Johnnie Heake, who lived on Kingston Avenue near Barrington Avenue, built the building about 1909. Saturday night dances were held here, as it was convenient for the dancers to come by trolley. Some commencement exercises for Centre Township schools took place here. Another activity was locally produced minstrel shows. In 1916, the Barrington Band sponsored a popularity contest to raise money for equipment. Mary Hudson Atkins became Miss Barrington and won a diamond ring, while Lillian Happ, runner up, received a wristwatch.
The Hall was finally turned into a sewing factory for making dresses and shirtwaists. Women volunteers met once a week and sewed for the Red Cross. Mr. Heake would lend some of his machines for this purpose. The Hall burned down in 1931 and was not replaced.
Still another gathering spot was Franke’s Hall located at 128 Reading Avenue. Mr. John J. Franke Sr. built a two story building at the rear of his home to conduct his upholstery business. He also rented it out to many organizations, such as the Barrington Band, Patriotic Order Sons of America, Women’s Branch of the Patriotic Order of America, Republican Club and the Athletic Association. The building needed many repairs so the top half was removed however, the lower half remains.
Two more church groups started in 1915, the Brethren Church and the Lutheran Church. The Brethren Church held Sunday school in the home of Gus Eisele at 310 Clements Bridge Road while services were held in private homes. During this same year a survey was conducted to establish the need for a Lutheran Church. This led to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension at 4th Avenue & Clements Bridge Road in Haddon Heights.
One of the more unique groups that surfaced during this time of neighborhood unity and pride was the Barrington Band. On New Year’s Eve of 1912, a group of townspeople including Daniel Buckley, John J. Franke Sr., Robert Taylor and Edward Shetsline Sr., were “seeing the New Year in” with a party. As the whistles blew and the cowbells clanged, they decided to parade through the town making some noise of their own. Shetsline had a drum and Buckley a clarinet. They had so much fun that they decided, then and there, that Barrington should have a band.
The original four lost no time in recruiting candidates, mostly from the Improvement Association. The first drive for members netted twenty-one eager fellows, none of whom could play an instrument and few that could read music. Having decided who would play what, instruments were ordered by catalog from the Lyon and Healy Company of Chicago for the sum total of $250.00.
The big day of the arrival of the instruments was a Saturday, and most of the men were on hand at the Barrington Station to unload the freight car. Each man was assigned an instrument and they all paraded down Clements Bridge Road, tooting, blowing, drumming and banging.
They still had to learn how to play and this little matter was attended to at once. Jacob W. Houck, a resident of Barrington, was a member of the famous West Jersey Band of Camden. He agreed to teach the brass section for $3.50 a week. The clarinet section was taught by George Abel of Haddon Heights for $2.00 per week and the piccolo player required a special teacher for another $2.00 per week. They rented the firehouse for rehearsals and were on their way. The first rehearsal for the entire band was held on April 24, 1913, and on July 4th of that year they played at the flag raising for the Barrington Fire Company. A Ladies Auxiliary was formed to help raise money by holding lawn parties, suppers and minstrel shows.
In 1913, Jacob Houck stopped charging for teaching and became the Band Director. John Franke was elected Business Manager. The band also purchased uniforms at $12.00 each and started annual excursions down the Delaware River to Augustine Beach on the S.S. Clyde. They played all the way down and most of Barrington went with them.
The Band had established quite a reputation through its participation in various parades in 1917. The band played in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade for the first time and continued doing so for the next seventeen years. Later in 1917, they played a concert over radio station WIP in Philadelphia and continued to play at Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day exercises in Barrington, Haddon Heights and Haddonfield.
It was not only a banner year for the Barrington Band in 1917 but it was also the year that saw the establishment of Barrington as a separate municipality. This was brought about only through the dedicated and persistent efforts of the community’s civic leaders.
Encouraged by strong community spirit, these leaders contended that the village of Barrington was independent enough to be self-governing. While other villages in Centre Township were growing, Barrington was outstripping them. Its farmlands were rapidly being converted to residential areas and its expanding population demanded increased public services. Greater fire protection was needed and the prospects of population density suggested a not-too-distant need for police protection. The streets and roads were woefully in need of improvement and spreading settlements called for more sidewalks. Better gas, electricity and water supplies were needed. More and better schools were a priority item. Under the township government, Barrington was forced to compete with other villages in the township for the approval to provide of these services.
