Fifty Years of Beachwood, 1917 – 1967

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Below you will find Ruth Perry’s 1967 work of a brief report on the first fifty years of the Borough of Beachwood (noting that the actual start date can be argued to be November 1914 when the New York Tribune first advertised its promotion but much more likely and hopefully widely accepted in the future to be Decoration (Memorial) Day weekend, 1915).

You will notice in her last prose paragraph a request that someone fifty years from her time of writing undertake the task of putting forth a comprehensive volume on the 100 year history of our borough. It is in fact that call our organization has answered with fresh ideas and full energy to completing that task now fast approaching.

It is our hope that many more will join us in the future to aid in our work to that end.

PREFACE

The Reverend Henry Beck, noted historian of New Jersey towns, once said, “Beachwood is too young; she has no history!” Perhaps to prove Father Beck in error, perhaps it was a challenge, or perhaps because a cranial examination is indicated, I set out to compile the history of Beachwood’s fifty years in the short two and one-half months allotted me. All other attempts at her annals seem to cut off sharply in the 1920’s when the chronicles of her early years were abundantly recorded in “Who’s Who in Beachwood,” written by William Mills [sic] Butler. This work examined the period from Beachwood’s inception through 1924; beyond that Beachwood might well be another “Forgotten Town of New Jersey.” I have endeavored to correct this situation. My sources of information also include Who’s Who in Beachwood – plus reams of the minutes of Borough Meetings and as thorough a perusal as time would permit of the files of the New Jersey Courier. I humbly offer my 100 volunteer hours of reminiscence, research and revision for your enjoyment and information.

INFORMAL HISTORY OF BEACHWOOD

By Ruth Perry

In 1914, paper-backed editions (as we know them) were a rarity but Beachwood came into being as a “paper-backed” edition of a future borough. Backed by the then-flourishing New York Tribune (whose demise we are currently mourning), 1763 acres of Berkeley Township were sectioned; born as a new development; christened Beachwood and designed as a Summer Colony. Lots and streets were laid out by Mr. A. D. Nickerson – each lot 20 x 100 feet – was priced at $19.60 and its purchase carried a bonus of a six-months subscription to the Tribune. Bertram C. Mayo, head of the Tribune’s Promotion Department, was the motivation behind the project.

Work was begun on the Club House, the Pier, the Bath House, the Lodge, the Dining Hall, the new Railroad Station – all to be ready for the Memorial Day opening. On Easter Sunday of 1915, the first residents of Beachwood (year-round) unfolded their large, circus-like tent, added a lean-to and took up housekeeping. They were Mr. and Mrs. Frank J. Perry and their son, Robert.

The Summer programs were well planned to include land and water sports, dancing and concerts. There were tennis courts, a beach for sunning and the river for bathing, canoeing and sailing. During the summer, Frank McCraigh opened the first store in town on Beachwood Boulevard.

A number of “Cottages” were built through the summer, the first large home to reach completion was that of Dr. Norman Rowe on Ensign Ave. The Perrys were also building a small home with perfect timing. On the evening of November 2nd., they folded their tent and silently moved – indoors. On the morning of November 3rd., Joseph Henry Perry, the first baby to be born in Beachwood, gave his initial rendition.

In 1916, the Property-Owner’s Association was formed with Mr. William Mills [sic] Butler at its head. It met and formed committees to handle, “railroad-crossing and taxes; bathing and sports; lighting and telephones; mail and express; police and fire-protection; street improvements; social life and entertainment; health and sanitation.” The Beachwood Women’s Club organized on September 20th with Mrs. Marion W. Brashears as President. Frank Turner and M. R. DeMiege were appointed Fire Wardens.

October of 1916 brought the proposal and strong support of the Property-Owner’s Association that Beachwood become a borough. Such a bill was passed by the New Jersey Senate on March 5, 1917 without a dissenting vote. The House also passed the bill and the Governor signed it. On May 11th, with 23 of the first 28 registered voters casting ballots, Joseph H. Senior became the Mayor of Beachwood. Max Blasberg was appointed Borough Clerk and six councilmen were elected.

