PINE BEACH HISTORY (condensed from Pine Beach Yesterdays by Stanley A.. Heatley)
During the summer of 1908, Robert M. Horter, while vacationing at the Windward Yacht Club in Riverbank, learned the wooded acreage destined to become Pine Beach was for sale. The price was $10,000. The railroad from Philadelphia to Bay Head, with its Island Heights junction station, bisected the tract which extended from the river to the state highway.
By the time he returned to Philadelphia, Horter envisioned a restricted summer colony of waterfront cottages. George Kelly a wealthy Philadelphia department store owner became interested and agreed to finance the venture.
In 1909 Horter’s dream crystallized with the formation of the Pine Beach Improvement Company. Surveys and maps laying out the streets were completed quickly. Easter Sunday, April 11, 1909 marked the arrival of the first special train, loaded with free-riding prospective buyers. The train switched over to the Island Heights branch, parked on the middle of the trestle crossing the river long enough for its passengers to absorb the panoramic view and for Horter to give a sales talk to his captive group of customers. By the year’s end, 109 deeds had been recorded and 22 dwellings had been built. In 1910, the Pine Beach Inn, a 75-room hotel, was built.
Pine Beach continued as a part of Berkeley Township for 15 years, with its few voters put to the inconvenience of traveling down to Bayville each election to cast their ballots for native office holders who had little interest in summer folk beyond their taxes.
Over the years, the Pine Beach property owners had come to realize they were not getting an adequate return for their tax dollars. Streets were going from bad to worse, street lighting was inadequate; police and fire protection were nil; garbage and rubbish were buried in the back yard. These were some of the factors which brought about the decision of the Pine Beach Lot Owners Association that the time come for Pine Beach to become a Borough.
A referendum was held on March 27, 1925 and with a vote of 63 in favor, 16 against, Pine Beach became a Borough. The referendum was followed by a special election on April 21, 1925 to select the new Borough officers who were to serve through the balance of the year. Of the 95 ballots cast, 4 were rejected. The winning candidates were:
The newly elected officers met and organized on April 27, 1925 at the Pine Beach Yacht Club. What the freshmen Mayor and Council lacked in experience in public office, they made up for in sound business judgment and a selfless interest in their new responsibilities.
THEM WAS THE DAYS
A personal memoir by Allan Lake Rice circ 1910
Ever wonder what it was like, back at the beginning when Pine Beach and the century were both young?
I went there first as a four-year-old, to spend the Fourth of July at Pine Beach Inn, now Admiral Farragut Academy, just opened as one of the flashy resort hotels of the Jersey Coast. It was a top-flight hostelry and it was jammed.
Dad was beaming from ear to ear at the beauty of the river, and remarked about it to a dour native who was stolidly chewing a straw. The dour one calmly removed his straw hat and spat.
“Wa-al, she’s a nice stretch o’watter, but they hain’t no feesh into her”