Although the Township Clerk and a member of the Township Committee were Barrington residents, they were required to weigh requests and other matters coming before the Committee in terms of the welfare of the entire township and not simply in terms of the welfare of Barrington residents. The civic leaders of Barrington believed that the village could more effectively satisfy its own current and future needs if its voters could have closer control over their own affairs. Also, within the village were men who had previous experience in the township government and could initiate the management of a new government for Barrington.
The leaders, with community support, prepared an official proposal that Barrington be made a Borough and arranged for its presentation to the Legislature in 1915, and again in 1916. On both occasions the request was denied. Their persistent efforts succeeded in the following year, when the Legislature passed an act dated March 27, 1917, incorporating the village and establishing it as the Borough of Barrington.
Barrington Becomes a Borough 1917 – 1920
The voters living within the boundaries of the proposed new municipality, given the opportunity to vote for or against becoming a borough in a referendum, gave their approval in April of 1917. The citizens of Barrington, having won the right to self-government, set about the task of making the transition from township to borough government.
The elected seven-member council was composed of six council members and a Mayor. The members were John Cuthbert, George Culbertson, Lewis Stanton, Thomas Williams, Robert Hudson, Luke Page and Mayor Edward F. Dold. Edward F. Dold was chosen Mayor by popular demand. There were no political parties as such in Barrington at this time. Mr. Dold was the only candidate and received 190 votes.
During a June council meeting vital personnel were appointed. They were: Borough Clerk, Frank Adams (Secretary/Treasurer); Engineer, J.J. Albertson; Tax Collector, Frank Adams; Board of Health, Herbert K. Ball; Solicitor, George J. Bergen, Esq.; Chief of Police, Henry Ambrose; Clerk, Walter Manlove; Chairman of Roads Commission, Thomas Williams; Lighting, Lewis Stanton; Fire Chief, Robert Hudson; Chairman of Finance, John Cuthbert; Physician, Doctor Matthew Faunce; Special Officers, John Barr and Lorenzo Stone; Recorder, Delaney Wynne; Building Inspector, William Morrow; Auditor, Oscar Stewart.
Some definite challenges faced the new government. One priority was the school system. A Board of Education was formed with Herbert K. Ball as President, Franklin Eyre as Vice President and E.M. Oliver, Jr. as the District Clerk. The Board members were Reese M. Ford, John Franke, Harry Halibauer, Lewis Lina, Edward Malony and Eiisworth Whitney. The teaching staff consisted of J. Howard Johnson as Supervising Principal and Edwin M. Frazier as Principal. The teachers were Jessie Boogar, Edith Clement, Christine Elsele, Persis Henezey, Martha A. Sayre, Etta Styles, Dorothy Pickell and Sara A. Watson.
A new school was needed to relieve the bulging 1907 schoolhouse, the predecessor of the present municipal complex. School No.2, now known as the Culbertson School, was built in 1917. It was a two-story brick structure whose four classrooms served the fifth through eighth grades.
Another problem was the settling of financial affairs with Centre Township. Township and Borough representatives met in early July and agreed that the financial transition of government should occur as of June 30, 1917. Because Centre Township had levied taxes to cover outlays for Barrington’s needed services, and Barrington was acquiring Township property such as the existing school, the Borough owed the Township nearly $6,000.00 in cash. Accordingly, the new municipality was obliged to borrow that cash to meet its financial obligation and to operate on a sound fiscal basis.
The third problem was the lack of adequate Borough maps showing current boundaries, property lines, grades and other topographical data. These maps were needed by both the Tax Assessor and the Engineer to perform their tasks efficiently. For the next few years they managed to function with the incomplete maps, supplemented by information they themselves were able to gather until updated maps were prepared.
Meanwhile, both the Fire Department and the newly organized Police Department energetically made plans to protect the borough’s nearly 1,000 citizens.
With the installation of a “city” water system in the town, eight fire hydrants were available for use. This prompted the firemen to ask Borough Council to buy them 500 feet of hose. They wanted a motor driven truck, and a committee began to seek estimates. American LaFrance offered to supply a new unit for $1,300.00 or a demonstrator at $1,150.00. Not satisfied with such a high quote, the committee visited Nicholson’s Chevrolet Agency in Stratford, which offered a chassis for $600.00. Further searching led to someone with a 1917 Ford car with a Ford truck rear in first class condition. A loan for $350.00 was secured from the Haddon Heights National Bank to buy it. The chassis had chain-driven rear wheels with solid tires. A body was put on at a cost of $285.00. One of the members, Gus Hallberg, a fine painter, decorated the vehicle for $35.00. A forty-gallon chemical tank was installed with a hose rack and ladders.
