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The Seawife History

The Little Schoolhouse
Long before paved streets lined the island and yellow school buses rolled along the boulevard, the little red schoolhouse stood at the edge of the bay in Harvey Cedars. Built in the late 1890's few records remain of the children who may have taken a sandy path through the meadows, tied their boat to the wharf, or arrived by train at the station next to the school. We do know that the five children of Jason Fenimore, Harvey Cedars Borough Clerk, attended the school located on what is now Burlington Avenue, until a new school was built in 1906 in Barnegat City (now Barnegat Light).

When the children moved out of the little schoolhouse, Twinkle- Twinkle and Star, the Fenimore family cows, moved in and the building became a cow barn. Several years later the cows were displaced by Fenimore, who used it as his office. The schoolhouse survived the 1944 hurricane and in the 1950's was moved behind the Loveladies Gift Shop (a former lifesaving station) where it then became an antique shop. The move saved it from destruction by the 1962 northeaster and it remained there until 1988, when the gift shop became a private residence.

The LBI Historic Preservation Committee saved the schoolhouse from demolition and it was moved to the Harvey Cedars Bible Conference. The Harvey Cedars Planning Board would not approve the deteriorating building for use as a learning center at the Bible Conference or as part of Sunset Park. It was offered to Stafford and Barnegat Historical Societies, which also had no use for the building.

The current owner appreciated the charm and history of the little schoolhouse and moved the building to Barnegat Light. With great attention to detail and historical integrity, whenever possible the building was restored with materials salvaged from buildings of the same style and age to maintain the original appearance. Beautiful landscaping, using indigenous plants such as bayberry, holly, and beach plum, surrounds the building. The picturesque scene is completed by an ornamental outhouse. Mr. Weaver's outhouse was brought here from the Amish country in Pennsylvania.

The little schoolhouse is again filled with antiques as "The Seawife" at historic Viking Village. Others were given the opportunity to appreciate the architectural charm and history of Long Beach Island's past as the little schoolhouse began a new life. Once again this historic building, reflecting the seashore characteristics of the island, has found shelter from the ravages of storm, progress, and the bulldozer.

 
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