Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove history by Rich Amole’ Category

Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger reporter and staff historian. ©

Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger reporter and staff historian. ©

This post is from August 4, 2014 on Blogfinger:


So many voices over the years have performed at the Great Auditorium.   On August 12, 1908, Ocean Grove welcomed a performance of an American operatic contralto star named Louise Homer.  She had an active international career in concert halls and opera houses from 1895 until her retirement in 1932.  She was also a member of the Metropolitan Opera in the years 1900-1919.  I put together the attachment above that has a photo of her plus various priced tickets.

Wonder if she sung a short tune at Days afterwards?

From Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff.

Editor’s note: During the years of Ocean Grove’s famed music director Tali  Esen Morgan, many great names appeared in the Great Auditorium.  He built a grand house on Abbott Avenue in 1906,  and around 1910, he entertained Enrico Caruso who put on a bit of a concert in Morgan’s front parlor. We wrote about that house and about that impromptu concert.  Here is the link:

Caruso in the Grove

It’s interesting that Rich Amole sent us these tickets which provide for seating in the gallery and the main floor.  Curiously, the brochure above refers to the “Grand Auditorium.”   That must have been a goofy misunderstanding, because the Auditorium, which was built in 1894, was just called the “Auditorium” at first and for many years.     Then a big sign on the roof said “Ocean Grove Auditorium,” and it remained up there until it was falling apart and was removed, but not replaced, in 1979.

According to Wayne T. Bell, Jr, Cindy L. Bell, and Darrell A. Dufresne, authors of  The Great Auditorium—Ocean Grove’s Architectural Treasure  (2012,)  “It took awhile” for the name “Great Auditorium” to take hold.  The authors  reviewed many sources dating back over 100 years to find out that it was in recent times, perhaps the 1970’s, that the name “Great Auditorium” became official, especially after the PR people got hold of it.

As for Louise Homer, she was a huge star in the opera world, making her debut at the Met. in 1900, performing in Aida.  For 19 consecutive seasons she played the “Met” opposite Caruso and other greats of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Here is an old recording of Louise Homer singing with Enrico Caruso and Marcel Journet in the opera Samson et Dalila.  The year was around 1920.  They are singing in French about celebrating a victory. I hope it’s not the scene where she cuts off his hair—–so sad;  I hate that part.    Rich Amole owns these tickets now, having acquired them on Ebay from some Grovers, but if he thinks he can go to the concert, sorry Rich, but you are a little late.    —-Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.



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Photo by Rich Amole @Blogfinger.

Photo by Rich Amole @Blogfinger.  2014

By Rich Amole, Blogfinger history reporter/researcher.


“The best type of snow is the one that doesn’t need to be shoveled.  Above  is a real cool Snow Globe with the Great Auditorium inside.  Snow Globes were designed to be paper weights but ended up being more of a collectible item of places visited.

Originally of European origin, they crossed the Atlantic in the 1920’s with the first patented one in the late 1920’s in the USA.  Some of these marvelous items have music boxes attached.   I could venture a guess on when this one was manufactured, but perhaps a reader may fill us in or even own one.

CINCINNATI POPS:   “Lara’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago.



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Submitted by Rich Amole., Blogfinger staff. Postcard is from August, 3, 1906.   The Auditorium was built in 1894, so it was 12 years old when this postcard was sent.   CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Rich Amole notes the horse and buggy in front.   The white structure seems to be a fountain or a Victorian planter. The big cross is missing.

You can see the adjacent tents on the right, still present. It is not referred to here as the “Great Auditorium,” only the “Auditorium”  (which is often still true today.)

Robin Lamont from the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the 1971 off-Broadway show Godspell.  This folk rock song, “Day by Day,”  by composer Stephen Schwartz was the 3rd song in the show:


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By Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff historian/researcher.

This  is a post card image of a Tall Sail Schooner with a bit of a breeze hitting its sails off the Grove’s beach—- 108 years ago in 1906.

Not much on text back then— just a simple “Greetings from Ocean Grove” which still holds up today, not so much for that Schooner………..

COLEMAN HAWKINS     From a jazz planet far, far away–contemplates the passage of time with “What a Difference a Day Makes”

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1905 Ocean Grove. Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff. Source: Ebay

1905 Ocean Grove. Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff. Source: Ebay

Hi Paul:

This post card of Ocean Grove shows some ladies out for a stroll on the plankboard in their Victorian garb accompanied by a gentleman in his finest walking apparel. A sailboat passes by off to the right of the photo with a beach that is not discernible.

Postmarked from 1905 , and a short message indicates that they were staying in that hotel with the X that was marked on the upper left hand of the card.

In that year, Teddy Roosevelt was in office, and the Wright Brothers were still trying to figure out how to keep their  flying invention in the air for longer periods of time. Cabin attendants need not apply just yet.


Editor’s Note:  Rich Amole, thanks.  For perspective, in 1903, the women’s suffrage movement  had a meeting in Ocean Grove, and that same week, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union also had a gathering in the Grove. Those two groups worked hand in hand. Women were very involved in temperance because alcohol was causing widespread damage to families.

