How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Dinner at the New Gretna House

Last Sunday was Easter. Even though our economy is in a rough patch right now, many families continued their Easter tradition of eating out. Prices in most of today's restaurants keep going up, even though our government keeps telling us that there is no inflation. I guess they don't buy food, gasoline, or heating oil. Talk about being detached from reality!

Today's prices make me yearn for earlier days when one could buy a holiday meal for the entire family at a reasonable price. I am reminded of the New Gretna House that served our community and area well for a good many years. The following ad from the April 7, 1966 issue of the Tuckerton Chronicle shows a great Easter meal value. How about we meet there. My treat!

Pete S

New Gretna House - Circa 1960's

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chet Allen's Florida Vacations

One cannot help noticing the Allens Dock sign at the western base of the Bass River Bridge while driving through New Gretna on Route 9. It has been there, in one form or another, since the mid 1920's when Chet Allen bought the property from his father-in-law's heirs, built the marina, and named the establishment Allen's Dock.

Chet married George Valiant's daughter, Belle. George was a menhaden boat captain for the McKeever Brothers who owned the fish factory on Crab Island from 1910 through 1926 and the "Allen's Dock" property where they wintered their menhaden fleet. They sold the property to George Valiant.

Ruby McAnney was Chet's right hand man for many years. He would eventually acquire the Allens Dock property after Chet's death in 1966. A condition of that acquisition and all subsequent sales of the marina property was that the name of the marina would remain "Allens Dock".

During their long employer-employee relationship, Chet and Ruby became close friends. They occasionally vacationed together in Florida.

Chet Allen (right) and Ruby McAnney picking oranges in Florida.

(Photo courtesy of Margaret McAnney.)

Chet's Florida vacations bring me to one of my favorite subjects of the "good old days" - outhouses. You can see my collection of New Gretna outhouse photos by clicking on the link below.

You're probably wondering how I jumped from the subject of Chet Allen to outhouses. As John Wayne used to say, "Well, I'll tell ya, Pilgrim!"

I was at our biweekly Friday men's breakfast at the Dockside Cafe on Tuckerton Creek last week when Jim McAnney, Ruby's son, reached in his shirt pocket and pulled out three old postcards that his dad had saved from one of Chet's Florida vacations. Guess what the subject of those postcards was. If you guessed "outhouses", you iz core-eckt!

Seems that Chet, like myself, must have found some aesthetic beauty in the lowly outhouse, purchased the postcards on a Florida trip, and gave them to his buddy, Ruby, who squirrel them away with the family photos.

As Jim shared them with me, I'm pleased to share them with you. I hope you get a chuckle out of them as I did.

Pete S

PS- I know some of you out in the Blog-O-Sphere remember Chet and Ruby. If you've got any stories about them, let's hear from you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bass River and Tuckerton Civil War Veterans

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the most horrific war in the history of our nation. History buffs are busy reading books and watching TV specials on the war, while genealogy buffs are busy collecting data on Civil War veterans in their families and towns.

One of the best sources for identifying who in your town fought in the Civil War is the federal governments 1895 survey of veterans. These census lists don't list all who fought in the Great War. They list those who were still living in 1895 and the widows of those who died in the war or who died after the war but prior to 1895. While not a complete list of those who fought in the Civil War, the data is a treasure trove of information and well worth a serious reading.

You may view the 1895 Veterans Census for Bass River and Tuckerton by clicking on the respective links below.

Tuckerton Civil War Vets (l-r): C. White, Dr. Lane, E. Adare, L. Burd, A. Gale, E. Layton, J. Grant, T. Driscoll, S. Skeetz.
Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society

135 men from Bass River and Little Egg Harbor actually served in the Civil War. T.T. Price wrote a news article in the May 26, 1904 edition of the Tuckerton Beacon that lists these men. Click on the link below to read that article.

If anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere has a relative on any of these lists, let's hear from you. I know you are out there!

Pete S

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jim Mulligan Tongs a Cedar Run Bottle

It seems as if I may have started something with my March 23, 2011 posting of John Headley's mystery bottle from West Creek. While I haven't gotten any extra information on John's bottle, Jim Mulligan from Leektown stopped by the Bass River Community Library last week with a mystery bottle of his own.

Jim found the green colored bottle while clamming off the bridge leading to Long Beach Island. He surmised that it probably was a soda bottle but couldn't provide any information about it, other than what the inscription said and where he found it.

The machine made bottle is clearly not as old as the "Headley" bottle as its top accepted a pressed on bottle cap that is still used today, the color was uniform throughout, and there were no bubbles in the glass. I'm guessing that it may be from the 1940's, but I'm no authority on old bottles. It's inscription, if not its age, should be interesting to history buffs in our area.

The dark green color of the bottle makes reading the raised lettering somewhat difficult, so a bottle rubbing was clearly in order. I found a purple crayon and some plain white paper and produced the following rubbing which mentions the proprietor, J. Mascolo and the Cedar Run, N.J. Bottling Works.

