September in the rain

Ocean Grove. Lake Avenue. September 30, 2016 By Paul Goldfinger ©

Ocean Grove. Lake Avenue. September 30, 2016.  By Paul Goldfinger © This image was inspired by Paul Strand’s  1916 photo “The White Fence.”


WASSUP? Ocean Grove

A treat at Nagles by Jean Bredin, Blogfinger staff ©. 2014

A treat at Nagles by Jean Bredin, Blogfinger staff ©. 2014. OG lifestyles.

1. From the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association Community Leaders meeting minutes. Sept 28, 2016
—if your organization has an upcoming event, contact joanne@oceangrove.org for the CMA calendar
—Great Auditorium roof is completed
—North End redevelopment project “still in negotiations.”
—Saturday summer shows have been doing poorly with attendance; In 2017 they will have 4 major shows and some minor events.
—off site parking and shuttle bus service for Saturday shows being considered
—Herb Herbst reported that the JSAC is considering a parking lot for the empty space next door. He also said that the Fishing Club “is about to be disbanded.”

2. The QSpot issue is still unresolved. The Co-Chair of Ocean Grove United, “gay-rights advocate” Luisa Paster, is quoted in the Coaster as saying on Sept. 25, 2016 at a rally for the QSpot, “We need to call (the JSAC) out and make sure they don’t get away with it.” Does this sound like a threat? What will Ms. Paster do to make sure?

3. The Zombie Parade will return to the AP boardwalk on October 1.

4. The New York/New Jersey area is considered a high intensity drug trafficking area by the Dept. of Justice. The Coaster reports that NJ has received a large grant to fight heroine addiction, sales and deaths in our state. The DEA has been increasing its efforts in this area.

5 . The Coaster, reporting from the last HOA meeting, quotes Barbara Burns, HOA president as saying that the ground rent issue is “critical” and that “it cannot be allowed to fester.” She also is quoted as saying that “more banks are refusing to issue mortgages on Ocean Grove properties due to this issue. “

However, an important local realtor told Blogfinger that he/she is not aware of that happening for private home purchases.

6.  Song of the week:    LINDA RONSTADT


The flamingo that got away

Pink swan tries to escape to Asbury Park, just before the storm.  Sept. 29, 2016. Stephen Goldfinger photo, Blogfinger staff. ©

Pink flamingo tries to escape to downtown Asbury Park, just before the storm. Sept. 29, 2016.  Stephen Goldfinger photo, Blogfinger staff. ©

RITA GARDNER, cast of the Fantasticks:


Blogfinger photo.

Blogfinger photo. 2016.  Facing the Wesley Detention/Retention Basin  ©

By  Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Early in its life, the Warrington was an upstanding hotel facing Wesley Lake and Asbury Park. Its address was 22 Lake Avenue in Ocean Grove.

In 1939, Gibbon’s reported  (History of Ocean Grove) that there were 75 hotels in town. Among them was the Warrington. H. W. Brown was the proprietor, and it offered the “European plan.”  This means that meals were not included in the room rate.

In the summer of 1955, guests stayed there in order to hear Billy Graham preach in the Great Auditorium. An ad then from the Ocean Grove Record said:

“The Warrington:   Convenient to all beach-front attractions and Auditorium. Rooms only, hot and cold running water, hot baths and showers, inner spring mat­tresses. Television. Write for folder and rates.   Wm. Baumann, Owner-Manager.”

But over the years it sunk into becoming  a run-down boarding home for veterans and physically challenged individuals.   There was a long list of violations over the years including abuses of vulnerable residents, and finally the State of New Jersey Division of  Community Affairs shut it down because of those many  “problems.” Blogfinger called it “an absolute horror show.”

The state  said it had to be shut down because of “serious conditions affecting the health, safety and welfare of those who lived there.” The owner, Jack Ancona of Long Branch  and New York City had bought the building in 2006 for $1,275,000, and he continued to get into trouble because of violations here and in other properties that he owned.

In 2012, a Blogfinger post said, “The Warrington is now an empty and deteriorating property.”

In 2014, the  OGHOA reported on the neglect of the property including fire hazards and suspicious activities at night. They said that its notoriety was exceeded only by its derelict neighbor next door,  the Park View Hotel  (now demolished)   They also reported that  that the owner wanted to create a 20 suite boutique hotel, but that the hotel “does not border on any street”  This is a violation of land use law in New Jersey


On 3/13/14, the following article appeared in Blogfinger:

The Warrington Rest Home hopes to be transformed into a “historic hotel.”

