Waterford Township —aka Atco — has an interesting mix of sight and sound. Atco borders the Wharton State Forest, which is the largest single tract of land in the State Park system of New Jersey. There’s the familiar and unmistakable stillness of the pine woods and neighboring farm fields — its total serenity! Enter Atco Raceway — this is where the natural world meets man and machine, gasoline and glory. And it all blends together in Atco. At the end of the day, its the mix, of calm and frenetic that embodies the area. The Old White Horse or Route 30, hunters or suburbia, farmers or developers, horses or horsepower? — The citizens of Waterford Township take great pride in making it all work. They revere and respect the past, while always looking towards the future. The balance between the pines and the people is a delicate mix. No community does it better. If affordable rural living is your desire — Waterford Township may be a perfect fit.
Which one is it? Waterford or Atco? It still seems unclear, but the locals would consider anything within the vicinity of Atco Avenue — Atco. And everything else Waterford. Given the choice, most would prefer Atco. Don’t tell the Mayor! It is unclear the exact origin of the name Atco. It’s likely the area gets its name from the Atlantic Transport Company, a major ship building concern in the early 1900’s. Another possible Atco namesake may have been derived from the Indian word for “Land of Many Deer.” The famous record label Atco Reords may have ties to the region. The Presswell vinyl plant in nearby Ancora churned out millions of 45's and LP's, including many famous Acts (The Beatles, The WHO, and Sonny and Cher), just to name a few!
Echoing through the tall pines, out of nowhere, is the explosive roar of pure horsepower. When the nitro’s are in town you can hear the thunderous wave — rolling all the way to Hammonton. Atco Raceway is a 1/4 mile, asphalt, melt the tires off the rims drag-strip. Its the polar opposite of the natural woods that surround it. Opened in 1960, it is the oldest drag-strip in New Jersey. The track is also sanctioned by the NHRA, the largest sanctioning body in drag racing. Atco Raceway averages 250 events each year, making it one of the busiest tracks in the country.
Educational options abound in Atco. The Waterford Township School District serves grades K-6th grade. Atco Elementary serves grades to 1-2, and Thomas Richards Elementary grades 3-4. Waterford Elementary instructs Kindergarten and grades 5-6. Public School students grades 7 – 12 attend Hammonton Middle School and Hammonton High School respectively. This is part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Hammonton Public Schools.
The Assumption Church is sanctuary for Christ the Redeemer Parish, and is located at 318 Carl Hasselhan Drive, is a Catholic Church adjacent to the Assumption School. An expression of today's modern Catholic Church, an exquisite building, translucent stained glass, and lush grounds. Not sure what is more beautiful, the majestic church architecture or the inspiring detail of the surrounding landscape. A sacred and favorite congregating place, The Assumption Church reflects the sanctity of the Waterford faithful. The St. Anthony Church, another gorgeous structure located in Waterford Works, is an affiliate of Christ the Redeemer.
Most homes in Waterford Township set on picturesque rural parcels. Lot sizes are commonly measured in acres, not square feet. There are a number of developments that do provide curb and sidewalk living. The development names give a glimpse of the the community’s affinity to aspire to carry-on as worthy stewards of the woods so prized. Some developments have public water and sewer — these include Whispering Pines Waterford Edge, Villas, Water Bridge, and Sapling Run.