Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Jersey Shore Perpetual Calendar

This calendar was created by me for fans of the Jersey Shore. We used the profile image from our Face Book site " Tales of the New Jersey Shore"

It makes a great gift and since the day of the week, month and date change but never the year it is truly perpetual and never goes out of date.
Take a look at the image. An ingenious series of hidden wheels permit you to turn the dial on the sides of the calendar and change the date.

Buyers are looking for a convenient, secure way to purchase the calendar so I created this PayPal button. Just select it and PayPal will guide you through the process
The calendar is $20 plus $5 UPS shipping and handling. ( please no Box #'s as UPS will not deliver )
It is created and produced by hand in New Jersey and there is a 100% return guarantee. If you are not satisfied just return the calendar and you will be refunded your $20 minus the shipping and handling.
There is a limited supply no do not miss out.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Beautiful Cape May day - 1918

This is one of my favorite photos of Cape May, NJ .

There is so much history in this one image. An early horse-less carriage on a street, Beach Drive, that is today impossible to find a parking space.

On the far right are the massive columns of the old Lafayette Hotel-now replaced with a newer hotel.
Center right is Denizot's Ocean View Cottage ( built 1879) and operated at the time as the Arnold Cafe. The proprietors of the cafe altered the old cottage and replaced the bathhouses with an open beer garden.
The electric railroad on the left ran from Cape May Point to Sewell's Point along the boardwalk and on the beach, and was eventually extended to Schellinger's Landing in 1913. The boardwalk arches were illuminated with electric lights and extended the entire length of the old wooden boardwalk until the early 1920s.
The boardwalk was destroyed by the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, rebuilt and destroyed again by the Great Atlantic Storm of 1962. It was then replaced with a macadam seawall still referred to by the locals as the "boardwalk."
Emil Salvini

Friday, September 4, 2009

Peter Paul Boynton - The Pearl Diver

In the era before resorts hired lifeguards you entered the water at great peril. Should you require assistance and were lucky there might be a very skilled swimmer, an unofficial lifeguard for hire, on the beach. This was a common practice. While they would not throw you back if you or your family did not pay a reward :) ... it was expected.

A very interesting character was Peter Paul Boynton - known as the "pearl diver" because of his amazing swimming and diving skills. His name appears often as I do my research on the Jersey Shore and the U.S. Life-Saving Service that eventually became the United States Coast Guard.

He first popped up at Cape May where he operated an oriental gift shop while supplementing his income by saving lives during the summer season. Local residents blamed him for the devastating fire of 1869, he was questioned and released. They seemed to have it in for him and later arrested Boynton on a charge of filing a pistol from a moving train and endangering the life of a woman who claimed the bullet just missed her head. The City of Cape May fined hm $5.00 and Peter Paul had enough with New Jersey and moved Coney Island where his reputation as a swimmer, showman and entrepreneur grew. Boynton broke numerous swimming records and is credited with developing a rubber diver suit used by the early Coast Guard.
More to come on this amazing individual.

The Last Days of Pompeii - Coney Island Style

Yes this is a blog about the Jersey Shore but from time to time I like to post something of interest from one of our sister resorts.
If I could turn the clock back I would love to have seen this display in 1885 at Manhattan Beach, Coney Island, NY. They did things up big at old Coney Island just the big apple today.
Every night during the summer season they would put on magnificent fireworks displays that were visible for miles.

They loved "historical tableaus" back in the day and this one; The Last Day of Pompeii, was a major attraction. There was an artificial lake in front of a monstrous stage setting. Live music played as actors played the hapless citizens of Pompeii before Vesuvius blew its top in 79 AD. Once the "eruption" began the actors would run for cover as the massive fireworks display represented the destruction of the city.
Gotta love it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Summer Station - Cape May, NJ

Wouldn't you love to get off a train and be facing the beautiful Cape May beach? Back in the day the City of Cape May had two stations and you could step off the train and be within walking distance to the surf. ( there was a second competing railroad line but it is not part of this post or story)

The Jackson Street Winter station, which was located in the vicinity of the current day strip mall near the eastern end of the Washington Street pedestrian mall, ran a spur to Grant Street and Beach Drive. The Grant Street Station or the Summer Station as it was known was in operation during the summer season until the early part of the twentieth century.