On 9/22/16, the following article appeared in Blogfinger:

The Warrington Hotel, 22 Lake Avenue in Ocean Grove. Concerns about the plans.


10 Main Avenue. Some questions are now answered. Photo courtesy of HSOG

10 Main Avenue. 1896.  Some questions are now answered. Photo courtesy of HSOG. Click left to see the details.

Detail: verso (back of the image)

Detail: verso (back of the image)

10 Main Avenue today. Blogfinger photo

10 Main Avenue today. 2013.  Blogfinger photo

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger  (Originally posted on BF November 2013)

The Historical Society of Ocean Grove was recently presented with a sepia-colored photograph of an OG house dated “1896”. The image was donated by relatives of a man who had settled the estate of a Dorothy Quinn.

The image shows  “a two story stick-style house with Victorian trim including arches, square posts, shutters, a gull-wing roof, two wrap-around porches and a third floor balcony. Also shown in the photo are five people with bikes and a baby in a buggy, identified as possibly being a young Dorothy Quinn.”*

“On the right side, the building is cut off, but another gull-wing is suspected; although some houses in the Grove have a  single-gull-wing.  The square posts are said to be unusual.”*

The back of the photo is captioned in pencil with “House of La Vogt, Ocean Pathway. Mrs. PM Day (with buggy) and Dorothy in carriage. Ocean Grove Sept 1896.”

Ted Bell, HSOG historian, sent Blogfinger the photo for scanning and presentation on the blog.  He said that his people would call my people when more research had been done regarding the image.  Knowing that Ted took many years to complete his book on the Great Auditorium and knowing how meticulous he is, I thought that I should grow a beard and swear not to cut it off until I hear from him.

Well, la-dee-dah— a short while later I receive an email from someone I never heard of before:  Roxanne Greco, “HSOG history intern.”  It seems that Ms. Greco had done some original research on the photo with the encouragement of Mr. Bell. Voila!  Ted had found a researcher to help him, and we thank Ms. Greco for the quick turn around.

She tells us that the building in the photo was probably at 10 Main Avenue rather than the Ocean Pathway and that it was likely a boarding house owned by Louis A. Vogt. Ms. Greco found old records that multiple families lived there “at once and in short periods throughout the late 19th century as found in the Ocean Grove House Occupancy Directory by David H. Fox.” She also found  Mr. Vogt listed at 10 Main Avenue, when checking another source.

In 1939 the Pine Tree Inn was listed at 10 Main Avenue.  Mrs. John Shafer proprietor.  Greco’s research found nothing else about Louis A. Vogt, and one of the goals is to find out more about him.   Ms. Greco says, “The mystery continues into the 20th century when the house was converted into the Pine Tree Inn (aka The Arsdale,) with many of the Victorian features removed.”*  That building was recently changed from a small hotel into a private home.

The photo above doesn’t look much like the current structure at that Main Avenue location, but Ted and Roxanne see similarities in the windows and a suggestion that the earlier wrap around-porches had been removed. They would like to evaluate the interior of the building to check certain details such as the width of the floor boards. The idea that the building in the photo was on Main Avenue and not Ocean Pathway is strongly suggested by the information at hand, but it is not certain. The “Ocean Pathway” address on the back is not explainable so far.

Roxanne says that the history of 10 Main Avenue remains a mystery due to “several gaps in the timeline of our resources.”  “Further investigation is necessary,”

She says, “Normally we prefer to confirm our research from more than one source. We need a solid timeline.”    She and Ted will continue researching those gaps.  “This photo is now part of the known history of 10 Main Avenue, and we look forward to filling in in the existing gaps.”

She says that the HSOG is “currently soliciting donations to install a word/phrase search feature on the recently completely digitized Ocean Grove Record/Times newspaper. This search feature will enable those interested to perform a more efficient and quicker inquiry as to their house’s history.” and the people who lived there.

Blogfinger has been interested in OG history since the birth of the blog  (which is after the birth of the blues)  and we welcome information that helps our citizens understand the history of our town—religious and secular. Contact us if you have a story to tell.

*All quotes are by Roxanne Greco, HSOG history intern, who provided the research results for this article with the assistance of Ted Bell.   You can see how tough the process can be. —PG

FRANK SINATRA    (from the movie  Pal Joey)  Can you see that steeple?

