Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove history’ Category

Postcard. Gates were opened permanently in 1980.

Postcard. Gates were opened permanently in 1980.

This sign hangs in the Historical Society museum on Pitman Ave.

This sign hangs in the Historical Society museum on Pitman Ave.  Blogfinger photo.

A ruling by the NJ Supreme Court in 1979 declared this and other blue laws to be unconstitutional as administered by the Camp Meeting Association.  The official governance turnover to Neptune Township took place in 1980 after the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

As you can see, the “gates” were not actually gates.   There was a chain.  The police officer was an Ocean Grove policeman.  Now you can even get a bus in OG  on Sunday into New York City.



Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger.   (this post is from 2014, but history is always timely, and the comments with this post are very stimulating.)   If you have any comments now, please send them by email or by using the comments button below.

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



Grover 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 looks unchanged in other views.  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.


Thanks to Vincent for these images.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger







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This photograph is the first in Ted Bell's Images of America: Ocean Grove.

This photograph  (with permission)  is the first in Ted Bell’s ” Images of America: Ocean Grove.”  CLICK TO ENLARGE


BLOGFINGER RE-RUN FROM 2010.  It’s important that more people other than tourists learn OG history.  This timeline gives some perspective for new Grovers and others who ought to educate themselves to this sequence of events. Thus we periodically re-post this timeline.

By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor @Blogfinger.net.


Ocean Grove’s history is a fascinating saga about how a Methodist summer community founded in 1869 eventually evolved into a historic and diverse year-round tourist town while preserving its religious and architectural characteristics.

Sure it’s about the Camp Meeting Association (CMA), the Great Auditorium, the tents, and the famous religious figures who took center stage since the founding, but there is so much more to tell,  particularly about the town’s secular history including:  its governance; the multiple attempts to secede from Neptune;  the successful but temporary creation of  an independent secular Borough of Ocean Grove in 1920; opening of the gates in 1979; loss of governance by the CMA in 1980; the decline of the “blue laws”;  the extraordinary  successes of the Ocean Grove Homeowner’s Association as they transform OG from shabbiness to renaissance by the 1990’s; the remarkable demographic changes of the 1990’s including the growth of the gay community,  the amazing musical heritage, the fights over taxes, and there is so much more.

The Historical Society of Ocean Grove has offered wonderful exhibits about such topics as the women’s suffrage movement and the African-American “history trail” here, and we at Blogfinger  have run two pieces about John Phillip Sousa in Ocean Grove as well as the account of Paul Robeson’s 1925 concert in the Great Auditorium.

We plan to continue our series of articles on some of the less well known accounts in Ocean Grove’s history, especially focusing on secular events. We will begin the process of digging into Ocean Grove’s fascinating past with a time-line. It’s important for Grovers to know this history.  You may be surprised by some of the items below:

1869: Ocean Grove is founded by the Rev. William Osborne and his colleagues. They form the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church (CMA) and begin purchasing land. The town is part of Ocean Township. The CMA’s goal is to provide and maintain a Christian seaside resort.

1870: The New Jersey Legislature grants a charter to CMA which allows them to govern in Ocean Grove. They can make ordinances, establish a police department and a court of law, and administer all infrastructure and services including schools, sanitation and library.

The town is designed “from scratch,” becoming one of the first planned communities in the US. The first lots are “sold” (i.e. leased) from the CMA which retains ownership of all the land. The first cottage is built in 1870.

1872:  Over 300 cottages have been built.

1875: Rev Adam Wallace founds the Ocean Grove Record, the town’s first newspaper. Rev. E. H. Stokes, the first CMA President says, regarding the gate closure on Sunday, that “there is no human probability that these rules will ever be revoked.” The first train from New York arrives in OG. People begin to stay year round.

1879:  The NJ Legislature creates Neptune Township by carving it out of Ocean Township and incorporates Ocean Grove’s boundaries as part of Neptune. Ocean Grove CMA and lot/home owners pay taxes to Neptune. Leaseholders (“lessees”) must continue to pay “ground rent” to the CMA.

