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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove history by Blogfinger’ Category

Ocean Grove was founded as a religious summer community. It was run by Methodist ministers, and Alfred Cookman was one of them. His story has been told on Blogfinger. Do a search.

 

Blogfinger posted a piece on May 5  (scroll down)  about the confusion in terminology for those who are unsure about the relationship of the Town of Ocean Grove to the Camp Meeting Association.     The unique story of the CMA in OG, with its history of running the town for over 100 years, making laws, and prevailing here in so many ways, up to the present, has to be unheard of across the country.  If anyone knows of some place comparable, please let us know.

That Blogfinger post is called, “How to Refer to Our Town.”

If you look at the comments section of that article, you will see a comment by Grover 13 who thinks he/she knows the truth.  Jack Bredin was moved to try and explain the background of some of this, and his contribution below is very special–I’ve never seen anyone else take a shot at explaining that history.  Paul Goldfinger, Editor Blogfinger.net.

 

To Grover13 from Jack Bredin, Researcher/reporter/historian  at Blogfinger.net:

“For over 100 years, from 1869-1980, the “Town” of Ocean Grove was first “illegally permitted” by Ocean Township in 1869 and then by Neptune Township from 1879-1980 to act as its own municipality. OG had their own police department, court, board of health, etc. The “Town” was operated pursuant to CMA rules and not State Law; and the OG residents could not vote for the OG “governing body” which was the CMA.  However, the OG residents did have the privilege to pay taxes to Neptune and vote for the Township Committee.

“And so the residents in fact had two (2) governing bodies, both acting outside State Law, but I don’t blame the CMA for doing what the Township permitted them to do. However, in 1980, the NJ Supreme Court said this all must stop.

“Ocean Grove was also founded by the CMA as a Camp Meeting Ground for people who belonged to the Methodist Church, but the CMA is not the Methodist Church in town; St. Paul’s is the Church.

“The CMA registered with the NJ Secretary of State as a corporation. When the Corporation “divided” the land into 2,000 parcels, one (1) share of voting stock should have been issued to each “Lot Owner.” As a result, OG residents could not vote for their OG municipal governing body or at a stock holders meeting.

“As NJ State Land Use Law, State Land Use Standards, and State Land Use Procedures evolved over the years throughout the State, land use law and procedures in OG remained unchanged, and they are now interpreted by the Neptune Township “Land Use Administrator” who has no authority to make any land use decisions.

“Is it any wonder why OG has so many land use problems?

“Paul Goldfinger is one of the few people in OG trying to make sense of it all, and Blogfinger is the only one reporting on it.”

 

BEATLES:   (Paul McCartney)

“The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to you door”

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The Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove.   Does this look like a town in need of a special redevelopment zone?   Paul Goldfinger photograph.  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

The copy below is from the “NJ Statutes for Counties and Municipalities,” section 40A:12A-5: Determination of need for redevelopment:

As many of you know, the way that the CMA, WAVE, and Neptune Township were able to bury the single family zoning for the North End of Ocean Grove was to fraudulently declare the property an “area in need of redevelopment.”

That is how they justified turning that property into a commercial zone.  That is how they were able to grant permission for condominiums, an underground garage, retail, restaurants, etc.

All of this is contrary to the goals of Ocean Grove’s Master Plan which stressed the residential /historic nature of the town.

Currently the latest  consortium of big shots in town will push hard to begin a revised version of that project.

It’s not clear from the gobbledygook that they are putting  out lately, that the changes which they are now happily  promoting will avoid complications such as environmental damage, congestion, worsened parking distress, and further deterioration of quality of life for residents.  Nor is it clear that those changes are legal and proper according to land use laws in New Jersey.  We think not, on both counts.

If you are curious about what went down in 2008, read this to see what the State had in mind for “areas in need of redevelopment.”

