Dated: 07/06/2017

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Contemporary jargon informally labels Ship Bottom as the “Gateway to Long Beach Island,” but anyone who has traversed the bridge knows there are no tolls, and hence, no gates.

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The origin of the name dates back to an unusual shipwreck that occurred in March 1817. Upon hearing cries from the direction of shore, a captain of a southbound schooner, alerted Captain Stephen Willets of Tuckerton of the possibility that a ship maybe foundering in the fog on one of the sandbars. Willets and his crew searched for hours before a large shape emerged in the mist revealing the hull of an overturned ship on the shoals. The rescuers found corpses in the rigging and bodies washing ashore in the frigid winter sea.

Willets’s men mounted the hull and heard tapping from inside. Wielding an axe, Willets chopped a hole through the hull near the keel – the thickest part and freed a young woman from certain death. The story goes she spoke no English but drew a cross in the sand upon reaching shore as an expression of thanks. The name of the young woman and ship have been lost to the ages, but that section of coast became known as “Ship Bottom.”

Almost sixty years later, Life Saving Station #20 formed in the same area, and in 1898, the first permanent dwelling was built. Known as Beach Arlington, the name “Ship Bottom” was introduced in 1925, and the Borough of Ship Bottom formed in 1947.

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Of note, the Borough covers .71 square miles or 454.40 acres with 1.36 miles of ocean frontage. The 2010 census revealed a year-round population of 1156 that expands twenty fold during the summer – just in case you were wondering where all that traffic comes from.

PS        I’m from Ship Bottom!

From your “Running Realtor” Andrew Gonzales

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