The new unit was “housed” on Thanksgiving Day with appropriate ceremony. The new Council was apparently impressed and a month later contributed $195.00 toward the cost.
The truck had no bell, and five local girls identified as Rose Hallberg, Ethel Ford, Lillian Hudson, Irene Kreh and Amelia Schmidt, took on this task as a special project. Using the first letter of each of the girl’s names, they called themselves the RELIA Circle and began raising funds. On one occasion they asked for the use of the fire hall to hold a fund raising dance. The use was granted but they still had to pay the going rate of $1.50 for the evening. Undaunted, they raised enough money, and a short time later presented the Company with the one thing that made the new unit complete .a bell.
Barrington’s first police officers had no uniforms but were soon supplied with caps and nightsticks. The department’s only other equipment were six lanterns with red globes which were filled with kerosene at the officer’s own expense. These could be placed at any dangerous location until correction could be made, or could be waved at the scene of an accident, or used for flagging traffic, as the case warranted.
A major source of complaint was livestock. A pig that got loose during the night and chose to root in a new spring garden could cause a neighborhood squabble. The police handled many cases of chickens being killed by dogs. Most of the time it was claimed that the chickens were of a special strain and worth more than the average. Arguments about proper height of fencing were raised although some claimed their leghorns could fly over any fence. Ordinances were adopted to force residents to tether their animals a sufficient distance from the street so as not to be a hazard to pedestrians or traffic. The dirt roads had apparently become a grazing area.
Checking speeders, both automobiles and trolleys, was another task of the police department. Public Service trolley cars on Atlantic Avenue were speeding across Clements Bridge Road. The obvious hazard was compounded by the railroad station on the left, which obstructed the view of anyone traveling towards the White Horse Pike. Coming from the Pike there was a dirt bank on the left. Several serious accidents, plus numerous close calls dictated immediate action. Protests to the trolley company prompted them to agree to momentary stops on Sundays and holidays. Even this was not adhered to, and a suit was threatened. The police were instructed to note trolley numbers with the idea of having the motorman identified on the return trip and arraigned before the Justice of the Peace. Ensuing inconvenience to the passengers ruled this plan of action out. The problem was brought to a successful conclusion when it was discovered that, under a 1915 law, municipalities could force trolleys to stop at designated points.
Police officers in this era attempted to Judge the speed of passing cars by visual observation. In 1918, the Police Chief wrote to a realtor in Haddon Heights stating he had been seen going through our town in excess of 40 mph, and that the letter was to serve as sufficient warning since the speed limit in Barrington was 12 mph. It was common practice to issue such warnings. The Department erected four speed limit signs.
Violators, during the early part of the 20th century, were brought before Justice of the Peace William S. Gregory, who held court at his home located on Gloucester Pike at the railroad in Lawnside. He was about 5’6″ tall, weighed about 160 pounds, was slightly bowlegged and had a raucous voice. An accident had left him with only the thumb and index finger on his right hand and when he waved this at any person accused of a crime, it struck fear in the culprit. Relations were somewhat strained between Mr. Gregory and the Chief of Police, and a complaint was made to the Council that the Justice was lax on the job. The matter was aired before the governing body and concluded to their satisfaction. Following this, the two men became fast friends.
The biggest challenge to the young police department came in the latter part of June 1919, on the Fitzgerald Farm that extended west from present-day Fifth Avenue to the Bellmawr line. During a heavy shower a biplane carrying mail was forced down in the middle of the field. The police had to try to keep sightseers off the maturing spring crops. This was no easy task as news spread fast, and with no fences, people came from every direction. Even with every special officer called to duty, and police recruited from other area departments. The situation was almost hopeless. To make matters worse, another biplane arrived and took on the mail. This second plane attempted to take off downhill on the farm road that would have been a continuation of Albany Avenue. After going about 300 feet, the left wing struck a cherry tree spinning the plane around and resulting in severe damage. Sightseers continued to swell the already existing crowd, causing a situation that got completely out of hand.
Clearly, Barrington’s first few shaky years of independence were not everything the residents had anticipated. The next decade brought a more optimistic picture.
