Classic Cars Roll to Celebrate Causeway's 100th Birthday

Tom Foster (l) of Holgate poses in front of his 1930 Model A with association trustee Diane Roy and friend Norm Esibil.
Tom Foster (l) of Holgate poses in front of his 1930 Model A with association trustee Diane Roy and friend Norm Esibil.

The Long Beach Island Historical Association hosted an antique and classic car rally last Saturday morning to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the first causeway bridge from the Mainland to LBI.

There was everything from Model A Fords to Corvettes in the procession that started at the Barnegat Light Museum and proceeded south to Beach Haven’s Bicentennial Park, across from the LBI Museum.

Diane Roy, registrar and trustee for the association, said they were very pleased with the turnout of approximately 30 vehicles. “These events are weather dependent, and we are lucky to have such a great day,” she said.

Todd Gagnon, of Beach Haven, was there with a 1930 Model A that he and his father had customized to look like a hybrid between a car and a boat.
“It’s all original parts under the hood and from the windshield forward,” he said. The father and son team then went to work installing an all new interior and dashboard and building a rear wooden body that looked like the bow of an old motor launch that could have come right out of the Great Gatsby era.

Association President Ron Marr said when the original bridge was opened on June 20, 1914, 103 cars that had traveled over the then gravel roads to make the maiden crossing.

That event was also weather dependent, as a storm would have made it impossible. “The bridge was only about two feet above the bay during high tides,” he said.

The vehicles remained on display in Barnegat Light until 11 a.m. when they headed out for Beach Haven led by one of LBI’s Jolly Trolleys provided by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce.

“The trolley is for anyone that wants to come with us on the ride to Beach Haven for the car show and presentation,” said Lori Pepenella, Destination Marketing Director for the chamber.                                                                                     
 “This event ties in perfectly with our year long 100th anniversary, since the LBI Board of Trade was instrumental in building the original causeway,” added Pepenella. The Board of Trade changed its name to the Chamber of Commerce in the 1980’s, she said.   

The presentation given in the LBI Museum around 3 p.m. was on the original causeway and the island in that era and by local historian Jeanette Lloyd.


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