Thursday, March 26, 2009

Andrew and Vince

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Morning Crew at the Old Anch


Bartender Ed Margrum and the morning crew at the bar of the Old Anchorage. Danny Coons, Budda, Brian and Joe Buffa, former Anch bartender during the glory days.
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Ed the Old Man Morning Bartender


Ed the Old Man Morning Bartender at the Old Anch. Ed had worked the morning 6 am - 12 noon shift at Gregory's and Charlie's before ending up at the Old Anchorage. Carney came in at noon and worked until 7pm when the younger, nightshift would take over. That's Nick Regine sitting at the bar with the glasses. This might have been Ed's birthday, when the other bartenders chipped in and brought in a stripper.
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Anchorage Phone Booth

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The Anchorage was always listed in the phone book under the name Anchorage Hotel, and was therefore the first hotel on the list of Atlantic County hotels when casinos came to town.

The World Famous Anchorage Tavern (EST. c. 1888), is the oldest continuously operated business establishment in Somers Point. Built (circa 1874), it was first known as the Trenton Hotel and catered to seasonal visitors, mainly bird gunners who took on the hunting of birds as a sport. The sheer numbers and varities of the avian species produced the eggs that gave Great Egg Bay its name.

Known as the Anchorage Hotel since 1888, Victorian era spindles once lined the porch, and at the turn of the century the ballroom was built as an addition. For a time the hotel catered to New York and Philadelphia society, when men dressed in tuxedos and women wore long gowns to dinner and strolled on the porch to enjoy the summer breeze.

In August, 1905, as can be seen by the newspaper clipping on the wall, Daniel Reagan, the proprietor at the time, advertised "cheerful rooms," for $8 and $10 a week, with "fish, boating and bathing" being the main attractions.

On a Sunday in 1910 the pastor of St. Augustine's Church took the ferry from Ocean City to Somers Point, walked down Bay Avenue and served the first public mass on the bar of the ballroom of the Anchorage Hotel. Charles Collins was the owner of record at the time.

The Anchorage was not always a saintly haven however. Prohibition rum runners used the same small inlets and side creeks that were used by Colonial smugglers and Revolutionary militia. The rum runners found Great Egg Bay a friendly port, and the Anchorage a popular tavern. At times the Anchorage was known to sport slot machines and its patrons were known to enjoy games of chance.

For awhile the hotel tavern was owned by Judge Larry Brannigan, who was known as a local Judge Roy Bean and "the law east of Patcong Creek." Hannah Somers, a descendent of the town's founding family, was also a proprietor for many years. Her longtime bartender, John Coyle kept a parrot named Teddy, which picked up a atrocious vocabularly from the regulars at the bar.

After prohibition, the Anchorage was issued the fifth city license C-5. In 1938 the hotel was purchased by Lucille Cornaglia Thompson, who operated the bar until she sold it to her brother, Andrew "Henry" Cornaglia in 1945. The Three Keys, who once performed before the Queen of England, were the house band for many years when the Anchorage was known for its fine Italian pasta and sauces, shuffle board and juke box.

With the death of Mr. Cornaglia in 1965, his son Andrew assumed the business and he attracted a new, younger clientele who made it a tradition to stop at the Anchorage before patronizing Bay Shores, Tony Marts and the other Bay Avenue cabarets. The Anchorage became famous for serving seven draft beers for a dollar, and the 7 for 1 T-shirts are now collector's items.

William Morris and Dave Tyson acquired the Anchorage in 1993, restored the building and kept the nostalgia alive. The Anchorage continues to serve good food and drinks to a new generation of patrons as well as those who return to remember the good old days.

The Historic Anchorage Tavern, a Jersey Shore Tradition for over a century.

George McGonigle's Hobby Horse


One of George McGongle's hobby horses on the bar at the Old Anchorage. George made them and sold them out of the trunk of his car around Christmas time.

