Archive for the ‘Atlantic’ Category

The amazing House of Route 9

I really can’t think of anything to say about this house. It’s all in the pictures. This very large house on a very large property sits on Route 9 in Egg Harbor Twp. I counted no less than four dragons, a half dozen elephants, a clown, two Jesuses flanked by two Marys and two Gundams. At least I think they’re Gundams….. They may be Mazainga according to a friend of mine.

The story behind it (which can be found here) is as fascinating as the property itself. Somewhere on the property is a replica of a 75 foot Korean military vessel that fought the Japanese in the war with Korea in 1592. I am going to try to arrange a visit.

at a mall in atlantic county….

EPSON DSC picture

Life After People discusses what will happen to Atlantic City

First of all, if you’re not watching life after people on the History channel, why not?!? It discusses what will happen to the world if we suddenly disapeared. As the ads say “this is not the story of why we disappear, but of what happens to the world we leave behind.” The most recent episode Sin City, discusses what will happen to places like LV and AC in a world without people.

Ripley’s Believe it or not Museum

Ripley’s Believe or Not in Atlantic City is one of many located around the world. The building, whose front facade appears to have fallen from the structural supports, is located on the boardwalk next to New York Ave. The building, with its falling front, immediately reminded me of Wonderworks in Orlando, FL. The RBION self guided tour costs 8.95 and can take from 30 to 90 minutes depending on how much you want to linger over the various exhibits.

Robert Ripley was born in 1893 in California, and after his hopes of playing major league baseball were dashed, he became a cartoonist for the SF Chronicle. He drew a cartoon about unusual sports feats, such as the man who walked the fastest backwards, and the man who jumped rope the longest. The title was Champs & Chumps but the editor changed it to Believe It Or Not, and thus an industry was born.

Ripley was obsessed with travel and foreign culture and traveled in the 1920’s thru all seven continents, earning the nickname “the modern Marco Polo”. He ran a syndicated column with cartoons describing the things he saw and encountered. He made 100K a year and the column ran in 300 newspapers worldwide in 17 languages with an estimated readership of 80 million.

In the 1930’s and 40’s Ripley’s tales were told on the radio. the show ran for 14 years until 1948 when he moved to television. The show was a smash hit but the grind of a weekly TV show wore heavily on him and in episode 13 he had a heart attack on air, and died 3 days later. The first museum, called an odditorum was actually an exhibit at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. The fair featured replicas of strange people and things, bizarre art, shrunken heads from the Amazon, as well as live performers, such as a man who could place an entire baseball in his mouth. Ripley collected shrunken heads, more then 8,000 of them over his lifetime, and many were put on display.

The RBION Museums would eventually include exhibits of science, representations of strange rituals, illusions, videos, pieces from his exotic collection, as well as brain teasers. Every museum is unique, there is no duplication of items in any two RBION museums, but some items will seem familiar regardless. This particular museum is home to the world’s largest tire, a life sized statue of Robert Wadlow the world’s tallest man at 8 foot 11 and 490 lbs, and lots of examples of unusual art, such as a roulette wheel composed of jelly beans, a recreation of a famous bridge composed from toothpicks, as well as a piece of the Berlin Wall. All in all this was familiar territory for anyone who has visited other RBION museums or has watched the show. The tour is a good value for several reasons. 1: the tour is not overpriced, 2: the material is interesting. 3: every RBION museum has unique items.

In addition there are some things here relative to NJ. First is the Jersey Devil, the legendary 13th child of Mrs. Leeds who ran up the chimney and has stalked the people and animals of the Pine Barrens for the last 200 years. Constructed by Tom Jackson out of various animal bones, this represents what the jersey devil might look like. I always thought it would be much taller… Ripley’s also runs an annual weird face contest every November. Now when I say weird I don’t mean ugly or homely, I mean people who twist and contort their faces, or do something weird like bug their eyes really far out. Typically the event is judged by local celebrities & past winners. Registration is not needed, simply show up at the event, held the third Wednesday of each November. They typically get 20 contestants, competing for a top prize of $300, a picture on their wall of fame, as well as tickets to a local show. For details call 609 347-7021








Mays Landing Brick Company














Hermann City

Just imagine an entire town for only three short years. This community of about 70 homes and stores, complete with hotel was centered around the Waplers Glass Works which manufactured Christmas decorations and “shades”(glass covers for collectables). The town also had a wharf into the river and history speaks of the vessels “Frances” and “Argo” sinking on this spot. As is typical of many types of abandoned Pine Barrens towns, there’s not much left but some foundations and walls.