Forest fires seared Beachwood in 1918 and the First Board of Education was elected with Mr. William Mills [sic] Butler as President. The very young generation was admired in a Baby Parade; the first religious services (non-sectarian) were conducted and mail was first received at the Beachwood Post Office on September 14th. School bussing was introduced with a “Bus” that contained wooden benches on both sides of the back of the truck; the students were sheltered only by canvas sides and top, while the back permitted quantities of fresh air to permeate the interior. Between trips, the Bus doubled in trash collection (private)! A Commission form of government replaced the Mayor and Council.

A small newsletter, The Beachwood Bulletin, appeared in 1919. $750.00 was voted as necessary for school needs for the year – no astute clairvoyant at that time could have predicted the size of the present school budget! Ice was at a premium and mosquitos were plentiful – now we have both in quantity. A Boardwalk was installed from the Bathing Beach to the Yacht Club. The Beachwood Athletic Association was formed and moonlight excursions were held aboard the Ariella and the Dorianna. Atlantic City Boulevard was oiled to keep the dust down. Summer population stood at 1200 and the number of houses at 207. The first electric car was seen and admired in the town and the Rod and Gun Club was organized. E.A. Smith was appointed Postmaster. Parking was prohibited on side streets.

1920 brought the death of Bertram C. Mayo and all Beachwood mourned its founder and friend.

The first shoot was held at the Rod and Gun Club, and on September 23rd. the work of the club’s concrete-block Club House was started. The section of Beachwood which was located across the tracks was to be called Beachwood Heights to avoid the implications which “across the tracks” conveys.

The Budget of January 28th totaled $13,661 and the Borough boasted of the lowest tax rate in Southern Jersey at $2.82. A new Yacht Club was formed with Commodore F.M. Schermerhorn at the helm. The first contingent of Perrine-built Sneak-Boxes arrived at the Polyhue Yacht Club. The sails, all solid colors, were of light blue, green, red, lavender, pink, orange, dark blue and yellow. Their appearance on the river created an aquatic rainbow, and perhaps surpassed the colorful array of spinnakers on today’s Scows and Lightnings. Their first Regatta was held on September 6th. A new electric pressure pumping outfit was installed to replace the wooden tower and tank which collapsed in a storm. The tank had 1600 gallons capacity. Fire apparatus was presented to the Borough by the Property-Owner’s Association. A Volunteer Fire Department was suggested. Beachwood had 38 children in school in 1921, yet the 1920 census only gave Beachwood credit for 40 year-round residents – must have been a large family! In this year, Mayor Senior said, “Beachwood is the finest place in the world and one of the few places where the Commission Form of Government has been successful.”

A Borough speed limit of twelve miles an hour was adopted – life moved at a much slower pace than presently (or had some of you forgotten?). Camping was as popular then as now and camps were officially inspected. A Ford chassis was purchased to mount the fire apparatus previously given to the Borough. The salary of the Borough Clerk was increased from $100.00 to $200.00 per annum. Bathing suits had become a bit less cumbersome and complaints of lack of attire on the beach were aired – if the complainants could have envisioned Bikinis, they would have swooned! Telephone pole snapping was indulged in at that time, as in current times, with identical results! The first Marriage License was issued to P.H.W. Ross and Miss Florence Louise Killeth. A fund was started for the Chapel Building. The Volunteer Fire Company was organized on June 23rd. with Mayor E. D. Collins as Chief and held its first parade on Labor Day. The Winter population had grown to 64 families.

The new year brought bids for the new Fire House – Borough Hall. Its cornerstone was laid on March 18, 1923. Assessed valuation in Beachwood reached $843,890.00. Marvin Campbell became station agent succeeding his brother, Lee. “Beachwood Blaze”, a preparation for fireplace burning was marketed by D.S. Priest, Druggist. (It sounds akin to “Jersey Lightning”!) The Chapel was completed and held its first service on Sunday, August 19th; it is now the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. For those not seen in church on Sunday, it might be noted that the Fluke fishing was good. Vandals damaged the Rod and Gun ClubHouse. A new School Bus was purchased (we hadn’t “coddled” our children before this) and the first Fire Siren was ordered, April 28th.