That's Lisa, Nace, James Dean and Boston Rick at the bar.
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Vince at Rest


Timmy Hunt, plotting his next move, and Vince Renich in the waining days of the Old Anchorage.
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RENNICH, VINCENT F. "Vin Vin," 67, died Saturday at Shore Memorial Hospital. Born in Philadelphia, PA, he was an area resident for 46 years and local bartending legend at Gregory's Restaurant and Bar for 42 years.

He served in the Korean War in the First Calvary and was the recipient of the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters and two Purple Hearts. Mr. Rennich was a graduate of the school of hard knocks, loved to travel and had a zest for life. Lived each day as his last.

Survived by his wife, Donna Rennich; one son, Vincent and his wife, Lynn Rennich of Somers Point; one brother, David of Linwood; two grand children, Rachael and Jonathan Rennich of Somers Point.

A Mass of Christian Burrial will be held on Wednesday at 10:30 AM at St. Joseph's Church, Shore Road, Somers Point. Interment Seaside Cemetery, Palermo.

VINCE RENNIC - January 9, 1932 - December 18, 1999

Born in Philadelphia, Vince attended Catholic school in Germantown where the nun's discipline served him well when, as a teenager, he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the 1st Calvary Division in Korea.

Few people knew he earned a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters for bravery in combat and two Purple Hearts before he returned home for Christmas, 1953. That's when his mother introduced him to their Main Line neighbor John McCann, the beer barron, who offered Vince a job at his Somers Point nightclub, Bay Shores.

Vince said he never considered being a bartender until McCann offered him the job.

"Where's Somers Point?" Vince asked McCann, who said, "Throw away the books, you're going to get a real education."

"And he was right," Vince said, "you wouldn't believe what I've learned behind the bar."

Driving into the Point around Easter, 1953, Vince helped clean up the place since it was a seasonal place, closed since the previous Labor Day weekend, and started out as a bar back for $10 a day, plus tips, which he said went a long way when beers were 10 cents and mixed drinks a quarter.

Living above the club in a room with a view of the bay, Vince worked nights during the Bay Shores halcyon days, and often recalled the bands who played there at the time - MacNamaara's Band, Rocco & the Saints, which included Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell, and Mike Pedicin, Sr., who played Vince's favorite song, "On the Way to Cape May."

When Bay Shores closed in the fall, Vince, like many of the other bartenders and waitresses at the shore, went to Florida to work the hotel bars and restaurants there. In Florida Vince hung out at the Gulf Stream Race Track and the Hollywood Florida, Elks Club.

After marrying "Dot," and with a son on the way, Vince stayed in Somers Point one winter, working first at Steel's Ship Bar across the street from Bay Shores, and then started working steady at the bar of Gregory's Hotel on Shore Road.

Gregory's was still renting rooms upstairs at the time, and "Pop" Gregory was still around, cooking snapper soup and scrambled egges in the kitchen, and shucking clams was part of the bartending job.

Vince Rennich was a bartender at Gregory's during the Classic Era, working behind the same bar with his brother, Dave Lefko, and other legendary bartenders - George McGonigle, Charlie Carney and Ed Margum.

The seasons flowed into years, decades came and went, prices increased and styles changed, but Vince remained pretty much the same behind the bar at Gregory's. Vince met and made many friends over the years, many of whom stopped by to see him as soon as they got to town.

Old Anchorage Bartenders


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This picture was taken on day after the Old Anchorage had its last night. I stayed overnight at Wolfman's house down the street, and walked back the next day and started cleaning up, as the place was totally trashed. Somebody else came along and just started helping me fill trash bags and sweeping the floor of debress. There was a few cases of beer left, and some of the liquor bottles still had some liquor in them, so we polished that off while we cleaned up.

One by one, the bartenders came by - Ed Margerum, the old morning guy, five days (I did the other two), Boston Rick, Bruce the Beard and Charlie Carney, so somebody had us go out to the porch for a picture. (Thanks to John Guzak for the pix, and some of the others).

Joe Crean came by on his Harley, and I remember Jimmy Care was there, and Andrew stopped by and thanked us for cleaning up. And we all sat down and polished off what was left of the booze.

