Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove history by Blogfinger’ Category

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







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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.



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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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.


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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This page is from the F.W. Beers Monmouth County Atlas of 1873. It shows portions of Ocean and Shrewsbury Townships. Presented by Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger.

This page is from the F.W. Beers Monmouth County Atlas of 1873. It shows portions of Ocean and Shrewsbury Townships. Presented by Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger.  Click to study this map.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

When Ocean Grove was founded in 1869, there were very few towns nearby.  Among the towns that did exist were Long Branch, Shrewsbury,  and Farmingdale.    In 1869, no one lived in what became Asbury Park.  In 1871, Asbury Park was founded.  Shrewsbury Township was subdivided into Ocean Township and Wall Township. Ocean Grove was initially part of Ocean Township. In 1879, Neptune was carved out of Ocean Twp. and was incorporated by the State of NJ;  Ocean Grove was attached to Neptune.

Many places had different names then. For example Wesley Lake was Long Pond, while Fletcher Lake was Goose Pond.  The road that we now call Route 71, ie Main Street, stretched from Long Branch to Squan (now Manasquan) and was called “The Turnpike.”   Bradley Beach was called Ocean Pond, Avon-by-the-sea was still by the sea when it was called Key West, Belmar was Ocean Beach——but all those towns came after OG. Deal Lake was the Great Pond.

Ocean Grove consisted of dunes and trees extending from the Ocean to the Turnpike. The Camp Meeting Association team, led by Rev. Wm. Osborne, bought parcels of land from quite a few families, and it was a big job to stitch together and finance the purchase of  OG since many land owners lived elsewhere, even in other states.

Look at the map to see a large  dune, north to south, towards the southern part of town. Goose Pond  (Fletcher Lake) was partly filled in to make room for more housing.

The first permanent cottage in OG was built in 1870, and by the time this map was made, there were many tents and cottages around town.  *A large park-like area was called “Sea Drift Heights” and within it was “Gentlemen’s Walk.” It bordered Pilgrim Pathway and Main Avenue.  It was near the Tenting Grounds and Church Square.  Nearby was a “Ladies Walk.”  Another large park was near Broadway and was called “Central Park.”  Streets and houses ended at Delaware Avenue. West of there, near the Turnpike, was Evergreen Park which also bordered Wesley Lake.  Stables provided parking outside the western gates. An ice house was also over there.

*The earliest map of Ocean Grove, from 1871, can be found in Ted Bells’ book Images of America–Ocean Grove.  That map is titled Ocean Grove Camp Ground. Other old maps can be seen at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove on Pitman Avenue near Pilgrim Pathway.

HAVANA CARBO.  OG isn’t exactly Paris, but you can substitute the names in your head.  It’s a fine waltz.

Havana Carbo

Havana Carbo

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Kylie DeMartine and Eddie Holmes, both of OG, enjoy the tent life, accompanied by our investigative reporter  (Blogfinger staff) Chico.

Kylie DeMartine and Eddie Holmes, both of OG, enjoy the tent life, accompanied by our investigative reporter (Blogfinger staff) Chico.


Rev. Stokes would be proud. When the original founders had their first meeting in Founders’ Park in 1869   (well, it wasn’t called that then) they set up tents on the banks of Wesley Lake (currently known as the “Wesley Retention/Detention Basin”)  and had a prayer session.  Eventually there were about 1,000 tents in the Grove.  People loved to camp out and enjoy the summer lifestyle of the Camp Meeting movement.

Now, there are about 100 tents still in action in the Grove.  Several new ones were set up recently after a fire.

But today, June 11, 2016 we had a historic reenactment in Firemen’s Park where two Grover kids enjoyed the tent life as did kids over 140  years ago.

Maybe Kylie and Eddie will start a new tradition in the Grove.  We no longer have a Civil War reenactment here, so how about an OG Pioneers Day every June?

FATS DOMINO   (live):

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Is this true? Think about it. Blogfinger photo 2014. ©

Ocean Grove, NJ.  Is this slogan true in OG?  Think about it. Blogfinger photo 2014. ©  Click to enlarge

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

The issue boils down to a more specific question:   Is the Ocean Grove of 2016 a community of like-minded groups and individuals that would work together to block condo and commercial development at the North End?

A Grover who lived here in 1986 tells us that the many voices who pushed back against the South End project contributed in a significant way to the failure of that plan.  But he doubts that we have similar conditions now.


Concept drawing 1986 of South End condo project, 7 stories.

Concept drawing 1986 of South End condo project, 7 stories.