The Glass Insulator House

Insulator glass was used to insulate the wires on telegraph poles used alla cross the US. The glass comes in many colors which indicates where the glass was manufactured. Some glass is very common, but others are quite rare and can fetch many thousands of dollars. Stanley Hammel collects this kind of glass, and displays his less expensive pieces on telephone & telegraph poles mounted all around his property. The more expensive pieces of his collection are kept safe inside.



It’s nearly spring, so it’s time for the annual search for munitions on the beaches of Surf City

According to this article, the feds are again searching for munitions that may be under the sand in Surf City and Ship Bottom.

With World War I winding down, Navy ships patrolling the New Jersey coast found themselves with leftover ammunition and no targets for it. So they dumped it overboard, probably thinking the fuses and other ordnance would never be seen or heard from again. Nearly 90 years later, the fuses resurfaced, invading the shores of two of New Jersey’s most popular beaches, Surf City and Ship Bottom in Ocean County.

Now the federal government is in the third — and hopefully final — year of a cleanup that will cost nearly $17 million. So far, work crews have retrieved 1,213 pieces of munitions, mostly 6 to 8-inch-long fuses filled with gunpowder that could explode if jostled or struck. “We’re not too happy with the fact that this work has to be done,” said Pete Shearer, who owns an oceanfront house in Surf City where a huge backhoe was chewing up the beach and sand dunes about 5 feet from his back deck Tuesday morning. “But we’re pleased with the fact that the problem is being corrected.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unwittingly sucked the munitions from the sea bed and pumped them ashore as part of a massive beach replenishment project begun in late 2006 to keep the towns’ beaches nice and wide. In March 2007, beachgoers started spotting odd-shaped rusty metal items in the sand. Some took them home, and one even scraped rust off one of the items with a butter knife before thinking twice about continuing. The discoveries spurred jokes among locals and tourists about “getting bombed in Ship Bottom” and even created a cottage industry of T-shirts with slogans like, “I Had a Blast on Long Beach Island,” a narrow, 18-mile barrier island about 30 miles north of Atlantic City.

Keith Watson, project manager for the Army Corps, said the government checked thoroughly before starting the $71 million beach replenishment project and had no reason to believe that any munitions were in the area. In addition to researching military records, the Army Corps searched the area with metal detectors, and took sand samples in the area from which they intended to pump sand, a bed about 2 1/2 miles northeast of Surf City.

Lucy the Elephant

Lucy is an example of zoomorphic architecture, that is, a building shaped like an animal. The concept for an animal shaped building was deemed innovative & unique, and now no one else could build one unless they paid him royalties. Read more about Lucy at the official Lucy the Elephant page or at a Lucy fan page (which tells much more about Lucy then the official page…)

James Lafferty owned a desolate stretch of sand dunes and scrub pine at the Jersey shore. In 1881 constructed Lucy the Elephant as a way to generate interest in the area, and sell real estate. It worked & people came from all around to marvel at the gigantic beast. It was deemed a success, so Lafferty built two more. A twelve-story structure twice as large as Lucy, the “Elephantine Colossus” was located in the center of Coney Island. The third elephant was slightly smaller than Lucy, was called “the Light of Asia,” and helped draw crowds to Cape May The Colossus burned down and the Light of Asia was torn down, leaving Lucy the only survivor.

Lucy is 6 stories tall, weights 90 tons and is made from tin & wood. It can be seen from as far out as 8 miles at sea. It originally housed a bar, which closed during Prohibition, then reopened when the laws were changed. As people began to travel further from home via air, destinations such as the shore faded, and Lucy no longer drew the crowds as she once had. Lucy fell into disrepair, and by the 1960s, was a slated to be torn down. In 1969, the “Save Lucy Committee” was formed by the Margate Civic Association. Lucy was moved to beachfront land owned by the city and was designated as a historic site. Fundraisers have since been conducted, which have allowed Lucy to be fully restored. Tours are conducted routinely for a nominal fee.



The Galleon Ship of Absecon


This old galleon ship can be seen on S Black Horse Pike in Absecon. Currently it functions as an antique shop, which makes sense considering how old this boat is. There once were a number of these ships sitting on roadsides throughout New Jersey, but the only other one burnt down a few years ago. It originally functioned as a rental office for the Absecon Beach Camp, then became a gas station before being it became what it is today. The shop was closed when I went by so I couldn’t go inside. I’d be quite curious to see if the inside is “normal” or it is similarly themed to appear as if you’re actually inside an old ship….