Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hill Theatre, Paulsboro

On the main in the town of Paulsboro you will pass a huge, imposing building that does not look like it belongs. It is the former Hill Theater (now a TV studio) and it is a perfect example of late 1930s Art Moderne architecture! It is one of my favorite buildings in South Jersey! Here is a photograph I took in 2013:

And here it is in 1938:

I am a movie theatre fanatic and plan to write more about them in this blog!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stipson's Island

At the very end of Stipson's Island Road in Dennis Township is a beautiful nature reserve. Everything about it is coastal Delaware Bay South Jersey right dow to the delicious marsh smell (my favorite smell in the universe!) Let's have a look:

It's not the longest Nature Trail, but it's nice enough and it ends at the above deck looking over the marshes. I could stand on that deck all day. It's so QUIET with the exception of "nature" noises and there is NOTHING as far as the eye can see. I also find that marshy smell intoxicating.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Mid Century Design

One thing I love about certain areas of South Jersey is their lack of updating! Some tiny towns look straight out of the 1940s. Other bigger, citified areas may still have flashy mid-century signs and buildings. Like the Highway '77 Motel in Upper Deerfield Twp:

Unsure if this has been demolished or not (it was scheduled for it last I heard!), but here's another Mid-century sign and building facade found in Vineland:

And finally, this abandoned mid-century style motel hidden away in Dennis Township. I remember this place being open in the 90s -- my boyfriend and I at the time used to laugh at it for being "old" and "dirty-looking." *sigh*

Time forgot some of the less-inhadited places in deep southern New Jersey and that's one thing I like about it. The mid-century capital of the south, though, is definitely Wildwood!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Laurel Lake

Laurel Lake is a working class community that is half inside the border of Millville and half inside Commercial Township. The actual lake divides the two municipalities. I don't know a whole lot about the "Millville side" (as locals call it), but the Commercial Twp. side was practically my second home growing up. My grandparents lived there as well as my aunts and uncles.

In the 1950s, Laurel Lake was advertised as a summer resort community. As you travel the streets they are all named after flowers and birds. You'll also notice the houses are mostly tiny bungalows or mobile homes -- not meant to be occupied year-round, but they are now. Typical houses:

Another thing I love about Laurel Lake is the mid-century A-frame houses you find every here and there!

Laurel Lake is a very tiny community. It's a heavily-wooded lakeside community where you might see broken down cars in the yards and wide-open front doors. Laurel Lake has a sub shop, a corner store, and a liquor store on Buckshutem Road, which is the main road traveling through the community. Lake Shore Drive is a lovely scenic road that is right along the edge of the lake. There is a small beach open to the public -- I remember walking there as a child. Most of the lake is privately-owned piers, though.

I have many memories of Laurel Lake growing up: -My grandmother's annual christmas get-together has been held there every year since I can remember. -Walking and riding my bike with my aunt. -Swimming in the lake. -Begging my mom to "drive around the lake" every time we went to visit family. -My first boyfriend lived there! Laurel Lake is always a great area to drive through and photograph when I venture to South Jersey.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New England Towne Day School, Fairton

Hidden on New England Cross Road in Fairfield Township in Cumberland County sits an abandoned, boarded up building in the middle of a field. It's last known function was (I think) providing transportation for elderly adults, which closed up shop sometime in the 2000s. But the building's original intent was an elementary school called New England Towne Day School. Information on the school is scarce...I can definitively say the school closed after the 1987/88 school year. I was attending the school at the time as a seventh grader. I don't have a date for when the school opened, but I have heard 1971 (unconfirmed).

From attending the school personally, it was very tiny. There were about 5 people per grade and often two grades would be in one classroom under one teacher. The school went from pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade and it was a private school. Rumours were that the principal (new to the 87-88 school year) was so disliked by the parents that they refused to re-enroll their children for the following year. Hence, the enrollment was low and the school closed. Again, this is unconfirmed, but it was chatter I heard from my mother who was also a teacher there (yes, I had my mom for a teacher one year!)

Facing the building, there was a playground to the left, a parking lot on the right, and the back was a huge open field. The back is now overgrown by trees, but I remember many field days in that field! I'm sure I still have my ribbons at my dad's house!

Unfortunately, I can only find my Kindergarten photograph:

And there is this photo of an awkward, overweight, seventh-grade me in the seventh and eighth grade classroom during the final year. I think we were having a carnival day or something:

My dad has 8mm films of me playing on the playground and more photos at his house. I will have to raid them next time I visit. If anyone knows anything more about this school, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.