Tuckerton/Little Egg Harbor Leader

Tuckerton Library Hosts Annual Open House

Apr 05, 2019

The Tuckerton Library Association’s annual open house on April 25 at 7 p.m. will welcome authors Gretchen Coyle and Deborah Whitcraft with their book Beach Haven, published by Arcadia Publishing in 2018.

As Eric Englund of The SandPaper wrote when it was first published, the book’s inspiration came out of a collection of photographs acquired by the New Jersey Maritime Museum in Beach Haven, of which Whitcraft is the founder and president. Robert F. Engle, whose father built the Engleside Hotel in 1876, took the photos. “The photo collection features scenes from the boardwalk, the hotels, people fishing, children playing on the beach,” said Whitcraft. “Most of the photos were taken in the late 1800s and early 1900s.”

Coyle said the photos came from an antiques dealer in Texas. “How he got a hold of the photos remains a mystery,” she said. “He did some research online and found the maritime museum and decided to contact Deb.”

The book focuses on Beach Haven between 1880 and 1940. “Beach Haven is very rich in history,” Coyle told Englund. “We start out with the hotels and then the many families who came to the hotels and then later built homes. But we also talk about the fire company and the first aid squad, groups that were the backbone of the community.”

Whitcraft and Coyle are a writing team who published two books in the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing: the Beach Haven history and a volume on Tucker’s Island. They are also the authors of Inferno At Sea: Stories of Death and Survival Aboard the Morro Castle.

While Beach Haven is prominently mentioned in various books on Island history, this is the first volume devoted exclusively to the borough’s past.

“I first came to Beach Haven in the 1950s, and I remember riding my bike as a child, fascinated by the old Victorian homes,” Coyle told Englund. “But history isn’t history unless it’s shared, which is why it is so important to write about it and have people appreciate the past.”

The program is free, but registration is requested by calling 609-296-1470. The Tuckerton Library Association will supply light refreshments. And attendees can meet Tuckerton Mayor Susan Marshall, who is president of the TLA. The Tuckerton Library is located at 380 Bay Ave. in Tuckerton. —P.J.

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