While Ed, Bruce and Charlie have all passed away, Boston Rick is still working as a bartender in Old City Philadelphia, at a heavy metal bar on South Street the last I heard. He's a real pro, along with Carney. The rest of us were amateurs.

Not in the photo, the other bartenders at the end were Nick Trofa, Sue and Pat Pierano (I know I spelled that wrong Pat, but I'll get it right).

Over the years, the Anchorage bartenders were often legendary - Billy Boyd, George McGonigle, Charlie Carney, Joe Brennan, Scott MacRae, Jim Smartly, et al., each has a story.

Smartly is still there. You can go and ask him.

CARNEY, CHARLES F., 77 OF Somers Point, died peacefully on February 18, 2006. His daughter Colleen, son-in-law Dvid, Carole and his good pal Andrew were at his side.

Charles was a legendary bartender in the Somers Point area. He began his career at Steel's Ship Bar, went on to Mac's, Gregory's, Mother's, The Med, The Shangri-La, Crab Trap and the world famous Anchorage.

Charles is the brother of the late Frank. He is survived by his brother George (Violet) of Collingswood, N.J., his children Charles and Sean of Miami Beach, FL; Colleen (David) McIlroy of Sunset Beach, CA and is partner and soul mate Carole Rubino of Somers Point.

Relatives and friends are invited to his viewing Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006 from 9:30 to 11 AM, St. Joseph's Church, 612 Shore Road, Somers Point. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 AM. Interment Seaside Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions to the Don MacBeth Memorial Jocky Fund. P.O. Box 18470, Encino, CA 91419. Arrangements by Terranova Funderal Home Inc.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More Nostalgia

More Nostalgia.

I have a few guys in Somers Point who routinely send me stuff of relevance, news clips, obits, etc., and Bill Carr's collection of old post cards and photos, especially photos of the old bars, some of which I've never seen before.

They are really teriffic!

I'm trying to find out more about Carr and his collection and would like to see if anybody has anything like it that they've had and just got scanned for the first time. I bet there's a lot of old photos out there in attics ready to found.

Picasa Web Albums - BILL CARR - Yesterday 1


I'm going to add some of my recollections to a few, but for the most part, these are even before my time.

You learn something new every day.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Anchorage Fire

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Hey, I just figured out how to post photos to the blog using Picasa3, but I must start a new post for each pix, and can't post a pix in an old blog post, yet.

So, I'm posting some photos as I go along, and will add some captions to them, and refer the reader to the relevant link(s), if there is one.

The Anchorage fire almost destroyed the building, even though the damage doesn't appear to be that bad.

Luck for everybody, the wind was out of the Northeast and kept the fire, that started in an overused ceiling fan in the first floor men's room, was confined by the wind to that corner of the building.

Jimmy the cleanup guy, arriving to work in the early am, called it in and many people observed the fire and recorded it with film and video. One video is available from the Somers Point Historical Society on CD for $5, and I'll try to get that put on YouTube asap.

Many of the firemen, who grew up in Somers Point, had their first drink at the Anch, met their wives there and ate there once a week, really made an effort to save the place. The video shows some of them carrying out historic photos and plaques from the walls while other firemen are battling the fire.

After the fire was out, the fire inspectors and building inspectors came buy to evaluate the situation, and Donny Mahoney's fire insurance man was right on the scene, and notified Donny that his insurance coverage was paid and they would help him rebuild, whether he decided to restore the old building or tear it down.

The building inspector notified Donny that the fire revealed that the foundation was gone, and the building would be condemned and have to be demolished as a public hazard, but there was also a guy there from a company called Risk Management. He surveyed the situation and told Donny and the building inspector that he could shore up the building with concrete and save the historic structure, though it would still need new ceiling, walls, floor, electric and plumbing, and would probably be cheaper to just tear it down.

