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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove history’ Category

A lovely event was held on Saturday, September 22, 2018 on Ocean Avenue at Main and Heck.  This single family house is doing just fine without being divided into condominiums. All that is required are owners who care about the town.  Such owners could have been found for the Aurora.  Blogfinger photo.

 

In August, Blogfinger questioned the decision by the Board of Adjustment to allow the single family zoned Aurora to be turned into a 4 condominium building.

Here is a link to that post:

Aurora zoning change

In that article, we asked, “Why didn’t this Board insist on the single family zoning that was present when the owner bought the property? Do you think any promises were made to that owner, and who might have made those promises?”  Zoning is supposed to protect the town and its citizens.

We know that the previous owner had trouble selling the property, presumably because of the single family zoning, but he bought it that way and lived with it that way, and this historically important building should have been left with its original zoning.

Some might argue that it is unfair to require that this old hotel be continued with single family zoning, because they say, “What can you do with such a big single family home?”

But you can visit any Jersey Shore town, including Ocean Grove, and find very large single family homes.

For example, on Ocean Avenue in OG are such buildings.  Our photo shows a beautiful single family home which was happily occupied by 2 people before it was acquired by the current owners who left the zoning alone.  You can see that it is often rented out for events, and none of its history has been compromised.   It is located on Ocean Avenue, lovingly straddling Main Avenue and Heck Avenue, for all visitors and residents to enjoy.

Will you be able to say the same thing about the new Aurora?

–Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

JIMMY BUFFETT:

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19th century walkway along Wesley Lake: It was called Lake Avenue, not Beach Avenue. And the lake was a lake not a retention/detention basin (as it is currently labeled)

Ocean Grove walkway along Wesley Lake by Founders Park: It was called Lake Avenue, not Beach Avenue. And the lake was a lake not a retention/detention basin (as it is currently labeled) Re-posted from 2016.

 

AMY VACHAL

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Joy Adase in 2014 when she joined the garden tour. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Four years ago, Joy and Mike Adase found the OG home of their dreams on Heck Avenue.  They sold their 5 bedroom house in Howell, downsized their stuff, and moved into a historic  (1885)  two-story, 2 bedroom,  1200 square foot Ocean Grove cottage at #97  What-the-Heck Avenue.

Here is a link to an article we posted about the Adases in 2014 when they were newcomers:

New Grover in town. What the heck.

Since they have been here full time, they have been  “in love” with the town of Ocean Grove and with  their unique home.

So this year, the Adases decided to join the house tour, sponsored by the Historical Society of OG, which was held on Friday, August 3, 2018.  During the tour, Mike and Joy got out of the way and visited one of their favorite spots:  New Hope, Pa.

Joy said that it was a lot of work to get her home just right for the tour, but she is happy to “share”  her  home with visitors;  the more, the merrier.  “I feel blessed to live in this beautiful town and in this home,” said Joy. Now that it’s over, she says, “I’m glad we did it.”

Docent Joanne greets visitors on the porch. Note the original metal awning. 8/3/18.  All photographs by Blogfinger.net

There were 8 homes on the tour, and many visitors, mostly women in groups of 2-4, were happily making the rounds.

The house was on display with five docents providing a lively tour.  Joanne, a neighbor, was greeting visitors on the porch. She pointed out the original metal awning overhead, which is rare in the Grove. The original doorbell is rung by twisting a knob.

Docent Mike explains the front parlor. Blogfinger photos © 8/3/18

Inside was another neighbor Mike who says he loves to chat, so being a docent is right up his alley, and this is the third year he is doing it.  He used the joke-of-the-day with every visitor, pointing out the “one butt staircase” heading to the master bedroom.

Visiting the living room. Blogfinger is seen in the mirror photographing.

On the second floor was Colleen, another neighbor.  She repeated the butt joke.  (awright awready with the butt jokes!)

Docent Colleen at the top of the staircase (room enough for one at a time)

Having neighbors conduct the tour offered an extra dimension of enthusiasm  as Colleen allowed visitors to poke their heads into the bathroom.

Of course, the whole house was lovely and spotless.  We met some visitors from out of town including: Pennsylvania, Ramsey and Midland Park.  Visitors to the Grove are well familiar with the exteriors of our homes, but to tour the interiors is quite a special experience especially for house voyeurs.

Docent Marty in the Serenity Garden. Blogfinger photo 8/3/18 ©

Outside was Marty who was enjoying showing the Serenity Garden.  This is another of those OG gardens that are quite special in small spaces.  She pointed out the grape vines growing on the side fence and the popcorn plant along the edge of the house.  Pick a piece and smell it to experience the Jersey Shore popcorn aroma.

