Maple Shade in the 1930s

The Blue Eagle symbol of the NRA (National Recovery Act) on a 1935 Progress paper.

Dates to know before reading this page-
Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933.
The Great Depression began with the Stock Market Crash of October 1929 and ended in 1941 with America's entry into World War 2.

Be forwarned about what you will find on this page- It wasn't a good time although they still managed to have them.

Some of the things people complained about seem silly today like 2% sales tax and having water meters. The times though were much worse than today's recession as when you lost a job, any many more people did then, there wasn't any unemployment pay! I have met people who told me that their bungalow was built in 1930, or another person said 1933. The real estate business was hit hard and fast since they carried mortgages for the homes. A look at old Sanborn Insurance maps quickly corrected their ideas.

When the U.S. came out of the Great Depression and new people came to own houses, farms, etc..., just remember that someone else lost out. When you hear the "good news" about when Maple Shade was paying off their debt and would soon be out, remember that one way they were doing it was selling the properties they seized for delinquent taxes.

Someone sent me this newspaper article in the mail. I omitted the first 1.5 paragraphs because of names. This is really a segmented view of the time as from Childhood memories.

Growing up in Maple Shade in '30s: Those were the days

I was born in Maple Shade at ____ Spruce Ave., where I lived with my parents, four brothers and sister until 1934 when we moved to the south end of Spruce Avenue, down the street from the Barlow Mansion.

School for me started at No. 1 School and ended in 1941 at Moorestown High School. Back then, you finished school with all the kids you started with, meaning you were together for your lifetime in school.

My memories are of great Memorial Day parades, when the whole town turned out. The parades ended at No. 2 School with services to honor the Maple Shade residents who died in World War !. Usually, a member of the American Legion recited "In Flander's Field." Guns were fired in salute to honor the dead.

The school bus stopped at the municipal building and you had to walk to the post office to pick up the mail and carry it home. We could go to Diedrich's Bakery, and for five cents I would get a double- decker ice cream cone. Rain or shine, you made the long walk home. Others of my generation will remember the blacksmith's shop where you could always stop by the pump and get a cold drink. Tobias' drug store was where you could get a banana split for 25 cents and everybody was there on Sundays. Fred Olt's garage had curbside gas tanks, and somebody always filled your tank for 12 cents a gallon.

Graduation from No. 2 School was held at the Roxy Theatre. Miss Shively was our music teacher and had us singing on stage to the audience of parents. If you were in that class, you may remember that the song (offkey) was "Glow Worm." Josephine Prate and John Aldridge were legion medal honors winners that year. Mrs. Bakely, Miss Ladd and Miss Evens were our teachers. You were considered a delinquent when you got caught throwing spit balls.

My oldest brother Daniel, was a mechanic at Olt's, brother William was a clerk at the American Store, and Joseph and his little red wagon delivered ladies' orders for 10 cents. The iceman who brought your 15 cents piece of ice may have been my brother Jim.

Gardening and canning were a big part of every household. I remember on Sundays driving out to the Schlitz Farm, and, for one dollar, buying a basket of peaches or canteloupes.

In the late 30s, if you were a teen- ager, you went to the Juke Box Palace on Main Street and Forklanding Road and danced the jitterbug to the latest records. The Lallagher family turned an old car agency into a dance hall and it became the place to go if you had 10 cents. If you did not have the money, you could stand outside and watch.

If you were a kid in the 30s, you remember Mr. Diancona's Sweet Shoppe on Main Street. If you had a penny, you could buy a candy sweet potato, and if you were really lucky, you might find a penny inside. Main Street also had Fasto's 5 & 10 and Leonard's Department Store. If you wanted ladies clothes or shoes, you went to Chernin's.

Main Street was the hub and when you walked downtown, you knew everyone you met and everyone knew you. Those were the good old days.

I too remember old Grandpa Mennel, who used to stand behind the store and greet every kid leaving No. 1 School and passing by on Spruce Avenue.