The building inspector gave Donny ten minutes to make up his mind, and after consoltation with his brother and a few others at the scene, Donny pondered the situation for a few minutes and then hired Risk Managment to try to save it. The insurance guy backed him up, and the building inspector gave Donny the extra time he needed to keep the Anch rather than condemning it and losing it to the wrecking ball.

Can you image a vacant lot where the Anchorage has stood for over a century?

As the heart and soul of Somers Point, the loss of the Anchorage would have been devistating, and the character of the town would have changed forever.

Donny could have taken the insurance money, sold the liquor license for six figures, let developers build condos and retire to Florida for the rest of his life, and no body would have blamed him.

Someone, other than Donny, later told me that the main factor in his decision to rebuild was the fact he employed nearly a hundred people and all of them had families who were depending upon the Anchorage for their work and livlihood.

Even after taking on the job Risk Management couldn't guarantee that they could salvage the building, as they could rebuild the foundation, but the rest of the building could fall apart around them.

And it wasn't going to happen overnight. They could have bulldozed it and had a parking lot in a matter of days, but restoring a centuries old three story building was to take months, without a day of slack. And every single day Donny was there, along with the Risk Management guys, who were pumping tons and tons of concrete and foundation into the basement while other guys ripped up floors and ceilings and wires and pipes. No bodies were found in the basement, some thought to be a disapointment.

And every day, the employees, bartenders, waitresses, the firemen and the regular customers came buy with coffee, Mack & Manco pizza for the workers, and words of encouragement, with the whole town feeling like something good was being created anew.

And finally, after everything was put back together again, almost as good as knew, Donny held open house, one night for the fireman and their families and the next night for the workers and the regular customers, before opening to the public.

Donny Mahoney was justfully honored as the city's man of the year, and everybody whose ever been to Somers Point or will ever go there owes him one.

I think these thoughts just looking at that picture of the Anch afire, and will look for and post some appropriate links.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Don Dunleavy - Last Oldtime Bartender

Don Dunleavy - The Last Oldtime Bartenders.

George McGonigle, Vince Renich and Don Dunleavy were the oldtime bartenders who were a unique breed, who set a professional style and maintained it for decades.

God Bless Don Dunleavy.


James Donald Dunleavy

DUNLEAVY, JAMES DONALD, - of Atlantic City, passed away peacefully after a brief illness with his family by his side on March 1, 2009. Born and raised in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, he moved to Atlantic City in 1960. Don was in the Army and served as Corporal in the Korean War. An Atlantic City legend, he was the owner and operator of the Opus, The Flamingo, The Elbo Room, The Mug, Augustine's, The Jockey Club and Dunleavy's. Don was a long time member of Local 54 and most recently, you may have enjoyed his company while visiting Maynard's of Margate. As one of the founders of the Heart Walk, Don dedicated many years to the American Heart Association. In his day, Don enjoyed a great game of basketball, loved politics and to take a stroll down memory lane. Don was well known for his charisma, great conversation and the way he could light up any room. The best days for Don started with a good cup of coffee and the Daily News. Donald adored his family. Don is survived by his wife Lorrie, his children, Christine Daly (Joe), Annette Williams (Bob), Mary Kay McGlynn (Frank), Maureen Cohen (Sam), Leigh Ann, Jamie Lee and Don. Don was also a wonderful grandfather to his six grandchildren, Angela and Melissa Williams, Michael and Maddie McGlynn, Gabrielle and Christina Cohen. He was predeceased by parents John and Mary and his siblings John, Paul, Billy, Kathleen, Nancy and Grace. He was predeceased by his former wife Annette Cella Dunleavy. Don certainly knew how to enjoy life. If you met Don once, you were a friend for life. Today, raise your glass in memory of Don. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Thursday, March 5th at Church of St. Bernadette, Northfield where friends may call from 9:00 to 11:00 am. Interment Atlantic County Veteran's Cemetery, Estell Manor. Arrangements by the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home. Donations can be made for the Donald Dunleavy, Jr. Educational Fund c/o of The Cape Bank, 7806 Ventnor Ave. Margate, NJ 08402.