Here we see standing on the steps of the Stone Harbor Yacht Club, 9 rather imposing and stalwart men posing for a moment in time that represented a significant step in the early development of Stone Harbor. This image reproduced from the popular book titled “Stone Harbor: One Hundred Years of the Seashore at its Best” was published by Exit Zero Press of Cape May, N. J. in 2014.
Before proceeding with reading the accompanying text with this photo, please scan the various names of the men who appear here and understand that this listing reads like a “Who’s Who” in Stone Harbor history. These men are definitely the luminaries that played very significant roles in both the creation and the advancement of the seashore resort we now call Stone Harbor. Let it be known that their legacy speaks to all of us!
As Stone Harbor grew, it became apparent that the town needed to create a cohesive governmental structure to serve as a mechanism to move the town into the future. In April of 1914, the town decided it was time to incorporate and institute a Mayor-Council form of government. The following month an election occurred on May 12 and the following elected positions were listed as follows on the ballot: Mayor, 6 members of Council, a Tax Collector, Assessor and a Justice of the Peace.
On May 18, 1914 the newly elected officials met at the Stone Harbor Yacht Club and Mayor-elect Howard S. Risley appointed Clarence O. Letzkus as the clerk of the first meeting. Louis T. Stevens administered the oath of office to Risley who then officially became the first Mayor of Stone Harbor. Whereupon Risley then administered the oath of office and formally inducted the first group of members that would constitute the borough council including the following: Samuel E. Herbert, John W. Jungkurth, Wiliam L. Turpin, William Shuck and Henry Owens. More officials were installed including W. Wilson Byer as Tax Collector, Ephriam Borton who became Assessor and Amos Dickinson to serve as Justice of the Peace. Lewis T. Stevens became the Borough Solicitor, Miss M. L. Van Thuyne assumed the duties as Overseer of the Poor and Charles Wheeler was appointed Borough Engineer. For the record, Howard Risley would only serve as the town’s first mayor for just 18 months from May of 1914 to November of 1915. Finally, after 3 years of being the town watchman from 1911-1914, Michael Patrick Lennon became the first police officer with the title of Borough Marshall where he remained in office for 40 years until his retirement in 1951.
Shown here is a vintage post card featuring the first Borough Hall which was briefly used as the town’s first dedicated school house located on 93rd Street. In the background you should recognize the familiar Shelter Haven Hotel that was built in 1912.
Final note: Please for the sake of identification, especially if you haven’t done so yet, read the two-line caption at the top of the first photo image so that you can identify the first group of officials that would assume the reins of government for Stone Harbor. Hopefully you will now understand why this is such an important photo in the ongoing story about Stone Harbor.