It was on Jan. 26, 1995, that then-Gov. Christie Whitman fulfilled a campaign promise and named a rest stop after Howard Stern.

When running for governor in 1993, she appeared on Stern’s radio show (he had declared that the first candidate to call in would get his endorsement) and promised to memorialize him at a rest area in exchange for his endorsement. He gave it to her, she won, and she followed through.

The rest stop was on 295 northbound in Springfield. An 8 ½ inch-by-11-inch plaque showing a cartoon Stern peeking out of an outhouse was erected with the inscription: “Howard Stern Rest Stop Dedicated 1995.” The plaque, which cost around $1,000, was paid for by private funds.

According to the New York Times, Whitman was a little defensive about her decision to honor Stern: “It was a commitment that I made, and as some of you have discovered, I am in the habit of keeping my promises," Mrs. Whitman said at the time.

The plaque was stolen within days. According to Weird New Jersey, (and reported by the Courier-Post), the rest stop became known for the promiscuous behavior of its visitors to the point that the restrooms were replaced by Port-A-Potties.

The rest stop was shut down in 2003 by Gov. Jim McGreevey, reportedly due to budget cuts. At the time, it was reported that the closure would save $1 million (the rest stop was staffed by the state). It is now abandoned and overgrown.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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