Toomer Family BLOG

Our goal is to celebrate ALL Toomer family members today and yesterday. This blog will include history, genealogy, and reunion news. Additionally we will share our talent in poetry and prose, along with spotlight news on family members.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Toomer Precious Places

Last night I attended a meeting at Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, PA. This was the first meeting of the many community groups involved in Scribe_s 2006 Precious Places Community History Project. Each community will produce an 8 minute video documentary on one precious place in their community. I will be on the Lawnside team, a town dripping with history and precious places. This will be part of a larger oral history project conducted by the Lawnside Historical Society. From the list of places, Mt. Peace Cemetery, on the White Horse Pike was chosen. This is a historical African American burial ground, spanning more than 11 acres. There are many civil war veterans and notable blacks buried there. Many of the other precious places in NJ are trying to survive eminent domain, a big topic in the courts.

On the ride over the bridge I, of course, thought about Toomer family precious places. Which locations do all of us, as a family, consider precious. The first place that came to mind was Tippin Inn. Everyone loves to talk about Tippin Inn. Everyone wants to open a spot and call it Tippin Inn 2. This was one stop on the chitterlin circuit, a place where blacks played for blacks. Uncle James had to book the big acts to get a crowd back into the pines of east Berlin, NJ. There were many happening spots in south Jersey at that time, like those in Lawnside Park.

Newspaper research concurs with some of the stories of the famous entertainers performing at Tippin Inn in the 60_s. Fat_s Domino, BB King, Big Maybelle and Patti LaBelle, were just a few of the many to hang out with the Toomers and the people of east Berlin. BB King came to Tippin Inn so much that seeing his big grin under a conked do, with Tippin Inn typed under his chin, ceased to be exciting. Yeah Yeah. BB King was there. Floyd and I soon developed a look that said, BB King, so not to break our forward procesthroughru the stacks of newspapers.

Another precious place would be Toomer Avenue, formerly Elm Avenue, in West Berlin, NJ. This is the street where our ancestors Henry and Bertha Toomer settled in the 1920_s. A few of their children, and in-laws built homes on this street. Tippin Inn was just one block away. In 2000 Berlin Township renamed Elm Avenue to Toomer Avenue in honor of the family.

What other precious places are there for the family? For me, and some other_s, my great grandmother Lucille Sister Toomer Jackson_s property was a treat. To see that little itsy bitsy piece of property, which is too small to build a house on now, one would not believe that it contained so much back in the day. The backyard use to seem as if it would go on for ever. There were all kinds of fruit trees and vines, a big garden, and a front yard with bushes, whose sole purpose was to produce fresh switches to tear you up with. DYFS who?

What am I missing? What do you consider a Toomer Precious Place?


  • At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Yall!
    How about Brownie's Lake? When I was a kid, that was where we all went in the Summer and had a great time. It may not be concidered precious, but I know a lot of you have stories to tell about Brownie's Lake.



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