Dennis Township Old School House Museum & History Center
Belleplain, Clermont, Dennisville, South Dennis, North West Dennis, Eldora, South Seaville, Ocean View
Ship builders Dennisville Inn Dennisville Dennisville Dennisville Dennisville Dennisville Dennisville Methodist Church Discover Your Personal History Belleplain - Jesse Creamers Filling Station Belleplain - Tom Champion
DT Museum Logo
Henry Ludlam Family Cemetery Ludlam Cemetery Henry Ludlam Inn Delsea Inn Jakes Landing, North West Dennis Thomas Ludlam Family Cemetery at Jakes Landing, North West Dennis Ludlam's Pond, North West Dennis Ludlam's Pond, North West Dennis Belleplain - Railroad Station March 1900 Belleplain - Hands Mill

Dennis Township Old School House Museum & History Center
Accent image Bits & Pieces Accent image


accent image  Our Mission  accent image

Our mission is devoted to the collection of artifacts, historic documents, and memorabilia as well as early photographs of our eight villages which are: Belleplain, Clermont, Dennisville, Eldora, Northwest Dennis, Ocean View, South Dennis and South Seaville. The Museum is Handicapped Accessible & A.D.A. Compliant.


accent image  Bits & Pieces  accent image

Bits & Pieces of history gathered from the Internet while searching many different subjects. These "Bits & Pieces" may or may not be accurate, but they are interesting.

accent image  January 30, 1969  accent image

March 02, 1983 - The Compact Disc, a digital audio system that could contain up to 1 hour of music, was debuted in the US by Sony and Philips. Since their inception, approximately 700 billion CDs have been sold worldwide. [Source: MXL Microphones Facebook post]

accent image  January 30, 1969  accent image

Jan. 30, 1969 - The Beatles made their last-ever public appearance as a group. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  November 11, 1918  accent image

November 11, 1918 - World War I came to an end when the Allies and Germany signed an armistice. This day became recognized as Veteran's Day in the United States. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Septmeber 11, 2001  accent image

September 11, 2001 - In the U.S., four airliners were hijacked and were intentionally crashed. Two airliners hit the World Trade Center, which collapsed shortly after, in New York City, NY. One airliner hit the Pentagon in Arlington, VA. Another airliner crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. About 3,000 people were killed. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  The Great September Gale  accent image

September 03, 1821 - While we await the arrival of Tropical Storm Hermine here in 2016, 195 years ago, our South Jersey ancestors faced a far more dangerous force of nature. On September 3, 1821 a hurricane known to those who experienced it as "The Great September Gale" made landfall in Cape May, then known as Cape Island, and moved northward along the Jersey Shore. Unlike the 21st century where we have radar, hurricane hunter aircraft and weather satellites, our predecessors of two centuries ago had no such technology and storms such as The Great September Gale appeared suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere. The storm surge caused the waters of the Atlantic and Delaware Bay to temporarily meet between Cape May Court House and Lower Twp. The holly and cedar forests that covered the then-uninhabited barrier islands were knocked flat. Based on meteorological records from the time, it is estimated that The Great September Gale was, by modern standards, a Category 4 hurricane (by comparison, Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 when it made landfall near New Orleans in 2005). Three of Historic Cold Spring Village's buildings are survivors of The Great September Gale: the c.1691 Coxe Hall Cottage; the c.1722/1780 James Hathorn House (the Country Store); and the c.1817 Spicer Leaming House. The Cold Spring Brewery at HCSV, built around the frame of a c.1804 barn from Upper Twp., also bore witness to The Great September Gale. [Source: Historic Cold Spring Village Facebook post]

accent image  Delaware Bay  accent image

August 28, 1609 - Delaware Bay was discovered by Henry Hudson. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Les Paul  accent image

June 9, 2016 - Today we celebrate what would be the 101st birthday of one of the most important figures of modern music, Lester William Polsfuss, better known as Les Paul. Many know Les Paul for his extensive catalog of hit records, while others know his inventions in the recording studio that still define how we record music today. And guitarists, of course, know him for his contributions to the solidbody electric guitar and the iconic instrument that has been adorned with his name since 1952. Every one of those things changed the course of popular music forever. So it goes without saying that 101 years later, Les Paul may still be one of the most influential figures in music history. [Source: Sweetwater Facebook post]

accent image  Alan Shepard  accent image

May 5, 1961 - Alan Shepard became the first American in space when he made a 15 minute suborbital flight. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  National Public Radio  accent image

