Today was a great one for the Beachwood Historical Alliance – this afternoon we had Beachwood’s Asbury Park Press reporter, Chelsea Michels, join BHA member Louis Holterhoff and myself for a walking tour of the waterfront and general northern original section of town, with stops including the beach, site of the original yacht clubhouse over the water, site of the spring near the water, the Nickerson home, Mayo Park, site of the Lodge, site of the Auditorium (first borough hall), and the site of the clubhouse.
Following this we were treated to an unscheduled tour of the William Mill Butler bungalow, Bayside Avenue, that has been meticulously refurbished, restored and expanded by owners and BHA members Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wahlers in the authentic original California bungalow style and elements used during its initial construction at the birth of our borough. Mr. Wahlers himself gave the tour after he saw us peering up his front walk. Afterward we passed by the Levett bungalow and were again given the chance to show Ms. Michels another part of Beachwood’s past through a tour of the original home to the borough’s first mayor, Joseph Senior, Bayside Avenue, currently owned, restored and cared for as Bellaterra by BHA members Louis and Judith Holterhoff. During it we learned of the incredibly dilapidated state it was found in when they purchased it twelve years ago. Their work has indeed paid off and the Holterhoffs should be proud of their fine investment not only in the state and value of their home but in the prized heritage restored within the borough.
At this point the clock was running and Ms. Michels, Mr. Holterhoff and myself made our way back to Beachwood Beach to go on a driving tour that included the Charles Haring home, Clubhouse Road; the Staton home, corner of Beachwood Blvd. and Forepeak; the Robinson home, Beachwood Blvd.; site of the original borough hall/firehouse; the Beachwood Circle; and a quick walk surveying the downtown area between the Circle and the site of the Central Railroad of New Jersey station, CRRNJ right of way (soon to be part of the official Barnegat to Toms River Rail Trail), Pennsylvania Railroad Signal Tower, and PRR right of way (now Route 9 leading from the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City Boulevard).
From there we hopped back in the car and drove down Locker Street past the post office to get a quick view of the Pennsylvania Railroad – Toms River Station now moved to its borough location and converted to a house on Halliard Avenue (but appearing to be carefully restored to its original state by the owner), after which we drove by the Norman Rowe bungalow on Ensign, the Widmaier and Campbell bungalows on Ship, down the CRRNJ right of way on Railroad Avenue and finally to pit stops at Wanda Lohr’s Japanese Pagoda House on Capstan and Mayor Collins’ bungalow on Forepeak and Spring before returning to the beach and calling it a day.
Ms. Michels appeared pleased with the tour and expressed that an Asbury Park Press photographer would be making the rounds in the near future to photograph today’s sites for a future press article. The Beachwood Historical Alliance thanks Ms. Michels for her ongoing interest in the history of the borough and will keep you posted for when that is announced to be published.