Jakes Branch Park, Beachwood, Opens Sunday

jbp-nature-center-across-pond

Jakes Branch Park Nature Center and adjacent pond.

Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood, Ocean County’s latest addition to the Ocean County Park System, will have its official opening Sunday. The dedication ceremony was held today, with many officials from Ocean County and the Borough of Beachwood in attendance.

bcmayoThe park was many years in the making, having first seen most of its 400 acres of land gifted to the newly incorporated Beachwood borough by its founder and benefactor, Bertram C. Mayo, in December 1917. Beachwood was the result of a land promotion in 1914 by the New York Tribune, whose promotion department Mr. Mayo managed. According to William Mill Butler’s Beachwood Directory and Who’s Who 1924, the donation of this unsold ‘hinterland’ to the borough occurred at the same time as a deal that saw much of Beachwood’s waterfront and bluff area sold to the borough for the original promotion price of $19.60 per lot. That land, later dedicated for the founder as Mayo Park, has had generations of Beachwood residents enjoy its active and passive parkland.

From that early period until World War II, Beachwood proper and the land at its extreme southwest remained largely unchanged. The end of the war and the national prosperity that followed, however, brought the baby boom and automobile age to the Jersey Shore. Trains that once crisscrossed through Beachwood either shut down or limited service, and a new push was made from the north to expand high volume auto access to Ocean County. The early 1950s saw the Garden State Parkway built to meet this new need, cutting off the back quarter of Beachwood in the process. Over the next thirty years, Ocean County’s population rose in record numbers, changing the face of the area from a sleepy coastal pine forest to that of a thriving network of suburbs.

jbp-sunny-trail

Just one of many hiking trails found in Jakes Branch Park.

It wasn’t long before developers again began to look for new, untouched land to build their massive housing developments and a new concept – retirement communities. The Pine Barrens, a forested area of over one million acres located in Central and South New Jersey, was soon targeted. Public outcry rose in opposition and by the late 1970s the New Jersey Pinelands Commission was created to regulate and restrict the unprecedented commercial interest in this pristine national treasure. It was around this time that, according to Beachwood Borough Councilwoman Beverly Clayton, then-Mayor William T. Hornidge began directing attention toward the precarious nature of what had become known as “Beachwood West.”

“An advocate for long term, responsible growth, Mayor Hornidge brought discussions of how best to develop this land to the forefront,” the councilwoman wrote in a recent letter to the Beachwood Historical Alliance, reprinted below. “In the end, it was decided that private developments were not in the Borough’s, nor the property’s, best interest. With the Borough unable to finance a large scale development project, a purchase agreement was drafted and the land was transferred to the county to wait in trust.”

Freeholder John C. Bartlett, Jr., seen here on the observation deck of the nature center in November.

Freeholder John C. Bartlett, Jr., also the current Deputy Director of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and chairman of the Department of Parks and Recreation, seen here (r) on the observation deck of the nature center in November.

One early county development entertained at the time was a golf course. According to Ocean County Freeholder John C. Bartlett, Jr., speaking at today’s dedication ceremony, he was originally for that plan, but stated that a combination of state environmental and pinelands regulations added with a largely negative public sentiment that caused county officials to abandon it. By then it was the late 1990s and he and the county began seeking alternatives to the plan that would be of better benefit to area residents.

Again Councilwoman Clayton: “In 1997, [Freeholder] Bartlett… proved instrumental in securing the voter-approved property tax increase and bonding referendum to establish an Ocean County Trust used exclusively for the acquisition and maintenance of open space, natural lands and farmlands. Over the years, the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust, under the guidance of Freeholder Bartlett, has helped preserve nearly 10,000 acres in Ocean County alone, [with] the most recent addition [being] Beachwood’s very own Jakes Branch Park.”

Examples of some pines found in the park, still exhibiting damage from a 2002 blaze that consumed 1500 acres as a result of a careless teenager's campfire.

Examples of some pines found in the park, still exhibiting damage from a 2002 blaze that consumed 1500 acres as a result of a careless teenager's campfire.

The land that houses the new Jakes Branch Park was threatened earlier this decade when area teenagers insufficiently extinguished a campfire in nearby Double Trouble State Park, causing a blaze that consumed over 1500 acres, including much of what is now the new county park. As a result most of the pitch pines within and surrounding its developed portion exhibit short branches and blackened trunks. The charred remains of trees that did not survive the fire will be continuously cleaned up over the coming years, according to Freeholder Bartlett.

