Death of A Village
by David Todd McCarty | Saturday, April 23, 2016
It’s a strange thing to lose a town, especially one in which you are currently living, but that seems to be the case for the town I’ve called home for almost 20 years. Many of my neighbors have been here for as many as eight generations.
The village of Goshen, New Jersey was first settled in 1693 by Aaron Leaming who raised cattle on the land. By 1710, there was a settlement and sometime around 1725, my home was built. It’s called the Tavern House and was a tavern and stagecoach stop during the mid to late 1800’s. At the end of my road, which dead ends into the marsh, the Garrison and Harker shipyard stood. Between 1859 and 1898, twenty five ships of record were built as well as a much larger number of smaller crafts.
In addition to the many old homes, Goshen is home to The Goshen Schoolhouse, which was built in 1872 and is in the process of being saved from destruction, as well as the Goshen Methodist Church that also happens to contain an historic cemetery. The church is currently up for sale.
It’s not one thing that’s caused this slow demise. One could argue that it’s simply progress. But after 300 years, you’d like to think there would be enough to keep it going.
When we first bought our house, we lived next door to the Goshen Post Office and across the street from Uncle’s Gas Station. We were literally in the center of town. Both the post office and the gas station, which included a little market where you could buy hamburger buns and milk, were community centers.
Wawa killed the gas station business and then the owners let it fall into disrepair. Now it’s simply an eyesore full of weeds, rusting metal, rotting wood and a crumbling building. The local authorities are either powerless to do anything about it, or are simply willfully ignorant on the subject.
The Post Office closed when the building was sold and the government saw it as an excuse to cut costs and shut down one of their offices, which they were doing all over the country anyway. The new owner gutted the building and restored it to it’s former glory, but the post office was gone forever.
When the post office closed, so did a part of the community. Many of us kept Post Office boxes there and drove or walked there daily to retrieve our mail and trade in a little gossip. The postmaster at the time was assuredly the most informed person in the village.
We were given a choice. Move our PO Box to a different post office up the street, or get a mailbox. I liked having the PO Box when all I had to do was walk across the street, but I didn’t have any interest in driving to get my mail so I opted for a mailbox. That’s when everything really changed.
When there was a post office in Goshen, we had our own zip code: 08218. Technically, I guess we still do, but since no mail comes here, and basically the government doesn’t recognize it, it won’t be long before there’s no point in having it.
When the post office closed, the Federal Government moved my home from the village of Goshen to the county seat of Cape May Court House, which is where my mail comes from now.
It won’t be long now.