Ocean City Excursion Company signed by Wesley Lake(co founder of Ocean City) - New Jersey 1887

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Beautifully engraved certificate from Ocean City Excursion Company issued in 1887. This historic document was printed by the Craig, Finley & Co., PRS., 1020 Arch St., Phila. and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of a train chugging through the oceanside. This item has the handwritten signatures of the Company's V. President, S. Wesley Lake, Treasurer, G. E. Pallen and Secretary; and is over 124 years old.
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Certificate Vignette
The Ocean City Excursion Company built the Ocean City Excursion House which was the first amusement house. The Excursion House opened on the beach at 11th Street. And Ocean City promotional piece described the city's first amusement house as follows: "This new and attractive building is complete in its appurtenances and the coming season bids fair to be a grand success. No pains have been spared to add to the pleasure and comfort of the excursionists. It is located directly on the beach, and has in connection with it a first-class bathing establishment. Dinners, lunches and refreshments are served at reasonable prices. Merry-go-rounds and swings are provided for the children, while the older folks can secure roomy and safe yachts in charge of competent captains at prices that won't scare those of moderate means."
Wesley Lake's brother, Simon, was also the inventor of the submarine. The brothers built the first highway and bridge to Atlantic City and were instrumental in having the first railroads established in Ocean City and Atlantic City.
Ocean City: The First 25 Years By Fred Miller (This article first appeared in the Ocean City Sentinel Spring Edition, Thursday, April 18, 2002) Note: Fred Miller is a local Ocean City Historian, trustee of the Historical Museum, trustee of the Ocean City Lifesaving Museum and member of the Ocean City Historic Preservation Commission. OCEAN CITY - Anniversaries and history go together. In 20 months, Ocean City will begin a year-long celebration of the 125th anniversary of its founding. This is a good time to look back at our island's history as we look forward to 2004. Today we will take a year-by-year trip through Ocean City's early days - from the Lake Brothers' landing in 1879 to S. Wesley Lake's speech at the City's 25th anniversary celebration. Stop by the Ocean City Historical Museum, 1735 Simpson Avenue, to see even more local history. Spring hours are 1-4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. 1879 September 10, S. Wesley Lake, Ezra B. Lake, James E. Lake, and William H. Burrell with his prayer to God dedicated this island (then known as Peck's Beach) as a Christian seaside resort. October 20, the Honorable Simon Lake and William B. Wood joined them in incorporating the Ocean City Association. They renamed the island New Brighton. A month later they decided to call the island Ocean City. William Lake began surveying the island for the Ocean City Association. 1880 The population of America was 50,155,783; there were less than 100 people living in the city. Rutherford B. Hayes was President of the United States (there were 38 states) of America. Ezra B. Lake was Superintendent of the Ocean City Association. The Pleasantville and Ocean City Rail Road Company was organized and a rail road was built from Pleasantville to Somers Point. A steamboat would ferry passengers to the Second Street wharf in Ocean City. A boardwalk was built from the Second Street wharf to Fourth Street and West Avenue. The Boyle brothers, William and Albert, published the Ocean City Sentinel. (The Ocean City Sentinel is still published and printed in-Ocean City 122 years later. The Spring Edition is published on the annual anniversary of the newspaper.) The Ocean House, a large hotel, was built on the corner of 7th Street and Ocean Avenue. It was renamed the Hotel Brighton. The first sale of lots occurred in May. On October 26, the total number of buildings on the island was 51. The first school was established. Classes, conducted by Anna Bartine, were held in the Ocean City Association Office at 6th Street and Asbury Avenue. 1881 The following were the officers and managers of the Ocean City Association: Rev. William B. Wood, Rev. William H. Burrell, the Honorable Simon Lake, Charles Mathews, Rev. Ezra B. Lake, Rev. William E. Boyle, Charles Mathews Jr., and Rev. James E. Lake. March 2, the U.S. Post Office in Ocean City opened for the first day of business in the Ocean City Association office at the southeast corner of 6th Street and Asbury Avenue. William H. Burrell was appointed postmaster. The Honorable Simon Lake died on November 28. The following were appointed police officers: James Scull, Benjamin Newkirk; Thomas Parks, Thomas L. Lee and Jacob Wolf. July 5, the following ordinance was adopted: Be It Ordained by the City Association: That Sea or Bay bathing in the nude state is strictly prohibited between the hours of 5 a.m. and 11 p.m., and at no time shall it be allowed north of Tenth Street. Other ordinances adopted that day forbid bathing on Sunday, prohibited riding or driving on Sunday, regulated and prescribed assessments on businesses. 