Sometimes you see things plainly and completely and other times because of obstructions you only see just a fraction of some things. Such is the case with this particular post card and I will walk you through it so you can derive maximum benefit from all the various component parts that constitute the entire scene.
What do you see as you gaze upon this old post card? You will need to look very closely to perhaps recognize and determine some of the buildings depicted in this very early Stone Harbor image. Perhaps I might start us off by identifying certain key features. However, I am providing a better quality and enhanced image showing the same post card above only somewhat magnified and with greater contrast for easier viewing. So let’s take a tour around what was considered “new” Stone Harbor back in the first decade of the 1900s. Related supplemental images will also be provided for you to enjoy.
I suppose we might begin with the most obvious and easy to see elements of this photograph that are visible in the foreground. The body of water with a couple of boats in all probability is the North Basin with its newly installed wooden bulkhead or sea wall overlooking the Great Channel. This photo was taken looking eastward and toward the ocean which incidentally is not visible in the background. There are notably three buildings that stand out immediately because they all have something in common and that is large advertising signage or lettering that makes them stand out. One of those buildings to the left center has large letters painted on its siding stating “MARINE – HARDWARE – MARINE / PAINTS”. This 2-story building with open porches at both front and back in all probability also served as an apartment house. Most likely the second floor consisted of several apartments available for rent. Another two-story building to the right has the words “GENERAL STORE” boldly painted across the entire shingled roof. It too just might have served as lodging in the early days when men who worked in the construction trades building the new town would rent their lodgings and temporarily stay. In between both those structures is a smaller single story building, which may be somewhat difficult to see, with the word “GASOLINE” painted in bold white letters on the side of it. All very good advertising especially for any and all persons arriving at Stone Harbor for the first time. Remember also, this very area was exactly where the earliest Stone Harbor structures were built. However, we also know that over the years the town would grow and develop southward with 96th Street becoming the business center of the town.
After rummaging through the Stone Harbor Museum archives and files, I came across a very nice photograph to include at this point. It is the other or eastern side of the same HARDWARE STORE shown earlier and mentioned above only oriented and facing a southerly direction in this new view. This photo may have been taken a few years later and the structure has been really spruced up, undergone significant re-painting with changed advertising and sports the proprietor’s name with signage above the first floor porch that states “ Marine / J. W. JUNGKURTH, JR. / HARDWARE / Builders”. Perhaps this was a celebratory occasion as one readily notices the abundance of the American Flags on display on the outside of this handsome building as it may well have been connected to a special holiday such as the Fourth of July. Two men in this scene, one seated and the other standing, can also be seen posing on the downstairs front porch.
Now let’s delve a little more deeply into this image and identify some of the more important places of interest. On the far left of this view there are two buildings, one of which I believe, perhaps that with the lighter color, is Rummel’s store. While I can not conclusively be certain which of the two is Rummel’s store, it’s very location in relation to its surroundings strongly suggests that it could very well be the case. You may even recall that Rummel’s was an early variety shop that also housed the town’s first post office. Incidentally, the above post card was mailed and bears a Stone Harbor postmark dated DEC 15, 1908.
Immediately on the right and behind what we believe is Rummel’s store is another large structure with a small cupola on top of a peaked roof which served as the popular bathhouses and a large pavilion located right on the beach to serve those bathers who wished to enjoy swimming in the ocean.
Continuing and moving a bit further to the right, the very large building next, which is mostly hidden behind the structure marked “Marine – Hardware – Paints”, is the back of the iconic 5-story Harbor Inn at 83rd Street with its prominent turret which is easily identifiable. The Stone Harbor postmark on this particular post card was applied on JUN 6, 1908.
Progressing a bit more to the right, it is our opinion that the next very early house is none other than the 3-story with basement Simpson Cottage along with the little Penn Building Co. office just next door. Suffice it to say that at this particular time considerable home building and business establishment was taking place. These were indeed busy years and there was much progress and development at Stone Harbor as the community advanced toward establishing a borough-type form of town government and thereby become incorporated in 1914.
Finally, there is yet another building in the far right background behind the building with “General Store” markings. It is our opinion this is the majestic oceanfront villa of Reese Risley called “Hydrangea”. But it is only partially visible with its peaked tower which served as a small circular elevated open air porch. Here in this additional post card you can also see the familiar Harbor Inn to the right and Rummel’s store to the left background. This post card was mailed and posted at Stone Harbor bearing the date of SEP 18, 1908.
Well that pretty much wraps up our post card tour of early Stone Harbor. Before concluding, I would like to share with my readers the substance of the hand-written correspondence that appears on the message/address side of this featured post card. I hope you find it of interest. This card was mailed and bears a Stone Harbor, N. J. official postal marking which contains the date JUN 14, 1917. Here is what was written:
“Stone Harbor, N. J. June 13 – 17 I arrived at Stone Harbor
to day and found that the Postmaster has returned the paint.
So I have to get paint here as I wish to have the boat running
by next Sunday. With best wishes to you all. Yours, A. Krebs”
This post card was addressed to a “Gustave Mahlik, Grassland, Delaware County, near Phila. Penna.”
Please know that this is a prime example of a very rare and seldom seen post card capturing the “New” Stone Harbor. Cards like this are like eyewitnesses to the way things once were. It is vitally important that we safeguard and preserve such images for better understanding of early life in our favorite South Jersey seashore resort, Stone Harbor.