The Eden Woolley House
The Township of Ocean Historical Museum
Vol. 29, No. 1, Winter 2013
“100 Years of Fire-Fighting: The Story of the Oakhurst Fire Company”
Mini-exhibit celebrates local fire-fighters
A new exhibit honoring the Oakhurst Volunteer Fire Company opens Sunday, April 7, in the “Our Town” Gallery of the Eden Woolley House. Good timing. One hundred years earlier--almost to the day-the Fire Company was formed. On April 14, 1913, thirteen Township men got together and agreed to start a fire department. They didn’t waste any time. Just nine days later (April 23), twenty-nine men convened to sign the charter of the Oakhurst Independent Hose Company No. 1. To understand the significance of the event, consider the threat that fire represented at the time--particularly in growing communities. Between the end of the Revolution and the start of the Civil War, 200 million dollars worth of property burned in major American cities. After 1865, large areas of Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore were lost to fire. With the coming of the railroad and steamship to the area in the mid 1800s, Oakhurst began growing in a way that brought new focus to the fire menace. Grand homes were being built along Norwood, West Park, and Wickapecko Avenues. The rich and famous were leaving New York and Philadelphia for the shore, and they wanted their real estate investments protected. To safeguard their homes, some bought their own private fire-fighting equipment. Neighboring Deal, whose streets were lined with the “summer cottages” of wealthy residents, had already formed a volunteer fire company. In 1913, Oakhurst followed suit. Mrs. Wilson, an Oakhurst estate owner, gave the fledgling fire company
on the firehouse roster. Sons followed fathers as chief (including the first chief, Lewis Woolley, and his son Alfred, a founding member of our Museum). The upcoming exhibit tells the story and highlights some dramatic moments. The volunteers were there in 1934 at the grounding of the Morro Castle off Asbury Park. The fire house at 68 Monmouth Rd. served from 1917 until They responded in 1937 1968, when the company moved to its new home on Larkin Pl. to the Hindenburg disaster. They fought fires at its first equipment--a hand-drawn hose the Long Branch Pier and the munitions cart from her own property. The Deal Fire depot in Perth Amboy. Other major Company donated a hook and ladder events were closer to home. Come learn machine. For its first four years, the fireabout fires at the Loch Arbour Hotel, the men met at Mechanics Hall at 76 MonOakhurst Bowling Alley, and more. mouth Road (then our Township Hall) and housed their hose cart in Elberon. The fire company acquired its first motorized equipment in 1915 and began plans for its own building. It bought and razed Marcus Coon’s blacksmith shop at 68 Monmouth Road. It built the two-story brick fire house on the site that served as its home from 1917 to 1968. Across the street was a filling station. To the north were the Oakhurst Bar and White’s grocery store. Joe Grippaldi opened his barber shop next door. The first fire whistle was an old train wheel used as a gong. For a time, a phone chain initiated at Joe’s barber shop called the volunteers to the fire! The list of early Oakhurst firemen reads like the Who’s Who of Township founding families. Woolley, Smith, Dangler, VanNote, Wells, Herbert, King, and Bennett are among the old-time families
The exhibit opens Sunday, April 7, from 1 to 4, and stays through the summer.
Lewis Woolley, Oakhurst’s first chief, and our own Eden Woolley both descend from John--the first Woolley to settle in Ocean Township (1697).
Ocean’s Heritage, Winter 2013
Spring bus trip
If you don’t have a trip to the Bahamas planned--or even if you do--dispel the winter blues with thoughts of spring. Better yet, turn those thoughts into action by signing up for the Museum bus trip, Wednesday, April 17, to the legendary Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. A visit to its colorful blooms is the perfect way to celebrate the season. The bus leaves at 8:30 a.m. and returns about 6:00 p.m. The trip costs $70 and includes transportation, all admissions, optional guided tour, gratuities, and lunch in the cafeteria dining room. (Quite a bargain!) Call the Museum 732-531-2136 to reserve your place.