The park, being offered up as the “Gateway to the Pine Barrens”, is the first of its kind in Ocean County to offer a hybrid of active and passive recreation, stated the freeholder. The developed area of the park, amounting to just 40 of the overall 400 acres available within the park boundaries, boasts competition soccer and baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, a tot lot playground, picnic area with grills and tables, a mixed use ‘open’ field and a spacious nature center containing artifacts and displays “highlighting the natural beauty, history and natural surroundings of the Pine Barrens,” as written in its official brochure. The center culminates in a five story high observation deck, standing over 100 feet above sea level and accessible by both stairwell and elevator, which the brochure goes on to state offers “breathtaking views of Lakehurst Naval Air Station’s historic Hanger One, the Forked River Mountains and the seemingly endless Pine Barrens.” The remaining 360 acres hold designated hiking trails, some still being cleared, said Freeholder Bartlett.

The Tot Lot at Jakes Branch Park.

The Tot Lot at Jakes Branch Park.

Freeholder Bartlett also mentioned that Beachwood Borough resident and developer David Lipton, who owned a section of what is now the new park, was one of those opposed to the original golf course plan. Upon review of the later plan for Jakes Branch Park, however, he agreed to sell his land and also donate funds toward a soon-to-be-installed viewing telescope on the Nature Center’s observation deck. Mr Lipton recently also made county and borough news when he sold land into the Ocean County Lands Trust Fund for use with former borough owned property located off Route 9 between South Toms River and Beachwood. That land will now be kept in its natural, undeveloped state.

Beachwood Historical Alliance member Robert E. Wahlers, who is also a member of the National Eagle Scout Association and current den leader within Beachwood Cub Scout Pack 114,  visited the park earlier this week and commented on his experience on the observation platform.

“It reminds me of the hikes I took with the scouts as a boy where we would get to climb the fire observation towers for a similar view, but [this is] a lot more stable platform,” he said, adding that the 360 degree view of Ocean County is “fantastic.”

Beachwood Mayor Ron Jones spoke more prophetically about the park’s creation.

“The opening of Jakes Branch Park represents a commitment from county and municipal leaders to preserve lands for the enjoyment of future generations – the common sense approach for government is to plan for a greener New Jersey,” he stated. “I personally compliment the Ocean County Freeholders and all the past and present Beachwood officials who made this park a reality [and] look forward to many years of visiting and utilizing the park’s facilities.”

The basketball courts of Jakes Branch Park.

The basketball courts of Jakes Branch Park.

Councilwoman Clayton also commended Freeholder Bartlett and all other officials involved in the creation of the park, citing the value in its native inhabitants.

“Western Beachwood boasts areas of pine-oak forest and Atlantic white cedar swamp that provide critical habitat for the corn snake, Pine Barrens treefrog and northern pine snake,” she said. “Jakes Branch, named for the tributary that leads to the Toms River, will not only provide our borough and county residents with a beautiful park, but will also afford a wonderful location for recreational and educational programs that can comfortably coexist with and highlight New Jersey’s cherished wildlife species.”

Contemplating the new park and its role within the larger Beachwood heritage, Mr. Wahlers added, “part of the allure of the original marketing for our community in Beachwood was the medicinal effect of living amongst the pines – while that may have been physically unfounded, one could argue that Jakes Branch County Park in Beachwood is mentally soothing with its offerings.  Just like the [borough] beach, community center and yacht club, the park gives local residents a haven from the bustle of life and a chance to reflect on their being while enjoying recreation in a natural surrounding with their family and friends.”

The view from home plate of a baseball field at Jakes Branch Park.

The view from home plate of a baseball field at Jakes Branch Park.

Activities included in this Sunday’s official public opening and open house, slated to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., include nature walks, arts and crafts for kids and nature center tours along with all regular offerings of the park’s facilities. For more information, please contact the park at 732-281-2750 or visit its website, located at http://www.ocean.nj.us/Parks/jakesbranch.html.

Activities for the upcoming Spring 2009 season include nighttime meteor shower watches from the deck of the observation tower, a special guest lecture about how the ice age shaped the Jersey Shore, a scavenger hunt and nature collage for kids and moonlight hiking tours.

