The Ocean County Compendium of  History
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Island Heights Report


Introduction Statement…………………….………………………..1

Professional Credentials Statement…………………………………………………………...2

A Brief History of the Borough of Island Heights………………….....3

Borough Government……………………………………….……....5

The William T. McKaig Political Scandal…………………………….7

Wanamaker Camp………………………………………………….9

The Presbyterian Church Camp……………………………………10

Restoration and Unrest……………………………………………..10

Save Wanamaker Hall……………………………………………...12

The Island Heights Improvement Society……..…………………….15

The Island Heights Volunteer First Aid Squad……………...……….16

The Island Heights Volunteer Fire Company………………………...16

The Ocean County String Band…………………………………….16

The Island Heights Post Office……..……………….........................17

Law Enforcement Activities & Crime Rate Statistics………...............18

Educational Institutions………………………...................................20

The Riverview Art School & Gallery………………………………...21

The Shore Ballet School…………………..………….......................21

River Activities, Marinas, and Yacht Clubs…………….…………….22

Cozy Cove Marina…………………….……………………………22

Dillon’s Creek Marina………...……………………………………..22

The Nelson Sailing Center...…………………………………………22

The Island Heights Yacht Club……………………………………….22

A Brief History of Island Heights Yacht Club (Bottomly)……………...23

Island Heights as a Riverfront Resort……………………………....…24

The Pavilion……………………………….........................................24

The Boardwalk………..………………..........................................…24

Island Heights as an Artists’ Colony……………………………….....26

The Ocean County Artists’ Guild……………………………………..27

Houses of Worship…………..…………………………………….....28

St. Gertrude of the Holy Ghost Chapel…………....…………………..28

St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church………………………….………...…....28

A Brief History of Borough Fires………………………….…………..30

The Island House-Edgewater Hotel Fire………………………………30

River Avenue House Fires……………………………………….........30

Miscellaneous Fires …………………...……………………...……....30

The Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association………………........35

History & Condition of the Cottage Museum…………………………..36

Restoration of the Cottage Museum……………………………………37

Organizational Conclusions…………………………………………….37

The Archival Digitization Project………………………………….…....38

Mission of the Project…………………………………….....................38

A Word Concerning Copyright Ownership vs. Ownership of a Document...39

Digitization Methodology………………………………………………40

Phase I – Organization & Identification...…………………………….…40

Phase II – Digitally Scanning the Archives..…………………………..…40

Phase III – Correcting and Renaming the Scanned Document Files……...41

Phase IV – Cataloging the Archive...……………………………………41

Phase V – Preserving the Digital Archive.……………………………….41

Digitization Project Statistics …………………………………………....42

General Archival Condition Statement…………………………………...43

Important Historic Collections…………………………………………...43

Authorization Statement…………………………………………………44




Copyright © 2012 – Steven J. Baeli

All Rights Reserved


 A Report on the

Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association

Cottage Museum Archive


Introduction Statement


The following report written by historian and archivist, Steven J. Baeli, is the result of his professional assessment of the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association (IHC&HA), its Cottage Museum,[1] and its historic archive, which were located at 105 Simpson Avenue,[2] Island Heights, New Jersey.  The organization’s mailing address was P.O. Box 670, Island Heights, New Jersey, 08732.

The conclusions contained in this report of that professional assessment were drawn from various sources within and without the ICH&HA archives.  It includes a history of the Borough of Island Heights to give context to the overall history contained herein, a history and current status of the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association, an evaluation of the Cottage Museum and its artifactual contents, and an evaluation of the contents of that same museum’s historic archives in terms of identification, condition, and historical relevancy. Assessment of the monetary value of the contents of the archive and museum was not part of that historic survey.

This report will also outline each phase of a digitization project that was conducted by Steven J. Baeli with the permission of the IHC&HA Board of Trustees via an agreement detailing the specifics of the work to be done by Mr. Baeli, which was signed by IHC&HA president, Barbara Rooberg and Mr. Baeli on March 10, 2012, the official start date of the project. 

A presentation of this report was made by Mr. Baeli to the IHC&HA Board at a meeting of the General Membership held on May 21, 2012 at the Island Heights United Methodist Church.  The signing of this report at that meeting by President Rooberg and Mr. Baeli signified the fulfillment of the agreement by both parties and the official end the project.

Unless otherwise stated, the term “museum” may be used as a generic term throughout this report in place of “archive,” “Cottage Museum,” or the IHC&HA organization, and the term “document” may be used as a generic term throughout this report to include any and all photographs, letters, maps, fliers, articles, publications, pamphlets, artifacts, and any other historical evidence currently held within the IHC&HA archive.

Professional Credentials Statement

Steven J. Baeli is a professional historian, archivist, cemeterian, and genealogist, who has earned an Associate Degree from Ocean Count College, a Bachelors Degree in General History from Georgian Court University, and a Masters Degree in United States History from Monmouth University.

His body of work includes multiple research papers and newspaper articles on Ocean County history as well as the Ocean County Cemetery Project (OCCP), which entailed the locating, documenting, and photographing of all known burial grounds in Ocean County.

Mr. Baeli is a Life Member of the Ocean County Historical Society (OCHS), where he undertook an internship for his Masters Degree in 2007, and later that year assumed the duties of research librarian.  He also served on the Research Center Committee that was responsible for reorganizing the library into a modern system of use.

As an archivist, he has digitized the collections of the Ocean Gate Historical Society, the Pine Beach Civic Association, the Admiral Farragut Academy yearbook collection for the AFA Alumni Association, and the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission archive, the latter of which he was the first recipient of the of the Ocean County Volunteer of the Year Award in 2012 his, “Extraordinary contributions to the body of information available on Ocean County History.”[3]

Additionally, Mr. Baeli operates the Ocean County Compendium of History,” a website dedicated to the preservation of Ocean County history.


A Brief History of the Borough of Island Heights

Island Heights is a small borough town located on the Toms River in Ocean County, New Jersey. The current peninsula was once an island, and is 36 feet above sea level at the highest point of the bluff, which is located along the southeastern edge where the land protrudes the farthest into the Toms River.  It is geographically located at 39°5633N 74°0849W (39.942616, -74.146890, and is 0.9 square miles in size, 31.03% of which is water mass.[4]

Demographically, 1,673 people resided in the borough as of the 2010 federal census,[5] with a median income of $72,596 per family and 4.1% of the population living below what was considered the poverty line according to the 2000 federal census.  That same 2000 census reported that 97.77% of the borough was Caucasian, 1.37% Hispanic or Latino, 0.11% African-American, 0.46% Native American, and 0.63% Asian.[6]

Evidence of pre-Columbian Native American culture was documented in the Ocean County Indian Sites Survey of 1978, which reported an extinct shell midden along Ocean Avenue at Long Point on the river upon which a house had been constructed.[7]  A land survey conducted in 1750 for property owned by Ebenezer Applegate also noted that the “face of some large creature,”[8] had been carved into a large white oak tree that was thought to have been crafted by indigenous peoples, but beyond that assumption there was no empirical evidence within the document to support that claim.

During the American colonial period, the island itself existed under various names, including “Dr. Johnson's Island,”[9] and then as the American Revolution drew near it was known as “Dillon's Island.”  Private possession changed hands several times, when the island was purchased by Isaac Gulik from John Imlay in 1794, who sold it to brothers Abraham and George Parker in 1797, who then sold it to Abel Middleton in 1799.[10] 

In the 1800s the peninsula was subdivided, one large parcel of which was purchased by Reverend Dr. Jacob Graw, who established the Island Heights Association after the borough was set off from Dover Township (now Toms River Township), by an Act of the New Jersey State Legislature in 1887.

The Borough of Island Heights was incorporated on May 6, 1878 under the Island Heights Association name by Dr. Graw, who intended to establish an open Methodist camp meeting ground located on what is today Ocean Avenue between East and West Camp Walk, where members of that faith could retreat for both their health, and practice their religion and temperance.  The Reverend sold shares of the Island Heights Association, which attracted prominent investors such as Captain Ralph B. Gowdy, a Union Civil War officer who commanded Company F of the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry.[11]


Throughout most of the early period of the growth of Tabor Heights (1802-1848), settlement was limited to a narrow coastal strip along the River Toms with only a few isolated frontier outposts of civilization. One of these outposts was the vast estate of John Augustus Tabr, a war hero, who was granted 11-square leagues of land in the area, under the condition that he settle 12 other families on the land.

SOURCE: Rob Farley on Facebook on September 17, 2012 answering the question posted by Christopher J. Vaz on that same date:

“Is there a Tabor Heights, NJ? A town of that name, real or otherwise, was the location of the opening scene of Boardwalk Empire last and described as being roughly 60 miles from Atlantic City. Would be somewhere along the ocean based on the scene in the movie.”


The Methodist camp grew over time as cabins were constructed to house camp attendees.  Only one original cabin exists today, although it is currently in a rather dilapidated state.  In 1883 the Pennsylvania Railroad constructed a train trestle across the Toms River between Island Heights and from Pine Beach Borough, which further aided in the transportation of visitors to the camp meeting ground.[12]

In 1882 the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Island Heights was built, which changed its name in 1925 to the Island Heights United Methodist Church.  It is currently located on the corner of Ocean and Simpson Avenues.[13]

In 1907, a group of African-Americans attempted to set up what was referred to as a “Negro campmeeting”[14] at the site of the old Methodist camp meeting ground[15] by putting up a fence and declaring it as their own with the blessing of the Association, which caused an uproar among property owners who proceeded to tear out the fence installed by whom they perceived to be illegal squatters.  The Association camp meeting ground had not been used for religious purposes for about thirty years at that point, and plans had been discussed to “convert the campground to private uses,”[16] by some property owners, but there was opposition to that idea by attorney, Edgar Freeman, who lead the charge to pull up the fence posts.

The campground being situated at the top of the bluff gave anyone standing there a grand view of the Toms River, which led some to surmise that the installation of a Negro camp meeting on that premium piece of real estate was put in place by speculators looking to lower its value so that they could snap up the land, kick out the black campers, and resell the parcel at a much higher cost.[17]

Mayor James H. Bogert called a special town meeting on the subject to address a petition signed by many citizens of the borough who were opposed to the fencing off of the campground.  The meeting was so well-attended that it had to be moved from borough hall to Fred G. Stanwood’s residence to accommodate the large crowd.[18]

As someone who was connected to the original campmeeting ground, borough clerk, Reverend John Simpson, was deferred to concerning ownership and use of the property in question, to which he testified that the “public had always had access to it, but it was under the control of the Association.”[19]

Mr. Stanwood pointed out that, “It was not so much against the closing of the campground as against the colored campmeeting that the citizens ought to protect,” going on to say that “he knew of four families who had been driven from the Heights this year by the colored campmeeting advertisements,” suggesting that removing the Negro campground was racially motivated.

