Tag: Exploring the Jersey Shore

Avalon History Center                                                              215 39th Street                                                                     Avalon, NJ 08202

Avalon History Center 215 39th Street Avalon, NJ 08202

Avalon History Center

215 39th Street

Avalon, NJ 08202

(609) 967-0090

Open: Sunday Closed/ Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday 10:00am-3:00pm

http://www.avalonhistoricalsociety.org/

https://www.facebook.com/avalonhistorycenter/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g29754-d8096123-Reviews-Avalon_History_Center-Avalon_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

The Avalon History Center is at 215 39th Street in Downtown Avalon, NJ

Recently I took a tour of small Jersey shore towns and their historical societies. These interesting little museums are packed with information on the history and development of these towns. The progress of these towns from fishing and hunting villages for the Native Americans to the modern day resorts and permanent residence’s have a fascinating history.

The Avalon History Center was the last museum on my visit to the shore that day and it had become very gloomy outside. The town was relatively quiet when I got there on a late Thursday night. I ended up having the whole museum to myself to tour. The curator came out and greeted me nicely and said that they were working in the back and if I had any questions to come get them. Outside that, I was the only one touring the exhibitions.

When you enter the building, the rooms are broken down in section by display. The Avalon Police Department has a wonderful exhibition of the history of the department. There are all sorts of police gear, mannequins with old uniforms and all sorts of police gear and pictures of the department through the ages. Near that is the Brendan Borek High Tide Memorial Fund.

The Early Avalon Room contains the history of the many hotels that used to dot the town during the Victorian era that have either burned down or succumbed to the ocean currents. Of all the hotels that existed only the Sea Lark B &B (See my review on TripAdvisor) still greeting guests. There are all sorts of dishware from the old hotels, menus and silverware that show the opulence of the time when pleasure travel lasted longer than present day.

The Sealark B &B at 3018 First Avenue in Avalon, NJ

http://www.sealark.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g29754-d79340-Reviews-Sealark_Bed_and_Breakfast-Avalon_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

There was a section on the Founding of the town and its development over time. The town used to be Native American place to fish and hunt to the Victorian resort it became with the railroads. There was extensive history of the Railroad system that was so important to the growth of these shore towns. This was until 1937 when the rail system became obsolete with the advent of the automobile. There was a nice display of the old Avalon Pier.

The back of the building was dedicated to local businesses that have since closed, This shows old signs, pictures and menus of watering holes that were popular for generations. There was an interesting display from the Avalon Hotel’s ‘Phil’s Bongo Room’, a popular place for bands.

On the other side of the front of the museum is an interesting display on the Avalon Shore Patrol, a much dedicated group of men and women that play such an important role in a shore community. The museum displayed an restored patrol boat surrounded by other artifacts. Pictures of generations of Beach Patrol members proudly line the walls.

The Beach Patrol display

The museum also has landscaped grounds to walk outside either to some of the smaller historical buildings or to the gazebo to relax on a nice day and just enjoy the breezes. It is nice to walk along the flowering beds and just enjoy the sunshine.

History of the Avalon History Center:

(from a recent AHMS Newsletter)

The current facility opened its doors in September of 2001 to the public and began to share Avalon’s past, historical photographs, artifacts, memories and recollections lovingly collected and recorded by members of the Avalon Museum and Historical Society.

After several years of discussion, 1997 saw a historical society being formed at last in Avalon, supported by the enthusiastic endorsement of Mayor Marty Pagliughi and Borough Council President Nancy Hudanich, Doris Hanna and Jean Losch even secured a $10,000 donation from the Avalon Women’s Civic Club, as seed money for a building. Borough Council agreed to provide a location at 39th Street as well as a modular building-the old Public Works Headquarters, which did not prove suitable. The Avalon Museum and Historical Society got to work.

In June 1997, the first election of the Avalon Museum and Historical Society officers occured, along with the adoption of a constitution and bylaws. Among those first officers were Robert Jaggard, President, Lucille (Sue) Jacobson, Vice-President, Jan Jaggard, Secretary and Gordon Smith, Treasurer. Among thefirst Trustees were Jean Losch, Doris Hanna, Betty Shoemaker, Marvin Wells Jr., Joseph Koen and Robert Penrose Jr.

In early 1998, as the AMHS held its first fund drive, Doctors John and Elizabeth Ruskey agreed to honor the previous owner’s wish to donate their recently purchased house (location on 111st Street in Stone Harbor) to the effort. The Avalon Museum and Historical Society had support, money, a location and a building. Now all they had to do was move the house from Stone Harbor to Avalon, which is exactly what happened on November 6th, 1998. The groundbreaking took place on January 22nd, 1999.