A Library was duly registered at Washington and Trenton. A Boy Scout Troop was organized with Marshall Joseph Furrer of the Beachwood “Mounties” as Scoutmaster. The cornerstone of the new Yacht Club building was laid on Memorial Day 1924. Original deeds all carried the provision that no intoxicating liquors were to be made or sold on the land conveyed, (not even for “medicinal purposes”).

After the Dirigible, Los Angeles, arrived at Lakehurst in 1921, as reparations from the first World War, there were problems landing the craft because of the limited complement of sailors at the base. This was a time when a cacaphony of sirens announced, not on [sic] air-raid – but an airship! The ship was a “Siren” in another sense for it brought all the young men from the surrounding towns “flying” out at 20 – 25 miles an hour to help in mooring or stowing the obstreperous lady. Like a woman, she was willful and unpredictable and many hazardous situations were created by her flighty behavior. Long lines were dropped from the ship and a man secured the hold of his choice. On one occasion, two men were left clinging to ropes when the ship suddenly shot upwards with a gust of wind. They managed to shin up the ropes to the gondola, where they clung for two hours before the crew in the gondola broke windows and hauled them to safety. Ground to air communications were yet to be perfected. After the long lines, other lines, which fanned out were also lowered and when the force was sufficient the ship was walked to her berth.

In June of ’25, the first High School graduate from Beachwood, Alice Staton, received her diploma. This year also brought the first resident physician to town, Dr. Jules Bierach. The Post Office was advanced to a third class office and the Winter Club was very active socially. The First Alarm System was installed with sixteen call boxes. It seems a bit ironical that the Borough paid $400.00 for the four lots on the corners of Atlantic City Boulevard and Beachwood Boulevard this year in order to cut “The Circle”, long a land mark, only to have to fill in the same corners some thirty years later in order to secure the cooperation of the State in installing an overhead traffic light.

The Shendoah [sic], the first American-built Dirigible, went down, to the grief of all surrounding towns. Thomas Grant Springer wrote a novel, The Red Cord, while residing here. There was an active Beachwood Chamber of Commerce and the Beach boasted its first Life Guard – George Eitel. Other beachfront problems confronted the town in the form of houses being built too close to boro-owned land. On February 28th, the Town was covered with 15 inches of stnow, while Newark received only 2 inches. Miss Frances Wmple, Skipper of the “Red Wing”, won 11 Polyhue Cups this summer. The Graf Zeppelin arrived at Lakehurst and Mr. Pulsifer’s generous gift of a new library was gratefully accepted by the Borough Officials. A new Post Office was put into working order and Sunday School was started. A plan to have the Borough served by the Toms River Water Company was being considered.

M.A. Carriker, Jr., Secretary of the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce, sailed for Peru as Field Representative of the Department of Vertebrate Zoology of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, on an expedition to collect and study the birds of that country. The Traco Theatre and Roxy’s in New York were both showing the same movie. Mayor Levett was featured on the radio. The Cathedral of the Air was in the planning stage as a Memorial to those who had lost their lives on the Shendoah [sic]. The American Legion was backing the project and Dr. Samuel Loveman was chairman of the Committee. The year 1929 and the A.T.&T. was being built in Forked River. The Cranmoor Golf Course was under way, to be ready for the Summer of 1920. The first Police Car is thought to have been a 1930 Ford; before tha, Officers may have used their own cars and in the beginning they were patrolling on horseback.

In November of 1931, the spectacular Royal Pines Hotel opened with many social festivities. The Civic Club and Property Owner’s Association of Beachwood merged. The town had now acquired all the beachfront and a planning board was created. The colorful, dime-bestowing John D. Rockefeller visited Beachwood.

Many things grew quieter and many a belt was pulled a notch or two tighter in the “Trying Thirties” – ask those of us who married during those Depressing Days! In December of ’32, there were over 100 students from Beachwood attending school and their tuition had risen to $100.00 per pupil; the eligible voters had climbed to 400 and the number of houses to 485. But on the darker side, the Commissioners, in 1933 cut their $8000.00 budget in half because of difficult times. Paul Kimball Hospital threatened to close for lack of funds. Lakehurst, too, was expected to be abandoned right after the Akron went down off Barnegat with a loss of 75 lives. The Macon, sister airship to the Akron, was christened and moved to Sunnyvale, California. As yet, the men were not permitted on the beach in topless bathing suits – fancy that! In June, the Pine Beach Hotel was sold to the Naval Academy for the proposed Admiral Farragut Academy and 21 young men hopefully signed up as future Admirals. Classes were started in September of 1933. The Jersey Central Railroad was still sporting the famous Blue Comet, with the long, wailing whistle that hung on the night air in an eerie sonata. Since the Summer of ’31, the bathing beach was restricted to the use of residents and their friends; permits had to be issued for this purpose.