A new “Friends of Jakes Branch Park” has already been founded at social networking site Facebook, and includes the full slate of Spring 2009 activities and events, also listed here below Councilwoman Clayton’s letter.

For more photos of Jakes Branch Park, please visit the BHA’s official photo account at flickr.com/beachwoodhistoricalalliance – photos of the view from the observation deck are not included as they should be experienced firsthand by county residents.

jbp-lone-pine-sunFriends of Jakes Branch Park on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=56566587451

Beachwood Borough Councilwoman Beverly Clayton’s unedited letter to the Beachwood Historical Alliance regarding Jakes Branch Park

As senior member of Beachwood’s governing body, I would like to provide some historical insight relating to the long anticipated opening of the beautiful Jakes Branch County Park located in Beachwood, New Jersey.In the 1980’s, Mayor William T. Hornidge began drawing public attention to the “Beachwood West” woodlands. An advocate for long term, responsible growth, Mayor Hornidge brought discussions of how best to develop this land to the forefront. Many possibilities were entertained: a golf course, a retirement village… In the end, it was decided that private developments were not in the Borough’s, nor the property’s, best interest. With the Borough unable to finance a large scale development project, a purchase agreement was drafted and the land was transferred to the county to wait in trust.

In 1997, John C. Bartlett (Ocean County Freeholder and Pine Beach native) proved instrumental in securing the voter-approved property tax increase and bonding referendum to establish an Ocean County Trust used exclusively for the acquisition and maintenance of open space, natural lands and farmlands. At the time, Ocean County was one of only thirteen New Jersey counties to establish an open space trust fund. Over the years, the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust, under the guidance of Freeholder John C. Bartlett, has helped preserve nearly 10,000 acres in Ocean County alone (Berkeley Island Park, Mill Creek Park, Beaver Dam Creek, Wells Mills, Patriots’ Park, Freedom Fields, to name a few). The most recent addition is Beachwood’s very own Jakes Branch Park.

Western Beachwood boasts areas of pine oak forest and Atlantic white cedar swamp that provide critical habitat for the  corn snake,  Pine Barrens treefrog and northern pine snake. Jakes Branch, named for the tributary that leads to the Toms River, will not only provide our Borough and County residents with a beautiful park, but it will also afford a wonderful location for recreational and educational programs that can comfortably coexist with and highlight New Jersey’s cherished wildlife species.

The foresight and dedicated efforts of Ocean County Freeholder, John C. Bartlett, are largely responsible for the land preservation and development of County Parks we all are able to enjoy today.

With gratitude to Freeholder Bartlett and much enthusiasm for the opening of Jakes Branch Park,

Councilwoman Beverly Clayton

Borough of Beachwood

References:

The Trust for Public Lands’ article: Natural Lands Trust Fund of Ocean County
http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cdl.cfm?content_item_id=947&folder_id=707

Ocean County, New Jersey – Freeholder John C. Bartlett
http://www.co.ocean.nj.us/GovtDirPage.aspx?ID=174

New Jersey Natural Lands Trust 2007 Report
http://nj.gov/dep/njnlt/reports.htm

jbp-nature-center-through-the-pinesJakes Branch Park’s Full Spring 2009 Schedule according to the Ocean County Parks and Recreation Newsletter, shown here in chronological order

jbp-birdhouseFamily Fun
Build a Bird House

Offer a home for the birds just in time for the spring nesting season! Bring the family out to create a birdhouse made out of recycled materials. All materials will be provided. Bring a hammer.
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Saturday, March 28
Time: 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Fee: $3 per person
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 24
Age: 8 years – Adult

jbp-ospreyAll About Birds
The hobby of birding has become the fastest growing outdoor recreational activity in North America. These two-hour workshops are designed to increase the participant’s knowledge and enjoyment of birds and birding. Most will include a PowerPoint presentation to more clearly illustrate the subject being discussed.
Location: Classroom, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Mondays, see program description
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Fee: $3 per person, per class
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 20
Age: All
Ospreys, Peregrines and Early Waterbirds
By now the Osprey should be back in their nests and many other shorebirds are returning to their nesting grounds, such as Piping Plovers, Laughing Gulls and more. We will be discussing these species with a focus on the Peregrine and Osprey.
Date: March 30

