Wildwood holds a prestigious place in history as an award-winning participant in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day. The string band was comprised of 50 members from the Quaker City String Band and 40 men from Wildwood. They debuted as “The Bathing Beauties” in 1924. Andy Oakley was the Captain. In 1925, with 99 members, they placed fourth. In 1926 with 105 men, they placed third. That summer, Wildwood hosted four Philadelphia string bands. In 1927, with 122 men, they placed second with a money prize.
Photo Courtesy of The Wildwood Historical Society
The Philadelphia Inquirer posted, “The Wildwood String Band outdid anything that has been seen on Broad Street in some years.” They were the first band outside of Philadelphia that had done that well. They continued in second place for the next two years. In 1930 they placed third.
In 1931, in order to increase their chances of winning first place, they changed their name to the Philadelphia String Band. In 1932, they disbanded. In 1951, Wildwood was unsuccessful reviving the band. It only attracted 68 members. They proceeded broadcasting every Sunday night from 8:00-8:30 on station WMID.
In 1984, the Wildwood String Band with Frank Inverso as Captain, made a return debut after being silent for 52 years. They played in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987 placing 24th.
If you’re ever in need of an off-season Mummers fix, North Wildwood holds an annual Mummers String Band Weekend. You can also find Mummer String Bands performing on the Boardwalk as part of the Wildwood Nightly Boardwalk Entertainment.
Research and pictures were from The Wildwood Historical Society, Inc. George F. Boyer Museum, and research from
The first structure at 22nd St. and the boardwalk was the Ocean Point Pier. It was built in 1930, was a 300 ft. long fishing, and was home to the North Wildwood Fishing Club. It housed a bait stand on the ocean side and a pavilion midway on the pier. The Great Nor’easter of 1962 destroyed the pier. The club raised money and rebuilt it. Due to the changing tides and beach length, it failed as a fishing pier.
In 1987, the pier was knocked down and by 1988 it was rebuilt as Seaport Village, housing many a shop and entertainment areas. 2004 was the last time the pier was opened. In 2008, the pier was demolished. The N.W. police had a presence there as well as a rest station for visitors.
Today, Seaport Village will transform into a year-round destination called Seaport Pier. It will house an upscale coffee bar, restaurant, swim club and a small concert area venue. Approved by the planning board, the construction should begin in early 2018, with an open date in late May 2018.
All content and photos courtesy of the Wildwood Historical Society
The Wildwoods have come a long way from the majestic homes and hotels of the 1800’s, the 50’s era DooWop, to the homes of today. The Anglesea Hotel was the first hotel in the borough of Anglesea, built in 1880, and destroyed by a fire 15 years later. In 1885, the Hereford House was built. Wildwood’s first hotel was The Inlet House, built in the 1880s on what is now Rio Grande Avenue.
We jump to the post-war boom that produced the “Doo Wop,” “Googie,” “Populux” futuristic architecture. The Caribbean Motel was built in 1957 by Lou Morey. It’s known for its curving “Jetson” ramp, crescent shape pool, the island’s first plastic palm trees, and the oversized rooftop neon sign. North Wildwood had the Chateau Bleu Motel built by Morey in 1962. It’s known for the Doo Wop architecture, heart-shaped pool, and large Marquee sign. Many more popped up all over the Wildwoods.
One more that stands out in my memory as being as luxurious as any Hollywood motel, was the Thunderbird Inn, est.1953. Now that was a destination! More on that in future posts. The tragedy is how rapidly many of the motels came down to make way for the condos of today.
If returning to the same rental, or your home, it was exciting to explore to find out if an item you hid or buried, from the year before was still there. The anticipation was exhilarating!
I bet your childhood memories revolve around the summers spent in the Wildwoods and the places you stayed. In pics and/or words, tell us about your stay and the memories you made.
The Wildwood Nostalgia Series #2
On arrival to the Wildwoods, it was customary to unpack, set up housekeeping and then go directly to the beach. Even dating back to the original Ketchemeche and Lenni Lenape Tribe, the beach, ocean, salt air and cooling breezes along with plentiful fish had amazing healing restorative powers to refresh. Note the picture of Dr. Miller’s family in 1898 frolicking on the beach. They came for the same reason. Now that must have been one heck of a laundry day with those cumbersome bathing suits!
Spending summers in the Wildwoods meant the beginning or renewing of summer friendships, endless hours on the beach digging holes, making sandcastles, collecting shells, swimming and playing a variety of games. There was something for all ages. Lifeguards were there for our protection. Mom packed a picnic lunch and you learned at a young age how to protect your food from the sea gulls. The Fudgy Wudgy ice cream man provided dessert. Dad recorded it all on film, so we could tearfully watch it during the winter months. Each beach day provided us with new memories. We truly wanted it to be the endless summer.
What brought you to the Wildwoods? What was the first thing your family did on arrival?
Content courtesy of the Wildwood Historical Society – George F. Boyer Museum
We are proud to announce that we have hired a researcher and writer Helene Marley. She is writing a series about the nostalgia of the island. The Wildwood Nostalgia Series starts by coming into North Wildwood and takes you back to what we did on vacation in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s. Please follow us as we bring back memories from the best times of your life in text and pictures.
The Wildwood Nostalgia Series #1
The best memories of many a childhood revolved around the summer vacation “down the shore”. To most of us from the Tri-State region, that meant “The Wildwoods”. Whether it was a day trip, a weekend, a week, a month or the entire summer, going to the Wildwoods was the most anticipated event of the year.
With the school year ended, Dad and Mom packed the car with the family and luggage for the road trip. The excitement mounted the closer the car got to the Wildwoods. First came the Fishing Shacks on stilts along Beach Creek. The 1919 Beach Creek Bridge was in sight along with the Coppertone billboard. As we passed over the bridge, we heard the sounds of the clickety-clack of each raised board bouncing under the tires. We always wondered if we would make it over the rickety bridge to make new friends and memories.
Post your favorite memory of the fishing shacks and rickety bridge.
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Photos and content compliments of The Wildwood Historical Society.