Today’s Adventure is in good Old Cherry “The Thrill” Hill in South Jersey. In 1695, settlers formed the community of Waterford Township on these hallowed grounds.. which was one of the original townships of Gloucester County. It was a hot and steamy mill town and agricultural thoroughfare.
In 1844, the town voted to change the township under a brand-new shiny name, Delaware Township and became one with Camden County.
Throughout the 19th Century, farms and mills were scattered everywhere. Most of Cherry Hill’s produce was grown for Camden’s finest, Campbell’s Soup.
By the 20th Century, farmland was being sold off to create neighborhood developments. Some even furnished by John Wanamaker’s.
After the Great Depression, land was still cheap in Delaware Township. The Garden State Race Track built-in the 1940′s became known World-Wide. The Cherry Hill Inn, Rickshaw Inn, and Latin Casino soon opened and became huge attractions. The Cherry Hill Mall opened in 1960 and soon after, the name was changed to what we know it as….. Cherry Hill.
Here are some great points of interest to seek out in Cherry Hill:
Located at the intersection of Church Road and Kings Highway
Colestown is an extremely old cemetery. The first recorded burial was in 1684, according to the historical marker placed out front of the cemetery. The gatehouse dates back to 1858. Many of Cherry Hill’s founding fathers can be found buried here.
Colestown was named after Samuel Coles, who had settled in the area in 1685.
Interesting fact, one side of the gatehouse was used as a chapel for funeral services, and the other side was the living quarters for the caretaker of the cemetery.
Below, the chapel gatehouse, is a vault once used as a winter holding room for the corpses that could not be buried in the frozen ground. Hey, they didn’t have construction equipment in that time.
The gatehouse was placed on the National Historic Registry in 1975.
430 Suffolk Drive
In the heart of the bustling and busy, Cherry Hill township, sits this splendid brick-beauty frozen in time.
The house was built in 1816 by Joseph Thorne, a Quaker farmer. In 1826, Joseph W. Cooper, a sixth-generation descendant of the founder of Camden and the owner of Camden’s busy Cooper’s Ferry, acquired the 168-acre property as a vacation home. Cooper wanted to escape Camden’s hot summer days.
Eventually, “Chestnut Grove Farm,” as it came to be known, was passed along to Joseph Cooper’s great-granddaughter, Helen Champion Barclay. Hence, the Barclay Homestead name.
The farm has a small orchard and open for tours throughout the year. There is also a wonderful playground for children and an exquisite trail system just behind the Barclay property. It’s a great exploring place for kids and adults alike.
The Barclay homestead was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 26, 1978.
This wonderful 18th century artifact located at 350 Wayland Rd., in someone’s front-yard!!!
Bonnie’s Bridge according to historians may predate the year of 1795. It is believed it was a bridge used as part of an old road system that once graced the Cherry Hill landscape.
The bridge is named after Bonnie Cocchairaley. She purchased the home in 1962 because of the bridge. It took her 16 years and two historians, to try to uncover the history of this beauty.
In 1984, Bonnie’s Bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Sites.
• Scarborough Covered Bridge
Covered Bridge Road
This two-lane covered bridge stands exquisitely in the Barclay Farms neighborhood. The bridge was named after Bob Scarborough. It was created to connect another subdivision over a tributary of Cooper River. It opened to traffic in 1959 and considered a historic structure in the Cherry Hill community.
There is also a small park area, near the bridge, called Scarborough Park. It sits along the north branch territory and is a natural wonder.
Borton’s Mill Road
This 80 acre site was once a working farm and mill.The grounds and trails are centered around the farmhouse. The original section constructed in 1753. The site is now home to the Cherry Hill Arts Center.
Croft farm was used to house runaway slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. Thomas Evans would hide the slaves in the attic. The following morning, they’d be taken along their journey towards Mt. Holly, another huge stop in the Underground Railroad.
Evans pond was named after the Quaker family and adjoins the Croft farm property.
Records show that Josiah Evans, another member of the Evans family and noted Quaker, arranged to buy the freedom, from bounty hunters, of two fugitive slaves, Joshua Sadler and Jefferson Fisher.
Both men remained at the mill, working to repay Evans for his kindness. Sadler went on to become the leader of a small settlement of freed slaves who established “Sadlertown” in what is now Haddon Township.
Saddler’s Woods a popular hiking spot and has some of the oldest trees, in the state of New Jersey, is all that remains of Joshua Saddler’s founding negro settlement. It truly is a great place to explore and Yummy has written about it before.
•Cherry Hill Cherry Blossoms
Last, but not least, another point of interest to seek out in Cherry Hill are its Cherry Blossoms. These pink poignant perfect beauties grace Chapel Avenue every spring. They are a true spectacle to see and every year, it gets better and better.
Hope you enjoyed our little Cherry Hill tour. Until our next adventure, my friends!
Sources: Waymarking, Cherry Hill Township, Philadelphia Inquirer, NJ Wildlife trails, National Historic Registry, West Jersey History Project, Wikipedia, Barclay Farmstead, Cherry Hill, NJ: A Brief History, NJ.com.