Page Four


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Want your own piece of Beach Haven that you can call "home"? Love the bay area near where the Lucy Evelyn once stood? Check out the exciting "Bay Club of Beach Haven". CLICK HERE

There was a day, near Ninth and Bay...

Proudly standing tall above the swaying bay grass, the Schooner Lucy Evelyn (left, in 1971) always appeared as if it were at sea. Only when you approached it did you realize that it was firmly sitting on the sands of LBI.

When I was young, our parents would occasionally take a break from spending the day at the ocean and bring us to the Taylor Avenue bay swimming area. There, with inflatable rafts and inner tubes from old truck tires, we would float in the bay for hours, waiting for boat wakes to provide some gentle "waves". The area featured a large bath house for changing and showering plus a complete playground.

To those, like us, who used to go to the Taylor Avenue beach, a visit to the schooner Lucy Evelyn was a must. And, up until 1972 when she was destroyed by a fire, it was probably an annual tradition for you too. The ship literally dominated the horizon as you faced it. Those who recall those days might think that everything that you knew back then in that area has disappeared. But you'd be wrong! The ship was just one of the shops you could visit. The location was just as famous for its small "Seaman's Shacks" which held many gift shops. Well, you have to use your memories to picture the Lucy Evelyn there today, but you can still visit one of the old wooden "shacks" that used to be dwarfed by the impressive ship.







The old postcard (note old cars in photo) boasts: "Seaman's Shack. One of Long Beach Island's Oldest Houses". In an obviously staged moment, "Captain Whitepants" is letting his young visitor listen to the sea in the shell held to her ear.

The old seashell shack (left) has been rotated 90 degrees, so instead of facing south it now faces east. And instead of stocking seashells, you can now "shell" out some money to buy some custom clip-on sunglasses. (When my "Now" photo was taken, it was a jewelry store.) The old building should still look familiar to the seasoned Beach Haven visitor. And it should be remembered for its baskets full of exotic shells and maritime artifacts that people would purchase. This building is truly a link to the past! Recently, while going through some of my old transparencies (color slides), I found the image on the right - reminding me just how many baskets and boxes of shells were at the shack. Taken in July 1971 from the top deck of the Lucy Evelyn, it would be the last summer for the old schooner. And this photo shows just how close the now-surviving shack was to the ship that would soon be destroyed by flames.


This postcard (left) of the schooner Lucy Evelyn was mailed in 1963, but, as is common with the long "shelf-life" of cards, and based on the autos shown, the image is probably at least a decade older. Please note that the Shell Shack / The Silver Mine building shown above is just visible at the lower left edge. No other stores were set up yet (see below).

The Lucy Evelyn welcomed thousands of visitors every year. A door on the side of the vessel allowed you to enter the Gift Shop / Museum. In later years, the door was covered by a lengthy enclosed corridor which shows up on some of our family photos. That's me in 1971 on the deck (right), squinting in the sun mere months before the ship burned down.

This postcard (left) was a bit of a puzzle. It obviously shows the Lucy Evelyn and the exterior shack shops, but the photo you see here is actually a mirror-image of the card in my collection. (I used a computer program to reverse it.) The way that the ship faced is correctly shown here. One final 1971 photo (right) shows the top deck of the Lucy Evelyn. Photo was taken facing the boulevard. Today, the same view would show Bay Village shops


"Wheels and Steals"

The Beach Haven Garage and a Baseball Stadium!


This is the western side of Bay Avenue and Pearl Street. Behind the fence on the left is the Beach Haven baseball field and large fan grandstand. The garage was torn down in 1964. Here it is captured as it looked in the 1920's...




Today, the huge garage has been replaced by a new building. It houses the new location for the Giglio Awning Company. The baseball field is still there, with tennis courts added and grandstand torn down.



Photo was taken from the eastern side of Bay Avenue, north of Pearl Avenue.



The rare and fascinating map on the right comes from a 1930's promotional brochure touting the many marvels of Beach Haven. What is surprising are the "dotted line" indications of three proposed building projects. One, a "straight to LBI" extension of what is now Route 72 from Cedar Bridge to the island was actually done.

But the other two projects should raise a few eyebrows. The dotted lines clearly show two "proposed bridges", one at each end of Long Beach Island! At the north end, the bridge would be an easy link to Seaside Heights. At the south end, as it leaves the island, there is a connection to a bridge coming from Tuckerton, and then it heads over to Little Beach and then on to Brigantine. Now, in 1990's traffic, who hasn't dreamed of a alternate to a single causeway, but, in 1930?

Ironically, within the past year, there have been a couple of Letters to the Editor in the Beach Haven Times proposing the construction of an under the bay tunnel to ease the traffic flow off and on the island. I had to smile when I read these, as not one of these people mentioned the astronomical costs involved with tunnel construction. Who cares if it cost $16 billion to create the English Channel Tunnel? This one would be a lot shorter! And if it saves people a few minutes of travel time, the money would be well spent, right? Sure.....

To date, I have not been able to uncover anything further about these early "proposed bridges" to see if they were indeed on someone's wish list or just hype to show possible future expansion and booming development on the island. If anyone knows more, I'd love to hear from them!

AUGUST 2002 UPDATE: I received a very nice note from Becky Hendricks, a reporter at the Atlantic City Press newspaper. She wrote:

I was looking through your Beach Haven site and saw where you wondered about the once-planned connections between Tuckerton, Long Beach Island and Brigantine that were marked on an old map.
I don't know anything about the other proposed bridges, but apparently the one from the mainland to Brigantine really was planned.
One fellow I talked to told me that Great Bay Boulevard, which starts in Tuckerton and runs through Little Egg Harbor to the bay, was built by members of the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps.

(The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public works program that put over three million young men and adults to work during the Great Depression of the 1930's and 1940's in the United States.)

Great Bay Boulevard was supposed to lead to a causeway to Brigantine. This last part was confirmed in our newspaper library by a few paragraphs in a 1989 story when another reporter was writing about previous repairs to bridges on Great Bay Boulevard (which is also called Seven Bridges Road, though there are only five now.)  The road currently ends a bit beyond the bridge across Little Sheepshead Creek.
Anyway, here are the relevant paragraphs from that 1989 story. The "Lane" referred to here is Richard Lane, who was Ocean County engineer in 1989.
Lane said the history of the bridges goes back to the 1920s, when the state began to build a shortcut to Atlantic City from Route 9 in Tuckerton. The new road was going to be called S-4, and would run through the salt marshes and shallow bay areas of Little Egg Harbor and Brigantine to the resort, Lane said.
"The project was going to make use of a lot of fill material for the marsh areas, with a series of bridges to areas that couldn't be filled, he said.
"However, when the engineers got to the end of Great Bay Boulevard, they found a 'bottomless pit of mud' and couldn't go any farther, Lane said."
Anyway, I just thought this might be of interest to you. - Becky Hendricks, Atlantic City Press

Thanks, Becky!!



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Copyright 1999-2012   Bruce A. Clark   SixOfOne AT netreach DOT net