In Another Time | History of the Wildwoods

Explore the history of Wildwood, NJ with Jacob Schaad Jr. as he looks back In Another Time .

In Another Time> The twisted history of Wildwood’s favorite tree

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, April 12, 2014 12:00 am

The 'W' tree was once an icon in the Wildwoods. The 'W' tree was once an icon in the Wildwoods.
In this week's "In Another Time" Jake Schaad Jr. looks into the history of Wildwood's "W" tree. Last month, the Board of Commissioners voted to remove it from the city seal

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In Another Time> Wildwood saw a thriving nightclub scene from big bands to Bo Diddley

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, April 05, 2014 12:00 am

Those who remember “the good old days” of entertainment in the Wildwoods point to the times of the 1950s and 1960s when the spotlight focused at several Wildwood and North Wildwood nightclubs on big name performers appearing there.

Impressive that it was, that was only a part of a Wildwood show business era that stretched from the 1930s into the early 1970s. The music and other types of entertainment that came with it represented society as it was then.

Read more: In Another Time> Wildwood saw a thriving nightclub scene from big bands to Bo Diddley

   

In Another Time> Revolutionary battle well remembered in Wildwood Crest

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, March 29, 2014 12:00 am

In recalling the history of the Wildwoods often overlooked is the background of the borough of Wildwood Crest. Unlike its Five Mile Beach neighbors of Wildwood and North Wildwood it has no Boardwalk to stroll, no thrill attractions to ride and no public bars to frequent.

The Crest, as some people call it, was the last of the three largest municipalities on the island to be incorporated, in 1910. It followed Wildwood in 1895 and Anglesea in 1885, which was to become known as North Wildwood in 1906. West Wildwood, the smallest of the quartet, became official in 1920.

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In Another Time > Hungry yet?

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, March 08, 2014 01:00 am

Photo by Christie Rotondo/ Boardwalk pizza is a Wildwood tradition. Photo by Christie Rotondo/ Boardwalk pizza is a Wildwood tradition.
A look at the origins of pizza, fudge, taffy and funnel cake

The beloved tastes of the Wildwoods boardwalk each have a story.

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Were Indians the first year-rounders in the Wildwoods?

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, March 01, 2014 01:00 am

Since the Wildwoods were founded late in the 19th century, there has been debate on whether the Lenni Lenape Indians were ever year-round residents on the island.

There is a consensus that they spent some of their summers fishing, hunting and swimming at the seashore, but some historians maintain that they couldn’t have lived on Five Mile Beach the full year because of an insufficient amount of potable drinking water, even though some of it came from Magnolia Lake, which once stood near New Jersey and Magnolia Avenues are now in Wildwood.

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In Another Time> Film reawakens memories of old Wildwood

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, February 22, 2014 01:00 am

Mickey Shaughnessy was from New York, but moved to Wildwood. Before his long career in movies, he was a comedian in the Catskills. Mickey Shaughnessy was from New York, but moved to Wildwood. Before his long career in movies, he was a comedian in the Catskills.

When they recently showed a documentary at Middle Township’s Performing Arts Center during  its “Monday Night At The Movies Series,” those who were old  enough to remember may have related some of the film to the golden times of nightclubs in the Wildwoods.

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In Another Time > Wildwood, Atlantic City share similar histories

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, February 08, 2014 01:00 am

While Atlantic City and the Wildwoods are now very different, their histories reflect that there has been an influential connection since the two regions began competing for tourists dollars.

Atlantic City was to arrive first when it was officially incorporated as a community on May 1, 1854  from sections of Egg Harbor and Galloway Townships. That was years before the three Baker brothers and others had a clue about the future of the island that was to be referred to as Five Mile Beach or the Wildwoods.

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In Another Time> Wildwoods will have plenty to celebrate in 2014

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, February 01, 2014 01:00 am

It soon will be time for celebrating history again in Cape May County, once the cold winds go far out to sea, the snow retreats to Alaska and the snowbirds return from Florida.

The hardy who have stayed here to shiver in their timbers have actually started the celebrations of various sorts early, regardless of the weather. Who needs the 70 degree weather of Florida when you can jump in the ocean in your bikini here in 30 degree weather or less?  After all it’s for a good charity cause, if not for your own as your blood turns blue.

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Long history of heroics in lifesaving services

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, January 25, 2014 01:00 am

Saving lives at the seashore has been a challenge for more than a century for the men, and later the women, whose careers brought them to the water’s edge.

The story is dramatically revealed in the history of Anglesea and North Wildwood before and during their jointure and even earlier when Anglesea was mostly a cluster of shacks for fishermen from Scandinavian nations.  In the years to follow, however, as people swam in the ocean, fished in it, and traveled on it to faraway places, came the realization that its pleasures brought dangers as well.

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In Another Time> Freeling Hewitt kept the light shining and more at Hereford Inlet

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Monday, January 20, 2014 01:39 pm

Among the 10 keepers, including nine men and one woman, who served the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse from 1874 to 1961, there was one whose extra community life contributed to the birth and growth of the borough of Anglesea before it became known as North Wildwood in 1906.

