Take a Van Tour of Beach Haven With the Long Beach Island Historical Society

Jul 10, 2019

Beach Haven historian Jeanette Lloyd will give two van tours of Beach Haven this summer. The first is on Wednesday, July 17, at 10 a.m. beginning in front of the Long Beach Island Museum, 129 Engleside Ave. Come early, at least by 10 a.m., to register and pay the $25 fee for the 1½-hour tour. The van seats 30 and is air-conditioned.

As the widow of John Bailey Lloyd, who wrote three historical books about Beach Haven, and as a founding member of the LBI Historical Association, Lloyd is eminently qualified to lead the tour.

The Beach Haven historic district encompasses 30 square blocks, from Fifth Street to Chatsworth Avenue, east of Bay Avenue. It includes most of the important structures that tell the romantic story of the Queen City.

Lloyd and an assistant will highlight the places that most illustrate the Edwardian-era Beach Haven.

The site of Surflight Theatre was where Cox’s Store was located. The Cox brothers owned much of the West Creek section of Eagleswood Township on the mainland, and at one time, before it was called Beach Haven, this part of Long Beach Island was part of Eagleswood. This was when it was mostly vacant and farmers would bring their cattle over to graze in the summer.

Learn about the hotel fire that led to the building of the original Church of the Holy Innocents’ (now the museum). The Parry House was one of the first hotels built in Beach Haven before the railroad, when boats, horses and oxen were the only means of transportation. Building materials were brought from the mainland by boat to Dock Street and then dragged to the various sites.

Talking about Beach Haven is impossible without the name Archelaus Pharo, the man who in 1871 bought up the 666 acres of what is now Beach Haven, then built the Tuckerton Railroad in 1871 with connections to Philadelphia and with the steamship Barkley, brought the wealthy Philadelphia tourists across the bay to his resort. His daughters chose the name Beach Heaven, later changed to Beach “Haven” to give it a classier moniker.

His “cottage” on Second Street, built in 1874, and that of his daughter Louisa Pharo Ashhurst, built in 1878, are still standing and kept in beautiful shape. The Archelaus Pharo House is still owned by his descendants.

Coral Street was the street where the rich Baldwin locomotive executives would vacation in three houses owned by the Baldwin Hotel, and Pearl Street was where the rich Pennsylvania Railroad people lived.

Although these “cottages” can sleep nine or more people, they were called cottages by the wealthy who had their year-round homes in Philadelphia.

In the backyards of some of the more modest homes were smaller cottages where middle-class owners would move to in the summer in order to rent out the bigger house.

At various points along the route, oversized photos of 19th-century Beach Haven will be shown for comparison to today’s scenic town. Photos show the grandeur of the Baldwin Hotel and the original Engelside Hotel – both no longer in existence – and Ostendorff’s two-story garage, which was demolished. It used to have room for 200 cars but also had a blacksmith inside to take care of the many horses still in use.

In 1926, Walsh’s baseball field was developed with a grandstand and showers for the Beach Haven baseball team. Sadly it was torn down in 1940. Although Babe Ruth never played on the field, he did drink in the Acme Hotel.

There are many, many interesting stories and places you’ll discover on the tour.

Another van tour led by Lloyd is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 14. Reserve your spot for either tour by calling 609-492-0700. —P.J.

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