A Brief History of the Settlement & Development of
The first local owner of Seven Mile Island was Aaron Leaming who purchased it from
the West Jersey Society December 26, 1722 for 106 lb Old currency
 The Property was specified as
The Seven Mile Beach, bounded
on the east by the “main ocean
or sea,” the north by Townsends
Inlet, the south by Little
Hereford Inlet, and on the west
“by the creeks and sounds that
are flowed with water from three
quarters flood to one quarter
Early Island Land Uses
 The earliest use of Seven Mile
Island was salt production,
whaling cooperatives, and free
range cattle. The island was
used in this way throughout the
entirety of the 18th and half of
the 19th century.
 Photograph: This photo taken
in 1889 by Dr. Henry Watson,
suggest that efforts by Mr. Will
Barnett to corral and remove
cattle from Seven Mile Beach
were not as successful as once
An Island on a See-saw:
Seven Mile Beach saw five separate owners over 115 years
 Island Transactions and
Deed changes
 December 26, 1772 West Jersey
Society to Aaron Leaming for 102
LB’s old currency.
 June 16, 1854-J Leaming to J Silver
for $12,000.
 January 16, 1855-J. Silver to Henry
Tatham for $5,500.
 February 1, 1856-Henry Tatham to
George Tatham for $15,000.
 April 1, 1887-George Tatham to
Joseph Wells & Frank Siddall of
the Seven Mile Beach Company
for $125,000
“Old Limerick” the Leaming family Homestead
The Seven Mile Beach Company
The Biggest Yard Sale in Island
 Huge changes awaited Seven
Mile Island after the Tatham sale
to the Seven Mile Beach
Company, first of which
required George Tatham to
remove an extensive collection
of livestock, farming, and
boating equipment. Tatham
advertised the auction in the
Cape May Wave. RIGHT: The
ad for the Tatham auction in the
Cape May Wave May 21, 1887.
What’s in a Name?
 Above: This early view of 22nd street east of 2nd with its hidden grove of trees is a
reminder of the towns wild beginnings.
 The town was named by the Reverend Charles H. Bond,
secretary of the Seven Mile Beach Company, and brother of
Margaret Wells. Mr. Bond was a devoted fan of King Arthur
& the knights of the Round Table, and named the island after
the place of legend where king Arthur was said to be buried.
A Town in Motion:
Avalon 1888-1920
 The late 19th & early 20th
century were a time of
immense change in Avalon.
A beach front hotel, a beach
drive, construction of a
seawall, a boardwalk, & the
production of homes (by
Cape May contractor Enos
Williams) turned Avalon
into a respectable beachfront
 Right-George Rummel’s
Hotel Peermont during
construction in 1888. A two
story pavilion with bath
houses would be constructed
of camera.
The Avalon Hotel
Right: The Hotel Avalon
after its move in 1893. The
first location proved
unserviceable due to
erosion and the weather.
While much of the
building survived the move
400 feet back to the
northwest side of First
Avenue , the impressive
tower would be removed
sometime after the first
All Aboard!
By July of 1888 the
West Jersey Railroad
was bringing
excursionist to
Avalon. For the first
time Avalon was
easily accessible via
the train across
Towsends Inlet
bridge. Thousands
were introduced to
Avalon’s beauty .
Education in Avalon
 Like any growing
community Avalon
found itself in the need
of a school. While
school district 35 was
under construction
classes were held in the
Lambert cottage.
Minnie Tucker was the
first teacher and was
paid $175 for the 1892/93
school year.
Lifesaving & Avalon’s Beaches
 Like any resort
community the
beachgoers safety was
becoming more and
more evident. Life
saving service had been
created in 1848, and by
the time Avalon came to
prominence the service
was professionally run.
Life on the Beach
The main draw of Avalon’s past, present, and future is the charm of the
beach…..Photo’s from the 1920’s.
“Cottages” & Avalon:
While many of the island’s early homes were compact & affordable
there also existed wonderful pieces of architecture listed as cottages.
These giants were Victorian in nature and harkened back to early 19th
century gilded age splendor.
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