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Boardwalk Historical Sign Survived Storm

To be reposted on new boardwalk.

Doug Sheer standing beside a historical boardwalk sign that was posted on the structure before Hurricane Sandy struck. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
Doug Sheer standing beside a historical boardwalk sign that was posted on the structure before Hurricane Sandy struck. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

Doug Sheer had a historical sign about Long Beach’s iconic boardwalk bolted to the wooden walkway for display at National Boulevard, in the shadows of the Allegria Hotel, and then disaster struck. Two weeks later, Hurricane Sandy battered the 2.2-mile structure along with the rest of the beach town.  

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The two-legged metal sign features vintage photos of the boardwalk’s construction that began in 1907, a fact Sheer included in the abridged history he wrote for the sign. It survived Sandy’s wrath intact and will be re-posted at National after the crippled walkway is demolished and rebuilt.

“Since the boardwalk was scheduled for demolition the sign has been removed and awaits placement on our new boardwalk, though now it appears a new chapter in the boardwalk's history needs to be written,” said Sheer, who noted that the Department of Public Works put the sign in storage.

Part of Sheer's historical account touches on storms and reconstruction projects of decades past. “In 1936 the City of Long Beach took title of the boardwalk from the Long Beach on the Ocean company for $250,000; the federal government provided almost $2 million to rebuild much of the damage done by storms,” the sign reads.

Long Beach’s new boardwalk is expected to cost approximately $25 million to rebuild and will include federal funding, after the city sustained an estimated $200 million to $250 million in damages due to Sandy, according to the city.

The Long Beach Island Landmarks Society (LBILA), of which Sheer is a member, had submitted an application to obtain a a grant  for various signs from Nassau County, which Legislator Denise Ford, a city resident, brought to the attention of the organization. The grant provided for an historical marker that was posted outside the Long Island Rail Road station at Park Avenue last year. LBILA undertook these efforts with an eye toward educating the public about the city on the South Shore.

“We chose the LIRR station and the boardwalk for signage, as they are possibly the most iconic structures of Long Beach and have stood in one form or another for over 100 years,” Sheer said.

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LBILA has other signs in the works, including for the three bridges in the Canals neighborhood. Signs for the boardwalk include one that will remember the wreck of The Mexico off the coast near what is now Lincoln Boulevard, where it will be posted; another will tell the story of the Long Beach Hotel, which was built in 1880 but went down in flames in 1907, which will be posted at National. Still another sign is planned for Alabama Street and West Beech Street, the site of the original West End firehouse.

The creation of these signs are on hold, though, as the city and its residents continue to recover. Sheer’s home was flooded in the storm on Oct. 29.

“We had a little over two inches of water in our house and have been in a hotel ever since that dreadful night,” he said.

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Jack January 15, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Did the drug addicts, and dericts who go under the boardwalk survive? Where are the junkies getting their methadone now that LB Hospital is closed? Dont you miss them strolling along Park AVe during the money hours?
Taurus January 16, 2013 at 07:46 AM
The only sign I remember is 'AMERICA'S HEALTHIEST CITY' as you were coming into LB from LB Rd. I always thought as a kid-what a dumb sign :).
Taurus January 16, 2013 at 07:47 AM
Have some compassion Mr Kett. 'There But For The Grace of God Go I'.
cabbage patch kid January 16, 2013 at 08:46 AM
They couldn't get FEMA to pay for a new one, maybe if they smashed it up a little with bull dozers like they did the boardwalk they could get a bran new one

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