How Bargaintown New Jersey Got Its Name
If you're not familiar with Bargaintown, it's one of the several communities that make up Egg Harbor Township in Atlantic County.
Besides Bargaintown, other communities are Scullville, Cardiff, English Creek, Farmington, Steelmanville, and West Atlantic City. (Did I miss any?)
There really isn't a "Downtown Bargaintown" or anything like that. Really the only Bargaintown "things" are the two Bargaintown Fire Stations (both volunteer) on Mill Road and on Tony Pagano Drive, and Bargaintown Park, on Delaware Avenue.
Wait! There's also the Bargaintown Pond!
(Did I miss any other Bargaintown things?)
So, if you think Bargaintown is a place that sounds like it's a real bargain - well, that's kind of how it got its name!
According to NJmonthly.com, one of the big landowners in the 1700s was a man named James Somers - yes, the Somers Point guy. He made a deal with some slaves:
"If they could build a road across Bargaintown Lake, he would let them go free. Apparently, the lake—which connected to Patcong Creek—inconveniently separated Somers and his associates from conducting business on the west side of town.
The story goes that after Somers’ slaves worked a full day, they continued on the project in their spare time, operating by lamplight after dark to move rocks and stone to complete the pathway (on Central Avenue)—which they eventually did. Somers allegedly stayed true to his word and let his slaves go free, offering them a piece of land to till in exchange for their work, thus the name Bargaintown was adopted."
But wait! There's another version. According to Wikipedia, "Bargaintown was laid out by a property developer who hoped the value would increase quickly, but when it did not, he sold the lots cheaply."
So there you have it! Whatever version you believe, Bargaintown still makes its presence known in Egg Harbor Township!