Merchantville was primarily farmland until about 1851. Rumors of the coming railroad were the impetus for land acquisition. Although the town was originally part of Stockton Township, the citizens of Merchantville petitioned the state to become an incorporated Borough. This became effective May 18, 1874.
The second growth occurred in the automobile age when feasible studies for the building of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge began in 1914. After the First World War, lots were bought and development began anew. When the bridge opened in 1926, new streets on the southern side of Maple Avenue were cut through, individual homes built and the Borough gradually developed to its near present population.
In addition to improved means of transportation, location was important in the growth of Merchantville. Maple Avenue was on a ridge 80 feet high, the air was 'pure', and churches and shopping were convenient.
In 1889, Francis F. Eastlack, local author, described the Borough, "Here you have an already established town, healthy, pure air, well lighted, well governed with every convenience befitting, wide awake, prosperous town, and where the people are hospitable and will gladly welcome all who seriously think of locating with them."
Brush up on your nostalgia at this link: http://politicalgraveyard.com/geo/NJ/CA.html
Read more about Merchantville in the Images of America book by resident Maureen McLoone.
Wellwood Memorial Park
Just a few blocks east of Route 130 on Maple Avenue, between Linden and Hamilton Avenues, in Wellwood Memorial Park. The park has acres of improved green space and includes two tennis courts, a softball field, a playground, gazebo and snack stand.
There is also a WWI monument there and a stone dedicated to two members of The Sons And Daughters Of The Pilgrims who were serving in armed forces during WWII.
The Shade Tree Commission volunteers work to keep borough trees plentiful. Last year the sixth grade at Merchantville School planted seven Eastern Redbud trees at Wellwood Park. The trees were carefully transplanted from our nursery on West Chestnut.