Sunday, April 10, 2011

Street named in honor of Bertha Wittkamp - from the Upper Township Gazette

from the Upper Township Gazette -

Street named in honor of Bertha Wittkamp

Written by Staff Reports
Tuesday, 05 April 2011 14:04

STRATHMERE – Township committee voted at its last meeting in March to name the alley that runs from Commonwealth Drive to Bayview Drive, between Winthrop Road and Seacliff Road in Strathmere “Bertha Wittkamp Alley.”

According to a letter sent to committee members by Strathmere residents, Wittkamp was a lifelong resident of Strathmere. Her parents Gus and Carrie Wittkamp came to Strathmere in the late 1800s and owned the West Jersey Cottage, a hotel that used to be bay front on Winthrop Road.
Gus was also the station manager for the West Jersey Railroad train stop in Strathmere.
Their daughter Bertha was born in the West Jersey Cottage in 1901, making her the first baby born in Strathmere. Her brother Harlan was also born there two years later; the township has already named a lifeboat after him.
Bertha and Harlan attended the one room schoolhouse in Strathmere. The family owned and ran the West Jersey Cottage from the late 1880s to the 1940s. Bertha’s niece still lives year-round in Strathmere.
Bertha was a nurse who worked at the hospital in Sea Isle City. She lived her entire life in Strathmere telling of when it was covered in beach plums and cows grazed freely. She also remembered when soldiers were stationed in Strathmere to patrol the beaches during both World Wars, according to the letter.
She lived her entire life on Winthrop Road, first in the family hotel, then in the hotel annex next door, and then finally in the boathouse on what will now be called “Bertha Wittkamp Alley.”
Over the years, many people in town referred to her as ‘Aunt Bertha’ and she rode in an antique car in the Strathmere 4th of July Parade, honored as being the first baby born in Strathmere.

Bertha passed away in 1991.

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