The CMA refuses all services from Neptune and continues to function as the “governing authority,” maintaining rigid control in OG.   Physical isolation within its boundaries, “blue laws,” land ownership, and a homogeneous population of Methodists contribute to the sustained CMA rule.  Ocean Grove is, in practice, a theocracy. But that will become a problem for them over 100 years later.

1897: The first mention of tax discontentment appears as CMA President Bishop Fitzgerald speaks publicly about Neptune’s tax bill and says, “Of the discrimination against us in the matter of taxation does not as yet seem to admit of remedy.”

1898:  Ocean Grove’s “lessees,” who pay property  taxes to Neptune Township, want the CMA to pay the land taxes to Neptune. A suit is brought by the homeowners, but in 1900 the NJ Supreme Court sides with the CMA.

1912: Ocean Grove’s citizens want to participate in the town’s governance, so they elect a Board of Representative Lessees to join with the CMA in managing the town’s affairs.  There was unrest, with many citizens disliking this peculiar arrangement and wanting Ocean Grove to be a regular town with an elected secular government.

1915: the Ocean Grove Taxpayers and Protective League is formed.

1918: CMA has financial problems and asks Neptune to take over police, garbage and sanitation functions. Neptune refuses.

1920. The Lessee Board is dissolved, and the Civic Betterment League is formed. Its goal is the creation of an independent Ocean Grove Borough.  The CMA supports the idea, and the NJ Legislature passes an Ocean Grove Borough bill which creates an incorporated borough, apart from Neptune.  Governor Edwards signs it into law, a referendum in town receives wide support, and local elections are held.

The new Borough of Ocean Grove operates for one year, but they retain the CMA “blue laws”. Opponents in town want things the old way and they form the “Lessees Association” They sue in State Supreme Court.

1921: The NJ Court of Errors and Appeals finds the Borough bill to be unconstitutional, because the Borough has allowed religious ordinances to stand. The Borough bill might have been upheld if the “blue laws” were discarded, but the CMA and its supporters refuse. The Borough is dissolved, and governance goes back to Neptune and the CMA. This was not the first attempt to gain secular control of OG, but this one came the closest.

1923: A bill to make Ocean Grove a separate tax district with its own tax rates gets “lost in the legislature.”

1924:  A big battle ensues as Neptune tries to substantially increase the CMA’s taxes, including high taxes on the beach, Auditorium, streets, sewers, etc. CMA wins in 1925 at the NJ Tax Board, and most of their holdings are not taxed.

1925-1960:  The town is a popular summer resort and is known internationally.  Huge crowds visit along with US Presidents and many celebrities. As for the ongoing arguments in Ocean Grove, the historian Gibbon says, in 1939, “Many times residents and land lessees of the town have voiced their objection to the local rules, to the tax situation or to the form of government, especially from 1900-1925, and there have been many court fights.”

For the most part, things stay the same.

1960-1980: Ocean Grove declines, along with much of the Jersey shore. (See below)

1975:   A group of dedicated citizens led by Mr. Ted Bell and his colleagues obtain approval for OG’s designation as a State and National historic district. It is a complicated process.  Formation of Board of Architectural Review (BAR) happens in 1984.  (Later re-named the Historic Preservation Commission—HPC.)

1975:  A newspaper service sues over Sunday’s gate closures, which had been permitted by town ordinance.  The NJ Supreme Court strikes down the ordinance on grounds that it violates the first amendment to the Constitution (freedom of the press). The gates are opened for the news service only, but the CMA is allowed to continue its theocratic governance of Ocean Grove and the enforcement of other “blue laws”. Many people in Ocean Grove view the gates’ opening as an unhappy event.

1977:  A lawsuit stemming from a drunk-driving conviction challenges the authority of Ocean Grove’s municipal court. The NJ Supreme Court widens the scope of the case and decides in June, 1979 that CMA governance in Ocean Grove is in violation of the Constitutional separation of church and state. Appeals are filed. This marks the beginning of the end for CMA governance in OG.

1980: The US Supreme Court would not hear the appeal, so governance of OG is transferred from the CMA to Neptune Township. Neptune eventually eliminates most of the blue laws. Only the Sunday morning beach closure and the ban on alcohol sales remain.