1882 The first schoolhouse was built on Central Avenue between 8th and 9th streets. Rev. William B. Wood, president of the Ocean City Association wrote the following about the new school: "It is said to be one of the best in the country. Mattie Boyle was in charge of the new school. July 30, George G. Lennig was arrested by Officer Benjamin Newkirk for bathing on Sunday. The Third Annual Report of the Ocean City Association reported the progress that was taking place: "The work of improvement, in the erection of cottages and other buildings, has continued. The number of buildings of all kinds, may be sat down as follows: 112 houses (including private and boarding cottages), 26 barns and stables; 4 hotels, 1 auditorium, 1 association office, 1 public school building, 1 drug store, 2 meat markets, 1 bakery, 3 restaurants, 2 real estate offices, 3 general stores, 1 barber shop, 1 post office, 1 paint shop, 1 wheelwright shop, 1 blacksmith shop, 1 printing office, 2 public halls, 2 photograph galleries, 3 bathing establishments, 3 life-saving stations, 1 coal yard, 1 lumber yard, 1 lime, brick and cement, 4 public "commodes." The total number of buildings was 178, an increase of 41 since 1881. 1883 William Wood described the city's first road to the mainland as follows: "It is a little over two miles in length, connecting Ocean City with the shore road leading from Beesley's Point to Cape May City. The thoroughfare is spanned by a good bridge containing a draw, at which is erected a suitable house for the accommodation of the toll-keeper." It was located at 34th Street. John Christopher Lake built an iron foundry on West Avenue between 10th and 11th streets. The foundry employed 25 people including his son, Simon. The total number of buildings on the island was 211, an increase of 33 since 1882. 1884 On April 30, Ocean City was incorporated as a borough, Gainer E. Moore was elected mayor; Parker Miller, Enoch Green, Correll Doughty and William H. Burrell were elected councilmen. The West Jersey Railroad began train service into Ocean City. The train came from Sea Isle City entering Ocean City from the south and proceeded north along West Avenue to 2nd Street. 1885 The Fifth Annual Report of the Ocean City Association reported on the city's traveling facilities: "Three routes will be available this season: Philadelphia to Atlantic City, to Longport, steamboat to Ocean City; Philadelphia to Somers Point, steamboat to Ocean City; All-rail route - Philadelphia to Ocean City, via Sea Isle." An ordinance was passed by the city council making it unlawful to bathe along the oceanfront on Sundays. August 19 to 23; City hosted the Temperance Convention. The September 17 issue of the Ocean City Sentinel reported: "One of the finest life-saving stations along the Atlantic Coast will be built on the corner of 4th Street and Atlantic Avenue at a cost of $6000." The new station would replace the original station on 5th Street and Ocean Avenue. A Boardwalk was built along the beachfront. 1886 The Excursion House opened on the beach at 11th Street. And Ocean City promotional piece described the city's first amusement house as follows: "This new and attractive building is complete in its appurtenances and the coming season bids fair to be a grand success. No pains have been spared to add to the pleasure and comfort of the excursionists. It is located directly on the beach, and has in connection with it a first-class bathing establishment. Dinners, lunches and refreshments are served at reasonable prices. Merry-go-rounds and swings are provided for the children, while the older folks can secure roomy and safe yachts in charge of competent captains at prices that won't scare those of moderate means." 1887 On March 12, the Ocean City Building and Loan Association incorporated. The association started with 23 members and 57 shares of stock. Gainer P Moore was president. William B. Wood, president of the Ocean City Association, summarized the summer of 1887 as follows: "The summer was very favorable; the bathing unsurpassed; fewer mosquitoes, and more people than ever before, and the season may be sat down as a red letter season. But one thing occurred to mar the satisfaction of the season, the unwise and unjustified action of Borough Council in removing the restriction upon Sunday bathing." 1888 J.B. Graw, president of the Ocean City Association, took a look back at the city history: "In the spring of 1880 there was but one house on Peck's Beach, save the three Life Saving Stations. The changes since then have been remarkable. Now there are miles of nicely graded avenues and graveled sidewalks, and one hundred and sixty cottages, three large hotels, some of which are open all the year, four general stores, one bakery, printing office, drug store, hardware, barber shops, and many other shops and business places kept by men who cater to the wants of the public. The public school, which cost $6,000, is a monument to the enterprise of the place. The local church (Methodist Episcopal) was organized in October 1880, with a membership of 23. It now has 60 members, and pays a salary of $720. 