40A:12A-5   Determination of need for redevelopment:

5.A delineated area may be determined to be in need of redevelopment if, after investigation, notice and hearing as provided in section 6 of P.L.1992, c.79 (C.40A:12A-6), the governing body of the municipality by resolution concludes that within the delineated area any of the following conditions is found:

a.  The generality of buildings are substandard, unsafe, unsanitary, dilapidated, or obsolescent, or possess any of such characteristics, or are so lacking in light, air, or space, as to be conducive to unwholesome living or working conditions.

b.  The discontinuance of the use of buildings previously used for commercial, manufacturing, or industrial purposes; the abandonment of such buildings; or the same being allowed to fall into so great a state of disrepair as to be untenable.

c.  Land that is owned by the municipality, the county, a local housing authority, redevelopment agency or redevelopment entity, or unimproved vacant land that has remained so for a period of ten years prior to adoption of the resolution, and that by reason of its location, remoteness, lack of means of access to developed sections or portions of the municipality, or topography, or nature of the soil, is not likely to be developed through the instrumentality of private capital.

d.   Areas with buildings or improvements which, by reason of dilapidation, obsolescence, overcrowding, faulty arrangement or design, lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, excessive land coverage, deleterious land use or obsolete layout, or any combination of these or other factors, are detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the community.

e.   A growing lack or total lack of proper utilization of areas caused by the condition of the title, diverse ownership of the real property therein or other conditions, resulting in a stagnant or not fully productive condition of land potentially useful and valuable for contributing to and serving the public health, safety and welfare.

f.  Areas, in excess of five contiguous acres, whereon buildings or improvements have been destroyed, consumed by fire, demolished or altered by the action of storm, fire, cyclone, tornado, earthquake or other casualty in such a way that the aggregate assessed value of the area has been materially depreciated.

g.   In any municipality in which an enterprise zone has been designated pursuant to the “New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zones Act,” P.L.1983, c.303 (C.52:27H-60 et seq.) etc.

h.   The designation of the delineated area is consistent with smart growth planning principles adopted pursuant to law or regulation.

L.1992,c.79,s.5; amended 2003, c.125, s.3.

SIMON AND GARFUNKEL:  “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright.”

“So long, Frank Lloyd Wright
I can’t believe your song is gone so soon
I barely learned the tune
So soon
So soon.”

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

This was originally posted in June, 2015 on BF.  But each year we  pay attention to girls in their summer clothes. It is a tradition for our seashore community.

Ocean Grove beach, late 1800's. Courtesy of Ted Bell's book: Images of America---Ocean Grove. © 2000.

Ocean Grove beach, late 1800’s.     Courtesy of Ted Bell author of: Images of America—Ocean Grove. © 2000.

Source: hanging at the HSOG museum. Blogfinger photo

Source: hanging at the HSOG museum. Blogfinger photo

By contrast, here is a photograph taken in summer, 2018  on the OG boards.  What a difference 140 years can make in beach fashions:

Coup de foudre: (“Love at first sight.)    Paul Goldfinger photo. Summer, 2018. OG boards. ©

The June day in 2015   (below) started out rainy and chilly, but later in the day it became Sunny and Cher;  it warmed up a bit, but it was still windy.

I went on the boardwalk and saw lifeguards at their stations. A green flag was flying along with “Old Glory.” But no one was swimming. In fact no one was in the water.

OG lifeguards. 6/6/15 Blogfinger photo ©

OG lifeguards. 6/6/15 Blogfinger photo © All photographs  by Paul Goldfinger, Editor @ Blogfinger.   (except for the one by Ted Bell dated 1880.)   Click to enlarge all photos.

I walked up to one of the lifeguard stands and joked with the guards who stayed at their post, like soldiers guarding a “no-man’s land.” An older guard, “Cowboy Dave” was sitting in the rescue boat, 10 gallon hat on and blue sunglasses, but he was facing the water. He is either the first or the last in the lifeboat.  He said that he is from OG and that this is his 16th summer as a lifeguard. He reminds me of Robert Duvall smelling napalm in the morning. (Apocalypse Now)

Cowboy Dave. 6/06/15. Blogfinger photo ©

Cowboy Dave. 6/06/15. Blogfinger photo ©

I asked him if he saw any bathing beauties go by, because all that was out there was the surf. He pointed to some young ladies about 100 yards away who were the only ones on the beach, to the north. Clearly this was not a “no-woman’s land.”