Councilman Harris (given name not mentioned), defended the actions of the Association members, citing a potential loss in tourism by summer residents, many of whom threatened in letters that they would be vacationing in Ocean City that season, and councilman Charles McKaig went further, saying that “if the fight wasn’t called off, they might have two colored campmeetings, one at each end, just as easily as they had one.”[20]  He went on to blame the New Jersey Courier for the situation because “nobody would have known there was a colored campmeeting, if it hadn’t been put in the Courier, and now everybody knows it.”[21]

Prior to the special meeting, councilman, Dr. Leon Goble, had pushed the council to remain neutral on the issue, but once he realized the impact that it was having on the community-at-large, he stated that he, “strongly objected to having all the property at the Heights depreciated in value…[which would] brand it as a negro resort,” and that, “the Association in allowing the negro camp had thrown down the gauntlet to every property owner and every citizen of the place,” which in effect had turned into what he believed to be a “private quarrel between the Association and other Bluff  property owners into a menace to the public welfare, and an assault upon the value of all property, and every business in the Heights, which depended upon the summer population.” [22]

The Island Heights Hotel and Improvement Association, which “held title to the land by deed from the Island Heights Association,”[23] filed the lawsuit against Edgar Freeman, who had defended his actions at the special meeting.  Although only Freeman and his son were named in the civil suit, those opposed the campground claimed victory because the meetings never took place again.[24]


Borough Government

Island Heights is a borough of Toms River governed by a non-partisan form of municipal government under the Faulkner Act, Small Municipality law.  The government body is made up of a mayor, who is directly elected by the people to a four-year term of office, and a six-member council, who are elected to three-year staggered terms, with two seats opening up every election year.[25]

The current mayor as of 2012 is:[26] Jim Biggs (2010-2014)

The current council as of 2012 consists of the following members:[27]

Jeffrey B. Silver (2012-2015) – Council President

John Bendel (2011-2014)

Greg Heizler (2012-2015)

Peter Kier (2012-2015)

Joe Rogalski (2013-2016)

Brian Taboada (2011-2014)


The William T. McKaig Political Scandal

Prior to the outburst over the camp meeting ground, there was a political scandal of sorts that took place in 1903 concerning Borough Assessor, William T. McKaig, brother of councilman and one-time acting mayor, Charles McKaig, who had been outspoken in the Negro campmeeting debate.

William McKaig was accused of theft and the forgery of Mayor Howard D. VanSant’s[28] signature while acting as borough clerk, the prosecutor alleging that he, “raised money on paper unauthorized by the council of Island Heights, and to his own benefit.”[29]   He was fined $200 for “obtaining money under false pretences,” a charge to which he had plead “non vult,”[30] but pleading not guilty to forging lead to a trial.[31] 

McKaig’s lawyer explained that the theft happened because, “his client had yielded to temptation,” and that he had, “intended to put [the money] back.”  Future Ocean County judge, defense attorney, I.W. Carmichael, went on to justify McKaig’s actions by pointing out that neither the bank nor the borough had lost money, and that Mr. McKaig had “promised to do better” in the future.[32]  Inevitably, the evidence against McKaig turned against him, so he again pleaded “non vult,” on the provision that the forgery charge would be “nolle prosequi.”[33]  The defendant was fined $200.[34]

In 1906, as Island Heights Assessor, McKaig found himself facing yet another forgery charge, this time forging Mayor Bogert’s name on an order for 25 barrels of concrete mix that was supposed to only be fifteen barrels.  Suspicion toward McKaig was established because he had a contract with the borough to install curbs and gutters about the town, and because the mayor refused to accept the signature on the document as his own.[35]

The New Jersey Courier rehashed the entire first incident verbatim, reminding the county-at-large that, “Mr. Kaig’s reputation in the community is well known,” which could not have benefitted the defendant in any way, forcing him to declare that he was being persecuted presumably due to his prior acts.[36]

In December of 1906, William McKaig was arrested again for the forging of the signature of a third Island Heights mayor, George E. Morris, a Pennsylvania Railroad engineer whose signature was required to pay $200 charged to the borough involving money supposedly borrowed from the estate of William Cox.[37]  The borough contended that no documents existed of that transaction, and that the signature on the bill must have been a forgery.[38]

Captain Ralph B. Gowdy was vaguely implicated in the scam when it was alleged that he, being an executor of the Cox estate, had held the $200 note in the first forgery case, and yet another $90 bill that was refused by the council because it was believed to be a fake.[39]

Mayor Morris went after McKaig in a long open letter to the New Jersey Courier outlining the clerk’s past, and suggested his guilt point-by-point. Any friends that McKaig might have once had were not showing support for him this time since no one came to bail him out of jail until his brother was finally located several hours after his arrest.[40] 

After multiple delays, McKaig finally went to trial in January of 1907, when Frank Kineline of the Camden Lime Co. from which the cement was ordered identified the invoice in question that showed the forged signature of Mayor Bogert for 25 barrels.  Kineline testified that he had sent that order back to McKaig because it listed Bogert as chairman of the street committee, not the mayor of Island Heights, and that he shortly after received another order from McKaig with his brother, Charles McKaig’s signature on it listing him as acting mayor.  That paper was never produced in court, however, as Kineline admitted that he had in some way lost it, either it being stolen from his person or he leaving it somewhere in the courthouse.  Bogert, however, maintained that the only order that he had signed was for 15 barrels of cement, suggesting that that particular order never made it to the Camden Line Co.

The jury acquitted William McKaig of any wrongdoing in the matter, despite multiple witnesses and contrary documentation against him, and in a last act of defiance, he “celebrated his victory at the county seat,” the day following the trial.[41]


Wanamaker Camp

In 1904, Philadelphia business magnate, John Wanamaker, established a military camp for his young department store employees on land he purchased in 1899 on the eastern end of Island Heights along the banks of the Toms River.  The John Wanamaker Commercial Institute (J.W.C.I.) as it was called was a complex of buildings[42] that served as a training ground to teach girls and boys the ways of military life in an effort to prepare them for the world when they became adults.  The summer camp also gave the young adults a chance to get away from the city environment, as well as prepare them in the event of war.[43]

During the camp season the cadets would maintain a rigorous physical exercise routine that included running and calisthenics, camping out bivouac-style on the lawn of became known as Wanamaker Hall on the Toms River, where they indulged in swimming and yachting.  Many of the cadets also played instruments in the Wanamaker Band, and engaged in military-style drilling exercises.[44]

The program proved beneficial when many of the male Wanamaker cadets who were drafted into the Great War, the skills they learned there proving to be lifesaving for many soldiers.  The war-time accounts of 142 cadets were documented in a collection of letters collected in 1919 by the Wanamaker Company wishing to preserve the memories of those who served their country.  Those letters, collected and transcribed in 1919 by Wanamaker Store employee, William R. Scott,[45] were in the possession of the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association.

One particular war veteran’s story stood out concerning fifteen-year-old, Percy H. Hoskins, who was captured by the Germans during a battle in France on June 16, 1918.  According to his own account, Marine Private Hoskins, a resident of Philadelphia, was captured by the Germans after being slightly wounded in the leg by shrapnel.  Hoskins managed to escape, but he did not describe his time as a POW.  He did offer to write another letter to talk about what he described as his, “six months in prison.”[46]  No account of that story was in the archive.

Wanamaker Camp continued to train employees until it closed in 1941, “when the minimum age and wage laws were passed.”[47]  The United States Army took control of the complex in 1944 during World War II, patrols embarking from the camp’s strategic point on the river to guard the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay against German spy submarines.[48]

The Presbyterian Church Camp

Shortly after the military abandoned the Wanamaker complex it was sold in tax deal for the sum of one dollar to the Greenwich Village Settlement House, but that operation folded within a year and the property reverted to the Wanamaker Company.[49]

In 1949 a Presbyterian organization bought the parcel for $25,000, and immediately began to improve the property by repairing old buildings and constructing a new chapel[50] an infirmary, and cabins for the underage visitors who came to worship.  Within a very short time the camp meeting boasted 4,000 enrollments a year.[51]

The Presbyterian camp remained until the borough bought the property in 1975 for $275,000.[52]  The main building was used as the borough hall.  The infirmary was renovated to house the offices of the tax collector, and the chapel building for the post office, which had been established in 1887.  One of the cabins was also served police headquarters.  The remaining property was utilized for the recreation of borough residents.[53]

Restoration and Unrest

Between 1980 and 2005 there were several failed attempts to rehabilitate and restore the Wanamaker complex.  Those efforts created several rifts between citizen and council that in turn often pitted citizen against citizen.

The first schism erupted in 1980 when the council objected to the inclusion of the Wanamaker complex in the National Register of Historic Places historic district nomination.  Mayor Howard W. Kushner and the council took action when they adopted a resolution “expressing disapproval of the proposal,”[54] citing an intrusion into their municipal sovereignty because they believed that any repairs made on the complex would be subject to “review from the state and federal government [that] would cost the borough time and money.”

As a result of the council’s actions, the matter was brought before Ocean County Superior Court Judge Robert H. Doherty, Jr., who “declined to sign the order on grounds such an order interferes with a citizen’s rights under the First Amendment to freedom of speech,”[55] giving a win to the IHC&HA , which had filed the complaint.

Once the Island Heights historic district,[56] including the Wanamaker complex was officially placed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places on February 23, 1981,[57] a community effort called the “Volunteer New Roof Project (VNRP),” headed up by Olive Mae Burke, was able to successfully raise funds needed to repair the ailing roof on Wanamaker Hall, the work of which was done by members of the group.  Their efforts led to a re-opening of Borough Hall, which held a regular council meeting on January 6, 1982, the first in the building in over a year.[58] 

The previous fight over the complex’s inclusion in the Historic Register seemed to have created a rift amongst some residents and the borough council,[59] but the success of the VNRP appeared to help to bring the Island Heights community together somewhat,[60] at least until the renovation question was brought to the table a few years later.

With Wanamaker Hall no longer deemed a safety hazard the IHC&HA began using the property to hold community events, such as the Performing Arts Shoppe, which was a program designed to, “offer a variety of live entertainment at a reasonable cost.”[61]

That same year an effort to maintain the Victorian characteristics of the borough was embarked upon by Jano Taber, who felt that modernizing the older homes in the historic district was “tacky,”[62]  Mrs. Taber felt so strongly about her crusade that she would, “get out of [her] car and just tell [a homeowner] the whole thing looks hideous,” when she spotted “tacky signs” or “turquoise paint jobs,” marring up what she considered to be a Victorian motif.[63]

Save Wanamaker Hall

The Wanamaker Complex became the subject of some controversy in the mid-1980s when efforts to preserve the buildings by the concerned citizens in the community fell through.  Borough code officer, Albert Gabriel, ordered the buildings closed and boarded in 1985 for “numerous building code violations,”[64] and given the age and condition of the buildings, restoration estimates were rather substantial if the complex was to be rehabilitated.

In 1989 Janet “Jano” Taber, president of the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association, and an Island Heights theater troupe called, “The Pleasure of Our Company,” spearheaded by Martha McGraw, joined forces and petitioned the borough council for a lease on the Wanamaker property so that they could legally raise money to restore the structures.[65]

Once completed, the property and building was to be used for community events, such as activities, workshops, and plays, but an architectural survey that had suggested a cost of about $800,000 made Councilman John Miller question the success of such a project stating that he still felt that it was “not feasible to restore [the buildings] and that the cost would be around $1 million.”[66] 

Councilman Miller also noted that the borough could not issue a lease with no expiration date, which put the project off until May 25, 1992, when a twenty-year lease was approved by the council and Mayor David Siddons.[67]  The issuance of the lease for the Wanamaker Hall building allowed the IHC&HA to file for a New Jersey Historic Trust matching grant, which was done by trustee, Dr. Marilyn Kralik, who said that the cost to restore the building would be about $400,000.[68] 

In opposition, Councilman James Ryan said that, “We don’t want to burden future councils with a 20-year lease,” suggesting that, “20 years is a lifetime,”[69] but in the end the council passed Ordinance 92-05 entitled, Ordinance of the Borough of Island Heights, County of Ocean, State of New Jersey Authorizing Execution of a Lease of Municipal Property for Public Purpose with the Island Heights Cultural and Heritage Association in Accordance with the Provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:12-14.