It was a bit complicated but when the powerful West Jersey and Seashore Railroad ( owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad ) took over control of major train service to Cape May they compensated the smaller Cape May, Delaware Bay and Sewell's Point Railroad by permitting them to run the 0.63 mile track connection between the Winter Station and the Summer Station on Grant Street at the beach. The Cape May, Delaware Bay and Sewell's Point Railroad owned and operated the electric trolley tracks that ran from the steamboat landing on Cape May Point ( Sunset Beach ), past the lighthouse, along the boardwalk to Sewell's Point in eastern Cape May. You can see the trolley and tracks in many vintage photos of the Cape May beach or boardwalk.

I am posting two great images here. The first is the actual Grant Street or Summer Station at the beach when it was in operation. The second is an aerial shot of Cape May from approximately 1926 where you can see the station near the beach in the lower center of the photograph. If you look carefully you can see the Winter Station in the center of the image and follow the tracks from one station to the other. Must have been something to experience.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

United States Life-Saving Service

In 1766 the Scow "Nancy" was lost along the Cape May coastline in a violent gale. Witnesses watched in horror as twenty-three souls lost their lives. The Jersey Shore was littered with shipwrecks; some caused by storms and accidents and many caused intentionally by wreckers. An old trick was to hang a lantern from a mule's neck and to walk the beast back and forth along the shoreline on a dark, stormy night. An unfortunate captain who lost his bearings would think the light was from another vessel, a safe distance from shore, and would suddenly find his vessel snagged on a deadly shoal. " Pickens " filled many a seaside homestead or inn, and there were even reports of locals refusing to provide assistance, and rifling through bodies as they came to rest on the beach.
In one nasty two month period- Dec 1826 to January 1827 - two hundred wrecks took place along Absecon Island ( now Atlantic City. ) Lighthouses helped but more was needed. In 1848 New Jersey had the honor of being the first state to appropriate funds for surf boats, rockets, and other lifesaving apparatus to save life and property.
William Newell, a congressman and later governor of New Jersey, is credited with these appropriations and other lifesaving initiatives. He was responsible for improvements on the breeches buoy, which came to national attention during an event in 1850. A brig, Ayrshire, out of Scotland was wrecked off the wild shores of Absecon Island. More than two hundred Irish and British immigrants were aboard the ship in search of the American Dream, and had it not been for Newell's contraption they would have all gone to the bottom of the frigid Atlantic. A group of dedicated local fisherman carried a cannon-like device that fired a ball tethered to line that was then attached to the sinking vessel. A closed car was attached by a set of sturdy rings to the line, and over two days all but one of the passengers were saved.
The United States Life-Saving Service was formed in New Jersey from a group of battered huts along the windswept, desolate shores. An article in Harper's Weekly in 1884 mentioned Long Branch and how the summer visitors were unaware of the small, standardized stations and their fearless crews who faced hardship and danger from September to May. By the time the article was published, the coast of the United States was dotted with the stations, and loss of life in wrecks had been reduced by 75 percent. New Jersey had forty stations along its coast. The United States Life-Saving Service, forgotten now by most Americans, was absorbed into the United States Coast Guard at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Pictured here are two images. One shows a fearless crews launching their surf boat at the scene of a wreck. The other is the station at Deal, NJ. While the stations were supposed to be standardized, the wealthier communities wanted their Life-Saving Stations to reflect their affluence.
Emil R. Salvini

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Spring Lake, NJ - old school

A beautiful image of Spring Lake NJ on a summer day sixty-two years ago. The Essex and Sussex Hotel seen in the background dominates the oceanfront.