1980’s:   By the 1980’s, the town is characterized by an overall “decrepitude,” including deterioration of buildings, declining tourism, crime, and a growing poor elderly population. (2)  Deinstitutionalized mental patients are housed in empty old hotels and rooming houses in Ocean Grove. The town becomes a “psychiatric ghetto” (NY Times, October 1988), and, by the 1980’s, 10% of the town’s population are mental cases who are not receiving appropriate services and are sometimes abused by landlords. The prognosis for Ocean Grove is dire.

During this period, the Ocean Grove Homeowner’s Association (OGHOA) develops as a political and activist force that successfully begins the process of converting the town from decay to renaissance. (2f)

1990’s:  OGHOA, led by Mr. Herb Herbst, Fran Paladino and others, fight for fair treatment in the allotment of the mentally ill around the state. The group’s political contacts and influence are considerable. The process is complex and difficult, but the numbers of “de-institutionalized” in OG drops considerably.

The group also saw to the closing of many substandard boarding and rooming houses. The HOA presents Neptune with a “master plan” to protect the historic nature of OG and to rezone for the promotion of single family houses. OGHOA promotes secular tourism while working with CMA to increase religious tourism.  New people come into town to buy homes and invest in businesses.


The historic Neptune High School is saved from becoming low income housing by a group of Ocean Grove homeowners led by Mr. Herb Herbst and with the assistance of State Senator Joseph Palaia and others. (3, 4)  The Jersey Shore Arts Center is owned and run today by a nonprofit tax exempt organization: The Ocean Grove Historic Preservation Society.

2000:  Secular goals achieved as of 2000: increased property values, increased upgrading of houses, improved relations with Neptune, improved downtown with quaint shops, art galleries, cafes, etc., reduced crime, increased tourism, reduced de-institutionalized patients, demographic changes (increased gays, empty nesters, retirees,  professionals, academics, young artists, and middle class families).

2005: House prices peak.

2007:  New topics emerge:  North End development, Ocean Pavilion dispute (gays vs. CMA), evolving demographics including more second home purchases, significant increases in property taxes, parking problems, Asbury Park development stalls, and home prices decline.

2009:  Ocean Grove blog is founded  (Blogfinger.net) by Paul Goldfinger, MD to help fill in the gap created when the OG newspaper closed. It offered a place to voice opinions about Ocean Grove’s many ongoing issues.

October 29, 2012.  super-storm Sandy hits the Jersey Shore and destroys the Ocean Grove beachfront, part of the Great Auditorium roof, and floods the south side of town.


2009-2022:  Blogfinger documents ongoing issues in town.  Use the search engine on top right.





1.  R. Gibbons, History of Ocean Grove: 1869-1939 (Ocean Grove Times, 1939)

2.  K. Schmelzkopf, Landscape, ideology, and religion: a geography of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, Journal of Historical Geography, 28, 4 (2002) 589-608

3. Kevin  Chambers, Herb Herbst, and Wayne T. Bell, personal communication,( 2008)

4. Archives, Asbury Park Press, (Feb 19, 1997.)

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Swimwear from “Victorians’ Secrets.”  *


By Paul Goldfinger, history editor @Blogfinger


In 1869, the Founding Fathers founded Ocean Grove in Larry’s Park (later, the name was changed to Founders’ Park.) Soon thereafter, many visitors came to this popular resort. Some people wanted to live here, but sleeping in tents began to wear thin, so a building boom began, and along with that came realtors in 1872.

They opened an office on Main Avenue and called it Century 19. Many of the realtors were young ladies who wore billowing dresses with hoops and crinolines that made them extra wide. It was fun watching 2 or 3 of them squeeze inside a tent. They drove their clients around in shiny buggies that said “20% down” on the back.

The sales pitch for selling houses here must have been a challenge because of all the limitations: no horses in town on Sunday, no alcoholic drinks, no tossing pie pans on Sunday, no carousing on Saturday night, and no hanky panky.

Well, that last one was quickly tossed out due to overwhelming opposition by the folks in the choir, especially the basses and the sopranos. Besides, Grovers did need something else to do on Sunday.

Another reason why there was no “blue law” for sex was that a baby was conceived in the tent colony,  and that is where the term “Founding Father” was born.