jbp-asian-birdAll About Birds
The hobby of birding has become the fastest growing outdoor recreational activity in North America. These two-hour workshops are designed to increase the participant’s knowledge and enjoyment of birds and birding. Most will include a PowerPoint presentation to more clearly illustrate the subject being discussed.
Location: Classroom, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Mondays, see program description
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Fee: $3 per person, per class
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 20
Age: All
Birding Without Borders
Birds of all types occur throughout the world. Less than 10% are found within the confines of North America, so come find out more about birds you have never seen. Most countries now have good to excellent field guides for birds, so now it is easy to prepare before you go.
Date: April 6

jbp-blue-holeSpecial Guest Lecture Programs
How the Ice Age Shaped Our Landscape

About 18,000 years ago during the peak of the last Ice Age, Ocean County was a very different place. Imagine a frozen landscape similar to the arctic conditions of the far north. We can still find clues to New Jersey’s cold, dry and windy past hidden among the swamps and bogs of the Pinelands. Join Pinelands Geographer Mark Demitroff as he explains how features like spungs, cripples, blue holes and savannas were formed and how they have shaped our culture. Mark’s presentation intertwines folklore, archeology, botany and local history to explain how the Pinelands have changed over time, and what’s in store for our future.
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Friday, April 17
Time: 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Fee: $5 per person
Minimum: 15 Maximum: 40
Age: 9 years – Adult

jbp-lyrid-meteor-showerNature Walk: Night Sounds and Meteor Shower Walk
Join us as we listen for the night sounds of spring and top it off with a spectacular viewing of the Lyrid Meteor Shower. Walks will not exceed three miles. Return times are approximate.
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Tuesday, April 21
Time: 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Fee: $6 per person
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 20
Age: 12 years – Adult

jbp-fun-busPreschool Programs
The following activities are designed for preschool children without parent participation. These are drop off programs only.
Fun Bus/Fitness
The Fun Bus is a Fitness Fun on Wheels playground. The Fun Bus is a refurbished bus whose seats have been removed and fitness equipment has been added. Children will safely use the tunnels, slides, rope course and tumbling equipment. There are two certified instructors on-board to lead the children. All exercises are done to age appropriate music for added fun. Program is held rain or shine.
Location: Nature Center Parking Lot, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Thursday, April 23
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Fee: $12.00 per child
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 15
Age: 2 – 5 years

jbp-black-bearSpecial Guest Lecture Programs
Know the Bear Facts

Did you know that Black Bear sightings have been confirmed in all 21 of New Jersey’s counties? Join Michelle Ruggiero of New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Black Bear Education Project for this family friendly seminar where participants will learn about New Jersey’s largest land mammal.
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Sunday, April 26
Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Fee: $5 per person
Minimum: 15 Maximum: 40
Age: 9 years – Adult

jbp-raptorsAll About Birds
The hobby of birding has become the fastest growing outdoor recreational activity in North America. These two-hour workshops are designed to increase the participant’s knowledge and enjoyment of birds and birding. Most will include a PowerPoint presentation to more clearly illustrate the subject being discussed.
Location: Classroom, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Mondays, see program description
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Fee: $3 per person, per class
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 20
Age: All
Catching the Migrants of Spring
Activity is high, and we will try to prepare you for this season of “migration madness.” We will discuss species that can commonly be expected but also some of the rare treats that may pass through.
Date: April 27

jbp-pitch-pine-coneFun for Kids
Scavenger Hunt and Nature Collage

Do you enjoy hunting for those nifty things that nature leaves behind? How about making crafts? If you answered “yes” to both, then this is the program for you! We will team up for a nature scavenger hunt, re-group and learn about what we’ve found and then we’ll top it off by making a nature collage. All materials will be provided. Please have children wearing play clothes.
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Saturday, May 2
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Fee: $8 per child
Minimum: 7 Maximum: 15
Age: 5 – 7 years

jbp-full-moonFull Moon Hike
Join us as we re-visit this popular activity of moonlight hiking. When the full moon shines on the white sands of the Jersey Pine, no flashlights are needed!
Jakes Branch County Park
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Friday, May 8
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Fee: $6 per person
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 20
Rating: Flat, easy
Age: 9 years – Adult

