Images of America: Hammonton
by Gazette Publisher Gabe Donio
Early in the nineteenth century, when rugged northerners came to the middle of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, they were met with sandy soil and little chance for survival. They then discovered that peaches, cranberries, and blueberries grew well in that sandy soil, and they made their fortunes. In time, Italians came to work the farms and wound up owning them. The unique combination of Yankee and old-world values-which had more in common than anyone imagined-created Hammonton, a community unlike any other. Hammonton is a town with a proud and diverse history. From its early days, carved out of the wilderness by hardy pioneers from New England, to successive generations of farm and factory labor forces made up of immigrants from Italy, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, Hammonton's story is unique. Scores of historical photographs, many of them never before published, fill the pages of Hammonton. Included are views of the town's agricultural heritage, the vintage architecture of its schools and charming downtown area, the improbable and thrilling Little League World Series victory of the 1949 Hammonton All-Stars, the 1984 visit from Pres. Ronald Reagan that drew more than thirty thousand people to town, and the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, an annual local tradition with a one-hundred-twenty-five-year history.