AVALON, N.J. - If your family ever fished the bays in and around Avalon in the 1970’s, chances are you either started or ended your trip at the Avalon Anchorage.
Whether to rent one of their boats, fuel up your own, pick up bait and tackle, or – at the end of the day, weigh in a big catch - the Avalon Anchorage was a fisher’s Mecca.
Operated by Stanley and Lorraine Penska for nearly three decades beginning in 1958, Stanley Penska, the Anchorage’s patriarch, always had some sage advice to complement his trademark smile for all patrons.
Memories of those carefree days of fishing and boating in the 1970’s and 80’s have now been preserved for posterity.
At an August 11 exhibit opening, the Avalon History Center will debut an exhibit of more than 400 photographs that have been restored from Stanley Penska’s collection.
No one is sure exactly what year the Anchorage began taking photos that adorned their walls beginning in the 1970’s. Long before the digital photography we have today, the Penska family painstakingly recorded thousands of black and white snapshots of smiling faces showing off their catches.
Each photo was proudly displayed on the walls of the Anchorage at the foot of 21st Street. Now, for the first time in more than 30 years, and after some painstaking restoration by The Seven Mile Times, the photos can once again be seen in a very special exhibit in the Avalon History Center.
Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi is expected to unveil the exhibit along with members of the Penska Family and several former Anchorage employees.
“It’s an opportunity for families to go back in time,” said Nina Ranalli, Director of the Avalon History Center. “Some of the children in these photos are now probably in their 40s with their own children and may not even remember that the photos were ever taken.”
Ranalli invited the public to visit the Avalon History Center and take a good, long look at the display.
“You might be pleasantly surprised,” she said. “It’s also a great tribute to one of the families and businesses that made a lasting impact on thousands of visitors to Avalon from the 1960’s through the 1980’s.“
Time stands still in the more than 400 snapshots taken from 1972 through 1981. Each picture was restored by The Seven Mile Times.
Some images spent decades adorning the walls inside the Anchorage. Many pictures, likely long-since forgotten by the different generations in them, show children, parents, uncles, neighbors and grandparents proudly displaying their prized catches.
Now it’s time to relieve those carefree days of the past.
The Avalon History Center is a local history museum that displays a collection of objects from Avalon’s past. Visitors can learn more about their favorite beach town by viewing fun and fascinating displays, including a 1925 Avalon Life Boat that they can climb into. The History Center’s collection includes thousands of photographs, objects, and ephemera that tell the story of Avalon. Visit the History Center free of charge Tuesday – Sunday from 10am to 4pm. For more information, visit avalonhistorycenter.org.