For those of you who grew up in Burlington County or just about anywhere in South Jersey, you probably had visited or at least heard of the Indian Chief Tavern in Medford.

The original Indian Chief Tavern was on Main Street in the village of Medford. It was the site of the home of a Lenape Indian chief and a tavern was built there in 1810 by cabinetmaker Richard Reeve. The tavern operated there until the railroad and prohibition put it out of business in the 1920s.

The Indian Chief Tavern that most of us remember was built around the 1960s on Route 70 about a half mile east of Main Street in Medford. Generations of locals and shore-bound travelers would frequent the place for generations.

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Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

It finally closed in late 2014 and sat vacant for almost a decade. It was even used as a COVID testing center during the pandemic. The bulldozers finally got to it last month.

What will go on the site is not certain at the moment. The owners of the Medford Shoprite were said to have plans for the property a while back, but nothing has come of it.

Only the iconic sign remains with the Indian Chief logo. So many things in that corner of Burlington County are named for native American tribes. Marlton, Medford, Mt. Laurel and Tabernacle are all in the Lenape school district, which comprises Shawnee, Cherokee, Lenape and Seneca High Schools.

Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

The town of Indian Mills, part of Shamong, was the site of the first Indian reservation in the country. 

It was called the Brotherton and was settled by Lenape Indians who chose not to leave following a treaty that moved most of the tribe out of the area.

They converted to Christianity and Brotherton was home to about 200 native Americans who stayed behind. Now there is one less piece of the Lenn-Lenape legacy left in the area.

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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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