Tuckerton is a small
community at the southernmost tip of Ocean County.
Fronted by tidal marshes and natural bays along
the coast and backed by the Pine Barrens, the area
has a rich and varied history.
There is little known of the Paleotithic
peoples who were probably the first residents. More
archaeological research is needed. Of the later
residents, the Lenape Indians, more is known. Mostly
hunters and gatherers, they inhabited the shore
on a more or less seasonal basis, surviving on fish
and shellfish, cranberries, blueberries, and other
native fruits, as well as by hunting. Artifacts
have been found at one of the shell mounds near
Tuckerton, as well as along riverbanks.
The first recorded
visit by a European is that of Captain Cornelius
Jacobsen Mey, who sailed into the harbor now known
as Little Egg Harbor in 1614 to supplement the shipboard
diet by gathering the eggs of shore birds. Over
a period of many years, Europeans began to avail
themselves of the natural harbors and abundant farmland.
Settlers took advantage of both land and ocean resources,
and the first villages began to appear: Parkertown,
established in 1721; Little Egg Harbor, established
in 1741; Tuckerton, established in 1798 (previously
known as Clamtown); and Eagleswood, established
in 1874. Tuckerton itself became an important port
In the Revolutionary War, Tuckerton was a
major harbor for captured British ships. The British
attempted to take Tuckerton, but were repulsed by
300 men led by Count Pulaski. After the war, imports
and exports became brisk business. Timber was felled
for ship building, iron was retrieved from the bogs
for smelting, a salt works was established, and
agriculture became increasingly important. Cranberries,
Indian corn, and rye were predominant crops, while
fishing, clamming, and hunting continued to thrive.
Extensive lumbering depleted the local hardwoods,
Early inhabitants were
Quakers, but other Protestant groups soon immigrated.
The area thrived as a seaport, but the construction
of the Erie Canal in 1825 precipitated a decline.
According to June LeMunyon, President of the Tuckerton
Historical Society, it was after the Civil War that
tourism became the new industry. From the 1870's
through the 1930's, the area was known primarily
for its proximity to seaside resorts.
Flooding and beach
erosion diminished the area's importance somewhat.
Tucker's Beach, also known as Sea Haven or Short
Beach, was one of the earliest resorts on the Jersey
Shore, and is now completely under water.
Just prior to World
War I, the German government built the Tuckerton
Wireless, a 680 feet tall tower with the capability
of communicating directly with Europe. The tower
was operated by German nationals until the entrance
of the United States into the war. Local folklore
maintains that the message "Get the Lucy"
was broadcast from the tower, which resulted in
the famous sinking of the Lusitania. The tower was
dismantled in 1950.
as a borough in 1901, was the commercial hub of
the area. Route 9 brought many fishermen & day trippers to the area,
but 1954 brought the completion of the Garden State
Parkway, causing many tourists to bypass Tuckerton.
A real estate boom in the 1950’s brought new
residents to the area, so many that a new school
was needed in the 1970’s, so Pinelands Regional
High School was built in 1979. Also in the 1970’s,
the Tuckerton Historical Society was established
in 1972. Also in 1979, a fire destroyed store buildings in the center
of town, and also the Methodist Church.
The Great Bay ecosystem was incorporated
into the Jacques Cousteau National Estaurine Research
Reserve, which covers more than 114,000 acres of
public, in October, 1997. Research and education
for the Mullica River/Great Bay Estuary are the
main focus of the reserve.
July 12, 1997 was the groundbreaking for
the Tuckerton Seaport, which opened 13 of 26 buildings
on May 6, 2000.
The amount of land
area in Tuckerton is 9.468 sq. kilometers. The amount
of surface water is .307 sq. kilometers.
Tuckerton is positioned 39.59 degrees north
of the equator and 74.32 degrees west of the prime
The Tuckerton Library is located in a residential
neighborhood approximately four blocks (1/2 mile)
east of Route 9. Five directional signs placed strategically
at various intersections aid residents in locating
the library. The Tuckerton municipality is bordered by Great Bay. A number
of the houses in eastern Tuckerton are situated
on lagoons. This suggests an interest in water activities
and, by implication, an increased summer population.
This community is zoned primarily residential.
In Tuckerton, major developments include: Harbor
View Apartments (seniors), Paradise Cove, Tuckerton
Estates, and Tuckerton Meadows.
Approximately 23 percent
of Eagleswood lies within the Pinelands Preservation
and Forest Area. Another 15 percent of the township
is located within the Edwin B. Forsythe National
The dominating factor in land development
in Tuckerton is the tidal marsh. 1,500 acres of
marshland in the southeastern portion of the borough
are poorly drained and unsuitable for most parts
of development, although the land is valuable from
a conservationist's perspective. Vacant land accounts
for about 63 percent of the borough’s holdings.