1889 Gainer P. Moore was reelected mayor on March 11, but a month later, he ran again and lost. On March 29, an election was held for the re-incorporation of Ocean City in compliance with an Act to Incorporate Boroughs. Having so voted, it was necessary to hold another election. This time, on April 9, the voters of Ocean City elected Dr. James E. Pryor mayor. The following is from the Ninth Annual Report of the Ocean City Association: "There never was a better time to buy lots at Ocean City than the present. The fever of speculation has passed, prices are low, but firm, with an upward tendency. Those who invest now will secure large returns. There is considerable building in progress and the outlook was never so promising before." 1890 According to the federal census the population of America was 62,947,714; Ocean City 452. Benjamin Harrison was president of the United States (42 states). Dr. James E. Pryor was the mayor of Ocean City and the councilmen were: Hiram Steelman, Arthur D. Barrows, Jess Conver and John Brower. Ocean City's first firefighters incorporated on March 19 at a meeting held in the school on Central Avenue. It was called Volunteer Hook and Ladder Company Number 1. Gainer P. Moore, an architect and builder, advertised in the Ocean City Sentinel: "Particular attention given to Queen Anne and the better class of cottages." 1891 St. Peter's Methodist Episcopal Church, on the corner of Eighth Street and Central Avenue, was dedicated. An Ocean City promotional included the following statement: "A striking peculiarity of this 'city by the sea' is that there are no liquor saloons or places of a questionable character within its bounds. The sale of liquor is forever prohibited, and as a result the best classes of people are drawn here, and disorder and drunkenness are unknown." The I.G. Adams pavilion, at Ninth Street and the Boardwalk, was a popular family amusement center. 1892 The first Ocean City Guide Book and Directory was published by Mary Townsend Rush. The book contained "A list of permanent and temporary residents, street directory, societies, religious services, historical and biographical sketches, railroad and steamboat timetables, etc." The graduates of Ocean City Public Schools were: William E. Massey, Jennie Massey, Wilton H. Willitts, Corina Sutton and Alice Risley. 1893 "A Destructive Fire" was the headline in the June 15 issue of the Ocean City Sentinel. The article, which reported the loss of the popular Adams amusement center, reported, "This was the most disastrous conflagration which has ever visited Ocean City." Railroad facilities were reported in the Ocean City Guide Book: "An electric railroad went into operation July 4, 1893. The tracks extend along Seventeenth street and Central Avenue to First Street; thence across the island, in full view of the Inlet, to the opposite side, where they terminate at the pier of the Atlantic Coast Company, at Second street, on Great Egg Harbor Bay. Several routes by steam railway are available in reaching Ocean City from Philadelphia and New York. The West Jersey Railroad and the Reading Railroad, by way of Atlantic City and Longport, thence by steamer across the bay; and the South Jersey, by way of Sea Isle City." William Lake and Harry Reinhart led a movement to establish a permanent department and it happened June 23 when the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company Number One was formed. On July 3, R. Curtis Robinson, editor and proprietor of the Ocean City Sentinel, published the city's first daily newspaper, the Ocean City Daily Reporter. It was issued every afternoon (Sunday excepted) during July and August. 1894 The mayoralty election between H.G. Steelman and Robert Fisher ended in a tie. City Council chose Steelman and he served for the first year, but Fisher went to court to contest the choice, and he was allowed to serve the remaining years starting March 8,1895. Ezra B. Lake was president of Electric Railway Company, president of the Electric Light Company, and president of the Sewerage Company. Simon Lake built his first submarine, Argonaut Jr. It was a 14-foot boxy wagon made of yellow pine with wheels for driving on the ocean floor. 1895 Ocean City advertised itself as "A Moral Seaside Resort; Not Excelled as a health Restorer." Tourists had a choice of many hotels including the following: Brighton (capacity 250), Strand (200), Traymore (150), Emmett (100), Illonois (100), Lafayette (100), Wesley House (75), and Vandalia (75). 1896 The demand for beach safety was led by the Ocean. City Sentinel, which editorialized on July 30 under the headline "The Life-Guard Question." "Two sad drownings within four days should cause something 'to be done immediately toward establishing life-boats along the beach: What we need are life-guards and boats, and now let some of our public-spirited citizens take the matter in hand, and see that they are immediately established." Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company Number One built a two-story firehouse on Ninth Street near Asbury Avenue. It had a bell tower which was rung when there was a fire to call the firemen to duty. 1897 "A New Masonic Lodge" was the headline in the March 4 issue of the Ocean City Sentinel. The article began, "Thursday last was a red-letter day among the Masonic fraternity of South Jersey, the occasion being the constitution of Ocean City Lodge, No. 171, F.&A.M." Ocean City was incorporated as a city on March 25. On April 13, Wesley C. Smith was elected mayor and James M. Chester, Richard Sooy, Nicholas Corson, Hiram Steelman, George M. Breckley, Harry Headley and James F. Hand were elected to city council. The Ocean City Ledger published its first newspaper on August 21. Simon Lake designed and built Argonaut I, which was the first submarine to navigate in open waters when it traveled from Norfolk, Virginia to New York City. 1898 A promotional piece bragged about City's new Boardwalk: "This walk, which is twenty-four feet wide, about three feet higher than the old walk, with a fine, substantial railing nearly three-feet high, the one at Atlantic City alone outrivaling it." The boardwalk, with a fine, substantial railing nearly three feet high, is one of the finest on the Atlantic coast, the one at Atlantic City alone outrivaling it." Harvey Lake owned the first automobile in Cape May County. The South Jersey Railroad began regular rain service into Ocean City. The train came from Tuckahoe and entered Ocean City at 52nd Street and continued south on Haven Avenue. As the summer of '98 was drawing to a close, a reporter from the Ocean City Daily Reporter asked Ezra B. Lake to give his thoughts on the season. He gladly gave them: "This has been a great season for Ocean City, and the biggest throngs on record have come here. A gratifying feature was the satisfaction with the resort, which nearly all the visitors expressed. A vast number of people came who were never here before, but who will return next year, and bring others with them. Our business has been very heavy, and the electric cars carried thousands and thousands of people. Trolley excursions became very popular, and there were few visitors who did not take an evening ride down to 59th Street. I look for a still greater season next year." 1899 Councilman Joseph F. Hand introduced an ordinance establishing and regulating the city's fire department and City Council adopted the fire ordinance on March 15. It provided the much needed financial support and authorized the city to pay two members of the fire department. The federal government built almost identical U.S. Life Saving Service stations on the beach at 36th and 59th streets. The stations replaced small structures built in 1871. "The New Pier Opened" was the headline on the front page of the July 5 Ocean City Daily Reporter. The article told of the successful opening of the 625-foot long ocean pier located between 10th and 11th streets. The concert pavilion advertised it could accommodate 2500 people. "Lifeguard A. Smith Saves Two Lives Within an Hour" was the headline in the August 18 issue of the Ocean City Daily Reporter, and the first paragraph reported, "Life Guard Alfred Smith had his first work this season to do this morning. That he is fitted for his position is evidenced by the fact that two people are now in good health, who otherwise would be corpses." The dramatic rescues earned Life Guard Smith a medal from Mayor Wesley C. Smith. 1900 The population of America was 75,212,168; Ocean City 1,307. William McKinley was president of the United States (45 states). Wesley C. Smith was the mayor of Ocean City; William K. Williamson was president of city council; and Hiram Steelman, Joseph F. Hand, Mark Lake, R.B. Stites, Arthur D. Barrows and Thomas J. Thorn were other members of council. On May 12, the following was recorded in the Ocean City Police Department Logbook: "Thomas Naly of N.Y. was the first one locked up in the new lock up. He was a tramp." The new Casino Pier at Ninth Street was the talk of Ocean City as the summer began. It stretched seaward a length of 700 feet from the boardwalk. At the end was the lofty Casino 125 feet in length by 75 feet in width and 40 feet high. It had a seating capacity of 2,000. The manager, Harry Headley, boasted, "When lighted up at night it has the appearance of a fairy palace rising out of the ocean and 1500 incandescent lights make a brilliant display." On August 7, Rev. Ezra B. Lake died after a short illness at the age of 66. Rev Lake was a founder of Ocean City and the most responsible for its early development. "Life Guard Foster Presented With a Silver Medal For Heroism" was a headline on the front page of Ocean City Daily Reporter, August 25. The article began: "A special meeting of the city council was held last night for the purpose of presenting Life Guard Foster with the silver medal which was awarded him for heroism displayed on the beach, July 31, when he risked his life to save that of others." The Excursion House, the most popular amusement center on the boardwalk since 1886, was destroyed by fire on September 9. On November 7, Lewis M. Cresse became the first person from Ocean City to be elected to the New Jersey Assembly. 