From: Boardwalk Memories, Tales of the Jersey Shore Emil R. Salvini ( Globe Pequot Press )

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mt Vernon Beach and Hotel - Cape May NJ

In 1856 the world's largest hotel, the Mount Vernon Hotel, burned to the ground before construction was completed. It was built to accommodate 2,100 guests and its dining hall contained more than forty gas-burning chandeliers. Sadly the partially completed mammoth hotel had opened for the 1856 season to bring in some needed cash and just as it was closing in Sept - mercifully the summer crowds were gone - fire consumed the Mount Vernon. A co-owner, his four children and a housekeeper were lost in the conflagration.

The footprint of the doomed hotel was developed by a variety of firms - most failed - and building lots were eventually sold and cottages erected. I believe the hotel was located in present day Cape May from Broadway west along the beach where 2nd Avenue now ends. ( The Light of Asia - a giant wooden elephant related to Lucy in Margate was used as a gimmick to sell lots in the area but that is another story.)

The Mount Vernon Beach company produced a brochure and sold lots on a plot that began " 700 yards west of the West Jersey Railroad Station on Beach Avenue" ( current day Grant Street in Cape May.)

The development included what consists today of the western end of Cape May and the now deserted town of South Cape May. The resort currently ends on the western end of the beach and boardwalk which is today 2nd Avenue. Based on their brochure the Mount Vernon Beach company plotted streets that actually ran to 21 Avenue.

Building so close to the sea can be a gamble and most of the homes that extended t0 21st Avenue in South Cape May were eventually lost due to erosion and hurricanes. Many were saved and moved east. The streets in Cape May that extend west from and include Broadway - Patterson, First and Second Avenues- contain a number of the Mt Vernon Beach homes. The Thomas Weinman Cottage that once stood on a Mt Vernon Beach lot at Beach and Sixteenth ( see the image from the brochure) was moved to First Avenue ( see the new photo taken by me in 2009 .)
I often write that in an era when labor was less expensive than lumber homes were moved when the sea encroached. It was said that the movers were so skilled the cottage owners often left their china in their wall cabinets, and the cottage and plates came to rest on the new lot in one piece :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Stockton Hotel = Cape May NJ

In 1869 the West Jersey Railroad built the luxurious Stockton Hotel at a cost of over $300,000. ( I am posting a rare view of the hotel from my collection )

The mammoth new hotel could accommodate over 475 guests and the dining hall could accommodate 800. The Stockton was designed by noted architect Stephen Decatur Button who created plans for over thirty buildings in the city. Many historians believe he was responsible for the "feel" of the Cape May we love and cherish today. He not only designed numerous buildings but his style was incorporated in "pattern books;" books used by local builders for cottagers who could not afford their own architect.

The Cape May Ocean Wave reported on the new hotel:

"By the time dinner and speeches were fairly over, the evening train from Philadelphia arrived, when guests crowded in, filling an extra page of the register with names of permanent boarders, and these have continued to daily increase ever since."

The hotel survived the Great Fire of 1878 that destroyed 35 acres of the city center. The Stockton Hotel had a long run eventually being torn down in 1910 to make way for new construction.  The next time you are in Cape May take a walk down Gurney Street from the beach and you will see the eight Stockton Row cottages on your left that were once shadowed by the massive hotel.  They were built by the same railroad in 1870/1871. 

( photo copyright 2009 Emil R Salvini )

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another July 4th

Love this image of Jersey Shore revelers on a July 4th over a century ago in Atlantic City.

Somethings never change


Saturday, July 4, 2009

THe Cake Walk - AC Style

It is believed that the African American dance form, the Cake Walk, originated on plantations in the deep South.

In the era before emancipation the best dancers would form a Cake Walk line and tradition states the winner often received a cake..thus the popular term, " That really takes the cake."

Atlantic City- and Young's Pier - was the first resort to feature Cake Walk dancers with African Americans as a popular act for tourists. Pictured here is a troupe posing on the pier circa 1910.

In later years white dancers would use black face to imitate the dancers but the genuine art form was an African American original. I would have loved to see this act in person.