Once in place, work on putting the building back together and creating a museum space continued, inside and out. Items had been donated, collected and stored in the homes of the officers and trustees. It was the work of the AMHS to organize fundraising events to finance the project.

In mid-September 2001, the officers opening day arrived at last and AMHS President Pary Woehlcke, together with Mayor Marty Pagliughi cut the ribbon on Avalon’s very own local history museum.

Since then, there have been many changes at 215 39th Street, including the merger and incorporation of the Avalon Museum and Historical Society into the Avalon Free Public Library. We are now the Avalon History Center.

One thing that remains constant is the commitment, enthusiasm and passion from History Center staff and the Historical Society Board and members. Our mission remains to bring Avalon’s past alive and make it accessible for all. This year has been a challenge but one we hope we have met as we continue to keep the doors open, broaden our outreach online, entertain, educate and amuse our patrons.

Mission of the Avalon History Center:

The Mission of the Avalon History Center is to collect, chronical and preserve the history of the Borough of Avalon in the County of Cape May, New Jersey.

Peermont Self-Guided Walking Tour:

This self-guided tour of a section of Peermont (25th to 42nd Streets) will lead you from the Avalon Post Office at 33rd and Dune Drive through to 30th Street and ending at the Boardwalk and Beach Patrol on 32nd Street. It should take about one hour of gentle walking.

History of the Area:

(from the Avalon History Center pamphlet)

In October of 1888, Philadelphia entrepreneur George Rummel and the Avalon Beach Improvement Co. (ABICO) purchased from Joseph Wells at 17 block area of Seven Mile Island from 25th to 42nd Streets. The tract excluded the vast beachfront but included large areas of boggy meadowlands west of Third Avenue. This section of Seven Mile Island became known as the ABICO tract.

Rummel’s first priority was to build a hotel, which he named “The Peermont”. The railroad station which went up at the same time also became known as Peermont and so the ABICO tract followed suit. Peermont was on the map.

The Hotel Peermont in Avalon, NJ

Building lots were very quickly offered for sale so many that those in the Avalon section began to feel somewhat behind. Lots were also sold and bought in the meadowlands between Third and Forth Avenues on the assumption that they would be drained, filled, graded and curbed. Unfortunately 25th Street to Gravens Thoroughfare was the only roadway made passable. Rummel did however tear down the dunes, fill in and grade the ponds and marsh areas along the beachfront section of the ABICO tract, in order to build a seawall and then a boardwalk.

Ocean City Historical Museum  1735 Simpson Avenue  Ocean City, NJ 08226

Ocean City Historical Museum 1735 Simpson Avenue Ocean City, NJ 08226

Ocean City Historical Museum

1735 Simpson Avenue

Ocean City, MD 08226

(609) 339-1801

https://www.ocnjmuseum.org/

https://www.facebook.com/ocnjmuseum/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46696-d15122158-Reviews-Ocean_City_Historical_Museum-Ocean_City_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

The entrance to the museum is inside the Municipal Building and Library 1735 Simpson Avenue

I made a trip to many of the beach towns at the Jersey Shore recently visiting the small historical societies that explain the history and development of these small towns. It is amazing to see how they have developed in just 150 years from Native American fishing villages to thriving vacation spots and permanent residential districts. Ocean City, NJ itself has an interesting history.

As you enter the museum from the back of the library, you are warmly greeted by a docent who will explain the museum to you. Then you will follow a semicircle through the exhibitions in a genealogical order from when the town was founded to modern times and events.

The first exhibition is called “From Hunting Ground to the Modern Resort:

The early history from the time the Native Americans used the shore line for fishing and hunting to the history of the Miller family who owned parts of the island. The exhibit explained how the Miller family owned this section the island and how it was developed. These were the early years of the island until the coming of the Methodist colony.

The second Exhibition was “The Founders and the Early Years”:

In 1879, four Methodist ministers came to Ocean City to develop a Summer Colony and resort for their members based on Christian values. This lead to the development of the “Blue Laws” in which some traces are found today. The displays discussed the how the resort moved into modern times and how this development shaped the resort as it is today. There are interesting pictures of the development of the Camp in the turn of the last century.