About Longwood Gardens
Reserve your table
Spring Tea tickets available starting March 1
Mark your calendar and call your friends. The Museum’s Annual Spring Tea will be held Saturday, April 27, from 2 to 4 (seating at 1:30), at the West Park Avenue Recreation Center. Tickets (once again just $20) can be reserved starting March 1 by calling the Museum at 732-531-2136. Single tickets are available, but the most fun is coming with friends and reserving tables for four or eight! We serve tasty tea sandwiches, scones, breads and desserts (all made by Museum volunteers) and offer a variety of teas. We will have a gift basket auction, handmade quilted crafts and doll clothes on sale, and a fancy hat contest. Plan your outfit well: we’ll have prizes for hats and costumes! The Tea sells out every year. Please buy your tickets early. They must be purchased in advance--none are sold at the door. Note to friends and members: Did you receive a holiday gift you won’t use? Maybe we can! The Museum welcomes new items for the Gift Baskets auction. Call the Museum at 732-531-2136 or simply bring your items to the Museum (hours are printed on the back of the newsletter). We will transform your donations into delightful packages!
Longwood Gardens is a 1077 acre, privately-owned treasure whose gardens, fountains, arbors, and greenhouses have earned an international reputation. The site’s history as a horticultural gem dates to the 1700s when the Peirce family bought the land from William Penn around the globe home to Kennett Square. and planted an arboretum. Pierre DuPont His formal gardens reflect those he had bought the parcel in 1906 to save its trees seen in France and Italy. They incorporate from being harvested. He built his estate technologies (like water fountains) he had there, adding land, gardens, and greenseen at expositions around the world. houses over the years. Today, 350 of the property’s 1077 In 1946, DuPont turned the running acres are open to the public. The greenof the property over to the Longwood houses cover 45. The most spectacular Gardens Foundation he had set up earlier. is the Conservatory with its 20 indoor During his life, he often opened the gardens to the public (sometimes giving tours gardens and 5,500 varieties of plants. Outdoors, 20 anonymously gardens offer himself). When breathtakhe died in 1954, ing vantages the grounds were of flowering opened to the plants and public every day handsome of the week. woods. The design Don’t of the gardens miss it this and greenhouses chance to reflect The Conservatory at Longwood Gardens opened see it all in DuPont’s taste in 1921. DuPont’s fortune made his projects on the springtime. and vision. He property possible. He was president of the DuPont Make was a world travEngineering Company (which handled 130 million your reservaeler and brought dollars in World War I construction projects). tion today! ideas from
Ongoing support from trusts and foundations
ou know that the Museum is an allvolunteer organization. You know, too, that all the funds we raise go to operate and maintain the Woolley House. But perhaps you did not know the role that several trusts and foundations play in raising those funds. Our sincere thanks to the four listed here who together have contributed $15,000 to our operations. Their generosity helps make our programs for school children, Scouts, seniors, and others possible. • The William T. & Marie J. Henderson Foundation. (Supporter since 2001.) • The Renzulli Charitable Trust, sponsored by Libero Marx and Giuliana M. Renzulli (Supporter since 2009.) • The Brunetti Foundation. (Supporter since 2009.) • The Rita & Harry Greenberger Foundation Inc. (Supporter since 2006.)
7 Museum member wins last year’s quilt. Work begins already on this year’s.
2012 Quilt winner
orothy Hughes wasn’t at the Museum December 2 when her winning raffle ticket was drawn, but she was delighted to stop by later that week to pick up her handmade work of art. Once again, the quilt was a hit--for the winner and for the Museum. The raffle netted $3,246-a significant contribution to our annual budget. Work has begun already on the 2013 quilt, which will premiere (as a work in progress) at the Spring Tea. The pattern, “Rosy Blooms,” is being worked in shades of pink and white. Thanks to everyone who purchased and sold tickets. And for those of us who held the 3,812 Quilt winner, Museum member tickets that didn’t win, “Wait ‘til next year!” Dorothy Hughes of Wanamassa
Mark your calendar
General Meeting and Speaker Event Lenape Indians of the Jersey Shore.
