Great-Grandson of Titanic Victims to Speak at the 10th Annual Cocktail Reception to Benefit Historic Church of the Presidents
– Ida and Isidor Straus Vacationed in Elberon –
To mark the 100th year of the sinking of the Titanic, the story of Macy’s co-founder Isidor Straus and his devoted wife, Ida, will be presented by their great-grandson at a cocktail party fundraiser Thursday benefitting the Church of the Presidents.
Paul Kurzman, board chairman of the Straus Historical Society, will recount the real love story that occurred while the Titanic sank – how Ida chose to remain behind with her husband, relinquishing the seat offered her on a lifeboat, so they could die together. The devoted couple, who spent early 20th-century summers at their home Sunnyside in Elberon with their seven children, has been portrayed in just about every film about the tragic shipwreck.
The fundraiser will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, August 16, at the Ocean Beach Club, 1035 Ocean Ave., to benefit the restoration of the Church of the Presidents – the last remaining building associated with the seven presidents who vacationed here during the country’s Gilded Age.
Sponsored by the Long Branch Historical Museum Association (LBHMA), the fundraiser will help to raise the remaining funds required to complete the exterior restoration of the site, which is expected to cost about $233,000. The exterior restoration is funded in part by grants from the Monmouth County Historical Commission and the New Jersey Historic Trust; these grants must be matched dollar for dollar.
Admission to the reception is $100 per person. All contributions are tax-deductible. Reservations may be obtained by calling 732-223-0874. LBHMA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Owned by LBHMA, St. James Chapel was built in 1879 and gained fame as the Church of the Presidents because presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson attended services there. The building was deconsecrated and saved from demolition in 1953, and functioned as a museum until instability forced its closure in 1999. It is listed on both the State of New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places.
For more information, see www.churchofthepresidents.org.