One of the problems was that Rev. Stokes had organized a lot sale. People came from New York City and Philadelphia to buy land in this unique town. Then, somehow, it turned out that they had purchased a lease. “What the heck avenue?” they complained.

But even today, no one knows why their house is sitting on somebody else’s land. Luckily, lawyers followed the realtors into town and they made it all official.

It should be noted that you couldn’t go to Asbury Park for fun back then, because it was a sedate place having just been founded in 1871. The Asburians tried to emulate the example of Ocean Grove, but good luck with that idea.

Watch for our next installment of “OG Historical Snapshots” when we will tell the story of Jewish Grovers and how they introduced bagels with cream cheese to God’s Square Mile.

*One of the girls in the picture is April Cornell.  She eventually opened a beautiful shop on Main Avenue in the Grove, but she was forced out by some creepy developer from New York.  After that she opened in Spring Lake where the locals appreciate her despite her baggy “cover your butt”  fashions.

And now that Stokes is gone we hear that some new women’s fashions will debut this summer in the Grove.  This photo reveals an example of a California style miniskirt. Who says that miniskirts cannot get any minier? 

This photo from Santa Barbara is by SBCFireinfo/twitter. Their crowds are almost as big as ours in Ocean Grove, sponsored by the Chamber of Commercials and the OGCMA.  Will the CMA object when she shows up in the Grove for Bridgefest ?


And here is Dinah Washington, who knows what to do on Sunday:


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Civil War cannon sits at the edge of Wesley Lake facing north. Civil War cannon sits in Founders’ Park at the edge of Wesley Lake facing north. Paul Goldfinger photo.© 2013. Left click


Paul Goldfinger photo. 2016. Founders’ Park, Ocean Grove ©


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger   (Re-posted from 2013)


In the early 1860’s, Lt. Col. Richard Delafield developed a new cannon for the army artillery which had some technical advances and which fired a 13 pound shell. It’s not clear if those Delafield cannons actually saw action in the Civil War, but an Ocean Grover, 1st Lt. George Potts, managed to acquire one, probably as war surplus, and he brought it back to the Grove .

He had a small house on the shore of Wesley Lake, and, c. 1880, he placed the cannon there as an Ocean Grove Civil War Memorial. The cannon was in a “strategic location” (all quotes are by Phil May) because when tourists got off the train in Asbury Park, they took a ferry ride costing one cent to cross the Lake, and when they got to the other side, they saw the cannon.

The cannon remained in that location for about 120 years. It was neglected, and no one paid much attention to it after tourists found more convenient ways to get across the Lake. Lt. Tubbs had died, and others owned the little house, and it still exists.

One day, c. 1999, Phil May received a phone call from a woman who lived near the cannon. She reported that the cannon had been wrapped. Phil, who was one of the original organizers of the HSOG, knew little about the cannon, so he made some calls and could find nothing out about the situation. The next day, the woman called back and said, “The cannon is gone. ” Phil suddenly found himself having to deal with a missing cannon.

He decided that this was a “bizarre situation” and that the OGCMA (Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association) needed to get involved because the cannon probably belonged to them, since they owned the land. Dave Shotwell Sr. of the OGCMA agreed that the cannon belonged to them.

For one year Phil “pestered” Dave to get the cannon back, but nothing happened. In the meanwhile, somehow Phil and Dave learned that a neighbor had taken the cannon to his uptown house in Long Branch. “He just took it. It was illegal.” The cannon was held hostage in a garage just a short distance north of the Grove.

There was reason to believe that the cannon was valuable, and the Long Brancher planned to sell it. The identity of that man is currently under wraps.

Phil and Dave also learned that a Civil War museum in Pennsylvania was interested in it, so Phil, who was President of the HSOG, became more worried and more persistent, and finally Dave had enough after the CMA was getting nowhere pursuing a law suit for one year.

Dave offered to give the cannon to the HSOG if they took over the fight to get it back. The CMA board agreed, and now, the HSOG, which was a fledgling organization at the time, had the ball in their court.

A lawyer from OG, Bill Jeremiah, agreed to do the legal work pro bono. The struggle to get the cannon back stretched over the next two years. A second lawyer, Mark Blunda, took over. Meanwhile, some State civil war groups were “chewing me out” for not doing enough to regain the cannon. Phil, never a shy person, asked them why they don’t come to the Grove to help, but they never did.