The next day Joy relaxed on her porch, sipping from her Christmas cup,  happily reviewing the tour with Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net. 8/4/18

MARIA MULDAUR:

 

 

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Windows at the top reaches of the Tabernacle. All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©

Windows at the top reaches of the Tabernacle. All photos by Paul Goldfinger © Click on all photographs to enlarge them.

By Paul Goldfinger MD, Editor @Blogfinger.net   Re-posted from June, 2014.

The Bishop Janes Tabernacle is the oldest permanent structure in Ocean Grove, build in 1877.  It is an airy, open building consisting basically of one room and  a center section on top where  a sweep of windows allows light to stream in from above  and illuminate the seating below–symbolic perhaps, or very practical, or both.

Light and breezes come inside. ©

Light and breezes come inside. ©

Ted Bell, Ocean Grove historian and author, showed us the 19th century ventilation system which keeps the place cool.  Downstairs there is a ring of large doors and windows.   The latter open in a curious way, but there is a purpose to the design. The window aims the warm breezes upward where they can stream through the top  row of windows.

Ted Bell shows how the lower level windows open. ©

Ted Bell shows how the lower level windows open. ©

Outside, the light trickles and flows through the trees to hit the Tabernacle and create moving patterns on its outside walls and illumination for the prayer books inside.

outside one

 

BACH:  Double concerto in D minor for 2 violins and strings.  With Yehudi Menuhin, Alberto Lysy, and Camerata Lysy Gstaad.

 

—- Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

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June, 2018 note:  This article was originally published on Blogfinger in August 2009, only two months after the blog’s e-birth. Needless to say, we had few visitors back then.  The story of the Ocean Grove “gates” is pivotal in the history of this town and  should be re-told occasionally so that those who are unfamiliar with the details can gain some perspective as they view life in the Grove now.  We re-posted it  in 2011, 2016, and then again now in 2018.

By Paul Goldfinger, M.D.   Editor @Blogfinger.net.

The year is 1875, and the Camp Meeting Association’s first President, Rev. E.H. Stokes said, regarding the gate closure on Sunday, “There is no human probability that these rules will ever be revoked.”  That same year, the President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, came to Ocean Grove on a Sunday.  A wooden picket fence with a swing gate blocked his way at the entrance to town, and he had to leave his horses and carriage and walk one half mile to his sister’s house on Wesley Lake. Then he went on to the open air auditorium, where 5,000 adults, children and Civil War veterans waited for his arrival.

Of all the “blue laws,” the ban on parking of all-wheeled vehicles and the ban on driving such vehicles into town, from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday, was the one that seemed to best define the spirit of those Christians who came to Ocean Grove each summer for the chance to relax with their families and to praise God in a most unique environment. Only police, fire, doctors’ cars, and ambulance units could enter and leave.

Ocean Grove gates-1 - Version 2

In 1916 two stone pillars were erected, and a chain was used to prevent access into the town’s two entrances. A policeman would be in charge of opening and closing the “gates” and he would remain stationed in a little gate house at the Main Avenue entrance. That little house still stands. On Sunday nights, before midnight, a festive atmosphere would prevail, until the officer on duty allowed the folks to drive back into the Grove.

Some people moved to town just because of those Sunday rules, and, for most of those who lived in Ocean Grove, part time or full time, they totally supported the idea of Sundays free of noise, clutter, and secular distractions.  They didn’t care that they could not go to the beach, play ball, garden, smoke, play cards, drink alcohol, dance, buy food, mow the lawn, hammer a nail or even ride a bike. To them it was unthinkable that this rule might be abolished, because they thought that if it ever happened, Ocean Grove would never be the same.

Ocean Grove had received a charter from the State of New Jersey in 1870, which allowed the Camp Meeting Association to govern the town, including making laws (ordinances) and enforcing those laws with their own police department and municipal court.  The CMA governed in Ocean Grove, while the homeowners paid property taxes to Neptune Township. Ocean Grove received some services from Neptune, but Neptune considered the Grove to be a sort of private estate or gated community and thus they expected Ocean Grove to be somewhat self sufficient, even though Grovers paid full taxes. This tension between Neptune and Ocean Grove regarding taxes and obligations would be a point of recurrent stress for many years to the present.

As time went by, it became apparent that there were those in town who were not so enamored by the blue laws or by the CMA governance. Periodically there would be arguments about this, and in 1921, there actually was a secular Borough of Ocean Grove that lasted one year. After that, there was a suit, and the courts returned the town to the CMA over the issue of the “blue laws.”