In 1934, would you believe it, Ladies? RICHARD BURTON was operating a grader in our Fair Town! Not THE Richard Burton? Oh. The Traco was featuring Amateur Night and offered as many as fourteen acts. Relief Workers cut many cords of wood and thousands applied for Home Loans in the county – the H.O.L.C. managed to save their homes for many residents during that era. The C.W.A. came into being and put a large number of the enforced idle to work. 700 persons attended the first adult evening school at Toms River. The Macon followed the fate of its predecessors in tragedy. Robert H. Smith of Beachwood wrote the Mentonic Hypothesis. Townsend Clubs (probably the fore-runner of Social Security) were popular. The W.P.A. started in the country about the same time that Italy invaded Ethiopia.

In 1936, the Hindenburg, that air-bourne deluxe Hotel, was making regular flights to Europe. In ’37, Mr. Carriker returned from Peru with 200 specimens of are [sic] birds. An all-out slaughter of Striped Bass raged on when deep holes were discovered in the river in which the Bass were thickly settled. In May of ’37, thirty-four persons died in the holocaust of the Hindenburg as she was about to land at Lakehurst. The Polyhue property was acquired for a Community Club House.

Beachwood was allotted $124,993.00 of W.P.A. funds to develope [sic] and extend streets in the borough. A 500 gallon “Smoke-Eater” Fire Truck with triple combination pumping unit and a 200 gallon booster tank was purchased. Fourth of July celebrations always included, besides the fireworks for which Beachwood has been noted for many years, a delectable Community Supper.

In December of 1939, a town water system was discussed. A $100,000.00 W.P.A. grant was available to undertake this improvement. A Bulletin Board was erected in front of the Post Office. – and wasn’t that a handy gadget! Anyone could post notices of articles for sale, lost animals, their club’s activities – or their opinions of the way town affairs were being conducted!

Two Borough flag poles were erected and the Dance all was added to the Circle Shop. Here was the haven of Youth, where they could learn the latest dance steps, get help with their homework, advice for the lovelorn or read the latest comics – for free! The Firemen were buying new uniforms and the new mile-long Boardwalk was finished, complete with shelter pavillions. There were Tennis Tournaments and the Water System was started. The Civic Club was re-activated with Mrs. Lee Campbell as President and more street lights were installed. The Firemen’s Carnival was very successful – where are these once popular forms of Summer entertainment and Fund Raisers now?

In 1940, Selective Draft Plans for the County were drawn up. The ’41 Budget for Beachwood was cut despite the Water System being installed. The first mains in the Water System served residents on the river side of Atlantic City Boulevard and a portion of the town to approximately Bowline Ave. on the other side of the Boulevard. The Beachwood Players came into being and presented two plays, directed by Burt Gray. Miss Helen Hosp, Dean of Women at Nebraska University, led a group of Students on a Good Will Tour. The need for a First Aid Squad had long been felt and action was started when a man, hit by a car, had a long wait for transportation to a hospital. The first Beachwood Ambulance, a Packard, was purchased with gifts and donations from residents. Mayor Jerue was convalescing from an illness at home, when the ominously dark-colored vehicle pulled up in front of his home. He took one look at it and shouted, “Get that …. thing out of here; I’m not dead yet!” This Ambulance, lightened in color, functioned for many years, later being sold to Lakehurst for $1.00 to assist them in forming their Squad. December of 1941 saw the devastation at Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II.

