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Garden State Park Gate House

Year Listed:



Cherry Hill, Camden County


Route 70, Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

Garden State Park Gate House

The Garden State Park was constructed throughout 1941 and opened on July 18, 1942. Construction was stalled after delays caused by raw material rationing at the United States' entry into World War II. To make quick progress and due to the seizure of 30,000 tons of structural steel by war authorities, developer Eugene Mori mostly constructed Garden State Park's ornate Georgian-style grandstand of wood. Garden State Park was designed to hold more than 30,000 people as well as host stables, eateries, and other public amenities. With the popularity and success of the racetrack, Mori would later build hotels surrounding Garden State Park making it an attractive arena for both sport and entertainment. The Park would host some of the best athletes and horses and by 1946 would serve an average daily attendance of 17,000 people. A devastating fire in 1977 destroyed the Garden State Park. Under new ownership and with a grand vision, the Park was rebuilt and reopened in 1985. As time went on the racetrack suffered. In 2001, after almost 60 years the track had its final race. In 2003 the property was sold and demolished to create a town center. The only structure to remain, that both outlasted the devasting fire of 1977 and rebuild is the Gatehouse. The Gatehouse is now under threat as the property is for sale with plans for further commercial development. Without immediate intervention, Cherry Hill risks losing the only structure left of Garden State Park. Preservation New Jersey supports the residents of Cherry Hill and calls upon the municipality and new developers to think creatively and proactively seek out adaptive reuses, rather than abandon or demolish the Gatehouse. It is critical that all stakeholders work together to make this unique local historic landmark a priority in its plans for the future.

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