“350 YEARS OF (FUN) NJ HISTORY” book: AMERICA’S FIRST TRAFFIC CIRCLE

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This year marks our state’s sesquicentennial – its 350th year since being founded in 1664.

To commemorate this milestone Harry Ziegler, author-historian originally from Neptune, along with his colleagues James Madden and Joseph Bilby compiled a quick and interesting new paperback book summarizing New Jersey’s history, “350 Years of New Jersey History: from Stuyvesant to Sandy.”

What makes this book special and sets it apart from a dry history book are the quirky events highlighted, like the opening of America’s first traffic circle in Pennsauken.

I promise you will enjoy the more than 350 trials and triumphs included in this new paperback. Read on for some of the many area highlights included in “350 Years of New Jersey History”:

  • 1873 the first hotel was opened in Asbury Park.
  • September 19, 1881, President James Garfield died in Elberon as the result of faulty medical treatment for a gunshot wound.
  • In 1883, up to 103 trains each day were stopping at the Ocean Grove / Asbury Park train station during the summer. A result of the “booming” economy post-Civil War era.
  • In 1922, Lionel Corporation, the world’s biggest maker of toy electric trains, used the just-completed Beaux-Arts Asbury Park train station as a model for a miniature replica sold with train sets.
  • At a gala attended by more than 500 movers and shakers in 1925, businessman Arthur C. Steinbach presented his plans for the Berkeley Carteret hotel. Designed by noted New York architect Warren Whitney the hotel epitomized elegant vacationing in its time.
  • February 28, 1942 the Shark River Lifeboat Station was the first to respond to the torpedoed SS R.P. Resor. Only two men survived.
  • In 1951, the Molly Pitcher Handicap at Monmouth Par became the first televised horse race.
  • August 21, 1960, John Brodeur visited the Stockton Hotel in Sea Girt. While body-surfing, he was attacked by a shark and taken to Jersey Shore Hospital. He lost his leg below the knee. The next day, a 14 year old boy was attacked by shark in Seaside Park. The incidents became the first documented shark attacks since 1916 and reportedly the inspiration for the book “Jaws.” We all know what happened from there.
  • In 1967, the state Supreme Court made gay rights history by reversing a local court ruling that permitted the Alcoholic Beverage Commission to close down a bar for allowing the “congregation of homosexuals.”
  • In 1968, Tom and Margaret Potter opened up the Upstage Club on Cookman Avenue which became a showcase for musicians including Bruce Springsteen and his earliest band mates, drummer Vini Lopez and guitarist Steve Van Zandt.
  • In 1974, the Mayfair Theater, the 1920’s movie palace that epitomized the heyday of silent and early talking films was razed, despite efforts to save it.
  • One more about Springsteen: August 25, 1975, marked the date of the release of “Born to Run.”

“350 Years of New Jersey History” is available on Amazon and bookstores everywhere.

Richard@TheBPlot.com

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