My great-grandfather had a gas station on the south-east corner of the intersection of Rt 113 and 207. My grandfather, John T Fitzgerald, grew up hanging around there, helping pump gas, and learning how to work on cars. He started acquiring and collecting cars and using the parts off of them to fix whatever it was he was working on at the time. He stored the cars on the family farm until they started getting in the way and he knew that he was going to have to find a better place to store them. Then in 1935, when the acre of ground across the intersection from the gas station, the north-west corner, came up for sale he bought it and moved his cars there and started Fitzgerald’s Junkyard. He built a two-story wooden building, where he started operating his auto-repair business. He used the bottom floor as a garage where he worked on cars and the second floor was used as office and storage space. He employed a few people who could do mechanic work and made sure that someone was available 24 hours a day for travelers, on the “new” DuPont Hwy, that might need emergency repairs. He continued acquiring and collecting cars, sometimes taking them in exchange for farm animals or in lieu of payment for some type of service. He expanded the business to include selling auto parts and selling the old rusted hulks of cars for scrap metal.
Sometime around 1944 he became ill and got progressively worse. By the time the doctors figured out he had a brain tumor, he didn’t have very much time left. He died in 1950 at the young age of 41. Since none of the children were old enough to take over the business, his wife, Lillie Fitzgerald, gave the job of running the business to one of the employees who had been working there. In about five years, John T Fitzgerald Jr., the oldest son of five siblings, turned 18. He convinced his mother that he was ready to take over, which he did. In 1966, the business was incorporated under the name Fitzgerald’s Auto Salvage. After running the business for several years, he, along with his wife Karen, eventually bought it from his mother.
The business has since grown to occupy about 40 acres and presently employs about 75 people. The name was recently changed to Fitzgerald Salvage and Recycling to better reflect the broad array of services that we now offer. We have expanded from just junk cars to where we now buy all types of metal including aluminum cans and electronic scrap. We are meeting the challenge of advancements in technology as well as increased environmental regulations.
November 4, 2011
The Fitzgerald’s family in 2011