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Tag Archives: seaside heights volunteer fire company

Santa’s Seaside Heights List – 1975

If you were a child who lived in Seaside Heights in 1975 your name may be on Santa’s good kid list. If not, you were probably on Santa’s naughty list that year. Click the following link…

* The list is the property of the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company Museum.

Operation Santa Claus

At sunset on Christmas Eve for more than 50 years, members of the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company have suited up in Santa Claus costumes and commenced the annual tradition of personally visiting all of the homes in town that are occupied by children. Santa Claus would always leave a gift for each child, such as a fresh orange, candy cane, box of chocolate, a dollar bill, or a stuffed animal. In more recent years Mrs. Claus joined in the Christmas Eve fun. Unfortunately, the ongoing impacts of Hurricane Sandy will interrupt Operation Santa Claus this year.  Here are some photos from last year’s Operation Santa Claus. I also included links to Down By The Seaside posts from 2011 and 2010 that featured Christmas themes.

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Links to 2011 and 2010 Christmas posts:

Chief Bill Polhemus Passes

Bill has been known as “Sheriff Polhemus” for many years now, but he was known as “Chief” by the Seaside Heights police department and community before he retired and moved on to county government. Bill was also a member of the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company for many decades, among numerous local organizations he belonged to, and was a strong supporter of Ocean Air Support Squadron (a volunteer flight organization that I am associated with that serves the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department).  Bill’s loss is sad news for our community. Condolences from all of us to Bill’s wife “Aggie” – Councilwoman Agnes Polhemus – and to his daughter and grandchildren.

Bill was one of the town’s few remaining links to the pioneer days of Seaside Heights. His grandparents, Mr. Samual McNicholl and Helen Gallagher McNicholl, resided along what was later named Dupont Avenue even before Manhasset Realty carved the town into lots and started selling. Bill’s father was a local contractor and built many of the early homes and commercial buildings in town.

Living directly across the street from Bill and Aggie during my high school years was always interesting, especially when my sister and I threw one of our Saturday night parties when Tony & Mary Ellen were out of town. But I’m fairly sure that he never ratted me out! In later years, I enjoyed our conversations about Seaside Heights history. He had so many personal memories and great stories he loved to tell. I learned something new from him every conversation.

Viewings for Bill will be held at the Timothy Ryan Funeral Home, 145 St. Catherine Blvd. in Toms River, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday.  The funeral service will be held at the same location at 11 a.m. Friday. Bill will be buried at Ocean County Memorial Park.

Here are some photos of Bill from The Terry Groffie Collection, The Dr. Anthony E. & Mary Ellen Vaz Collection, and the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company Museum Collection. You can enlarge the images with your mouse.

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Nate Ready For Anything  170

Hurricane Sandy – Seaside Heights “The Day After”

I filmed this early in the afternoon on the day after the hurricane made landfall. The weather was cold and windy, and water still filled most streets in Seaside Heights.

Chaney, Frake, Graichen & McClinn

This photo was published in The Review in 1973, but if you look closely and identify some of the kids, some quick math will roll you back in time to the late 1950s. You can enlarge this image with your mouse.

From The Terry Groffie Collection.

Kohr’s Fire 1976

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.




Tommy Reutter Photos Part 1

73 years of dedicated service to the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company and nearly three decades of public service as a borough councilman.  I hope these images and photos from a combination of collections (Dr. Anthony E. & Mary Ellen Vaz Collection and The Terry Groffie Collection) help all of you remember Tommy and his family during this sad time.  You can enlarge the images with your mouse.


Tommy Reutter Photos Part 2

Part 2…You can enlarge the images with your mouse.




Passing of Thomas Reutter

Received the very sad news that Tommy Reutter passed away. To repeat how I described Tommy in the Acknowledgments section of my book, “Tommy is the definition of gentleman.” I am comforted by an image that comes to mind of Tommy’s wife Dorothy meeting Tommy at Heaven’s Gate and standing behind her are Terry, Leonard, Jerry, Tony, John, Jack, Dell, and all of our deceased Brother Firemen from the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Company.

Goodnight Friend. Rest in peace.


324 Webster Ave. Fire (1969/1970)

My grandparents’ house (Brennan side of the family) at 324 Webster Avenue pops up in some of the scenes in the video that’s featured in the previous post. That was 1967.  The house nearly burned to the ground on New Year’s Eve on December 31, 1969.  Here are the news articles. You can enlarge the images with your mouse.