Then, in 2002, just when the cannon was at risk of being sold to a group in California for $50,000-$75,000, the case was scheduled in the Freehold Court House. Phil organized a vocal group of Grovers to create an intimidating presence in court, and that tactic worked, because the Branchers caved in, and we got our cannon back on April 15, 2002.

After that, Phil and his fellow OG historians had the cannon restored and refinished at no cost by metal workers in Neptune (Joe Troppoli Co.). Phil also mentioned Joe Shafto who volunteered to make sure that the cannon was transported home.

Money was raised for the permanent installation, and finally the cannon was paraded through town in the 4th of July Parade in 2002.   The sign said, “The Eagle has landed in Ocean Grove.”  Phil says that it was a “community effort.”


July 4, 2002. Main Avenue, OG. HSOG photo.



The cannon was placed permanently in Founders Park along the edge of Wesley Lake. It was aimed toward Asbury Park, because “that was the only solution that made sense,” according to Phil. He smiled slightly as he said that he takes “full responsibility ” for that decision.

There are two plaques. One tells a bit about the cannon’s early history, while the other names all those who took part in bringing this historic treasure back where it belongs.

That same year, Phil May was named “Man of the Year” by a New Jersey Civil War association.


Phil May. Ocean Grove, NJ. September 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo © Phil May. Ocean Grove, NJ. September 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


Editor’s Note: Phil May was an important figure in the Grove.

He  lived in Ocean Grove, on and off, for over 50 years. He had been a school teacher, a union official, a hotel owner, a property owner, and the proprietor of an antique shop. But his intimate knowledge of all the important events in the Grove for at least 40 years made him a valuable historical asset.

He had been at the center of the formation of the Chamber of Commerce and the HSOG. He also was witness to many significant changes in town including the opening of the gates in 1979, the town’s deterioration and then its restoration through the ’80’s and 90’s.



TOM GLAZER from his Treasury of Civil War Songs. This is “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground.”


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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger on Martin Luther King’s birthday—-Re-posted 2022.    It was first presented on Blogfinger in July, 2014.

It was Saturday night, July 18, 1925, at 8:15 p.m., when vocalist Paul Robeson and his accompanist Lawrence Brown strode onto the stage of the Great Auditorium to present a concert of “Soul Stirring Negro Spirituals” (1)  to an integrated audience of three thousand people. Mr. Robeson, an imposing black man, was twenty seven years old. He was already famous as a screen and stage actor as well as a singer.  He was a true Renaissance man who would become one of the most popular performing artists of the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Robeson, who was born (1898) and raised in New Jersey, was an All-American football player and Phi Beta Kappa at Rutgers University and an honors graduate of the Columbia University Law School. As a college student, Robeson was friends with the Day family who owned Day’s Ice Cream “Gardens” in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove. He had a summer job as a singing waiter at Day’s. (3)  When he came to Ocean Grove for his 1925 concert, he had just completed a triumphant run at The Provincetown Theater in New York, where he performed the lead role in Eugene O’Neill’s “All God’s Children Got Wings.”

He had friends at the Algonquin Round Table in New York City, and it was there, with the encouragement of his colleagues, that he decided to do a concert tour with an entire program of “Negro” spirituals and secular songs also known as “slave or plantation music.”

This would be the first time that this music would be performed in concert, and he would appear with his close friend Lawrence Brown, also an African-American, who was a gifted composer, pianist and singer. The two would work together for thirty years. The first stop on the tour was The Greenwich Village Theater in New York City, and then, three months later, he appeared in Ocean Grove.

The concert was reviewed by the Asbury Park Press, which said, “Robeson showed an intelligent appreciation of his task and a splendid voice.” They called him “a talented son of this state” and they described “great applause” in the Auditorium. Among the songs which he and Lawrence Brown sang were “Go Down Moses,” “Weepin’ Mary” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”

The following month he performed his concert in Spring Lake. They would tour for five years, all over the world, with this program. Later, Robeson would become the third most popular radio artist in the USA in the 20’s and 30’s. In the 1940’s he was the highest paid concert performer in the country and he was also successful as a recording artist. He would sing in the first production of “Showboat” and he would play Othello on Broadway and in England. He would star in eleven movies.

