Found another one of these signs the other day in Runnemede. The one pictured in Scott's link is not there, but this one is on Clements Bridge Rd heading east, between Big Timber Creek and the Black Horse Pike.
What is interesting is that the cornerstone on this bridge looked similar to one I had seen before. Borrowing one of Guy's photos, I made a side-by-side comparison. The left one is on the Sandy Causeway bridge below Goshen. The one on the right is the Runnemede bridge.
Note the proximity of the dates and the common names. Those guys covered a lot of territory.
Very nice work, John!
The names found on both of the bridge dedication plaques you photographed indicate that the Camden County Board of Chose Freeholders funded the construction of these two bridges. Camden County Engineer John Jarrett Albertson became widely known for his roadway and bridge design and construction. Here is some biographical information on Mr. Albertson:
In 1858, John Jarrett Albertson, youngest son of Chalkley and Annie Stokes Albertson, was born in the old homestead built in 1743. He received his education in the city of Philadelphia. He began his active career by teaching public school for a year in the neighborhood of his home. In 1879, when the Atlantic City railroad was built, he was assistant to the engineer in charge, and in this way acquired considerable practical information that has proven valuable to him in his engineering work. He afterward associated himself with the late Judge John Clement, who was the leading surveyor of South Jersey. In 1892 he was elected county engineer for Camden county. This exacting position he has held continuously to the present time (1913), a fact which proves clearly his capability and efficiency. In 1893 he went abroad to study road building in the old world, and gained a vast amount of valuable information which he freely imparted to others just launching in the field of highway improvement, which proved that he was of a generous disposition. He engineered all the State roads built in Gloucester county previous to 1898, when he again went abroad for further research. He was also engineer for Atlantic county for many years. His crowning effort there is the famous Meadow Boulevard, with its numerous bridges. The idea of hydraulic road building, that was used in constructing this highway, originated with Mr. Albertson; he used large steam dredges to pump the sand necessary to make the fill over the treacherous salt marsh from the adjacent Egg Harbor Bay. He was also chief engineer on the great automobile highway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. He is untiring in his experiments with road materials, and has read several progressive papers before the New Jersey County Engineers Society, of which he was president for several years; many of his papers are published in the road commissioners' reports of New Jersey. He was associated with the Camden County Court House Commission, which built the magnificent county building in 1904. This building was constructed without the least criticism as to the honesty or capability of those in charge. He was the engineer for the lift bridge over Cooper river, built in 1907; he also had charge of many less important bridges in Camden and Atlantic counties. He is engineer for the boroughs of Haddon Heights, Oaklyn, Collingswood and Audubon, and at the last named place he is building a sanitary sewage disposal plant with thirteen miles of sewers.
Mr. Albertson’s interests are varied and numerous. He is the owner and manager of many horticultural and agricultural enterprises, including three farms in New Jersey and one in Florida. He is president of the Defiance Fruit Company and of the Atlantic Cranberry Company, the latter being one of the largest in the State. He is also an authority on fruit and nut culture. He is an enthusiastic believer in cooperative building and loan associations, and has served as secretary of the Mutual Building & Loan Association of Magnolia, New Jersey, for twenty-four years. He is a director of the Woodbury Trust Company, also of the First National Bank of Camden, and has been and still is executor and trustee for many estates. He is an active member of the Society of Friends, and a birthright member of Haddonfield Monthly Meeting. Owing to his inherited Quaker principles he has never used tobacco nor alcohol in any form.
In 1886, Mr. Albertson married Elizabeth S. Wills, of Poughkeepsie, New York, daughter of Daniel J. and Elizabeth Swift Wills, the former named being a lineal descendant of Dr. Daniel Wills, one of the first English settlers of Burlington county, New Jersey. They have one child, Anna M., who married Lester Collins, son of John S. and Rachel A. Rogers Collins, in 1912; they reside at Moorestown, New Jersey. At the time of his marriage, Mr. Albertson erected a house on part of the original Otter branch tract, and has since resided there; it is now part of the town of Magnolia, New Jersey. With the death of Mr. Albertson will end an unbroken chain of title in the Albertson name of a large tract of land owned and occupied by them continuously for two hundred and twenty-five years.
(William Nelson, Nelson’s Biographical Cyclopedia of New Jersey
, Volume II, pp. 511-513)
Here is a portrait of J.J. Albertson:
He lived in Magnolia in this house:
until his death on 24 November 1928, when he succumbed to a paralytic stroke at Lakeland Hospital. The provisions of his will included devising a plot of ground in Magnolia, at the corner of Albertson and Evesham avenues, as a park and recreation facility. The land comprised about 10 acres. This land was reportedly a portion of property the Albertson family had owned since 1689 and its title had never passed from the family’s possession.
Now, John, if you want to find an even more obscure bridge dedication plaque, PM me for directions to one in Chews Landing (if the plaque is still there!).
Regarding the placement of cast-iron markers at the many stream crossings in New Jersey, such as the one shown here at Clements Bridge:
the League of American Pen Women, a national arts organization, first conceived the idea in 1923.
A February 1924 newspaper article noted:
“What river is this?” is often a matter of wonder to the motorist, who passes over several branches of the same stream, alongside a lake or over a bridge without knowing what body of water it is which he crosses or passes.
The League of Pen Women is asking the various state highway commissions to place suitable markers hear famous streams to inform the traveling public. It is a laudable work, but why, the traveler wants to know, stop at famous streams? Why not mark all bodies of water at or near any and all roads, so that the traveler may get better acquainted with the country through which he passes?
The New Jersey State Highway Department finally heeded this call in 1930, when the state announced, in a 1 June 1930 newspaper article, such action:
Markers Placed at State Streams
Highway Dept. Makes Plans for Further Road Beautification
Five hundred markers designating the rivers and streams along State routes have been placed by the State Highway Department. It is planned to erect a thousand such markers.
Beautification of completed routes by the planting of trees and shrubbery is another matter to which the department is giving attention. Several thousand trees have been set out in various parts of the State and in some sections dwarf greens have been used. The Brunswick Pike from Trenton to New Brunswick is schedule to receive special attention as a demonstration of the results to be achieved by systematic landscaping.
The markers being erected are of cast iron, 15 by 20 inches, and are supported by concrete posts. The metal and concrete work was done at the Rahway Reformatory. A marker is being placed on each side of the streams, facing traffic.
And here is the watercourse marker depicted among the different Official Highway Signs placed by the New Jersey State Highway Department:
(State of New Jersey 1932 Official Highway Map)
It is a joy to know that a smattering of these now historic highway markers have survived into the Twenty-First Century, considering they are now 80 years old! Keep looking for these pieces of history!!