jbp-backyard-habitatJakes Branch Walks and Talks
Warmer weather is here and that means it’s time to shake off the winter blues and head outdoors to witness the wonders of spring. Head on over to Jakes Branch County Park for our “Walks and Talks.” These brief but informative programs are part inside, part outside. We will start with a PowerPoint presentation followed by a walk outside. See list below for individual topics and dates. Be prepared for short walks. To register, please call Jakes Branch County Park at 732-281-2750 on or after the registration date.
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: See List Below
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Fee: Free
Saturday, May 16 – How to Improve Your Backyard Habitat
Age: 12 years – Adult

jbp-laughing-gullAll About Birds
The hobby of birding has become the fastest growing outdoor recreational activity in North America. These two-hour workshops are designed to increase the participant’s knowledge and enjoyment of birds and birding. Most will include a PowerPoint presentation to more clearly illustrate the subject being discussed.
Location: Classroom, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Mondays, see program description
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Fee: $3 per person, per class
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 20
Age: All
Colonial Nesting Birds of New Jersey
Barnegat Bay and Ocean County support many colonial nesting waterbirds. These colonials have been surveyed for over 30 years. Come and learn what species are here and how they have changed or stayed the same over the years.
Date: May 18

jbp-sunny-trailNational Trails Day 2009: Jakes Branch Hike – 4.5 miles
Join Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation as we celebrate the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day 2009.
Location: Nature Center Parking Lot, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Saturday, June 6
Time: 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Fee: $6 per person
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 20
Rating: Flat, easy
Age: 9 years – Adult

jbp-monarchJakes Branch Walks and Talks
Warmer weather is here and that means it’s time to shake off the winter blues and head outdoors to witness the wonders of spring. Head on over to Jakes Branch County Park for our “Walks and Talks.” These brief but informative programs are part inside, part outside. We will start with a PowerPoint presentation followed by a walk outside. See list below for individual topics and dates. Be prepared for short walks. To register, please call Jakes Branch County Park at 732-281-2750 on or after the registration date.
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: See List Below
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Fee: Free
Sunday, June 7 – Butterflies of the Pinelands
Age: 12 years – Adult

jbp-pine-barren-tree-frogNature Walk: Frog Frolic
Spring is here and many species of frogs and toads can be heard in the evening and nighttime hours during this time of year.
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Saturday, June 13
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Fee: $6 per person
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 20
Age: 9 years – Adult

jbp-starsNight of the Stars
Spend the night with the stars and the Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area (A.S.T.R.A.). If you’re a budding astronomer or a stargazer, this night is the one for you. Volunteer members of the club will be on-site to share their out-of-this-world knowledge and answer all of your questions about the great unknown. They will also have telescopes, which will leave your mind reeling in amazement for days afterward by the views you see. If you have your own telescope, feel free to bring it along. The club members will be happy to give you pointers on how to find the planets and locate constellations. Please call Jakes Branch County Park to register, 732-281-2750 on or after the registration date.
Location: Nature Center, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood
Date: Friday, June 19
Time: 8:30 – 10:30 p.m.
Fee: Free
Minimum: 10 Maximum: 20
Age: 8 years – Adults

jbp-entrance-signRegistration Information
Unless otherwise stated, all programs require registration along with payment in full at time of registration. Anyone attending a program or trip, without registering in advance, must pay by check or money order (cash is unacceptable). Participants will only be permitted upon availability.
When a program/trip has been advertised in a previous newsletter we will accept enrollment prior to the registration date listed in this newsletter issue.
Registration for programs designated as “FREE” may be placed by calling Cattus Island County Park at 732-270-6960 on or after the registration date listed.
Special assistance/accommodations available upon request.
For program availability or a newsletter please call Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood at 732-281-2750

Local Founders Profile and Photo Essay: Dr. and Mrs. Dwight S. Spellman

Today we present you with a photo essay and comment on Dr. Dwight S. Spellman and his wife, Mrs. Mary E. McGlone Spellman, original founders and residents to Beachwood, courtesy of their grandson, Mr. Dwight Boud of Barnegat.