But his visit to OG that night was not only about music; it was also about recognition of African-American culture and the elevation of that folk music to high art. In addition, Robeson always was about hope for African-Americans, and performing that music was his way to offer pride and encouragement to his people. In 2004, when Barack Obama gave his “Audacity of Hope” speech at the Democratic convention, the first example he cited was, “…the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs.”


Robeson would accomplish much in his life, but his greatest contribution would be his tireless and life-long advocacy for civil rights. In 1925, Martin Luther King wasn’t born yet, and the “civil rights movement” would not begin until the 1950’s. Imagine how much courage was required for a black man to step forward publicly on behalf of racial justice at a time when lynchings were still occurring in this country. In 1921 a race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma resulted in the deaths of 20 whites and 60 blacks. In 1922, an anti-lynching bill was defeated by filibuster in the US Senate. In 1925, the year of the concert, there were 17 reported lynchings in the US. Jim Crow laws could be found in many states, but Paul Robeson pressed for racial justice wherever he went and for his entire life.

Robeson had been “eagerly” (1) looking forward to his concert in The Great Auditorium. It is likely that he was aware that many “extraordinary African Americans” (2) had appeared there in the past, including the famous Marian Anderson (1921),  Booker T Washington (1908), the singing evangelist Amanda Berry Smith (late 1800’s) and many renowned black  preachers. The Ocean Grove Historical Society has documented the African-American History Trail in our town. (2)

In 1998, the Ocean Grove Historical Society celebrated the 100th anniversary of Robeson’s birth by a day-long commemoration featuring lectures, dance, a book signing and an exhibition. The centerpiece of the program was a re-creation of the 1925 concert in the Auditorium. They brought the noted African-American bass Kevin Maynor, who used the original program and reproduced the concert from 73 years earlier. This remarkable event was made possible by a committee of Ocean Grovers led by Rhoda Newman (chairman), Kevin Chambers, Phillip May, Jr., and others.

Paul Robeson’s contributions have been recognized many times in the form of tributes at Carnegie Hall and NJPAC, plus many articles, books, exhibits and documentaries. He is a part of Ocean Grove’s musical heritage which includes Enrico Caruso, Duke Ellington, John Phillip Sousa, and Pearl Bailey (2). Paul Robeson died in 1976 at age 77. Five thousand people attended the funeral in Harlem.

Paul Robeson sings “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” from The Complete EMI Sessions 1928-1939, remastered 2008.


1. Asbury Park Press Archives (Asbury Park Library)

2. Ocean Grove Historical Society Archives (Ms. Rhoda Newman)

3. Mr. Kevin Chambers, Ocean Grove Historian

4. Ocean Grove Times Archives (Neptune Township Library: Mrs. Marian R.Bauman, Director)

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osborn cottage

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor@Blogfinger.net  Posted 2015.

The first cottage built in Ocean Grove was called “Pioneer Cottage.”  A gentleman from Warsaw, New York built it on Asbury Avenue in 1870.  You can still see it at 64 Asbury Avenue.   It is quite large now.  The size of early cottages was influenced  by the standard small lot size of 30′ x 60.’  Also, many cottages were created at the site of prior tents.

Around 1900, Mrs. W.B. Osborn, an author and wife of the OG founder wrote a book called Pioneer Days of Ocean Grove.  In it she relates how Pres. Stokes decided  to present a “cottage” to Rev. W.B. Osborn “as a testimonial of esteem and in further consideration for labors rendered.”  A “handsome  cottage” was built for Osborn at a cost of over $3,000.00.  The money was raised outside of CMA funds, and “the whole scheme was carried to completion by the perseverance of the wife of the Rev. John S. Inskip alone.”

The presentation was made at a gala event on July 15, 1873. Osborn was evidently a sort of snowbird, because they had to wait for him to return from Florida.

Of course many cottages were constructed after that, and over the years, a considerable number were changed and enlarged. Today,  OG cottages can still be found all over town, and despite their size, they remain highly desirable to this day.