They wore some pretty small bathing suits, so it seemed like a good public interest news photo- op for Blogfinger.

OG bathers. (Left to right) Hannah, Tui, Danielle, and Amelia. 6/6/15. Blogfinger photo ©

OG bathers. (Left to right) Hannah, Tui, Danielle, and Amelia. 6/6/15. Blogfinger photo ©  Click image to enlarge the bathing  suits.

When I walked to their location, it seemed like I should ask them why they are in Ocean Grove on such a bleak day. I was thinking that they looked like they should be in Asbury Park. I did not comment on their attire, but you can’t help but notice that this is much different than 1880.

As it turns out, they are coeds who are camping at Allaire State Park where they are renting a yurt. They were having a great time just being together and laughing and talking and telling yurt jokes. They said that they preferred Ocean Grove’s beach to any others. One of them had come to OG as a child.

They especially singled out Days Ice Cream and the summer tents as favorite spots. I only had one BF card which I gave them to photograph and share.

I said goodbye and walked back to the lifeguards offering to sell them the names of the young ladies. They seemed interested, but ultimately I suggested that they get the names themselves.

So who says that we live in Ocean Grave? It’s time to bury that nickname.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Saturday, June 6, 2015, Ocean Grove beach.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN     (live)

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Which way is the wind blowing regarding historic preservation in Ocean Grove? Paul Goldfinger photo © 2003.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

On January 24, local historian and advocate Kevin Chambers made a provocative comment while discussing the Aurora.  He said,

“Does the Aurora have any real history to it than the style in which it was built? No, it doesn’t, and since there are many other houses of the same style in OG, the loss of the Aurora would not effect the community than if it was truly unique to OG.”

Surely some of you saw his comment and would like him to explain it.  It seems to me that he is saying that we have two standards of “historic” regarding OG architecture: a truly historic structure and  an old building  that “doesn’t have any real history to it.”  The subtext is that it would even be OK to demolish the Aurora.

I can recall attending the 2013 hearing for demolition of the 134 year old Whitfield Hotel when a strong case was made that the old building was of no significance in terms of its architecture or its history in the Grove. Historians and other experts spoke and concluded that it had  “no style” and was a “useless mess.”  Citizens present agreed as did the HPC, so that old building was torn down to give way to four “reproductions” on crowded undersized lots .

Historical significance of the old Whitfield Hotel

Although we can’t exactly compare the Aurora to the Whitfield, clearly there are times when old structures should not be saved.

So is Kevin correct about the Aurora?  Should the new owner be permitted to demolish it and put up condominiums?  We already have heard about the idea of remodeling the Aurora and converting the building to 4 modern, luxury condo’s. And then there is the idea to demolish and put up single family homes. 

Wouldn’t it be great if one of those public servants who are on the Historic Preservation Commission had the courage to comment here and help educate the public about this subject, but don’t hold your breath.

So maybe some of you Grovers who are knowledgeable about historic preservation in our town would comment.

Jack Bredin did in 2016 when he wrote a letter to BF and said,   “A few months ago, at the public portion of a Committee Meeting, an attorney advised the Committee that ‘A historic district is a detriment to development.’ ”

 

BOB DYLAN   “The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

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Submitted by Ocean Grover Vincent Cannavo. Special to Blogfinger. Click to see more  (or Seymour.)

Vincent Cannavo found a number of Wesley Lake photographs on line which carry a copyright date of 1903, although the photos may have been taken earlier.  In this image  you are standing on the OG side  of the Lake. We can see boats for hire as well as the A. Park amusements. Vincent points out how different Asbury looked back then, although the OG side (we will show more of these images) looks unchanged.  Notice how Lake Avenue was a walkway back then.  No horse poop in sight.

That’s not surprising because the OG side managed to be a planned town, and the Victorian houses were somehow preserved even though there was no zoning, HPC or historical designations.

We could use some insight from those of you whose families are multi-generational in the Grove.

