Monthly Archives: February 2018

The Storage Inn investigates South Jersey’s Underground Railroad

South Jersey’s Underground Railroad

Its mid February at The Storage Inn Self Storage here in Egg Harbor Township New Jersey, and we’ve already been through Groundhog Day, Mardi Gras, and Valentine’s Day. February, however, is also a month-long celebration of our nation’s Black History. The Storage Inn is located just outside Atlantic City, New Jersey, a city rich in Black History – Club Harlem, Chicken Bone Beach, and the Boardwalk Empire Prohibition Era come to mind immediately, but what many people don’t know, is that Atlantic and Cape May counties in southern New Jersey were integral in the success of the Underground Railroad in the mid 1800’s.

This was brought to light by one of our storage customers who happens to be the curator for the Black History section of the Atlantic City Heritage Collections at the resort’s public library. Below are the highlights of our conversation regarding the underground railroad in our area.

The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses used in the 19th century by slaves to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause.



These safe houses were located in small communities, so those seeking freedom could go from town to town without anyone noticing them, For slaves using the Underground Railroad to escape the south, reaching Atlantic and Cape May counties offered hope that the journey to freedom might soon be over.

Communities such as Somers Point and Egg Harbor City in Atlantic County offered those escaping slavery a direct path to Pennsylvania, a state that had already outlawed slavery.

“The goal of slaves on the Underground Railroad was to make it to Pennsylvania, so when they got to Egg Harbor City, NJ they knew that freedom was just days away. I’m sure that many people don’t realize how much of an impact South Jersey had on the Underground Railroad,” said Ava, our curator.

Cape May also played a prominent role in the Underground Railroad. Cape May sits directly across the Bay from Delaware and Maryland. During that time, land crossings were actually more difficult than water crossings, so places that had water access became more popular.



Cape May was known to those seeking freedom, as a place with safe locations that they could count on.


Finding reliable numbers for escaped slaves who traveled through New Jersey, let alone Atlantic County, has proven tricky. The national estimate for those who used the Underground Railroad as a path to freedom is between 30,000 and 40,000 escapees.

You know, they say that you learn something new everyday, and today I learned something that makes me just a bit more proud of the South Jersey area!  Until the next time!

 

A Trip to Beat the Winter Blues!

It’s February here at The Storage Inn in Egg Harbor Township New Jersey, and despite the colder weather, the place is buzzing! Many of our storage rental customers are coming in to rearrange their storage space in anticipation of Spring’s arrival – others, I believe, just have cabin fever. Whatever the reason, they are here, and like most businesses, our customers come in all shapes and sizes. We have senior citizens, young couples just starting out, students, people moving, and families downsizing, just to name a few. Our customers also run the full spectrum of personality types, from shy and retiring, to bold and boisterous! One of our more flamboyant and energetic couples, Marc and Tanya, popped into the rental office today to let me know that they were paying their rent, and that I would not see them for a while because they were going to Mardi Gras! They explained that they had been invited, spur of the moment, by some friends of theirs, and while they were very excited, they knew very little about Mardi Gras. I suggested that we do the red blooded American thing, and Google Mardi Gras. So we did – here is a condensed list of what we learned…

MARDI GRAS IS ALWAYS THE TUESDAY BEFORE ASH WEDNESDAY
Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French. With Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent, a 40 day period of fasting before Easter, Mardi Gras is the “last hurrah” of sorts, with participants indulging in their favorite fatty foods and drinks before giving them up.

MARDI GRAS MARKS THE END OF CARNIVAL SEASON
Countries around the world celebrate Mardi Gras as the last day of Carnival season, which starts after Christmas, on January 6th, (known as ‘Twelfth Night’).

MARDI GRAS IS ALSO KNOWN AS “PANCAKE DAY”
In Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, people celebrate Mardi Gras by eating pancakes and participating in pancake themed activities.

THE OFFICIAL COLORS OF MARDI GRAS ARE PURPLE, GOLD, AND GREEN
Purple signifies justice, gold means power, and green stands for faith.

KING’S CAKE IS EATEN ALL THROUGHOUT CARNIVAL SEASON
King’s cake (or three kings cake), is eaten throughout the world during carnival season. In the US, it is traditionally purple, green, and gold, with a trinket baby Jesus inside. Whoever gets the baby Jesus is said to have good luck all year!

THE FIRST NEW ORLEANS MARDI GRAS PARADE WAS 177 YEARS AGO
New Orleans has been celebrating Fat Tuesday with parades since 1837. The first floats appeared in the parade in 1857.