May 3, 1971 - National Public Radio broadcast for the first time. [Source:The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" album released in USA  accent image

March 10, 1973 - Pink Floyd released their eighth studio album The Dark Side of The Moon in the US. It remained in the US charts for 741 discontinuous weeks from 1973 to 1988, longer than any other album in history. After moving to the Billboard Top Pop Catalog Chart, the album notched up a further 759 weeks, and had reached a total of over 1,500 weeks on the combined charts by May 2006. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd's most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide. [Source: Facebook post]

accent image  Salem Witch Trials Begin  accent image

March 1, 1692 - In Salem Village, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Salem witch trials began. Four women were the first to be charged. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Marines Raise the United States Flag at Iwo Jima  accent image

February 23, 1945 - 71 years ago today, US Marines raised the American flag over Iwo Jima. The last Japanese defenders are defeated one month later on March 26th. [Source: ABC News Facebook post]

accent image  The Beatles  accent image

February 09, 1964 - On this date in 1964, The Beatles made their first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." A record 73 million people watched that night. And the rest, of course, is history. [Source: Fox News Facebook post]

accent image  Facebook  accent image

February 04, 2004 - The social networking website Facebook.com was launched. [Source: Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  The Day The Music Died  accent image

February 03, 1959 - On February 3, 1959, rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson died in a small plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. [Source: Fox News Facebook post]

accent image  Challenger  accent image

January 28, 1986 - The U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded just after takeoff. All seven of its crew members were killed. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Liberation of Auschwitz  accent image

January 27, 1945 - Today marks the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp on January 27, 1945. [Source: Fox News]

accent image  The Web  accent image

December 25, 1990 - 25 years ago there was the Internet, but there was no Web. Then, Tim Berners-Lee proposed creating an Internet-based hypertext system and the Web was on its way. The door was open for Berners-Lee to turn the hypertext dream into our Web reality. In October 1990, Berners-Lee used Steve Jobs' NeXT machines, the BSD Unix-based computers that are the modern day Mac's most direct ancestor to create the first Web server: info.cern.ch. A version of this lives on to this very day. By December 25th 1990, Nicola Pellow, a visiting student at CERN, created the first Web browser. This was a simple text-based browser. During 1991, the first real data, the CERN telephone directory, was put online and the WorldWideWeb was made available to other CERN users. [Source: http://www.zdnet.com/article/25-years-how-the-web-began/]

accent image  The Bright Side Newspaper  accent image

December 16, 2015 - The Bright Side Newspaper - The Bright Side is one of Cape May County's most popular newspapers, and it's the only "all good news" newspaper in South Jersey since 1994 has ceased publication on this day. [Source: Email from Bright Side Publications]

accent image  eBay  accent image

Labor Day Weekend, 1995 - eBay was born on Labor Day Weekend 1995. You have the power of 157 million buyers and 25 million sellers worldwide at your fingertips. [Source: Email from eBay]

accent image  John Lennon Shot & Killed  accent image

December 08, 1980 - Musician John Lennon, 40, was shot to death outside his home in New York City by Mark David Chapman. Chapman pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life. Denied parole, he remains incarcerated. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Attack on Pearl Harbor  accent image

December 07, 1941 - Pearl Harbor, located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu was attacked by nearly 200 Japanese warplanes. The attack resulted in the U.S. entering into World War II. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  First drive-in automobile service station opened   accent image

December 01, 1913 - The first drive-in automobile service station opened, in Pittsburgh, PA. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  The History of the Middle Finger   accent image

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 - the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as 'plucking the yew' (or 'pluck yew'). Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and they began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew! Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentalfricative 'F', and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute! It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as 'giving the bird.' And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing. Didn't yew!! [Source: Facebook post Berglind Nanna, November 1 at 3:54pm · Reykjavík, Iceland]

accent image  Vietnam Veterans Memorial Dedicated  accent image

November 13, 1982 - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Statue of Liberty Dedicated  accent image

November 11, 1918 - World War I came to an end when the Allies and Germany signed an armistice. This day became recognized as Veteran's Day in the United States. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Statue of Liberty Dedicated  accent image

October 28, 1886 - The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor by U.S. President Cleveland. The statue weighs 225 tons and is 152 feet tall. It was originally known as "Liberty Enlightening the World." [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Terrorist Attack on USS Cole  accent image

Oct. 12, 2000 - Monday, Oct. 12th, 2015 marks 15 years since the terror attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. We remember and honor the 17 American sailors who lost their lives in 2000. [Source: Fox News Facebook post]

accent image  First Printing Press  accent image

Sept. 25, 1639 - First printing press in America. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Delaware Bay Discovered  accent image