Special provisions were included in the lease, however, which stated that “the association could request a 6-day extension past the lease’s termination date; the building could only be used for non-profit functions; the council could designate a body to review the renovation status; and the borough would not be liable for injuries occurring during the renovations.”[70]

Fundraising began as soon as the lease was finalized.  The stabilization of Wanamaker Hall was the first phase, after which the roof was to be replaced, although setbacks began to plague the project somewhat as new damage was discovered not seen in the original architectural assessment.[71]

By 1996 a movement to stop the project was underway as some concerned residents began to call for Wanamaker Hall to be demolished after pressure from the Historic Sites Council, and a recommendation from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, called for the borough to pay for the stabilization of both Wanamaker Hall and the Holly House, another structure on the property.  Ocean County authorities also weighed in by issuing an, “order to the Town to either stabilize and make the buildings habitable or demolish them.”[72]

The borough responded with two, non-binding referendum ballot questions on November 5, 1996 as follows:[73]

Local Question No. 2 – Should the taxpayers of the Borough of Island Heights bear the responsibility and cost of the stabilization, restoration, and maintenance of theWanamaker and Holly House buildings?

Local Question No. 3 – Should the Borough of Island Heights demolish the Wanamaker
and Holly House Buildings and dedicate the land as a public park?

The final tally was 3,422 voting for demolition against about 2000 approving restoration.[74]

In March of 1997, the non-profit organization, Preservation New Jersey, placed Wanamaker Hall on their list of New Jersey’s “10 Most Endangered Sites,”[75] foreseeing what would become the beginning of the end for the structure.  By the end of the year the Holly House was demolished as per the order of borough officials, although there was still hope to save Wanamaker Hall.[76]  That hope faded over the next several years as the inevitable eventually became reality.

Support for preservation continued for many in the borough and in the local newspapers, but in March of 2005, three teenagers who had met in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center were living illegally in Wanamaker Hall, and in an attempt to keep warm they started a small fire, which quickly got out of control and spread to the carpet,[77] and then down into the building’s crawlspace.[78]  The fire was reported quickly enough that it was “contained to a 15-foot-by-15-foot area in the main room of the building, and was extinguished before it burned through the roof.”[79]

The fire signaled the death knell for Wanamaker Hall,[80] and by the end of 2005 it had been demolished, and the fight to save that unique piece of history was finally put to rest.

The prime location of what was once the Wanamaker Camp complex on the Toms River may have proved to have been a great benefit to Island Heights had the restoration process been successful since Wanamaker Hall was an attraction to many people both inside and outside of Ocean County given its history, and some evidence of that could be seen in the 50th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that held on the property on October 12, 1991.

The event garnered a Proclamation from the Ocean County Freeholders, citations from both houses of the New Jersey Legislature, visits from several politicians, World War II veterans, and other luminaries, and a host of musical entertainment drawn from that era,[81] all of which proved that there was much potential to be had by saving the structure, but as history proved out, it was not to be.


The Island Heights Improvement Society

The Island Heights Improvement Society (IHIS) was “a group of civic minded women who organized themselves into a community service club.”[82]  The organization was founded in 1907 by the organization’s first president, Sarah J. Harris, vice president, Ida Van Ryper, treasurer, Mrs. Frederick Stanwood, and about thirty other women, who put on plays and other fundraising events to raise money to improve the town.[83]

Some of their efforts led to the installation of a horse drinking trough on River Avenue to accommodate the numerous four-legged modes of transportation that were so common in the early part of the 1900s.  The Society also raised funds for a sign placed over Route 37, then two-lane highway, directing motorists into Island Heights via Central Avenue.  The sign was meant to promote tourism in the borough by bringing summer visitors into town.[84]

Perhaps their biggest and most lasting accomplishment was their success in founding the Island Heights Free Public Library.  The ladies of the civic organization saved for twenty years before they were finally able to buy a log cabin on the corner of Summit and Central Avenues, which was formerly a now-forgotten artist’s studio. The property was purchased on November 19, 1928, and the structure was razed to make room for a new building.[85]

While plans were being moved forward to open the new library, members the Island Heights Improvement Society decided to incorporate and change the name of the organization to the Community Center and Public Library, Inc., after which they began to appropriate books, and appointed Fanny Ware as the center’s first librarian.[86]  Miss Ware remained as librarian for twenty-nine years, and upon her retirement in 1956 it was decided that the library would be turned over to the borough, and with that changing of the guard, the corporation was dissolved.[87] 

The Island Heights Library was turned over to the Ocean County Library system in 1978,[88] and in 1982 it was decided to relocate one of the Presbyterian cabins from the Wanamaker complex and add it to the library building to expand it into a reading room for children.[89]


The Island Heights Volunteer First Aid Squad

According to the official Island Heights website, the Island Heights Volunteer First Aid Squad, Inc. was “incorporated on November 22, 1949.”[90]  No other information was found on this organization.  Their headquarters is located on the corner of Lake and Central Avenues.


The Island Heights Volunteer Fire Company

According to the official Island Heights website, the Island Heights Volunteer Fire Company “was formed on February 14th, 1895.  The original fire house was a car garage on Jaynes Avenue[91] and in 1923 the Fire Company moved to a new house on the corner of Van Sant Avenue and Simpson Avenue.  That building served as the Fire Company until the present fire house was completed in 1963, located at the corner of Lake and Maple Avenues.”[92]  The second building was also used as Borough Hall and the Ocean County String band.


The Ocean County String Band

According to the official Island Heights website, “in 1960 the Ocean County String Band was founded in Island Heights, and the Band leased the former Borough Hall at the intersection of Van Sant and Simpson Avenues.”[93]

As of this writing the structure has been condemned.[94]  During the course of this professional evaluation, this author was informed by several people that there are still documents inside of the building that may pertain to the overall history of Island Heights. 

It is the recommendation of this report that an effort be made to extract all documents from the building as soon as possible to avoid the potential loss of an important historical government archive that may include information on the borough’s origins.


The Island Heights Post Office

The Island Heights Post Office was founded in 1887,[95] when Island Heights resident, John Simpson petitioned the government in 1879 to open a post office in the borough, a request that was eventually granted.  For his efforts, Mr. Simpson was given the title of postmaster.[96]  An official post office account book from 1887 was found in the IHC&HA archives and digitized.

It was unclear as to exactly where the original post office building was first located, although traditionally post offices were once housed in the town’s general store.  Former postmaster, Ruth Mayer, reported in 2004 that she believed one location was at 10 Central Avenue, where Ludlow Thorston Galleries is today, after which it was moved to the corner of Central and Lake Avenues.[97]  The Asbury Park Press reported that there were “at least three”[98] locations before it was relocated to its current location on the former Wanamaker Camp complex in 1974.[99]

Today patrons must pick up their mail at the post office as is done in Ocean Gate.  This method of mail delivery has transformed the post office into a quasi-community center where residents meet and talk to each other daily about both personal and borough happenings.  It is also a place where potential candidates traditionally stump in front of the building.[100]


Law Enforcement Activities & Crime Rate Statistics

The crime rate in Island Heights was about 25% compared to state and national averages as per the New Jersey Crime Index.  There were no reports of murder, rape, or robbery between the years 2005 and 2009, and the only other crimes reported during that same period were four assaults, twelve burglaries, sixty-nine thefts, eight motor vehicle thefts, and two arsons.[101]  There were no reports of hate crimes in terms of race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability according to the New Jersey Hate Crime Index between the years 2006 and 2009.[102]

The Law Enforcement Index reported that the Island Heights Police Department employed five police officers and five civilians in 2005, five police officers and zero civilians in 2006 and 2007, four police officers and zero civilians in 2008, and five police officers and zero civilians in 2009.[103]

In 1979 a police bulletin was sent out to the community from Mayor Joseph Saladino and the chief of police warning borough residents of a recent rash of break-ins.  The report also listed the statistical probabilities of such crimes and several steps that residents could take to prevent them.[104]

In 1981 a police bulletin included part two of an article on the dangers of marijuana use,[105] the “adoption of rules concerning motor vehicles on ice-covered waters,”[106] and announced the start of the “Annual Dog Canvass,” by the dogcatcher and the police department to enforce the dog licenses ordinances.[107]  That same bulletin reported that there were sixteen arrests, eighty motor vehicle summonses, and five ordinance citations issued.[108]  The bulletin also included a report from the chief of police concerning Halloween vandalism that included several uneventful make-shift road blocks placed across various streets, and that “several fire hydrants were opened, causing water pressure to be very low and same could have been a very disasterous [sic] situation in case of a fire,”[109] but apart from those incidents and a car mirror being broken off, the chief deemed the overall holiday a success because it had the “fewest acts of vandalism committed in many years.”[110]  The chief went on to thank the children of the borough and their parents for their “cooperation with this department to make this year’s Halloween practically void of any vandalism.”[111]

On August 22, 1984, a fire destroyed IHPD headquarters in what the police believed to be the result of a fire bombing by two men, nineteen-year-old, Dennis Smith, and eighteen-year-old, Albert Zuest.  Smith was arrested at his apartment in the Park Manor Trailer Park, and Zuest turned himself in to the police after both men allegedly fled the scene.[112]  Both teenagers were indicted, [113] and in his opening statement at the trial, Ocean County Prosecutor, Edward V. Murachanian said that, Zuest had, “confessed to starting the fire and admitted being the one who threw the Molotov cocktail.”[114]  No other articles on the firebombing were available at the time of this writing, so it was unknown what the outcome of the trial was.

In 1993, police officer, Michael White, formerly of Neptune Township, New Jersey, and a resident of Island Heights since 1978, was installed as the new police chief, replacing the former chief, who had vacated the position due to health reasons having been on medical leave.[115]

In 1998, Erin Krause, David Spakowski, and Scott Stoke, were hired on as part-time police officers by the borough council to, “help bolster the four-member force as well as reduce the overtime costs after Keith Millin, a veteran officer, resigned.”[116]

In 2000, it was reported that police officers, Lt. Kevin Arnold, Patrolwoman Patty Burns, and Patrolman Paul Rutledge, were the sum total of the fulltime police officers in Island Heights, and that there were five part-time officers on the force as well.  Burns was on maternity leave at the time of the newspaper report[117]  The general theme mirrored most articles on the topic of law enforcement in Island Heights, which generally described how the officers had only to deal with lesser offenses in the usually quiet town made up of “year-round, summer and weekend residents.” [118]  One of the duties for the officers was running the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program at the Island Heights Elementary School founded by Lt. Arnold.  The article also discussed the on-going two-bike patrol program implemented in 1999, a duty that was shared by the officers.[119]  Another report again stressed the low crime rate and discussed the borough’s Neighborhood Watch program.  It was also reported that the IHPD was in possession of three Ford Crown Victoria squad cars, and a Ford F-150 SUV.[120]


Educational Institutions

The first Island Heights school district was established on March 4, 1889[121]with the opening of a one-room schoolhouse on Summit Avenue on the site of the current elementary school.  The schoolhouse was expanded to two rooms in 1897, and in 1904 a second floor addition was constructed, and another room on the ground floor was installed in 1913.[122]  Julia C. Voigt was the teacher at the schoolhouse from 1903 to 1924.[123] 

There were several class photographs of the students in the IHC&HA archive from 1927, and also several photographs existing of the schoolhouse showing a fire escape chute on the left side of the building.[124]  A photograph of Miss Voigt can be found on page twenty-three of the book, Chickaree in the Wall.

