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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Lieutenant Joseph Walto Memorial Historical Marker in Wildwood

Lieutenant Joseph Walto Memorial Historical Marker in Wildwood

While on vacation in Wildwood, New Jersey we stumbled upon a new historical memorial marker that we haven't seen before. This one is to honor Lieutenant Joseph Walto who was a member of the Wildwood Fire Department. Here's what it says.

Wildwood Fire Department
Lieutenant Joseph Walto
L.O.D.D. - December 25, 1943
Ocean Pier Fire (Juniper Avenue and the Boardwalk)

Joseph Walto was born on March 13, 1881. He died on Christmas Day in 1943 at the age of 62 while fighting a disastrous fire. Lt. Walto worked as a driver for the Five Mile Electric Trolley Car Company and later worked for Atlantic City Electric where his duties included manually turning on the island's street lamps. He was later a supervisor of electric repairman until the fatal fire.

Lt. Walto was stricken at the fire scene and was transported to Dr. Maggie Mace's Hospital in North Wildwood. Dr. Mace summond Walto's family to his side. Lt. Joseph R. Walto, a 27 year firefighting volunteer died two hours after being stricken. His son, Army Staff Sgt. Joseph John Walto, learned of his father's death while he was preparing for the allied assault on Anzio Beach, Italy, in World War II. The blaze was considered the worst in the history of the cities of Wildwood and North Wildwood. It swept three boardwalk blocks, including the famous Ocean Pier, hotels, and stores. Along with all the building northward on the boardwalk from Poplar Avenue, additional homes on Juniper Avenue and 26th Street were damaged. 

Lt. Joseph R. Walto was survived at the time of his death by his wife, Carla K. Walto; daughter Elisabeth Walto; sone Charles S. and his wife Francis Walto and son Joseph John. 

Millions of visitors to the Wildwood Boardwalk every year just walk by these markers and memorials never stopping to read them or learn about the history on the area. We're hoping to spotlight them and hopefully bring some much needed attention to them.You'll find this marker located on the Wildwood Boardwalk.

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