self-guided
Riverfront Tour - 42 Sites, One Mile

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22 Central Avenue - Davis Drugstore - "The Deli"
This commercial building was originally the Davis Drugstore run by Dr. Davis of Camden in the late 1880's. In 1923, it became Browne's Bakery, selling fancy baked goods. A kitchen was added to the back that was eventually transformed into living quarters. In the 1940's it became a Deli and has remained so. As was the fashion, little ornamentation was used on this commercial building which still retains its original cedar shingles. The Stanwood Store, originally across the street, opened in 1887 and advertised "Everything for the Home, Yacht, Stable or Garden". Later Mr. McKaig, a carpenter, operated a store here where he sold groceries, hardware and coal.

An old postcard, The Deli is on the left, the Sunwood Store or McKaig's is on the right.
18 Central Avenue - The Edwards House
The Edwards House was the residence for Edwin "Eddie" Edwards of the Edwards Stage and Livery down the street. His wife, Sarah Jane Applegate, was a dressmaker. One of their daughters, Olive, became a milliner and operated a hat shop in the front of the house. Across the street there was an A&P grocery store around the turn of the century in what is now an empty lot.This simply designed house with deep gables framing arched windows and gingerbread trim is characteristic of the Carpenter Gothic Style.
A 1996 Photograph

17 Central Avenue - The Hallock House
The second building from the right was built to be the home of Judge Morris Hallock. He was an amateur photographer and used a rear outbuilding as his studio. He later married and moved to 46-48 River Ave., #20 on this tour. The next owners, the Viereck family, managed the movie house across the street, and the famous Viereck's Ice Cream Parlor that was next door to the south, now an empty lot. In 1894 Arthur E. Stokes opened a pool hall in the building that was to become Viereck's Ice Cream Parlor.

14 Central. Avenue - The Mathis Building

Built in 1879, this is the oldest intact storefront in Island Heights. Originally the building functioned as the Edwards Stage and Livery; Mr. Edwards would meet arrivals of the train and transport visitors and their luggage to their destination. The Mathis Store was a branch of The Mathis Company of Toms River selling "drugs, medicines, chemicals, dye-stuffs, fancy articles, brushes, patent medicine, perfume and stationary". Dr. Charles B. Mathis combined with Henry Clay Glover to market Mathis' cure for "mange", a skin disease in dogs, under the name of Glover's Mange Cure. Through the years this building has housed a drugstore, restaurant, confectionery, newsstand, grocery, bakery (the ovens are still in the basement), general store, cigar store, barber shop, ice cream parlor, meeting place, Methodist Church Hall, toy store, antiques emporium, art gallery, florist and craft gallery. The gambrel roof, originally a Dutch Colonial characteristic, was used frequently in Shingle Style buildings such as this one. The gambrel roof allowed for a much roomier upper level than the more steeply pitched roof of the Queen Anne or Gothic Revival Styles.



From left to right in this photo are numbers #5, #6 and #7

12 Central Avenue - Drugstore and Comfort Station
This building is architecturally significant for its Classical Revival features, including a wide cornice. An unusual practical feature is an inverted double roof, intended to catch rainwater. Dr. Henry Hill Davis had a drugstore in this building and Miss Lippincott later had a novelty store. It was at one time owned by the community. It was a "Comfort Station" which was a term used to describe a public restroom. It also had a reading lounge.


10 Central Avenue - The Island Heights Post Office
This building was probably built later than the surrounding buildings and is best remembered for housing the Island Heights Post Office for many years. The right side of the building is an addition.
8 Central Avenue - The Island Heights Movie House
This was originally the location of the Island Heights Movie House run by the Viereck family. The building features an overhang housing the former projection room. It was later an ice cream parlor. A descendant of the Viereck family is the current mayor of Island Heights.
9 Central Avenue - Bogart House

This house was built around 1880 for Rev. John Simpson, an original incorporator of the Island Heights Association and its first Superintendant. He lived here with his family during the early years of the camp meeting. In 1879 he applied to Washington to start a Post Office and he acted as the first postmaster from his house. The house functioned as a transportation hub when Simpson's son would take visitors back and forth across the river before the train came to Island Heights. In 1889 the kitchen housed the first school of 37 children taught by Minnie Simpson Bogart who lived here with her family after her parents moved to Van Sant Avenue to be closer to the Methodist Church. Rev. Simpson was the first pastor after its construction in 1882. (Simpson was also the first mayor of Island Heights after it became a borough.) The window in the front gable of the house is purely ornamental; it is curtained, but has plaster behind it. Down the street on the corner was the Tudor Ice Cream Parlor, which became a popular gathering place.



