Cherry Hill History
Cherry Hill was not always the sprawling suburban community it is today.
Native Americans inhabited the area before English settlers, members of the Society of Friends, arrived in the late 1600s. They settled along the banks of the Cooper River and the Pennsauken Creek. The area eventually became home to many successful farms and mills.
In 1695, the English formed the community of Waterford Township, one of the original townships of old Gloucester County. It became Delaware Township when the state legislature approved its creation in February 1844. Besides farms and mills, Delaware Township had several villages such as Colestown, Batesville, and Ellisburg. The township stayed mostly farms until the 1920s when there was a spurt of growth which led to the building of areas like Erlton, Colwick, Barlow, Hinchman and Locustwood.
The township did suffer some setbacks during the Depression and the state took financial control for a few years. In the 1940s the local economy began to improve, partly due to the opening of the Garden State Race Track in 1942 (currently the Market Place at Garden State Park). The township became well-known for shopping and entertainment. There was the Latin Casino (now the Subaru Headquarters), The Hawaiian Cottage (now home to the Olive Garden) and the Cherry Hill Inn. In 1961 the Cherry Hill Mall opened. It was one of the first indoor malls in the United States.
The post-World War II exodus from the cities to the suburbs was in full swing in Delaware Township. New housing developments such as Kingston Estates, Greenhaven, Barclay Farms and Cherry Hill Estates were taking over much of the farmland on the west side of town. The population grew from 10,358 in 1950 to 64,395 by 1970.
As large as the township was becoming, it still did not have its own post office. Township officials and residents asked the U.S. Postal Service to establish a separate post office in the town. Because the name “Delaware” was already in use by another postal facility in northern New Jersey, the name had to be changed. A contest was held, a vote was taken, and the name was changed to Cherry Hill. “Cherry Hill” was the name of the farm which once occupied the space where the Cherry Hill Inn was built (now a Loews Theatre). Voters approved the change in November 1961.
Ask for these and other Cherry Hill history sources at the Reference Desk.
The Cherry Hill Historical Commission
The Cherry Hill Historical Commission is dedicated to preserving the history of the township, the volunteer commission collects, preserves, and maintains archives and memorabilia, and assists in identifying historical resources in Cherry Hill.
Archival material collected by the Commission is housed in the Local History Room (Lower Level) at the Cherry Hill Public Library. The Local History Room also features a rotating exhibit in its glass display case.
Services by appointment only. Call (856) 488-7886 or e-mail email@example.com for details.