Collections of all kinds were started to aid the war effort. The Beachwood Borough Workers were commended for the amount they turned in: 45 lbs. of tubes, 122 lbs. of metal; 19 lbs. of rope; 800 lbs. of paper; 33 lbs. of burlap bags; 2941 lbs. of iron; 25 tires and 1 battery. Classes in Home Nursing were begun. Ration Books were issued – Book 1 contained coupons for sugar and coffee and Book 2 had a point system. Shortages of Doctors became more apparent. Christmas Boxes were packed for Service Men by the Blue Star Service Club. Gas was also rationed for cars and for motor boats it was non-extant. Sail-boaters had the run of the river but they had to apply to the Coast Guard for permits which included their pictures and thumb – print. Women trained for overhail and maintenance work at Lakehurst. All Civilian Workers on Military bases had to be vaccinated – and some had rugged reactions! The Community club was closed for the Winter to conserve coal and funds. Air raid sirens were installed and cards distributed to interpret their signals. Lakehurst expanded and the first WAVES arrived for duty. A WAAC enrollment center opened in town. Mayor Jerue joined the Sea Bees and was commissioned a Lieutenant. Speeders in the area were fines gas coupons – that should have slowed them down completely. Classes in Plane Spotting were announced. The Black Market reared its ugly facade and nearly all items that were unobtainable elsewhere could be bought there – for a price! Permanent voting records were set up. Fat Salvage was undertaken. A Parachute School opened at the Naval Air Base. Plans for a monument to commemorate our Men in Service were made.

War Bonds were sold in quantities and Blood Donors were enlisted from a wide range of people. The Central Railroad added two weekday trains to its schedule and twenty-one weekend extras. Since gasoline was unobtainable for pleasure purposes, other means of conveyance again came into its own. The crowds at the Beachwood Station on a Sunday Evening would have amazed the Younger Generation! Even certain evening papers were delivered by train. The Congregation of St. Paul’s (Lutheran) organized and took over the Chapel to give Beachwood a year round place of worship. The Fire Auxiliary was duly instituted. More sugar was made available for canning. Beachwood won the Snipe Sailing Title.

Our first war casualty was Lieutentant Billy Neilsen, a heavy Bomber Pilot in the Army Air Corps. All Beachwood felt the loss. The small park at the end of Beachwood Boulevard was named in his honor. The family with the largest representation in service was the Perrys with five – later the Gibsons went them one better!

The Library was renamed the Pulsifer Memorial Library. A new well was driven and a pumping station set up – the first well proving insufficient for the town’s needs. Beachwood laid plans to give returning Service Men lots on which to build a home. A later ruling stated that the homes must be started within two years after the deed was turned over to the Service Man – or Woman. The Shore was hit by a severy September hurricane.

In April ’45, President Roosevelt died. Clothing drives were being conducted for overseas refugees. V.E. Day arrived in May with much celebration (I sat it out in the hospital mending Bed Gowns while my younger daughter had her tonsils removed!)Merchants closed their stores; sirens blew and people celebrated in many ways. School costs rose to $11,000.00 The town honored William Neilsen. V.J. Day arrived in August and people danced in the streets. Victory Bonds were very popular. House numbering was discussed.

’46 brought a Welcome Home Party for the returning Service Men and Women and there were 94 awards of $100.00 each to these gallant citizens. Gold Stars were placed beside the names of Billy Neilsen, Jack Jerue and Richard Kavanaugh on the Beachwood Honor Roll.

The Women’s Civic Club gave a cannon in honor of the Men and Women who had served our country which was appropriately placed in Neilsen Park. The Borough started a pest-spray program and it was believed that D.D.T. was causing fish in the Bay to die. During 1947 two-way radios were installed in the Police Car and the Fire Trucks. A new Fire Alarm System with air horn was established. The Beachwood Rifle and Pistol Club and the Yacht Club were given permission to improve and use the basement of the Community Club for their activities. The ownership of the Library Building was transferred to the Borough. The Christmas Day snow-storm brought 22 inches of snow in 24 hours.

The only school ever to be conducted in Beachwood, other than play schools, was started in 1948. A pre-primary class of about 20 tots was set up in the Community Club. The Beachwood Athletic Club was empowered to improve the Ball Field and to install flood lights for night games. A new Cadillac Ambulance was purchased by The First Aid Squad and the Squad building was erected to receive it; – New Jersey had, by far, the largest number of Volunteer First Aid Squads in the U.S.A. Pennsylvania Railroad Trains no longer ran from Toms River to Point Pleasant. Adult evening school was again offered to the public. Cy Wyche, long a Boy Scout Leader, was awarded the Silver Beaver, the highest honor Scouting offers. School consolidation was the talk of many towns. Of the sending districts, only the three without their own grade schools, finally consolidated with Toms River. Square dancing was enjoyed weekly in the Borough Hall.

