Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove history’ Category

George Beecroft of Ocean Grove, citizen reporter,  shared this New York Times news item from 112 years ago along with the Wikipedia article about the hero—H.R. Reiter.

Princeton football player c. 1902.

Princeton football player c. 1902.

Howard Roland “Bosey” Reiter (c. 1871 – 1957)  was an All-American football player, coach and athletic director. He was selected for the 1899 college All-America team and played professional football as a player coach for the Philadelphia Athletics of the first National Football League in 1902.  He was the head football coach at Wesleyan University from 1903–1909 and at Lehigh University  from 1910–1911.

Reiter has been credited by some with the development of the overhand spiral forward pass, which he claimed to have developed while playing for the Athletics in 1902.


THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES:  “Mr. Touchdown ” and “You Gotta Be a Football Hero” (to get along with the beautiful girls—–still true, although Internet nerds who go public get girls too.)



Football hero in OG

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Lane Villa: Owners, guests and staff pose out front c. 1905. Jacob Lane is seated with his wife Sarah to his right. photo courtesy of Les Lane

Lane Villa–63 Cookman Avenue, Ocean Grove, NJ.  Owners and staff pose out front c. 1905. Jacob Lane is seated with his wife Sarah to his left. Photo courtesy of Les Lane

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  Blogfinger.net

We enjoy hearing personal accounts of Ocean Grove history.  Recently  we were contacted by Les Lane who lives in Georgia.  He has been tracing the history of his family whose roots go back to Amsterdam (Netherlands), emigrating to New Amsterdam, New York in 1663.

In 1905, his great-great grandparents moved to Ocean Grove— 63 Cookman Avenue, at the corner of Pilgrim Pathway.  Les doesn’t know anything about the building prior to his family’s purchase.   The property remained in the Lane family for about 35 years.

50th anniversary in OG

Mr and Mrs Lane celebrate their 50th in the Grove.

Mr. Lane says that his family surname was Laenen van Pelt. His GGGF Jacob Lane was born in New Jersey in 1830, while Jacob’s wife Sarah Ann Middlesworth was born in 1836.  Jacob had a tailor shop in Newark. He evidently retired because of health reasons and purchased the property on Cookman to be run as a boarding house.  He did not choose Ocean Grove because of religious reasons; he saw it as a business opportunity.  We don’t know if the family were Methodists.

The Lane daughters: Mae Lillian and Laura Anna in Ocean Grove

The Lane daughters: Mae Lillian and Laura Anna in Ocean Grove

Sarah and their two daughters, Laura Anna Lane and Mae Lillian Lane ran the day-to-day operations at Lane Villa.

Les Lane has no family letters to give any insight into their lifestyle, but he does have his GG-grandfather’s old tailor tools, a pair of opera glasses, and a coffee grinder that was used in the kitchen.

The 1910 census shows the four of them living there.  Sarah died in 1911, while Jacob died in 1915.  The two daughters continued to operate the Villa until the 1930’s. The 1930 census shows them still living there, but by 1940 they were living on Broadway.  According to family lore, the sisters lost the Villa sometime in the 1930’s “to a shady lawyer.”

Les shared his genealogy research with us and commented on the current condition of the property, “It’s truly sad how much the Lane’s  boarding house has changed since the early 1900’s”

The property today is much different.  It consists of multiple apartments.  Too bad the HPC wasn’t around back when.  Thanks to Les Lane for sharing his research about his family in Ocean Grove.

The former Lane Villa: June, 2013. Blogfinger photo

The former Lane Villa: June, 2013. Blogfinger photo


“Thanks for the Memory”– This song won an Academy Award in 1938. The recording is by Regis and Joy Philbin.  The album is “Just you, Just me.”


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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.  There is no big cross in front.     CLICK TO ENLARGE.



Pilgrim Pathway view.   Dec 26, 2022.  Paul Goldfinger photograph. The big cross is there on CMA religious property, so it is appropriate.  But how about the pier in the shape of a cross?     Click  photo to see details.