In 1975, a lawsuit emerged and eventually made its way to the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1977. It was brought by The Ocean Grove News Service which wanted to be able to enter the town for one hour each Sunday at 2 am in order to deliver the Asbury Park Press. For years, the CMA had made an exception for those deliveries, but they tightened the rules so the deliveries were blocked, and the News Service sued.

The NJ Supreme Court went beyond the suit and considered the question of how a religious organization could govern a town, but they eventually decided to avoid church vs. state issues and, instead, they made a narrow ruling, based on “freedom of the press,” that allowed the newspaper deliveries to take place. The vote was 4-3.  The three in the minority would have taken governance away from the CMA. The ruling did not abolish the chains or change the authority of the CMA, other than in a one hour lowering of the barrier, once per week.

Just as that controversy quieted, another storm blew into town. A man named Louis Celmer, Jr., of Belmar, was arrested by the Ocean Grove Police for drunk driving. He was convicted in the Ocean Grove Court, but he sued in 1977 on the grounds that the court was illegal. The judge in the Monmouth County Court agreed that the OG court was unconstitutional and reversed the Celmer conviction and the Sunday closings.

The chains were temporarily taken down pending appeals, causing confrontations at the gates that summer, with people blocking traffic and setting up lawn chairs in the streets. At one point, according to a police officer who was there, a near riot ensued. Since the judge had thrown out the CMA rules, Neptune Township tried to help the CMA by approving an ordinance which banned parking in Ocean Grove on Sundays. So you could drive into town, but since you couldn’t park, you had to keep driving, or leave.

In 1978, The New Jersey Superior Court ruled that the OG Court was constitutional and they reversed the Monmouth County decision. The chains were now lawful once again. Many people became interested in the issues at stake. Letters to the editors of the APP from ministers, priests and even a rabbi encouraged support for the Sunday rules. It was said that 90% of Ocean Grovers wanted the ban to continue.

In 1979, the Celmer case was appealed again and went to the New Jersey Supreme Court. This time the composition of the court was different compared to the 1977 case.

On June 21, 1979, the situation in Ocean Grove was changed forever. The court voted 7-0 and said, “The 1870 charter is unconstitutional and of no force and effect.”   The ruling stated, “The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of the United Methodist Church can be delegated neither the power to manage public highways or other public property, the power to make laws, nor the power to enforce Board rules through establishment of a police department and municipal court. These functions must hence forth be exercised by the governing body of Neptune Township, of which Ocean Grove forms a part.”

The court expressed its admiration for the CMA and its goals in Ocean Grove. The ruling said, “This way of life need not be abandoned on account of today’s decision. The Association may continue to adopt rules which it deems necessary to protect Ocean Grove’s unique cultural and spiritual characteristics. The inhabitants of Ocean Grove and indeed all others who so choose, remain free to voluntarily abide by those rules.”

Rev. Harold Flood, President of the CMA, said on June 28, 1979, in the Ocean Grove Record, that the CMA ordinances were no longer enforceable. He referred to the “former ban on Sunday driving and parking” and he asked that Ocean Grovers cooperate. He said, “The best we can do is to obey the law, and the law says our gates are open.”  The CMA Board then voted to take down the chains permanently.

But in the Asbury Park Press, Rev. Flood was quoted as saying that the parking ban would continue, because it is enforced as a Neptune ordinance approved by the State.  So the CMA, in collaboration with Neptune Township, tried to continue the Sunday ban by disguising it as a parking ordinance. The plan was to keep the “gates” open, but have the Neptune Police enforce the Sunday parking ordinance.*

That strategy would not work, because a group of Ocean Grove citizens, led by Mr. Joseph Krimko (subsequently the Mayor of Neptune Township) and Mr. Art Liotti, raised money and sued on the grounds that the Neptune ordinance was illegal. The case was decided in appellate court, and the ordinance was thrown out “three zip” as Mr. Krimko described it, in a recent interview with Blogfinger. When asked why he and his colleagues brought the suit, he said, “It was the right thing to do.”

So the chains came down permanently, and Ocean Grove did not fall into the sea. It did not wind up like other religious towns, including Ocean Grove, Australia, which was founded by the same Rev. Osborn who founded Ocean Grove, New Jersey. The Australian town no longer attracts Methodists. It is now a magnet for surfers.

Today, in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, some people still come because they love the spirituality of the town. It still is a traditional place, especially on Sunday, and the Camp Meeting Association continues its religious mission with great vigor. The CMA activities, the Victorian architecture and the town’s history all add to that special “flavor” which is still present and which suggests a place from 100 years ago.

