Island Heights

Historical   Site


The Springs
RR & Letter Park
Pavilion & Hotels
The Wanamaker Camp
River & Sailing Scenes


These are some antique postcards of Island Heights. 

Churches and Camp Meeting

In 1878 the Island Heights Association was formed by the Reverend Jacob McGraw, and 12 other ministers and 17 business men to purchase land and develop it into a Methodist Camp Meeting Community. The site of the Camp Meeting Ground is now a public park. A Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1884. Then the First United Methodist Church was constructed in 1925 and is still very active today. The Chapel of St. Gertrude of the Holy Ghost was built as a mission of the St. Joseph Church of Toms River in 1908. The mission Church is open every summer. The St. Phillip Episcopal Church was built in 1882 and has had some though many different uses throughout the years. 

The Springs

The Springs was a summer school and camp for the Girls' Friendly Society.  They were a group of young girls and women who were members of the Episcopal Church of New Jersey.  

Railroad and Letter Park

The Pennsylvania Railroad built a causeway over the Toms River to Island Heights in 1883 making a direct rail link from New York City or Philadelphia possible for visitors. The cement Island Heights letters would announce to those arriving from the train it was the end of the line.

Island Heights Yacht Club 

The IHYC was organized on July 28, 1898 with Charles Webb as the first Commodore. Meetings were held in the house until the clubhouse was completed in 1900. The objectives of the IHYC were, "to promote yachting and rowing, and to foster athletic sports upon the water."


Island Heights Pavilion and Hotels

The pavilion initially housed Sunday evening camp meetings knows as "Dock Services." The pavilion was also used for dances with love orchestras and bands, and it became the home of the traditional Labor Day games. The Island House, built in 1880, was the first hotel built in Island Heights. It later became the Riverview and then the Edge Water.


John Wanamaker ran a summer camp for his employees from his department stores in Philadelphia an New York City, from 1904 until 1941.  They studied music and athletics in addition to military drill.  Between 1949 and 1969, it was run as a Presbyterian summer camp.

Residential and Street Scenes

Island Heights started as a Methodist Meeting community.  Many  very  small cottages were built around the camp meeting grounds.  Before long the community became known for its yachting activities and seashore pleasures, and many grand cottages were built.  Because of the quality of the original architecture and the preservation of the remnants of that era, Island Heights is now on the State an National Registers of Historical Sites.

Sailing Scenes

In addition to pleasure boating, members of the yacht club started racing against the Bay Head and Seaside Park yacht clubs in 1901 and became one of the 4 original members of the Barnegat Bay Racing Association.