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Merchantville Borough


Merchantville Borough Hall is located at 1 West Maple Avenue, Merchantville NJ 08109; phone: 856-662-2474.

Merchantville was incorporated as a borough in 1874.

Beginnings [1]

Matthias Homer, John Louty, Samuel McFadden and Frederick Gerker (four Philadelphia merchants) were the pioneers of Merchantville. They came here together in 1852, building their houses on the north side of Maple avenue near Cove road, except Mr. Gerker, who built opposite (the house now owned by William B. Kempton). Mr. Gerker was an ardent Catholic, and, having few means of attending a church of his own denomination, he built a private room in his new house, in which was erected an altar and confessional, and a Philadelphia priest called at stated times to administer the functions of his office.

At a social meeting at the house of John Louty, the question of naming the new settlement was under discussion; when, after a number of striking names had been suggested to no purpose, Mrs. Louty entered and said. "Gentlemen, as you are all merchants, why not call it Merchantville?" which met the approval of all.

Where Merchantville now stands there were five houses — one on Maple avenue, above Centre street, once occupied by a Scotchman (whose name I cannot get), but where James C Finn, who owned considerable property in the neighborhood, lived for some years, and who afterwards built the house now occupied by the Weikel family.

The old farm house on the Curtis property, at the junction of Maple and Wellwood Avenues, said to have been built more than a hundred years ago, is still standing.

An old wooden building which stood near where the Millinger house now is was occupied by John Laney. A frame house standing where the Robbins house now is was occupied by Conrad Demmy from 1857 to 1867. It was afterward removed to the racetrack, where it still remains. Church (or Cove) road was once a private road from Thomas Spicer, Jr.'s, to Colestown. The present road was laid out April 27, 1809.

Whiskey road was so called from a distillery owned by Ralph V. M. Cooper on the ground now occupied by Samuel Coles. He owned considerable property in the neighborhood, and opened the road to the turnpike.

  1. Eastlack, Francis F., History of Merchantville, Camden County N.J. published by the author, 1899
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