On May 16, 1950, the citizens of Island Heights voted to construct a new elementary school on Summit Avenue to replace the old schoolhouse, and to accommodate the rapidly expanding Kindergarten through 6th grade student population.[125]  Island Heights students attend Central Regional Middle School and High School for grades seven through twelve.

In February of 1955, Albert S. Douglas, who had recently won a seat on the Board of Education, resigned over a residency requirement that stipulated that school board members must have been a resident of the borough for three consecutive years in order to qualify for a seat on the board.  Douglas did not qualify based on that criteria because he had voted in a Dover Township election “during the interim period when [he] lived in Toms River.”[126]  Douglas’s residency was questioned at the meeting at which he was sworn-in.  At that same meeting, J. Miles DeCamp was sworn in as President of the board, “succeeding his father-in-law, Albert Irons,”[127] who was defeated in the election a week before. Charles Doyle, Jr. and Joseph Wilberscheid were also sworn in as board members, as was M. Peryl King as Vice President, and Mrs. J. Miles DeCamp (no first name listed), as Secretary.  Robert Owens was installed as custodian, and Dr. Harvey Rinsler as the school physician.[128]

A nickname of “Sea Devils” was given to the student body, although it was unknown as of this writing when that name was established.[129]

A Parent-Teachers Association was active in the borough as well, raising funds for the school through programs such as the Tricky Tray Chinese Auction.[130]

In 1998, the IHC&HA donated historic photographs of the various incarnations of the school, which are presently on display in the elementary school lobby.  The gifts were given to coincide with student graduation at a ceremony attended by IHC&HA members, Jano Taber and Elizabeth Elkan, sixth grade teacher, Josephine Mulling, and school superintendent, Robert T. Remppies,[131] for whom a memorial garden was constructed and named in his memory in 2004.[132]

Recent exterior photographs the elementary school were taken on May 7, 2012 by this author with permission of the school and were place in the IHC&HA archives for future reference.

The school’s website notes that there were about 120 students enrolled in the 2011-2012 school year, and boasts twenty-seven teachers and staff members, who were “dedicated to creating a safe and comfortable environment in order to foster high levels of student achievement.”[133]


Other Learning Institutions

The Riverview Art School & Gallery

The Riverview Art School & Gallery located at 9 Central Avenue was founded in 1995 by Bill and Elaine Sgambati, and was designed to teach children artistic abilities.[134]

The Shore Ballet School

The Shore Ballet School located at 100 Central Avenue in the former Episcopal Church was founded by Chrissy Starr in the year 2000 to teach, “tap and modern dance…for youngsters and adults.”[135]


River Activities, Marinas, and Yacht Clubs

Cozy Cove Marina

There were three marinas open for business in Island Heights at the time of this writing, including the Nelson Marine Basin, Dillon’s Creek Marina, and the Cozy Cove Marina, which was located at 10 Lake Drive, and founded by the Tavares family in 1972.  The Tavares family was also the proprietors of the Cozy Cove Yacht Club.[136]

Dillon’s Creek Marina

Where the Nelson and Cozy Cove Marinas sit at the foot of the bluff, Dillon’s Creek Marina, located on the corner of Lake and East End Avenues, is on the other side of the borough on Dillon’s Creek near where that tributary empties into the Toms River.  The marina is probably the largest of the three, boasting 220 available slips, and it also considers itself to be environmentally sensitive because it is situated adjacent to a “50-acre wildlife preserve.”[137]

The Nelson Sailing Center

The Nelson Marine Basin, located at 12 Lake Drive, was founded in 1965 by the Nelson family who purchased the Stokes, Kripendorf, and Vautier Marinas, three separate businesses located adjacent to each other.[138]  The Nelson family later started a sailing school to accommodate those who wished to learn the art of sailing.  It is a “unique hybrid of a full service marina and an American Sailing Association (ASA) Sailing School with a rental fleet of over 40 boats.”[139] 

The Island Heights Yacht Club

The Island Heights Yacht Club was formed in 1898 and incorporated on April 7th, 1900.  “Riparian rights were purchased at the foot of Oak Avenue for $100.00 and the Yacht Club and a clubhouse was constructed that year.”[140]

A brief history of the official Island Heights Yacht Club website can be found HERE

There were multiple photographs of the yacht club in the IHC&HA archives, as well as two booklets entitled, Program of Aquatic Events of the Island Heights Yacht Club, each published by the that organization’s regatta committee in 1909 and 1913 respectively.


Island Heights as a Riverfront Resort

The positive holistic atmosphere of Island Heights was probably the leading factor in what attracted the Methodists, John Wanamaker, the Presbyterians, and an uncountable number of vacationers to the peninsula over the last one hundred years or so.  Even the indigenous peoples recognized the benefits of the area when they migrated to the bluff some 15,000 years ago, where they probably lived a fairly comfortable existence gathering sustenance from the fertile lands and the abundant waterways.

By the mid-1800s there was a common belief that taking in a salty atmosphere was beneficial to one’s overall health, and as the popularity of that philosophy grew, so did the Ocean County shore and barrier island towns that quickly became waterfront resorts.  The Barnegat Bay and Atlantic Ocean generously provided such an atmosphere given Island Heights’s geographic location to those major bodies of water, so it seemed inevitable that the area would become popular with the masses.

The concept of making day and weekend trips to Island Heights was in full bloom by the early part of the 20th century, and once the Pennsylvania Railroad had built a trestle between Island Heights and Pine Beach, access to the peninsula became easy and direct.  Railroad fares were also reasonable enough that even the middle class could afford to make the trip, which allowed more and more people to make their way to the resort from Philadelphia and adjoining areas.  The more affluent continued to come as well, and before long they began to buy summer homes in the borough.

To be successful, a properly designed waterfront resort would need to construct piers, docks, pavilions and boardwalks to accommodate its residents and vacationers.  Island Heights, having recognized the importance of that, has installed multitudes of docks to accommodate possibly thousands of watercraft, and a boardwalk that currently follows River Avenue from Summit Avenue to the public pavilion located at the end of Central Avenue.

The Pavilion

The original pavilion was built about 1890[142] and served the people well until it started to fall into disrepair in the late 1960s or so, to the point that no one was allowed on the second floor.  By 1980, the structure had become so dilapidated and unsafe that it was finally condemned.[143] 

Shortly after the condemnation, the IHC&HA began to look for funds to either restore or replace the pavilion because they considered it an important piece of the Island Heights landscape, and its unsightly condition made the riverfront look rundown.[144]  In 1983 an anonymous donor committed $12,000 to the project, which not only helped to make it a success, but the donation also freed up public funding earmarked for the renovation of the pavilion to go towards the refurbishment of the cabin that had been recently relocated to the library.[145]

Repairs entailed lifting the structure off of its foundation, installing new pilings beneath it, resetting the pavilion, and then replacing its support columns, decks, and roof.  Although a majority of the restoration of was completed by 1985, the IHC&HA sent a letter to the mayor and council three years later requesting that the borough make the final structural corrections that they considered to be “long overdue.”[146]


The Association eventually raised $3,816 to put towards the repairs, and a group calling itself the Volunteer New Roof Project, raised $1,120 as well to add to the $25,000 backed by the borough council.  By that point the estimated cost had been project to be about $29,000, but some had speculated that it could go as high as $35,000.[147]


Work on the structure dragged on until it was finally completed in 2011, when it was completely stabilized, repainted, and the stairs to the second floor were replaced, which allowed the public to access both levels of the pavilion.[148]

The Boardwalk

The boardwalk, another important element for a riverside community, was also in need of replacement, which began in the late 1990s and was entirely renovated by the 2004.  That project included replacing “1,500 feet of bulkhead west and north along River Avenue,” at a material cost of about $800,000, and extending it to where it is today at a cost of $500,000 expected to be paid for through a low-interest Green Acres loan provided by the State of New Jersey.[149]

The renovation of the boardwalk allowed visitors to comfortably walk along the river, fish and crab, or simply lounge about on newly installed benches.  Old-style street lamps were installed[150] as well, giving the river line an old-town feel in the tradition of the borough’s Victorian style.


Island Heights as an Artists’ Colony

The picturesque quality of Island Heights attracted many artists throughout the years, including still life artist, John Frederick Peto (1854-1907), who lived in the borough for many years in a house that he had purchased on the corner of Cedar and Westray Avenues within sight of the river.  The abode also served as his studio, where he made most of his now-famous artwork.  It is currently the Peto Museum & Studio, where the public can explore the inner-workings of Peto’s artistic mind.

It was not long before Island Heights became known as an “artist colony”,[151] and soon the river town began to host artists such as William Hartnett (1848-1892), a friend and colleague of John Peto; engraving artist, James Moore Bryant (1851-1923), who was largely responsible for introducing many artists to Island Heights, including Howard Keyser, Jr. (1875-1959), and his sons, James Moore Bryant Keyser (1902-1977), and Howard Keyser, III (1904-1980), all multifaceted artists who both lived and summered in the borough; illustrator, Bessie Pease Gutmann (1876-1960), best known for her work with children; landscape artist, Fred Wagner (1981-1940); portraitist, Carl Buergerniss (1877-1956); watercolorist, Francis I. Bennett (1876-1953), who grew up in the hamlet; landscape artist, William E. McDougall (1880-1922), and his daughter, Louise, a designer of fine china; impressionistic portraitist, Emily R. Perkins, who studied under John Peto; local amateur painter, C.S. Street; painter, Anthony Faas, Jr. (1846-1932); illustrator, Charles R. Chickering (1891-1970); impressionist landscaper artist, George Thompson Hobbs (1846-1929); bronze sculptor, William W. MacIntosh; painters, Frederic Nunn (1879-1958) and William Howard Pettibone (1863-1943); miniaturist, Louise Willis Snead (1866-1958); and local landscape artist, Charles Wood.[152]

Many of those great artists left behind an extensive artistic history of Ocean County and Island Heights, as so many of them took advantage of the picturesque landscapes as the subject of their work.

