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The face of The Wildwoods is changing. From North Wildwood to the tip of Wildwood Crest, condominiums are springing up everywhere. The look and feel of Wildwood is changing weekly. Scores of the fifties and sixties style "doo wap" motels have been torn down and replaced by ultramodern condos.
Some see these massive changes as re-invigorating the town, bringing it into the 21st century. Others think these changes are less positive, changing the traditional character of Wildwood, and tearing down unique architecural buildings that can never be replaced.
There's no doubt that Wildwood has been unique. After World War II, Wildwood became a vacation destination for thousands of returning veterans and their families. These vets brought their wives and families from South Jersey, Philly, and points north. The influx of visitors gave rise to a massive building boom during the fifties and sixties. The motels and restuarants built were in the eclectic style of the era. Gaudy neon, plastic palm trees, bright colors and stylistic angles were the style later named "populuxe" or "doo wap".
Throughout the sixties and into the seventies, Wildwood boomed. Thousands of regional residents remember their families' week in Wildwood as the highlight of their summer. Part of the rock and roll era, Wildwood hosted many of the major "doo wap" performers from Frankie Avalon to Chubby Checker. The town became nationally famous when Bobby Rydel released his hit song "Wildwood Days".
As the time changed, Wildwood didn't. Modern resorts with modern amenities cropped up everywhere. People soon had choices and they began going elsewhere for their vacations.
Wildwood slid back and forth between good and bad times.
It comes as no real surprise therefore, that Wildwood's renaissance scraps the old in favor of the new. The irony is that is all comes at a time when Baby Boomers are becoming more and more nostalgic. A trip to the Wildwoods brings back memories of days gone by, and to many, of better times. If nostalgia is what you seek, better get to Wildwood fast. The old town is rapdily beoming a new and different one.
For more information about the change in Wildwood,
The Doo Wap Preservation League website.
The Wildwoods Title Page
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