PARADES ARE PLANNED BY ‘KREWES’
Krewes are the organizations that put on a parade and/or a ball for Mardi Gras/Carnival. They are clubs of a sort, with dues ranging from $20 to thousands of dollars annually. Krewes are also responsible for selecting carnival royalty in New Orleans, such as ‘Rex’, the king of Mardi Gras.

MASKS ARE REQUIRED BY LAW FOR FLOAT RIDERS
Yep, it’s illegal to ride on a float without a mask! The original purpose of the mask was to get rid of social constraints for the day, allowing people to mingle with whomever they chose.

BEADS HAVE BEEN A TRADITION SINCE THE EARLY 1900’s
Beads were first thrown by Santa during a parade in the early 1900’s. People also throw stuffed animals, toys and more.

MARDI GRAS IS A STATE HOLIDAY IN SOME PLACES
Fat Tuesday is an official state holiday in Alabama, (the home of the first Mardi Gras parade and 2nd biggest current celebration), Florida, and parts of Louisiana. Although it’s not a state holiday in Texas, Galveston is home to one of the biggest celebrations in the country!

After completing our research, we all agreed that this sounded like a good time! “See you when you get back” I shouted as Marc and Tanya ran out the door, and across the parking lot to their car. I have to admit, I’m a little bit jealous. I also have a sudden urge to decorate our golf cart and ride around the property wearing a mask and beads while eating pancakes! Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

Let’s Go Birds!

Let’s go Birds!

Here it comes – the first Sunday in February, and that means just one thing to NFL Football fans around the world – Super Bowl!! Here at The Storage Inn in Egg Harbor Township New Jersey, we are a mere 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia Pennsylvania, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, who will be playing in their third Super Bowl ever on Sunday. The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl, so the fans around here are very excited. Just today, one of our storage space customers, who coaches the local high school team, popped into the office store for some boxes . He was covered head to toe in Eagles gear. “Ready for the big game?” he asked in a half yelling voice. “ Sure am!” I answered. Both of us agreed that we would be making the drive to Philly for the parade if they win, and as Jim headed back to his storage unit, I said a little prayer for our Eagles.

Over 100 million people around the world will watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, and whether you’ll be checking out the game, the commercials, the halftime show, or all of the above, some Super Bowl trivia might come in handy – try dropping a few of these stats on your friends!

Hot Wings vs Turkey and Cranberry

Americans consume more food during the Super Bowl than any other day, except Thanksgiving. We eat 12.5 million pizzas, 28,000,000 pounds of chips, 1.25 billion chicken wings, and 8,000,000 pounds of guacamole during the Super Bowl.The fans at the game do their fair share of eating too – For example, during 2009’s Super Bowl XLIII at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, 55,200 hot dogs were sold. That’s almost one dog per fan.

This ain’t your Grandpa’s Halftime Show

Today’s Super Bowl halftime shows are filled with current pop and rock music acts, but it wasn’t always like that. The first nine Super Bowls had halftime shows that showcased college marching bands and drill teams occasionally joined by a “celebrity” like Miss Texas in 1973.

Today’s slickly produced halftime shows attract more viewers than the actual game. According to CBS, Katy Perry’s halftime performance drew 118.5 million viewers compared to the game’s 114.4 million.


Saving History!

The first Super Bowl in 1967 was broadcast by both CBS (at the time the sole NFL network) and NBC (the AFL network). Producers later erased the footage to film soap operas. Luckily a fan came forward with a personal recording of the game. Whew!

 

The Super Bowl and Mickey

The first athlete to utter “I’m going to Disney World!” in the wake of a triumphant Super Bowl performance was Phil Simms, reportedly paid $75,000 for the insta-plug in the moments after he was named MVP of the 1987 game.

The Big Prize

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is a sterling silver sculpture of a regulation-size football atop a tee-like structure, designed and manufactured by Tiffany & Co. The award weighs seven pounds and takes nearly 70 hours to forge and assemble. Its estimated value is $50,000.

That’s a lot of footballs!

216 official game balls are custom-produced for each Super Bowl game, imprinted with the team names and game logo. In total, 108 footballs are delivered to the game; the two championship contenders are allowed to do whatever they please with the rest.

OK – now you are equipped with some cool trivia that you can share during the big game! The staff and storage customers here at The Storage Inn, are rooting for the best team to win, as long as that team happens to be named the Philadelphia Eagles – Happy Super Bowl!