So it’s a rainy day and you’re stuck inside in the Wildwoods. Before depression hits, get out and discover what made the Wildwoods what they are today – visit the George F. Boyer Museum/The Wildwood Historical Society. Take a stroll down memory lane as you journey through the many rooms filled with treasures from Wildwood. And make sure to bring your camera.
You may ask what you can find here at the museum and what visitors can expect… Many parents who were lifeguards in their youth will bring their children there because the museum has pictures of all the lifeguards from the past. You can also see property pictures; in fact, they have over 4700 that date back to 1960, including every property that was listed in Wildwood. If you are interested in looking up names, you can use “Polks Wildwood Directory” – these books range from 1912 to 1960. These books list names of past Wildwood residents and their businesses. For an idea of the island’s development, check out the “Sanborne Books” which give a block by block rundown of properties through the years. Insurance companies once used these books to ensure that every property was accounted for. The Boyer Museum also features records of fire department information through the years. In these books, you can find accounts of all of the big fires that took place, and when and where they happened.
The oldest artifact in this museum is a safe that belonged to R.W. Ryan. He came to Wildwood in 1889 and when he got there, only three houses had been built. He was the first of many things for Wildwood including the first to open a store. In 1895 Mr. Ryan had a store built that had an 80’ front and was located on 137 East Wildwood Avenue. He was also the first president of the Wildwood Fire Company in 1897, first postmaster, first station agent, and the founder of the Marine National Bank. The safe was donated to the museum in 2009 by Robert McLaughlin.
The museum is free for all to visit, but donations are greatly appreciated.
By Brittany Cassidy