Local Founder Profile: Addison D. Nickerson
Posted by beachwoodhistoricalalliance on January 6, 2009
From the pages of his own 1924 Beachwood Directory and Who’s Who, here is what William Mill Butler wrote about borough planner Addison D. Nickerson. Click on all the embedded links for a broader understanding of his life and background:
Nickerson, Addison D., Club House Road and south corner Spring St. and Beacon Ave., Block D-30. Also west corner of Lookout St. and Barnegat Boulevard, Block D-25. Born in Harwich, Mass.
Mr. Nickerson attended the public schools at Harwick [sic] and also a private school in West Newton. He next entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, from which he was graduated in 1888, in engineering, with the degree of S.B. He followed the profession of civil engineering for twenty-five years until he came to Beachwood in 1914, at B.C. Mayo’s request. He had met Mr. Mayo in California, where the project of the development of what was to be Beachwood was discussed. They met again in the East when Mr. Mayo renewed the subject and Mr. Nickerson agreed to undertake the work.
His first duty was to secure title to the big tract which was to be divided up into lots. Mr. Mayo had tried to obtain the property in 1912, but found the price too high, when the owners learned his plans. So the purchase was made in Mr. Nickerson’s name and he was furnished a description of the tract and had to come alone and survey it without asking questions or exposing his plans.
The property was known as the Carpenter tract [also Pine Bay Tract -Editor] and consisted of nearly 2,000 acres. Mr. Nickerson surveyed the boundary first, making a field map and from this the acreage was computed.
The map was next cut up into flats and blocks and in the neighborhood of 30,000 lots were staked out, and 28,000 eventually sold, some being not as good as Mr. Mayo wished and these he would not sell. The maps of the various flats and blocks were made by Mr. Nickerson and as fast as he could finish them, submitted to the Berkeley township committee for approval. Then they were filed in the County clerk’s office and only when this was actually done did Mr. Mayo allow the New York Tribune salesmen to sell the lots. They sold lots as fast as the maps could be made and filed. The tract consisted of nearly 2,000 acres and secured at $27 per acre. Mr. Nickerson, with a large force of men, cleared and gravelled some of the main streets and every other street running crosswise, and named all of them, using as far as possible nautical terms.
When he ran out of these he took names of trees, etc. He also erected the various public buildings for Mr. Mayo, the club house, lodge, restaurant (afterwards Borough Hall and Auditorium), the yacht club, bathing pavilion and the railroad station. He managed them during 1915. Altogether he also erected seventy bungalows in Beachwood.
Is now engaged in real estate, and is collector of taxes. Charter member Polyhue Yacht Club; member Property Owners’ Assn.