River Avenue at Central Avenue, Island Heights Pavilion

Originally on this site was a steamboat landing, the structure was more like a long shed. The two story Pavilion was built later. The Pavilion initially housed Sunday evening camp meetings known as "Dock Services". At that time the second floor was accessible by stairs and sitting upstairs watching the boats became a popular activity. The Pavilion was also used for dances with live orchestras and bands, and it became the home of the traditional Labor Day Games. Visitors could come to Island Heights by boat, land at the Pavilion, and go right to the Island House, the first hotel in Island Heights built in 1880. It was located diagonally across from the Pavilion. The hotel later became the Riverview and then the Edgewater Hotel, undergoing several additions, until it burned down in the winter of 1986.


The early steamboat landing building was replaced by the Pavilion

70 River Avenue - The Milne Cottage - "The Island Queen"

This house is presumed to have been completed in 1886 because when the current owners had the cedar roof shingles removed, they found some initials and 1886 carved into the wood. It was probably built for Charles I. Fireng of Camden, the Mime family being the second owners. The house has been named "The Island Queen" by its current owners. This large and complex Queen Anne Style "cottage" was erected after the initial camp meeting era, when grander houses were built. This house includes many Queen Anne devices including a spectacular 3 story octagonal tower, and clearly announces that it comes from wealth and taste, and possibly from the architectural talent of Henry Pettit from Philadelphia who also designed #15 on this tour. The recent efforts of meticulous restoration were rewarded with the Annual Preservation Award from the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

66 River Avenue - The Graw Cottage

Rev. Jacob Graw, founder of the Island Heights Association, built this house in 1879. It was Graw's vision that led to the development of Island Heights. It is featured as the cottage of John G. Vogler, Jr. in a 1888 publication with gingerbread trim and two story porches with decorative railings. It was very common to hang hammocks on the porches even in the smallest of the camp meeting cottages to relax and take in the surroundings. It was remodeled in the 20's and now has a Colonial Revival appearance.

64 River Avenue - Thomas Perrin's Cottage

The house was built around 1879, shortly after the founding of Island Heights, for Prof. Thomas Perrins, Esq. of Girard College in Philadelphia. Originally the house had a full 2 story porch on the south and east sides and gable ornamentation. Perrins also owned the Perennial Hotel which stood on the corner lot next door.

River Avenue - The Island Heights Yacht Club
The original building, built in 1900, was set on pilings in the river and could only be reached by a boardwalk. When the building was expanded to reach the street, the original facade was duplicated. The building has always maintained a Colonial Revival Style with Shingle Style influence. The Yacht Club was organized as a result of a meeting at Arbutus Lodge (#15 on this tour) on July 28, 1898, and its owner, Charles Webb, became the first commodore of the Island Heights Yacht Club. The objectives of the Yacht Club were "to promote yachting and rowing, and to foster athletic sports upon the water." In l899, women were allowed to join as members of the Ladies Auxiliary and in 1982 women were allowed to become full voting members of the Yacht Club. Riparian rights were purchased from Thomas Perrins in 1900 for $100. In 1901 members raced against Bay Head and Seaside Park Yacht Clubs, and in 1914 it was one of the four founding members of the Barnegat Bay Yacht Racing Association. The original burgee seen on the left of the cover was changed in 1901 to the burgee on the right of the cover which is still in use today.



16 Oak Avenue - Johnson Cottage
The back of this Gothic Style cottage was an original camp meeting cottage moved from East Camp Walk and was added on to. According to legend, Mr. Atkinson, who lived in Arbutus Lodge (#15 on this tour), gave this house to his captain/chauffeur, Mr. Ben Johnson, as a wedding present. His daughter, Adelaide Johnson Hintz, remained in the house until she died in the 1980's.