What else do our readers see in this photo?   Thanks to Vincent for these images.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

 

ANDY FARBER AND HIS ORCHESTRA  WITH JOHN HENDRICKSON AND TERRY DONGIAN

 

 

 

 

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Monmouth County Historical Association presents their Sandy exhibit. A lifeguard stand sits outside. Eileen Goldfinger photo for Blogfinger. ©

 

Photo from the “Tracking Sandy: Monmouth County Remembers exhibit.”

The photograph above is the Driftwood Cabana Club in Sea Bright, by Mike McLaughlin. ©

The public is invited to view this Sandy exhibit at the Monmouth County Historical Association at 70 Court Street in Freehold, NJ.  They are open from Tuesday through Saturday 10-4 until October, 2018. Parking is easy.

The exhibit is impressive, with slide shows, videos, oral history recordings, scientific explanations, and special displays.  About 15 Blogfinger images  by Paul Goldfinger were chosen largely because of our work in Ocean Grove.  Most were seen in a slide show organized by towns. Another feature used 6 of our photos of volunteers at the OG beachfront. (see below)

One of our images was used large,  (see below) depicting a Neptune Comitteeman, Randy Bishop, comforting a resident of Shark River who had to put out most of her  first floor furniture and belongings to the curb. The residents were upset in large part because scavengers were showing up to take some of their curbside belongings. We will show some of our Shark River images from November 1, 2012.

 

L1009972

This Blogfinger photograph was from  the exhibit:   Shark River. Committeeman Randy Bishop comforts a victim of the flooding. By Paul Goldfinger © Nov. 1, 2012.

 

big size

Exhibit features 6 color photos of OG volunteers by Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net

From the exhibit:  Volunteers came from near and far. Nov. 3, 2012. Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger  Blogfinger.net©  Click to enlarge.

CHRIS MARTIN  (Coldplay)  live from the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief—“Us Against the World”

 

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Peter Tallman, Union Army soldier, 1861. Submitted by Peter Stunz of Ocean Grove.

We received this photograph from Peter Stunz of Ocean Grove.   His email offers this explanation:

Just a side note: This is my great grandfather Peter Tallman (I was named after him, my mother’s maiden name is Tallman). He was a volunteer with the 127th Volunteer Infantry.  He never saw a battlefield. He was severely injured when a tree limb fell on him while they were clearing a path somewhere unknown.

His past was one of many reasons that lead me to be a student of history.  I would also like to add as a side note that the Tallmans have been living in Ocean Grove (renting) since nearly the beginning and we have had our summer home here since 1955. We love reading your blog and have been loyal readers since Sandy.

Editor’s note:  Thanks to Peter for sharing.  I love to hear  anecdotes from those who have lived here and know the history of Ocean Grove.  Of course, OG was founded after the Civil War  (1861-1865.)  But, the Methodist antecedents that ultimately led to the founding of the Grove, had their origins much earlier.

There were many Civil War soldiers from New Jersey and New York, and Peter’s great grandfather was a member of a volunteer regiment that was mustered in 1862 in Staten Island for 3 years service  (until 1865).   It was, as he points out, the 127th Volunteer New York Infantry Regiment.

That outfit did see some action, but I was interested, from a medical point of view, to learn that they lost 130 men—35 killed and 94 dead of “disease.”  Conditions tended to be awful for soldiers on both sides, with malnutrition, poor water, bad hygiene and of course many communicable diseases before the age of antibiotics.  The most common medical procedure was amputation of legs—a horrible chapter in American medical history, but combat medicine/surgery is so much better now.  However, like all military preparations, we hope that the techniques will never be needed.

The photograph Peter sent is a daguerreotype, a process that was invented around 1840 by Louis Daguerre and used mostly for portraits.  It was an expensive and fragile method using silvered   (light sensitive) copper plates. These images are  very collectible these days, especially ones that are of Civil War soldiers.

Below is a link on BF that discusses photography during the Civil War  (the last part of a piece about a historic photograph from Ocean Grove):

Fred’s Last Summer

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger

JAQUELINE SCHWAB  “The Battle Cry of Freedom”  from Ken Burns documentary “The Civil War.”

