Mount Ephraim History
Originally a colonial settlement, the town Mount Ephraim came into popularity by a man named Ephraim Albertson, who owned the Public House, also called the Old Tavern, a popular meeting place at Black Horse Pike & Kings Highway from 1800 to 1825. Stagecoach companies operating between Camden, Philadelphia, and the coast chose Albertson’s tavern as a station. He supplied fresh horses for the stages, and maintained a large stable and carriage shed in addition to the inn. Mount Ephraim took its name from his name.
In 1855, Center Township was formed. It included Mt. Ephraim, Runnemede, Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Magnolia, Barrington and Lawnside. The first township meeting was held at the Public House.
Also that year, Mt. Ephraim got its first post office, the only post office in Center Township. Champion Goldy became its first postmaster.
In 1856, 3 mills, stables, a wheelwright, a blacksmith, a tavern, a store and farms operated in the community.
In 1862, residents built a community center. Community members used the two-story structure as a town hall and school.
In 1877, Charles C. Clark opened the community’s first general store. It also served as the post offices. He also ran the local feed mill next to the railroad station in Mt. Ephraim.
Near the turn of the 20th century, 24 trains stopped at the station each day. People walked or came by horse and buggy to the water pump on the station platform to drink the cool spring water or carry it home in large milk cans.
The Mt. Ephraim School was built on Black Horse Pike in 1903. In 1909, the United Fire Company was incorporated. Mt. Ephraim was incorporated as a borough in 1926. In 1927, Mt. Ephraim Fire Company #2 was formed. In 1929, the Mt. Ephraim American Legion Post #150 was chartered by World War 1 Veterans. In 1930, the police department was established. The community center was demolished and the Mt. Ephraim School was renovated to become the Borough Hall and remains so today. The Mt. Ephraim Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 6262 was formed in 1967.
Mt. Ephraim Borough, the “Village at the Crossroads” continues to thrive as a close knit community and we look forward to what the future holds for the Borough.
Excerpts taken from a Courier Post article written by:
- 1800: Ephraim Albertson begins operating the Public House, also called the Old Tavern, a popular meeting place, at Black Horse Pike and Kings Highway.
- 1820: Hezekiah Shivers lays out a few plots of land for building.
- 1855: The first meeting of the newly formed Center Township, which includes Mount Ephraim, Runnemede, Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Magnolia, Barrington and Lawnside, takes place at the Public House. Mount Ephraim gets its first post office.
- 1862: Residents build a community center serving as a town hall, school.
- 1877: Mount Ephraim gets its first general store, operated by Charles C. Clark.
- 1886: The Mission Chapel is built as the community’s first house of worship.
- 1903: The Mount Ephraim School is built on Black Horse Pike.
- 1926: Mount Ephraim is incorporated as a borough.
- 1929: The Mount Ephraim American Legion Post #150 is chartered by World War I veterans.
- 1930: The community center is demolished. The Mount Ephraim School is converted into the borough hall. The borough’s police department is formed.
- 1967: The Mount Ephraim Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 6262 is formed.
- 1975: An addition to the borough hall is dedicated.
Sources: www.mountephraim-nj.com, www.cchsnj.com, “South Jersey Movie Houses” by Allen F. Hauss, “Welcome to Mount Ephraim, The Village at the Crossroads,” “Courier-Post” archives
LANDMARKS IN MOUNT EPHRAIM
1. MEPRI (Mount Ephraim Police Reserves Inc.) Banquet Room, 120 W. Kings Highway, has provided meeting space for organizations, held dances for teenagers and now hosts bingo games and social gatherings. The group formed during World War II.
2. Mount Ephraim Borough Hall, 121 S. Black Horse Pike, is a building used originally as a school. The structure was constructed in 1903, converted into the borough hall in 1930, the same year the police department was formed. In 1975, an addition was built onto the borough hall.
- 3. Mount Ephraim Baptist Church, 25 S. Black Horse Pike, was built in 1896. The church rose 10 years after the Baptists’ Mission Chapel was constructed as the first house of worship in Mount Ephraim.
“People should keep the history of an old town to hand it on.” Elisabeth Trace, teacher and borough librarian, in 1964
DID YOU KNOW?
Elias and Eva Harwan opened the Mount Ephraim Theater at Black Horse Pike and Kings Highway on Thanksgiving 1930. It had 774 seats and a pipe organ. It hosted live performances as well as movie screenings. Abbott and Costello were among the stars who performed there. The theater was renamed the Harwan in 1970. In 1987, the building was sold to businessman Saverio Garafolo. The theater closed in 2000. Is now the site of Walgreens Pharmacy.
Courtesy of the Courier Post