Tuesday, March 12, 7:15—Oakhurst School Auditorium Mini-Exhibit Opening
“100 Years of Fire-Fighting: The Story of the Oakhurst F.D.” Sun., April 7, 1 to 4—Eden Woolley House.
Longwood Gardens Trip
You’ll be missed!
8:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 17 Call 732-531-2136 for reservations
he Board will miss the talents and contributions of four women who have served with distinction. They stay active members and know we will continue to count on them. Thank you Alice (VP, Membership), Cheryl (Speakers’ Program), Tobi (Public Relations), and Helen (Recording Secretary).
Annual Spring Tea
Saturday, April 27, 1:30-West Park Recreation Center, Oakhurst. Tickets on sale March 1.
Weekend in Old Monmouth
Have you paid your dues?
Has the newsletter become a staple of your reading diet? Don’t risk losing it. If you haven’t already, pay your 2013 Museum dues today! (Find the form on the back of this issue.)
Asbury Park exhibit is next
Clockwise from top left: Alice Timms, Cheryl Miller, Tobi Kochel, Helen Litts
Ocean’s Heritage, Winter 2013
The next major exhibit is scheduled to open in the Richmond Gallery this summer. Its working title is “Asbury Park: The Fall and Rise of a New Jersey Gem.” Call (732-531-2136) if you have photos or memorabilia to share.
Museum loses a loyal friend
Edward V. Keegan, longtime Postmaster of Deal and loyal friend of the Museum, died January 5 at age 82. Ed often stopped by the Woolley House to share stories of the Township--including memories of attending parties at the Woolley House years before it was the Museum. He always spoke lovingly of his deceased wife Marie Joyce (Meehok) and was quick to remind us she was the Queen of the Township’s 1949 Centennial Celebration! Ed was a welcome visitor and a generous supporter of the Museum. We will miss him.
Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5-Self-guided tour of historic sites in the county, including the Woolley House
Walking Tours, Museum grounds
May 4 and 5, and by appointment as weather permits--Eden Woolley House
NJ History Fair
Saturday, May 11--Washington’s Crossing Park, Titusville, NJ
General Meeting and Speaker Event Karen Schnitzpahn, Jersey Shore Food History Tuesday, June 11, 7:15—
Oakhurst School Auditorium
5th Annual American Doll and Teddy Bear Tea
Sunday, July 14, 1-3:30--Eden Woolley House. Tea and treats, doll fashion show, crafts and fun under the tents. Doll shop, special exhibits. Tickets on sale June 1.
Korean War Anniversary FlagRaising
Saturday, July 27--Eden Woolley House.
Ocean’s Heritage, Winter 2013
A new slate of officers to be presented at the March 12 General Membership Meeting/Speaker Event
The Proposed 2013-2015 Museum Board
he Museum Board is made up of elected officers, elected trustees, and appointed directors. The officers---President, Vice President (Events), Vice President (Membership), Treasurer, Recording Secretary, and Corresponding Secretary--are elected to two-year terms. The six Trustees are elected to six-year overlapping terms. And the appointed directors serve two-year, concurrent with the terms of the elected officers. The officers and trustees are elected at a General Membership meeting. This year, that meeting is our Speaker’s Event, 7:15 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, at the old Oakhurst School auditorium, 163 Monmouth Road, Oakhurst. Our bylaws specify that the elected slate be published in advance of the election. As always, nominations may also be offered from the floor.
President: Paul Edelson
30+ years of community service (Zoning and Planning Boards, Board of Education, Boy Scouts). Charter member of the Museum (Trustee, Budget Committee, Property Management Team, 2012 Flag-Raising Program Chair, and more).
1st Vice President (Membership): Linda Wright
Wayside resident for nearly 30 years. Married with two grown children and two grandsons. Retired from working in a surgeon’s office. Brings a fresh face and new ideas to the Museum Board.
2nd Vice President (Events): Brenda Wityk
Our current President and acting (and previous) Museum Director. The hard-working, innovative force behind so many Museum projects and programs. A leader in the school and church communities (PTA VPs elementary though HS, religion teacher).
