This is our interactive glossary of facts about Somers Point and the world's history. Please email us with any questions from the Interviews and Folklore pages and we'll research the facts to add to this page. Do you have facts for the SomersPedia?
Bluffs ("High Banks")
Along the Great Egg Harbor Bay, High Banks or the bluffs are right outside of JFK Park and extend 100 yards long and 12 feet tall. A bluff is a steep cliff or riverbank. Animals such as fidler crabs, blue claw crabs, spider crabs, and other fish depend on the bluffs to survive, as well as plants like phragmites and poison ivy. The High Banks give a miraculus view and may have been the home of early Native Americans as arrowheads have been found in the area. The bluff is the only one in all of New Jersey. Research by: Eric. Source: Dictionary.Reference.com
Marathon dancing is a dance activity originating in the mid-1300s that became very trendy in the 1920s and 30s. Many out of work people competed in the contests in order to achieve fame or win monetary prizes. Marathon dancing fit in nicely with the 1920s craze for breaking records and stretching human endurance, with records being set in flagpole sitting, mountaineering, aviation, and more. Dance marathons started similarly, and ended up being one of the most widely attended and controversial forms of live theater. The craze started in 1923, when a 32-year old American woman named Alma Cummings danced for 27 hours without stopping. Her feat garnered brief national attention for her, and sparked a trend which would last a decade. Her dancing spree inspired others, most often women, to try to break the record and share in her glory. Clubs and theaters around America started to hold contests for local people to compete in. People could enter solo and find a partner there, or come with partners.Research by Nick . Excerpts from Reference.com
Alcohol prohibition was accomplished by means of the Eighteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. The alcohol prohibition started in 1920 and lasted until 1933. It was an attempt to reduce crime, corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and to improve health and hygiene in the USA. At first, there were fewer people drinking alcohol. Then it started to increase. Prohibition turned out to be a failure. In fact, there became more crime, and prison systems were stretched to the breaking point. Researched by Trevor. Information gathered from Wikipedia and Cato.org
You had to go to City Hall to get a rationing book. It was full of stamps. You were allowed maybe 5 lbs of sugar of month depending on how many people were in the family. Gas was rationed. You could have 5 gallons for a month if you were a worker. Also, tires. When I say rationing, that mean you had to have the stamp to get it. But you still had to have the money to pay for it besides. Sugar and butter…you didn't get much! Visit Mrs. Baum and Mrs Shaffer interviews. Research by: Nick
The War of 1812
The War of 1812 is one of the forgotten wars of the United States. The war lasted for over two years. It was a war that once and for all confirmed American Independence. The United States failed in every attempt to capture Canada. On the other hand, the British army was successfully stopped when it attempted to capture Baltimore and New Orleans. There were a number of American naval victories in which American vessels proved themselves superior to similarly sized British vessels. The war is best remembered because the British burned the White House in Washington, D.C. During the war, British ships entered the Great Egg Harbor Bay in Somers Point, NJ. There is a monument located at Morrow Beach and Bay Avenue to honor the local militia defending Somers Point. Researched by: Nick . Excerpts from History Central
The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals (many whites but predominently black) who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation. Still, it effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year. According to one estimate, the South lost 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850. An organized system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. In 1786 George Washington complained about how one of his runaway slaves was helped by a "society of Quakers, formed for such purposes." The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed "The Underground Railroad," after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called "stations" and "depots" and were run by "stationmasters," those who contributed money or goods were "stockholders," and the "conductor" was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next. Visit PBS. Researched by Nick.
During World War II, the city served as a training site for military recruits and a recovery and rehabilitation center for wounded soldiers. Soldiers took basic training in Atlantic City. During the years of the Depression , the resort hotel business had fallen upon hard times, which would become a blessing for many servicemen. As General "Hap" Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Corps, struggled to house thousands of airmen, he decided to fill up the empty rooms of these hotels. Many Somers Point residents volunteered their services during WWII to help entertain the wounded soldiers recuperating in nearby Atlantic City. For more information, visit Mrs. Risley's interview, Atlantic City Free Public Library and Eldred World War II Museum. Research by By: Nick