What’s So Special About Tuckerton? History

By PAT JOHNSON | May 08, 2019
Photo by: supplied The head of Tuckerton Creek during the late 1800s, when it still had the YMCA building (left) and original saw and grist mills.

Tuckerton — What’s so special about Tuckerton? Plenty of history! Tuckerton Historical Society President John Yates will give an overview of the town that was settled in 1699 as Little Egg Harbor and will highlight the most important facets of its history on May 18 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Using artifacts on display in the museum as prompts, Yates will start with the Lenni Lenape who settled along the Tuckerton Creek and left shell mounds behind as they migrated to the woodlands in winter.

The Colonial period of Tuckerton saw shipbuilding along the creek, privateering on the Mullica River and clamming and oystering in the bays. The Revolutionary War came to the area on Osborn and Mystic islands when a contingent of Count Pulaski’s men was slaughtered by the British.

Later, although there were no battles, Tuckerton had its own Grand Army of the Republic veterans who survived the Civil War, fighting for the North.

As the town grew and fortunes were made from railroad and commerce, mansions were built along tree-shaded streets. Tuckerton had its own gas plant and lamp-lighter. Picture these streets at dusk with flickering gas lights.

The town was self-sustaining through the 18th and early 19th centuries and was the first to cash in on the tourist trade to Tucker’s and Long Beach islands, mainly Quakers.

In 1918-19 the 800-foot-tall Wireless Tower was built in the meadows of Hickory Island (today’s Mystic Island), opening wireless communications with Europe. Scores of young men learned their “sparks” (Morse code) at the RCA building.

Come learn about the wealth of history in the place where you live. The program is held in the Giffordtown Schoolhouse Museum at the corner of Leitz Boulevard and Wisteria Lane off Route 9 in Little Egg Harbor. The program is free, but donations to help keep the museum open are appreciated. —P.J.

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