( from the collection of Joseph Milligan III )

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Freeman Pier Fire- 1955- Seaside

By the 1940s Freeman's Amusements, an early and major competitor of Casino Pier, was acquired by J. Stanley Tunney. a former pier maintenance man who had worked his way to mayor of Seaside Heights. He often said his luck changed when just before the small concession he owned with his wife ran out of money he was walking along the beachfront -during Prohibition - and found a large barrel that had washed ashore. He managed to get it home, bore a hole in it and discovered he had a barrel of "Grade A" Irish whiskey. To his delight he sold the barrel of liquid gold for $300 ( depression era money ) and that seagoing barrel kept his business afloat.

By 1955 Tunney was preparing his successful enterprise - Freeman's Amusements - and his beloved hand-carved carousel for the new season when on June 9th, fire, the scourge of wooden walkways everywhere - paid a visit and in a little more than two hours reduced his carousel and busy pier to memories.

A faulty neon sign is believed to have started the fire. Fifty-mile-per-hour ocean winds encourage the blaze to claim three blocks of boardwalk from Dupont Avenue in Seaside Heights to Stockton Avenue in Seaside Park. The blaze was a crushing blow to the community, but J. Stanley Tunny and his associates began immediately to clear the rubble and rebuild for the next season. They managed to open and eventually created Funtown U.S.A. ( now Funtown Pier ) on the border of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Young's Pier Fire - 1912

Many of you have read my posts on John Lake Young's Million Dollar Pier and the images I have posted of his home, the Italianate villa, Number One Atlantic Ocean, located at the end of his pier.

Before the Million Dollar Pier, Mr. Young had an interesting start in the amusement business. He was a genuine product of the AC Boardwalk and began his career managing a carousel built by master German craftsman Gustav Dentzel. ( I have posted images of the Dentzel family carousels in the past .)

Young assisted the immigrant with the English language, and watched in amazement as he saw Dentzel become wealthy collecting all of those pennies and nickels as Young operated the beautiful, hand-carved carousel.

John Young had dreams and tried his hand at a few boardwalk enterprises but lacked capital. While serving a brief stint as an Atlantic City policeman Young had a chance meeting one evening on the boardwalk that changed his life. While on duty he met and befriended retired, wealthy businessman Stewart McShea and the two discussed Young's ideas for cashing in on the Boardwalk boom.
Young knew the carousel business from his experience with Dentzel. Together with McShea he purchased a beautiful, brand-new, hand-carved carousel. The aggressive Young wanted to operate the carousel seven days a week but McShea was a devote Christian. They compromised and the carousel organ played spiritual songs for the devout audience on Sundays while the carousel took a day off.

Their next enterprise was a big one. They bought the less than successful Applegate's Pier in 1891 and named it Young and McShea's Pier. Young had a talent for the amusement business and the pier was an instant success. Nineteenth-century diva Sarah Bernhardt made her Atlantic City debut at the pier, and Young added one of the boardwalk's first thrill rides, the Flip-Flop Railroad. Somewhere down the line the pier became Young's Ocean Pier and he promoted himself to Captain.

Captain John Lake Young took part of his new fortune and built another larger pier; Young's Million Dollar Pier. It opened in 1906 and the Captain made another fortune.

He was also lucky to have had the vision and funds to build the new pier because on March 29, 1912, Young's Ocean Pier was lost in a mysterious blazing inferno.

The image I am posting is a very rare "photo - postcard" of the fire. I was lucky to find it at a flea market in Cape May this past weekend.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another Sand Artist

A master at work on the beach of Atlantic City in 1904.
As his sign states, "A few grains of sand."

The mariner on the left is amazing. High tide soon and time and tide wait for no man or his sand art :)

Number One Atlantic Ocean

There you are in a village in Tuscany taking in this beautiful view.

The Italianate home, marble statues, manicured lawn, and lovely shrubs and grounds. Nothing like a trip to Europe.

Oops .. sorry wrong country.