Treasurer: Jack McCormack
Retired Director of Information Systems Auditing for several Fortune 50 companies (Dart & Kraft, RJR Nabisco, and New York Life). Worked for McCormack, Baker and Neral, CPAs and established their information technology department.
Corresponding Secretary: Ginny Richmond
Museum President for ten years. Lead the organization through the transition to the Woolley House. Continuing her role as Corresponding Secretary. Retired teacher (20 years in the Long Branch School system).
Recording Secretary: Ellen Gruber
43 year resident of the Township. Two children and two grandchildren. Recently retired from career as a legal secretary. Brings professional skills and new perspectives to the Board.
Museum Director: (Open)
Bob Landis (2013-2019)
Our current Treasurer. Tireless volunteer whose efforts helped restore the Woolley House. Featured WWII veteran in our “Loved Ones Go to War” exhibit.
Joal Leone (2013-2019) Our current Hospitality Director. Talented touch behind the appealing spreads and bakery boutiques at Museum events. A turn-to, talented Museum resource.
Appointed Directors Curator/IT Director: Eileen McCormack Public Relations: Gary Edelson Research Librarian: Ellen Gulick Exhibits/Newsletter: Peggy Dellinger Circulation: Mary Ann McKean Quilt Sales: Mary Hill
Hospitality: Joal Leone Centennial Homes: Kathy Parratt Living History: Heather McDonald Crafts and Quilts: Marge Edelson Speakers’ Program: (Open) Property Management: Bob Landis
* Other Trustees: Marge Edelson (2011-2017), Kathy Parratt (2011-2017), Mike Brezansky (2009-2015), and Peggy Dellinger (2009-2015)
Slate of nominated officers and trustees, clockwise from top left: Paul Edelson, Brenda Wityk, Jack McCormack, Ellen Gruber, Joal Leone, Bob Landis, Ginny Richmond, Linda Wright.
Ocean’s Heritage, Winter 2013
Museum Speakers’ Series
Kean professor speaks on the Lenape Indians
On Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm, Frank J. Esposito, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History and Education at Kean University presents “The Lenape Indians of the Jersey Shore.” It is the next event in Museum’s Speakers’ Series, held at the old Oakhurst School auditorium, 163 Monmouth Road (present location of the Board of Education offices). The Lenape Indians (also called the Delaware by European settlers) are the native people of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey region. Arrow heads and tools unearthed throughout what is today Ocean Township confirm that their story is part of our local history. Place names (Wanamassa, Wickapecko) remind us that long before the Potters, Woolleys, and Whites settled here, the Lenape were fishing and hunting on the land. Dr. Esposito brings their history to life, telling the story of how the Lenape lived and how they affected the course of our local history (and we theirs) from colonial times to present day. The talk includes excerpts from a filmed interview with the late James “Lone Bear” Revey, a prominent Sand Hill Cherokee-Delaware Indian who until his death in 1998 devoted himself to preserving his peoples’ heritage. Artifacts and images relating to the Lenape help illustrate the story. The presentation is open to the public, free of charge. Donations are appreciated. Refreshments are served. (We collect and welcome nonperishable items for the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.)
Prominent spokesperson for the Lenape, James “Lone Bear” Revey, is featured on film at the March Speakers’ Event.
Museum commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the end of the Korean War
Flag-raising for Korean War vets, July 27
On July 27, 1953, after three years of bloody combat that killed more than 50,000 American soldiers on a remote Asian peninsula, enemies put down their arms. That day, the United States, North Korea, South Korea, and China agreed to an armistice that ended the Korean War. On Saturday, July 27, 2013, the 60th anniversary of the war’s end, the Museum will honor Korean War veterans--living and deceased--at a flag-raising ceremony on the Woolley House grounds. Please call or write the Museum (732-531-2136 or oceanmuseum@ verizon.net) to arrange for your loved one to be honored. Our focus is on local veterans, but we welcome all who Korean War Memorial, Washington, D.C. wish to be remembered.
