AVALON – CIRCA 1914
In the romance of the Middle Ages “Avalon” was the name of an island in the ocean, a castle of loadstone upon it “not far from this side of Paradise”. It was known as the the “Island of the Blest”. “Avalon” was believed to be the home of the magical Oberton, King of the Fairies.
The name Avalon was given to “7 Mile Beach” and purchased in 1722 from it’s British owner for $380.00. Originally the island was known as Leaming’s Island after the first owner- and later had four names – Avalon (inlet to 25th St), Peermont (25th – 37th St), Holiday Beach (north of a Stone Harbor) – these three becoming the Avalon we know today. Stone Harbor which incorporated in 1914.
The bare island originally was used as a cattle ranch. The early developers, The Avalon Beach Improvement Co., who dubbed Avalon “The Jewel of the Jersey Coast”, spent $500,000 in public and private improvements including water, sewer, electric, road and sidewalks and dredging harbors. In 1889 The West Jersey Railroad extended facilities to Avalon – eventually with three stations and two hotels. The first Avalon excursion was
June 28, 1888 – Avalon became the ideal business man’s resort
STONE HARBOR – CIRCA 1905
In the late 19th Century we saw a small area known as Stone Harbor, named for an English sea captain who found refuge here, begin to change. Thanks to the vision of The Risley brothers who purchased the area in 1905, they created the Stone Harbor we know today. In 1911 The Risley’s South Jersey Realty Company coordinated the dredging of three new basins, created surfaced streets and established water and sewer systems. The most influential change for the development of this community was the dedication of a second line of the Reading line entering Stone Harbor. The development of the boulevard called Ocean Parkway and bridge to Cape May Court House created the first land access to Stone Harbor.
The development of homes was encouraged by offering potential buyers the opportunity to purchase lots for “free” for the purchase of bonds costing $80 a piece varying with the location of the lot and the number of lots a buyer wished to purchase. The reopening of the Stone Harbor Yacht Club in 1929 marked the culmination of the Risley brother’s vision.