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> Wildwood took to vaudeville early in the last century

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, October 25, 2014 12:00 am

The word was unusual and when it first emerged, some people thought that “vaudeville” was the name of a town like Lambertville or Rockville or Smithville. In Wildwood, which became an official borough in 1895, it started appearing in the early 1900s on the Boardwalk as Nixon’s Vaudeville House and people soon were aware that they weren’t referring to some new town along the ocean somewhere.

Vaudeville actually had been around for a while when Wildwood caught up with it. Historians put its gestation in America in the 1870s and 1880s, after it was conceived by saloon and variety hall shows. Before the Civil War audiences could find their entertainment by brushing up on their Shakespeare, watching acrobats standing on each other’s strong shoulders or dogs leaping through rings of fire.

Read more: In Another Time> Wildwood took to vaudeville early in the last century

 

’50s Weekend is part of a long standing effort to build fall tourism

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, October 11, 2014 12:00 am

When the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce throws its big nostalgic party — the Fabulous ‘50s and Beyond Weekend — Oct. 17 and 18, it may be a reminder to some of a time in the Wildwoods history when tourism was born again.

A young man from Philadelphia, who had been in the Wildwoods during the summer returned in the dull days of winter. What he saw were boarded stores, fancy motels closed, no longer flashing their glitzy lights. No traffic signals, either, and only an occasional automobile crossing his path, probably driven by the mayor (If he was not in Florida) or by one of his subordinates.

Read more: ’50s Weekend is part of a long standing effort to build fall tourism

 

In Another Time> North Wildwood celebrates the history of the Irish

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, September 27, 2014 12:00 am

Irish eyes were smiling in North Wildwood last weekend, as the Irish threw a big party as only they can do.  It isn’t enough to hold only a St. Patrick’s Day parade in March, impressive as it is. They top that by staging a four day festival of all things Irish ever September.

This was the city’s 23rd festival since it first hosted it in 1991, during the administration of the late Mayor Lewis Vinci. The festival continued during the terms of Mayors Aldo Palombo, Bill Henfey and the current mayor Patrick Rosenello.  Henfey, the true Irishman among them, was honored as the grand marshal in this year’s parade.

Read more: In Another Time> North Wildwood celebrates the history of the Irish

   

Helen Kane ‘boop boop a doop-ed’ into 1934 Wildwood

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, August 16, 2014 12:00 am

Unlike the silver voiced tenor of the airwaves Morton Downey, whose career was enhanced in the 1930s by the arrival of the radio, Helen Kane made it really big because of a spur-of-the-moment improvisation in her act.

Her show business name, changed from Helen Schroeder, may not mean much in today’s world, but mention her as the original “Boop Boop A Doop Girl” and the name may have survived all these years.

Read more: Helen Kane ‘boop boop a doop-ed’ into 1934 Wildwood

 

In Another Time> Hollywood came to Wildwood in 1948

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, August 02, 2014 12:00 am

in another time Rhonda Fleming. Ruth Warrick. Lizabeth Scott. Charles Coburn. Leo Carrillo.

If you remember those names, then you probably are now receiving monthly checks from the federal government.

Read more: In Another Time> Hollywood came to Wildwood in 1948

 

Generations of babies have participated in Wildwood’s parade

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, July 26, 2014 12:00 am

Maybe it was just a coincidence, or perhaps it was all those baby parades that influenced them, especially the ones that were held in Wildwood. Who knows? But whatever the case Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer came close to summing up the parades in 1938 when they composed the song, “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby.”

It was a big hit then, first recorded by Bing Crosby (who’s that? you might ask if you’re under 60) and later Perry Como (ah, wasn’t he the television guy who looked like he was always falling asleep?).You might even hear it again on the boardwalk on Wednesday, July 30, when Wildwood holds its baby parade.

Read more: Generations of babies have participated in Wildwood’s parade

   

In Another Time> Wildwood clubs booked big names to lure tourists

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Sunday, July 20, 2014 12:00 am

The year 1952 was a benchmark time for the Wildwoods and the rest of the nation. Although there were still traces of the effects of the recent war, signs emerged that a better future was in the making.

General Dwight David Eisenhower, who led the nation to victory over Germany during World War II, was elected president of the United States in November 1952 and a conflict was raging in Korea. It was to end the next year with the intervention of the new president, and the nation was to experience a period that was often referred to as the Happy Days.

Read more: In Another Time> Wildwood clubs booked big names to lure tourists

 

In Another Time>Miss America pageant has some Wildwood roots

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

As the Miss America show nears in Atlantic City in September, a Miss New Jersey was selected recently in OceanCity to represent the state, and soon there will be a plethora of local pageants in which contestants will try to make their way up the ladder to the 2015 title.

The history of the pageants has traveled in different directions since P.T. Barnum started them in 1854 and was to quickly abandon the idea when he was rebuffed by the public, some of whom claimed the pageants were immoral. Soon, however, the pageants rebounded in various forms, and the contestants competed in costumes and swimsuit sizes that would have made Abraham Lincoln blush.

Read more: In Another Time>Miss America pageant has some Wildwood roots

 

In Another Time> Fourth of July marks beginning of ‘The Season’

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, July 04, 2014 01:54 pm

It will happen again Friday, the beginning of the annual summer tourism season at the seashore, a period stretching from the fourth day of July until the first Monday of September.

Read more: In Another Time> Fourth of July marks beginning of ‘The Season’

   

In Another Time> Pick your day when celebrating independence

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Sunday, June 29, 2014 12:00 am

Visitors and locals in the Wildwoods will again have a few options of dates on which to celebrate Independence Day, depending upon whether they support the view of President John Adams or other interpretations about what is the proper day to observe the holiday.

