I was a few months from turning 9 years old when this fire struck Kohr’s Original Custard and Whistle Stop at Franklin Avenue & Boardwalk. I remember the plectron tones waking us up, followed by the sounds of the firehouse siren blaring for what seemed like 10-15 minutes. My father ran out the door to the firehouse as my mother and I followed him onto the front steps of our home at 119 Franklin Avenue. We looked one block east toward the Boardwalk, and I remember seeing a tall ball of flames shooting into the air. My mother dressed my brother and sister and we walked with a hurried pace toward the Boardwalk. She was visibly worried about my father. We joined a group of local residents that had formed behind the police line and watched the area fire companies fight the blaze. Women and children pointed out their husbands and fathers (it was an all male fire crew back then) with a sense of relief. And I can also remember the Ladies Auxiliary staging at the fire ground and serving water and coffee. Not as bad as the 1955 or 1965 fires for sure, but this was a bad fire nonetheless! From The Dr. Anthony E. & Mary Ellen Vaz Collection.
Tag Archives: hopson
Aside from the fact that this is simply an awesome image that was photographed before the 1955 fire, what strikes me the most is the Bert’s Snack Stand sign and the advertisement for “post cards.” Many of the postcards in my collection were originally published by Belle Freeman (or Estate of Belle Freeman) and J. Stanley Tunney. There is no doubt in my mind that Freeman and Tunney postcards were sold at Bert’s considering that Bert’s was part of the Amusement Center complex owned and managed by the Freeman family and then by the Tunney family (which included through marriages the Hopson and Groffie families, too).
I can only imagine the sense of melancholy and tension that must have hung over the schoolhouse two weeks after Pearl Harbor was attacked. Yet, I can also envision the efforts of parents to steer the attention of their children away from the reality of war toward the joy and happiness of the holiday season. Some of the names of school children who are mentioned in this December 19, 1941, news article and personally familiar to me 69 years later: Tamburello, Cocci, Bunting, Koch, Tilles, Gabriel, Hopson, Kessler, Casler, (Mayor Ken) Hershey, (Sheriff Bill) Polhemus, (Al) Poane, Endres, Belamarich, Loundy, (Phil) Armstrong, and (Jerry) Graichen. You can use your mouse to enlarge this photo.
These advertisements and greetings appeared in the Ocean County Review in 1941 twelve days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. You can toggle (freeze, reverse, forward) the slide show by placing your mouse over the bottom center of the frame.
I’m going to be adding many Christmas and New Year’s advertisements and greetings from the 1940s to 1950s. While organizing those microfilm clips I came across this December 17, 1943, Ocean County Review news article mentioning that Dell Hopson was reelected chief of the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company. Other people mentioned in the article whose names are familiar to many of us include Thomas Reutter (elected as foreman) – “Tommy” is still a member of the fire company and regularly attends meetings and fire calls even to this day – Paul K. Hershey (deceased father of present Seaside Heights Mayor P. Kenneth Hershey), Henry “Tex” Gilmore (deceased father of Borough Attorney George Gilmore), and Charles Kessler. The annual fire company election is more than a bylaw requirement – it is one of the great traditions that have been passed down from one generation of firefighters to another. Congratulations to James Samarelli on your election to Fire Chief (2011) and my father, Tony Vaz, on your reelection to Company President (2011). And a big thank you to all of the firefighters and members who served as officers in 2010! As always, use your mouse to expand the photo.
In the original draft of the book I included a section in the Introduction that called attention to people who I consider are “Boardwalk Heroes” – people who made long-term commitments to the Seaside Heights boardwalk and forged ahead through the good times and the occasional bad times. Regretfully, space limitations combined with the fear that I would likely spell a name wrong or worse – fail to mention a VIP altogether – caused me to scratch that idea from the book. But I’m thinking that it would be a cool project for the Centennial celebration in 2013. Anyway, here’s what I intended to include, but didn’t… “an honor roll of Boardwalk Heroes, a lineup of individuals who were instrumental in shaping the town’s special boardwalk history. Inevitably, I will forget to mention someone whose name should have appeared here, but I apologize in advance for doing so: Joseph Vanderslice, F.H. Freeman, Belle Freeman, J. Stanley Tunney, Pat Tunney, Dell and Frances Hopson, Norman Hopson, Mike Brown, Bill Major, Anthony Maruca, Domenic Maruca, Joe Maruca, Maria Maruca, Angelo Cappetta, Ed Groffie, Anthony “Sonny” Ricci, Angelo Ricci, Carmen Ricci, Tommy Ricci, Frank Mack, Jack Martin, Tom Maione, Joe Knox, Jimmy Sozio, Rosemarie Janvier, Elton Kohr, Betty Kohr, Greg Kohr, Miriam DuPont, Bruce Kohr, Tom Esposito, Jack Livingston, Harry Stock, Frank Feistel & Family, Wando and Lilly, John Verderosa, Bob Scott, Sodl Family, Fuggi Family, Jimmy “Broadway,” Joseph J. Delaney, Tony Oddo, Sam and Josephine Tedesco, Richard Chabok, Dino Panas, Fred S. Rolle, William C. Rolle, Louis Lumi, William Lumi, Richard and Mary Peterson, Anthony “Lucky” Carrozza, Philip Carrozza, Mike Graichen, Linus Gilbert, John FitzGerald, John Christopher, Kenneth Wynne Jr., Robert J. Bennett, Dr. Floyd L. Moreland, Wayne Cimorelli, Leo Whalen, Tom Whalen, Steve Whalen, Frank Sommerer, Ken Hershey, Patty Hershey, George Tompkins, Ralph Tompkins, Albert Pinelli, Joseph G. Pinelli, Sr., Pete Pascarella, Sundermann Family, George Bassinder, Anthony DiChiara, Joe Luciano, Jack Jaffe, and the Boyd Family.
Feel free to ask me to add names.