A 1996 photograph

60 River Avenue - Arbutus Lodge
Designed by Philadelphia architect Henry Pettit, designer of the Main Exhibition Hall Building at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876. He built it for himself around 1888, but may have used it for a rooming house. The house was later owned by Charles Webb, the first commodore of the lsland Heights Yacht Club, whose members met here from 1898 until 1900 when the IHYC clubhouse was built across the street. The original table used for the meetings is still used in the house today. Albert Weist Atkinson, from Merchantville, later bought the house. He was one of the founders of the Victor Talking Machine which eventually became RCA Victor. Atkinson too became commodore of the IHYC in 1910. This elegant Queen Anne Style house features oriental motifs, inside and out. This was not common to the vernacular architectural style of island Heights, but it was popular elsewhere during the Victorian era.

A postcard view of Arbutis Lodge

58 River Avenue - T. I. Gifford Cottage
This house, c.1880, has undergone numerous stylistic changes from its inception as Neo-Jacobian to Queen Anne and finally Vernacular Queen Anne with the front porch now enclosed. T.I. Gifford summered here and lived in Camden in the winter where he had two grocery stores. He owned the Maple Inn, one of three hotels in Island Heights. It was located around the corner on Maple Avenue, but it is no longer there. The restaurant was popular not only with the guests, but with the local cottagers as well.

From the Island Heights Herald Illustrated Issue of 1895


56 River Avenue - C. E. Hendrickson House

This house was built around 1880 for Charles Hendrickson, a lay incorporator of the Island Heights Association and in 190 lhe became a New Jersey Supreme Court Justice. Between 1876 and 1887, Hendrickson was a lay delegate to the New Jersey Annual Conference of the Methodist Church. He also was one of the authors of the Methodist Hymnal. One of his descendants still lives in town. In 1886 the house was sold to William Lodge who, in 1888, became the second mayor of the borough of Island Heights. Most of the original ornamentation has been changed and the riverside tower removed, but the house still retains elements of the Vernacular Queen Anne Style.

54 River Avenue - Van Sant Cottage
Built in 1878, this was the first substantial cottage erected outside of the camp meeting cottages. It was built for Rev. Samuel Van Sant, one of the original incorporating clergy of the Island Heights Association and its Vice President. It was the first house with a basement and legend states that an Indian skull was found during excavation. The "privy" was built in the back, which was typical of the period. One of their sons, Howard Van Sant, operated a Real Estate and Insurance office on Central Avenue in Island Heights. Howard also wrote a book entitled, Barnegat Pirates. The widowed Susannah Van Sant sold the house to the Gardner family furnished, in 1898, and the house had been passed through the women in the family until 1997. The postcard above shows how the house was altered from the Carpenter Gothic Style to the Stick Style.


52 River Avenue - Van Sciver Cottage

This c. 1890 house was possibly built for a Mr. Price as mentioned in a booklet entitled Island Heights and Windsor Park 1888. (published in 1888) but it is known for owner Van Sciver, the Philadelphia furniture magnate. The house is very well designed, possibly by an architect, because there is a view of the river from every room. The original carriage house is now a separate dwelling at 17 Maple Avenue.

This postcard has, from left to right, #19, #18, #17, #16 and #15. See also the picture accompanying #17.


48 River Avenue - Gowdy/ R. Shoemaker Double House
This unusual double house was built around 1879 by James Gowdy, one of the founders of the Island Heights Association who was a resident of Toms River and had a real estate office there. Originally the two sides were nearly identical with both entrances facing the south. At one point there was a fire on the eastern side, and in the 1920's the western side was modernized, in the Colonial Revival Style accounting for the present differences. Judge Morris Hallock moved here from Central Avenue after he married a wife 42 years his junior. In 1882, she used it as a "private rest retreat" for semi-invalids, convalescents and nervous patients. The ornamentation is gone, but the original varied gabled dormers remain.


42 River Avenue - Adam Augustus Wood House
This is a rare example of a fully developed Bungalow Style house in Island Heights. It was built around 1910 for Adam Augustus "Gus" Wood who was a Philadelphia interior designer. His wife, Anne Brancato Wood, was the first woman to be elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature (1932) and first female Speaker of the House.