Introduction: Climb aboard and let’s all take the train and head to Stone Harbor for the 4th of July celebration! This most unusual photo was provided compliments of the Stone Harbor Museum archives. One can only wonder what the basis or the circumstances were for the young lad shown in this image to be able to stand where he is in this action packed photo right on the front of this steam locomotive in all places, Stone Harbor, New Jersey? It certainly is quite a novel idea as well as an eye catching and thrilling moment in time. Please also notice the newly installed water tower in the background on the right side of this photo.
The caption for the post card below states: “The Gateway to Cape May County, N. J. Over these slender steel threads a million people visited the several resorts of South Jersey last season.”
The title given above for this written account is actually the headline for an article that appeared in the July 6, 1912 edition of “The Morning Post”, a Camden, New Jersey daily newspaper. The essence of this article is about numerous Fourth of July 1912 observances that were reported having occurred at the up-and-coming seashore resort called Stone Harbor. First we need to turn our attention to a scan of the actual article that appeared on page 10 of the aforementioned newspaper. In part it basically reads like a “Who’s Who” with mention of actual happenings and developments that took place on that particular holiday. Typical of such newspaper accounts of that era, you will also learn about a listing of notable persons and groups as well as important places that were relevant and worthy of mention in the brief holiday article. In addition, numerous vintage picture post cards will be presented to illustrate some of the various buildings central to life in Stone Harbor that are also mentioned in the article itself. So here’s a copy of the article as it appeared on July 6, 1912 and following it will be a transcription, word for word, for viewers of this post to be able to easily read and understand.
Now here is a hand-typed and exact copy of this article for you to read.
BIG FOURTH AT STONE HARBOR
Season Now in Full Swing at Popular Resort
STONE HARBOR. July 6. — The National Day was observed in a quiet way here with a large number of visitors, many of whom came in over the new Reading connections. Scores of fishermen lined the Great Channel bridge and dotted the adjacent waters.
Stone Harbor’s latest hotel, Shelter Haven was open on the Fourth by the proprietor, F. S. Janson. While this 60-room house is not completed, it was, nevertheless in shape to serve dinners and refreshments and catered to several hundred people.
The Stone Harbor Yacht Club had open house, as did Harbor Inn and many cottages. The Yacht Club entertained visitors all day. Music is now being supplied by the Stone Harbor Orchestra for the season, which is an enjoyable innovation.
Great plans are being laid for the third annual regatta under the auspices of the South Jersey Racing Association on Saturday, July 13, when some of the fastest and newest boats on the coast will compete for prizes.
There will be four classes. Cruisers, hydroplanes, racing boats and open boats. All entrants must file their blanks by 9 o’clock Saturday morning while the official measurer will be on hand to verify measurements.
The ladies of the Stone Harbor Yacht Club will give a luncheon to visiting yachtsmen and Commodore James Thompson and the whole club is making an effort to make this the best regatta ever pulled off at Stone Harbor.
Visitors are loud in their praise as to the condition of the Yacht Club grounds.
The building is completed and the acre of land surrounding it nicely graded and lawned, with gravelled walks and flower beds while a circular gravel drive has been laid out for automobiles and carriages to approach the covered portico.
More automobiles than ever are now rolling into Stone Harbor: most of them strike for the broad flat beach where they can speed it up and then make a tour of the resort stopping at the Yacht Club or Harbor Inn for refreshments.
Miss Josephine H. Mitchell of Ridley Park, Pa. is a guest at Harbor Inn.
Mr. and Mrs.Archer Plat, Mrs. Elizabeth Heritage, Mrs. W. H. Henderson, Miss Evelyn and Miss Mildred Platt of Bridgeton, made up a pleasant party who stopped at Harbor Inn for a time this week.
The Men’s Guild of St David’s P. E. Church, Manayunk, Pa. will come to this resort on Saturday, July 20 for their annual excursion. While on Saturday, July 27, the Ushers’ League of Wissahickon will also come to Stone Harbor for their annual excursion: the base ball team of the latter will play Cape May Court House, while the men’s Guild team will cross bats with Avalon.
Mrs. Harry Mountney, of Philadelphia, has opened her refreshment priors on Ninety-sixth street, opposite Shelter Haven Hotel.
This newspaper article begins with mention of the Shelter Haven Hotel. Included here are two of the earliest known post cards showing what would become the iconic landmark Shelter Haven Hotel. Without question, this building earned the distinction of being the largest building in Stone Harbor. 1912 was the year when this hotel was completed and it would remain open for business for 49 years until it was taken down in 1961. The origins of this building began when two brothers who were farmers from the Philadelphia area, Frank Stryker Janson and his sibling Jonathon, decided in 1910 to purchase a plot of land from the Risley brothers for the sum of $1 located at the southwest corner of 96th Street and Third Avenue. The images provided here show the distinctive five-story structure that consisted of 60 guest rooms, some of which offered fine views looking out upon the Shelter Haven Basin and the Great Channel. Aside from being centrally located, it was known that the Shelter Haven Hotel offered the following amenities including a dining room, bar, cafe, barber shop, as well as a roof top garden for outdoor entertaining.
The article goes on to comment next about the Stone Harbor Yacht Club. These 4 post cards show various views of the Yacht Club. The first image is a colorful artist’s rendering of the opulent facility that was completed and opened by the Risely brothers just a year before in July of 1911.
The next two images depict the Yacht Club from different vantage points. The second post card shows the Yacht Club from the “Basin or Island Waterway”. The third is an unusual view capturing both the front door and the overhanging porte-cochere or covered passageway to let automobiles and carriages to pass under for access to the club. Most other post card images show the clubhouse with water in front from the more picturesque Snug Harbor Basin perspective. This particular view was part of a very scarce folio, or souvenir folder, consisting of multiple early black and white views of Stone Harbor.
The fourth post card was issued to celebrate and recognize the first anniversary of the Stone Harbor Yacht Club which occurred in 1912. The South Jersey Realty Company published this very special and colorful promotional post card expressing, “Greetings from Stone Harbor.” The lower portion of this card showing the Yacht Club is featured in a nautical themed format with the the club’s unique red and blue burgee framing the layout on the far right side of the card. Scenes of sailing boats and motor boats are also included in this view.
In conclusion, this Pennsylvania Railroad passenger car post card was used for advertising and publicity purposes. The display sign in the railway car doorway proclaims: “SPECIAL CAR / FOR / STONE HARBOR /SOUTH JERSEY REALTY CO.” In addition, the printed caption on this post card also states: “The South Jersey Realty Company, builders of Stone Harbor, has brought thousands of visitors to this resort on Free Inspection Trips in special parlor and cub cars for the purpose of selecting Free Lots, under the company’s famous Bond Plan.”
While it was the coming of the steam locomotives that opened up the Jersey Shore to Philadelphians and other city dwellers, the increased affordability and immense popularity of the automobile during the decade of the 1920s would bring about the replacement of trains as a popular means of reaching Stone Harbor. By the 1930s, there were no longer any active railway lines serving Stone Harbor.