The Tuckerton Branch
service area covers two Ocean County municipalities.
Proximity of the branch to the commercial center
in Tuckerton is approximately 1/2 mile, to that
of Eagleswood, approximately 4 miles.
Business in these areas is primarily made
up of small independent entrepreneurs, involved
in areas of the service industry. There are a number
of banks, restaurants, craft shops, and realtors
serving the area. The majority of local companies
are related to the building and construction industries,
as well as to the boating and fishing industries.
Perhaps due to the proximity of the area
to the Bay, all types of boating and fishing businesses
are available to residents and visitors. A large
number of area residents own boats for private recreational
use. Therefore, there are a large number of marinas,
bait and tackle shops, and businesses for boat maintenance
According to the Southern Ocean Chamber of
Commerce, only 10 to 20 percent of local business
is seasonal. The "Characteristics of Vacant
Housing Units" and the "Comparison of
Total and Occupied Housing Units” corroborates
the concept that overall commercial activity in
the area is year round. In Tuckerton, 24.5 percent
of vacant housing is seasonal; 17.5 percent in Eagleswood.
Likewise in Tuckerton, 65.3 percent of the occupied
housing is with year-round residents; 76.4 percent
The Tuckerton and Eagleswood
municipalities are compact communities that lie
at the southern end of Ocean County. The area is
located approximately ten to fifteen minutes south
of Manahawkin, Stafford Township. Manahawkin is
the closest commercial center for the area, and
many residents travel there for shopping and entertainment
purposes, as well as to Little Egg Harbor, which
has added many strip malls.
The Garden State Parkway
is the area's major artery. It provides direct service
between major cities and larger towns. Route 9 is
the area's principal artery. It is the north/south
roadway that connects the three communities. It
also connects the area to other local towns in Ocean
County. Route 539 is designated the major collector
for the area. Route 539 is an east/west roadway
allowing major areas to connect to the arterial
network. In addition, Route 539 collects the traffic
from local roads. New Jersey Transit provides public
transportation to the area.
The local bus service
runs hourly and travels along Route 9 between Lakewood
and Atlantic City. A reduced fare is available to
senior citizens and riders with disabilities. Since
the bus route is direct and travels along Route
9, it passes numerous businesses, shopping centers,
and some Ocean County branch libraries.
The Ocean County Department
of Transportation also provides local bus service
through two programs. The Ocean County Area Transportation
program (O.C.A.T.) is a fixed route bus service
for rural areas of Ocean County. The routes give
accessibility to shopping areas, town halls, post
offices, and mass transit.
The Ocean County Handicapped
Elderly Transportation Service, called Ocean Ride
(formerly O.C.H.E.T.S.) is also available for senior
and disabled residents. The purpose of this service
is to transport area residents from their homes
to nearby hospital and doctors' offices for medical
plans include a "Bay Shuttle" commuter
service that will stop at various docks throughout
Ocean County. The boat will operate like a bus line
along the Barnegat Bay.
The following organizations
are based in Tuckerton:
Environmental Groups: American Littoral Society;
Clean Ocean Action;
Bay Decoy & Baymen’s Museum; Giffordstown
School Museum; Tuckerton Historical Society
Ethnic Heritage: Italian
American Social Club of Little Egg Harbor,
Recreation & Sports:
Pinelands School Based Youth Services
Woman’s Club of Great Bay
There are a variety
of recreational options in the area, many of them
outdoors in nature. One of these is the public parks
system. Public parks include the South Green Street
County Park, which features a scenic view of Little
Egg Harbor and offers fishing and crabbing. New
recreational equipment has recently been added.
Tip Seaman County Park, bordering on Tuckerton and
Little Egg Harbor, offers twenty-two acres of picnic
area, basketball and tennis courts, a softball field,
playground equipment, as well as arts and crafts
or other events held in the rotunda. Also available
to area residents is the Bass River State Forest.
Six miles west of Tuckerton, the forest provides
a picnic area, swimming, canoeing, hiking, and camping.
There is one skating
rink in Tuckerton, but no movie theater. Residents
travel to Manahawkin, Long Beach Island, Toms River,
or Pleasantville for the widest selection of movie
Residents may choose
to visit the casinos in Atlantic City, or journey
to Stockton State College for lectures and concerts.
Hunting, fishing, and boating are popular with both
teens and adults.
The Giffordtown Schoolhouse
Museum houses many antiques and pictures of historic
Tuckerton. Open seasonally on Saturdays from mid-June
through September, members of the Tuckerton Historical
Society are available to answer questions.
The Barnegat Bay Decoy
and Baymen's Museum was completed and opened in
It is located at the Tuckerton Seaport. It
is a replica of an "old time" duck-hunting
shanty. Artifacts from local residents are displayed,
and there is also a museum shop.