A Period of Optimism 1920 – 1930
Even though the local outlook on borough government seemed uncertain, the nationwide view of the future was rosy. In the early 1920s, a prevailing feeling of never ending prosperity existed. Optimistic persons invested their savings in land, building construction, stocks and other ventures that promised sure profits, in their estimation. That feeling had its impact on Barrington. With savings and borrowed money, real estate developers and others proposed half a dozen development projects. Not all the projects were carried through, but new homes were built in the center of town and along Clements Bridge Road on the Williams Farm, and east of the railroad.
Further expansion resulted when the adjoining settlement of Lawnside, still a part of Centre Township, sought Borough status. Representatives of Centre Township and of the Borough of Barrington met and it was proposed that Barrington cede to Lawnside the area bounded by Davis Road, White Horse Pike, a line near Mt. Peace Cemetery and the railroad. In exchange, Barrington would acquire from the township a much larger area than it would ceded to Lawnside. The acquired area would extend from the then eastern Borough boundary to Oak Avenue and Warwick Road, in what is now known as the “Tavistock” area. At the end of 1926, the Council approved the proposal in a joint agreement with the boroughs of Mt. Ephraim, Bellmawr, Runnemede, Lawnside, and Haddonfield concerning dissolution of Centre Township. Appropriate legislation was adopted and Barrington thus expanded its boundaries, gaining a substantial and potential residential area.
In response to the requests of the town residents, Council spent significant portions of its early budgets for improvement of streets and roads, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and streetlights. Continued urging led the State to pave the White Horse Pike in 1922 and the County to pave Clements Bridge Road. After several years of discussion within the Council and negotiations with Haddon Heights Borough officials, Third Avenue in Barrington was cut through the woods (1923-24) to connect with Ninth Avenue in Haddon Heights. Gloucester Pike was paved in 1927.
With the improvement of highways, the Police Department was called upon to deal with an increase in auto traffic. Two outfitted policemen took turns whistling down motorists driving through Barrington on the White Horse Pike for exceeding the speed limit of twelve miles per hour. The number of speeders led to the establishment of a more realistic speed limit of twenty miles per hour in 1925. The installation of a traffic light at the intersection of the Pike and Clements Bridge Road further eased the situation. Some free police assistance was available to the area with the organization of a State Police force in 1921. A substation was opened at 9 White Horse Pike in Haddon Heights. Later this substation was moved to Magnolia to continue to aid suburban areas. The State Police had an authority that knew no municipal boundaries, to which local police were restricted.
The Fire Hall became too small for all the activities of the growing town. One group that helped to outgrow the hall was “The Patriotic Community Club.” It was formed in 1922, and nearly all the men in town joined. They wanted a place in town to hold social events and where state and national issues could be conceived and discussed. Their aim was to inspire people to be better Americans, thus was the name “Patriotic” given to the club.
Another group outgrew the hall. In the summer of 1922, the First Methodist Church started to hold services in the Old Fire Hall and this was not without certain inconveniences. The original congregation consisted of one hundred and thirteen members and it was necessary to move out the fire equipment and prepare the hall for services. Following the services, the hall had to be returned to normalcy and the fire equipment moved back in. A building program resulted in the Methodists purchasing a plot of land on Second Avenue and in 1924, a frame building was erected at the corner of Second and Trenton Avenues. A stone plaque bearing the words “John S. Roberts Memorial Community House” was placed above the entrance to the building. Mr. Roberts had been a diligent worker for the church and had served as Mayor of Barrington. He died during tenure in 1923.
Community House “Hall” had an auditorium with seating for four hundred that was used for movies, minstrel shows, graduation ceremonies and basketball games. A bowling alley was in the basement. From 1925 to 1929, the town library was housed in a rear room. Mrs. Bertha Courts served as librarian and Mrs. Ada MacDaniel assistant librarian.
In 1929, sport activities were discontinued and the library moved to the Fire Hall. In 1966, the building was demolished to make room for the new brick Methodist Church building.
The Fire Department continued to expand and adjust to the increased demands of a growing community. Major priorities were the acquisition of an improved alarm system and a new truck. The Borough supplied a new siren. An abandoned windmill tower, located on the old Malony property at 608 Clements Bridge Road, was stripped of its mill and shafting, lowered and disassembled into two pieces. It was then hauled to the rear of the fire hall, reconstructed and the new siren placed on top. The fire gong was hung beneath as a standby in the event the siren failed. It was also used to dry the hoses. It served these purposes for thirty years.