Following this will be the 1924 Who’s Who entry on Mrs. Spellman (as you’ll find, her husband died before the book was published) and a short account on the events surrounding Dr. Spellman’s untimely death. Afterward is a biography of Dr. Spellman’s life and further details surrounding his accident as recorded by the American Medico-Psychological Association for their 76th annual meeting held in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 1-4, 1920.

~~~

spellmans-wheelbarrow-home“[This] is a photo of my maternal grandparents, Dr. D. S. Spellman and his wife Mary, outside their new bungalow on Forepeak Avenue in Beachwood. The only date I can provide is that it was taken before Dec. 18, 1919 [the date of Dr. Spellman's unfortunate death].”

2_beside_bungalow_1“[This] photo shows Dr. Spellman and his wife, Mary E. McGlone Spellman from Sligo Ireland, standing beside their new Beachwood bungalow.”

ds_spellman_beside_bungalow_1“[This] one shows Dr. Spellman alone in the same spot.”

fr_of_bungalow_in_snow_1“[Here is] the front of the bungalow in the snow. The person is not clearly identified, but I believe it’s my grandmother.”

bungalow_before_cellar_dug_1“[This] is the bungalow from across the street. Note that it appears to stand on cement blocks. When I lived in the house during WWII, it had a cellar, so it seems a cellar (and foundation) had been built under the house.”

skating_on_tr_1_1“[This one] shows Dr. Spellman on the ice with his dog (name unknown). Ironically, my grandfather died from a skating accident. He was skating on the river when a neighborhood youngster fell through the ice. When he went to help, he, too, fell through the ice. He was hot from skating and the sudden plunge into the cold water caused a heart attack from which he died.”

“Dr. Spellman was on staff at the New York Hospital for the Insane on Ward’s Island in the East River, NYC. His wife had been a nurse (presumably at the same institution). They had built their bungalow as a vacation home, but after he died, my grandmother decided to live there full time.”

- Dwight Boud

~~~

Beachwood Directory and Who’s Who 1924 -

1919

“The second drowning accident in Beachwood took place on December 18th, when Dr. D.S. Spellman, a prominent New York physician and summer resident, broke through the ice while skating off Buhler’s Point. Arthur Hoffman, son of Jacob J. Hoffman, also broke through the ice with Dr. Spellman, but managed to clamber out and was saved.”

From the Resident Directory

Spellman, Mary E., north side Forepeak Ave., near Beachwood Boulevard, Block D-40. Other address, 2508 Seventh Ave., New York City, N.Y. Widow of Dr. D.S. Spellman, a lover of Beachwood, whose untimely death, by breaking through the ice on the bay, took place on December 18th, 1919.

~~~

American Medico-Psychological Association Biography:

DWIGHT S. SPELLMAN, M. D.

Dr. Dwight S. Spellman, senior assistant physician, Manhattan State Hospital, was accidentally drowned in the Tom’s River, New Jersey, December 18, 1919. He was spending the day at his bungalow on the Jersey coast, and while walking across the frozen river to procure a Christmas tree for his family, broke through the ice and was submerged in the freezing water. A boy of thirteen who accompanied the doctor also broke through, but fortunately was able to reach solid ice and extricate himself. His cries brought help, but it came too late to rescue Dr. Spellman. Dr. Spellman was born at Rootstown, Ohio, in 1867. He attended the public school of his native village and the high school at Minerva. His medical education was obtained in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore, Md., from which he received his degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1889. He accepted a position as assistant physician in the New York City Asylum in’ 1890, and the remainder of his life was devoted to the care of the insane in the same institution, which in 1896 became the Manhattan State Hospital. His work for years was among the more acute forms of psychoses, and he was considered a pyschia- trist of sound judgment and keen acumen. He kept in close touch with the latest developments in pyschiatric science and although he published but few of his observations, and consequently was not widely known, his ability was recognized by his colleagues and his service in the Manhattan State Hospital was greatly appreciated.

He was a member of the American Legion of Military Surgeons, the American Medico-Pyschological Association, the Masonic Order and several local medical societies. He was commissioned as captain during the war and was stationed for several months at Plattsburg, N. Y.

Dr. Spellman’s sudden death came as a shock to his many friends in the state hospitals, as well as to his wide circle of acquaintances in other walks of life.

~~~

The B.H.A. thanks Mr. Boud for sharing his family’s Beachwood history with us and looks forward to more past or present residents that would like to share their stories, photographs and artifacts for presentation here on our website.

Local Founders Profile: William H. and Ida L. Talmage

From the pages of his own 1924 Beachwood Directory and Who’s Who, here is what William Mill Butler wrote about original residents Mr. and Mrs. William H. Talmage. Click on all the embedded links for a broader understanding of his life and background:

William H. Talmage, circa 1924.

William H. Talmage, circa 1924.