The entrance to OG is now largely a symbol of freedom as seen in this photograph of Dec. 2017. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

The changing demographics have contributed considerable diversity and a secular tone which add zest to the mix.  Now  (2018), in the town’s 149th year, it remains a one-of-a-kind special place to live in and visit, with elements of both the old and the new complementing each other.

Acknowledgments:  Mr. Ted Bell (Ocean Grove historian and author), Mr. Joseph Krimko  (former Ocean Grove Police officer and Neptune Mayor), Mr. Joseph Bennett (former Neptune Township Clerk), staff at Asbury Park Library and Neptune Township Library, and  “The Other Side of Ocean Grove” by Mr. Ted David.

Historical note:  We had some difficulty establishing the exact date in 1979 or 1980, when the chains came down permanently. The written materials and oral histories were unclear on this point. My best guess would be June 1979, after the Supreme Court ruling, but there were some indications that the chains were up and down a few more times into 1980, before they permanently left town.   —-PG

*Editor’s note: 2018.  Regarding that peculiar collaboration between Neptune Township and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in 1980, a collaboration designed to ignore the freedom ruling of the N.J. Supreme Court and constrain the citizens and visitors in OG, it reminds me of the current collaboration of the CMA and the Township regarding  the plan to turn the North End of OG into Asbury Park South—something that is not in the best interest of the citizens of this town.

What else has that partnership accomplished in the past for the “benefit” of those who live here?

That list includes the condoization of the Grove producing over 300 condo units, mostly without parking.  And the latest is the obscene granting of a use variance without justification and outside the NJ land use laws to allow a developer to turn the Aurora Hotel into 4 condominiums in a single family zone.  This arrogant action was delivered by the Neptune Township Zoning Board of Adjustment last week, in plain sight, and without any apologies to the citizens of Ocean Grove.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

BROADWAY CAST OF HAMILTON   “Raise a Glass to Freedom—The Story of Tonight”

 

 

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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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1891 The South End fishing pier. Source: "Ocean Grove in Vintage Postcards" by Bell and Flynn

Source: “Ocean Grove in Vintage Postcards” by Bell and Flynn. With permission by Mr. W. Ted Bell of OG. Click image for full view

By Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger   (Re-posted from May, 2013 on BF–Part 2 to follow)

The year is 1890.  Ocean Grove is 21 years old, and the Rev. Elwood Stokes has a public health concern–how to deal with sewage so as to avoid infectious diseases in the campground.  He writes about the subject in his annual reports, and that year he decides that their primitive sewer pipe system, where the mess is pumped into the ocean, needs to be improved.  So he extends the pipeline out about 500 feet from shore and he builds a wooden pier opposite Embury Avenue to provide protection for  the pipe.

A few years later, a better sewer system is devised, and the pier becomes a fishing pier with the Fishing Club receiving a multi-year lease and  taking up 97 feet at the end.    The 500 foot pier is destined to become a historic landmark in a historic Jersey Shore town.

Some years after that, when the North End is developed into a major recreational compound, a second pier, attached to the North End Hotel Pavilion, is built to attract strollers, fishermen  and boats.  Eventually it gets wiped out in a huge hurricane in 1938. During that viscious storm,  the south end of Ocean Grove winds up underwater after 5 days of heavy rain. The Embury Avenue pier is also badly damaged.

North End pier. From Bell and Flynn: Ocean Grove in Vintage Postcards

Source: Ocean Grove in Vintage Postcards by Bell and Flynn.

Big storms knock out the pier and boardwalk on multiple occasions over the years including 1922, 1927, 1938, 1953, and a huge nor’easter in December 1992.   The latter storm causes the Delaware River to back up and 4 counties along the shore to be clobbered.  There are 90 mph winds in Atlantic City.

My old friend Nick Maat, a member of the Fishing Club, from 14 Heck Avenue, witnesses the pier clubhouse being carried away by a massive wave while he stands on Ocean Avenue soaking wet and jaw agape. The Asbury Park Press interviews him, and Nick gets his 15 minutes of fame.  The pier is lost except for a small piece at the end where Ralph, the dummy fisherman, sits all by himself.  (If he only had a brain.)

A book is written about the pier, Ralph, and the storm of 1992  by Carol Egner of Ocean Grove. It is called The True Story of Ralph–the Ocean Grove Fisherman.

In 1994, the pier is rebuilt, financed by a  $144,000.00 small business loan obtained by the Fishing Club.

