This is an excerpt from NJN’s documentary OUR VANISHING PAST. The documentary features more than 30 historic places throughout New Jersey, from crumbling ruins in forgotten towns to spectacular restorations in major cities. The documentary also looks at successful preservation efforts, from grassroots citizens groups to innovative developers.
Official Website: http://www.njn.net/television/special…
Along the coast in Wildwood, a different kind of teardown has invaded the shore. At risk is the largest collection of mid-20th century resort architecture in the country. In the 1950s and 60s, Wildwood was a major destination for newly mobile families. The construction of the Garden State Parkway and cars built for cruising made it easy for vacationers to reach this seaside resort. The popular music of the era inspired the name for the eye-catching style of architecture in Wildwood referred to as Doo Wop. Fun, imaginative and surprising, these family owned motels attracted attention with dazzling neon, Miami Beach inspired designs and popular themes of the 50s and 60s.
Many people are surprised to learn that the Doo Wop motels are historic. A great number of these places are more than 50 years old and are examples of the recent past. The fact that so many Doo Wop motels are in Wildwood adds to the significance of the collection. As each one falls, it has a direct impact on those that remain. More than 100 Doo Wop buildings have faced the wrecking ball. The pressure to demolish these vintage places increased when land values escalated. This led to the construction of a vast sea of condominiums where small family-owned motels once stood.