(Letter from a person in Florida with family still in Maple Shade, from a Progress "Letters to the Editor")

March 1933- Chester Township (Maple Shade) was declared bankrupt.

In 1933 the Maple Shade National Bank closed.

In 1936, and probably other years, Maple Shade had the Highest tax rate in Burlington County.

Camden Courier-Post June 12, 1933

Water Cut Off From 240 Homes at Maple Shade Despite Frantic Pleas

Civic Leaders Find Order to Collect Money But None to Deny Houses
Maple Shade, June 11.-Despite appeals to the state departments of health and municipal accounts, approximately 240 Chester Township homes are without water by order of the township rulers.
Order to deprive these homes of water was issued last week by Township Committeeman Thomas Bierne, because it was charged that water bill had gone too long unpaid.
Thomas Mullen, president, and James J. D'Arcy of the Maple Shade Civic League conferred Friday with officials of the state departments at Trenton. According to D'Arcy, they were told by health officials that nothing could be done unless an emergency such as an epidemic, arose. D'Arcy said they had asked officials of the municipal accounts department whether they had instructed the township to turn off the water .
They were informed that the municipal accounts department had ordered the township to collect back taxes and other outstanding debts, but that no order for the water "famine" had been issued.
According to D'Arcy, many of the homes affected are those of the unemployed and it is planned to seek aid from the Burlington County emergency relief officials.
Committeeman Elmer Solly to night. reassured citizens that the township would not let them suffer.
"We are not going to be arbitrary in this matter," he said. "There are many citizens who well can afford to pay and who will not do so. The township suffers financially from such as these, and we are going to see that those who can pay do so or do without water. We need the money. Among those whose water was turned off is a resident who has owed water rent since 1927 and who we know can well afford to pay it." D'Arcy also commented on this case and said action there was justified.
"We will also not let any worthy unemployed suffer. Those who are actually unemployed and who have paid their bills regularly while they had work will not lose their water supply," Solly continued.
"In any cases of sickness, the water service will be resumed immediately. In case of any emergency of any kind, the people can be assured we will give them service. But we insist that those who can pay must do so or go without water."

Water Meters Were Installed in 1935

Meters Already Cut Water Use

Plumbers reported that 1,224 of approximately 1,500 water meters had been installed in Maple Shade. The report was made at a meeting of the Chester Township Committee held in the Municipal Hall on Tuesday evening.

Six plumbers are busy installing the meters. It is said that all have been installed except those that will require considerable work. It is expected to have the work done by August 1.

-From the Progress, July 25, 1935

Water Meters Were Installed in 1935

From the July 11, 1935 Progress. Note the last statement about "renters." Many bungalows at this point were being rented as the original owners lost them.

2% Sales Tax Began in 1935-

Local Merchants Oppose Sales Tax-

From the July 4, 1935 Progress-

The Ku Klux Klan-

The KKK had a parade in town on Sept 29, 1926 which they were given a permit for provided that they marched unmasked. They were so elated that they had their parade that at midnight in the field on Main Street across from Fred Barlow's home at Pine Ave. they lit up a huge burning cross. The Police and Fire Dept. came and put it out. Later on in 1953 when apartments were built there they were named the "Southern Cross Apartments."

One measure usually taken to aid the Police against the KKK was to find out who the hooded members were by gathering license plate numbers of cars at their meetings. As of those times they were by some an acceptable organization. In the 1930s The Progress announced Klan events and Klan activities. The Democrat Club complained to the Township about them which reportably, in the newspaper clip, did nothing. The people of the town however were growing bold in their objection to them and at a 1935 meeting came with clubs and stones and shouted boos during their speeches. The units nearby were the Camden Klan, the Pal River Klan, Loyal Body Klan, Wrightstown Klan, New Egypt Klan, and the Mount Holly Klan. It was said at a 1935 meeting that the Maple Shade Klan had about 200 members.

