Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey - Places to Go and Things to Do

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, and encouraging exploration of South Jersey.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Places that are gone - Ocean City Magic of long ago

From my earliest childhood, I have been passionately attached to various places.  When I was very young in the 1950's, my father drove our family to Ocean City almost every weekend to visit his mother who lived  on Asbury Avenue (for decades, then Bay Ave.) During her years in the second floor apartment of the house near 6th on Asbury, I visited the building a few doors down, Scott Storage.  
In front, standing sentinel was a cigar store Indian.  Near him an elderly man sitting on a chair by the wide garage style open door of the warehouse.  Inside I could see glittering mirrors, carved and painted ship's figureheads, and the abandoned relics of the Victorian age in furniture, huge, ornately carved, knobbed and doored and mirrored bureaux, chiffarobes, dining table sets with buffet cabinets.  As the old people died, I suppose, their descendants cleared out the heavy old stuff from the seashore houses and replaced it with light-weight, white and pastel painted modern furnishings.  I don't blame them.  Our society had become increasingly portable and moveable and that old furniture was heavy!  

My grandmother's apartment was not furnished with that sort of thing.  She had moved a bit, too, and her chairs were small, old, rounded maple rockers, and upholstered by her in cheery floral fabrics.  All her furniture was small to match her tiny rooms.  She made everything, the curtains, the quilts that covered the beds, the upholstery.  She had been a seamstress for most of her life.

A few days ago, I was overcome with nostalgia for Scott Storage.  I searched until I found a photo in my many shelves of dozens of albums.  Naturally I tried the internet first, but there was nothing there of old Ocean City.  All I could turn up were contemporary rental properties.

Sadly, the venerable Senior Photography Studio is also gone and with it the vast archive of photographs of Old Ocean City.  Hopefully it found its way into the Historical Society archives.

Also, on Saturday, I had driven to Ocean City with a friend for the day.  Some several day trips previously, I had discovered my grandmother's apartment building had been razed.  I found photographs of her house too, on my search for pictures of Scott Storage.  

On this Saturday, March 25, we found, on the boardwalk, that workmen were removing parts of what used to be the Strand Theater.  A clerk in a nearby store told me a maxi-mart was coming.  I wasn't a big theater goer at the seashore, but I loved the look of the Strand on the boardwalk, those bold letters with the reference to the old and forgotten word for beach, strand!  The colors of it, the smell of mildew and popcorn that would come out of the dark when the audience departed from the most recent show, the marquee announcing the popular movies of the summer, the movie posters.  GONE forever.  Except for photographs.

I think I had done a post some time ago about disappearing theaters, the Century, the Harwan, near me, and at Ocean City, the Village, The Surf, the Moorlyn and the Strand.  The Surf may still be operating.  How I miss these places.  There is an ache in my heart when I drive or walk by where they used to be.  It like a friend who has passed away and you know you'll never visit together again, but there are the photographs, at least

I want to consider how to post more photographs in a better way on this blog.  At least here, we can visit places that no longer exist in the three dimensional world.  

Happy Trails!
Jo Ann

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