The Ocean County Artists’ Guild

Edna Thompson Feerick founded the Ocean Arts and Crafts Club in 1957, which changed its name to the Ocean County Artist Guild (OCAG) three years later when it sought non-profit incorporation status.[153] 

The first official meeting of the guild was held at the first aid building on Central Avenue, and was attended by Mrs. Feerick, Roberta Ellis, Irene Pearce, Betty Hughes, Jean Kier, Florence Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Egles, and Jano Taber, who later went on to help organize the IHC&HA.  Later meetings were held in the basement of the Ocean County Administration Building, and the Island Heights Methodist Church.[154]

The guild currently operates out of a large Victorian house on the corner of Ocean and Chestnut Avenues, which was donated to that organization by Edith M. Grace in honor of her late husband, Edmond, in 1974.[155]

The mission of the Ocean County Artists’ Guild was designed to promote the arts in Ocean County, specifically to “serve both the artist and the community, by giving recognition to promising talent and by presenting works of art for the public enjoyment.”[156]  The guild has successfully employed the spirit of their mission statement in various ways, such as the Mansion on the Hill, an outdoor art show held at the former John D. Rockefeller estate (now Ocean County Park), in 1976.[157]  Other activities included an art exhibits at the Ocean County Fair, the Dover Township Municipal building, and the Island Heights Borough Hall.[158]

The Ocean County Artists’ Guild has also hosted contemporary artists, such as watercolorist, Jane Carlson, and pastel artist, Frank Zuccarelli,[159] and it continues to show paintings and other works of art at the Victorian mansion.[160]


Houses of Worship

St. Gertrude of the Holy Ghost Chapel

Much has been written in this report about the presence of the Methodist and Presbyterian religions in Island Heights, but there were two other denominations that made a home in the borough in its early years, bringing the total of at least four churches having been established within the confines of small village.

St. Gertrude of the Holy Ghost Chapel,[161] located on the southwest corner of Central and Ocean Avenues, was built as a mission in 1909 under the direction of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Toms River.  The chapel itself was constructed by Philadelphian, Daniel Egan, as a memorial to his daughter, Veronica, who became Sister Gertrude after taking her vows in the Catholic Church.  Sister Gertrude died shortly after joining the Sisters of Notre Dame, prompting her father to dedicate the church to her.[162]

There are several photographs[163] of the church from various eras in its history located in the IHC&HA archives.

St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church

St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church,[164] located on the southeastern corner of Central and Ocean Avenues and directly across from St. Gertrude’s Chapel, was constructed in 1882 in the shape of a cross.  While there were scant photographs of this building in the IHC&HA archives, there did exist in that collection a fragile, but highly readable set of architectural blueprints of the structure.

The exact origin of the church was unclear because there was not much evidence in terms of its early church affiliation.  One un-cited newspaper source reported that the church was built in 1880, and that, “It was sold to John Blakewell Phillips and his wife Eliza,” and later sold to the New Jersey Episcopal Diocese after Mr. Phillips died.[165]  There were no references found concerning the existence of Mr. Phillips, the date of his death, or to whom the property was sold.

The original exterior of the Episcopal Church was constructed of cedar shingles,[166] which were first replaced by clapboard, and then later with vinyl siding.  There was also some evidence of its many incarnations in terms of usage beyond its years as a church beginning with its tenure as Raum Lodge 132, Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization that assumed ownership of the building in 1949,[167] and which later allowed its associate women’s organization, The Daughters of Rebekah, to use the space, after which it was rented it to the Lady Foresters organization and a Baptist Church. 

It was unclear as to when the title changed hands, but the property was again sold, this time to Robert Toth, who purchased the building from the Odd Fellows.  Toth then opened the Island Heights Studio of Art,[168] operating it for many years until it was sold in 2000 and remodeled for use as the aforementioned, Shore Ballet School.


A Brief History of Borough Fires

The Island House-Edgewater Hotel Fire

The Island House was an expansive, five-story hotel that was once located at the bottom of Central Avenue on the northeast corner where it meets River Avenue across from the pavilion built to accommodate the growing population of summer residents vacationing in Island Heights. 

There were various references in terms of the age of the tructure, with one account reporting that it was built in 1850,[169] one claiming 1874,[170] another stating 1876,[171] yet another saying 1880,[172] and still another contradicting itself by reporting both 1885 and the “1890s,”[173] all of which made dating it rather difficult.  It was unlikely that the hotel was constructed in 1850 since the arrival of the Methodist Camp Meeting did not happen until 1878, an event that sparked the migration of the masses to the river town, so it was more likely built somewhere between the late 1870s and the mid-1880s when the vacationing population was much larger.

Sometime in the post-World War I period, the original name was changed to the Riverview Hotel, then again to the Old English Hotel, and then finally to the Edgewater Hotel,[174] but regardless of the title, the resort house had a very unique and sometimes controversial history right up until the time it burned to the ground in 1986.

The hotel, which boasted “twenty-nine rooms,”[175] continued to accommodate both summer and winter residents until it began to show serious signs of age by the 1950s, after which its popularity began to wane.  The first real controversy began in 1968[176] or 1970, when the Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Enterprise (DARE) Inc., bought the property and converted it to a rehabilitation center and half-way house for drug addicts.[177]  Citizens came out in droves against the idea, but all efforts by them and the council to stop it were futile. 

DARE lasted several years, but then sold the property for $55,000 to a man named Paul D. Hedrich, who grew up in Island Heights a boy, and who had grand designs for rehabilitating the by-now severely dilapidated hotel and bring back the luster of its early years.  Hedrich also owned the Beach Hut, a restaurant in nearby Point Pleasant Beach.

Once Hedrich cleared several code violations, the hotel reopened after only a few months of work on June 23, 1978, which now included a barbershop, a craft and gift shops, a flower shop, and of course a restaurant that he named the Bell, Book, and Candle,[178] where one could enjoy a lobster dinner for $12.95.  Because Island Heights had started out as a temperance town, the borough remained dry, and still does today, so there was no liquor license available, therefore diners had to settle for bringing their own spirits.[179]

Five of the rooms were occupied by year-round residents, and the rest by twelve restaurant employees.  Throughout the entire building Hedrich placed old books and antique conversation pieces[180] to give the hotel an ancient feel.  Many of those artifacts may have survived when much of the collection was auctioned off after Hedrich died in 1985 a year before the fire.[181]

By 1982, the building had again become a safety hazard and the borough threatened to raze the hotel if Hedrich did not comply with the forty-five code violations issued by Albert Gabriel, the borough’s code inspector.  Mayor Joseph Bloom backed Gabriel, as did the council, when he reported that several people were living in the building illegally, and that fire and health issues had become a real concern.[182]

The relationship between Hedrich and the townspeople had become strained when in 1979 he through a birthday party marking what would have been Adolph Hitler’s 90th birthday.[183]  The event did not go unnoticed, and the hotelier’s reputation as an upstanding resident all but diminished, leaving him little support when it came time to deal with the code violations. 

In response to the verboten birthday celebration, several residents lodged complaints with borough authorities, and the police in turn launched an investigation.  Tasteless as it was, however, throwing a birthday bash for a deceased dictator was not illegal, and so the investigation focused on potential violations of the borough’s liquor laws, which after five days the police found no evidence against Hedrich or the restaurant.  Hedrich, of course, used the incident and the investigation to accuse everyone involved of harassment.[184]

After his death on November 7, 1985, the Engleside property was sold to Beachwood resident, Jane E. Johnson, and her partner in the business deal, Toms River resident, Francis X. Halligan, who together worked toward restoring the hotel and making it into a bed-and-breakfast,[185] hoping to break away from the distasteful reputation that its former owner had left them with.

Their dream was not to be, however, when the hotel caught fire on December 4, 1986, starting in the basement area, and quickly spreading throughout the old wooden structure.  Eight fire companies including Island Heights, Seaside Park, Beachwood, Manitou Park, Toms River, Silverton, and East Dover, responded to the call, but by the time they got to the scene the blaze had made its way to the roof, making it impossible to do anything but try to control the fire enough to contain it to just the hotel property.[186]

Fire investigators later found two 55-gallon drums, one filled with kerosene and the other heating oil, in the basement of the hotel.  It was also discovered that the flammable liquids were put down into the basement four days before the fire, leading investigators to consider arson as the culprit.  An inspection of the building a few days prior to the fire proved that the barrels were not in the hotel, which is how they knew they the time period when they were put in the basement.[187]

Workers on the site had likely put the fuel inside the hotel to use as storage for heaters, and while it was not known as of this writing if the outcome of the investigation proved arson or not, it should have been common knowledge that keeping 110 gallons of flammable liquid in an ancient wooden building was just asking for trouble.

Several photographs of the hotel exist from pre-1900 to its burned condition after the fire.

River Avenue House Fires

Another great fire took place along the river when two houses were completely destroyed at the height of the 2005 Christmas season during a time when the borough was decked out in traditional holiday lighting.

The fire, which was of an unknown origin, started in a house located at 66 River Avenue originally built by Reverend Jacob Graw, founder of the late Island Heights Association, and at the time the blaze owned by Laura and Marc Feaster [188]

The early-morning blaze was called in just after six o’clock on the morning of December 16th just as the five members of the Feaster family were getting ready for the day, which gave them ample opportunity to spot the fire and escape from the house safely with their dog.  The family reported that they, “almost simultaneously saw a glow and the smoke alarms sounded,”[189] after which they fled.

As the Graw Cottage became engulfed in flames, 30-mph winds began to spread the fire, setting alight the adjacent house at 64 River Avenue, also built in the late 1870s, and known to those in the borough as the Thomas Perrine Cottage.  The cottage was empty at the time due to recent renovation work, which allowed the firefighters to focus their attention on saving the other homes in the immediate area that they feared would catch fire as well.[190]

By the time the sun came up and the fire was extinguished, nothing remained of either of the two historic homes except charred wood and the chimneys and stairs.[191]

The firemen that had rushed to the scene from around the county numbered about 100 in all, and thanks to their efforts they had successfully saved the rest of the borough from disaster as they were able to somehow contain the flames to the area of the two houses.  The strength and severity of the fires in combination with the high winds made even the most veteran firefighters very nervous, some of them proclaiming that it was one of the worst fires that they had ever seen.[192]

Miscellaneous Fires

Within the IHC&HA archives there contained a photocopy of a photograph that showed the remnants of a house fire.  A cryptic notation under the photo explained that it was “taken after what is reported to be one of the earliest fires (date unknown at this time).  It appears that there was a house on our North Lot.  It is hard to tell from the tale of ownership given us by William L. Tompkins.  But we will be searching further to unfurl the mystery.”[193]  The only other notation being “Photo by Walton,” and with no other documentation, the history of the fire still remains a “mystery.” 

A similar photograph of an unidentified boatyard fire was also in the IHC&HA archive, also giving no indication of its origin or history. 

An unidentified Ocean Avenue house owned by an O.F. Firth was accidently set on fire in mid-December of 1951by the Firth’s four-year-old girl, Diane, after she somehow got ahold of a lighter.  The family was able to safely leave the burning building and the fire was brought under control shortly after firemen from Toms River Fire Company No. 1 arrived at the scene.[194]

Another fire burned the Island Heights Farm Market and Garden Center to the ground in March of 1987.[195]


The Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association

Organizational Overview

The Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)3 organization, and a New Jersey State registered charitable organization that was founded in 1978.  Its purpose was intended to capitalize on the “general pride in the town’s heritage which seemed to surface,”[196] during the 1976 Centennial year.  The organization’s mission was to “raise awareness of [Island Heights] heritage and to promote the importance of preserving both private and publically owned structures which contributed to the town’s rich history.”