A 1935 Klan Meeting announcement

From the Progress, July 4, 1935

From the Progress, July 4, 1935

Local Tax Rate
County's Highest

Reductions Shown In 22 Places But Maple Shade Rate Jumps

Rate This Year is $8.56

Twenty-one Burlington County municipalities will have a lower tax rate this year, according to the figures released by the County Board of Taxation.

... Chester Township has the highest and Bordentown township has the lowest tax rate.

A few excerpts from the above middle article on Township Debt-

"Whereas delinquent tax collections increased approximately 4 percent, Tax title liens and assessment liens showed marked increase in redemption."

And here is a statement which rings home to some of today's recession foreclosures- "the taxes that are actually collectable have been exhausted and the major portion of taxes and assessment outstanding is on properties owned by people who are financially unable to meet their obligations; in many instances the outstanding liens have reached a point where they exceed the actual value of the land. On account of this condition the property owners are not inclined to pay and the township will be forced to expend additional money to aquire this undesirable property.

After Prohibition ended, Maple Shade had a lot of bars!-

From the Progress, September 26, 1935-

Demon Rum

Communities Of South Jersey Have Eyes On Moorestown As Citizens Make Choice

Liquor and other hard drinks as beverages have no place in Moorestown, nor any other town for that matter. In the November election the people of our neighboring town will vote whether or not to have saloons located within Moorestown township. At present, there are no such establishments marring the good name of moorestown, truly the residential town of distinction. We hope that they will not have any saloons after the election and will remain one of the few dry communities in the East.

Maple Shade has no less than thirteen beer gardens, saloons, tap rooms, grilles or whatever name you may prefer to call them. Thirteen such places in a town of approximately 6,000 inhabitants. To say nothing of a distillery and several known bootleg joints.

We can see no advantage to a town "flourishing" with beer gardens. They add nothing to a town's reputation nor are they a financial aid in the long run.

We are pleased to see a group in Moorestown sponsoring a contest that will bring out the facts as to whether or not beer gardens will be avantageous to Moorestown as a community. We only hope, for Moorestown's sake, that the people there will have sense enough to realize that beer gardens are no asset to a community.

Stay away from it Moorestown.

From a 1937 Progress newspaper-

Too Many Saloons

Each year about this time, the fact is brought forceably to mind that Maple Shade has entirely too many saloons. So many, in fact, that even the saloon keepers themselves would welcome a limitation as most of them are just "ekeing out a living" with competition so keen.

Last year the town had no less then seventeen establishments where alchoholic beverages could be legally purchased, besides a distillery on Route S-41 just north of Main street. This year, from all indications, there will be the same number of establishments, as every one of the seventeen places have applied for renewal of the liquor licenses. All of them who have applied and have paid the $375 fee, will be granted renewals on Tuesday night.

We believe that the Township Committee, which has the authority to regulate saloons in Chester Township, should devise a means of limiting the number of establishments selling the "amber fluid." We suggest that they pass an ordinance limiting the number of licenses to seventeen, which would protect those who already have paid their license fees from unnecessary competition. As it is now, anyone with the money can get a license with little trouble.

20 Liquor Licenses in 1938-

From the Progress, February 3, 1938-

Maple Shade got its 20th liquor license, even though the other taproom license holders vigorously protested and petitioned against it. They had been asking for the number of liquor licenses to be limited then reduced until they would be lowered to a ratio of 1 per every 500 town residents.

Despite the effort of the other taproom owners, all five council members voted "yes" in granting the 20th license. There was, however, a limiting ordinance passed at this time, limiting the number of saloons and license holders on Main Street, and 2000 feet of it, to fourteen. No limit was set to saloons in other parts of the town.

