A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Surprise! Vinci Park in Aberdeen

Google Maps shows Gaston Street as Gaston Avenue.

According to the minutes of the 27 December 2011 meeting of the Aberdeen Council, Mayor Tagliarini announced that a pocket park on Gaston Street was being named Vincent Vinci Park. The 12 January 2012 edition of The Independent said that the Mayor "surprised" Councilman Vinci with the naming of the park in his honor.

I'm personally uncomfortable with the naming of parks for living persons, but it's getting to be a habit, so I guess I better get used to it. The US Postal Service won't put a living person's image on a stamp, and the US Mint won't honor a living person on coinage or currency.  As for parks, I did a quick Google search and found that Louisiana state law forbids the naming of parks after living persons, but Denver and Troy and other cities allow it, with certain caveats.

The section of land south of St Joseph's Catholic Church and north of the Garden State Parkway was once owned by Charles A Geran, Alexander Gaston, and Alfred Woolley, each of whom had a street named in his honor when that subdivision of Aberdeen Township was developed in 1908. See Aberdeen Township Street Names, written by Township Historian Edward Fitzgerald.

Alexander Gaston was born in September 1838 in New Jersey. His wife Adelaide was born in March 1842, also in New Jersey.

Alexander appeared in the 1860 Federal Census as a farmer in Matawan Township, living in his widowed mother Harriet Gaston's household, along with three younger sisters - Gertrude (19), Catharine (17), and Margaret (14).

Alexander was a brick manufacturer living in Madison Township, Middlesex County with his wife Adelaide in the 1900 Federal Census. Their black servant at that time was Mary Brown born in Virginia in September 1875.

The 1910 Federal Census showed him as a man of independent means living on Main Street in Matawan along with Adelaide Gaston (68), his wife of 32 years, and a black servant named Stella Washington (25).


  1. Great, a good man being reconized, Matawan has a area named for a living?? person near their borough hall.

  2. I assume you are talking about Jeremiah Hourihan Field on Broad Street. So you're content that our parks are being named for living persons who've done good things for the community? It's nothing new, that's for sure. The street that the new park is situated was named for a living person in 1908. The three owners of the land in that neighborhood each ended up with a street named for them - Geran, Gaston and Woolley. Henry S Terhune donated land for the park on South Street in 1930 and it was quickly named after him. But all of these acts don't justify a policy that allows the naming of parks and streets outside of memorialization.