A Certificate of Incorporation dated December 9, 1980, listed Leigh F.W. Murphey, Jano L. Taber, Joy S. Smiley, Olin Blankenship, and Marilyn Kralik as the organizations first Trustees, serving in that capacity until December 1, 1981.[197]

Jano Taber is often noted as being the first president of the organization, and Joy S. Smiley was the granddaughter of artist, John Peto.[198]

In the spirit of its mission statement the IHC&HA has held multitudes of annual events and festivals to support the Borough of Island Heights  In its capacity as a civic organization, the IHC&HA has also decorated the town on holidays, and beautified it by installing flowerboxes and planting dogwood trees in the Borough’s business section.  Historic signs were purchased for the Methodist Camp Meeting Ground and other places, and a public bulletin board installed in front of the post office located on the old Wanamaker Camp grounds that is still in use today.[199]

The IHC&HA has also helped to fund and oversee the restoration of the historic pavilion located on the Toms River, and assisted in the nomination process in 1980 that successfully recognized the Island Heights downtown area as an historic district as per the State and National Register of Historic Places.[200]  About that same time the Borough of Island Heights was the subject of a statewide historic building survey published in 1981 that cataloged many historic structures in the town.[201]  The Island Heights portion of that survey was conducted largely by Dr. Marilyn Kralik, a lifelong resident of the borough, who was also integral to the overall Ocean County sections of that work.  Dr. Kralik was also, as previously discussed, an essential element in the attempt to save Wanamaker Hall.

History & Condition of the Cottage Museum

For all of their community efforts, the Association did not have a permanent home to call its own, forcing members to hold meetings at the Ocean County Artist’s Guild home and the Island Heights United Methodist Church (IHUMC), both located in Island Heights, a problem that was solved with the purchase of the cottage on Simpson Avenue, although general meetings are still held at the IHUMC due to the limit space of the structure.

After an extensive search, the members of the IHC&HA purchased the property at 105 Simpson Avenue, Island Heights, Block 21, Lots 15, 26, 27, and 28, which together was a lot size with a “frontage of 90 feet on the west side of Simpson Avenue and a depth of 100 feet.”[202]  The purchase was made on in November of 1998 utilizing a mortgage from Ocean Federal Bank in the amount of $90,000.

A deed history is as follows:[203]

         Lots 25 & 26 (contains house)

            October 21, 1880 – Island Heights Association to Daniel H. Erdman, Sr.

            Unknown Date – Daniel H. Erdman, Sr. to his wife and children.

            August 14, 1912 – Daniel H. Erdman, Jr. & Florence O’Hara to Charles A. Erdman, Jr.

            April 17, 1913 – Charles A. Erdman, Jr. to George J. Spoerl

            October 21, 1939 – George J. Spoerl to Minnie R. Spoerl

            June 17, 1946 – Minnie R. Spoerl to Charles R. Spoerl

            August 23, 1954 – Charles R. Spoerl to Harry A. Willson, Jr.


            Lot 27

            November 7, 1882 – Island Heights Association to James R. Bird for Lot 27

            April 17, 1905 – James R. Bird to James S. Bird

            May 13, 1933 – James S. Bird to Borough of Island Heights in tax sale

            April 14, 1954 – Borough of Island Heights foreclosed on and assumed lot 27

            December 8, 1954 – Borough of Island Heights to Harry A. Willson, Jr.


             Lot 28

             October 12, 1883 – Island Heights Association to Margaret V. Hovey for lot 28
             October 30, 1895 – Margaret V. Hovey to James R. Bird

             April 17, 1905 – James R. Bird to Isabel B. Patton & Mary C.B. Smith

             December 8, 1954 – Borough of Island Heights to Harry A. Willson, Jr.


             Lots 25, 26, 27 & 28 (now owned by Harry A. Willson, Jr.)

             September 26, 1960 – Harry A. Willson, Jr. to Irene Marzer

             November 1998 – Irene Marzer to the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association

Restoration of the Cottage Museum

Fundraising for the restoration of the cottage that was being called the “Marzer Mansion,” began immediately after the title was transferred to the IHC&HA in late November of 1998.  The cottage was in dire need of much major repair to both the structural integrity and the superficial interior and exterior components.[204]  Another $85,000 was raised to make the necessary repairs to the structure.[205]

The official grand opening of the museum took place on September 18, 2004.  The event was designed to emulate the Victorian Age of Island Heights as members of the Association dressed in costumes of the era.  Mayor David Siddons attended the opening as well, congratulating the organization for all of its hard work.  Although not part of the Victorian period, a Model “A” Ford car was also present to add to the historic aspect of the event.  The first exhibit entitled, “Summer in Island Heights: 1880-1900,” in which photographs of vacationers taken during those years was on display, as well as other artifacts of the period.[206]

Organizational Conclusions

It was clear from the abundance of evidence found within the Association’s archives that the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association has consistently complied with their Mission Statement, holding fundraisers and other events that have benefitted the citizens of the Borough of Island Heights since the organization’s inception.

Currently, the organization appeared to be struggling somewhat financially as most other non-profit organizations were across the country due largely to the nationwide economic downturn that began about 2007 that had not fully recovered as of this writing.  Presumably the cause and effect of that downturn was that those who might traditionally donate money to such groups were financially unable to donate as they had in the past.  The severity of the economic hard times was also responsible for loss of many government and private grant programs that appeared to have dried up, leaving many organizations unable to fund their coffers as needed.

In terms of the Cottage Museum, it is well-stocked with artifacts associated with the history of Island Heights, and its interior has been well-maintained since its grand opening.  During the digitization process, the toilet would not flush, and a plumber determined that the pipe going to the street had been compromised and needed replacement.  Otherwise the structure and museum seemed operationally sound.  The exterior of the cottage was in need of some work, where rotted wood needed replacement in some places.  The landscaping was in need of major work as it was almost completely overrun by thick vegetation.  It iss suggested that the Association look to social organizations such as the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts for help in that regard.

The Archival Digitization Project

Mission of the Project

The digitization of records, documents, photographs, artifacts, and other historical evidence has become an important part of the preservation of historic collections in the 21st century as technology continues to expand, and doing so helps to identify, organize, and preserve the history of any given collection.

Digitizing historical collections also preserves archives in case of loss by theft, fire, or other disasters that occur from time to time, and it allows for easy access by its owners.  Organizations may also print out selected photographs and other documents and sell them if they so choose, which very often brings in much needed income during economically hard times.

The use of Mr. Baeli to implement his digitizing methods on the IHC&HA archive was suggested by to President Rooberg by Erik Weber, a local historian and the publisher of the Riverside Signal newspaper.  President Rooberg requested a proposal from Mr. Baeli, and after reading that proposal and meeting with him, she then brought it before the IHC&HA Board, which approved the project.

It was agreed that digitization of the archive was to be done free of charge by Steven J. Baeli with the understanding that he may freely use any or all scans as he sees fit in perpetuity with no expectation of royalties from the IHC&HA.

The proposal was accepted by the Board and entered into the minutes on March 7, 2012, and a written agreement was signed by Steven J. Baeli and IHC&HA president, Barbara Rooberg on March 10, 2012.

A Word Concerning Copyright Ownership vs. Ownership of a Document

A reasonable question of copyright ownership was raised by some members of the organization after the agreement was signed, who felt that ownership of copyright should remain with the Association.  It was explained by Mr. Baeli to President Rooberg that to the best of his knowledge the term “copyright,” means the “right to copy,” for example that when one purchases a book, they own a copy of that book, but not the right to copy that book. Only the owner of the copyright of that book can duplicate it without permission, and as such, owning a document does not automatically imply ownership of copyright.

Any and all documents created prior to the year 1923 are not subject to copyright ownership because those documents are now considered to be in the Public Domain, meaning that anyone can use them for whatever purpose they choose without permission.  All documents created after 1922 may or may not be the subject of copyright ownership depending on how they fall into the categories outlined under federal copyright law.

Without attempting to apply the law specifically, it appears that copyright ownership of the majority of the IHC&HA collection is questionable since there are no dates or names attached to a majority of the documents, meaning that they are likely in the Public Domain.  All publications and documents generated by the IHC&HA that bear its name and a date are without question owned in terms of copyright by the Association.  Physical ownership of the unnamed and undated older documents does give them control over how they are used, but the IHC&HA may or may not specifically own the copyright on those documents. 

An investigation to determine which document copyrights are owned by the IHC&HA and which are not would have to be conducted by a proper legal adviser.  Doing so would require many hours or research and would likely be cost prohibitive.  It is suggested that if the IHC&HA wishes to use a particular document, but are unsure of copyright ownership, that they either research that specific document for copyright ownership, or not republish that it to avoid potential legal trouble.

To relive the post-agreement anxiety expressed concerning use of the archives by Steven J. Baeli, it was agreed to by both parties that the free use in perpetuity of all images, and the ownership of all digitized images culled from the IHC&HA archive, will remain the property of Steven J. Baeli, and that any digital image culled from the IHC&HA archive that Mr. Baeli uses on the Internet will be accompanied by a general statement that will read, “image [or images] used with permission by the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association.”  Images used on the Internet will also be “watermarked” using the statement, “Copyright © [year] Steven J. Baeli,” which proves ownership of the digitized image to protect the content and integrity of the archive, website, and any given webpage.  Physical ownership of the original document remains with the IHC&HA.  It was also understood that Mr. Baeli may certain share some of the digitized images from time to time with other entities. This would be done sparingly in such a way that the bulk of the digitized archive would not be shared all at once.  Examples of said entities would be the Riverside Signal newspaper owned and operated by Erik Weber, and the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission. 

Digitization Methodology

The method of digitization employed in this project had several phases and used various types of scanning equipment.

Phase I – Organization & Identification

The first phase was to assess the archive to better understand its contents.  This was done largely by first separating the collection into categories.  The archive itself was originally stored in various cardboard and plastic containers stacked randomly in the archive room located on the second floor of the museum in what was once a bathroom.  Once categorization was established, the scanning process began.

President Rooberg had already started to put some photographs and other documents into folders using a numbering system that she developed.  President Rooberg’s system was incorporated into the file naming phase as a secondary identification system to be continued by President Rooberg as she and other volunteers reconfigure the archive into binders and folders.

Phase II – Digitally Scanning the Archives

Scanning of the archive was done employing several methods according to each document’s needs.

A flatbed scanner was used for the more fragile documents needing special attention in order to preserve their physical integrity.  It was also used for oversized documents such as maps, site plans, blueprints, and posters.  Some larger photographs were also scanned on the flatbed after being carefully removed from their frames.  Each such photograph was returned to its respective frame.

A sheet-fed scanner was used for documents such as fliers, bank statements, and other more stable sheets of paper.  Reports bound with a comb binding were unbound, scanned, and rebound.

A wand scanner was used for newspaper articles, and was also employed to scan the World War I Wanamaker Cadet letter collection due to their fragility.

A digital camera was used to take photographs of the entire museum inside and out, as well as for those documents that could not be otherwise safely scanned.

Phase III – Correcting and Renaming the Scanned Document Files

Once a document was digitized, it was processed to make sure that it was scanned correctly, and to make sure that it was in the right position as sometimes scans must be made sideways or upside down for various reasons.

The second part of Phase III was to rename the scanned computer file so that it correctly identified the document.  I have developed a file naming system that aligns events into chronological order, making it easy to quickly locate items for future reference.  By listing events chronologically this system also provides a visual picture of the history it holds.

