Ship Bottom Borough

Ocean County, New Jersey

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Ship Bottom Borough Hall is located at 1621 Long Beach Boulevard, Ship Bottom NJ 08008.
Phone: 609‑494‑2171.

Ship Bottom-Beach Arlington was incorporated in 1925 from part of Long Beach Township. The name was shortened to Ship Bottom in 1947.

Ship Bottom as described in 1939 [1]

Ship Bottom, a treeless little town on the gray-white sand at the widest part of Long Beach Island, thrives on fishing and summer visitors. A new Fishing Pier extends 584 feet into the ocean. At the foot of 14th Street lies the Hull of Fortuna, a three-masted Italian ship wrecked in the winter of 1909-1910.

Ship Bottom's odd name is the center of controversy of date and detail rather than event. One tradition is that in 1817 Captain Stephen Willits during a storm came upon a ship aground, bottom up. His men heard tapping inside and chipped a hole with an axe. Out stepped a beautiful young girl, whom they carried to shore, where she thanked them in a strange tongue, sank to her knees, and drew the sign of the cross on the sand. She was sent to New York and never heard of again.

The second version, dated 1846, duplicates the story of the capsized ship, the tapping, and the appearance of the beautiful young girl. Less adventurous, however, this maiden remained in the village, was properly wed, and ultimately became the ancestor of a Sandy Hook pilot.

At Ship Bottom is one of six life-saving stations that guard this perilous coast. The wreck Powhatan in 1854 was a loss of 354 lives led to formation of a voluntary life-saving crew. One of the founders was Dr. William A. Newell, known as the father of the U. S. Live Saving Service, who had already obtained a Federal appropriation for this purpose. On April 4, 1933, the Akron, U. S. Navy dirigible, was destroyed in a storm off this coast with the loss of 73 lives.

  1. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey, New Jersey: A Guide to Its Present and Past, American Guide Series, The Viking Press, 1939, New York

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