Sheldon Wolpin Lakewood Heritage Museu

$886 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 15 people in 63 months
My father was born on April 6, 1923 in Lakewood, N.J., a small town with a big history. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was known as one of the New York City region's major winter resorts. The "Romantic Laurel House" was host to the Vanderbilts, Goulds, Rockefellers, Astors, Tilfords, Rhinelanders, Kipps, Arbuckles and scores of other families of social prominence. Oliver Wendell Holmes and Rudyard Kipling would sit on the floor by the fireplace and recite poems and tales to the children, who would gather around to listen.

Several magnificent hostelries were constructed during the ensuing decades. The Lakewood Hotel, built by a syndicate headed by Nathan Strauss, was once the winter headquarters of Tammany Hall, in the days of Richard Croker. Lakewood also saw the establishment of a large number of magnificent homes, including the John D. Rockefeller Estate, now Ocean County Park; the Grover Cleveland Cottage, and the Gould Estate, now Georgian Court University.

Many famous figures in the world of entertainment, sports, and politics, visited, worked, or trained in the Township of Lakewood. Richard Dix starred in a motion picture set in Lakewood, and the Laurel-in-the-Pines Hotel was the scene of Charles Evans Hughes' discovery that he had lost the presidential election. In addition, James J. Corbett, Kid McCoy, Benny Leonard, Max Schmeling and Joe Louis all trained in Lakewood, and the New York Giants baseball team used Lakewood as their training base during World War II.

My father's unofficial title "Mr. Lakewood" was for good reason. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of everything and everyone in his beloved town, and he dedicated his life to serving it. After serving in the Navy during WWII, he had the opportunity to complete his college education at Harvard, but chose to return home to help his father run the family furniture business. He lived an exemplary life (don't depend on the opinion of a loving daughter, ask ANYONE), dignified, honorable, a gentle spirit of quiet grace - he never used a word that could remotely be construed as bad and never had a bad word to say about anyone, ever. He did not seek the limelight, but went quietly about his life, leaving a huge footprint behind him.

He was a member of Rotary for more than 60 years and was twice named a Paul Harris Fellow. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Ocean County Center for the Arts, the Lakewood High School Alumni Association, Congregation Sons of Israel, the Jewish Historical Society of the Jewish Federation of Ocean County, the Jewish War Veterans. Every Veterans' Day he personally placed flags on the graves of Jewish veterans and every Memorial Day marched in the parade alongside my brother, Richard, also a Navy veteran, until he was prevented by his illness. He spent twenty years as the chairman of the Lakewood Heritage Commission (LHC), and in 2004, he was honored with the establishment of the Sheldon Wolpin Lakewood Heritage Museum, located in the building where he attended high school! When the building was sold in 2009, the museum lost its space and all the wonderful artifacts and memorabilia went into storage.

After a 3 year search, the LHC acquired a lease for the use of Kuser Hall, a building with its own rich and distinguished history. It was constructed in 1927 as part of the elite Newman School for Boys. The building is a 13,000 square foot masonry edifice with early 20th century artistic design and architecture and many worthwhile period items which will be retained. Unfortunately, the building has been vacant and neglected for many years, and is in serious disrepair. While the LHC and Lakewood Historical Society have been working tirelessly to raise funds to complete and restore the building, it is a monumental task.

My father did not live to see his legacy come to fruition (he passed away December 17th, 2012 after a long battle with cancer). It is MY goal to see that it does, to fulfill his dream, honor his memory, and most importantly, share with the community the history of the town he held so dear. "A museum in storage impedes the goal of sharing with the community"

Please help make the Sheldon Wolpin Lakewood Heritage Museum a reality.

Thank you for your consideration and generosity

Ellen D. Wolpin

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Dear friends,

The Lakewood Historical Society 2016 calendar is hot off the presses. OK, so its February - lukewarm??!!! The cover photo (sponsored by the Lakewood Blueclaws) is of Georgian Court, the former Gould Estate, and now home to Georgian Court University. Inside, there are more pictures, the feature article "Georgian Court - Then and Now" and many more interesting tidbits. For instance, in April 1860, the railroad reached Lakewood; in 1902, Rockefeller bought his Lakewood estate; and in 1931, we were visited by Charles Limburgh. Who knew???
This informative and souvenir calendar can be yours for a mere donation of only $20, so get yours while they last.
Meantime, the Lakewood Historical Society just received a block grant which will allow us to complete the necessary renovations at Kuser Hall, obtain our Certificate of Occupancy and finally open, this spring. We look forward to seeing you all at the grand opening
Thank you for your support
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Dear friends, alumnus, and past and present Lakewoodites,

