Written by Mike Cincotta
Reprinted here with the permission of the Margate City Historical Society
Volume 2 Number 4 Fall 1998
In February, 1923, a letter was sent to interested fishermen advising them of the meeting to be held later that month for the purpose of adopting a constitution and By-Laws for the Angler's Club of Absecon Island.
There were some twenty members of the original group which included Dr. H. Johnson Held, Henry W. Stelwagon, and H. Willard Shaner. The motivating force of the endeavor, ,000, was realized through bonds privately sold for the purchase of four lots with riprarian rights on the block at the ocean and Essex Ave. The lots were purchased for ,000 and the remaining ,000 was set aside for the construction of a pier.
After having obtained approval for the pier's construction from the New Jersey Board of Commerce and Navigation, The Army Corp. of Engineers, and the Commissioners of the City of Margate, a contractor was engaged to drive pilings and begin construction. Elmer Einwachter, a club member, built the original Club House.
Three years later, the four lots previously purchased were sold for ,000. From this sale, the proceeds were used to pay off the Club's mortgages. A mortgage burning ceremony was held, with Mrs. Henry Stelwagon, the wife of the club president starting the bonfire.
If the example set by these dedicated men is followed by all of us, we then can go forward for the next 50 years with joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of our mission "For the Glory of the Sport."
Reprinted here with the permission of the Margate City Historical Society
Margate made an early commitment to solidify the beach patrol of its new town. By the year 1920 there were seven lifeguards protecting the beaches.The force grew to nine in 1923 and was led by Captain Frank Chatterton. A former captain in both Atlantic City and Ventnor, Henry Taviano began his ten year captaincy in 1926. Under his command the first beach doctor employed in 1935, and by 1939, there were 14 lifeguards.
It was during this era that several patrols, each experiencing growth, began competing in swimming and rowing races. The first South Jersey Lifeguard Championships were held in 1924. By the mid 1930's Margate enhanced its participation in competition, eventually taking part in the National Lifeguard Competition in Atlantic City on August 26, 1936. Frank Bader took the helm as Captain from 1936-1941, helping to guide the Margate City Beach Patrol into a new era.
With the assistance of his rowing partner, Pete Glick, Graves established the now-prestigious Margate Memorial Surf Boat Races to honor the brave Margate heros who gave their lives in World War II. The first Margate Memorial Race was held on September 6, 1946 on the Granville Avenue beach. Fittingly it was Graves and Glick who rowed in that first-ever Margate Memorial doubles race. The singles rower for Margate that afternoon was Tom Christensen, who in later years, would go on to win both South Jersey and Margate Memorial Titles. Participating in the inaugural race motivated Christensen so much tat the next year he teamed up with Joe Smathers to give Margate its first-ever win in the South Jerseys.
But Graves left the beach patrol in 1948, naming Pete Glick as the captain. It was a position that Glick would hold for 20 of the next 21 years. Margate won its first Margate Memorial team championships in 1949. Again it was Tom Christensen guiding Margate to a win in the doubles row; this time with his partner Bill Blair.
In 1969, Bud Graves Jr., son of former Captain George "Bud" Graves, became a South Jersey doubles champion with partner Frank Previti. Captain Glick retires from the beach patrol in 1969. He will forever be remembered as, perhaps, the greatest captain in South Jersey beach history. Pete Glick and Bud Graves together were the first inductees into the MCBP Alumni Hall of Fame in 1990.
George King and Carl Smallwood took command in 1987. In 1987, a rookie by the name of Tom Swift won his first of 11 straight Margate swim titles. The 1981 Memorial champion, Jim Swift, teamed with brother John Swift, to capture the 1988 Memorials Race.
In 1993, however, Margate would go back to Avalon again and become the lone winner. The 1993 team was especially strong, winning the Jerseys, Memorials, aand Dutch Hoffman Races in Wildwood. Margate eventually won three South Jerseys in a row, with John Swift winning the singles race in 1994 and 1995. John added singles victories in the Memorials in 1993 and 1996, the team of John Swift and Tom Swift, along with the doubles crew Carl Smallwood and Greg Smallwood, would remain intact to give Margate three South Jerseys and three Margate Memorial titles.
On August 10, 1995, the first All-Woman's Cape Atlantic Invitational Race was held in Ventnor. Competitors for Margate wer Jamie Eissler, Debbie Crane, Sarah Blumberg and Kylene Henry.
Charles Wagner took command in 1997. Today, the Margate City Beach Patrol employs over 50 lifeguards, working at twelve locations. The MCBP continues to combine excellent safety on the beach and a tradition of success.
Margate Library and Historical Society Alliance: Evolving for the Future to Preserve the Past
The Margate City Historical Society is was founded on December 16, 1995. The Society is dedicated to the preservation, documentation, and presentation of historical records and artifacts relating to the City of Margate, formerly known as the City of South Atlantic City. For nearly 20 years, the Society maintained a museum at 7 South Washington Avenue in Margate and published The Beacon, a quarterly newsletter.
The Margate City Historical Society was the result of the efforts of both Robert “Pat” Patterson and Frank Tiemann, former public servants in Margate. Patterson and Tiemann wished to preserve their paper and artifact collections for the public and to preserve the recorded history of Margate City. They were joined in their mission by Jules Woods. By September, 1996, twenty people had registered as Charter Members of the new Margate City Historical Society. During the course of the next several months, officers were elected, by-laws and the constitution were written, and the organization's goals were established. In May of 1997, Margate City Commissioners announced the long-term loan of a building at 7 South Washington Avenue to house a museum and provide office and storage space. A lease was drawn up granting the Margate City Historical Society permmission to lease the building for a cost of .00 per year for five years. The museum was established and the membership of the Historical Society grew.
In the Spring of 2012, The Margate Historical Society and the Margate City Public Library joined forces to establish the Margate Library and Historical Society Alliance. A new Board of Trustees has been appointed and the by-laws have been updated. The museum had to vacate the premises at 7 South Washington Avenue in 2012; the building was demolished in Spring, 2015. The Alliance will install a new museum in the landmark Margate City Hall at 1 South Washington Avenue when post-Sandy renovations have been completed.
The Margate City Historical Society collection consists of old photographs, genealogical records, books, letters, advertising, political documents, antique fire fighting equipment and other items illustrative of life, conditions and events in Margate's past. Items in the collection are being photographed and catalogued with the goal of making the information accessible online. Anyone willing to donate items related specifically to Margate's history is encouraged to contact the Margate Library and Historical Society Alliance.