Historical Society’s Tuckerton Railroad Program Proved Popular, to Be Repeated

Nov 22, 2017
Photo by: Pat Johnson German Georgieff, naturalist for Wells Mills County Park, is also interested in local history. On Saturday he gave a program on the Tuckerton Railroad.

The Tuckerton Historical Society’s program on the Tuckerton Railroad on Nov. 18 proved to be such a popular subject that the society’s Giffordtown Schoolhouse Museum was unable to seat the 50-plus attendees. Graciously, Ocean County naturalist German Georgieff has offered to give an additional program on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m.

Georgieff’s “armchair” version of a van tour the county gives from time to time, tracing the remnants of the Tuckerton Railroad route from Tuckerton to Whiting, was based on his own research of the line, which ran from from 1872 to 1936.

The Tuckerton Railroad was one of three lines that served Southern New Jersey. TRR’s first use was to bring tourists to the seashore via Tuckerton, where they would take a spur from the station on Railroad Avenue to Edge Cove at the bay and embark on a steamboat, the Pohatcong, for the trip to Beach Haven and Bond’s Hotel in Holgate, said Geogief.

The president of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia was William Parry, who built the Parry House as a resort in Beach Haven. The Baldwin Hotel was named for the Baldwin steam engine company, which built the railroad engines.

Later, the Pennsylvania Railroad company built the trestle across the bay from Manahawkin to Long Beach Island, and the Tuckerton Railroad ran the trains. The railroad carried oysters, clams, eelgrass and salt hay from the seashore plus cranberries and blueberries.

Georgieff’s presentation included slides of the remnants of the railroad route. Of the many stations that marked the 29-mile route, only two are still standing: one in Barnegat, which has been turned into a private home, and the Manahawkin Station, which the Stafford Historical Society moved from Stafford Avenue to the East Side of Route 9 across from Manahawkin Lake in the early 1980s.

When the PRR built the trestle connecting the Island to the mainland in 1886, the tracks ran where today’s Route 72 is. Georgieff said it is possible to see remnants of where the trestle came across the bay. “There’s a straight line of cedar trees from Bonnet Island across the marshes, and that’s where the railroad bed was,” said Georgieff.

Georgieff has attempted to walk the route going south from Manahawkin. The tracks followed the utility lines (or more correctly, the utility lines built on the railroad right of ways) until it reached Eagleswood, where the tracks crossed Route 9 and continued down Railroad Avenue to Tuckerton.

There is no station left in Tuckerton, but there are two coal bins, one behind the Kangeroo Court daycare center on Route 9 that used to service a coal company there, and another behind the Greenwood Cemetery.

The Tuckerton Historical Society’s second free event, Dec. 16, is again at the Giffordtown Schoolhouse Museum, 35 Leitz Blvd. in Little Egg Harbor. Call 609-294-1547 for information.

— Pat Johnson




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