GCU Donation to be Unveiled by Lakewood Heritage Museum
Donated Items Were Property of Captain Albert M. Bradshaw, “Father of Lakewood”
POSTPONEMENT: Out of respect for the family, friends, and colleagues of Lakewood Police Officer Christopher Matlosz, the Lakewood Historical Society has postponed the unveiling of the Bradshaw exhibit in the Lakewood Township Municipal Building, previously planned for Wednesday, January 19, 2011.
The unveiling will take place on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. on the main floor of the Lakewood Municipal Building.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
Lakewood, N.J., Jan. 5, 2011—On Wednesday, January 19, at 2:30 p.m., the Lakewood Heritage Museum will reveal the latest additions to their collection—two postmaster uniforms and the Civil War-era trunk in which they were stored—that were recently donated to the museum by Georgian Court University. Captain Albert M. Bradshaw, known for many years as the “Father of Lakewood,” was the original owner of the uniforms, which date to the 1890s, and the trunk. The museum, which is supported by the Lakewood Historical Society, has displays on the main and second floors of the Lakewood Municipal Building. The Bradshaw exhibit will be unveiled on the main floor.
“The donation is one of the most important to the Lakewood Heritage Museum,” says Stacey Spina, director of the Lakewood Heritage Museum and GCU library assistant. “The items, the Civil War trunk and the two postmaster uniforms, are rare items in themselves. Having been owned by Bradshaw makes them also historically significant and even rarer.”
Captain Bradshaw (1838–1915) was a businessman, a real estate mogul, and resort promoter. He was born in Lakewood and enlisted as a private in the New York regiment during the Civil War, mustering out as a captain. According to his obituary in the New York Times, President Abraham Lincoln conferred that rank upon him for “gallant services.” After the war, he returned to Lakewood and dedicated his life to building up and improving the community.
It is said that Captain Bradshaw did more for the development of Lakewood than any other person. He was appointed quartermaster by President Lincoln. He was appointed postmaster twice. Under his direction, home delivery of mail came about in Lakewood. He was responsible for the building of what is now Kennedy Boulevard, but at the time was a racing straightaway called the speedway. He was the moving force behind Lakewood’s split from Brick Township, and served as the Republican leader of Ocean County. Through his significant political influence in Washington, Captain Bradshaw also opened the First National Bank of Lakewood in a crockery store, thwarting several other businessmen who were seeking to open an independent bank.
The trunk and the two uniforms were originally donated to Georgian Court in 1985 by Peter Strohm, Esq., now a member of the GCU Board of Trustees. They were never displayed due to lack of space, and instead, were stored for safekeeping for 25 years. In August 2009, the trunk was opened by GCU to determine the exact contents with the intention of donating them to the museum. The items were donated in October 2009.
The uniforms, which were in need of some conservation, are gray wool, with a slightly bluish hue, and have braiding on the wrists. The buttons are ornate with a raised “P” for postal. The trunk is made of pine and has the words “Albert M. Bradshaw, Quartermaster” stenciled on the front.
“We will have the uniform in the best condition on display, along with the trunk,” says Ms. Spina, who adds that the second uniform is preserved in archival material in a cool, climate controlled environment. “The uniform will not be on permanent display. The light and general environmental conditions will damage the uniform, which is already fragile due to age.”
Ms. Spina says the uniform will displayed for a period of time, then placed in a dark, dry, cool, archival box to preserve the wool, which naturally degrades over time. The museum has not yet determined when the uniform will be taken off display.
Most of Captain Bradshaw’s surviving possessions were donated to the Alexander Library at Rutgers University by the son of his business partner, Arthur Smock. However, the Lakewood Heritage Museum does have several other items. On display is Captain Bradshaw’s photograph, a photograph of the building where the Post Office operated when he was postmaster, and a metal sign from the Bradshaw real estate business. The museum also has written information about Captain Bradshaw and his involvement in the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), a large ceremonial shield from the G.A.R., and images of the building he built in 1902 for G.A.R. meetings. It should be noted that Captain Bradshaw also allowed the township to meet in the latter building, so it served as the town hall. The township later purchased the building from him, and it continued to serve as the town hall until 1925. It is now the NAPA building on Route 88, just east of the train tracks.
About Georgian Court
Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves nearly 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.
About the Lakewood Historical Society
The Lakewood Historical Society is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, created to support the Lakewood Heritage Museum through programs, events, and publication of relevant historical materials. The Society strives to keep alive the rich and unique history of Lakewood. The museum was recently forced to vacate its home; as a result, displays are currently located in the Lakewood Municipal Building while a new location is being sought. A representative can be reached at 732.276.7944.
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