August 28, 1609 - The Delaware Bay is discovered by Henry Hudson. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Panama Canal Opens  accent image

August 14, 1914 - The Panama Canal Opens. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Ford's Model T  accent image

August 12, 1908 - Henry Ford's company builds the first Model T car. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  National Flag Day  accent image

June 14, Every Year - Inspired by three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until Aug. 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook post]

accent image  Mason Dixon Line  accent image

April 22, 2012 - Former state legislator claims Mason-Dixon Line crossed into New Jersey By Bill Wichert on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 at 7:30 a.m. Let's trace the history behind the Mason-Dixon Line. The famous boundary gets its name from English surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, called upon in the 1760s to establish the boundaries between Maryland and Pennsylvania. The Calvert family of Maryland and the Penn family of Pennsylvania had been engaged in a long-running dispute over their borders. The resulting border separated Delaware, which was then part of Pennsylvania, from Maryland and Pennsylvania. The line was later extended westward to form the boundary between Pennsylvania and what is now West Virginia. Matthew Crocker, a history professor at Keene State College in New Hampshire, said in an e-mail that "no part of N.J. was ever thought of being south of the Mason-Dixon Line."
Our ruling - In an April 9 opinion piece, Bateman claimed "Cape May, Cumberland, Salem and part of Atlantic counties are all south of the Mason-Dixon line." But historical records and experts confirmed that the Mason-Dixon Line never entered New Jersey. The boundary was first established in the 1760s to settle a border dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania. We rate the statement False. [Source: politifact.com article by Bill Wichert]

accent image  NJ National Guard 102nd Calvary - June 8, 1944  accent image

June 8, 1944 - The men of the New Jersey National Guard's 102nd Cavalry, who had floated offshore for two days, landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day plus two, as the beachhead had been expanded enough to accommodate the unit's vehicles. In the following weeks, Sergeant Curtis Culin of Cranford and the 102nd devised the "Rhino Plow," a device that, attached to the front of tanks, cut through the hedgerows of Normandy, vitally assisting the allied armies in breaking out of their beachhead. In the ensuing months, the 102nd fought its way across Europe, on the way gaining the honor of being the first United States unit to enter Paris in August 1944. [Source: The Museum of Cape May County Facebook page]

accent image  The Freeze To Death Year - Summer of 1816  accent image

Summer of 1816 - The summer of 1816 is know as the cold summer. There was frost in Cape May County, N.J. every month of the year and so it was through all the settled portions of the United States. The Winter of 1815-16 was an open winter, snow fell in November but scarcely any in December and January. Christmas and New Years were warm, open and green. January was a very mild month, the sun shone every day, people prepared for great storms and cold weather in February, but it was even warmer than January. Near the end of February and the first days of March a terrible storm raged and gave way to cold and boisterous winds. April was like January ending with snow and ice. In May ice formed an inch thick on rivers and streams, buds and flowers were frozen and the entire corn crop was killed. Frost, ice and snow were common in June and all attempts to raise vegetable products failed. Farmers hoarded their crops of the preceding year. Almost every crop was killed and the fruit was nearly all destroyed. July 4th was cold and a blustering wind, raw and uncomfortable, swept the entire Atlantic coast. On the fifth, ice was formed, the thickness of window glass, in New York city and all through New England and in Pennsylvania. It was so cold the Cape May farmers tended their corn the best of which was only about three feet, wearing mittens and coats. In August ice half an inch thick was frequently seen. September and October presented nearer approach to summer weather than any other month of the year. In November extreme cold weather began and a severe winter continued up to April, then summer began and the farmers realized bounteous crops. [Source: From the book Cape May Spray by Charles Tomlin]

