Still plenty of landmarks on the White Horse Pike
The White Horse statue—from what I’ve been told it was actually made out of canvas stretched over wood—is gone after decades as a landmark in front of White Horse Farms on the White Horse Pike (Route 30). One former law enforcement source told me it fell victim to vandalism.
Whatever the case, the white horse statue has vanished after standing sentry over its portion of the pike from its elevated red wooden perch for many years.
You probably drove by it hundreds or thousands of times. It’s no fun to lose another landmark on the White Horse Pike, which stretches from the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden to Atlantic City and was called “South Jersey’s version of Route 66” by The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2017 when the newspaper took the time to point out some landmarks along the roadway.
One of the landmarks mentioned was the Ideal Clothing store, which once had a huge sign with the word “IDEAL” that adorned its roof. It’s gone from the pike now as well.
People traveling to the shore still look for roadside landmarks. The horse and the Ideal sign are no longer there. Neither is the Midway Diner and it’s neon signage featuring a glass with the words “Cocktail Lounge” on it (there’s a Wawa on the location now), and the original green and pink neon DiDonato’s Bowling sign, which has been updated to one with backlit lettering.
There are still landmarks if you know where to look for them. Back in 2017, The Inquirer mentioned the 25-foot Renault Winery bottles (one is located in the nearby Elm section of Winslow Twp. and another is near the winery itself) as well as Royale Crown, the venerable seasonal restaurant and ice cream location that opened in 1953 and is celebrating 70 years this summer.
In the evening, the flashing “ARENA” neon sign that was first installed in the 1940s by local sign maker Dominick Pitera is a beacon to drivers passing by the Art Deco car dealership on the point made by the White Horse Pike to the right of the building and Main Road to its left.
The bright orange roadside stand known as Sofia’s Supreme for the last 15 years and originally built as a Stewart’s Root Beer stand still has servers who run the food and drink out to your car and put it on a tray that hooks to your car window. You can sit outside under their large tent or eat in your car.
Drivers have been pulling into The Maplewood for more than 70 years. During those years the Italian restaurant, which gained renown and acclaim particularly for its seafood dishes, has expanded and grown.
Perfectly located at the intersection of the White Horse Pike, Route 54 and Route 206, the Silver Coin Diner received a glorious stainless-steel and neon nostalgic retrofit quite some time ago and has continued to pack the people into its counter, tables and booths. Friendly service with fabulous food can be found here.
It would be easy to turn this into another “Local Things That Aren’t There Anymore” piece—Elm alone is no longer home to Roma Italian Market, the Silver Fox Inn, Augie’s Country House and the farm market that was known as Pete’s Market—but I think the focus this week should continue to be on the roadside attractions along the White Horse Pike in Hammonton and nearby towns that continue to draw people to their locations.
That includes places like Columbia II, standing out on its own in Mullica Twp. and continuing to serve customers that keep coming back for more.
There is a unique cluster of fast food restaurants, near the corner of the White Horse Pike, Route 206 and Route 30, that form a sort of “rest stop” for the thousands who go through the intersection each day, especially tourists during the summer months. The traffic counts are what keep them all going, including traffic riding down the pike.
A new landmark arrived on the top floor of the One White Horse Centre building, located on that same major corner, in March. Assemblyman Michael Torrissi, who is vice president of the Coraluzzo Torrissi trucking firm, moved the firm’s headquarters from Vineland to Hammonton.
Their large sign in front of the building is now a landmark on the White Horse Pike as well.
There are other White Horse Pike landmarks. Space doesn’t allow me to list them all here.
Hammontonians should be proud of the role our stretch of the pike continues to play on one of the most interesting, historic and vibrant highways in New Jersey.
Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.