Thursday, February 02, 2012

SIA Newsletter 2 2 2012 - Happy 100th, Strathmere!

To All Strathmere and Whale Beach Homeowners and Visitors,

If you are a fan of Carol Baker's Strathmere Website , you know that Corson's Inlet was renamed Strathmere in 1912 - 100 years ago!
We're not sure of the exact circumstances, but we can piece together a good part of the puzzle.

Here is a newspaper ad from Carol's website advertising a special Pennsylvania Railroad excursion train from Philadelphia (via the Market Street ferries to Camden) to where "Corson's Inlet Meets the Combers".

It states that their $1000 prize naming contest closed on March 31, and an excursion is to take place on Sunday, April 10. April 10 fell on a Sunday in 1910.

We don't know who the lucky "namer" winner was, but we are guessing that the name Strathmere was selected in the spring or summer of 1910.
Presumably, once a name was selected, there was some red tape to go through to actually change the name. Since it was not incorporated, we're guessing they had to do three things: (1) get some consensus from the existing inhabitants, (2) get the two railroads running through town to change the names on their schedules and stations and (3) get the Postal Service to deliver mail to the new name, "Strathmere". It seems to have taken until 1912 to accomplish this, and the name was actually changed then.
George and Catharine McCullough were the first postmaster and assistant postmaster of Strathmere. He was commissioned on January 17, 1912, and apparently that's when Strathmere officially became Strathmere - 100 years and sixteen days ago (full disclosure, George and Catharine were my maternal grandparents - KW). Unfortunately, we just learned the actual date.

Here is the first post office - today it is Grace Curran and Family Real Estate:

We don't know why the contest winner picked "Strathmere". Growing up here, we were told that the name came from "Strath", which we were told had the same derivation as "strand", or beach, and mere, which of course relates to the sea or ocean. So we're the beach by the sea. Presumably "Strandmere" wasn't very catchy.
If you pursue the word origin of Strath, you'll find that the Scottish Gaelic word srath means "a wide valley" as in Srath Chluaidh (Strathclyde), and the Irish equivalent is also srath meaning "river valley, low-lying land along a river" as in Srath Bán (Strabane). Perhaps the contest winner thought that by adding "mere" it would change Strath from the land along a river to the land along the sea...

Anyway, the result of the 1910 contest was Corson's Inlet changing its name to Strathmere in 1912.
We're hoping that the people and organizations in Strathmere will choose to celebrate our 100th in multiple ways, perhaps in Fourth of July Parade themes or Nightmare in Strathmere themes...
You might also resolve to spend some time each week reading the history and seeing the pictures on the  website. You'll be glad you did!
We'll have a few more newsletters on "Strathmere" at 100. Next one will be on the railroads that served Strathmere...

Thanks once again to all for your continuing support of the Strathmere Improvement Association!

Linda Bateman
Elaine Holsomback
Donna Diefenderfer
Dorothy Addario
Ken Weaver

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