Message from the Museum
e’ve been busy at the Museum planning upcoming exhibits, programs, fundraisers, and our new crafts and quilt. If I wanted to scare you, I would put a photo of my desk next to this column! I’m getting ready to clear that desk and pass the baton to our next President, Paul Edelson. The decision to switch to a new role was not an easy one, but the right one right now for me--and my family. And it was made a lot easier knowing that Paul--whose leadership has been a Museum asset for years--will take the helm. (I’m not going far. My new position as Vice President of Events will keep me involved and active!) It’s a natural time to reflect. It’s been a jam-packed two years. We expanded our website, continued to catalogue our growing collection, established the Research Library, hosted successful fundraisers, raised the flag to honor WWII veterans, opened six exhibits, and so much more. Thank you to the record number of volunteers who made it all happen. I smile when I think of the feedback we’ve received from visitors from around the world or remember the faces of our third-grade classes and of families moved by our raising the flag to their loved ones. I am grateful I’ve had this opportunity to lead an extraordinary institution that is always up to great things! Look for me at the Museum. I’ll be there! Brenda Wityk Editor’s Note: Brenda’s creative vision and tireless energy (she served as both President and acting Museum Director) have enriched and enlivened the Museum. We believe there are more presidential terms in her future. Meanwhile, we can’t wait to see what she’ll come up with as VP of Events. Stay tuned!
Ocean’s Heritage, Winter 2013
Museum in 2012
By the Numbers
680 Hours the Woolley House opened to the public
65+ 2,000+ 12 4 4
Visitors to the Museum and its events Visiting third grade classes (240+ children) Speaker events Exhibit openings
~100 WWII veterans honored at our Friday Flag-Raisings 331 Memberships (many of them families) 100 Percent of fund-raising and membership dollars that
Saving the Tower
oc Richmond, the person more than any other responsible for the recordtime restoration of the Woolley House, has a new dream: saving the tower. The handsome and curious structure stands at the start of the woods behind the Library. It was there in 1931 when the Haupts bought the property and its buildings for their “gentleman’s farm.” It has long been a landmark and is more recently the subject of guesses and theories about its purpose and history. In fact, its handsome facade (designed to look like a New England lighthouse) hides a water tower. Its attached cottage housed the property caretaker --and was later rented to the local police chief. During WWII, soldiers from the 113th Infantry used the tower to locate German u-boats prowling the coast. Many thanks to Pat Cernigliaro and Phyllis Fyfe for their generous donations to the project, and to Katherine Cosby of Team Home Depot for a grant of $2,100.00. A contract has been signed for the restoration of the roof on the attached cottage. Additional work awaits warmer weather. A volunteer mason is needed to install concrete footings for the structure’s porch. The existing porch, structurally unsafe, was demolished by our volunteers. To support the Tower Project, send your check to The Twp. of Ocean Historical Museum, P.O. Box 516, Oakhurst, NJ 07755. Please indicate on the check that the gift is for Tower restoration.
Volunteers who gave time as docents and workers
went directly to Museum operation and maintenence
Total expenses (not counting those for which many of our volunteers opted not be reimbursed)
30 years of leadership From its beginnings in 1983 to its upcoming election of officers March 12, the Ocean Township Historical Museum has been guided by a group of dedicated and talented leaders. How else could an allvolunteer organization have accomplished so much and made such a difference to the community? As we enter our 30th year of operation, it seems fitting to acknowledge the Museum presidents who have led the journey. Here they are: 1983-1986 Peggy Dellinger 1986-1987 Michael Schneider 1987-1989 Kathi Brady 1989-1991 Ann Stiles
1993-1994 Ann Stiles 1994-2000 Kathy Parratt 2000--2010 Virginia Richmond 2010-2012 Brenda Wityk
1991-1993 Marjorie Edelson
Business Partners prove loyal supporters
hen we began restoration of the Woolley House in 2005, a special group of local businesses offered their support. In response, the “Business Partnership” program was created. We appreciate the generosity of all who signed up as Business Partners in the years since. A special acknowledgement goes to a group who offered ongoing support: Ansell, Grimm and Aaron Foundation (2006 to present) Food Circus Supermarkets (2005 to present) Paduano, DiTommaso & Golda LLC (2006 to present) Dr. Thomas Rich DPM (2009 to present) Brenda Skinner, State Farm Ins. (2009 to 2011)
We welcome all area businesses into the program. Call 732-531-2136 to request a Business Partnership form. Donations are tax deductible at every level of participation--Eden Woolley Society: $1000 to $5000; Presidents Society: $500 to $999; Ocean Township Society: $250 to $499; Community Leadership Society: $100 to $249; Museum Community Members: $25 to $99.
