When a Future Senator Lived Next To The Atlantic County Jail
This is a one-of-kind story in Atlantic County, New Jersey history.
Additionally, we can’t find another example like it in all of American history.
For more than two decades, there was a very famous family who lived right next to the old Atlantic County Jail.
The Gerard Gormley, Sr. Family lived there for 22 consequential years from 1948 to 1969, when Gormley was the powerful Sheriff of Atlantic County.
When Sheriff Gormley was in office, he was recognized as the top law enforcement official in Atlantic County.
Today, this distinction goes to The Atlantic County Prosecutor.
It was known as The Sheriff’s House and it was located directly next to the old Atlantic County Jail.
Here’s what The Sheriff’s House looks like today. Pictured below are Senator Gormley and Atlantic County Clerk Joe Giralo from about two weeks ago.
We caught up with former legendary New Jersey Senator William L. Gormley and directly asked him what was it like to live right next to the Atlantic County Jail.
Gormley lived in the sheriff’s home from the ages of 1-23, meaning almost all of his developmental, formative years.
“Great people lived in downtown Mays Landing. It was a great experience and it was very special,” said Gormley.
“Wonderful families like the Duberson Family lived in Mays Landing,” said Gormley.
The Sheriff’s House was declared a historic site in 1999 by The Weinstein Commission. It’s a solid building, with the walls and ceilings being made of concrete. There are many unique fixtures and artifacts, like this clock that was built around 1912, pictured directly below.
This clock was built by the International Time Recording Company, of Endicott, New York.
Atlantic County Clerk Joe Giralo is fast becoming a legitimate, dedicated historian for Atlantic County. He would like to fully restore this clock back to working order. There is intricate work that needs to be done to the spring mechanism.
Giralo has taken a keen interest in the history of The Old Atlantic County Jail and has displayed reverence for The Sheriff’s Home.
We interviewed Giralo as a major part of our deep dive into Senator Gormley’s long-time former home.
“Since becoming the County Clerk and seeing all of the history that is located in our County seat, and having former Senator Bill Gormley willing to take time and come and speak with myself as well as my staff, it has ignited my interest more than ever about the Constitutional Officers that served prior to me and what it was like for them living on the property,” said Giralo.
If walls could talk. There is so much history in this home that was never lived in again by any family after The Gormley’s.
Still remaining on the walls is this priceless (child’s play) ribbing from Senator Gormley’s older Brother, the late, great Gerard Gormley, Jr.
The above was a “love” note from Gerry to Billy when they were young children. Make no mistake about it … absolutely no one would go on later in life to defend Bill Gormley publicly more than his older Brother Gerry.
Not to be outdone, here is a literal love note from Gerry Gormley to a young woman, whose initials are B.S. with Gerry professing his love as pictured below on a wall of the home as follows:
This stuff is just priceless. These time capsules, along with other artifacts must be preserved by the County of Atlantic.
Towards that end, a good source within Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson’s office has confirmed that Levinson has displayed increased interest and has been dispatching architects to the former Gormley home.
We asked Gormley about this, who said, “I grew up there. I'm a little prejudice, but, I have nothing to do with the fact that it's now a historic site, or, that certain renovations may take place,” said Gormley.
Giralo has serious plans in mind. “One of my goals is to see if we can take many of the artifacts and make the front of the sheriffs residence the focal point of our county’s history as we quickly approach our 200th anniversary as a county, 1837-2037,” said Giralo.