Home Berlin News Happy 90th anniversary, Berlin Borough

Happy 90th anniversary, Berlin Borough

Though its history extends much further, the borough was officially incorporated in 1927.

Berlin Borough lived up to its historic reputation on Saturday, May 20.

First, the Marie Fleche Memorial Library celebrated its 60th anniversary and recent expansion. Then, the borough turned 90.

The older it gets, the more active the borough becomes. Residents gathered in the courtyard outside the municipal building to enjoy food and each other’s company in the name of the borough.

“Close-knit, friendly and small town-y, but in a good way,” said Christina Monez, who was trying to describe the borough in three words — she bent the rules a little. “People here know each other and they help each other.”

Monez is the owner of Maggie’s Bake Shop on South White Horse Pike. She ran a table at the event, and is a frequent volunteer around the area.

Residents, workers and representatives alike lived up to Monez’s words by squeezing on the municipal building steps to cut the cake and for an impromptu photo session.

Earlier that morning, Marie Fleche library opened its doors to celebrate its anniversary.

“In the old days, the library used to be the place you would go to do some research,” Mayor James Bilella said in his opening remarks. “They’re not that way anymore. They’re more of a media center, a gathering place, and a place of activity.”

The library has its own history that extends all the way back to the 1880s.

What started out as a reading room with 60 volumes has evolved into the library today, which served almost 21,000 people last year, Millard Wilkinson, president of the Marie Fleche board of trustees, remarked in his opening comments.

Calling it the 90th anniversary is somewhat of a misnomer — though it officially became incorporated as the borough it is known as today in 1927, the history behind the borough makes it quite a bit older.

It was first known as the settlement Long-A-Coming, a phrase which still serves as the borough’s slogan. Some tales credit the nickname to travelers between Philadelphia and the Shore, who used the settlement as a stop on their journey.

Legend has it a group of sailors wrecked their vessel on the South Jersey coast and traveled on foot on an Indian trail to what is currently Camden. After finding a clear stream to refresh, the sailors said, “Here you are, though long-a-coming.”

Old postal records show the office was established as Long-A-Coming in 1812.

Though the exact transition from Long-A-Coming to Berlin can’t be tracked, the town was briefly known as Magnolia, as evidenced by records on Feb. 5, 1867. It was finally named Berlin a few months later on May 7, 1867.

It wasn’t until 1927, though, that the Borough of Berlin was officially formed, due to a series of land divisions. Even so, it’s still one of the original towns of South Jersey.

That’s a title the borough wears proudly.

“We’re looking to capitalize on our history,” Bilella said of the town’s undoing redevelopment. “We’re very excited the borough is 90 years old.”

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