Monday, April 22, 2013

Lover's Lane

When I first began researching Woodbury's rich history I was always happy to discover the many vintage postcards depicting what must have been a popular destination in its day: Lover's Lane! One can easily picture young Victorian era lovers and families alike out for early evening strolls amongst the naturally occurring walkway framed by towering pines. Although Evergreen Avenue offered a similar romantic walkway, Lover's Lane proper was located along Cooper Street opposite the former Country Club grounds and must have extended to some point down toward the lake, now known as Stewart Lake named after local historian and Gloucester County Historical Society president Frank Stewart. Frank Stewart had his own home, 'Rugby Pines' built in 1914 in the section of Woodbury then commonly known as the East Side. An avid outdoorsman, Stewart was known to care for the many trees around his home and street.

Prior to this in 1910, however many of the pines along the western end of this locally famous and popular walk were cut down, their stumps dynamited out to smooth the grade of the sidewalk (see press clipping below). Later in 1918, during a Cooper Street improvement project 500 feet of Lover's Lane was lovingly preserved through the efforts of concerned citizens; quick growing evergreens replaced any dead trees and irregular stone slabs were placed creating an ornamental pavement. An additional 100 feet were added on to the original walk, perhaps replacing some of the trees lost during the 1910 dynamiting. Sadly today, despite all remarkable efforts of our ancestors, all semblance of Lover's Lane has been lost to the ages. I believe Rowan University upon purchasing and restoring Frank Stewart's former home in 2000 had many of the original pines out front of the house removed.

Today the only stroll we can take is down memory lane. Enjoy the surviving postcard images and reminisce about Woodbury's former romantic and shady Lover's Lane.

this postcard circa 1910
10.18.1910 issue of WDT
10.19.1910 issue of WDT
5.7.1919 issue of WDT

Similar walkway along Evergreen.
Illustration from an 1889 Green's August Flower Almanac.