In 2000, a beach replenishment project causes the fishing pier to be landlocked after the water’s edge was moved eastward by 100 feet.  The pier is 338 feet at that point, and a  construction project adds another 144 feet to get the pier to its original 500 feet and over the water once again.  The $150,000 project is financed by Monmouth County, the State, the OGCMA, the Fishing Club, and Neptune Township.

Landlocked fishing pier. Asbury Park Press photo.

Landlocked fishing pier. c 2000.  Asbury Park Press photo.

In August, 2011,  Hurricane Irene causes damage to the pier. Some emergency repairs are done, but the pier is unsafe at its far end. The CMA fixes a few damaged parts of the  boardwalk.  FEMA declines to pay for repairs.

Then Sandy hits on October 29, 2012 and causes considerable destruction including the demolition of most of the pier. The clubhouse is swept out to sea in addition to all but a short section of the pier still attached to the boardwalk.

Finally, now, in 2013, a 165  foot piece of the pier will be repaired by the COGMA  to allow the public to walk out a short distance—-over the sand.  Engineers say that it is safe.

The OGCMA promises to rebuild the “non-fishing pier ” in its entirety, but that will come in the future.  Mr. William Bailey of the CMA says that the small initial section will give people hope regarding the rest of the project.  However, in a detailed press release dated April 30, the CMA did not mention the pier.

The  OG Fishing Club has a long lease, but its future has been put on hold for now.  The old-boys club (with a few old -girls)  is missing its hangout.  What’s to be done?   Maybe they should have their meetings at Old Navy.

One thing  is clear:  Both the pier and the club are woven into the fabric of Ocean Grove history, and respect must be paid.

In Part II, we will discuss the situation with officials of the  fishing club and the Camp Meeting Association.

NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND:  Fishin’ in the Dark    (something to look forward to)

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Founders Park fountain. Paul Goldfinger photo © 12/3/17

We have heard from Cindy Bell:

”  Hi Blogfinger. Just an update: The Historical Society has raised over $50,000 for the renovation of the FitzGerald Memorial Fountain in Founders Park. We anticipate that in the next month, the dirt in the large basin will be removed, and we hope with an end-of-the-year fund-raising push, that we can raised another $20,000 and ship the fountain to Alabama.
Please contact my Dad Ted Bell for more information 732-775-5642.  

Or contact the HSOG.

Editor’s Note:  This is a true OG community project which will significantly enhance our historic credentials and be a focal point for town events such as historic reenactments, picnics, lectures, concerts and art shows.

I would point out that historic tourism is what should be enhanced in the Grove–tugging us away from the endless giant flea markets, car shows and other tourist oriented projects that just congest and detract from the spirit and lifestyles of a historic and family oriented town.   —Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

TED BELL tells us that it’s been  a long, long time since this fountain worked.     Here’s June Christy with a song from Ted’s era–the 1940’s:

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Wesley Lake postcard.   Undated. Click these postcards for more detail.

Notice how rural the Asbury side appears. There are many trees there which are mostly all gone now.     There are boats at both shores, but especially on the Ocean Grove side.  Lake Avenue appears to be a boardwalk , and clearly it was not intended to be a street. There is no bulkhead back then.

 

From Ted Bell:

In the early 1800’s there were seven coastal bodies of water from Avon to Long Branch draining into the Atlantic Ocean. By size Deal Lake was the largest with Long Pond (later, Wesley Lake) as the smallest. Years passed, and Wesley Lake became more of a recreational area with over 300 boats available for pleasure and transfer of people from and to the camp meeting grounds of Ocean Grove.

Eventually bridges were built connecting Ocean Grove to Asbury Park.  Tolls were collected and shared by the two communities, until the cost of the bridge was paid from the tolls collected.

As a coastal lake Wesley Lake had a natural opening to the ocean. Tides occurred every 12 hours as there was no natural barrier to the flow of sea water into and out of the Lake. Early pictures show a debris line along with some vegetation along the lake shore with a band of sand/silt further up on the sides.  This is an indication of tidal action.

Several dams were constructed at the ocean end, turning the Lake into a fresh water lake. The tidal line disappeared. The Lake, over the years, became a silt basin with occasional overflows from heavy rain storms. The question of  State Riparian Rights is not addressed in the Annual Reports of the Camp Meeting.  The are around Fairly Island was also filled.

At some time the Lake was bulk-headed. The two level terraces from Pilgrim Pathway to the ocean were filled , and a cement wall was constructed (? PA project.)  The rest of the lake was bulk-headed.   The bulkhead eliminated most of the pleasure boats due to docking problems of the passengers embarking/disembarking from the boats.

 

ANNIE LENNOX  from her album Nostalgia:

 

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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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