A Brief History of the Settlement & Development of Avalon The first local owner of Seven Mile Island was Aaron Leaming who purchased it from the West Jersey Society December 26, 1722 for 106 lb Old currency The Property was specified as The Seven Mile Beach, bounded on the east by the “main ocean or sea,” the north by Townsends Inlet, the south by Little Hereford Inlet, and on the west “by the creeks and sounds that are flowed with water from three quarters flood to one quarter ebb.” Early Island Land Uses The earliest use of Seven Mile Island was salt production, whaling cooperatives, and free range cattle. The island was used in this way throughout the entirety of the 18th and half of the 19th century. Photograph: This photo taken in 1889 by Dr. Henry Watson, suggest that efforts by Mr. Will Barnett to corral and remove cattle from Seven Mile Beach were not as successful as once thought. An Island on a See-saw: Seven Mile Beach saw five separate owners over 115 years Island Transactions and Deed changes December 26, 1772 West Jersey Society to Aaron Leaming for 102 LB’s old currency. June 16, 1854-J Leaming to J Silver for $12,000. January 16, 1855-J. Silver to Henry Tatham for $5,500. February 1, 1856-Henry Tatham to George Tatham for $15,000. April 1, 1887-George Tatham to Joseph Wells & Frank Siddall of the Seven Mile Beach Company for $125,000 “Old Limerick” the Leaming family Homestead The Seven Mile Beach Company The Biggest Yard Sale in Island History Huge changes awaited Seven Mile Island after the Tatham sale to the Seven Mile Beach Company, first of which required George Tatham to remove an extensive collection of livestock, farming, and boating equipment. Tatham advertised the auction in the Cape May Wave. RIGHT: The ad for the Tatham auction in the Cape May Wave May 21, 1887. What’s in a Name? Above: This early view of 22nd street east of 2nd with its hidden grove of trees is a reminder of the towns wild beginnings. The town was named by the Reverend Charles H. Bond, secretary of the Seven Mile Beach Company, and brother of Margaret Wells. Mr. Bond was a devoted fan of King Arthur & the knights of the Round Table, and named the island after the place of legend where king Arthur was said to be buried. A Town in Motion: Avalon 1888-1920 The late 19th & early 20th century were a time of immense change in Avalon. A beach front hotel, a beach drive, construction of a seawall, a boardwalk, & the production of homes (by Cape May contractor Enos Williams) turned Avalon into a respectable beachfront resort. Right-George Rummel’s Hotel Peermont during construction in 1888. A two story pavilion with bath houses would be constructed of camera. The Avalon Hotel Right: The Hotel Avalon after its move in 1893. The first location proved unserviceable due to erosion and the weather. While much of the building survived the move 400 feet back to the northwest side of First Avenue , the impressive tower would be removed sometime after the first move. All Aboard! By July of 1888 the West Jersey Railroad was bringing excursionist to Avalon. For the first time Avalon was easily accessible via the train across Towsends Inlet bridge. Thousands were introduced to Avalon’s beauty . Education in Avalon Like any growing community Avalon found itself in the need of a school. While school district 35 was under construction classes were held in the Lambert cottage. Minnie Tucker was the first teacher and was paid $175 for the 1892/93 school year. Lifesaving & Avalon’s Beaches Like any resort community the beachgoers safety was becoming more and more evident. Life saving service had been created in 1848, and by the time Avalon came to prominence the service was professionally run. Life on the Beach The main draw of Avalon’s past, present, and future is the charm of the beach…..Photo’s from the 1920’s. “Cottages” & Avalon: While many of the island’s early homes were compact & affordable there also existed wonderful pieces of architecture listed as cottages. These giants were Victorian in nature and harkened back to early 19th century gilded age splendor.