By Paul Goldfinger,   Editor,   Blogfinger.net


Rich Amole who submitted this postcard notes the horse and buggy in front.   The white structure seems to be a fountain or a Victorian planter. The big cross in front is not yet in place.

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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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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Ocean Grove 1912. Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff.©

Ocean Grove 1912. Submitted by Rich Amole, Blogfinger staff.

Hi Paul:

This photo is from 1912 at the corner or Main and Ocean Avenues looking west.  Many pictures have been taken at this location, but this is an excellent black and white showing what appears to be a parade with youngsters & folks strolling up the sidewalk.

Flags can be seen, folks with umbrellas, as this may be a quite warm 4th of July parade; a policeman is in center of picture and onlookers with their bikes.

Main Avenue does not appear to be paved.  Two hotels still present today at the corner is the Ocean Front Hotel and the Stratford that is the Belleview Stratford today, four structures down on Main.

This is life in the Grove a long time ago.

Rich    (Amole, Blogfinger staff.)                              source: ebay

Imagine this parade if ROBERT PRESTON had been there with his boys band, in uniform,  from The Music Man.

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Christmas, 2998. By Paul Goldfinger © Left click for full view.

Christmas, 1998. By Paul Goldfinger ©Click for full view.



MAUDE MAGGART sings Irving Berlin  (1927):

The Manchester burned to the ground 2010.



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F.W. Beers map dated 1873, 4 years after OG founding. From the Blogfinger archives.

F.W. Beers map dated 1873, 4 years after OG founding. From the Blogfinger.net  archives. Click to enlarge. Scanned from the original map.


By Paul Goldfinger, MD.   Editor, Blogfinger.net


This F.W. Beer’s map segment is dated 1873.  It is from an atlas of Monmouth County and it covers parts of  Ocean and Shrewsbury Townships. The scale is 160 rods to the inch.  How many of you are interested in the history and geography of this area?  Let’s all send in comments based on your observations of this map or related bits of history that you know..  Please keep it brief, and we can form a sort of mosaic of information to go with the map.

Here is a useful tool:  Click on the image, and the map gets a bit bigger.  But then, run your cursor over the map and you will see a plus sign.  Put that over an area of interest and click again. —P.G.

HISTORICAL COMMITTEE FINDINGS:   (send your observations by commenting below or email to blogfinger@verizon.net and we will add your opinion to the list below.)

1.  Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger:     In 1873, Ocean Grove was part of Ocean Township.  Note that there is no Avon, Bradley Beach, Spring Lake or Neptune.  Deal Lake is called Boyleston Great Pond, and there is no Allenhurst.  Instead, north of Boyleston Pond, there is the Allen House owned by A. Allen.

2. Lee Morgan:     Paul, Just to the south of Greens Pond, around where Deal or Long Branch would be today, is a reference to US Grant.   Did he live or vacation at that spot??Lee 

3.   BeZee:      Well, look at Wesley Lake! Washed by the ocean, fed by a freshwater stream that ran all the way out to Whitesville, (later called Wesley Brook). People actually used to drink the water. Nice while it lasted. But the ocean outlet was plugged by the CMA early on to provide a reliable source of aquatic recreation. Then the area surrounding the brook became populated by a “careless population” that used it to dispose of all sorts of crap (literally). Which created a “disgusting” situation that the town fathers thought to address by means of a “catch basin” at the head of the Lake. Not sure that ever happened. But a constant source of complaints in the OG Annual Reports 1900-1910 or so. So when there are complaints about the condition of the Lake now, just know that it used to be worse…

4.  Paul @Blogfinger:  Lee. I know that a number of US Presidents did visit Long Branch.  They have the 7 Presidents Park there today, and one of those 7 who visited there was Grant.    Grant also visited Ocean Grove. He parked his horse outside the gates and walked over to drink tea at a woman’s house on Wesley Lake. She supposedly was his sister.

