“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Magnolia in Camden County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Magnolia Station

The Waning Years and a New Beginning

— 1940 - 2001 —

Magnolia Station Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 14, 2020
1. Magnolia Station Marker
These were the last years of the Atlantic City Railroad. What began as an amazing accomplishment ended heroically some 124 years later and spanned a century and a quarter 1877 to 1001. Hundreds of passengers a week had been carried "express" at seventy miles an hour to and from seashore points, and to work or shop in Philadelphia and Camden on the many local 20-minute trips daily. Magnolia saw a new smaller passenger shelter built next to the old station in 1941. The old larger station was torn down in 1943-43. Strangely, the railroad said this was because of high taxes, yet there is no history of taxes ever having been collected for land use, buildings, or appurtenances in the annal of Magnolia history, or the ancient property deeds.

The Delaware River Bridge had been opened for automobiles and trucks in 1926 and a Speedline Railway was built on the bridge to take passengers to and from Philadelphia and Camden. Passengers no longer needed to end at Camden for a ferry ride to Philadelphia. Later this became the Patco Speedline we use today in 2001. Much of the freight was sent by rail over Delair railroad bridge. In 1933, the
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now consolidated train lines became the Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines, although technically, through the controlling interest of the Pennsylvania Railroad the 1901 Atlantic City Railroad lasted until April 1976. In 1954, the second set of tracks of the ACR were removed leaving only one set of tracks passing through Magnolia. The gates were still hand operated and they were later torn down. This left the tracks unguarded with only crossback lights and ringing bells, still there today. All stations were torn down. Corning opened a fibreglass factory on the border of Magnolia and Barrington, they made their first freight shipment in 1956. In 1957, the regular steam engine service ended. In 1964, regular passenger service ended. In 1968, the National Railway Historical Society ran what would be the last steam engine, called "the freedom train" passed through Magnolia in the afternoon, pulled by a Canadian Pacific engine. An act of Congress in 1976 changed the Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Line to Con-rail, Consolidated Rail Lines Corporation purchased the line. A few daily deisel powered freight trains still run up and down the single tracks, although they do not stop at Magnolia anymore. In the year 2000 the railroad became a shared asset line after almost ten years of negotiation. Conrail was finally merged with and controlled by two short line entities, CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Magnolia Station Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 14, 2020
2. Magnolia Station Marker
1992 till 1996, the Magnolia Historical Society negotiated with Con-Rail to acquire a property from the west side of Evesham Ave. north to Lincoln Ave. 1.5 acres of ground. 1996 to 2000 they struggled to raise construction funds in the years 2000 and 2001 they built a replica of the station that stood there in the late 1800's and have called it Magnolia Station. It is a Library, Museum and Park, financed by many generous donations, built with Volunteer efforts, donated time, materials, and with fund raisers and [unreadable]. The Railroad Station in Magnolia has a long [unreadable].

Railroad Jargon and Little Known Facts of the Magnolia Station
1) "Flimzies" — Thin pieces of paper used for train orders, to be placed on a wand like hoop, that was passed from the Stationmaster to the train Conductor.

2) Only a whistle post for Davis Road (east side, headed north, no gates).

3) At one time Ganary Iron Products were shipped from Magnolia.

4) There was a coal yard on by a siding at Jackson Ave., where the present park is now. Mr. Bergstrom would take his truck there, fill it with coal and deliver to town customers.

5) Trains were of the "Whyte System" of numbering wheels. This Engine was known as 4-4-2, meaning 4 lead wheels, 4 drive wheels and 2 trailing wheels.

6) 1889 Methodist Church
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minutes note that the railroad was known as "Atlantic City R.R."

7) 1930, Mail was shipped twice a day from Philadelphia and Camden to Magnolia. It was dropped into a cart that was pressed against the side of the train. The cart was then pulled away and taken to the station where Elmer Hoffman would put it in his handcart and push it across Evesham Ave. to the Post Office.

8) 1930's "Bill Ochmeyer" could always be found at the station talking to Mr. Olaf Hagen, the Stationmaster, and helping the Gatetender, Mr. Cavellero wind the crossing gates down.

9) 1930's, Christmas trees were dropped off the train for Mr. Clapp, the only seller of Christmas trees in town.

10) 1930s, Everytime a train passed, Mr. Hagen would have to phone headquarters to announce the train by its Whyte System number.

11) The Station phone number was "448".

12) Mr. Bosco's truck was hit by a passing train and destroyed at the Evesham Avenue crossing. One truck wheel rolled in to the yard of Mr. Garton's house.

13) On October 26 and 27, 1896, The Atlantic City Railroad beat the Pennsylvania railroad in a race.
Prepared by Joyce Stites 2001
Erected by Magnolia Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsIndustry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), and the Postal Mail and Philately series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1976.
Location. 39° 51.265′ N, 75° 2.176′ W. Marker has been reported unreadable. Marker is in Magnolia, New Jersey, in Camden County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Evesham Avenue West and East Atlantic Avenue, on the right when traveling west. The marker is on the back porch of the station building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 438 Evesham Ave W, Magnolia NJ 08049, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Railroad Stations of Magnolia (a few steps from this marker); Churches (a few steps from this marker); The Atlantic City Railroad (a few steps from this marker); Early Education in Magnolia (within shouting distance of this marker); Families in Magnolia (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Borough of Magnolia Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Vietnam War Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Story of the Peter Mott House (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Magnolia.
More about this marker. The marker has suffered extensive weathering. The available text of the marker comes by courtesy from Magnolia Historical Society.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 16, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 227 times since then and 87 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 16, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Dec. 2, 2023