The culture and heritage of the Delaware Bay region of New Jersey demonstrates many historical themes that should be more extensively studied and documented. The number of structures currently documented by HABS/HAER, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and/or included in state or county inventories, falls short of adequately recording the extensive resources extant in this relatively undisturbed region. The purpose of this chapter is to recommend future directions for research and documentationall of which are part of the larger themes of investigation elaborated upon in previous chapters. Further work should be undertaken in phases, with historical research preceding graphic recording.
To complement information gathered for this volume, a companion survey is recommended for the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail area along the Atlantic Ocean from Sandy Hook to Cape May to include: eastern Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties. A similarly illustrated publication should be produced in which the appropriate themes and significant historic resources are identified in the context of the development of these counties. Of the specific themes affiliated with South Jersey's history, maritime and agriculture resources should be investigated at a significant level.
Phase I of the maritime theme should focus on the comprehensive recording of significant representative oystering and ship-building resources, to include an overview history that encompasses the Delaware Bay resources and an inventory of extant sites: ship-building yards, vessels (mid nineteenth century-1930), lighthouses, and seafood-processing facilities. Specifically, a history should be prepared for the CASHIER (1849), perhaps the oldest U.S. commercial fishing boat still in use, and other indigenous fishing craft such as the CLYDE PHILIPS. Large-format photographs should be made of these, and measured Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) drawings should be made of significant related activities, such as the oystering processfrom seeding to harvest, and the apparatus required. Subsequent phases of maritime research should encompass comparable resources along the Atlantic shore; a selection of life-saving stations and navigational aides throughout the Delaware Bay and ocean region should be recorded minimally, at least.
Related to the maritime theme is the category of water-controlled coastal agriculture, or tidal dike/bank fanning of salt marshes, whereby land is reclaimed to provide naturally fertile fields. This includes the historic formation of meadows corporations and cranberry bogs, and the methods of cultivation employed. Two extant examples are the Burcham Farm in Cumberland County, an island-like survivor along the Maurice River; and the Abbott Tide Mill Farm in Salem County, where the creek waters long-ago reclaimed the pasture land where Abbott Dairy cows grazed. Both should be documented in greater depth in written and graphic form, and are recommended for potential listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Another facet of agriculture worthy of study is the commercial industry founded on the local harvest of produce (and seafood) as related to the lucrative nineteenth-century canning/packing industry. Seabrook Farms, one of the last extant food-processing plants in the area, may best exemplify this activity, as it operated a company town and used a migrant labor force. With the decline of canneries came the rise of roadside stands as a retail ouflet. These vernacular and utilitarian structures are well-known local features, and as such should be captured, perhaps as a typology study. The farms on which the crops are grown should also be investigatedwith the oldest, most intact, and culturally dominant assemblies to be recorded.
Evidence of the glass, iron, and textile industries existthough less often than original numbers might indicateand their role in the area's economic and social history should be explored. The glass industry historically and currently is a fundamental economic base in the region. With the subsidiary endeavors of sandmining and lumbering, the glass-manufacturing industry should be fully researched. Though much of its early years are well documented, a context for the mechanized late nineteenth-century facilitiesespecially as related to canning and dairying methodologyshould be reviewed, and extant resources identified and appropriately documented in greater detail through written history, photographs, and drawings.
There are significant remains of the Wood Manufacturing Company buildings, once devoted to cotton/textile manufacturing and the production of iron and cast objects. The social life of its work forceand that of other paternalistic companieswill be found in the company-built housing and stores located in towns from Bivalve/Port Norris to Millville. Smaller corporate communities may have existed in Bridgeton and Salem. The site of the Ferracute Machine Company, started by Oberlin Smith, includes a Queen Anne-era headquarters as well as extant factory buildings, both of which should be thoroughly recorded. More investigation in general is needed to identify the architectural and engineering remains of major South Jersey industries.
Historically, transportation history in this region encompasses the active schooner fleets and railroad networks, several urban traction companies, and bicyclists' promotion of the Good Roads Movement. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century highways became the footprint over which modern state and interstate highways were laidand thus are lined with, or lead to, historic residential and commercial structures. This is particularly true along Routes 47 and 49. Few wholly contemporary roads appear to have been created, especially in the rural areas.
Few cultural resources remain from the transportation entities themselves, such as train and trolley stations, filling stations, and garages. These, as well as the limited assortment of early twentieth-century roadside architecture that include filling stations and tourist cabins, should be assessed for their present condition and incumbent contribution to the historic character of this area, and should be documented accordingly. Historic bridges and corduroy roads are the most noteworthy resources extant.
Relative to other building types, there are many extant and well-preserved school houses and churches throughout South Jersey's towns that indicate a respectful and popular devotion to educationboth spiritual and academic. Quakerism in the eighteenth century and Methodism in the late nineteenth century are particularly apparent; the former has been documented more so than the latter. Because of the uniform forms and styles found among these two building types, a representative selection might be made in which several are researched and graphically documented, or as many as possible should be recorded in the context of the respective town or setting.
Little remains of the three major amusement parks where urbanites and visitors sought comprehensive recreationfrom the thrills of mechanical Pretzels and ferris wheels to pastoral boating excursions. Nor do significant resources exist at the Delaware Bay resortsFortescue or Sea Breeze. Similarly, most early theaters and opera houses have burned or were demolished long ago. No apparent resources or social/cultural sites have been identified that warrant a target study, though if significant sites are identified, it is especially important that they be documented as rare remnants of this aspect of life in South Jersey.
The culture and heritage of the Native American Lenni Lenape within the study area should be pursued and documented if possible. One means might be coupling research with archaeological findings. Other approaches include oral history and folklore. Without extant resources, however, no HABS/HAER documentation is recommended.
The role of free blacks who lived in this region is worthy of study. Considering South Jersey's Quaker heritage and its geographic importance as part of the Underground Railroad, knowledge and documentation of its free black population is inadequate. Among the settlements are Springtown, Gouldtown, and possibly Claysville. Through evidence provided by the vociferous documentation kept by Quakers, the early role of these bayside communities may include new information about the exodus of fugitive slaves. Further research would do much to clarify local lore telling of "secret rooms" where they were harbored, and at the same time contribute to the knowledge of local black history.
Predicated by a survey, site-specific documentation may be in order for the small towns and hamlets such as Mauricetown, Shiloh, Port Norris, Newport, Dividing Creek, Harmersville, Hancock's Bridge, Goshen, Cold Spring, Quinton, Canton, and Maskill's Mill. Many contain structures that may be eligible for listing in the National Register individually, as part of a district, or as a component of a thematic resource nomination. Of properties that are already listed, HABS/HAER may document a selection based on architectural and associative merit, at a level dictated by their significance. Inversely, HABS/HAER products will be substantive to the level that the material may be used in the preparation of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.