As you know from our prior pieces on this subject, in 1986 the Camp Meeting Association made a deal to sell their open beachfront property at the South End to a developer who would construct a 7 story, 53 unit condominium building at that location. The voices of those who had opinions about the issue were heard in the videos which we posted (see link.)


What is clear from the videos and some personal conversations, is that a groundswell of opposition was heard in 1986 which contributed to  the defeat of the project. and we are now left with the beautiful open natural area which can be seen today near Fletcher Lake and the beach.

We also know that the State was claiming riparian rights, and the developers were finding that to be a formidable roadblock, but listen (below)  to some of those Grovarian voices that were willing to speak up against the South End condominium Plan.      Then ask yourselves whether there is any comparable push back today, 2016, from Ocean Grovers who want to  block the North End Redevelopment Plan (NERP.)

We have  also included below some local 1986 voices that supported the project. They may have opposed the citizens, but at least they were willing to speak publicly. Today, the developers are anonymous and never say a word to the public:


———-CMA President Truitt admitted publicly that this South End plan was because the CMA needed money to pay for the beachfront expenses..  He said, “We are trying to merchandise the property.”  The CMA recruited the Schneider group to find a way to make money through development. Truitt said that “residents are concerned with preserving the historical beauty of the Grove which may be threatened by condominiums.”  But he liked the plan  design.

—–Ocean Grove Homeowners Association was represented by President Bill Benford. He said that the project is “totally unacceptable.” He voiced his concerns about density, bulkheads, storms, shadows and environmental issues. He said, “This structure is totally out of character for the rest of Ocean Grove.” Today the HOA stands in opposition to the citizens.

—–Norm Buchman, President of the OG Historical Society and a member of the CMA Board: “Many of our members object to this project. It’s too large..” He added, “I don’t like the project.”


—–Ocean Grovers come out in force.   On January 28, 1987, over 200 OG residents met with the Board of Adjustment regarding their opposition to the project expressing concerns about the height, fire safety, congestion, blocking views and breezes, flooding, parking,  foundation design and Victorian features. The next meeting was scheduled for February, but we don’t have those records.

—– A group of citizens got together and pooled funds to pay a lawyer who showed up and pushed back on behalf of the Grove.

—–Ed Handler, Grover worried that the plan “lacked the ambience of Victorianism.”

—–Business community. Owner of Nagle’s and resident, John Gross,  was totally opposed and said so publicly. He spoke about the loss of air, light and open space. He said that there would result “a loss of quality of life.”  Also said, “In the long run it would change the town and discourage visitors. OG would not be as attractive a community to live in.”

—–HPC  (BAR) turned down the preliminary design. Then, no final site plan was ever submitted.

—–DEP claimed a “State riparian interest” because tidal water was involved.  Fletcher Lake  (aka Goose Pond) had, at one time, opened to the sea.  The  lawyer (Schneider”)  said that this posed a major obstacle” and that he might have to sue the State.

—–An outside environmental group American Littoral Society fights/lobbies to protect shorelines. They were watching to see if the developers in OG were to get a NJ “coastal permit” for projects over 25 units. Their spokesman said, “Our reaction is very negative.”

—–Resident Kevin Chambers said that “the structure is out of place for the community.” He said that they would build “right on top of the dunes.”

—–Resident and historian Ted Bell: “OG is something very unique in the US (a planned community in  the 1870’s) and has changed little over last 100 years.”

—–Resident Jim Garley of Broadway said, “I’m against the CMA for recommending this building.”

—–Resident Victor Burke said “This will definitely change the quality of life. We will have excess housing density and utility overload (more police, trash, electric and water)

—–A Fire Department representative worried about a “disaster” in a building over 4 stories.

—–The Board of Adjustment preliminarily said that the design was “inappropriate to the style and scale of Ocean Grove.”

—–Vito Gadaleta, Neptune Zoning Official:  “Project violates zoning rules for historic and recreation zones—need multiple use variances.”

—–A developer from North Jersey’s Schneider Group admitted that Ocean Grove already has a “very serious problem with congestion” in the summer, but he denied that this project would make things worse.   Yet he was willing to speak publicly about the matter.   He also spoke about his “option agreement” to buy the land from the CMA. He admitted that he needs DEP and Zoning and Board approvals.

—– Architect for the project H. Robert Yaeger spoke out and defended the proposed sprawl along the South End Boardwalk, Fletcher Lake and Broadway.

In the end, the  South End project was never approved.



CMA President Truitt  also admitted in 1986  that they were planning a large building at the North End with over 200 units (4 times the size of the South End building). Some say that it was to be a nursing facility. He said that there would be a large increase in congestion.