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James A Bradley in Asbury Park. Accused of racism.  Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

 

Are there any historical clouds over 19th century Ocean Grove? Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

 

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

We wrote about James Bradley as part of our Ocean Grove history trail.  Bradley was a wealthy New Yorker who was a huge fan of Ocean Grove.  He not only founded Asbury Park and Bradley Beach, but he was the first person to buy a lot in Ocean Grove (1870) when Rev. Stokes, placed the lots “for sale.”

Now, a group in Asbury wants to take down the statue of James Bradley that has a prominent location in the park to the rear of Convention Hall/Paramount Theater.  It was placed there in 1920 for the city’s 50th anniversary.

Quote from the Asbury Park Press (APP)  9/29/17:    “Randy Thompson, founder of “Help not Handcuffs,” an organization that says it promotes drug policy reform and social justice, claims Bradley promoted bigoted policies on the boardwalk and the beach.”

“He helped segregate the town,” said Thompson, 43, of Asbury Park. “That was his business model.”

That group says that Bradley was a racist, but others in Asbury disagree with the notion that his statue should be taken down. Werner Baumgartner, AP historian is quoted in the APP:  “I don’t think you can call the man a racist, when society kind of dictated certain separations,” Baumgartner said. “It might have been business pressures more than anything else, rather than a personal desire to segregate races.”

Baumgartner said the city erected the statue in honor of Bradley’s philanthropy and said that the founder donated money to local black churches.

Other leaders in A. Park also oppose taking down the statue, including the Asbury Park Historical Society which said, “People should never forget the city’s late founder James Bradley’s ‘advocacy of segregation,’  but it draws the line on removing the statue erected in his honor near Convention Hall. ”  (quoted in the APP)

Don Stine is President of the AP Historical Society,  and he is quoted in the APP:

“If you’re going to take down the statues of people who were segregationists in the United States, you would have to take down just about the statue of everybody,” said Stine said. “It was a segregated society. It just was.”

Stine said he favored keeping statues and monuments in place so that people can “learn lessons from the past.”

“He said the Historical Society is conducting a review of all statues and monuments in the city to see if it can help with their preservation. ‘We believe all monuments in this city are worthy,’ Stine said.”

An academic paper about segregation in AP 1880-1890 by David Goldberg  (see link below) points out that there was “Jim Crow enforcement*”   in both the North and the South, and James Bradley was pressured by white tourists into segregating the famous resort. Here are a few quotes from that paper:

“By 1887, however, Bradley responded by officially restricting all African Americans, both those who worked as well as those who sought to vacation in Asbury Park, from the beaches and other shore facilities. By posting signs throughout the community and stationing officers at pertinent shore locations, Bradley prohibited all black citizens from the beaches, bathing houses, pavilions, and promenades.”

“Viewing the shifting racial landscape throughout the nation, Asbury Park’s black leaders saw the resort’s emerging Jim Crow character as part of a disturbing nationwide trend toward racially-defined public and commercial boundaries.”

“Since Asbury Park served as a Diaspora for the North’s geographically-diverse white citizens, their protests against integration highlights the racist and unreconstructed sentiment of the North after emancipation.”

“As Jim Crow became permanently enforced * throughout the North and the South after 1896, these tensions would prove central to African American’s struggle for “integrated leisure,” which became an important part of the fight for racial equality and social acceptance.”

 

History of segregation in Asbury Park 1880-1890

 From the book Ocean Grove in Vintage Postcards by Bell and Flynn (2004,) Asbury Park was a segregated resort in the early part of the 20th century. African-American residents and visitors were not allowed to bathe on the city’s beaches between the Casino and Convention Hall.
“They had to use the so-called “black beach” located between the Casino and the North End Pavilion (OG).”
“Interestingly, Bradley, a devout Christian, initially resisted segregating Asbury’s beaches but finally he did so reluctantly.”

Blogfinger agrees with Mr. Stine, but, given the current political trends, will it come as a shock if somebody wants the Stokes statue removed?

We know that black workers were hired in 19th century Ocean Grove  (and later)  to work in the hotels and restaurants.  They often stayed in segregated quarters, and there are old photos which show blacks posing with guests and other workers. We also know that black gospel singers and preachers performed in the Great Auditorium.

