Newton Township’s first European settlers came to the area of Newton Creek in 1681. The community survived the Revolutionary War and the decision of Camden to incorporate as a city, but historians conclude that the township may have split into two because of changes enacted by the New Jersey Legislature in the mid-1840s. The new statute changed the old practice of holding general elections on two days in different locations in a township and forced many townships to break into smaller units. On February 23, 1865, just a few months before the end of the Civil War, the eastern section of Newton Township was split off and the Township of Haddon was created. The township’s name comes from John Haddon whose daughter, Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh, came from England in the 1700s and settled on her father’s large landholdings, which included what is now Haddon Township. Haddon Township’s first Town Hall was built in 1853 on the Haddonfield & Camden Turnpike (Haddon Avenue) where today’s Haddonfield Firehouse is located.
By 1875 Haddon Township was comprised of 81 farms with over 2500 residents living in the township (1400 within the village of Haddonfield which was then under the jurisdiction of the Township of Haddon), and thirty-three manufacturing establishments. The newly created township was 5,286 acres and included land to the south and east of what is now Collings Road. Continued growth in the community during the 19th century was due, in no small part, to the development of the Camden & Atlantic Railroad in the 1850s, allowing easy access to Camden, and, by ferry, Philadelphia, and in the southward direction, as far as Absecon Inlet.
Besides the village of Haddonfield, a cluster of houses and shops along the Haddonfield Turnpike, between what is today’s Maple Ave. and Cuthbert Blvd., became known as the village of Rowandtown (named for the village blacksmith John Rowand). By 1825 Rowandtown’s citizens had already built a one room schoolhouse which was replaced in 1872 by the two-story Rowandtown School. Rowandtown was also a station stop on the Camden & Atlantic Railroad. A tollgate for the Haddonfield & Camden Turnpike was located in Rowandtown for many years during the mid- to late 19th century, near what is now the intersection of Crystal Lake and Haddon Avenue.
Rowandtown Schoolhouse, Haddon Ave., built 1872; later moved to Center St. and used as the Methodist Church; now a private residence at 20-22 Center St.; one-story back annex is now the Municipal Offices at 10 Reeve Ave.
The Township of Haddon would, over a period of many years, divide again to become part of nine other municipalities: Oaklyn, Audubon, Audubon Park, Collingswood, Gloucester City, Woodlyn, Camden, Haddon Heights, and Haddonfield. These splits would leave Haddon Township with its somewhat irregular, non-contiguous boarders that we know today as including the communities of West Collingswood Heights and the West Collingswood Extension.
History of Haddon Township told through Photographs
The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series is Haddon Township from local authors William B. Brahms and Sandra White-Grear and the Haddon Township Historical Society. The book contains more than 200 images drawn from private and public collections.
Price: $21.99, 128 pages/softcover (add $2.50 shipping; more than 1 book, add $1.00 each additional book).
Proceeds from book sales benefit the Haddon Township Historical Society, a 501c3 non-profit organization.