5. NJ Commenter:      To Lee Morgan: US Grant owned a cottage at 995 Ocean Ave in the Elberon section of Long Branch.   It was the summer White House from 1869 to 1876. The cottage was demolished in 1963;  it stood on the property now adjacent to the Stella Maris Retreat House. There are several photos available online with President and Mrs. Grant relaxing on their porch with family and friends.

6. Focused:   The only significant interesting thing about this map is the center of Ocean Grove where a huge pile of earth that has never been dealt with still divides a number of east and west running streets in the Grove. So those streets ended up having different names depending on which side of this pile of earth you lived on.

7. Paul @Blogfinger:     Notice the unnamed north-south roadway to the immediate west of OG. Undoubtedly that became Rt. 71 later. The houses out there belonged to pre-existing families having nothing to do with the Camp Meeting, including names like White, Bennet, Youman. The Bennet name is all over that area. Some of those families probably sold land to the OGCMA as they bought up quite a few small properties  in 1869 to stitch together the town of Ocean Grove.

Note the lumber yard and the toll house (maybe where the cookies were first baked.),

Also, at the north end of Asbury Park is a lake (probably Sunset Lake) with a road running west to Wegmans featuring Mallomars on sale every September—not shown on this map.

8  Wisher: It is interesting how Whitesville disappeared, when it was so prominent on the map. Every time I drive down Neptune Avenue and pass that forest area to the right next to Shop Rite, I wonder what artifacts might be there. I think the town may have stretched from The Shop Rite area to the circle/roundabout on 35.


Please keep the history comments coming in. The music will post below


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1881 Fishing Pier in OG, Embury Avenue. Submitted by Rich Amole, BF staff.

Photo:  1881 Fishing Pier in Ocean Grove. Submitted by Rich Amole, BF staff.


By Rich Amole— Blogfinger historian and reporter

The photo above shows the original pier built off  Embury ave. in 1881.

Back then the sewer line went out to the shoreline and the pier was built to protect it.  Next thing you know someone wants to fish out on it so a charge of 5 cents is collected.   Strippers were far and few between and it turned out to be a bad year for fishing as they made only $650 in the July to September season.  Of course those folks just wishing to take a stroll down the pier had a nice unobstructed view of the Atlantic and there is something to be said about this simple pleasure.

Editor’s note:    Rich, you can be darned sure that “strippers were far and few between”   in the 1881 religious community of Ocean Grove.    But stripers are another story—— a fine kettle of fish.  —-PG

ps. What’s going on?—just today we had “pubic pier” sent to BF and corrected by our man in Havana  I.M. Radar.







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Days 1880.

Source unknown. Days 1880. Submitted by Rosemary Salow.

Source unknown. Days 1880. Submitted by Rosemary Salow. “Oh waiter, I ordered the mocha latte cappuccino chocolate crunch with whipped cream!”



BETTE MIDLER  (my cousin)   “Bei mir bist du schon”


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By Kathy Arlt, contributing writer @ Blogfinger    (Re-posted from its original date of June, 2011.   Play it again, Sam.  And that’s a fine kettle of fish.)

Victorians were big believers in the curative effects of fresh air and ocean bathing, but a day at the beach was a lot different for them than it is for us. For one thing, there were those bathing suits…made out of wool—WOOL!—and covering the body from head to toe. Just imagine hitting the beach on a 90-degree day in one of these suits. Maybe that’s why no one in this group looks too happy:

Or maybe they’re wondering how many other people may have worn the suit that’s now covering their body, because it was common in the 1870’s to rent bathing suits.

And what did the Victorians do when they got to the beach in their rented woolen bathing suits? Well, they didn’t swim—very few people knew how to swim back then, even if they could maneuver through the ocean currents in a woolen bathing suit—and they certainly didn’t surf. They clung to ropes in order to obtain the ocean’s benefits, as this illustration shows:  (from Woolman and Rose,  “Atlas of the Jersey Coast 1878,”  Ross Bathing Houses,  Joseph Ross, proprietor, Ocean Grove, NJ)

From the show DAMES AT SEA:

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