Talmage, William H., north side Barnegat Boulevard, between Spring and Lookout Streets, Block D-29. Other address, 79 Linden St., Maplewood, N.J.

Mr. Talmage was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and received his education in the public schools and Cumberland Academy. Having shown some talent for drawing, he was placed under the tuition of a German professor for two or three years and won a prize at the Brooklyn Academy of Design for one of his pictures, an animal head. He tried again with a drawing of a wolf, but not finding himself able to draw a satisfactory tree, in his estimation, he turned it over to a classmate, William Huffington, who afterwards became a noted art critic and who finished the picture, which also won a prize at the Academy of Design. Mr. Talmage next turned to law and studied it for two years when he took advantage of an opportunity to enter business with N.H. Woodman & Co. He remained twenty-three years with the firm and then accepted a position with the A.B. See Electric Elevator Company, in time becoming treasurer of the company and confidential manager of all of Mr. See’s personal affairs. He has been with Mr. See’s concern for thirty years and for twenty years everything of a financial nature has been entrusted to him.

Ida L. Talmage, circa 1924.

Ida L. Talmage, circa 1924.

In 1880, in Brooklyn, he was married to Ida L. Blake. They have three children, Arthur Blake Talmage, Ella Villette Talmage and Jessie Elliot Talmage. Arthur was married in 1921 to Myrtle Smith; they spent Christmas of that year in Beachwood and now reside at Port Arthur, Texas. W.H. Talmage was a member of the first borough council of Beachwood and, as chairman, was acting mayor in the absence of Mayor Senior. Finding it impossible, like Mr. Senior, to be in Beachwood all the time, George D. Suydam, an all-year resident at that time, was made acting mayor in the absence of Mr. Senior. Mr. Talmage was also the first treasurer of the Property Owners’ Association and treasurer of the old yacht club before the Polyhue Yacht Club was organized. He became one of the charter members of the latter. Is a member of the Royal Arcanum; also of the Machinery Club of New York City, and of the Jersey City chamber of commerce. Mrs. Talmage was for two terms president of the Woman’s Club and is also a member of the Property Owners’ Association.

Place Based Education and Beachwood: A Perfect Partnership

Beachwood Train Station, early 1920s.

Beachwood Train Station, early 1920s.

Today we’re going to look into what appears to be a relatively new concept in education that could be expanded through our school system and across the Beachwood region to better inform our residents and equip them with the knowledge and awareness necessary to pursue historical preservation and promote community bonds. This concept is called place-based education.

Sailing on the Toms River off Beachwood, circa 1922.

Sailing on the Toms River off Beachwood, circa 1922.

According to Wikipedia, place-based education “promotes learning that is rooted in what is local–the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place — that is, in students’ own “place” or immediate schoolyard, neighborhood, town or community.” Started largely on the hinge of local environmentalism by groups such as the Orion Society, a Massachusetts based non-profit organization, place based education uses the same aspects of local awareness teachers have used for years to better engage students in the classroom. The Place Based Education Evaluation Cooperative, for example, states that “educators at sites using place-based education models consistently report that their students have become increasingly engaged and enthusiastic about learning.”

Sailing on the Toms River off Beachwood, circa 1955.

Sailing on the Toms River off Beachwood, circa 1955.

The learning does not and should not end in the classroom and the limit of school-aged residents, however. Place based education should be expanded here, locally, not only in Beachwood but also Pine Beach and also Toms River and also Berkeley Township and elsewhere with the widespread encouragement of self-education, production and distribution of regular information packets and activities events focusing on this important concept.

By tying various community programs in with the origins and past events or environmental aspects of the area, Beachwood and the region’s cultural infrastructure would be allowed to grow exponentially and sustain throughout the decades and its waves of new generations. Residents who move or pass away could hopefully first lend the stories, photographs and artifacts of their life experiences to enhance the current knowledge base of what it is to be from or come to our borough and region, and why it is unique and important to those who remain. Businesses and institutions that inhabit local structures and sustain or eventually fade away could leave a lasting impression through their similar reports and multimedia taken about the local culture of their time. Local leaders and public service agents would do well to write and keep personal accounts and retrospectives of their own time and the events through with they and their culture was affected, shifted and changed. All of it could be made available for residents both new and old on technology as websites such as this, in prepared welcome packets to greet each wave of new residents and through myriad other ways.

