Ever since I started spending time near the Shore, I’ve been fascinated with the odd names bestowed upon towns throughout Southern New Jersey. Bargaintown, Deal, Brick, Egg Harbor, Little Egg Harbor, Avon-By-The-Sea, Love Ladies. There’s even a park called Double Trouble.
But I’m a little disappointed that one of my favorites – Lower Township – wants to change its name to “Cape May Township” so it can sell more sweatshirts.
I don’t have a problem per se with the change, although glomming another town’s name for the sake of commerce seems a tad unoriginal to me. But Lower is already to home of the Cape May – Lewes Ferry and the Cape May Lighthouse, and Cape May Mayor Ed Mahaney doesn’t mind Lower’s name change cash grab, so who am I to criticize.
The thing I fear most about the change is the existential crisis it could cause residents in Middle Township. Like Lower, Middle was initially formed as a precinct in the early 18th century while the area was under British rule (along with Upper). Lower was Presbyterial, Middle was Baptist and Upper was Quaker, until 1798 when they were all incorporated into towns of their own.
Anyway, if Lower ceases to exist, how can Middle continue on with its same name? You can’t have an Upper Township (home to the yellow fire trucks) and a Middle Township without a Lower Township.
Considering all the weird names already dotting the Shore, and the need to rake in more revenue, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Middle change it’s name to “Cape May County City.” And since there’s already a North Cape May, Upper could become “Really South Atlantic City.”
Bring on the sweatshirts!
Rob Tornoe is a political cartoonist and a Newsworks.org contributor. Check out more of his work at RobTornoe.com, and follow him on Twitter @RobTornoe.