Ventnor City Historical Society

The Ventnor City Historical Society is a non profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of Ventnor City. Ventnor City Historical Society meetings are held every second Tuesday evening of the month.

Download the Historical Society Membership Application

For any additional information please contact:

Cynthia Mason-Purdie
Ventnor City Historical Society
P.O. Box 2668
Ventnor City, New Jersey 08406

Ventnor City Historical Society Officers:

President: Cynthia Mason-Purdie
Vice President: Ruth Advena
Treasurer: George Wimberg III

Charles Cannon
Madeleine Dougherty
Dennis Kelly
George Wimberg Jr.

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In the Year 2003

In the year 2003, Ventnor City celebrated an assortment of celebrations at various times over it’s 100th year. It was the desire of Mayor Kreischer and Commissioners Vespertino and Schafer that the celebration should not occur at only one specific time of year, but throughout the entire year so as to provide an opportunity for all Ventnor residents to reflect, remember, and celebrate.

Reflect – on the insight that the founding fathers had in establishing the nucleus of what was to become one of the best communities along the Jersey shore;

Remember - the purpose of breaking away from the rest of the existing communities of Atlantic City, South Atlantic City, and Egg Harbor Township, which was to provide better services to the people in Ventnor City while providing a strong community gathering through the neighborhoods of the City; and to also remember the sacrifices of Ventnor’s youth, the men and women who made the supreme sacrifice in the fighting of our country to maintain the values that enable us to be a municipality in a free country.

Celebrate – the accomplishments of the last 100 years regarding the development of Ventnor City; it’s neighborhoods, business districts as well as the development of it’s youth through the Ventnor School system. We also celebrate as we anticipate the advancement of Ventnor City through it’s next 100 years of growth.

These 2003 centennial celebrations could not have been possible without the co operation of many Ventnor residents who volunteered and took their time to ensure a successful event. Listed below are the celebrated events with a listing of the individuals responsible for it’s success.

January started out the Centennial celebrations with a polar bear splash. This event attracted approximately 400 to 500 people and was held on New Year’s Day at 12:30 pm in front of the Ventnor City Beach Patrol Lifeguard Headquarters at Somerset Avenue and the Beach. Mrs. Charlotte Josephs was the coordinator for this event and was assisted by Mr. Douglas Biagi, a Lieutenant in the Ventnor City Police Department who along with helping to coordinate the program, also ran into the frigid ocean as Baby New Year. Father time was represented by Mr. Joe Baltzell, a Ventnor City resident.

February begin the tedious task of an art contest throughout the Ventnor City schools to design the 2003 Centennial beach badge and official Centennial logo. Students in the Ventnor Educational & Community Complex and St. James School submitted their entries which were judged by Ms. Rhonda Mauer, the director of the Ventnor City Cultural Arts Center. The 1st place winners were each given a $100.00 cash prize from the Ventnor City Civic Association, as well as a plaque with their artwork prominently displayed. Jessica Damiano won the design for the Centennial beach badge, and Amber Elliott won with her design of the official Centennial logo. Carmine Bonanni Jr., the Superintendent of Schools for the Ventnor City School District and Sister Joan Mary Baldridge of St. James School were the coordinators for this event.

March, being the actual month of the anniversary, involved a re creation of the first organizational meetings. To accomplish this task, Ms Vicky Persiano, a teacher at the Ventnor Educational & Community Complex directed a re enactment with the Ventnor Students. The script for this re enactment was organized by Mayor Tim Kreischer and Commissioner Joseph W. Schafer, and based upon the available minutes of the Senate & General Assembly session of 1903, which was provided by City Clerk Sandi Biagi, newspaper events from the era, along with the Sarah Thompson Smith’s book, The history of Ventnor City. Additional information was supplied by Dr. James Mason, the City Historian, and the Ventnor City Historical Society. This event took place in the school auditorium on March 17, 2003 at 7:00pm.

April saw the Ventnor City Centennial Ball occur at the St. James Memorial Hall, on the unit block of Newport Avenue. The event, held on April 5th began at 6:00 pm with cocktails, Dinner at 7:00, and dancing to the sounds of the Jim Craine Quartet until midnight, There were several members of this committee, Commissioner Schafer, Mayor Kreischer and Commissioner Vespertino, Public Relations Director Paul Maccagnano, as well as residents Harry & Jeanette Adams, grandchildren Bill, and Danielle Melfi, and Tina Friedman, all Ventnor City residents, as well as Mayor’s Secretary Patti Kedzioraand countless other Ventnor City residents who worked hard to make this happy occasion.

June began with a series of free beach concerts commemorating the Centennial year. These concerts were coordinated by Commissioner Schafer, and brought together some of the finest musical entertainment throughout the South Jersey Region. June also presented the Ventnor City Centennial antique car show. This event, organized through the Ventnor City Historical Society, was chaired by Mr. Harry & Jeanette Adams and Mr. Douglas Biagi, and was held on Saturday, June 28, 2003. 26 vintage classic cars paraded down Atlantic Avenue at 12:00 noon to the Ventnor Educational & Community Complex. Judging was conducted by Public Relation Director Paul Maccagnano and awards in 5 categories were given out. Following the parade, refreshments were available from the Ventnor City chapter of D.A.R.E, and a grand time was had by all.

July and August consisted of barbeques being permitted on the beach on weekends throughout the summer. It was largely reported that all participating families enjoyed the option of barbequing on the beach with their family and friends.

October 18th and 19th included the Ventnor City merchants and business districts by having sidewalk sales along Ventnor and Atlantic Avenues.

November offered the last remaining events; The VFW post #3361 sponsored an essay contest throughout the Ventnor schools. The topic, “ What living in Ventnor means to me ,” was won by Ventnor student James Arentz, and was presented a plaque as well as a $100.00 cash prize at the Ventnor City Commission meeting held on November 20 th , at 6:00 pm. The judging was conducted by the members of the VFW Post, with the coordinators for the event being Post commander Rudy Florentine and Russell T. Smith, a long time member of the VFW Post, and a former Ventnor City Policeman. Finally, the last event was the burying of a time capsule, which was done on Saturday, November 29 th at 12:00 noon. The committee for this event was Commissioner Schafer, along with Mayor Kreischer, Commissioner Vespertino, Mr. Harry Adams, Dr James Mason, and the Ventnor City Historical Society.

Throughout the entire Ventnor City's Centennial Year, the residents of Ventnor City celebrated the heritage and history of this great City, and look forward to celebrating all of it's future accomplishments.

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