Here is an example: 1919-12-21-LTR AB VanVoorhees.JPG

            1919 = Year of Document

12 = Month of Document

21 = Day of Document

LTR  = Document Type (LTR means Letter)

AB VanVoorhees = Subject of Document

.JPG = File Type

     It is recommended that this system continue to be used in the future.

Phase IV – Cataloging the Archive

This phase entails the cataloging of the archive in which each title was entered into a database that can be used to find a particular document.  A “title” is a unique name given to a specific document to separate it from all other documents in the collection.  This is not the same as the amount of scans in the collection.

Phase V – Preserving the Digital Archive

Preserving the archive was done by copying the completed files onto the mediums as described.

Digitization Project Statistics

The digitization project began on March 11, 2012, and ended on May 7, 2012.

A total of 507 hours was spent in the digitizing of the IHC&HA archive, 219 hours of which were attributed to the scanning process, 258 hours attributed to the processing of the scanned files, and 30 hours attributed to the cataloging of the titles.

There were 20,522 scans made of which 19,545 were finalized as about 5% (977) of the scans made were deleted because they were not needed or were duplicates.

The total cost of this project to the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association would have been $17,745.00, but that fee was waived as per the aforementioned usage agreement.  That figure amounted to .86 per scan.

The size of the digital archive was 44.3 gigabytes.

The total amount of titles in the archive was 9,314.

The top ten years of titles in the archive were as follows:

            2012 – 717

1919 – 445

1995 – 319

1918 – 289

2001 – 279

2006 – 265

1999 – 263

2000 – 245

2003 – 206

2002 – 202

The top ten document types were as follows:

Photographs – 3435

Letters – 1180

Newspaper Articles – 607

Reports – 279

Newsletters – 238

Meeting Minutes - Trustee – 226

Lists – 181

Meeting Minutes - General – 176

Fliers – 168

Military Records – 151

General Archival Condition Statement

The condition of the IHC&HA archives ranged from poor to pristine, although most of the documents were generally in good shape.

President Rooberg has embarked on a project that will further protect and preserve the documents by placing them in proper archival products, such as sheet protectors and binders.  That project will be time consuming and will likely require the help of volunteers willing to follow the archiving preservation format.

Important Historic Collections

There are several important special collections within the archive that are integral to the history of Island Heights, including the aforementioned Wanamaker collection and the World War I Wanamaker Cadet letters.

Other important information includes the large collection of photographs, some of which are pre-1900, and the collection of newsletters, such as the Trunk Line, which ran from about 1968 to 1980.  Within those newsletters are a multitude of photographs and articles about the people of Island Heights and the borough.

There were also quite a bit of non-Island Heights related documents that were separated out, but which hold historic value to other areas of the county and state. 

Authorization Statement

Two authorized copies of the digitized archive, a PowerPoint presentation, and this report, were presented to the IHC&HA Board at a monthly meeting of the general membership held on May 21, 2012 at the Island Heights Methodist Church. 

One of the digitized archival copies was stored on a flash drive provided by President Rooberg, and a second a Master Copy was stored on a five-disc set of DVDs provided by Mr. Baeli free of charge.

The PowerPoint presentation was conceived and presented by this author as a means of formally informing the Board and General Membership what had transpired with their unique collection of historic photographs, artifacts, and papers.

It is suggested that the Master Copy of the archive contained on the five DVD set be placed safely outside of the museum in a safe deposit box or some other secure place in which ready access is limited to only certain members.  The second copy held on the flash drive may be stored in the museum, but should only be done so under lock and key with limited access by the same.  Use of the archive on a computer should also not be readily accessible to the general membership or public-at-large without strict supervision, and at no time should unauthorized members or visitors access or copy parts or the entirety of the archive.  The digital archive should be protected at all times as random dissemination is not recommended.

This report was accepted and signed by the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association on May 21, 2012.


         Barbara Rooberg, IHC&HA President






       Steven J. Baeli, historian, archivist, & report author



[1] The IHC&CA Cottage Museum building was not included in the 1981 New Jersey Historic Sites Inventory, Ocean


[2] See Appendix A for a profile on Simpson Avenue from the 1981 New Jersey Historic Sites Inventory, Ocean


[3] Proclamation, Office of the Freeholder Director, March 16, 2012.

[4] Island Heights, New Jersey,, <,_New_Jersey>, 2012.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ocean County Indian Sites Survey, 1978, Ocean County Historical Society, p. 78:1.1.

[8] 100th Anniversary Camp Meeting, First United Methodist Church Pamphlet, 1978.

[9] June Daye, The Mecca of the Methodists – The Story of the Founding of Island Heights, (Ocean County Bureau of

  Publicity Pamphlet), 1941.

[10] 100th Anniversary Camp Meeting, First United Methodist Church Pamphlet, 1978.

[11] Anniversary Camp Meeting, First United Methodist Church Pamphlet, 1978.

[12] Ibid.

[13] History of the Island Heights United Methodist Church, Island Heights United Methodist Church Website,  

     <>, 2012.

[14] Opponents of Negro Campmeeting Assert It’s Had A Deathblow, New Jersey Courier, June 27, 1907, p. 1.

[15] See Appendix B for a photograph of the Methodist Campmeeting Ground (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage

     Association Archive, date unknown)

[16] Opponents of Negro Campmeeting Assert It’s Had A Deathblow, New Jersey Courier, June 27, 1907, p. 1.

[17] Ibid.  

[18] Opponents of Negro Campmeeting Assert It’s Had A Deathblow, New Jersey Courier, June 27, 1907, p. 1.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Sue Freemans for Pulling Up Camp Ground Fencepost, New Jersey Courier, July 4, 1907, p. 1.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Island Heights – Government, Wikipedia Article <,_

     New_Jersey#Government>, 2012

[26] Island Heights Borough, Island Heights Official Website, <>, 


[27] Ibid.

[28] After serving as Mayor of Island Heights, Howard D. VanSant went on to U.S. Consul to Canada, and later as U.S.  

     Consul  in Dunfermline, Scotland (W.T. McKaing Indicted for Forging Mayor’s Signature, New Jersey Courier, 

     December 6, 1906;Consul Van Sant Died Sept. 1 At Post in Scotland, New Jersey Courier, September 4, 1925)

[29] W.T. McKaig Pleads Not Guilty, New Jersey Courier, September 3, 1903, p. 1.

[30] Non vult - (law) an answer of `no contest' by a defendant who does not admit guilt but that subjects him to  

    Conviction, The Free, <>, 2012.

[31] County Courts, New Jersey Courier, October 29, 1903, p. 1.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Nol·le Pros·e·qui – A declaration that the plaintiff in a civil case or the prosecutor in a criminal case will drop

     prosecution of all or part of a suit or indictment, The Free <

     Nolle+prose>, 2012.

[34] W.T. M’Kaig is Charged with Forgery Again, New Jersey Courier, March 8, 1906.

[35] Ibid.

[36] W.T. McKaig Indicted for Forgery: Bail Made $800, New Jersey Courier, April 12, 1906.

[37] William McKaig Indicted for Forging Mayor’s Signature, New Jersey Courier, December 6, 1906.

[38]McKaig’s Luck Didn’t Leave Him” Acquitted by Jury, New Jersey Courier, January 31, 1907.

[39] William McKaig Indicted for Forging Mayor’s Signature, New Jersey Courier, December 6, 1906.

[40] Ibid.

[41]McKaig’s Luck Didn’t Leave Him” Acquitted by Jury, New Jersey Courier, January 31, 1907.

[42] See Appendix D for a photograph of Wanamaker Hall and other structures (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage

     Association Archive, 1957.)

[43] The John Wanamaker Commercial Institute Camp in Island Heights, (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage

     Association Archive, date unknown.)

[44] Ibid.

[45] Percy H. Hoskins War Service Record, Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archive, 1919.

[46] Ibid.

[47] See Appendix C for an in-depth profile of the history of Wanamaker Complex (New Jersey Historic Sites

    Inventory, Ocean, 1981)

[48] History of Presbyterian Camp, Island Heights, N.J. and Adjacent Territory, A.W. King, March 20, 1962, p. 3.

[49] History of Presbyterian Camp, Island Heights, N.J. and Adjacent Territory, A.W. King, March 20, 1962, p. 5.

[50] See Appendix E for a photograph of the Presbyterian Chapel (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Archive, 1957)

[51] History of Presbyterian Camp, Island Heights, N.J. and Adjacent Territory, A.W. King, March 20, 1962, p. 5.

[52] Lois M. Rogers, Lease On Hall Held Up For Data, Asbury Park Press, April 8, 1996.

[53] Island Heights Borough, Island Heights Official Website, <>,


[54] Council Objects to Historic Status for Borough Hall, Asbury Park Press, p. B8.

[55] Historic Site Campaign OK’d, Asbury Park Press, November 21, 1980, page unknown.

[56] See Appendix F for a map of the Island Heights Historic District parameters.

[57] Nomination letter from Susanne C. Hand, Acting Supervisor Historic Preservation Section of the New Jersey

     Department of Environmental Protection (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives), March 2,


[58] Council and Court Return to Complex, Asbury Park Press, January 10, 1982, p. A12.

[59] Editorial, Vintage Feud Hurts Town, Ocean County Times-Observer, October 5, 1981, p. 4.

[60] Editorial, Volunteers Build Faith, Ocean County Times-Observer, January 13, 1982, p. 4.

[61] Barbara Bacon, Arts Shoppe ‘Sells’ Performing Space for Area Residents, Asbury Park Press, May 23, 1982.

[62] Eileen Stilwell, Tiny Town Fights To Regain Image, Courier-Post, July 25, 1982, p. 1C.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Chris Fee, Arts Leaders Ask Lease on Wanamaker Camp, Ocean County Observer, August 10, 1989, p. 1.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Ibid.

[67] Steve Berlin, Confusion Rules in Island Heights, Asbury Park Press, June 26, 1992, page unknown.

[68] John Hassell, Wanamaker Hall Lease Advances, Asbury Park Press, May 29, 1992, page unknown.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Steve Berlin, Confusion Rules in Island Heights, Asbury Park Press, June 26, 1992, page unknown.

[71] Report from Island Heights Cultural and Heritage Association, Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association

     Archives, September 20, 1994.

[72] Open Letter to Island Heights Constituents, Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association

     Archives, 1996.

[73] Referendum – Borough of Island Heights General Election Ballot, Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association

     Archives, November 5, 1996.

[74] Stacy Lordi, Island Heights ‘Neighborhood’, Ocean County Observer, February 23, 1997, p. D8.

[75] Lois A. Rogers, Famed Hall on Imperiled List, Asbury Park Press, March 13, 1997.

[76] Gina Bothner, Sit’es Demolished in Island Heights, Ocean County Observer, December 14, 1997.

[77] Kim Predham, Teens Charged With Trespass, Arson, Ocean County Observer, March 26, 2005.

[78] Gregory J. Volpe, Fire Further Damages Wanamaker Hall, Asbury Park Press, March 27, 2005.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Kim Predham, Wanamaker Hall to be Demolished, Ocean County Observer, May 3, 2005, p. 1.

[81] Carolyn Roche, When America Went to War, Ocean County Observer, October 13, 1991.

[82] Island Hts. Public Library Monument to Early Citizens, New Jersey Courier, June 5, 1958.

[83] Ibid.