The prospect of a new truck required a new building, which was completed in 1923 and faced Second Avenue. The Company’s first piece of modern fire equipment was a pumper with a capacity of 500 gallon per minute. Housing took place on Saturday, July 12, 1924, with a parade and official ceremonies.
The new pumper generated interest in the formation of squads within the company that competed with each other in efficiency. The Company entered a Camden County contest in Kirkwood. The rules of the contest required the pumper be placed beside a tank of water with the crews about 50 feet away. At a given signal the men ran off 200 feet of hose. Everything went well, with Barrington ahead, but no water appeared. Chief Ben Hudson became infuriated claiming someone had played a joke by putting a plug in the hose. Ben’s face turned as red as the shirt he often wore when it was discovered that the crew had failed to open the nozzle. The following year the Company won two first place prizes.
On another protective front, the Board of Health was concerned with guarding the health of the community. In 1918, as World War I was ending, the deadly Spanish influenza spread worldwide. A half million people died in the United States and some twenty million throughout the world. Many public buildings were closed. Churches had no services. People moved about with creosol soaked masks over their faces. By October 1918, over 1,000 people had died in Camden County. Barrington’s Board of Health joined with other officials and medical organizations to check the spread of the disease. It took appropriate steps in 1920 to eliminate the sanitation and health dangers arising from small pig farms in the outer parts of the town. In the following year, when school children were endangered by a diphtheria epidemic, the Board of Health closed the school and Council arranged to have the school disinfected. Other Health and sanitation measures were taken in 1924, when the Highway Committee announced the availability of a new dump at Weaver’s lane (the lane to the old Clark farmhouse) for the disposal of borough trash. In 1925, Council contracted out garbage collection.
An eagerly awaited town water system was long and hard in coming. The company with which the Borough had contracted used manual labor to dig ditches for the water pipes, and during the war years such labor was hard to recruit. In the 1920s the company fell into financial difficulty and was not able to fully carry out the terms of the contract, much to the indignation of Barrington’s citizens. The work dragged on into the early 1930s when at last the residents of the town enjoyed a borough-wide facility.
With the prospects of running water in their homes, Barrington residents were looking forward to a “city” sewage system. By 1930, land was acquired near the Runnemede line and construction of the treatment plant and pumping station began, along with the laying of sewer lines throughout the Borough.
Social and religious activities continued to flourish during the period of the 1920s. In 1921, the Barrington Band joined with the Barrington Athletic Association and held a street carnival to celebrate the opening of the newly paved Clements Bridge Road. The following year the band accompanied the MacAndrew and Forbes Company’s annual excursion to Wildwood by train. This established a tradition that continued for the next twenty-two years. Several hundred residents of the town usually went along, since the train had to stop at the train station to take on the band. The band played at the Barrington School Commencement exercises in June of 1924. A highlight for the band during this time period was the acquisition of new modern uniforms consisting of maroon capes, leather puttees, plumed hats and leather pouches for carrying the music.
The Fire Company also was represented in the Camden County Fireman’s Baseball League in 1928, winning the championship. All members of the team were inducted into the Company as associate members.
In the midst of this flurry of civic, social and religious activity, little did the Barrington residents realize what lay ahead with the stock market crash in 1929.
A Period of Depression 1930 to 1940
As the country slumped into a widespread economic depression, many businesses and banks failed or struggled to stay in operation. Many homeowners lost their jobs, forcing them to default on mortgage payments and taxes. Local governments felt the financial impact of these circumstances.
In the 1930s and early 1940s the Borough was compelled to foreclose on numerous pieces of property because of non-payment of taxes. In an effort to raise revenue to meet borough expenses, some of this land was rented, while other properties were sold at below-value prices to buyers with ready cash. Fifteen or twenty new homes were built in the town from 1930-1940 and the population rose slightly from 2,252 to 2,329.
Despite the otherwise gloomy atmosphere, life in Barrington did experience exciting moments during the Depression. One such moment occurred on Christmas Day of 1931, when Santa Claus rode the fire truck and gave out almost 700 boxes of candy to the town’s children. The cost to the Fire Department during these years was about $25 to $35, and was such an enjoyable event that the tradition has continued.
