by Melanie Burney, Inquirer Staff Writer | Photo by Jessica Griffin / Staff Photographer
For those who don’t live in Gloucester Township, navigating the sprawling Camden County community can be confusing.
Whether putting an address in the GPS or mailing a letter, Gloucester Township is identified mostly by the seven zip codes for the post offices that serve its distinct hamlets, spread out over 24 square miles, rather than by where people actually live.
The township’s municipal complex has an out-of-town postal address — in nearby Laurel Springs. To avoid confusion with Laurel Springs’ municipal building, Gloucester Township’s municipal mail is directed to a Blackwood post office box, and an employee goes there four days a week to pick it up.
“People don’t know who we are,” laments Mayor David Mayer, noting that Gloucester Township is the 19th-largest community in the state and, with nearly 70,000 residents, among the fastest growing in South Jersey. He believes there is potential to lure more home buyers and businesses if he can just get Gloucester Township clearly on the map.
Mayer calls it an identity crisis, a strange phenomenon for a colonial-era town that traces its roots to the 1600s and has a rich history and distinct neighborhoods that include Blackwood, Blenheim, Hilltop, and Erial. It was one of the first towns in New Jersey to incorporate, in 1695.