The Boathouse in Strathmere
please click images for larger views

Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach was a legend in his own time. Born in Philadelphia in 1876, he became an esteemed collector and was the leading dealer of rare books and manuscripts for many years. His home on Delancey Street in Philadelphia is now a museum that houses the collection of Dr. Rosenbach and his brother Philip - Rosenbach Museum


According to the biography Rosenbach - he started coming to Strathmere around 1919. His friend Mrs. Price owned a large beachfront mansion here as well.The 'Boat House' was built from a Sears Home prefab Kit, around 1930. But it was no ordinary Sears home. It was furnished with many pieces of antiques collected by Rosenbach's brother Philip, complete with large stained glass windows.

He had 2 boats - First Folio I and First Folio II, which were captained over the years by Captain Maxwell, Chief Petty Officer U.S. Coast Guard Luis P. Carmona, and Captain Muller. Captain Maxwell served as captain for the Dr. the longest time. Mr. Carmona was a Strathmere resident and captain Muller was a retired sea captain (he use to play cards at the Andress' during the Winter months) Dr. Rosenbach spent a great deal of time during the weekends fishing and entertaining houseguests. In July of 1930 he caught a large channel bass that won him a $20 prize in the Field & Stream Bass Class. The fish was mounted and hung for many years in the boathouse. He celebrated his July birthday in Strathmere each year with lavish parties. It is said that during prohibition, Dr. Rosenbach had rum runners deliver liquor to him by the bay, which must have been hard considering the Coast Guard building was right next door. (It was one of the Coast Guard's duties to chase down rumrunners during prohibition)

 

To the left is an interior view of the Boathouse. The main room has high cathedral ceilings. The large stained glass window on the end of the building was from a 15th century Spanish church. It was reported insured for $10,000.00 in the 1940's.

Below is a side view of the building, again with the large window. Next shows a photo taken on board of the First Folio II Standing is an unamed man. Seated is Mrs. Price, Dr. Rosenbach and Captain Maxwell.







***Fact or Strathmere Urban legend? Legend has it that Dr. Rosenbach once tried to buy the famous 'Lucy the Elephant' from her Margate owners. He wanted to move it to Strathmere and set it on the lot next to his house!



Below is a nice aerial view of the boathouse, taken around 1951.
Notice the private boatramp, and the long pier with the pavilion on the end.





Dr. Rosenbach spent many happy Summers in Strathmere until his death in 1952. Since then the home has had several owners, who thankfully have preserved the building. It's outside structure remains pretty much the same, with just minor changes.

The building was also used to hold fund raisers for the lifeguards and was also the site for the end of season Lifeguard dances.







Above shows the building when restoration started in the early Winter of 2002.

 

 






Mrs. Caroline Price was a longtime friend of Dr. Rosenbach, and she owned a large beachfront home on Sherman, shown above. She lived between Philadelphia and Strathmere from the late 1920s until just before her death around 1944. Her home was later destroyed in the 1944 hurricane.
Mrs. Price's Great-great niece Mary Jo Martin contacted me with a copy of Mrs. Price's obituary and the photos below.

Mrs. Caroline M. Price, Social Worker was Formerly of Strathmere, N. J.
Funeral services were held this afternoon at the parlors of Andrew J. Bair & Son, 3925 Chestnut St., for Mrs. Caroline M. Price, social worker who died Wednesday in the Hotel Sylvania. Interment was in Mt. Moriah Cemetery. Mrs. Price, who was 70, organized the Red Cross at Strathmere, N. J., where she lived for 25 years before moving to the Sylvania four months ago. In the boathouse at Strathmere she provided an emergency hospital at her own expense to take care of shipwrecked sailors of this war. She was active in the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, a life member of the Cape May Historical Society and a Daughter of the American Revolution. In addition, she was chief air raid warden of the Strathmere region.




Irene Helen Phillippe (mother of Mary Jo Martin) in the 1930s in front of Dr. Rosenbach's boathouse after a day of fishing.
Cooking crew preparing the fish, looks like they are on the beach, probably in front of Mrs. Price's house.
Below is a portrait of Caroline Price, probably from the Teens.








I'm looking for more history on this building,
please email me if you can provide any info or vintage photos.

Strathmere Home


 

Postcard and last color photo are from website collection. Black & white photos and some history were taken from biography - Rosenbach
Aerial view from Fred Miller. Three photos showing the house yellow in 2002 are from Loretta Panunto.


All photos and text Copyright Carol Baker. Do not copy or reproduce.