During these grim times the Fire Company sought for ways to earn money to buy much needed fire equipment. The firemen, among them Bill and Harold Houck and Gene Schmidt, thought a carnival would solve the need for money. For three days during the fall harvest time, the firemen ran a carnival in the vicinity of the fire hall. Residents donated produce from the fall harvest for prizes, along with groceries and various other items. Most were won playing the usual chance wheel, but many patrons preferred the more exciting “mouse game.”
The mouse game consisted of a platform about 4 feet high and about 5 feet square with glass sides about 12 inches high. Around the inside perimeter of the glass were small holes numbered to match the numbers at a counter board where the players stood and covered their desired number. A mouse held under a cubicle was released. The mouse would run around to inspect various holes or might run to one and dive down. In the meantime, the players participated by shouting in an effort to try to scare the mouse either toward or away from a particular hole. When the mouse had selected a hole to disappear in, a cover was slipped over the cubicle after which it was placed in the center of the platform to start play again. Occasionally an accident occurred and the live mouse suddenly escaped into the mixed crowd, spelling wild excitement among the females. It was then necessary to draw on the surplus mouse supply, caught before carnival time, in order to stay in business.
Another entertaining carnival attraction was a dunking device designed by a local blacksmith. A hinge was mounted on a pole with a seat and target-tripping device. When a thrown ball hit the target, the person on the seat would be dunked into a tank below. Business was induced by the seated ones daring the crowd to drop him into the tank. When the evening turned cold, it was necessary to keep the moneymaker victim warm by offering him an appropriate “anti-freeze.”
Funds raised at the carnival and through the collection and sale of junk and papers resulted in the purchase of a 1937 Peter Pirsch 500 gallon per minute pumper and ladder truck.
No less exciting were some of the police-related events. December 3, 1931, became a memorable date when the Suburban Commercial Bank, on the southwest corner of Reading and Barrington avenues, was held up and robbed of $10,000. Two armed men entered the bank shortly after noon and forced cashier Frank Adams to lie on the floor, where he was able to sound the burglar alarm as the men escaped. The escape route was over Clements Bridge Road, right on Lawrence Avenue, left on Trenton Avenue and then right on Gloucester Pike. A large part of the hold-up money was found under and in a roller skating rink close to Blackwood Lake. Arrests followed, and within a week all of the money except $100 was recovered.
In the early 1930s, manually operated traffic lights were installed at the intersection of White Horse Pike and Clements Bridge Road. At first they were operated from a pole on the corner. Later a ground level booth was constructed followed by an elevated booth for easier traffic control. This was a major advance, which eliminated what had been a serious problem. Until then, an officer had been stationed in the middle of the intersection with his manually controlled traffic sign, making him a vulnerable target for any errant driver. With the roadway only two lanes wide, and sophisticated car brakes not yet developed, there were innumerable rear-end collisions. Apparently the traffic problems were such an entertaining spectacle that it became a weekend event for the townspeople to gather and observe Sunday evening drivers returning to Philadelphia.
To assist the faithful unpaid special officers, Council appointed a full-time special officer at $28 per week. He, like some of the other special officers, was an appointed constable and was on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. A further step forward for police protection occurred when the Borough adopted an Ordinance in 1937 establishing an official police department. A full-time patrolman was hired to assist the appointed Chief. Unfortunately, as the result of a moral scandal within the department, another ordinance was adopted in 1939 disbanding the department.
The public safety of the town reverted to twenty special officers, who worked two at a time patrolling in the single police car. In the absence of radio communication, a designated police recorder would leave a burning light indicating that the patrolling officers were to stop for a message. Later a mobile telephone was installed in the police car and calls could be received through the Bellmawr Police Department. When the shift ended, all pertinent information was recorded in the notebook kept in the car and the officers would leave their revolvers for the next pair reporting for duty.
Barrington in the 1940s and 50s
Life in Barrington during the 1940s reflected the impact of World War II on small-town America. Gas rationing made car pooling for work and shopping a necessity. With the restricted traffic, children could play in the streets during the day. Citizens were required to stand in line to receive rationed items such as butter, sugar, canned milk and soap.
Civil Defense was organized in the event of a disaster. The town was divided into sections with a resident warden assigned to each district. The warden saw that each house was darkened at night and kept careful watch over his area. Volunteers used the bell tower in the First Presbyterian Church as a lookout for enemy planes.