But we don’t know if African Americans came to the Grove for recreation such as the amusements at the North End, the boardwalk and the beaches.

We also don”t know if Ocean Grove’s leaders took any inspiration from the segregationists in Asbury Park or if they resisted segregation on moral grounds. Goldberg’s paper doesn’t mention the Grove.  We do know that Stokes worried abut secularism, but we found no references to racial issues in his autobiography.

Ocean Grove in the 19th century was a white Methodist town, but that was due to their trying to establish an enclave for Methodists, so the Town tried to limit its home-owning citizens by excluding all sorts of groups including Roman Catholics, Jews, and blacks.

And can we call that racism since the basis of exclusion was not color but religion—-unless they did exclude black Methodists. It’s probably more like isolationism rather than exclusionism.  It was more about keeping to themselves rather than keeping others out.  And it is certainly not segregation such as Bradley is accused of.

Stokes is probably safe from the 21st century witch hunters who are  prowling around the Jersey Shore.

If we can find any other information, we will post it.  Meanwhile this seems like an issue which we should follow.

 

ALISON KRAUSS  From the movie  O Brother Where Art Thou:  “Down to the River to Pray.”

“O brothers, let’s go down
Let’s go down, come on down
Come on, brothers, let’s go down
Down in the river to pray.”

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Ocean Grove fishing pier pre-Sandy. By Paul Goldfinger. Undated. Blogfinger.net©

 

Bob Bowné says, “Speaking of fishing piers… I have heard that OGCMA has been completely stonewalling the the OG fishing club pier and club house rebuild.

“Does anyone have any further info on this? What is the agenda here?”

 

Editor’s note:  When Bob says “Speaking of fishing piers…” he is referencing his photograph which appeared earlier this year.  Below is a link to that post:

Bob Bowné at Belmar pier

 

RICHARD KILEY  from the Man of La Mancha, the story of a pursuit of truth and beauty.

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Main AVenue, 1918, looking west from Ocean Avenue. Postcards courtesy of Traci Stein.

Main Avenue, 1918, looking west “from The Beach”.  #10 Main Avenue is partially blocked by the white winged statue.   Postcards courtesy of Traci Stein.

 

Main Avenue looking west. The card shows the Pine Tree Inn on the left (white at the start of the row.).. The back is dated 1916.

Main Avenue looking west. The card shows the Pine Tree Inn on the left (white at the start of the row.).. The back is dated 1916.

 

The back of the card just above clearly says 1916.

The back of the card just above clearly says 1916.

 

Earlier this month, we posted an article having to do with tracing the history of #10 Main Avenue—the Pine Tree Inn.  Below is a link that describes what the HSOG thought was the evolution of a classic 19th century hotel building to a much different-appearing inn that we would all now recognize.

https://blogfinger.net/2016/09/29/the-story-of-10-main-avenue-hsog-history-intern-tracks-down-a-mystery/

Supposedly, the drastic change occurred some time in the 20th century.  But the two buildings look so different, that we heard from a prior owner who sent us two postcards, 1916 and 1918 which show #10 Main Avenue looking like it does today.    This individual thinks that the old Victorian was on Ocean Pathway and not at the current location of #10 Main.  We may need a forensic expert to figure this one out.  Thanks to Traci Stein who shared her proof that the Pine Tree Inn looked the same so early in the last century.

On top is the 1918 old postcard in which the white building is seen from the side on the left side, first in the row.   Also note the winged statue in the foreground.  I believe it had some religious significance.     An attempt to raise funds to restore and replace that sculpture never panned out, but would Grovers really want that back today?

So, it is still possible that the changeover did occur before that, or maybe the HSOG is wrong in their assessment. The ball is now in their court.

ADELE:  “A Million Years Ago.”

Editor’s Music  Note:  This Adele song  sounds almost identical to a song called “Yesterday When I Was Young.”  It was written by Charles Aznavour, and here is Julio Iglesias to remind you.    Can someone spell plagiarism? In researching this, it seems that I am not the first to point this out. —-Paul Goldfinger , Editor  @Blogfinger

 

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