In 1614, the Dutch vessel "Fortuyn" sailed up the Mullica River searching for food. They found wild berries, fruit and mostly swampy marshland. It happened to be nesting season and bird eggs were everywhere. From the accounts of this voyage, the area became known as "Eyren Haven" or Harbor of the Eggs.
In colonial times, it was inhabited by backwoodsmen but by 1854, train service from Atlantic City was established and passed through the area. On one trip, a group of Germans were impressed with the open countryside. They had a dream: a city stretching from the railroad to the river settled by their countrymen where their customs, speech and ways could be preserved.
This first group of Germans included: Dr. William Schmoele, Henry Schmoele, P.M. Wolsieffer, J.H. Schollmacher and A.K. Hay. While Dr. Schmoele laid out the original plan for the city, P.M. Wolsieffer became the town's first mayor. They laid out a park in the center of town and squares for recreational areas that are still in existence today. The city received its first charter in 1856. The dream had come true.