(Look Back is an occasional series with content and images from the Atlantic County Historical Society.)
Did you ever wonder how Bargaintown got its name?
There is evidence that the town got its name as early as 1760 by David Howell, a blacksmith known for his love of bargains.
Another version that circulated was about James Somers, who owned a home bordering the millpound, which was just a swamp. This swamp was a barrier to easy access to those living on the other side. Somers is said to have offered his women slaves their freedom if they could build a roadway across the swamp. Carrying stones in their aprons the women constructed a crude dam and road. Somers kept his bargain and thus, according to legend, the place became known as Bargaintown.
At the turn of the century, Bargaintown was the site of a long-vanished business, ice cutting and storage. Bargaintown Pond was the mainstay of this occupation. Daniel S. Collins was the owner of this business and his ice wagons were a familiar site on the streets of Atlantic City during the early years of the 1900s.
Bargaintown Pond, later known as Bargaintown Lake, became a popular site for ice skating and other ice-related activities.
Today this area is part of Egg Harbor Township, a thriving area of Atlantic County.
Founded in 1913, the Atlantic County Historical Society has been preserving historical materials in its library and museum since. Every week, Wednesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., it opens its doors to share these collections with anyone who is interested. The society building is at 907 Shore Road in Somers Point. More information is available at www.atlanticcountyhistoricalsocietynj.org and on Facebook, or by calling 609-927-5218.