1939 Liquor Licenses-

Totem Ranch
Ernie's Grille
German Kitchen
Mill Road Grill
3 In 1 Bar
Forty One Club
Dominick's Grille
Walt's Cafe
Victory Cafe
The Seidel
Murphy's Cafe
Mary's Cafe
Mennel's Inn
Town Tavern
Taxi Inn
Joseph Bechler's Auf Weider Sehn Beer Garden
Han- Fran Grill
Antrim Mentz Post No. 66 (American Legion)
Spring Hill Country Club
Liquor Package Stores-
George's Liquor Store

From the Progress, July 6, 1939. The article states there are 21 liquor licenses, but only 20 are listed.

The bars provided people with a place to forget their troubles and have a good time.

From a 1935 Progress-

Still Seized Here In Empty House

Orchard Ave. House Raided By Agents; Torchie's Truck Is Impounded

Three Held In Bail

Three men were arrested by federal agents and the Maple Shade police Saturday in a raid on a vacant house at 262 Orchard avenue.

They were Charles Torchie, Helen avenue, Maple Shade, Richard James Watson, 708 North Lenola road, Lenola, and Joseph Intursi, 1026 South Fourth street, Camden.

Two investigators for the Prohibition Alchoholic Apportionment Department, Trenton assisted by Patrolman John Seibke and Special Officer Walter Sine, of the Maple Shade police, made the raid. Sine had been detailed to watch the house Friday night and in the early morning the raid was made.

According to the police, Intursi brought a truck driven and owned by Charles Torchie, local ice and coal dealer, and a helper Richard James Watson, of Lenola. The officers allowed them to load the truck and as they were about to leave, stopped them. The officers found the truck loaded with a copper still, nine empty barrels in which alcoholic beverages had been made and other instruments necessary in the distilling of alcohol. All three men were turned over to the department's men and charges made against them for having in their possession articles used in the manufacture of elicit alcoholic beverages.

The raiders were about to break into the house where they believed a still was in operation when a truck showed up. The officers watched as Torchie and Watson loaded a still and empty barrels on the truck. They were about to drive off when arrested. Intursi was held in $1000 bail by Recorder Alfred M. Addison, of Maple Shade. Torchie was held in $500 bail and Watson in $250 bail to await action of the Grand Jury.

Torchie's truck was also seized and impounded in the Federal Warehouse.

I talked to Sal Torchie about the above incident. It sure looks as if a Police member phoned Torchie and said that they were coming to do a raid and to get your still out of the house. (tip off) Sal said that it was his brother who lived on Helen Avenue. A lady asked Torchie to get the still out of the house and she would give him some money (like 10 dollars or something. I will have to talk to him again.) She said her husband died and it had been his still and she wanted it out of the house. Torchie didn't want to do it, but did and the Police showed up and he had to pay money to get his truck back etc... It cost him a lot to get it back. Sal Torchie said about himself that he was never a drinker.

Barlow & Company went under in the early 1930s-

From the Maple Shade Progress August 22, 1935-

Barlow's Mansion On Mill Road Has Interesting History;
Now, Used By Powerful Democratic Political Organization

Photo courtesy of the Maple Shade Historical Society.
The newspaper photo which is the same is too dark to make out.

Pictured above is Barlow's Mansion, located on Mill road at Spruce avenue, which is now used by the Maple Shade Democratic Club as their headquarters. It is here that the local Democrats stage picnics, parties and meetings. The photo shows the mansion as it appeared before the addition was built on the west side with large lawns on all four sides. This building is the old homestead of Thomas J.S. Barlow Jr., son of Maple Shade's biggest real estate developer.

The building has been used as a roadhouse and was padlocked during Prohibition days. Laws prohibit it from being used for that purpose now. Lately it is said, Chester Township has aquired the property for back taxes and has given permission to the Maple Shade Democratic Club to use it. The property has an interesting history and is a relic of Maple Shade's building boom over a decade ago. This building and the Barlow Building at Main Street and Forklanding road are a burden to the township, due to back taxes. Both can be purchased reasonably.

This ad is from the 1940s. The Barlow Building was bought by George B. Evans. It was then known as the Evans Building and on the second floor was built apartments and named the Evans Apartments.

