Status: Lost Forever
County: Ocean County
Located in Island Heights, where the Tom’s River and Barnegat Bay meet, Wanamaker Hall was built in 1904. Features of this vernacular neo-gothic revival structure are crenelated parapets and corner oriels. Between 1908 and 1913, the building underwent several additions, and, at its pinnacle, had staff quarters, offices, meeting and activity rooms, a kitchen, and a large assembly hall.
The building continues to deteriorate. Funding application in 2000 was unsuccessful. Status quo continues. The twp. is exploring options and wants to do a feasibility study in early 2004 to explore resources for grant funding for restoration.
Wanamaker Camp Grounds and Buildings; Neo Gothic waterfront property; b. 1904 and expanded 1908, 1913; established for employees; used during World Wars as Army rec center; later Presbyterian summer camp; Island Heights was planned Victorian religious resort
-Chain link fence has been erected around the structure, but site is overgrown with plants which further deteriorates the structure
-Gazebo on the grounds was blown up when a powerful bolt of lightning struck the flagpole and traveled thru the ground. It is said that it burnt porcelain within Wanamaker hall.
-Council has promised not to spend taxpayer money on the renovation of Wanamaker Hall, but they are in the process of looking to spend $300,000 plus on landscaping. (park vs. stabilization of building)
1972-82 city referendums to support restoration as municipal building
1982 boro stopped using for municipal building
1992 leased to Cultural and Heritage Association; terminated in 1995 (new municipal center and police center encroaching); grant from Trust terminated when lease lost
1996 DEP denied demo permit
1997 Holly House razed
2000 Trust application; Joan Berkey
1/01 council approved repair and replacement of bulkhead at WH; plan $600,000 expenditures for 2 gazebos and landscaping; FFMG to prepare cost estimate for restoration.
In early May 2005, the Borough Council voted to demolish the Wanamaker Hall. Determining it a safety hazard after investigation, the NJDEP approved the Council’s decision. In 2001, the NJ Historic Trust had given the borough a $37,715 grant to prepare a landscape plan and to update an existing preservation plan . In return for the approval to demolish the building, the borough agreed to keep the property as open space and repay the easement taken by the NJ Historic Trust on the property.
Adrian Fanning, Administrator,
Borough of Island Heights