It was never built for reasons which are unknown to us, but the CMA was willing even then to overload the North End,  and so what do you expect now from them?

So, in conclusion, the Ocean Grove of 2016 is nothing like the activist community which existed in 1986.

Too many citizens and organizations in the Grove in 2016 are apathetic as they pursue their own singular agendas, with little interest in the town’s history and future.

The future of this town is endangered, and it looks like we have no cohesive community to stand at the barricades. If the NERP is built, the Grove will become a much different place.  Do you want that?

IRIS DeMENT   “Our Town”

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Dark clouds over Ocean Grove. Trouble brewing, right here in River City. Paul Goldfinger photo before the rain. ©

Dark clouds over Ocean Grove. Trouble brewing, right here in River City. Paul Goldfinger photo. Soon it’s gonna rain. ©

NY TIMES:   June 29, 1986

Inspired by what Mayor Anthony Molinaro of Neptune says is ”the most reasonably priced oceanfront property left in New Jersey or New York,” local and out-of-town developers and real-estate people have been converting historic guest houses and large hotels into apartments and condominiums.

Young professionals and other outsiders have been buying and improving old homes. A three-bedroom house in fairly good condition two or three blocks from the Atlantic can be bought for about $150,000; farther from the beach, prices are lower. A rare oceanfront property that could cost $500,000 or more in some wealthy coastal towns would be about $250,000 to $300,000 here.

Along the oceanfront alone are two proposed projects that would add 350 apartments and 52 condominium units.

”Where people once came down here to get a room,” said Mayor Molinaro, ”they’re now coming down to get a condominium.”

”The place is going downhill,” Mr. Douglas  (retired merchant) said, adding that since Neptune Township started running things, police protection had decreased, motor-vehicle offenses had increased, parking had become impossible and infrastructure needs had been neglected.

Of the $3 million a year in taxes collected in Ocean Grove, Mr. Douglas said, ”very little” has been put back into the community


Watch for our next article comparing what happened in 1986 to defeat a major building project at both the North End and the South End.   What were the ingredients which produced those victories, and can such a feat be duplicated now?



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Fletcher Lake. c. 1999. No condos at the south end. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Fletcher Lake. c. 1999. No condos at the south end. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


30 years ago, the citizens fought off the proposed condominium on the South End of Fletcher Lake. It has been done before and can be done again!

Note that citizens formed a group to fight this thing.   That citizen opposition was loud and insistent, and it plus the rejection of the idea by the Fire Department ultimately finished off the plan.

This 2 part video is shared by someone who is familiar with this precedent setting event.

Wake up and smell the sweet aroma of history in Ocean Grove. Thanks to the friend of OG who sent this to us.

Paul @Blogfinger


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2012  Ocean Grove United marches in town for what they believe in.  Blogfinger photo. 2012.

2012 Ocean Grove United marches in town for what they believe in. Blogfinger photo. 2012.  Click to enlarge.   ©

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

I have experienced apathy in our democracy before. It happened in 1999 when corporate raiders tried to close a fine community hospital. They had no interest in what was best for the community, and the politicians were on the side of whoever showed them the money.

We went to Trenton where we met a brick wall at the Department of Health. The Governor’s office turned its back.  We tried the NJ Medical Society, but they didn’t care.  About ten local mayors joined us, but they had no real  power.

But what hurt the most was the absence of community support by citizens who were too busy to get behind a hospital that delivered their kids and cared for their relatives and neighbors. In our democracy, the power ultimately resides with the people, but the people often don’t try to assert that power—they depend on elected officials, but they often fail the public.

We put together a community coalition, but only a small group actually turned out. We lost the  battle.

In Ocean Grove I am seeing the same sort of thing. Citizens are too busy to do something to save our town.  There are no leaders to carry banners, to demonstrate, to come to Committee and Board meetings, to pressure politicians.  There are no activists (with a couple of exceptions.)

Did any of you see the footage of activism in the Ukraine when people risked their lives because they wanted freedom?  That story is awe inspiring.

So is the story of the OGHOA from 25 years ago which showed courage and determination in the early 1990’s when they marshaled a variety of forces to turn the tide and bring the town back to recovery. Of course now is another story.

On Blogfinger we are trying to provide information and interpretation of what we see.  One person is actually putting his personal money on the line to challenge the Township.

But based on the history in this town of elected officials ignoring state laws, favoritism for insiders/developers, marginalizing the taxpayers of Ocean Grove, and community organizations  which are  failing to address issues that affect the town’s future as a historic place, the slipping and sliding will continue, and this town may be OK in the future, but it will lose its soul.

THE EURYTHMICS—  “I Saved the World Today.”

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