John Adams was the second President of the United States, 1797-1801, and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Read more: In Another Time> Pick your day when celebrating independence

 

In Another Time> Real estate entrepreneurs made the Wildwoods

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, June 21, 2014 12:00 am

Once they were oriented to their new environment the early settlers who discovered the Wildwoods did more than tan themselves on the sun baked beaches or swim to the roar of the mighty ocean.

Opportunists that they were, these newcomers set about selling real estate and with some ingenuity and perseverance, then the profits started rolling in.

Read more: In Another Time> Real estate entrepreneurs made the Wildwoods

 

New stop signs in North Wildwood

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Written by Staff Reports Saturday, June 14, 2014 12:00 am

NORTH WILDWOOD – Two new stop signs could be added to North Wildwood, if city council passes an ordinance allowing for their installation at its next meeting.

Read more: New stop signs in North Wildwood

   

Flag Day has a little known history in the United States

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Friday, June 13, 2014 12:00 am

Local and national history will come together in the Wildwoods on Saturday with few participants aware of its local significance.

Saturday, the June 14, is Flag Day, a holiday that takes second billing to the celebrations of Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Usually life goes on routinely during Flag Day. The banks are open and so are the schools, the mail is delivered and there are no fireworks to celebrate the occasion. In most places, there are no parades either; unlike in Fairfield, Washington, and Quincy, Massachusetts, where they claim they have been parading on the holiday for more years than anywhere in the nation.

Read more: Flag Day has a little known history in the United States

 

In Another Time> Ditching propriety, one woman was quick to the helm of Wildwood newspaper

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Thursday, June 05, 2014 03:43 pm

In April 1885, at a time when it wasn’t considered proper for a woman to work as a reporter (or anything else, for that matter) Jeanette DuBois Meech began to change the face of journalism in a new borough called Holly Beach.

Meech was to start the first newspaper on the island, some 30 years after the Cape May-based Ocean Wave had become Cape May County’s first newspaper in 1855. She called her paper The Holly Beach Herald and her intent was to publish it weekly during July and August, but perhaps longer, depending upon how the tourism winds blew. They didn’t blow strongly enough, however, because the paper folded after just 20 issues.

Read more: In Another Time> Ditching propriety, one woman was quick to the helm of Wildwood newspaper

 

In Another Time> Hot dogs and flappers dominated 1920s Wildwood

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Sunday, May 25, 2014 12:00 am

The year 1922 was a big one on the boardwalk in Wildwood, perhaps the biggest since the end of World War I in 1918. W. Courtwright Smith was mayor, and Warren Harding was president of the United States.

Read more: In Another Time> Hot dogs and flappers dominated 1920s Wildwood

   

In Another Time> It was the iceman vs the actor in 1912 Wildwood election

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, May 17, 2014 12:00 am

In 1906, two political adversaries came together in a showdown that may well have set the stage for future battles in the Wildwoods.

Holly Beach was still a viable borough then, having been born on April 14, 1885, but latecomer Wildwood, circa 1895, was on its way to absorbing Holly Beach in 1912.

Read more: In Another Time> It was the iceman vs the actor in 1912 Wildwood election

 

In Another Time> Wildwood followed Coney Island, Atlantic City into amusement industry

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, May 10, 2014 12:00 am

When the Baker brothers founded the southern section of FiveMileBeach in the late 1800s, it is doubtful that they had amusement rides in mind as a major part of their venture. Their main selling point seemed to be the ocean and the fresh air that they said contributed to one’s good health.

Soon, though, they and others got into the act when they saw what was happening elsewhere in venues as Chicago, Coney Island and Atlantic City.  Entrepreneurs were establishing amusement ride sites and they seemed to be successful.  So why not in the Wildwoods?

Read more: In Another Time> Wildwood followed Coney Island, Atlantic City into amusement industry

 

In Another Time> Automobiles changed the way people came to Wildwood

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Saturday, April 26, 2014 12:00 am

Information about the first automobile driven into the Wildwoods is virtually non-existent and that’s probably because when it happened many people scoffed at the new arrival and paid little attention to its potential.

Robert Fulton’s steamboat was called “Fulton’s Folly” and years later, after the steamboat had made its mark in transportation to and from Cape May County, people were taunting the new-fangled automobile with cries of “Get a horse!” Few realized, though, the impact that automobiles were to make on tourism and other segments of American life.

Read more: In Another Time> Automobiles changed the way people came to Wildwood

   

In Another Time> Rabbits and egg hunts have long been a part of Easter traditions

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Written by Jacob Schaad Jr. Sunday, April 20, 2014 12:00 am

Jen Marra/ Students at Margaret Mace show off their Easter hats. Jen Marra/ Students at Margaret Mace show off their Easter hats.
As the Wildwoods plan to celebrate the holiday with three Easter egg hunts, it is interesting to note that ironically today’s presence of egg hunts, rabbits and colorfully decorated eggs go back to the pagan days, but soon after they were to be adopted by early Christians as representations of their religion.

Read more: In Another Time> Rabbits and egg hunts have long been a part of Easter traditions

 

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

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

 

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.

Read more: In Another Time> Revolutionary battle well remembered in Wildwood Crest

 

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.

Read more: In Another Time > Hungry yet?

 

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.

Read more: Were Indians the first year-rounders in the Wildwoods?

   

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.

Read more: In Another Time> Film reawakens memories of old Wildwood

 

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.

Read more: In Another Time > Wildwood, Atlantic City share similar histories

 

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.

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

   

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.

Read more: Long history of heroics in lifesaving services

 

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.

Read more: In Another Time > Wildwood got started during hard economic times

   

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