This site is brought to you by Save Tillie, an all volunteer organization comprised of 1,000 friends of Asbury Park. Founded in July of 1998, our original goal of saving the Palace's iconic Tillie image expanded in 1999 to an attempt to save the entire Palace. Under our leadership, the Palace won an honored place on the New Jersey and National registers of Historic Places. Demolition of the Palace in 2004 came over the objections of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Asbury Park Historical Society, Preservation New Jersey, and Save Tillie. In the end, we saved more than 125 internal artifacts from the Palace and the Tillie mural from the Cookman Avenue wall, and through our work the Bumper Car murels on the Lake Avenue facade were also removed to storage.
A TIME CAPSULE FROM 1984
On June 15, 1984, Charlie Huffman and his wife Barbara did an Asbury Park drive-through, filing video of Charlie's home town. Barbara did the driving, while Charlie worked the camera. "Something inside of me told me that doing so would be important to someone at some future date," Charlie said recently, and so in late December 2013, he posted the video, dedicated to the memory of his late wife. For anyone interested in Asbury Park as it was back then, the video is a must see. For fans of Palace Amusements, it is a time capsule unlike any other. The Palace material is contained within the first 25 minutes, but it is especially amazing to view the footage between 16:32 and 25:40, as the Huffmans walk in and out of various sections of the Palace, filing the Fun House, the Bumper Cars, the pinball machines, and other attractions. To view the video, go to: http://vimeo.com/82757217
2 PROTECTED ARTIFACTS FROM PALACE AMUSEMENTS
MISSING FROM STORAGE IN ASBURY PARK
Oct. 10, 2012
Two of 33 historic Palace Amusements artifacts are missing from the Asbury Park waterfront, prompting New Jersey State officials to order greater security over the surviving items.
By letter, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection set new rules on waterfront developers, requiring that none of the 31 surviving items be moved out of current storage, or transferred to a new owner, without State authorities being notified. Furthermore, developers were warned that "failure to protect and preserve any of these artifacts" will be subject to substantial penalties.
Missing from the developers' storage area is a large overhead door decorated with wooden cutouts depicting a clown and Ferris wheel, along with a sign for the "Shooting Gallery/Fun For All" attraction.
The losses were first discovered June 8, 2012 during an inspection of waterfront storage sites by representatives of the Madison Asbury Retail development firm and Save Tillie, a non-profit preservation organization. Following the discovery, Save Tillie and New Jersey's largest preservation group, PreservationNJ, urged State officials to step in to ensure the security of the remaining artifacts.
"When items such as these are lost, history is lost," said Bob Crane, president of the Save Tillie group. "Now, with only 31 items left, it is vital that the State control the security and reuse of the remaining artifacts."
In 2004, the State granted permission to Asbury Park's waterfront developers to demolish Palace Amusements, a National Register of Historic Places complex at the corner of Cookman Avenue and Kingsley Street. The State, however, set conditions, requiring the developers to remove, preserve and reuse portions of the Palace for a historic display on a new waterfront building as mitigation for the loss of the iconic complex.
The loss of Palace artifacts follows the disclosure earlier this year that 34 copper panels from the Paramount Theater/Convention Hall complex on the Asbury Park waterfront had been stolen during restoration work by waterfront developers. The copper has not been recovered. The Paramount/Convention Hall complex is on the National Register of Historic Places and has significant state and federal protection.
The Department of Environmental Protection letter, dated Sept. 25 and released today, stressed that violations of waterfront rules can result in penalties of up to $25,000 a day for each violation. It was signed by Michele Kropilak, regional supervisor of Coastal & Land Use Compliance and Enforcement in the Department's Toms River office.
The Environmental Protection letter also disclosed that for eight years, the City of Asbury Park and the waterfront developers have failed to notify the State which artifacts were preserved for eventual reuse. At a public meeting April 28, 2004, the City's Technical Review Committee approved the list of 33 Palace Amusements artifacts which were to be relocated and preserved, but, according to the State, the list was never sent to the State. Despite that failure, State officials notified developers that the surviving 31 artifacts now comprise the official list of items for preservation and reuse in a waterfront project.