Hey, South Jersey: Today is 3/22 — Happy Black Horse Pike Day!
Today is 3/22 -- which makes today Black Horse Pike Day!
No, this isn't an officially recognized holiday but being that every other day seems to be National (whatever) Day, I say, why not... especially since driving on the pike is just a holiday every day (sarcasm implied).
I mean, March 23rd is National Melba Toast Day and the 24th is National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day, so I'm declaring 3/22 to be Black Horse Pike Day.
Potholes, red lights, and all.
As we've told you in the past, the Black Horse Pike dates all the way back to when America was only 19 years old -- around 1795 (and many would say the road hasn't improved much since) -- when work began on building a new road in what was then a much larger Gloucester County.
As to where the name came from, it's sorta-kinda related to 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, Camden County 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 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."
As for U.S. Route 322, it is one of three very long roads that end in Atlantic City (the others being US 30 and US 40).
Should you wish to travel all 494 miles of Route 322, it'll take you from the World's Play Ground all the way into downtown Cleveland.
Happy Black Horse Pike Day. Please remember to celebrate responsibly.