Beach Haven Library Museum Exhibit Focuses on Hindenburg Disaster

Jun 28, 2017

The Beach Haven Library marks the 80th anniversary of the Hindenburg disaster with a special display in its second-floor museum, which is open throughout the summer on Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. or by special appointment.

Anna Serbek, library technician, said the exhibit includes an actual piece of the metal ribs, which was made of duralumin. Duralumin is a very lightweight material, and the Hindenburg had more than 13 miles of duralumin ribbing. There is a picture of the airship floating over the Beach Haven School and Gifford’s Garage on Bay Avenue. Included in the display are reproductions of the airship’s sailing schedule, letters and a ticket that was scorched by the fire, views of the accommodations, and other Hindenburg memorabilia

The display points out that the famous German airship was 803.8 feet long, and its interior included a post office, accommodations for wealthy people and small cabins for the crew members. In addition there were a dining room, smoking room and a bar. The Hindenburg provided its guests with gourmet food and top-shelf liquor.

The age of the airship came to an end on May 6, 1937, at Lakehurst Naval Air Station. The Hindenburg came in for a landing, caught fire and within less than 30 seconds was completely destroyed. On the airship were 36 passengers and 61 crewmen. Thirty-five people lost their lives in this tragedy: 13 passengers, 22 crewmen and 1 grounds person.

Established nine years ago by borough historian Jeanette Lloyd, the one-room museum contains photos, hotel ledgers, diaries, deeds, newspaper clippings, whale bones and other artifacts from Beach Haven’s earliest years.

“The main purpose of this museum is a place for people who want to research history about Beach Haven. The LBI Historical Museum  in Beach Haven covers the history of the whole Island, but at the library, we can concentrate on the rich history of Beach Haven,” she said.

Serbek said that in recent years, the museum has compiled histories of homes in the borough’s historic district.

“There are records kept by the historic preservation committee,” she said. “We have also compiled a lot of information about Beach Haven’s first families.”

Last month, the library dedicated a Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker by the flagpole. It’s the 36th in New Jersey and serves as a memorial for all veterans who have served the country. It goes hand in hand with a new “Veterans from Beach Haven” exhibit, honoring local residents who served from the Civil War to the Vietnam War.

“There is also a tribute to those who lost their lives during World War II and the Korean War,” said Serbek

She said the library is asking that anyone who has lived in Beach Haven and was a veteran of any war, or is still in the military, to bring in or email a photo of the veteran along with a description of what war they served in and what capacity. People can email any information to BHPL@comcast.net.

For more information, call the library at 609-492-7081.

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

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