In 1949, the Sheriff of Ocean County was a Beachwood man, Lew Menninger. Beaches were closed for a spell due to river pollution.

1950 saw the Bay Bridge completed and dedicated. Service Stations, garages, diners, cabins and motor courts were prohibited by ordinance. The exception being Service Stations which opened at 7:00 a.m. and closed at 11:00 a.m. could be located on Atlantic City Boulevard. In November, a near hurricane damaged the Beachfront. Some boats were practically floated across Compass Avenue. The Boardwalk took off down the river in huge sections. Debris littered blocks inland when the waters receded. A number of boats sank or broke apart. The Korean War was in progress.

The first garbage truck was purchased in 1951 and the Bus Shelter was erected by the Women’s League of Beachwood.

1952 brought a long, dry Summer and conditions in the woods were so volitile that hunting was banned. A parking lot was created next to Borough Hall.

Just as the foundation was laid for No. 2 Fire House in April of 1953, a fire, caused by burning brush cut for the Parkway, roared through Beachwood, out of control. Six homes were completely demolished and many more were scorched and blistered. Sixty one pieces of Fire Equipment responded to the alarm and we all carried our hearts in some other section of our anatomy until it was under control. When the firemen gathered afterwards for refreshments, the scene was a bit overpowering – and the noise? Well, you know Firemen when they’re rejoicing – even though they are mighty weary! A new well was driven at Beachwood Blvd. and Walnut St. to supply the new Pine Beach School.

People find many things in Beachwood; health, pleasant living, fresh air, and good neighbors, but a couple of young boys stretched it to a point and found – a BOMB! It was dismantled at Fort Dix. A section of the Parkway was unofficially opened to relieve the bottleneck of Main St., Toms River, in the Summer traffic. A Play House on Irons St. had been in action for a few years and Hurricane Carol brushed us with her finger-tips. The Pine Beach School was opened, one of the large, seemingly never-ending family of schools – perhaps they do come cheaper by the dozen.

In 1954 the Central Regional School District was set up. The following year saw that boon to mankind, The Salk Vaccine, against Polio, become available.

Lieutenant Commander Charles Mills, a Beachwood Naval Officer, won the Harmon Trophy. He is now Commander Mills and the Executive Officer at the Naval Air Station. A new wing was added to the First Aid Building in 1956.

When the River Queen made her maiden voyage down the Toms River in ’57, the river seemd [sic] to graduate to the Mississippi Class. Drought continued to plague the county and Fire Companies put in many weary hours fighting brush fires – and finally, the nocturnal blaze which demolished Luria’s and part of Levin’s stores on Main Street, Toms River and that could be seen for miles. The Allied Council with representatives from all civic and social groups, formed. In November, the Post Office Force moved its complete workings from the dingy old Station to the brand-new Post Office Building on Locker Street. The improvement was quite perceptible and acceptable.

The Concession at the beach, burned to the ground in 1958 and heavy rain inundated areas of the town. The Garden State Philharmonic Orchestra presented its initial concert in March 1959 and has continued to charm us with melody ever since. There was a serious outbreak of Encephalitis in the county in October and fogging and spraying of mosquitos was stepped up. Beachwood Plaza was being built. A cancer-causing chemical was found in some cranberries – Ocean County grown berries were found uncontaminated.

The Miss Beachwood Contest of July 1960 brought many young ladies into the limelight. As a prelude to the mail delivery which was inaugurated in June 1960, all the houses in Beachwood were re-numbered – What chaos! Homes that were owner-occupied responded quickly; rented homes seemed to retain the old numbers. I changed my house number which caused a duplication with a rented home across the street. Five quarts of milk that I did not order were delivered to my doorstep and a Doctor whom I knew, knocked on my door when I had not summoned him. I had to take positive steps to unravel the confusion. However, mail delivery must have been a boon to the one-car families that lived a distance from the Post Office. River pollution was again apparent. Fire in the Ocean County Jail caused much excitement. The long-awaited Community Memorial Hospital was completed in June and dedicated on August 19th. The Blimps, a long-familiar sight in our sky, were deflated and stored.