The recessed bottom of the bottle reads, "1108. Registered. Contents 8 Fl. Oz."

The bottle's inscription raises two primary questions - Just who was this "J. Mascolo" and where was the Cedar Run Bottling Works? Unfortunately, I don't have a clue regarding the answers to those questions, so I emailed a photo of the bottle and the rubbing to Tim Hart, a local area historian, who is knowledgeable regarding the Cedar Run - Stafford Township area. Following is an email reply that I received from Tim.

Dear Peter:

James Mascolo was an entrepreneur. He was one of the first Italian American business people in lower Ocean County. He built Paradise Cove in Tuckerton, owned a series of roadside cabins in Cedar Run, and owned “Jimmies Restaurant” in Manahawkin (later Carroll’s restaurant).

Many bottles say they are from Ocean County – but after the destruction of the Barnegat glass works (building is gone by 1920) I have no evidence of any bottles being produced in Ocean County.


Armed with the newly acquired information obtained from Tim Hart, I was able to find Jim Mascolo's obituary in my genealogy files.

Tim's information and the obituary answers the first question regarding just who J. Mascolo was, but it doesn't directly answer the second question as to the Cedar Run Bottling Company. Tim's comments, however, suggest that the bottle was probably manufactured outside of the Ocean County area with the Cedar Run Bottling Company inscription likely commissioned by Jim Mascolo who sold the soda in the Cedar Run area.

I am hoping that someone out in the Blog-O-Sphere can shed some light on the Cedar Run Bottling Company. Surely there are some area bottle collectors who may have some helpful information.

Pete S

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Modern Technology - Early 1940's Style

Many of today's schools boast fancy computer labs, school wide wireless internet service, and even lap top computers for the students to use in school and at home. We are truly living in the age of modern technology.

All of which got me to thinking as I was looking through some old Tuckerton School photos in the Tuckerton Historical Society's photo collection. Seems as if our little Tuckerton Grade School was at the cusp of modern technology way back in the early 1940's as evidenced by the following October, 1943 photo and newspaper article.

I find it amazing that elementary school pupils in little old Tuckerton would have access to a program that I didn't have until I took typing in High School in the early 1960's. And they all look so well behaved!

Linda Schneider, Margie Krusner (left desks, l-r); Audrey Lecech, Pat Stevens, Judy Cranmer & Mary Ann Mott (back desks, l-r); Joan Stein, Jay Gerber, Pam Mathis & Barry Jillson (front desks, l-r). Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.

Unfortunately, the second part of the article was missing, but you get the idea. Principal Spragg was able to procure typewriters for his elementary school students, giving them a leg up in the competitive world of education. I wonder how these lucky students fared in their educational journey through Tuckerton High School and beyond. Does anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere have any news about them?

Pete S

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jim McAnney's Mystery House

My men's breakfast buddy, Jim McAnney, loaned me a photo of an old house given to him by his aunt, Marie Doherty. There was no identifying writing on the photo nor did Marie know the identification of the house.

Jim surmises that the photo is likely family related and may be of an old Loveland or McAnney house, probably from the Frog Town section of Bass River where Lovelands lived, or from Wading River where the McAnneys lived. Marie's roots come from both of these families.

An unusual feature of the house is a distinctive front peaked roof dormer which should make it easy to identify; however, it is likely that the house is no longer standing.

Can anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere help out with an identification? It would be appreciated.

Pete S

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Bridges to Long Beach Island

Anyone driving around the Bass River area in the last couple of years can't help remembering the construction of new bridges on Rt 9 at the Bass River and Nakote Creek and the just completed Garden State Parkway bridge spanning the Mullica River.

Now there is talk of adding another bridge, parallel to the existing bridge, from the mainland in Manahawkin to Long Beach Island. I shudder to think of the massive traffic jams that will cause, especially in the summer months.

A new bridge will be the fourth built to Long Beach Island. I thought I would share a view photos of previous bridges and a video of the current bridge.

I wonder if there is anyone out in the Blog-O-Sphere that remembers crossing over the previous bridges, perhaps on a summer vacation as a child. If so, I would like to hear from you.

Pete S

The first bridge to Long Beach Island.

Before 1886, there was only one way to reach Long Beach Island - boat. Many of the visitors to the island were wealthy enough to own their own boats. Some of the larger boarding houses offered ferry service to and from the island. A formal, scheduled ferry line was created in 1873. Builder Archelaus R. Pharo, from Tuckerton, started the ferry service in order to bring construction materials to the newly founded community of Beach Haven.

The two mile bridge postcard

A newer drawbridge in a 1954 photo

Courtesy of Leslie & Shirley Whealton

The current LBI causeway bridge was built in 1958.

It carries about 42,000 cars a day in the summer.

Courtesy of Google Images

Entering Long Beach Island today.

The following is a You Tube video of the old shack that my history buddy, John Yates, remembers seeing along the causeway bridge as a child during trips to Long Beach Island with his parents. Thanks, John, for bringing it to my attention.