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The Merchantville Historical Society


Newsletter 5-21-2011 





Mention Merchantville and a myriad of memories tug at the heartstrings of so many.  Whether a past or present resident, school attendee, shopper, or visitor, special remembrances and endearing recollections draw one back to this blueprint for “It’s A Wonderful Life”.  In revisiting our past, we are exposed to the determination, enthusiasm, integrity, values and sense of community of the people of this Borough Beautiful.


As stewards of our legacy, we sense the purpose and vision of the first families.  The first railroad, the Camden and Burlington Railroad, impacted the initial growth phase (1860s).  Serving as a vital center outside the city of Camden, the merchants and proprietors prospered in this less than a square mile borough. Merchantville provided the first telephone service and post office in the area.  The town’s tree lined streets showcased the splendor of Victorian architecture, much of which is still preserved today.  Merchants and their families lived or vacationed in our community.  Legend tells of the naming of the village as the result of our forefathers and their wives discussing the name and one wife suggesting that since all the men were merchants call it Merchantsville. The ‘s’ was soon dropped.


With the building of the Ben Franklin Bridge between Camden and Phila., the second major growth period occurred.  More families settled in the area as commuter train service gave them direct access to downtown Phila.  Parts of Pennsauken and Cherry Hill had once been included in East Merchantville and West Merchantville.   After World War II, the baby boomer era began and the suburbs mushroomed and spilt over, spreading farther and farther into South Jersey.


Since 1974, the Historic Society has been gathering and preserving scores of photos.  Many residents have been amassing private collections.  Both the National and State Registers of Historic Places list some of our buildings and houses.  There are two historic districts on the register:  the Cattell Tract and the Oaks .A few of our notable gentry would include: U. S. Senator, Alexander Cattell,  Jersey Joe Walcott, born Arnold Raymond Cream on Jan. 31, 1914 in Merchantville, NJ (Cyber Boxing Zone. Com); Jane Eayre Fryer, author of the Mary Frances series of children’s books, written from 1912 to 1918; and the founder of Children’s Day, the Rev R. S. Harris (1866).


The enviable quality that Merchantville exudes is the ability to carry forth yesterday’s prized community concepts and successfully blend them with today’s social norms.  As custodial caretakers of our heritage, we continue to be progressive preservers of  “Our Town”.


The Merchantville Historical Society

Merchantville, NJ 08109

Maureen A. McLoone, Pres 


Maureen McLoone


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Mayor's Corner

edward brennan


 October 1, 2016

As we begin to welcome my

favorite  time of year, with

tempatures cooling and

leaves changing, fall brings

a rush of activity and

community events to