The Fire Company took an active role in general Civil Defense duties. Available funds were invested in War Bonds.
In 1942, the Police Department installed a fingerprinting unit and filed the prints of the town’s citizens for positive identification in the event of a catastrophe.
The idea of a possible local disaster led to the organization of the Barrington Ambulance Association in 1940, primarily from members of the First Aid Squad of the Fire Company. The first fund raising project was a rag and paper drive, which with contributions from Barrington Girl Scout Troop #1, VFW Post #7247 and various individuals, helped the enterprise get underway. The first ambulance, a used 1938 Chrysler, was purchased from the Runnemede Fire Company at a cost of $1,350.00. It was garaged at the home of a trustee on Kingston Avenue and later kept in the new addition to the Fire Hall. In its first year of operation, the Ambulance Association handled 38 calls and covered 710 miles, involving 130 man-hours.
The post-war boom was felt in every phase of Barrington’s development. An airport opened, in 1945, on the south side of East Gloucester Pike in a portion of the Howell Estate. Veterans who wanted to learn to fly under the “GI Bill” received their training here. The airport finally gave way to commercial and industrial endeavors. Due to the increase in traffic and the need for easier access between northern and southern New Jersey, the New Jersey Turnpike (southern section in 1951) and Interstate Route 295 in April 1961 both traversed the town. The opening of the Walt Whitman Bridge (1959) and the nearby Port Authority Transit Company (PATCO) High Speed Line in 1969 played an important role in attracting home owners to Barrington in and after the 1950s.
A construction boom began to change the face of the town. In a fifteen-year period beginning about 1950, the Fitzgerald farm, the Williams farm and the Weaver farm were converted into residential areas. Edmund Scientific Company (1948), a unit of Owens-Corning Fiberglas (1955) and a unit of Metal Edge Industries (1957) located their plants on the old Howell Estate in Barrington. In 1950, the population stood at about 2,600 but by 1960, it had risen to 7,900.
The rapid development of new sub-divisions in various parts of the town imposed new responsibilities on the Borough in terms of road improvement, availability of water and sewer as well as fire and police protection. The Borough assumed responsibility for maintaining the streets and also helped to fund the expansion of the fire and police departments.
In 1954, the Fire Company acquired a new American La France pumper and augmented the alarm system with three new sirens. The Fire Company remains an association of volunteer firemen who dedicate their time and efforts to many hours of basic and advanced training and service. Since fire insurance rates are in proportion to the adequacy of equipment and training of the force, it is gratifying to know that Barrington has the best rating possible for a volunteer company.
The Barrington Ambulance Association received its certificate of incorporation from the State of New Jersey on January 17, 1952. It works with the Fire Department in times of emergency. Dr. G. Vernon Judson, a physician who played a significant role in the health and welfare of many Barrington residents, had these words to say in a talk he delivered to the Historical Society, “We cannot say enough for this fine organization of well-trained, highly motivated people who have given the community such untiring devotion to First Aid and transportation of the sick and injured. They have made and are continuing to make a record health support system second to none.”
In 1951, the Borough re-established a full time police department after a lapse of twelve years. A chief and patrolmen were appointed and by 1960, they added six men to the force including a lieutenant and sergeant.
Three new churches were built during the 1950s to serve the needs of a varied and growing population. In 1951, a local group of Jehovah’s Witnesses built a Kingdom Hall on the corner of Third and Reading Avenues. On October 7, 1956, the Community Bible Church broke ground for its building in the 300 block of Kingston Avenue. A parsonage was purchased at 528 Austin Avenue in 1960. In 1954, the Church of St. Francis De Sales was erected on the corner of Willmont and Gloucester Pike. It was originally a mission church served by the St. Rose of Lima parish in Haddon Heights, but was designated an Independent parish in 1955.
The growing needs of Barrington were reflected in the schools as well as the churches. In 1954 the Culbertson School was enlarged and the new Avon School opened its doors. The St. Francis De Sales School was built in 1958, followed by the Woodland Middle School in 1959.
Progress in the 1960s and Beyond
Barrington continues to live up to its motto “Progressive Barrington.” Further housing, commercial, industrial and civic development continued to evolve. Even during the sixties, Barrington was not willing to stand still.
The people in Barrington are sports minded. In the 1960s, two sports were well represented, by Barrington in the South Jersey area. They were the Jack Berger Basketball League and the Barrington Colts Football Team.
