To many of our friends, the story of Stone Harbor, while not steeped in history, may prove interesting and we would like to give you a brief outline of some of the events leading up to its founding and the progress made thereafter.

While Sir Walter Raleigh was granted a patent by King James as far back as 1584 for lands which included the entire Province of New Jersey, the first recorded purchaser of the island was not noted until 1722.

This island, known as Seven Mile Beach, contained 2,725 acres and the price paid was seventy pounds, ten shillings or about $380.00. The island is approximately seven miles in length and is but three or four city blocks in width, with the Inland Waterway to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Stone Harbor occupies the southern half of the island extending from 80th Street to Hereford Inlet.

The first building, an inn, was erected in 1891 near 80th Street. Seven cottages formed the original resort. Today, Stone Harbor contains more than 3,000 properties with total ratables of more than 1 billion dollars.

It was not until 1907 that dunes were leveled off and salt marshes filled in. Streets, pavements and curbing were laid out, two basins dredged from land adjacent to the Inland Waterway and one natural basin deepened. We now have seven basins. Bulkheads and seawalls were constructed as protection for land adjacent to basins, waterways and ocean, while eight jetties were built to protect beaches from erosion.

In 1909, a sewage system was developed and completed. Thirty miles of sewage lines are now in operation. The first artesian well was driven to a depth of 856 feet to reach the famous “Kirkwood Sands” from whence our supply of pure water is obtained. Our pumping station at 96th Street and 2nd Avenue was built in 1924. A new well, our fourth, was drilled in 1981. We are now supplying a total of 200,000,000 gallons of water each year to meet the demands of our population.

There are over twenty-eight miles of paved streets which are maintained by the Borough and the County of Cape May.

A Brief History

Around 1910, our school started with five pupils and one teacher in a private home. In 1912 a school house was built on 93rd Street and in 1915 a still larger one was built on 94th. The new school consisted of four classrooms and a room for manual training. Five teachers were employed for 115 children ranging from first to the eighth grades. For their high school years they were taken by bus to Middle Township High School in Cape May Court House. A more modern building was then erected to house all pupils in one building including a room for pre-first grade children.

As far back as 1889, the first railroad entered Stone Harbor from the north via a bridge over Townsend’s Inlet . This was the only means of getting into Stone harbor until 1911, when a highway at 96th Street, with two bridges over the inland waterways, was opened to the public. A year later, the second railroad spur entered from Cape May Court House paralleling this new highway. With highways now entering Stone Harbor from the north, west and south, all traces of these two railroads were obliterated.

In 1912, one guard was assigned to the beach at 94th Street. Today our beaches are protected at 21 locations with 50 guards, all under the supervision of a Captain and Lieutenants. A radio communications network connects each beach with a radio base at headquarters and an emergency ambulance is available to answer all emergency calls. EMT services are available during beach hours at headquarters.

Also in 1912, the first policeman was appointed holding the title of Watchman. Today, the Stone Harbor police force is comprised of 17 sworn officers and 5 dispatchers, supplemented in the summer by additional officers. Complete modern headquarters were occupied in 1973.

The Voluntary Fire Department was established in 1912 with twenty members. The force now consists of forty-five volunteer members with the support of modern fire-fighting equipment. A new seven bay firehouse was built in 1974.

With community services in place, the Borough of Stone Harbor was incorporated on May 12, 1914. Now in our 99th year, we welcome visitors to celebrate with us.