The Park Savoy. Make someone happy and have your event here; or, have it at town hall and use the money for a down payment on a house. Septermber, 2016. Blogfinger photo aerial view. ©

The Park Savoy. Make someone happy and have your event here; or, have it at town hall and use the money for a down payment on a house. The sunny day was an extra.   September, 2016. Blogfinger photo aerial view. ©  Click to enlarge  (The wedding was soon to begin.)


JIMMY DURANTE  from the soundtrack of Sleepless in Seattle:

Photo Paul Devine in Allenhurst

Photo Paul Devine in Allenhurst


While riding our bikes in Allenhurst today my wife and I came across the solution to Ocean Grove’s parking problem. Apparently, winners of the car raffle have a designated spot.
How creative.

Paul Devine, Citizen reporter

Editor’s note:  If only our town would pass an ordinance to take special care of OG home owners.  But Neptune  (the town, not the planet) seems to have little interest in our issues; so, even if breaking up is hard to do, perhaps we citizens should take another shot at seceding from the Township ;  we could even merge with Allenhurst.  Or we could become the northern part of Palm Beach.

NEIL SEDAKA  (who once got out of a limo in front of the Great Auditorium and revealed himself to be four feet tall.)  But he put on a fine concert including this song about secession (comma, comma):

Color Gallery: the Arvelee

“The Arvelee” in downtown Fort Myers, across from the Caloosahatchee River. There are quite a few old Florida buildings in that neighborhood. Click left for full screen view. By Paul Goldfinger ©

SOUNDTRACK:  This photo reminds me of Miami, and when I think Miami, I think Cuba and mambo.   From the movie Mambo Kings, here is Antonio Banderas with “Beautiful Maria of My Soul.”

Mary's Place. Artists rendering. Internet photo.

Mary’s Place. Artists rendering. Internet photo.

To the Editor:

As they used to say in Star Trek:  “Space— the final frontier” But here in Ocean Grove it is parking spaces—-the final frontier :

In Ocean Grove it always comes down to parking and land usage and abuses. On our block on Main and Beach, The Henry Richard Inn is now being remodeled and converted into a single family home. Along Main Avenue, Mary’s place is now chock-full of volunteers’ cars and resident cars.

Yes, even after Labor Day, we can look west down the block and see no spots available on the south side of the street and some have even migrated onto Beach Avenue, making it a bit more challenging for the folks on Beach to find spaces in front of their own condo. So, while we have lost the Henry Richard’s parking challenges in the summer, we are now looking at folks finding spaces when we ordinarily could park without a single thought after Labor Day.

If we add to this the family on Main next to the old Henry Richard, we are now getting one or two of their fleet of cars now parking on Beach to add to our agita. Of course, that is the family and house that at time commandeers more than five or six spots on the south side of Main. The ritual of pulling out cars and replacing the space with motor bikes and schoolers is most entertaining on a summer’s day.

Ocean Grove has always been described as a “quirky” place. The owners of Mary’s Place along Main on the south side I do not think ever contacted or considered their new neighbors to be; instead, we saw the full use of those two building lots right to the very edge of the property lines.

It’s a done deal for a good cause, but those who objected to the aggressive use of that property were characterized as heartless and uncaring, and so it goes in Ocean Grove. Neighbors were worried about trucks, but what has happened is that parking in the usual Ocean Grove way has become a real issue for many.

All this, while there are spots galore on the north side in front of the convent and across the street in front of the Majestic, After all it is autumn in Ocean Grove and the streets are emptier as usual, but somehow, the big house that is Mary’s Place continues to add to our parking woes.

When will we get “residential” parking permits for people who pay taxes in Neptune and who pay the outrageous ground rents to a non-profit authority?


Ocean Grove, N.J. Sept. 26, 2016.


EDITOR’S NOTE:    Below is a quote  from our article about Mary’s Place dated September 19, 2014:

“When people walk by Mary’s Place, they won’t admire its beauty; instead they will ask, “Who was responsible for allowing this out-of-place building to be constructed in this quaint, historic, residential town? ” They will ask why two fine Victorian single family houses were not placed there instead, like we now have on the Pathway. And they will see the parking problems and congestion due to the 10 clients staying there, the staff who will be needed to maintain the place, the visitors, and the rest of the support team who teach yoga, etc. Then there will be the deliveries, laundry trucks, garbage pickups, etc.”

And yes, we did get hate mail  over our opposition to the Mary’s Place zoning decisions.  But we also received support from commenters to that editorial.

Here is a link to that 2014 piece:

Mary’s controversy. What’s next?

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