Interestingly, if you watch the HBO mini-series called “Parade End,” set in England before and during WWI , you will meet some suffragettes who were fighting for the vote on that side of the pond.    —-Paul


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From Carl Swenson of OG March, 2019.

Paul: “An old post card of what the North End looked like at one time.  Before a hotel and pool it was a tenting area.  Only vehicle was a buggy, so it’s not a Sunday shot for sure.  Carl”

From Rich Amole who sent us the same postcard last year.


This post card image shows a horse drawn delivery cart making rounds to the folks in the tents at the north end of the Grove.

Asbury Park and Wesley Lake at the top of the image would help identify that the section of the Grove that the delivery is being made would appear to be on Spray Avenue right off of Ocean Avenue. Laundry is hanging on lines in the yards behind the tents, and everyone has a wonderful display of those colorful red stripe and blue stripe awnings. Each structure has a chimney.

This scene is from 1906, and within a few short years. this tent neighborhood will be making way for the North End Hotel, turning that tent neighborhood into two outdoor pools and a laundry/maintenance facility for this 256 room complex.


(Rich Amole is Blogfinger’s staff historian and reporter)

Editor’s note:   So which is more historic?  Tent City or a commercialized North End?

Don’t let the historic argument sway you.  —PG @Blogfinger

BLOSSOM DEARIE   (Could it be a surrey and not a cart?—Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry…)

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By Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff. October 23, 2016. ©

By Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff. October 23, 2016. ©


In town yesterday and came across the Reverend enjoying the breeze. Hope all is going well.



Editor’s note:

It’s fitting that Rev. Elwood H. Stokes  is residing permanently outside the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ.   Stokes was a native of New Jersey who began as a bookbinder and wound up as one of the Founders of OG.  Then he became the  first president of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association  (1869-1897).

This summary is from Rutgers University core-Libraries:

Dr. Elwood H. Stokes was the first president of the “Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association”, holding that post from 1869 until his death in 1897. Known as “The Father of Ocean Grove” Dr. Stokes led many projects which contributed to the success of the town. These included drilling fresh water wells, constructing a sewage system, planning the town’s layout, ensuring roads and railroads were in place to transport people and installing electric lights. His most significant accomplishment was overseeing the construction of the Grand Auditorium. This statue in his memory was sculpted by Paul W. Morris and unveiled in 1905. It sits on the Ocean Pathway in front of the Great Auditorium.

The first central place of worship in the Grove was an octagon-shaped preacher’s stand.  But the summer-oriented Methodist campground became popular fairly quickly, and there were three auditoriums built during the first 25 years.  Eventually Rev. Stokes saw the need for something really big, and he was a big thinker.  He was the prime mover in planning for a huge auditorium to hold up to 10,000 worshippers.   This project was achieved late in his life.  On July 1, 1894 the Great Auditorium was officially opened, and Rev. Stokes gave the first sermon.

Stokes was a man of letters:  poet, composer of hymns and an author. He was beloved by the people of Ocean Grove.

The best source of information about the Great Auditorium is the excellent 2012 book by Wayne T. Bell, Cindy L. Bell and Darrell A. Dufresene.  “The Great Auditorium: Ocean Grove’s Architectural Treasure.”  It is available through the Historical Society of Ocean Grove and at Amazon.com.  —–Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger


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Ebay photo. Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff.

Ebay photo. Ocean Grove North End, 1940.    Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff.


From Rich:    “Going through Ebay to see if anything new was there to send.  Found one photograph that shows the north end of the boards with some folks strolling along and dated 1940.  Anyone who has walked or driven up that end knows that strange cut out in Ocean Avenue to turnaround or park can relate to this place.

“This scene also includes possibly part of a porch or entrance way of the North End Hotel with one of the columns next to the boardwalk.”

THE ANDREWS SISTERS (1944)  had a hit with this calypso tune:


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Ross Pavilion at the North End.  Submitted by Rich Amole.

Ross Pavilion at the North End. Submitted by Rich Amole.

From Rich:

“Ross Pavilion beach area———lots of beachers and bathers in their attire in the early 1900’s.

How do they work on their tans? ”

Another Ross Pavilion photo from Rich

Editor’s Note:  There once was a pier as part of the Ross Pavilion which was a private bathing facility  built in the late 1800’s. The North End pier was destroyed in a storm in the 1930’s and never rebuilt.  The Ross Pavilion had some concessions and an auditorium and a  bandstand. Later the North End Hotel ( 1911-1978) was built.  There was also a South End pavilion —-PG

CARLY SIMON :       from her album  Into White    Stephen  Foster wrote Oh Susannah in 1848,  It was one of the most popular songs ever written, and it was probably played at the Ross Pavilion.

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Grove Air.  Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff.

Air Grove. Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff.


Judging by the looks of the airplane used, it predates the Wright brothers 1903 plane, placing the photograph in the late 1890’s or so.  “I’m looking for you in Ocean Grove NJ” is typed in across the top of the photo.  An interesting find referencing the town for whatever the reason.

The moon looks like one of those right out of a silent movie.


GLENN MILLER and his orchestra with “Moonlight Serenade.”  This is from the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories, filmed in Ocean Grove.

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