Swimming off Beachwood Beach, circa 1950.

Swimming off Beachwood Beach, circa 1950.

As we’ve said before, destroying or ignoring the destruction of past cultures to our area leads to nothing but an empty ship in the storm, devoid of all sense of place and importance of being. Names once held important might as well become numbers without the knowledge behind what named them. Structures once major hubs of community action or leisure will fade into obscurity and eventually lost to the relentless waves of new generations. People once known and regarded would be forgotten and become as if almost never-existent. Beachwood may as well be called Rivertown or Jerseyville or Americaburg. It wouldn’t matter.

Beachwood First Aid Squad, 1960 roster.

Beachwood First Aid Squad, 1960 roster.

This is not to say that place based education should focus solely on the past at the sake of current and future cultures and community needs. It is important to constantly be working forward while knowing and being aware of who and what has come before. For example, the future, or at least the current trend, of ‘going green’ and carbon footprint regulation perfectly dovetails into the concept of place based education and historic preservation. Saving and repurposing old buildings regarded at least peripherally as being vital to the area’s past rather than destroying them for newer designs does this. Taking lessons and examples from past efforts in community directives and programs instead of using more energy and resources to repeat the same successes and failures already attained does this. Educating ourselves and our youths about the area that we may learn more and become successful to realize greater heights in humankind achievement rather than allowing interest in the world wane through inactivity certainly does this.

Presentation of the first fire engine to Beachwood, early 1920s.

Presentation of the first fire engine to Beachwood, early 1920s.

All wide concepts to this point; here are a few concrete ways you can contribute to place-based education right now:

1. Take a few moments each day or each week to write down how current events have either shaped your life or changed the way you think. Write down what songs you’re listening to, movies you’ve seen, television shows you watched and possibly why. Give your opinion and where you were during major events, such as the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle; the election of any presidents in your lifetime; major natural disasters both national and local.

2. Contact the local historical organization and make arrangements to donate family photographs and local paraphernalia you’ve collected over the years. Even ones as recent as five years ago are going to be valuable and interesting in 30 years. Write stories about each. If you do not want to part with originals, find out what they or you can do to make copies or high quality digital files of them.

3. Contact the local school system offering to speak at a future date about your life, career, decisions, family, et cetera. Alternately, begin recording oral or video histories about things, people, places and events you want to see saved for the future.

4. If you have negatives for photos taken in the past and do not intend to use them for future prints, consider sending them to area historical and cultural organizations. These small additions that would otherwise be thrown out could completely alter and enhance how that local culture and heritage is seen to future generations.

5. Research the home you live in. Are there architectural plans available? Does the builder or building company exist that may have photos or information about its construction? Who lived there before you and what did they do? Look up their descendants. Do they have information or artifacts from when the prior owners lived in the home? Make copies and involve the local historical and cultural organization.

et cetera.

Beachwood first fire engine, early 1920s.

Beachwood first fire engine, early 1920s.

These things are certainly time consuming and involving, but you shouldn’t wait until retirement or old age to start them. Taking a small moment each day, week, month or year would already add volumes to what your kids or relatives or future residents will know about you, your life and the world. These small efforts and drive to learn more will brighten both yours and your family’s quality of life and the success of our area’s future.

In closing we leave you with the following statements and questions that will hopefully pique your interest in the practice of these ideas:

1. What did residents of Beachwood specifically do for work and recreation in World War II? How many returned veterans changed by that war? What did they see, where did they go? If alive back then, what was the war like for you? Visual memories? Stories?

2. Name five trees in the area. Are any of them native? If you can’t name names, describe them. From memory, how many trees does your property have?

3. What are the architectural influences in the buildings in our community? Who were the people that designed them? Who built them and why?

4. Trace the water you drink from precipitation to tap.

5. Name five native edible plants in the bioregion and their season(s) of availability.

6. What rail lines ran through Beachwood, and where did they come and go? Who traveled on them and why? When were they removed, and what effects of their loss are there today?

7. What did the original residents of Beachwood hope to accomplish as a community? What did they dream to accomplish individually? How can we tell?

8. What Native American tribes existed in the region, and how did they live? What was their culture and society like? What artifacts did they leave behind, and where?

9. From where you are reading this, point north.

10. What will people know of you 50 years from now? 100? 500? How will your life impact future communities? What memory will you leave behind?