This sign is on the median of Broadway. June 10, 2015. Blogfinger photo ©

This sign is on the median of Broadway. June 10, 2015. Blogfinger photo ©


This wonderful cottage was photographed on June 10, 2015 on Broadway. It is not for sale. By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net ©

This wonderful, happy cottage was photographed on June 10, 2015 on Broadway. Definitely not for sale. By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net ©


DINAH WASHINGTON  tells us that a house isn’t necessarily a home. Sometimes a derelict house has a story to tell, and we need to think about them that way.



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Current photo of the Quaker Inn. By Lee Morgan of OG. Note that there is a new owner.

Paul Goldfinger  Editor:

It wasn’t long after the founding of Ocean Grove in 1869 that the town became famous as a tourist attraction, mostly because of its specialty—-religious tourism.  Along with that fame came the railroad and the building of hotels and rooming houses.

It is said that the Quaker Inn, located at #39 Main Avenue at the corner with Central, was built in 1875.

In the History of Ocean Grove dated 1939, by Gibbons, there were 84 hotels listed. The Quaker Inn Hotel was still listed at #39 Main Avenue.

Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff, took an interest in the Inn after finding the 1943 postcard below. Rich is the author of a meticulously researched history of the Shawmont Hotel.



Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger historian/reporter.
Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger historian/reporter.  Click to enlarge.



The attachment is a 1943 linen post card of the Quaker Inn.  This wonderful card advertises  40 rooms with running water and private bath availability.  Complete with a restaurant and soda fountain and two four digit phone numbers;  back then the Quaker still maintains it’s 136 years of history pleasing all who come to stay at the corner of Main & Central in Ocean Grove. 

Rich  Amole.      Source: Ebay

Editor’s Note:  It’s remarkable how this image from over 70 years ago looks like today’s Quaker Inn.

The image shown above appears in black and white in Ted Bell and Chris Flynn’s book  Ocean Grove in Vintage Postcards. They also have a photo  (below—with permission) of the restaurant and soda fountain which was a bright and cheerful place seen in the picture above from the outside  as the row of windows running along Central Avenue.

Ted and Chris report that the Quaker Inn ads said, “The Perfect Location for a Grove Vacation.”



The caption for the above photo says, “Shown is a partial view of the restaurant and soda fountain at the Quaker Inn.  The Quaker style is reflected in the stagecoach wall hangings.”


History/mystery 2021:    Recently Ocean Grover  Lee Morgan found a page from the Ocean Grove Times dated August 27, 1915. It contains an interesting ad for the Ocean Grove Hotel.  That hotel was not mentioned in the 1939 hotel list, but you can see that the address is #39 Main Avenue.

Photo courtesy of Lee Morgan. The Ocean Grove Hotel c 1915


Courtesy of Lee Morgan of Ocean Grove.  A later photo. compare to above.


So, as Lee points out, The Quaker Inn is not the historic name for this hotel–It appears to have been the Ocean Grove Hotel.   Thanks to  Lee Morgan for pointing out this fact.





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The Strand was built in 1911 at the North End. Originally it was called Scenario. From Wayne T. Bell's Images of America: Ocean Grove. (with permission)

The Strand was built in 1911 at the North End. Originally it was called Scenario. It was closed on Sundays.   From Wayne T. Bell’s Images of America: Ocean Grove. (with permission)



July 1966

July 1966. Submitted by Rich Amole


July 1966

July 1966. Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger historian and reporter.



In the 1960’s, at the North End of Ocean Grove, the Strand Theatre was the place to go to the movies.  The ads may have been simple hand outs that were distributed at the North End complex of entertainment and shops.

The depiction of the folks in line show that all are very well dressed— the ladies in high heels and skirts and the men in suits and hats.  I’m guessing that seats could be had for under a dollar.

Now can someone bring me a nice buttered popcorn and cold Coca Cola.  Forget that Tab stuff!

Rich                               Source: Ebay


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By Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff historian/researcher.


This  is a postcard 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    (tenor sax)   From a jazz planet far, far away–contemplates the passage of time with “What a Difference a Day Makes”

What a difference a day makes
There’s a rainbow before me
Skies above can’t be stormy
Since that moment of bliss, that thrilling kiss
It’s heaven when you find romance on your menu
What a difference a day makes
And the difference is you


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