Ocean’s Heritage, Winter 2013
The Museum opened in two rooms of the former Oakhurst School in August 1983. Peggy Dellinger remembers how it all began.
I Remember . . .
The founding of the Township of Ocean Historical Museum
I have to credit Museum volunteer Barbara Hudson for Society, which had become inactive in the years following the prompting me to write this story. She pointed out that as Bicentennial. Others had taught or attended school in the good as we may be at telling the history of the Township, we building. Some just wanted to be part of the adventure. All have kept the history of the Museum itself a bit of a mystery. were ready to get to work. What better time to clear up that mystery than now, the year We had a home, willing volunteers, and a set of oral of our 30th anniversary! histories--hardly enough to fill a museum! The idea of a local history museum sprang from a request From the schoolhouse, we “borrowed” photos of the 8th from the Superintendent of Schools in 1983 to help on an oral grade graduating classes. We stripped the paint off the old history project funded by the National Endowment for the slate blackboard and invited visitors who had worked at or Humanities. A group of high school students were to interattended the school to sign it. We added stuff from our attics. view local octogenarians and record their recollections. The The Museum was open Tuesdays. Early visitors were ofSuperintendent asked if I would work with them. ten people in the building on school business who stumbled The project produced a set of audio in by accident! The first weekend tapes describing the Township in the each December, we installed a early 1900s. The students did well, the major exhibit in the auditorium old-timers were delighted, and the oral and hoped people would come. histories were a treasure. But, over the years, our numBut what was next? The tapes bers and reputation grew. People seemed headed for a file drawer in the began donating their Township History Department. That prospect got treasures. They turned to us to me thinking of other local gems--artifacts learn the story of the community and photos stashed in people’s attics or, and answer their questions. worse yet, destined for dumpsters. In 1999, the Township CounTicket to the first exhibit, 1983, in the days when The conclusion was clear: this town cil asked if we would take over the the Museum took over the schoolhouse auditorium needed a museum. restoration and operation of the for three days each December to display an exhibit The first step was obvious. Turn Woolley House--an historical and that took nearly three months to create! ! to Marge Edelson! Her interest in hisarchitectural gem being moved tory was on the record. She and Joe Palaia had founded the to avoid demolition. Estimates for its rehabilitation hovered Township’s Historical Society in preparation for the 1976 U.S. around a million dollars. Once restored, it would take an Bicentennial. With Kay Zimmerer, Marge had co-authored an estimated $30,000 a year to operate. authoritative Township history. She was a respected leader At the time, we were managing an annual budget of and the force behind many community successes. maybe $5,000. We said “yes” anyway. Together, we conceived the idea of the Township of Ocean The talents and dedication of our volunteers turned that Historical Museum and we knew just where to put it. The bold decision into a wise one. (Think of Doc Richmond who Oakhurst School on Monmouth Road had closed a few years found us grants and spearheaded the restoration, Ginny earlier (1978) and the handsome, history-steeped building Richmond who led the organization through the transition, now held the Board of Education offices. There was space for and Brenda Wityk whose fresh leadership infused energy and us, and hundreds of residents had a soft spot in their hearts new ideas--to name a few.) for the old place. The doors of the Eden Woolley House opened, July 5, Marge and I wrote to the Board of Education requesting 2009. The rest--to my amazement and delight--is history. space and were granted an old classroom on the first floor. The Asbury Park Press ran a story, calling interested parties to Peggy Dellinger meet August 9, 1983 in our new space. More than 30 people Exhibit Director, Newsletter Editor, and Trustee showed up. Many were former members of the Historical