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Bet You Didn’t Know These Things About the Black Horse Pike

Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing - Chris Coleman/Townsquare Media
Chris Coleman/Townsquare Media

You probably drive on the Black Horse Pike all the time, but here are some fun facts you can think about while you sit at the McKee Avenue red light in Mays Landing (I hate that damn red light).


 

  • The Black Horse Pike is US Routes 40 and/or 322, depending on where you are. If you are in Atlantic City, you can follow the US 40 portion for 2,285 miles west to the town of Silver Summit, Utah, where it ends (I did some research: there’s a 7-11 there, a couple pizza places, and a car repair place. There’s probably more, but I only looked at the first page of Google results). If you were to follow US 322 from Atlantic City, a short 494 mile drive will take you right into downtown Cleveland.

 

  • The Black Horse Pike dates all the way back to when America was only 19 years old — c. 1795 — when work began on building a new road in, what was then, a much larger Gloucester County.

 

  • In the early 1920s, the Black Horse Pike between Mays Landing and Atlantic City was signed as Route 18S. In the late 1920s, the road became Route 42 from Camden to Mays Landing and Route 48 from Mays Landing to Atlantic City — and on top of that, US Routes 40 and 322 were also running on the Black Horse Pike.

 

  • By 1953, instead of having four different route numbers in Atlantic County, the state cleaned up the mess: the beginning of Route 42 was moved up to Williamstown and they simplified the Black Horse Pike as just US Routes 40 and/or 322.

 

  • So where did the “Black Horse Pike” name come from? It came from the White Horse Pike, according to some research done by NJ.com.

 

  • The White Horse Pike was originally White Horse Road, named after the White Horse Tavern, which was in the village of White Horse (up in the Stratford area). In 1854, the White Horse Turnpike Company turned White Horse Road into a toll road (or turnpike), thus the name, “White Horse Pike.”

 

  • Meanwhile, what we now know as the Black Horse Pike went by a bunch of different names. After it was a toll road for a number of years in the mid-to-late 1800s, the state bought the road in 1903, took down the toll, and it became known as Blackwood Pike. In 1925, seeing the success of the White Horse Pike, developers began calling the road the “second White Horse Pike to the shore.” That slogan, combined with the name Blackwood Pike, morphed into “Black Horse Pike.”

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