You are looking at Number One Atlantic Ocean, the home of Capt. John Lake Young, located at the end of Young's Million Dollar Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The pier was built in 1906 and contained amusements that ranged from a giant aquarium to a massive ballroom and games galore.
Young knew the value of publicity so he built his own home at the very end of his pier, one thousand feet over the Atlantic Ocean, and called it Number One Atlantic Ocean. The villa, appointed with furniture commissioned in Europe, was featured in newspapers around the country. The home and formal gardens were outlined with thousands of miniature electric lights, a display designed by Young's fishing buddy, Thomas Edison , a frequent house guest. Many major celebrities were entertained in the home including President William Taft.

Sand Artist Early 1900's

Another busy sand artist working along one of the original boardwalks at Atlantic City. These guys were skilled and most Italian artisan immigrants.
They made a living from the loose change tossed on a blanket from appreciate patrons.
They would build close to the boardwalk to save their work from high tide and to be close to the money.
The problem was a few rotten apples began mixing mortar in the sand, and that along with aggressive panhandling forced the city to ban the practice.
This image dates to circa 1905

Friday, June 26, 2009

Move We Must- Wildwood Ocean Pier

The first major pier to be opened in Wildwood was christened the Ocean Pier ( opened for the 1905-1906 season.)

It was located between Poplar and Juniper and was over 1,ooo feet-long. The pier offered bowling alleys, roller skating rinks, a dance floor, a hand-carved carousel and numerous other amusements. I ran a post on it not too long ago.

What is great about this image is that as all fans of Wildwood know the beach is expanding annually and at low tide the refreshing ocean can be quite a distance from the boardwalk. The town officials were forced to move the boardwalk closer to the Atlantic on several occasions and pictured here is an early image ( circa 1920 ) of the Ocean Pier during one of the moves. Remember labor was less expensive than lumber back in the day so key buildings and cottages were often moved.

Emil R. Salvini

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ye Old Mill, Jack Rabbit and Carousel, Wildwood NJ

Very old image of the Cedar Avenue entrance to the wooden roller coaster called the Jack Rabbit constructed by Wildwood entrepreneur Edward E. Rhoads in 1919.  It also served as the entrance to Ye Old Mill boat ride, a dark, early-twentieth-century version of a tunnel of love. Rhoads contracted with the famed Philadelphia Toboggan Company to construct a hand-carved carousel to match and compete with the Dentzel masterpiece carousel built for the boardwalk pavilion known as the Casino that opened in 1897. 
I am also including an aerial view of the Rhoad's carousel building ( flag on top ) and the monstrous Jack Rabbit coaster in the center left/background.
Third there is an amazing image of the Dentzel steam-powered carousel that brought fame to the Casino. ( from my book Boardwalk Memories, Tales of the Jersey Shore - Globe Pequot Press .) Click on the images for more detail and you can see the Dentzel trademark panel in the upper right of the carousel.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bob Hope and AC

When Atlantic City was America's Playground all of the major stars visited.

Publicity was the name of the game as it is today and in this vintage image a very young Bob Hope playfully challenges the regulation that men must wear bathing tops on Atlantic City beaches. 

Great piece of nostalgia.

From: Jersey Shore, Vintage Images of Bygone Days - Emil Salvini ( Globe Pequot Press )

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cape May Point - 1919 Amazing View

Just like the image I posted of Asbury Park this is a circa 1919 aerial view of Cape May Point.
The US military did a survey of the entire Jersey Shore after World War One for security.
The detail is wonderful and I have every resort and will post from time to time. Look at how much has been lost to erosion.


Morro Castle - Asbury Park

Some new fans have been asking me about the Morrow Castle and if I had any images.
I posted a few awhile back but here is my favorite.