Eight hundred water meters were ordered to be installed. The Post Office was enlarged. The First Aid Squad celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a dinner at the Squad Building. A resolution was introduced regulating private swimming pools.

The Senior Citizens became organized in 1962 with the men taking the initative. They had their first meeting with 27 present, just a week before the ladies came up with a similar plan. Herbery Zusi was the first President for the men’s group and Mrs. A. Coulter for the ladies. Both now have large and active organizations. The station, long an eyesore, was torn down. The Lutheran Congregation of St. Paul’s had out grown the Chapel and undertook to build their own church. It was completed in the Spring of ’62. A severe March storm devastated the coast.

Spring of the next year brought ravaging fires in all parts of the county. Later, Toms River experienced one of its worst downtown fires when the Marion Inn and eleven stores burned on a Sunday afternoon. A new wing was added to the already crowded hospital.

A new playground was created which the younger generation seemed very pleased to use. Borough meetings were tape-recorded for the first time. War in Viet Nam was taking our Service Men to Asia.

James Gleason presented the Commissioners with a flag that had flown over the Capitol in Washington, to fly in our Fiftieth Anniversary year. Patrolman Ted DeMott used his Police Dog for an assist. A shelter was built on the site of the old Station and was attractively improved by the addition of a garden, the latter, the work of the interested citizens. It was then named Robert Guilmore Park. An emergency phone was installed at the Bathing Beach. Our lovely Mary Harrington won the Miss Ocean County title. The Firemen burned their mortgage and housed a new Pumper, with Clarence Coryell, the only member of the original Fire Company in Beachwood, still interested in the proceedings, thought retired.

1967 brought much attention to the area with the installation of the new atomic reactor at the Oyster Creek Power Plant. A new Borough Flag was designed and made for the Golden year. The Anniversary Dinner at No. 2 Firehouse was a great success – and the Golden Phantom was flitting about town. The new Police car was painted a lovely burnished gold and the Golden Year goes on with its festivities.

It was interesting to learn that the part of Beachwood near the bathing beach, long a delightful swimming place, was called in the early 1900s “The Spiles” by our neighbors that swam there. It referred to the Spiles (heavy stakes) that supported the railway that carried the charcoal cars along the river to where the charcoal burning took place.

This has been an interesting assignmentt – but too rushed. I hope that the next fifty years will be recorded along the way and that there will be someone to develop this bare outline to its deserving completion.

I own no County Manor

No Castle on the Rhine;

No Town House in the city,

But in this Land O’ Pine

I walk along the river

Content with destiny,

For I won a piece of Beachwood

And that’s good enough for me!

3 thoughts on “Fifty Years of Beachwood, 1917 – 1967

  1. First, I greatly appreciate the information that you gave here. I am doing some research on Beachwood and came across a couple of references to the Chapl.

    Just thought I’d let you know that the Chapel is now longer owned by the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints. It is now owned by Shore Vineyard Church. You can verify this with a call to (732) 244-3888. It was originally Community Bible Fellowship and been there for about 30 years.

  2. My family was there in Beachwood. My great-great uncle Ben Cloves , whom built a home for my great Aunt in Howell Township, New Jersey. Worked For Esso as a draft designer. This Great Aunt Anna Polson/Kading worked at Land O’ Pines Cottages in 1916 or so.As my Great Uncle Emil worked at Beachwood Diner. I dont’ know that whole story..But From what I was told. My Great Aunts Sister “MUZ” Ethel Lived in Beachwood, on Surf Ave. That the now bseball feild on that corner, was left to the town. Thats why it was called Saxton Park. Anyone who knows more about this or anything please feeel free to contact me. I would love to know about my family history in Beachwood. Mskading@aol.com.

  3. Any information on 548 Compass We bought the house July 2014
    We were told stories of The Thomas’s Thomas English Muffin Had lived here Can you please pass any information on
    Greatly Appreciate it
    Ellen Parashis

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