MAIN PAGE | PG. 2 | PG. 3 | PG.4 | PG.5 | PG.6 | PG. 7 | PG. 8 | PG.9

Page Nine:

The Mystery of Kathlyn Cottage - SOLVED!

A detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the detective work that often goes into these pages...


When this postcard (below) came into my collection, the only thing I knew about it was the fact that it was a Beach Haven image and that the uniquely shaped building had an equally unique name - "Kathlyn Cottage". Since my mother-in-law has the first name of "Kathlyn", this deepened my interest in finding out if this early 1900's photo showed a house that might still stand in the small town of Beach Haven.

As I always do, I first looked for visual clues as to what the image showed and what story the photo could tell. ("A picture is worth 1,000 words.") A careful study of the shadowing (thank goodness for sunny days!) showed that the shadows fell towards the front of the house (the chimney shadow across the roof is the most noticeable.) Knowing that shadows in our area fall to the north because of the positioning of our sun as it travels across our sky, this placed the house on the southern part of the street, facing north.

(At right: View from water tower towards Baldwin Hotel)

You would think that eliminating one-half of the buildings in Beach Haven would get you half-way to your goal of finding the right building (if it still exists!) but it really doesn't. And a more careful study of the card revealed one troubling fact - the photo had been "doctored". The right quarter of the Kathlyn Cottage image was pure white - notice that to the right of the building you see nothing, no trees, no background - nothing. Even the hedges show a remarkably straight edge, it is simply "too perfect". This would only have been done for a single reason. There must have been something right next to Kathlyn Cottage, something so close that the only way to "highlight" and separate what the postcard was supposed to show was to take a sharp knife to the negative and cut away the adjoining buildings. That forever eliminated more clues.

So I literally decided to "take to the air" - I brought out my magnifying glass and tried to locate aerial
photos showing Beach Haven around 1900. Problem is, the Wright Brothers were still working on their first plane in 1900!
Was there another way to see a bird's eye view of Beach Haven? Luckily for me, there was. Some intrepid photographer lugged his heavy equipment up the narrow structural beams to reach the highest point in the town, the old water tower. From this seagull's eye view, the town spread out before him like a miniature train village at Christmas. And thanks to his nonexistent fear of heights, I had at least something to work with.

I almost drove myself crazy studying rooflines and house shapes in my quest to find where Kathlyn Cottage was. I elicited the help of town historian John Bailey Lloyd, whose expertise in the background of house-naming in the town helped steer me to certain sections of Beach Haven.

(Right: Would you climb to the top of the old waterworks tower?)


At left, is a greatly enlarged section of a large panoramic photo taken from atop the old water tower and facing northeast, towards the ocean. The white arrow points to a building that caught my eye. It seemed to have the same roofline as Kathlyn Cottage and it had a spire behind it as shown in the postcard. It faced north. It had a house right next to it that would have interfered with trying to just show the one house. Would you have spotted it? I quickly determined by counting the streets that this suspect house stood on Centre Street just east of the Boulevard. But there was a problem. This was not in an area of town where the owners normally named their cottages. Could it still be Kathlyn Cottage? And would the building still be there if it was?

The drive over to Centre Street with my camera in hand was the last step in this very tedious process. But when we stood in front of 212 Centre Street, it was euphoria! Not only was Kathlyn Cottage still standing, it was now the famous Green Gables Restaurant, with a rich tradition and history of its own. The building was actually the location for the first of the annual Beach Haven Turkey dinners that have satisfied tens of thousands of people over the years. The house looked a bit different thanks to vegetation and awnings covering the porch. But the truly unique shape of the roof, gables and chimney and back tower gave its secret away. Kathlyn Cottage had been found.








Beach Avenue revisited

Here is an old postcard showing Beach Avenue facing north with the old Baldwin Hotel on the right. Sadly, the Baldwin burned down in 1960.









The Saint Rita Hotel (on Engleside Avenue) in the 1940's - and today









The Surflight Summer Theatre in 1960 (in the building that is today their Scene Shop...








North View on Beach Street at Engleside Avenue.











Special Report: "State Secrets"

The truth behind the New Jersey State Quarter design

Old Barney almost made it to the Garden State's quarter!

Did you know that the New Jersey state quarter almost honored Long Beach Island? That's right, you are probably familiar with the "Crossroads of the Revolution" (Washington Crossing the Delaware) design that was used (far left), but did you ever see the two other finalists in the competition? Well, two out of the three finalists showed an image of Barnegat lighthouse! And am I the only one who thinks it odd that an event that is more famous in Pennsylvania than it is in New Jersey won over a strictly New Jersey theme? As Maxwell Smart used to say, "Missed it by THAT much!" We had a two out of three chance of being famous and they blew it!

Copyright 1999-2012  Bruce A. Clark

SixOfOne AT netreach DOT net

MAIN PAGE | PG. 2 | PG. 3 | PG.4 | PG.5 | PG.6 | PG. 7 | PG. 8 | PG.9