When a future senator lived next to the Atlantic County Jail

This is a unique story in the history of Atlantic County, New Jersey.

Moreover, we cannot find another example like this in all of American history.

For over two decades, there was a very famous family that lived right next to the old Atlantic County Jail.

The Gerard Gormley, Sr. family lived there for 22 consecutive 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 most senior law enforcement official in Atlantic County.

Today, that distinction goes to the Atlantic County prosecutor.

It was known as The Sheriff’s House and it was located right next to the old Atlantic County Jail.

This is what the sheriff’s house looks like today. Pictured below are Senator Gormley and Atlantic County Clerk Joe Giralo about two weeks ago.

We sat down with legendary former New Jersey Senator William L. Gormley and asked him directly what it was like living right next to the Atlantic County Jail.

Gormley lived in the sheriff’s house from age 1 to age 23, meaning most of his developmental and formative years.

“Great people lived in downtown Mays Landing. It was a great and very special experience,” Gormley said.

“Wonderful families like the Duberson family lived in Mays Landing,” Gormley said.

The sheriff’s house was declared a historic site in 1999 by the Weinstein Commission. It is a solid building, with concrete walls and ceilings. There are many unique fixtures and artifacts, like this clock built circa 1912, pictured directly below.

This clock was built by the International Time Recording Company, of Endicott, New York.

Atlantic County Clerk Joe Giralo quickly became a legitimate and dedicated historian for Atlantic County. He would like to completely restore this clock to working order. There is complex work to be done on the spring mechanism.

Giralo took a keen interest in the history of the old Atlantic County Jail and showed respect for the Sheriff’s House.

We interviewed Giralo as part of our deep dive into Senator Gormley’s former longtime home.

“Since becoming county clerk and seeing all the
history that is in our county seat, and having former senator Bill Gormley willing to take the time and come in and talk with myself and my staff, that sparked my interest in constitutional officers more than ever who served before me and it was like living on the property for them,” Giralo said.

If the walls could talk. There is so much history in this house that was never lived in by any family after the Gormleys.

Still left on the walls is that priceless (child’s play) ribbing of Senator Gormley’s older brother, the late great Gerard Gormley, Jr.

Gormley family photo.

Gormley family photo.

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 publicly defend Bill Gormley more than his older brother Gerry.

Not to be outdone, here is a literal love note from Gerry Gormley to a young lady, whose initials are BS with Gerry professing his love as pictured below on a house wall as follows:

Gormley family photo.

Gormley family photo.

This stuff is just priceless. These time capsules, along with other artifacts, are to be preserved by Atlantic County.

To that end, a good source in the Atlantic County Executive’s Office, Dennis Levinson, confirmed that Levinson had shown increased interest and sent architects to Gormley’s former home.

We asked Gormley about it, who said, “I grew up there. I have a bit of a bias, but I have nothing to do with it being a historic site now, or that some renovations may be taking place,” Gormley said.

Giralo has serious plans in mind. “One of my goals is to see if we can take many of the artifacts and make the Sheriff’s House frontage the focal point of our county’s history as we rapidly approach our 200th anniversary as a county. , 1837-2037,” Giralo said.

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