Fred Barlow reopened Barlow & Co. in the late 30s.
Thomas J.S. Barlow Jr. ran Lenola Realty.

From the Progress, October 7, 1937-
New Real Estate Firm Opens Here
The Barlow Co. Has New Office At 6 West Main St.

The article states that the business is headed by Herbert Marker as president, with Fred A. Barlow , vice president and Mrs. Muriel Marker, secretary and treasurer.

Fred A. Barlow died on November 4, 1937

Barlow & Company Afterward-

That is not the final end to Barlow & Co. It was continued/ reincarnated ? by members of the Barlow family, as there is a later Progress article concerning Penn Jersey Auto supply store being built by Barlow & Co., and it lists some names.

Charles Frederick Vogdes, son-in-law of Thomas J.S. Barlow Sr. continued the business, and his son after him, of building houses, etc... under their name. The homes built where the Barlow Mansion stood, destroyed by a fire, were built by the Flake Vogdes Company. The driveway marker pillars left in respect. (now removed)

From the Progress, July 15, 1937-

Houses Sold As Business Gains

Prudential Insurance Company 'Unloads' Houses Through Agent

Having aquired title to about 73 bungalows through foreclosure proceedings here in Maple Shade, the Prudential Insurance Company, of Newark, has suceeded in selling all except one. These bungalows have been sold during a period of less than two years. They repaired them, installing new fixtures, roofs and generally renovating them.

From the Progress, April 21, 1938-

Maple Shade National Bank Public Sale-

Spencer L. Haines, as Receiver of the Maple Shade National Bank, Maple Shade, New Jersey, will offer at public sale to the highest bidder or bidders for cash, at Maple Shade, New Jersey, on Thursday, May 5th, 1938, at 2 o'clock P.M. the remaining assets of the said Maple Shade National Bank, Maple Shade, N.J., consisting of real estate, bills receivable, judgements, and other choses in action and chattels less such items as may be paid or otherwise disposed of prior to the said date of sale herein mentioned.

From the Progress, April 21, 1938

Properties Sold
At Auction Sat.

George B. Evans, Of Moorestown, Buys Most Of Those Sold

About twenty of the fifty-three improved properties offered for sale at auction by the Maple Heights Building and Loan Association were sold. Approximately $23,000 worth of property was bought by different buyers, which was less than one quarter of the property offered, the total value of which is about $100,000. The auction was held in the Municipal Hall on Saturday afternoon.

The sale was by order of the trustees, who reserved the right to reject any and all bids. The properties are located in Maple Shade, Lenola, Pennsauken Township and Delaware Township. According to Clarence Haven, of 833 Park avenue, Collingswood, ten percent was necessary as a down payment at the time of sale, balance at settlement. Sixty percent could remain as a first mortgage, he said.

The Maple Heights Building and Loan Association is in the process of liquidation, proceedings having been started early in February. Trustees in liquidation include Howard R. Yocum, of 8 East Main Street, Warren G. Envoy, of 721 Market street, Camden and George B. Evans, of 65 East Main street, Moorestown.

The other building and loan association in the town, the Maple Shade B & L Association is also liquidating as is the Maple Shade National Bank, closed since 1933.

From the Progress, April 28, 1938

Republican Politicians from a 1937 Progress

Overall Bankruptcy-

Probably most all of the homes were in debt for unpaid payments and taxes. Some homes, particulary larger ones like on Linwood Ave., were left empty and Police had to stop kids from throwing rocks through their windows. The Barlows lost their Mansion and Barlow Building. The Charles B. Coles land, now Alden Park was lost for unpaid taxes and the Lester Collins apple orchards were seized by Burlington County Trust Company. The Maple Shade National Bank, of course, closed up after only being open for a few years. There was more though- in March of 1933 the municipality was declared bankrupt. The Township was now in "State Hands." In a 1935 Progress they were still a ways off but had come far in paying off their indebtedness.