The Boardwalk display

The third Exhibition was “The Boardwalk”:

The development of the first Boardwalk in 1887 to give access to the shoreline lead to early development around it. You could follow the developments of many versions of the Boardwalk over the years due to storms and development. There were displays of old movie theaters that used to dot the Boardwalk along with other family businesses that opened over the years. Old hotels that have since closed or being used for other uses had their histories told. The Flanders Hotel’s history was displayed.

The forth Exhibition was “The Sindia”:

The Sindia was a shipwreck off the coast of Ocean City that ran aground in 1901. It still lies off the coast but many of the artifacts of the wreck are displayed here. There is all sorts of bottles, dishware and other household and decorative items displayed here. There is also an interesting display of model ships.

The last Exhibition was on actress Grace Kelly and her family:

Princess and Actress Grace Kelly used to vacation with her family in Ocean City from the time she was a little girl until her death. I never realized that her father was an Olympic Rower and used to row at the Jersey Shore. Her brother was a lifeguard for the town as well. There are all sorts of family pictures of her and her siblings growing up here. What I thought was interesting was she bought her royal family to the Jersey shore to vacation with her family and there were pictures before she passed enjoying her time here. That I thought was very interesting that she never forgot her roots.

The Grace Kelly exhibition

Don’t miss their nice gift shop that has all sorts of decorative items and jellies and honey.

History of the Museum:

(from the Museum’s Website)

The Ocean City Historical Museum is a nonprofit 501(c) 3 corporation established in April of 1964. It was created by a group of enthusiastic volunteers with the support of the local government. The purpose of the Museum is to preserve the city’s history for future generations for both visitors and residents.

The first museum was located on the first floor of the old elementary school at 409 Wesley Avenue. It was only open during the summer of its first full year, as the building was still being used as a school. In July of 1965, it was opened for year round visitors when the school moved to its new location. The museum moved to its current location at the Ocean City Community Center at 1735 Simpson Avenue in 1990.

Mission:

The mission of the Ocean City Historical Museum is to delight, inspire and educate the public about the story of Ocean City, NJ and to collect, preserve and promote items relevant to its heritage, traditions and memories.

Vision: The Vision of the Ocean City Historical Museum is to be an inviting, informative and innovative community resource that is recognized and respected as the place for exploring and celebrating the rich history and heritage of Ocean City, NJ.

Sea Isle City Museum  4800 Central Avenue  Sea Isle, NJ 08243

Sea Isle City Museum 4800 Central Avenue Sea Isle, NJ 08243

Sea Isle Museum

4800 Central Avenue

Sea Isle, NJ 08243

(609) 263-2992

https://www.facebook.com/Sea-Isle-City-Historical-Museum-326332320746077/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46807-d10452863-Reviews-Sea_Isle_City_Historical_Museum-Sea_Isle_City_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

The Sea Isle City Museum is located inside the Sea Isle Library at 4800 Central Avenue just off Downtown Sea Isle City, NJ

On a recent trip of touring the small towns of the Jersey shore, I set out to visiting many of the historical societies that tell the histories of these towns and how they have progressed from small Native American fishing villages to the resort and residential towns of today. Each of these museum has their own unique focus to how they tell their story.

The Sea Isle City Museum at 4800 Central Avenue is located in the back of the Municipal Building right next to the Sea Isle City Library. This small museum that is manned by volunteers is packed with local historical artifacts, pictures and exhibitions of the items in the museum. You have to walk to the back of the building to find the museum just off the library entrance.

When you walk into the museum, you are greeted by an exhibition of ‘Wedding Dresses through the Ages’, created by curator the late Marie Thompson Stafford, which shows various styles of wedding dresses from 1880 until current day that were worn by brides from Sea Isle City, NJ. Each dress was accompanied in most cases by the owner on her wedding day and gives a unique view of the changing of styles over the last century.

“Wedding Dresses through the Ages”

The back part of the museum is broken down into sections. Part of the museum is an on-going library of the history of the families have lived in town over the generations. What I thought was interesting about this was that each family had their own notebook binder to contribute family history and pictures of the family events. They could update their notebook by coming into the Historical Society and personally adding to the book. There have been 30 years of donations to the museum according to the volunteers.

There were also shelves of books on the Sea Isle City School district, the fire department, the police department and the Municipal departments of the town. These featured old pictures of the departments, artifacts over the years and documents of what happened in the town.

There was a section on the old hotels and restaurants of Sea Isle City at the turn of the last century until today. Various clapboard Victorian hotels used to line the shores here but many had succumbed to either fires or beach erosion. Several of the old restaurants like Cronecker’s Restaurant had just closed over time.