1901 The Ocean City Sentinel and Daily Reporter moved into their new building at 744-46 Asbury Avenue. The Ocean City Yacht Club was incorporated taking over the Holiday Yacht Club, which was organized in 1899. The following graduated from Ocean City High School on May 23: Lyndon Risley Ang, Anna Mabel Champion, Bertram Myers Darby, Morgan Cresse Hand Jr., Julia Blanche Kalbach, Parker Scull Miller, Jr., Mary Sanino Pontiere, Bertha Ella Sampson, Harriet Mattie Schurch, Katherine Grace Scull, Hiram Steelman Jr., Margaret Robinson Smith, Bertie Lorena Stites, and Alice May Watson. On August 10, Leo Bamberger and John Glaspell held what they called "Ocean City's First Baby Show." A front page article in the August 12 issue of the Ocean City Daily Reporter reported, "The baby show on the Casino Pier Saturday was a success in every way and proved the greatest attraction that has yet been provided for summer visitors." Simon Lake designed and built the Protector. This submarine was 75-feet long and was capable of diving to 150 feet. On September 14, the people of Ocean City were shocked and saddened to hear President McKinley had died of gangrene. He had been shot by an anarchist in Buffalo, N.Y., on September 6. "Bark Sindia a Wreck" was the headline of the December 19 issue of the Ocean City Sentinel. The first paragraph told the story: "The four-masted bark Sindia, of London, England, owned by John D. Rockefeller, of the Standard Oil Company and in the command of Captain John MacKenzie, came ashore opposite Sixteenth street this city, about 3 o'clock Sunday morning during a heavy storm, the wind blowing a gale from the southeast. The ill-fated craft sailed from Cobin, Japan, on July 9th last, bound to New York, and was laden with a valuable cargo, consisting of 15,000 gallons of camphor oil, and soil, bamboo furniture, China and Japanese goods for the Christmas trade." The November 7 issue of the Ocean City Sentinel reported "Joseph G. Champion, elected Mayor of this city on the Republican ticket." The death of Parker Miller was reported in the December 26 issue of the Ocean City Sentinel. Miller was a resident on this barrier island since 1859. He was 76 years old. 1902 The First National Bank of Ocean City, Eighth Street and Asbury Avenue, commenced business on January 1. "Ex-Mayor Moore's Death" was the headline in the May 8 issue of the Ocean City Sentinel. A smaller headline reported, "Was Mayor Over Nine Years and President of the Building and Loan Association from the Time of Its Organization - Other Positions Held." Free delivery of the mail began region on July 18. The Bathing Robes ordinance was adopted on August 1: "Be it ordained by the Common Council of the City of Ocean City, that no person or persons shall travel in or upon any of the streets on alleys of the City of Ocean City in abbreviated bathing robes, suits or other costumes of a similar nature, unless a suitable robe or covering shall be worn over said bathing robes or suits to properly cover their persons from public view." 1903 The following is from an Ocean City promotional booklet: "Within a generation the surf-swept coast of New Jersey, south from the time-honored resort of Long Branch to Cape May, has become the greatest summer region in the world. Among the numerous communities which have come into existence upon the sands none have proven more uniformly profitable to investors or offer at the present time such assured profits for the future. "The projectors of this ideal community struck their first spade into the earth here upon October 20, 1879, Atlantic City, at the time, reached the present age of Ocean City, but no one would venture to compare Atlantic City of 24 years ago with clean, spacious, orderly and thoroughly equipped Ocean City of 1903." On November 3, Lewis M. Cresse, Republican candidate for the State Senate, was elected. 1904 First-class amusement for the summer of 1904 was promised by the acquisition of both the Casino Pier and Myers' Pier by Captain John L. Young. Improvements to the former structure, which was renamed Young's Pier, were estimated at $8,000. On Saturday, October 29, Ocean City High School's football team traveled to Woodbine to play De Hirsh School. It was Ocean City's first football game. They lost 45-0. "Silver Jubilee of Ocean City; Founders' Day is Fittingly Observed and Hundreds Take Part in Exercise" was the front-page headline of the August 25 issue of the Ocean City Sentinel. S. Wesley Lake, President of the Ocean City Association and one of the six founders, was the main speaker and he discussed the history of Ocean City. History from Wikipedia and OldCompany.com (old stock certificate research service).