Read more: In Another Time> Freeling Hewitt kept the light shining and more at Hereford Inlet

   

In Another Time > Wildwood got started during hard economic times

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Written by Christie Rotondo Saturday, January 11, 2014 11:00 am

The founding, development and survival of much of the Wildwoods are a tribute to the three Baker brothers whose foresight and perseverance made it all happen, despite one of the worst financial crises in American history.

Historians have called it The Panic of 1893. Today we would call it a recession or, even worse, a depression. It was so bad then that panicky people were lined up outside their banks to recover the money they had invested. The problem was the banks had no money to give back.

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In Another Time >Quacks and charlatans did little to improve life expectancy

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Monday, December 30, 2013 11:26 am

When Wildwood officially became a borough in 1895, the national average life expectancy was about 46 years. If you believed the three Baker brothers who developed much of the island, locals might have lived a little longer. They were constantly telling people in their promotional literature how much healthier it was to live in Wildwood.

Read more: In Another Time >Quacks and charlatans did little to improve life expectancy

   

In Another Time: Christmas songs were a taste of home for those serving far away

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, December 21, 2013 05:00 pm

The holidays, Christmas especially, have been the inspiration for many songwriters to come up with music that is etched in history.

Some songs, often played in the music-oriented Wildwoods during the hardships of World War II, have an emotional undertone as the lyrics promise that the battle- worn soldier would be home for Christmas, or that he was dreaming of a white Christmas. When the Japanese finally surrendered in August 1945 the hopes of those words and music they had heard so often on foreign soil were realized by many servicemen who were civilians once again and indeed were home for Christmas.

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In December, 1941, Wildwood adjusts to war

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, December 14, 2013 01:00 am

Despite the grim warnings that came from the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the people of the Wildwoods moved ahead with mixed emotions to observe their nation’s first wartime Christmas since 1917.

“Wildwood is in the holiday spirit with the official turning on of the lights at Pacific Avenue,” said one announcement, the event apparently not affected by the mandated dim-out and then blackout of the  boardwalk lights two blocks away.

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In Another Time > 72 years later, Wildwoods remember Pearl Harbor

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, December 07, 2013 08:29 am

When the calendar turned to December in 1941, bombs fell in Europe and anxious Americans were caught between cautious optimism and somber pessimism over whether war would come to their shores.

Charles Lindbergh, who in the peacetime of May 1927 made aviation history by becoming the first pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, was in 1941 the spokesman for an isolationist organization called the “America First Committee” whose goal was to keep the United States out of war. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, today judged one of the great presidents in the nation’s history, promised mothers and fathers in a campaign speech in Boston that he would not send any of their sons to fight a war in a foreign nation.

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In Another Time > Wanted man shot police chief in 1924

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Wednesday, November 13, 2013 01:40 pm

 Reports of killings and attempted killings that appear frequently in the news today seem to indicate that the nation is on a crime wave. The tendency is to think this is something new that is happening in the United States.

Well, not exactly new.

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In Another Time > A story of terror and murder started with a Wildwood birth

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, November 09, 2013 08:45 am

Ernest Ingenito was born in Wildwood on May 27, 1924.

Calvin Coolidge was president. The national prohibition of the sale and distribution of liquor was in its fourth year, Edward Culver was mayor of Wildwood, Ralph Whitley mayor of Wildwood Crest and Herbert Shivers mayor of North Wildwood. It also was the ninth anniversary of the founding of the Margaret Mace Hospital, where thousands of babies were born.

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In Another Time > Wildwood High football player Randy Beverly achieved national fame

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Monday, November 04, 2013 07:18 am

Although basketball’s long presence in Wildwood has earned it the recognition of being the island’s most popular continuous sport in its history, not to be overlooked is the game of football.

Football actually arrived in America before basketball, but it was preceded by basketball in Wildwood by many years. The first basketball game is said to have been played on Five Mile Beach as a tourist attraction in the summer of 1899, four years after Wildwood was officially incorporated as a borough and 13 years before neighboring Holly Beach became part of Wildwood. Information about football’s first appearance on the island is limited, but a good assumption, given the nature of the sport and its manpower requirements, is that it did not appear with the regularity of basketball until after Wildwood High School opened in 1917.

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In Another Time > Basketball was a big deal on Wildwood courts

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Sunday, October 27, 2013 06:13 am

The island of the Wildwoods was a centerpiece for sports long before the modern tourists discovered it.

The Lenni Lenape may have started it all, having preceded the arrival of the three founding Baker brothers as summer visitors. Others, however, claim the Indians were not tourists, but year-round residents.

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In Another Time > Depression hit hard at the shore

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Sunday, October 20, 2013 12:00 am

No one, of course, had an inkling in the Wildwoods or anywhere else for that matter that the economy would come tumbling down toward the end of 1929.

This indeed had been the Roaring Twenties, so named because the economy was roaring,  people had more money to spend and  morals were somewhat looser than before the days of the First World War. Everybody, it seemed, was engrossed with selling and drinking liquor illegally or tracking down people who were selling and drinking liquor illegally.

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