There was an interesting exhibition on the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol and the members who made up the squad. This is a very important part of the culture of the shore towns and their competitions are a very big deal. You can see the bragging rights of the towns over decades of summers. These lifeguards take their jobs very seriously.

Another exhibition was the “Armed Forces in Sea Isle City” and the EMS Armed Patrol. This small exhibition showed the uniforms and items used by the squads who lived in Sea Isle City. It showed the contributions of a small town.

Sea Isle City’s Armed forces

In one corner, there was a display of kitchen wares from the turn of the last century featuring all sorts of kitchen gadgets, an old oven and stove and various household items like an old washing machine that show how things have changed over the year but not by much. We have just modernized what was once considered old.

There was an interesting exhibition on Toys through time with all sorts of games, books and dolls that children used up until the 1960’s. It still resonates with me the idea of ‘creative play’ when I see these old dolls and how mature they looked. The board games also challenged the mind the way no cellphone will to a young person.

The back part of the Sea Isle City Historical Society

The last exhibit I looked at was the town history of Sea Isle City by founder Charles K Landis, who the main street of the town is named after who helped create the town in 1882. He also founded Vineland, NJ. This was a small display of pictures and artifacts of the early settlement.

Outside the museum is a protected area for the Diamondback Terrapin Turtle as their Nesting Grounds. According to one of the docents, they breed during the Spring and lay their eggs by the shore so the area has to be protected from humans and other wild animals.

Also outside to the side of the building is the Memorial Garden with its seasonal plantings, small waterfall and statue of Neptune. The Garden is located adjacent to the Historical Museum and offers a quiet and relaxing place to enjoy the natural area that surrounds it. You can purchase a paver to help support the museum and to proudly display your family or loved one’s name on our “Memory Lane Walkway”.

The Sea Isle Historical Museum Memorial Garden located to the side of the museum

This wonderful little gem of museum is open during the week and is free to the public. They are always docents and volunteers around to answer questions.

History of the Sea Isle Historical Society:

(from the Sea Isle City Historical Museum website)

In 1982, Sea Isle City celebrated the 100th Anniversary of its founding, an occasion which led to the creation of the Sea Isle City Historical Society and Museum. The museum formally opened on January 26th, 1983 in a temporary space in the city public school and moved 17 months later to a building behind the former City Hall. Harriet Reardon Bailey was elected first president and also served as its Curator for thirty years.

In 1990, Michael Stafford was elected President. Mike guided the museum through its next 25 years of growth and recognition in the community, resulting in the many displays and programs described throughout the website. The museum moved to larger quarters at 4208 Landis Avenue in 1995 and subsequently in 2011 to its present modern facility as part of the Sea Isle City Library building. Since his retirement in 2014, Mike Stafford has been succeeded by Mike McHale and then by our current President, Abby Powell.

Our Facility:

The museum is designed with an open floor plan to allow easy access as you move from exhibit to exhibit. We also provide an area to sit and conduct research, take notes or simply browse through our many articles, books and thousands of photographs. The museum features a unique bridal gown display, more than 200 family albums generated by the families themselves as well as an abundance of artifacts related to Sea Isle and the surrounding area.

Our Mission:

To acquire, preserve, display, celebrate and promote archives and artifacts relevant to the development of our unique cultural heritage and to delight, inspire and educate present and future generations about the story of Sea Isle City, NJ. The Sea Isle City Historical Society and Museum is a certified 501C3 nonprofit organization.

Our Vision:

To be an inviting, informative, educational and innovative community resource that is recognized and respected as the place for exploring and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Sea Isle City and the surrounding areas.

The Pfeiffer Memorial Garden:

The Memorial Garden began many years ago at the Pfeiffer’s home in Sea Isle City. In 1996, existing memorial pavers and the statue of Neptune were installed in the Sea Isle City Historical Museum’s Memorial Garden at 4208 Landis Avenue. A formal dedication of the garden tool place on July 8, 2001. In 2001, the Memorial Garden received the coveted Sea Isle Beautification Award.

On August 4, 2012, the garden was dedicated at its new museum home at 4800 Central Avenue. Today, a project is nearly completed to enhance the garden with new landscaping, a diamondback turtle protection station and an active water feature which represents the flow of Sea Isle’s history from the past, to the present and onto the future.

On April 27th, 2016, the enhanced Memorial garden was formally dedicated to or past President, Mike Stafford and his late wife, Marie, both of whom did so much to nurture and grow the Historical Museum to what it is today.