For those of us in the Northeast, it’s been one heck of a winter and the horrid weather has hampered everything, including work at the museum. Hopefully spring is finally in the air and we can proceed with the final repairs and renovations necessary for the museum to open. The rooms are set up and the cabinets are in place, waiting to be filled with the countless souvenirs and memorabilia eager to be released from their storage boxes and put on display for all to see and enjoy. There are however, several areas which must be addressed before we can open and receive the certificate of occupancy, and they are as follows:

Window shades are needed to protect the artifacts from damaging sunlight . Bathroom fixtures need to be purchased and installed. As Kuser Hall was once a boys’ school, the bathroom had to be renovated to accommodate men, women, and handicapped users. All the old fixtures have been removed and it’s been cleaned and painted and patiently awaiting completion.

Safety and security lights are required inside and out.The handicapped ramp and railing is completed, but the outside of the building needs to be painted, the property needs to be landscaped and a security fence is needed to protect the exterior from trespassers and graffiti..If you know of anyone in a position to make a tax deductible donation of any of these goods and/or services, please contact the Lakewood Historical Society at 732 920-4550.

Meantime, you can help by:
Purchasing a 2015 Lakewood Historical Society Calendar for only $20. This year’s subject is the history of the Lakewood Fire Department, but the calendar contains lots of other interesting facts and information. For instance, March 10, 1908 President Cleveland celebrated his 71st birthday at the Lakewood Hotel; the grand opening of the Strand Theater was April 14th, 1922 (I wonder what was the first movie shown); May 20th, 1896 the first person graduated from Lakewood High School (anyone know who that was?); and July 30th, 1934 the Philadelphia Athletics played an exhibition baseball game against the Lakewood Athletic Club, so forth, and so on.

Becoming a lifetime member of the Lakewood Historical Society for only $150
Joining us for our Annual Fundraising Luncheon – see below

Marking your calendar for and attending the Second Ever Sheldon Wolpin Memorial Car Show (see below), which still makes me chuckle, as my father knew nothing about cars!

Making a tax deductible donation. The museum is sooooo close to becoming a reality and I know with your support and generosity, we can make it happen.
Thank you
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You're invited to the
to benefit the
SHELDON WOLPIN LAKEWOOD HERITAGE MUSEUM (all proceeds to support the needed renovations to Kuser Hall, the building which will house the museum)
SUNDAY, AUGUST 17, 2014, 2:00 to 6:00 PM, at the Clarence Brown Pavilion, Pine Park, West County Line Rd., Lakewood.

First, many thanks to the Lakewood Historical Society and Jimmy Givens, for throwing this soiree, but I had to chuckle when I heard about it. My father (may his memory be for a blessing) was hardly a car enthusiast. I don't think he even knew how to check the oil in his car! So, why a car show? Well, Dad might not have been interested in cars, but he loved history. So, his appreciation of Wayne Straughn's (thanks Wayne, look forward to seeing you!) 1931 Model A Roadster Deluxe, might have been limited, but he could have told you exactly what was happening in Lakewood that year!

Sadly, so much information passed with him, but I'm told there is a monumental number of amazing, memory jogging artifacts, souvenirs, and memorabilia waiting to be shared with the world, and that was my father's wish - to share the unique and interesting history of his beloved hometown, Lakewood.

So, come and support this event and the museum. There is no charge to attend, but please consider a tax deductible donation. We will gratefully accept any amount, but you can now become a LIFETIME member of the Lakewood Historical Society for only $150.00. Donate here, or send your check to
Lakewood Historical Society
245 Martine Way
Lakewood, NJ 08701

As always, thank you for your support

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cordially invite you to our


Sunday, April 13, 2014, Noon ~ 4:00PM
Woodlake Country Club ~ 25 New Hampshire Ave. ~ Lakewood, NJ 08701

Take a walk down memory lane as we proudly present:

... the life and times of the Lakewood hotels
and the musicians and entertainers who performed in them!

All proceeds from the luncheon will go towards the renovations of the

Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance.

YES, I will be attending!

# of persons attending _______ x $40.00 per person = $___________

____Stuffed Capon ____Prime Rib ____Salmon

Kosher meals available upon request!

Please send your tax-deductible check payable to:


We thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you there!

The Lakewood Historical Society
is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.
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$886 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 15 people in 63 months
Created September 24, 2013
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20 months ago
23 months ago


Karen McEnroe
33 months ago

Exciting and admirable project. Best of luck

50 months ago
Laurie Beaty
57 months ago

This is honor of my father: Paul D. Cohen

Susan Schreiner
62 months ago

This is on behalf of the Schreiner Family & my parent's friendship with your mom and dad

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