[84] See Appendix G for a photograph of the sign from 1950 that also shows Olson’s Bar & Grill with its animated

     mermaid and cook sign in the background (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives, 

     November 25, 1950).

[85] Island Hts. Public Library Monument to Early Citizens, New Jersey Courier, June 5, 1958.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Ibid.

[88] Island Heights Borough, Island Heights Official Website, <>,


[89] Old Camp Cabin Moves Into Literary Circles, Asbury Park Press, September 11, 1982.

[90] Island Heights Borough, Island Heights Official Website, <>,


[91] See Appendix I for I for a photograph of the original firehouse building (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage

     Association Archives).

[92] Island Heights Borough, Island Heights Official Website, <>,


[93] Ibid.

[94] See Appendix J for I for a photograph of the second firehouse building (Courtesy of Steven J. Baeli).

[95] Island Heights Borough, Island Heights Official Website, <>,


[96] Chris Lundy, Post Office Is Town’s Social Hub, Asbury Park Press, September 9, 1925.

[97] Ibid.

[98] Ibid.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Steve Berlin, Down-Home Feeling Comes Alive At Post Office, Ocean County Observer, July, 20, 1992, p. A3.

[101] Island Heights, NJ Crime and Crime Rate, <

     rate.htm>, 2012.

[102] Ibid.

[103] Ibid.

[104] Statistics Show That Every 12 Seconds A Residence Is Burglarized, Chief’s Corner, (Island Heights Cultural &

      Heritage Association Archive, 1979.

[105] Marihuana Alert II: More of the Grim Story, Island Heights PD News Bulletin, (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage

       Association Archives), February 1, 1981.

[106] Adoption of Rules Concerning Motor Vehicles On Ice-Covered Waters, Island Heights PD News Bulletin, (Island

       Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives), February 1, 1981.

[107] Borough Ordinances Code 60-7 Annual Dog Canvas, Island Heights PD News Bulletin, (Island Heights Cultural &

       Heritage Association Archives), February 1, 1981.

[108] Activity Report for the Month of January, Island Heights PD News Bulletin, (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage

       Association Archives), February 1, 1981.

[109] Chief’s Corner, Island Heights PD News Bulletin, (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives),

       February 1, 1981.

[110] Ibid.

[111] Ibid.

[112] Loretta Krzastek, Second Arson Suspect Turns Himself In, Ocean County Observer, September 5, 1984, p. 1.

[113] Don Bennett, 2 Indicted in Island Heights Firebombing, Ocean County Observer, November 30, 1984, p. 4.

[114] Laine Harmon, Police Station Arson Trial Begins, Ocean County Observer, February 2, 1985, p. 5.

[115] Steve Berlin, Helping People Is New Chief’s Goal, Ocean County Observer, June 21, 1993, p. A1.

[116] Gina Bothner, Island Heights Hires Three Part-Time Cops, Ocean County Observer, March 13, 1998, p. A9.

[117] Margaret F. Bonafide, Cops Offer Watchful Eyes, Friendly Faces, Ocean County Observer, August 15, 2000.

[118] Ibid.

[119] Ibid.

[120] Josh Davidson, Small Staff Keeps Crime Rate Low, Asbury Park Press, September 25, 2004, p. 1.

[121] Island Heights Borough, Island Heights Official Website, <>,


[122] Campbell, Carolyn, M. Peryl King, and Martha Smith, Chickaree in the Wall, (Ocean County Historical Society,

       Toms River, NJ), 1987, p. 113.

[123] Ibid, p. 22.

[124] See Appendix K for a circa 1940 photograph of that schoolhouse (Courtesy of Steven J. Baeli Archives), and

       Appendix L for an earlier photograph of the same structure, (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association


[125] New School Vote May 16, New Jersey Courier, May 5, 1950, p. 1.

[126] Douglas Quits School Post at Island Heights, New Jersey Courier, February 17, 1955, p. 1.

[127] Ibid.

[128] Ibid.

[129] Letter to borough residents (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archive), February 1998.

[130] Letter to borough residents (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archive), February 1998.

[131] Doug Hood, A Gift of History, Ocean County Observer, June 18, 1998.

[132] Joe Zedalis, Garden to be Named for Late School Chief, Asbury Park Press, October 15, 2004.

[133] Island Heights School District, Official Website <         

       /About%20Us/?>, 2012.

[134] Michael Amsel, Art Students Gradually Saw It Her Way, Asbury Park Press, April 14, 2004, p. 7.

[135] Patti Martin, Dance Teacher Back Where She Started, Asbury Park Press, April 14, 2004, p. 3.

[136] Shannon Radford, Tiny Town Boasts 3 Marinas, Yacht Club, Ocean County Observer, August 15, 2000.

[137] Ibid

[138] Ibid.

[139] Nelson Sailing Center Pamphlet, Nelson Marine Basin, 2012.

[140] Island Heights Borough, Island Heights Official Website, <>,


[141] Donald Bottomley, A Brief History of Island Heights Yacht Club <

       page_id=22&club_id=399211&module_id=52845>, 2012.

[142] Susan C. Mysak, Pavilion Reopens, Ocean County Reporter, August 1, 1994, p. C1.

[143] Facebook interview with Erik Weber, publisher of the Riverside Signal, May 20, 2012.

[144] Susan C. Mysak, Pavilion Reopens, Ocean County Reporter, August 1, 1994, p. C1.

[145] Helen Fitzsimmons, Island Heights to Profit From Anonymous Donor, Ocean County Observer, March 25, 1983,

       p. 2.

[146] Letter from IHC&HA president, Jano Taber, to the Island Heights Mayor and Council (Island Heights Cultural &

       Heritage Association Archives), September 28, 1988.

[147] Susan C. Mysak, Pavilion Reopens, Ocean County Reporter, August 1, 1994, p. C1.

[148] Facebook interview with Erik Weber, publisher of the Riverside Signal, May 20, 2012.

[149] Matt Porio, Island Heights Bulkhead Project Complete, Ocean County Observer, September 1, 2004.

[150] Joseph P. Depa, III, Gem of a Boardwalk Draws Eclectic Mix, Ocean County Observer, August 15, 2000, p, D5.

[151] Larry Waddell, Island Heights Art Colony, Asbury Park Press, March 4, 1979, p. G6.

[152] Miller, Pauline, Marilyn R. Kralik, “A Century of Art: 1850-1950” (Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission:

       Toms River, NJ), 1992.

[153] Island Heights Borough, Island Heights Official Website, <>,


[154] Artists’ Guild Chronology (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives), date unknown.

[155] Art Guild’s New Home Opens, Asbury Park Press, February 7, 1975.

[156] Annual Outdoor Art Show Pamphlet, Ocean County Artists’ Guild Pamphlet (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage

       Association Archives), 1976.

[157] Mansion in the Park Event Flier, (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives), 1980.

[158] Artists’ Guild Chronology (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives), date unknown.

[159] Guild Receives Grant, Ocean County Observer, February 11, 1986.

[160] Barbara O. Swetz, In Island Heights – Victorian House Now Home for Art, Ocean County Observer, March 11,


[161] See Appendix M the New Jersey Historic Sites Inventory profile for the St. Gertrude’s Chapel (Ocean County

       Cultural & Heritage Commission Archives), 1981.

[162] ________, “The Catholic Church in the United States” (The Catholic Editing Company: New York), Vol. 2, p. 505.

[163] See Appendix O for a 1909 photograph depicting St. Gertrude’s Chapel (New Jersey Historic Sites Survey, Ocean

       County Cultural & Heritage Commission Archives, 1981).

[164] See Appendix N the New Jersey Historic Sites Inventory profile St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church (Ocean County

       Cultural & Heritage Commission Archives), 1981.

[165] Then & Now, Asbury Park Press, March 25, 1979, p. E11.

[166] See Appendix Q for a postcard depicting the original look of the Episcopal Church (Jim Punderson, Island Height

       Historical Sites, Island Heights <


[167] Then & Now, Asbury Park Press, March 25, 1979, p. E11.

[168] See Appendix P for a photograph depicting St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church  when it was occupied by the Island

       Heights Studio of Art (New Jersey Historic Sites Survey, Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission 

       Archives, 1981).

[169] Hotel Bought for Restoration, Asbury Park Press, 1977.

[170] Anthony A. Gallotto, Farewell to One of the River’s Grandest, Asbury Park Press, December 7, 1986.

[171] A Rough Week for County Landmarks, Asbury Park Press, December 8, 1986.

[172] Island House Photograph Caption, Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Archives, date unknown.

[173] Borough to Consider Demolishing Hotel, Asbury Park Press, January 29, 1982.

[174] Anthony A. Gallotto, Farewell to One of the River’s Grandest, Asbury Park Press, December 7, 1986.

[175] Hotel Bought for Restoration, Asbury Park Press, 1977.

[176] Anthony A. Gallotto, Farewell to One of the River’s Grandest, Asbury Park Press, December 7, 1986.

[177] Hotel Bought for Restoration, Asbury Park Press, 1977.

[178] Fast Moving Blaze Guts Hotel in Island Heights, Asbury Park Press, December 5, 1986, p. A1.

[179] Hotel’s Owner Disregarded Advice, Converted Restaurant, Asbury Park Press, July 30, 1978, p, B4.

[180] Ibid.

[181] Fast Moving Blaze Guts Hotel in Island Heights, Asbury Park Press, December 5, 1986, p. A1.

[182] Borough To Consider Demolishing Hotel, Asbury Park Press, January 28, 1982.

[183] Ibid.

[184] Fast Moving Blaze Guts Hotel in Island Heights, Asbury Park Press, December 5, 1986, p. A1.

[185] Ibid.

[186] Fast Moving Blaze Guts Hotel in Island Heights, Asbury Park Press, December 5, 1986, p. A1.

[187] Anthony A. Gallotto, Fuel Aided Hotel Fire – Arson Probe Begins, Asbury Park Press, December 7, 1986, p. 1.

[188] Margaret F. Bonafide, Historic Homes Gutted, Asbury Park Press, December 17, 2005, p. A1.

[189] Ibid.

[190] Ibid.

[191] Ibid.

[192] Ibid.

[193] Undated photocopy located in the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives, date unknown.

[194] Four-Year-Old Starts Blaze in Home, New Jersey Courier, p. 1.

[195] Margaret F. Bonafide, Historic Homes Gutted, Asbury Park Press, December 17, 2005, p. A1.

[196] Unpublished draft of the IHC&HA structure (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives), date


[197] Certificate of Incorporation of the Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association, Island Heights Cultural &

       Heritage Association Archives, December 9, 1980.

[198] Joan Babbage, A Riverside Threat, Star-Ledger, April 19, 1992.

[199] Unpublished draft of the IHC&HA structure (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives), date


[200] Ibid.

[201] New Jersey Historic Sites Survey, Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission Archives, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 3.

[202] W.L. Tompkins, A Brief History of the Title of 105 Simpson Avenue, Island Heights, NJ, Island Heights Cultural &

       Heritage Association Archives, November 21, 1998, p. 1.

[203] Ibid.

[204] See Appendix R for a list of initial repairs needed (Island Heights Cultural & Heritage Association Archives, 1998).

[205] Bonnie Delaney, Association Celebrates at Museum’s Opening, Asbury Park Press, September 9, 2004, p. F5.

[206] Ibid.

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