North Wildwood stores its history in a tiny cottage on 4th Avenue

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Photo by Christie Rotondo/ Scott Jett, North Wildwood City Clerk, goes through the city’s first ordinance book, dating back to the late 1800s. Photo by Christie Rotondo/ Scott Jett, North Wildwood City Clerk, goes through the city’s first ordinance book, dating back to the late 1800s. NORTH WILDWOOD- 104 West 4th Ave. looks like many of the city’s older homes: a white cottage with green painted shutters and front stoop, all beginning to show its age from the salt sea air. 

Inside, however, are almost all of the city’s records in more than 1,000 file boxes. Rows of steel shelving are neatly mapped out to point people toward tax records from 1952 or a city ordinance from when North Wildwood was still known as Anglesea.

The records building, City Clerk Scott Jett said, wasn’t always so easy to navigate. Before Jett began reorganizing the records building with help from the county in 2010, he said each city department had a chicken coup to keep their records in- which resulted in quite a mess. 

“There are no pictures of how this place used to look,” Jett said, “But there’s plenty of eyewitness testimony.”

In 2010, the county was able to secure a Public Archives and Record Infrastructure Support, or PARIS, grant to preserve and organize public records in municipalities around the county. With the help of interns from the county, Jett was able to purge 91 boxes of records from the building, and sorted the remaining ones into new storage boxes.

Some of the city’s most precious documents, like original ordinances from the city’s incorporation, were preserved through the grant program.

The project is essentially done, but Jett said that keeping the records organized is an ongoing process. In the spring, he said, the building could see a facelift from building and grounds funds.

“Having an organized records building is more economical and efficient,” Rita Fulginiti, county clerk, said while touring North Wildwood’s record building on Feb. 7. “If it’s not, it can really get out of control.”

She joked that she had lots of pictures of how a record building shouldn’t be kept, but North Wildwood’s newly reorganized building was a shining example of record organization.

“I’m sure other local clerks are pretty jealous of this facility,” she said.

According to Jett, the overall project was about $20,000 for the city, and a large chunk of that price was the new steel shelving units for records. The floor of the building, which is cement, was also resealed.

In the age of electronic signatures, PDF documents, and email communication, however, there’s also less paperwork to keep on file.

“With electronic documents, you don’t have as many records to take care of,” Fulginiti said. “But you still have to take care of paper records as well.”

Some of those paper records Fulginiti described as the city’s “most precious documents,” like original meeting minutes from the late 1800s.

Records like those meeting minutes, Jett said, were the ones the city had preserved through the PARIS grant.

Before 104 W. 4th Ave. was the city’s records building, it was used to house Atlantic City Electric’s transformers. For that reason, Jett said the whole building is cement, and because of Cold War worries, was disguised to look like the other houses in the neighborhood.

The building is also located on high ground, which helps to keep flood waters away from the city’s archives. Jett said that after Sandy, there wasn’t any water in the building.

“After I checked on my house, I came right over here,” Jett said, “And it wasn’t flooded at all.”

While the organization of the building is basically complete, Jett said that the process of keeping records is never really over.

“Once we get on top of everything, it becomes easy to be consistent,” he said.

Christie Rotondo can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at www.wildwood.shorenewstoday.com.

Photo by Christie Rotondo/ WL Records 2: Rita Marie Fulginiti, Cape May County clerk, Dave Del Conte, North Wildwood councilman, and Scott Jett, city clerk, stand on the front stoop of the newly reorganized records building. Photo by Christie Rotondo/ WL Records 2: Rita Marie Fulginiti, Cape May County clerk, Dave Del Conte, North Wildwood councilman, and Scott Jett, city clerk, stand on the front stoop of the newly reorganized records building.


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