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The Historic Town of Roebling

Welcome to Roebling

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Charles G. Roebling

The village of Roebling was conceived and executed by Charles G. Roebling and it stands today as a very real and living monument to his engineering genius.

 

John A. Roebling founded the Company.  It had deep roots in Trenton where it commenced operations in 1848; and John Roebling planned and made the wire rope for the Brooklyn Bridge, the first of a long line of majestic structures that included the latter day Golden Gate and the George Washington.

 

In 1904, ground was broken for the mammoth steel plant that included a Steel Mill, a Blooming Mill, Rod Mills, Wire Mills, Cleaning Houses, Annealing and Tempering Shops and a woven wire Fabrics Factory. 

 

Having a great compassion for the welfare of the worker, despite the antipathy of some of his contemporaries, John’s son Charles created a model town along the lines of an English Tudor Village. 

 

It was a complete self-sustaining unit with brick houses for the workers, hospital, schools, shops, bank and theater to house a population of 4000.  Completed in 1910 it contained every amenity known for the comfort, welfare and recreation of the employee.

 

All the utilities were included Water, sewer, gas and later electric.  The streets were lined with trees and the two main streets were boulevards with grass dividers that were filled with flowers which bloomed the colors of the rainbow from late spring to early fall.  A river front park with a bandstand and benches was opened.

 

The Village Tavern faced the park; the company store was a solid block long and contained the drug store, bakery and the largest department store in Burlington County for many years.

 

Charles imported the best managers available to operate the company facilities.  John Stone came from Frackville Pennsylvania to operate the Hotel; Samuel Major, from Philadelphia to run the store and Charles Moser from Trenton to operate the bakery.  Dr. Paul Traub former owner of Carslake’s Drug Store in Bordentown took over as Physician and Surgeon of the Hospital after graduation from Medical School.

 

The new town soon had a station on the Pennsylvania Railroad and several stops for the trolley that ran from Trenton to Riverside.

 

Although it was a part of Florence Township, it was operated as an independent village with its own Mayor, Chief of Police and complete police force and fire department.  A chain was connected once annually to concrete posts at each street entry to break off any claims of adverse use and to retain its identity as private property.

 

Charles Roebling loved his town, his factory and his people and got reciprocity from his workers who took pride in their homes, their streets and their lives.  Charles loved green grass, flowers, trees and shrubs and he would stop his carriage or car to pull a weed.

The call was sounded for immigrants to work the mills and they came in droves from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from Sweden, Germany and England to this village of opportunity.  Other nationalities and blacks came later.  They joined the cadre of Trentonians who started the mills.

 

Almost as soon as they got off the train from Ellis Island Charles Roebling made his presence-known and made them welcome.  Many had never seen brick homes, wooden floors, running water, flush toilets and illuminated lights before.

 

Deeply religious, the newcomers needed a place of worship and space was provided until the congregations could provide their own.  The Town Hall, above the drug store, was the meeting place for church groups and clubs.

 

The company encouraged the immigrants to study English and become citizens.  Tutors and instructor were provided to make certain that everyone had an equal opportunity to learn the language and embrace citizenship.  The County Court at Mt. Holly swore in hundreds at a time.

 

A stern disciplinarian Charles insisted on law and order and he received it willingly; crime and disorder were virtually unknown in the Village for years. 

 

It was a sad day on October 5, 1918 when Charles Roebling died for the whole town mourned the loss of a great benefactor and human being.

 

Ferdinand W. Roebling died in 1917 and after his son, Karl, died in 1921, Colonel Washington A. Roebling took command of the company and retained it until his death in 1926 when he was 89 years old.

 

Washington had completed the Brooklyn Bridge started by his father and had stepped aside to allow his younger brothers Ferdinand and Charles to take over.  He continued Charles’s policies in the dream village and much progress resulted.

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