Days of Yore
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New Jersey Building
as recounted by

Bill Day

 

 

‘New Jersey Building’
During the six months that the Centennial Exposition was held in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park in 1876, over 100 years ago, the New Jersey Building was one of its features.  It was the first state building ereected, and it received a medal for its perfect architecture.

Haddonfield contributed its share toward the expense of having New Jersey represented.

At the close of the exposition, Isaac A. Braddock, a Haddonfield resident, purchased the building for $2100.  He dismantled the structure and in January 1977, brought a load of lumber to Haddonfield.  Many local farmers came forward to help and 37 wagons completed the transportation of the building to town.  Braddock then gave an oyster supper to all involved and he also presented a rake to each participant.

The building was reconstructed on Main street and it extended from the present site of the Woolworth’s store down to the driveway opposite the Haddonfield Baptist Church.  It was 100 feet long and its imposing tower was 85 feet high.

The first floor was occupied by Petibone’s tin shop, Sterling’s fish market, Wescott’s barber shop, and Fowler’s shoe repair shop.

On the second floor was an auditorium which was used for socials and entertainment.  Mrs. Carrie Nicholson Hartel said, “I think ew were twn or twelve years old when Grandmother took us to see Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  I can still see Eliza jumping from one block of cardboard ice to the next.”

There is a record of the Commencement of the graduating class of Haddonfield Public Schools that was held in the building on Tuesday evening, June 12, 1883.

The building’s roof, after 30 years, became dangerous to pedestrians when it began to drop.  A builder, Mr. William Capern, purchased the landmark, and used the timbers to build some of our Haddonfield homes.  (Editor note: Much of the data for this article was secured from the book “This is Haddonfield” published by the Historical Society.)


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