The luxury liner ran aground on the beach resort on September 8, 1934 when it caught fire at sea. More than a third of the 455 people on board lost their lives in the tragedy. The massive ship beached adjacent to Convention Hall, Asbury Park and the boardwalk, presenting a surreal spectacle. The cause of the fire that doomed the popular cruise liner has remained a mystery for more than seventy years but arson is suspected. The Morrow Castle eventually burned to a gutted shell and was quite a people magnet for months before being hauled away to the scrap yard.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Light of Asia - Cape May

Most fans of the Jersey Shore know of Lucy the elephant in Margate.
Very few know that she once had a cousin located a bit further south in Cape May.
Known as the "Light of Asia" or Old Dumbo by the locals she was designed by Philadelphia architect N.H. Culver and was built for land speculator Theodore M. Reger. ( Culver was no doubt influenced by James V. Lafferty, designer of Lucy in 1881 and Elephantine Colossus built in Coney Island in 1882.
Completed in 1884 it's owner, Reger, ran ads in the local paper soliciting tenants for his colossal Pachyderm. " Parties wishing rooms in the elephant to sell soda water, fancy articles, advertising, etc. and the privilege for bathhouses, ice cream garden and dairy. Apply on the premises or to T.M. Reger, 508 Walnut Street, Philadelphia."
The elephant stood forty feet, ten inches tall and a "howdah" or covered pavilion rested upon the giant's back. The hind legs were equipped with spiral stairs that provided access to the interior of the elephant. Two sets of stairs on either side of the interior led to the howdah, where an observatory offered to tourists for ten cents a scenic view of the Atlantic Ocean.
It was estimated that over one million pieces of wood were required to construct the elephant that was covered with a skin consisting of over 13,000 square feet of tin.
She was located in what later became South Cape May - now the empty stretch of beach between Second Avenue and Cape May Point that today borders the nature preserve.
Although the electric railroad ran along the beach from east Cape May to the point most people preferred to skip it and enjoy the view from the Cape May Point lighthouse for free. Some lots were sold but in the end the Light of Asia was abandoned and after years of vandalism the city sent her to the elephant graveyard.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Annual Ritual - very cool

My friend Neal sent me this:

Weird rituals greet start of summer season in NJ
By WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press Writer Wayne Parry, Associated Press Writer - Wed May 20, 5:47 pm ET
OCEAN CITY, N.J. - Merchants in suits and dresses will parade into the sea in Ocean City, Atlantic City will "unlock" the ocean, and the beer will flow bright and early in Point Pleasant Beach.
It's all part of the kickoff of summer at the Jersey Shore. The recession is expected to slow travel and tourism somewhat, but tourism remains New Jersey's second-largest industry, and this weekend it kicks into high gear.
The number of drivers taking to the roads this weekend is projected to be down slightly as the recession keeps some folks close to home. About 7.4 million drivers are expected to use the Garden State Parkway between Thursday and next Tuesday, down from 7.6 million last year, according to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
"Financial uncertainty is what's keeping more people from traveling," said David Weinstein, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Even so, gas prices remain well below last year's."
The average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline is expected to be $2.20 this weekend, down from $3.81 last year.
"The high-water mark should be no more than $2.50 per gallon this summer nationally and the Jersey gallon is typically 10 to 15 cents cheaper than the national average," Weinstein said. "These prices continue to be a silver lining."
That should make it cheaper to get to Ocean City, the southern New Jersey resort that was named the state's best beach this week. On Friday, Ocean City merchants will don their best business attire, clutch briefcases, and march into the ocean to the strains of "Pomp And Circumstance," something the city does each year to kick off summer. No one is really sure why.
On Sunday in Atlantic City, Mayor Lorenzo Langford and Miss Atlantic City will symbolically "unlock" the ocean, though no one locks it back up again in October.
And in Point Pleasant Beach, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend is traditionally high school cut day, when plenty of youngsters - not to mention their parents - turn out early for a free concert at a boardwalk bar that spills onto the sand. This year's show features Rascal Flatts.
A major overhaul of the Parkway's Driscoll Bridge is finished just in time for the summer crowds. The $225 million project has given it greater capacity than the George Washington Bridge.
The bridge, over the Raritan River, expanded from 12 lanes to 15 and added shoulders. The lack of shoulders had aggravated congestion during breakdowns and accidents.
Air travel at Newark Liberty International Airport is expected to be down 6.1 percent this weekend, with more than 448,000 passengers arriving or departing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Asbury 1944