That Sure Sounded Gloomy

Like the first article on this webpage said, there was alot of good times though even in the midst of a Great Depression. The Roxy Movie theatre was a source of entertainment. The Democrat Club had picnics. There was an annual carnival put on by the Maple Shade Square Club. Independence Day fireworks were started in 1936 and held at the Chestnut ave. school grounds.

Maple Shade Square Club Carnival Ad July 1935

Stores on Main Street continued. Fastows 5c to $5 store, Leonards Dept. Store. Fred Olt's Maple Shade Garage expanded in 1937 with Fred Fister doing the construction. Immanuel Baptist Church held its evening services out of doors in the summer. The various Churches children played each other in the Maple Shade Church Softball league. Actually thats a good idea for today. OLPH built a outdoor shrine in 1937. Unemployed found work renovating the old fire station, cleaning up and repairing the sewer plant, and clearing out weeds from drainage ditches to relieve properties of flooding. The Maple Shade playground was a WPA (Works Progress Administration) project to give employment to the unemployed. It was at the Chestnut avenue school No. 2.

Fireworks in Maple Shade in the Thirties-

From the Progress, July 4, 1935

From the Progress, June 24, 1937

OLPH Shrine photo from the Progress, June 24, 1937

Other Misc. 1930s Tidbits of information-

July 4 1935 paper- All Kinds of Fireworks, extra loud fire crackers, night displays, children's fireworks, Berg's Confectonery Main St. and Chestnut Ave.

1937- New State law - fireworks prohibited, but... The second annual Independance Day celebration with fireworks will be held July 5th at the Chestnut School grounds beginning at 9 o'clock.

The playground at Chestnut School No. 2 was a WPA (Works Progress Administration) project during the depression to give unemployed work.

The Church Softball League standings in a newspaper-
Baptist- 2 wins, 1 loss, 1 tie
Cong. Christian Endeavor- 2 wins, 2 losses, 0 ties
Episcopal 1 win, 1 loss, 1 tie
Lutheran 1 win, 2 losses, 0 ties

A mid Depression real estate ad- Fred W. Renwick, warning to the fellow who is waiting for a lower market, BETTER buy now.
hahah I guess so!

Thomas Murphy at Custard Stand selling coal.
Sanitary Shaving Parlor 232 S. Fellowship Road.
Ladies and Children's hair cutting Charles Pasquariello Pro.
I. Fastow 5c to $5 store men's dress shirts are ONLY 79c
Heck's Restaurant and Cafe, 7 N. Forklanding Road.

July 1935- The old Maltese property at Pine and Maple Heights is being torn down. It is one of the oldest buildings in Maple Shade and condemned as a fire hazard. (I know I saw a 1913 directory and it said Masons on Pine Ave. That could be the Roberts family related then Masons old house or other structure.)

1935- N.J. State Sales Tax
2% , except milk and purchases under 13 cents.

plans to reopen the ERA night school in Maple Shade-
A few of the courses are- Automobile repairs for women, First Aid, home care of the sick, LOCAL HISTORY, Antique refinishing, sewing, and handcraft and Shop.

In 1935 houses get water meters, plumbers report that 1,224 of the 1,500 water meters had been installed in Maple Shade.

OLPH Shrine details- The site of the Shrine is now the showplace of the locality. The structure is some 40 feet in width, 36 feet high and 18 feet in depth, having 26- inch solid stone walls throughout supporting a 17- ton concrete and stone dome.
It will be formally dedicated on Sunday August 15, 1937.

1937- Retirement dinner for Police Chief Clarence L.E. Ward was held at the German Kitchen. Arthur N. Cutler was the toastmaster. Rev Ralph J. Steinhauer invoked the blessing on the meal. Chief Ward served as Police Chief of Maple Shade for the past quarter of a century.

Notes- den does not endorse the consumption of alcoholic beverages.