The town outgrew its Post Office in 1961, and a new one was built at Haines and Second Avenues with good parking facilities. During the same year, the Concord Arms Apartments, a large complex was completed in the vicinity of Clements Bridge Road and the border of Runnemede. In 1985, the name was changed to The Willows. Another new service was offered to the people in the area when Paul R. Rilatt opened a funeral home at Clements Bridge Road and Newton Avenues. Tom Metts succeeded Rilatt and made the property one of the most attractive in town.
In 1963, the borough modernized the sewer plant, in order to meet the rapid growth of the town. In 1991, the plant was decommissioned and the town sewer system was connected to the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority sewer mains.
A new fire hall was dedicated in September 1966, at Second and Haines Avenues. It was complete with a large truck bay, meeting room, chief’s office, recreation room, watch room, and kitchen. A new American La France Quint fire truck was housed in the new hall. This completely hydraulic unit is one of five in Camden County, the ultimate in fire fighting equipment. The hall also housed the Barrington Ambulance Association.
The Weyerhauser Company, a large new industry, opened in 1966, on the Howell Estate, east of Gloucester Pike. It was a large shipping container factory.
By 1970, the Tavistock area, east of the White Horse Pike was nearly filled with homes. However, in 1973, Nassau Court Housing Development occupied the land bordered by Chesterfield Road, Tavistock Boulevard and Clements Bridge Road. Only a few small open spaces in the town were unoccupied.
The town also outgrew its administrative facilities by 1975. A new Borough Hall was dedicated at Trenton Avenue and Clements Bridge Road. This was the location of the #1 School, built in 1909, which was used as the Borough Hall for many years. The new building houses the Mayor’s office, administrative offices, tax collector’s office, large assembly hall with kitchen, police station and court clerk’s office. A recreation facility, the Royal Courts Health Spa, located at East Gloucester Pike near Clements Bridge Road opened in 1979, providing a facility with an indoor swimming pool, racquetball courts and all the other equipment to keep the local residents in good physical shape.
In 1981, the Barrington Commons business and office complex opened on White Horse Pike, where Interstate Highway 295 intersects.
The Rite-Aid Pharmacy improved the corner of Gloucester Pike and Clements Bridge Road by opening a new and larger store in 1983. In 1984, Crescent Lighting, a Division of Keene Corporation, opened a plant to manufacture fluorescent lighting. It is located on East Gloucester Pike near the railroad. Nearby, the Tupperware Company opened a distribution center in 1985.
As industries continued to expand, the school population began to decrease. In 1985, the Culbertson School, located at Clements Bridge Road and Gloucester Pike, was closed. This marked the final chapter for the two original schools.
The closing of Culbertson School was followed, in 1987, by the shutdown of the Owens/Corning Fiberglas Company as a manufacturing plant. This large complex, which opened in 1965, is now a sales office and a warehouse facility.
The police department has grown to fifteen full time officers: a chief, a lieutenant, four patrol sergeants, eight patrol officers and a detective. All our police officers complete extensive basic and continuous in-service training programs. Some of the patrol officers have become specialized in the area of Juvenile offenders, drug education and crime prevention. Officers are equipped with patrol helmets and modern 9mm semi-automatic pistols. Other equipment includes three radar units, a Breathalyzer, tear gas units and gas masks. The Department has a film processing lab and an area for photographing “mug” shots. In keeping with the national trend, the department was computerized in 1985, allowing for easy access to records and a database for following crime trends.
The Fire Company, like the Police Department, keeps its equipment up-to-date. In 1987, they garaged a “Grumman Aerial Cat” a state of the art piece of fire fighting equipment, especially designed for fighting fires in high places.
The 1990s started out with the dedication of the Senior Citizens Hall. It is a new building, annexed to the Borough Hall with a large meeting hall, a kitchen and rest room facilities. In this same period, Barrington acquired its first motel, a Super 8 Motel, located on the White Horse Pike opposite Bell Avenue.
After many years of planning, in 1991, the intersection of Clements Bridge Road and Gloucester Pike was improved. The widening provided for turning lanes and a left turn traffic signal. Thus a growing traffic problem has been lessened.
The population trend has fallen off as the size of the family has decreased. In 1960, the population was 7,900; in 1990 it was approximately 6,700.
Barrington is not standing still and is changing with the times.