Stone Harbor Museum                                                           9410 Second Avenue                                                              Stone Harbor, NJ 08247

Stone Harbor Museum 9410 Second Avenue Stone Harbor, NJ 08247

Stone Harbor Museum

9410 Second Avenue

Stone Harbor, NJ 08247

(609) 368-7500

https://stoneharbormuseum.org/

https://www.facebook.com/stoneharbormuseum/

My review on TripAdvisor”

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46850-d12832764-Reviews-Stone_Harbor_Museum-Stone_Harbor_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html

The entrance to the Stone Harbor Museum at 9410 Second Avenue

On a recent trip to the Jersey Shore, I took an long drive down the coastline visiting small historical museums of the shore towns and they gave me an interesting perspective of how these towns were developed from the time of Native American fishing and hunting villages to the advent of railroads and Victorian hotels to the modern development of the town today. Stone Harbor, NJ has had an interesting path since its development in the late 1800’s.

The Stone Harbor Museum was founded in 1996 by a group of involved residents who wanted to showcase their town’s history. The current museum was opened in 2016 and has many different exhibitions going on, some permanent and others are seasonal and keep rotating within the museum. When you walk in, the museum is divided by sections and displays of their museum.

Leading into the entrance, there was a very interesting exhibit on “9/11” for the Twentieth Anniversary of the event by a Chief from the Stone Harbor Fire Department. It was a series of articles from local and national papers, some artifacts and information on the fire service. It was a very touching reminder of what fire fighters did that horrible day.

There were many displays on the history of Stone Harbor with the Stone Harbor School System and the Borough of Stone Harbor exhibiting artifacts. Interesting pictures and items of the Stone Harbor Beach Patrol were proudly displayed which I noticed from my many stops at various historical societies on the Jersey Shore is very much a part of the town culture. These teams take their competitions amongst the towns very seriously with events like boating and swimming.

There were many pictures of old homes at a time when the town was a Victorian beach resort and people came to the Jersey shore for extended vacations. You could see the progression of the town over a century from a seaside resort to a permanent residential town. The architecture has significantly changed over the years to slightly smaller homes but no less impressive all over the town.

There were extensive pictures and displays of the importance of the rail system and the role it played in the growth of the area and to all shore communities. Its history pretty much ended with the advent of the Model T and the growth of cars to the Jersey shore. Soon the modern highways made the rail system obsolete.

Ladies at the shore enjoying a ride

Still there are many displays of ‘fun in the sun’ and the growth of beach activities and recreation with the growth of sun bathing, swimming, boating and fishing. People’s leisure time was growing and the Jersey shore filled their time with sun bathing and swimming. The changes of attitude in swimwear have been tremendous especially from the one piece and hats to the modern bikini in just 80 years.

Swimwear at the turn of the last century

There were pictures and artifacts from various shipwrecks off the coast of the town. It showcased the maritime history of the town and of the Jersey shore in general. It showed the importance of the town in a era of trade that is long gone. This shipping lines too became obsolete as rail service replaced them.

There was a interesting collection of items entitled Church and Faith of all the churches in the town that played such a important role in the social life of the turn of the last century. This was a time before TV, radio, the advent of movies and especially the Internet. This was at time when people’s social life revolved the social life of places of worship.

In the center of the museum there is an extensive library with shelves lined with notebooks full of pictures and historical details neatly bound. This is the records of the town and the citizens who have lived here over the years.

On top of the 9/11 exhibition, another interesting exhibition was entitled “The Residents of 81st Street”, on the history of the Black community of the town at the turn of the last century. This was a thriving middle class community that there own social life as well their contributions to the town of Stone Harbor.

The one thing I liked about the museum is that it does not overwhelm you when you are visiting. The exhibits are detailed but compact. You learn a lot about the town with enough information and artifacts but you can still enjoy the display in about twenty minutes to about a half hour. The whole museum takes about an hour to two hours to visit maybe more if you are really enjoying yourself.

The staff could not have been nicer and take such pride in the museum. The afternoon I visited the museum one of the long time residents who volunteers at the museum was able to share her knowledge of the town. For a small town, it is chockful of interesting history.

The Stone Harbor Museum History:

(from their website and pamphlets)

The Mission:

To acquire, preserve, display, celebrate and promote archival and artifact items relevant to the development of our unique cultural heritage and to delight, inspire and educate the present and future generations about the story of Stone Harbor, NJ.

The Vision:

To be inviting, informative and innovative community resource that is recognized and respected as the place for exploring and celebrating rich cultural heritage of Stone Harbor, NJ.