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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jumbo Shrimp and the Beacon Museum

Jumbo shrimp is a familiar oxymoron, today. I wonder if such was the case back in the early 1900's. I got to thinking about it while reading a brief news item from the Decemebr 6, 1906 Tuckerton Beacon (See below).

Oxymorons aside, Joseph E. Burton, from Tuckerton, came across an amazing find while clamming in the bay. He tonged a Jumbo shrimp measuring 8 inches in overall length. Now, that really redefines the meaning of Jumbo. Imaging ordering a shrimp cocktale made up of these babies! That would be some appetizer! Beats anything advertised at Applebees or Fridays, today.

What I find especially interesting is the last comment regarding Mr. Burton giving the Jumbo shrimp to the Tuckerton Beacon museum. Evidently the popular weekly newspaper had a museum of local curios. This was the first reference to a local museum that I have come across. It gets me to wondering a few things: (1) When and where did the museum operate? (2) What type of items were housed in the museum? and (3) What happened to the museum items when the museum eventually closed?

The old Tuckerton Beacon Office, circa 1890, was located on North Green Street. This is probably the office where the Beacon Museum was located and Joseph Burton's Jumbo shrimp was put on display. The house before the Beacon Office is now the law office of Howard Butensky. (Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.)

The location of the old Beacon Office Building on North Green Street (Route 539) in Tuckerton is now a parking lot for the adjacent law office of Howard Butensky. (Map courtesy of Bing Maps.)
If anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere knows anything about the old Beacon museum, I sure would like to find answers for those questions.

Pete S

PS- Can anyone identify this modern day Little Egg Harbor clammer who strives to beat Joseph E. Burton's Jumbo shrimp record? I'll give you a hint. He's Ricky "White Shoes" cousin and a regular Blog reader. I wonder how close he's come to the record ? Nice shirt!

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