How a Pennsylvania Town Became the Most Well-Known Place in South Jersey

| © Montgomery County Planning Commission / WikiCommons
Kate Morgan

In 1803, the Wood family of New Jersey began operating an iron foundry. For 87 years, business was good, but in 1890, George Wood took the family business in a much different direction.

Wood had developed an interest in dairy farming, and he moved to Delaware County, Pennsylvania, to a tiny hamlet called Wawa, named for the Ojibwe word for goose, and started a 1000-acre dairy farm.

The original dairy building in Wawa, Pennsylvania

The dairy took off immediately, thanks to Wood’s business—and science—savvy. Pasteurization wasn’t available yet, and children frequently became ill from drinking raw milk. Wood had his milk certified for safety by doctors, and that made his product extremely popular.

By the 1920s, Wawa dairy was delivering milk to customers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In the ’60s, fewer people had milk delivered to their homes, instead choosing to buy it at new “convenience stores.” Responding to the trend, Grahame Wood opened the first Wawa convenience store near the dairy in Pennsylvania.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRjOHT6D3Gw/?taken-by=wawa

Today, Wawa employs nearly 25,000 people in more than 720 stores, most of which are concentrated in South Jersey. In fact, there’s a common joke about it:

“You know you’re from South Jersey when there are at least three Wawas within five miles of your house.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfLgjVzh8AY/?taken-by=wawa

Wawa sells a wide array of original products, including made-to-order hoagies, pre-made foods, breakfast sandwiches, and—of course—dairy products: milk, cream, ice cream and more. It’s truly beloved by South Jerseyians, and even if they don’t know the store’s history—or that it began in Pennsylvania—they consider South Jersey Wawa’s undisputed, rightful home.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,665 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
close-ad
Edit article