The original museum moved from Tip Seaman
Park to the Seaport site in March of 2000. The Tuckerton
Seaport opened 13 of 26 buildings on May 6, 2000.
The Seaport has exhibits and artifacts that
teach about the bay and all phases of a bayman’s
life, including boat building and duck decoy carving.
Annual events include
Eagleswood Founder's Day, a day-long celebration
including a parade, food, games, and a walking tour
of the historic district. The Tuckerton Historical
Society holds a yearly flea market at Tip Seaman
Park. Vendors from New Jersey and beyond attend.
The Old Time Barnegat Bay Decoy and Gunning Show
is held each September, both at the park and at
Pinelands Regional High School. Shuttle buses provide
a link between the two sites.
Work schedules have
an impact on the pursuit of entertainment. There
is no large employer in the area, and most residents
must commute long distances to work, while some
work swing shifts. Single-parent families may not
be able to take their children to evening activities,
and public transportation is limited to Route 9.
Basically, a car is required in order to take advantage
of area activities. Teens must have their own car
or depend upon parents to take them to their chosen
Baymen once made their living from the bounty of
area waterways: fishing, clamming, eeling, and boat
building. Even today the Mullica/Great Bay water
system is "probably the cleanest, most pristine
estuary between the Washington D.C. megalopolis,
all the way to Boston." The environmentally
sensitive waters are just as vital today. Boating,
clamming, and fishing serve now as both commercial
and recreational activities. Hunting is another
popular pursuit. Area residents are interested in
sneakboxes, used for duck hunting, and in decoys,
as is witnesses by the continuing popularity of
the annual Duck and Decoy Show at Tip Seaman Park.
Several businesses have closed or have moved to
locations outside the Tuckerton area. Expansion
and renovations have been completed at the Dynasty
Diner. Mercurio’s moved ½ block to
a bigger building at the corner of South Green Street
and Route 9. The Tuckerton Pub is a new restaurant
in the area.
The communities of Tuckerton and Eagleswood are
small, somewhat insular, and homogeneous in nature.
The majority of each municipality's population is
Racial minorities, including Asians, Blacks, Hispanics,
and Native Americans, make up just over 4 percent
of the total population.43 However, the minority
population is growing. A comparison of the 1980
and 1990 census counts indicates the overall minority
population has very nearly tripled in size.
As a point of comparison, according to Census 2000,
there are 3,517 people living in Tuckerton, of which:
3,408 are white; 14 are black; 19 are Asian or Pacific
Islander; 109 are Hispanic; and 47 are of two or
Comcast Cable provides
cable television service to area residents. The
basic service includes a community bulletin board
with postings of sports events, community meetings,
and other local announcements. In Spring 2001, Comcast
took over Adelphia and TCI. They have retained channel
8, Ocean County Newswatch, which was established
Channel 21 – Wildcat TV – is broadcast
to the community by the Pinelands Regional High
School media center, and features a community calendar
and repeat videos of school events. Pineland Regional’s
school district homepage is: www.pinelandsregional.org/.
Tuckerton Elementary School’s website
address is: www.tes.com.inter.net/.
of local events can be found in The Tuckerton Beacon,
The Press of Atlantic City, The Barnegat Bay Banner,
The Sand Paper, and occasionally, in The Philadelphia
The Tuckerton Beacon
is a weekly paper, published by the Times-Beacon,
with circ of 4,000 (which includes home mailing
& store purchases), is the main source for local
news coverage. The Press of Atlantic City, Southern
Ocean edition, a daily newspaper, has total daily
circ of 4,852 and Sunday circ of 6,347.
In the 08087 zip code area, of which Tuckerton
is a part, daily circ is 2,000, and Sunday circ
Two free publications
are The Barnegat Bay Banner and The Sand Paper.
The Banner is published biweekly. The Sand Paper(circ:
seasonal, 45,000 and up) and The Beachcomber are
published weekly, and The Leader is published monthly,
and boasts a circulation of 9,100.
Two radio stations
frequently used in the area are WJRZ, broadcast
from Manahawkin, and WOBM, broadcast from Toms River.
Both stations offer coverage of local events. Some
other radio stations: WJLK, The Point; Oldies 100;
Marine broadcasting including weather, tide,
and other boating information is available to residents.
AT&T High Seas Radio broad- casts from Manahawkin,
while Global Marine Communication is located in
The Tuckerton Beach
Association publishes a monthly newsletter of the
same name for its members, which keeps residents
of the lagoon community, Tuckerton Beach, up to
date on local & marine events.
The Tuckerton Seaport
publishes a bi-monthly newsletter about Seaport
events, the Seaport Sentinel, which is sent by mail
to Seaport Society members.
Local churches will
generally, upon request, make public service announcements
to their parishioners or publish them in the church
bulletins. Additionally, area stores will post fliers.