accent image  History Of Trains To The Shore  accent image

Trains first started rolling to Atlantic City on the Atlantic City Railroad (Now Part of CSAO's Beesly Pt. Secondary in New Jersey) in 1854, when that line was completed by the Reading Railroad. However, the first train did not reach Cape May until 1863, when the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad's line through Woodbury, Millville, Woodbine, etc, was finally completed. A longer route was completed in 1894 that connected Cape May with shore points such as Dennisville, Cape May Courthouse, and Tuckahoe, branching off from the Atlantic City Line at what is now Winslow Jnct in Winslow, NJ. By the the summer of 1901, competition between the West Jersey and Seashore (PRR) and the Atlantic City Railroad (RDG) was so keen that trains of the railroads often raced one another so as to be the first to arrive at their destination. Racing was encouraged by the fact that in many areas, the two lines were only several hundred feet apart. On the Cape May lines, the trains were in sight of each other for 11 miles between Cape May Court House and Cape May. Over the last 5 miles into Cape May, the tracks were only 50 feet apart.
In 1941, a giant Magnesite plant was built at Cape May Point, NJ, and that stood as the largest customer for freight trains south of Winslow Jnct, until the Beesly Pt. Generating Station was built in 1962. This plant was very special in the fact that it was one of few in the country that had the ability to turn Dolomite (a mineral commonly found in sea-water) into Magnesite, which was used for many different products during it's day. This plant would live to be the largest customer for freight south of Winslow Junction until the Beeslys Point Powerplant was built in the 1960's. The Northwest Magnesite Plant would continue to recieve cars until it's demise on July 31, 1983.
Competition from trucks and motor vehicles caused a great decline in rail travel starting in the 1920's, which forced the West Jersey and Seashore (PRR) and the Atlantic City Railroad Co. (RDG) to merge in June of 1933, creating the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines. This was a few decades before the slots and other gambling machines were invented, cementing Atlantic City's eventual future as a gambling hot-spot. Back in this era it still relied on the income from the raw materials industry of the United States. This was the only joint venture between the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Railroad, as these railroads were highly competitive with each other in every other field. Passenger and freight revenues continued to decline at a steady pace so much that passenger service ended to Wildwood, once one of the most heavily used branches along the PRSL on December 29, 1972. The Wildwood Branch was embargoed on June 6, 1974, terminating whatever little bit of freight still operated on the line. The Right-Of-Way for the Wildwood Branch was sold to a private owner in 1977, with the stipulation that all tracks be removed. The owner did as he was asked, but a problem developed while he attempted to remove the Grassy Sound Bridge. A crane that was of lighter weight than the bridge was used, and so the Grassy Sound Bridge ended up resting at the bottom of it's namesake waterway. It remains there today.
In 1976, the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines, along with several other small railroads of South Jersey, were engulfed by the formation of the Consolodated Rail Corporation, commonly known as Conrail, due to bulk bankruptsy. In 1976, Conrail took over all operations on the Shore Railroads, including those of freight and passenger. This did not include passenger service to Millville or Woodbury, as these stations were closed to Passenger service in 1971 by the PRSL in an attempt to cut costs. Commuter Service to stations along Conrail's Beesly Pt. Secondary (like Haddon Heights, Audubon, Clementon, etc) ended on July 16, 1965 with the closure of these stations.
Increasing competition from cars forced the closure of passenger service to Cape May in 1981. All service (including freight) was cancelled on the Ocean City Branch from Palermo to 10th Street on October 5, 1981, when the ring gear on the Crook Horn Moveable Bridge failed. Abandonment notices were placed at the stations in 1982. Fire destroyed the Crook Horn Bridge in the late 80's-early 90's. Freight service on the Cape May Branch was not far behind, as the last freight train ran to Cape May Point on July 31st, 1983 to pick up the final string of cars from the Northwest Magnesite Plant in Cape May Point. The final train to operate on the PRSL's Cape May Branch from Tuckahoe was a Cape May Local Freight that was to operate to Cape May City and back, making it's final pickup of an empty boxcar from a lumberyard in Cape May Courthouse before heading north. That ocourred on October 10, 1983, and the rails to Cape May saw their last train that day for nearly 20 years. Some would have guessed forever.
On October 10, 1983, Conrail freight operations ended on the Cape May Branch. However, a little known fact is that the Shore Fast Line actually operated sperattic freight trains on this line to Tri-County Building Supply in Cape May Courthouse for a few years in the 90's. On July 20, 1990, Shore Fast Line (predecessor to the SRNJ) hauled 2 cars of lumber to Tri-County Building Supply (still located on Magnolia Street in Courthouse), making it the first train to operate on the line since 1983. These trains continued to operate, even after SRNJ purchased the assets of the Shore Fast Line in 1991, until 1995, when NJ Transit suddenly withdrew the contract with SRNJ for service. A dispute over maintainance of the track saw to the demise of these operations.
New Jersey Transit took over passenger operations to the South Jersey area in 1981, just after Conrail stopped service to that region and began looking for a buyer of the dead rail. Ever since, New Jersey Transit has owned those tracks, and they still do, holding a piece of history in their hands. [Source: Cape May Seashore Lines web site]