The Shack is gone but its ghost – and pilings – linger.
I’m sure some symbolic something-or-other will be built there to mark where one of the Island’s most revered landmarks once stood. But it won’t be the same -- that is, until we who recall the original Shack die off and future generations look excitedly at the facsimile and are filled with that same ageless rush of energy we had gotten in knowing this means the next stop is LBI.
The Shack is dead. Long live the Shack. ~J Mann
The passing of Long Beach Island's longtime welcoming symbol known to residents and visitors simply as The Shack, was reported on the morning of Oct. 30 by the Harvey Cedars Police Department with this brief message: “the shack was gone as of 7 a.m.”
Located off the eastbound side of the Route 72 Causeway in the marshes of Cedar Bonnet Island, the shack was possibly the second most recognizable LBI landmark after the Barnegat Lighthouse. Dating from the 1920s, The Shack was also symbolic of the history of Barnegat Bay and the clammers and baymen of years gone by. The Shack in its later years evolved into a much beloved rustic (if somewhat derelict) edifice, becoming a a favorite theme of artists as well as a local conversation piece and the subject of an often bitter custody dispute. This summer, the story of the shack was told in a short documentary film by Sean Gallagher (see film below).
The demise of the decrepit but beloved wooden structure was discovered on the morning after the hurricane, having apparently been swept away by the huge storm surge. Like the disappearance of another famous landmark, New Hampshire's late lamented Old Man of the Mountain, the expiration of this long familiar, much discussed icon occurred under cover of darkness and was apparently witnessed by no one.
It will no doubt be sorely missed by those who had come to regard it as a sign of “having arrived” on LBI.
Prints are available of this beautiful oil painting by Cathleen Pearce Engelsen with a portion of the proceeds going to the Long Beach Island Fire Companies. The original 16x20 painting is also for sale, framed using natural drift wood.
For more information go to: www.cathleenengelsen.com