What man builds nature can take in a flash. This photo shows the unbelievable damage sustained by Asbury Park during the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944. Convention Hall in the distance sustained damage but survived the massive storm.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Point Pleasant Beach Train

Generations of families recall the little beach train that for almost 5 decades made the trip from Jenkinson's Pavilion to the boardwalk pier at the end of Broadway. 
Tradition states that Orlo Jenkinson Sr bought the train after seeing one operate in Brighton England.  At one time there were three shiny locomotives that pulled seven, two seat cars each and a pair of them always ran in seven-minute intervals often passing each other at 20 MPH.

By the mid 1990's the new owners of Jenkinson's lost interest in the train and the Zitarosa family purchased the train running it as a labor of love. Part were impossible to locate so locomotive parts were pirated from each other and by the end one locomotive could barely run at 5 MPH on a single set of tracks. The family struggled to find a buyer as they dealt with the constant deterioration of the tracks caused by the sand and heat. In the end they gave up the good fight and the old beach train became a Jersey Shore memory.

Picnic with Lucy

Lucy has led a varied life since being built as an attraction to promote real estate sales in South Atlantic City ( now Margate.) The 65-foot-high pachyderm was a distant cousin of the Light of Asia in Cape May, and the Elephant Hotel ( or Elrphantine Colossus) in Coney Island. She is the only surviving relative. Lucy did a stint as a hotel, tavern, and even a summer cottage. She was going to ruins until a group of preservationists saved her and moved her inland to nearby Margate. Lucy is now a National Historic Landmark and worth a visit.
Pictured her is a picnic circa 1930 when she was still located along the boardwalk.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Asbury in amazing detail -1919

In 1919 the US Army took aerial images of the entire Jersey Shore from Long Branch to Cape May Point for defense purposes..
They are a wealth of knowledge for historians and fans of the shore. I am posting it in large format so you can click on it and really see the detail.

I'll be posting various aerial views of NJ resorts in the weeks to come. There is an Asbury #2 image to follow. Some towns like Cape May have 4 or more images to cover the entire city.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Come On, Rise Up - crank up the volume

My money is on Asbury Park coming back.
Once known as the Duchess of the North Shore I see good things happening.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Dreamland" Coney Island NY

Yes I know this is my blog for the New Jersey Shore but some of our best boardwalk amusement parks evolved from Coney Island attractions.  Dreamland looks like a magical place.

Advertised as the Great Pleasure Park of West Brighton Beach it was massive collection of amusements.
The park had thousands of electric lights to outline the buildings, Venetian canals, trained animals, a 3-ring circus, high-divers, a miniature railroad, etc.

Take a look at the illustration and my description from left to right.
On the far left is the bizarre Midget City that the park populated with little people where tourists would gawk at the inhabitants as if they were zoo animals. The tower next to it was a 300 foot observation structure that must have looked incredible in the evening outlined with miniature white lights. Next is the pier where the boat is docking. There was a covered ballroom over the pier.  The "fire" on the right was actually an exhibit called the "Realistic Fire Exhibition."  Lastly the pier on the right with a hump-like shape in the middle of it was a "Leap-frog Railroad." 
Wouldn't you love to have seen it for a day?

Two Views of the Asbury Park Casino

You recognize that guy right ?? :) :)

He was getting ready to take over the planet, and the Casino, well, it traveled in another direction.

The one constant is change.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Lots more Asbury Park " Come on, Rise up."

The Boss wrote "  I can hear the organ's song but the congregation's gone..My city of ruins"but our famous troubadour also added " Come on, rise up !"

Many people believe he wrote this heart wrenching song about the horrors of 9/11 but he actually wrote this for his lost city of Asbury Park and first performed it at a benefit for the resort.

Here are some wonderful old images of the boardwalk, the inside of Convention Hall and the Casino.

Come and on Rise Up