WOODBINE — Mayor William Pikolycky wishes the borough of Woodbine a very happy birthday as the borough celebrates the 118th anniversary of its incorporation.
Woodbine was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 3, 1903, after originally being established in 1891.
On July 19, 1891, the Central Committee of the Baron DeHirsch purchased 5,300 acres from the Township of Dennis for $37,500 for the resettlement of Russian Jews. As the original settlers were Jewish, Woodbine became known as “the first self-governed Jewish community since the fall of Jerusalem.”
The town itself is still laid out on the original grid, a “walkable” copy of which is seen on the floor of the Sam Azeez Museum.
These first colonists, using modern agricultural practices, turned Woodbine into a model agricultural community, long before the establishment of the Rutgers Extension Service, which celebrated its 100th anniversary of establishment under the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which officially created the national Cooperative Extension System.
The community started the Baron DeHirsch Agricultural College in 1894 and until its closure it was known as a model of progressive education.
The Baron DeHirsch Agricultural College campus became what is today the Woodbine Developmental Center, which celebrates its own centennial this year.
The Woodbine Brotherhood Synagogue was built in 1893 as a focal point for the community. The Woodbine Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1895 and continues until this day.
“I congratulate our fair borough on this anniversary of incorporation, and wish it many more years of future continued growth and prosperity,” Pikolycky said.