Posts Tagged ‘Ocean Grove history’


Bishop Jane’s Tabernacle, a religious historic icon in Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo. April 17, 2021. ©


By Paul Goldfinger, MD,  Editor, Blogfinger.net

Here is a link to an excellent account of OG’s history by a Grover author, Perdita Buchan.  If you read it, I guarantee that you will find out information about our town that you did not know.

What I like about this article is the accurate recognition that we are not only a religious community, something which we have been talking about on Blogfinger and which has been ignored by the travel media such as National Geographic.

Here is a sample paragraph from Perdita’s 2015 review, and below that is a link. The last sentence is most critical.

“Certainly one can’t regret the town’s revival, a vibrant return from its late twentieth century decline. And if the neo-Victorians often miss the mark, no one would want a high rise.

“Still, architectural change marks social change. Just as tents became cottages and cottages grew into houses, so the focus of the town shifted from rustic retreat to “The Queen Of Christian Resorts.” Initially, that change happened as part of the plan of the Camp Meeting’s leaders, so that a certain communal sensibility was maintained.

“There is much less now to link the town to its Methodist roots.”





And here is a link to Perdita’s 2019 novel  the Carousel Carver which we reviewed on Blogfinger.… Click on “Continue reading…”

Ocean Grove author presents her latest novel: “The Carousel Carver” by Perdita Buchan


THE NUTMEGS:     “Story Untold.”


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The Arlington House Hotel in Ocean Grove, NJ. From the Woolman and Rose Atlas of the New Jersey Coast. 1878.

The Arlington House Hotel in Ocean Grove, NJ. From the Woolman and Rose Atlas of the New Jersey Coast. 1878. Click to enlarge.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor Blogfinger.net

This hotel was formerly known as the Pitman House.  It was the largest hotel in Ocean Grove as it sat on an entire block. The address is not given, but perhaps it is Pitman Avenue.   It had an open view of the ocean and a beautiful park to the west.

This engraving depicts the hotel in 1877 after it had been enlarged due to increased demand.  Gas and water had been introduced.  The gardens in the neighborhood provided the house daily with fresh fruits and vegetables, and the farms excellent milk, chickens, fresh eggs and butter.

The proprietor, Mr. Charles E Howland, was determined to provide his guests with “a bounteous table of the best food, well cooked, and invitingly served.”

The write-up in the Atlas mentions the “bathing” in Ocean Grove as being “excellent due to the absence of undertow.”   They also mention the absence of mosquitoes eliminating fear of malaria.

Nonstop trains to OG “run from New York and Philadelphia,  and boats arrive by way of Sandy Hook.  Tickets sold and baggage checked to all points from the office of the hotel.”

This scan was obtained from a hand-colored engraving from the Woolman and Rose Atlas of the New Jersey Coast dated 1878.

The news clip below from the 1910 Ocean Grove Times was sent by Grover Carol Livingstone. It gives the address for the Arlington as “Auditorium Square.”   You can see the Arlington ad better if you click on the image below:

carol livingston


FROM PAL JOEY:   Jerry Orbach.  Score by Rodgers and Hart.


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The original Ocean Grove.  No North End Hotel and no Skill-ball.  c.1869


The Ross Bathing Houses, 1878. North End, Ocean Grove Beach. From the Atlas of the Jersey Coast. Previously posted on Blogfinger.  Do you see any historic condominiums there?


Ocean Avenue, Ocean Grove, NJ, summer 1918. Courtesy of Rich Amole  © Blogfinger staff.


This is not a comprehensive list. Most CMA religious events are not listed here.   Consult the CMA web site for more information:   www.oceangrove.org


July 4 Thursday:  The New Jersey Wind Symphony.   7:30-8:30  AUD

July 5  Friday:  Navy Band Pop Rock concert  7 pm  AUD

July 6 Saturday is Community Day

10:30 am – 12:30 pm:     Independence Day Parade

1-5 pm: Town  Celebration.  Along Pilgrim Pathway and Auditorium Square Park.

9 pm  Fireworks

July 7  Sunday:  3:30 to 4:30   The Quartet:  “America Sings”  TABERNACLE     Don’t miss!



July 27 Saturday  is Victorian Day

10 am – 4 pm:  Mrs. Joseph Thornley’s prayer tent in Founders Park

10 am – 3 pm: History of OG video shown continually in the Great Auditorium

11 am-11:30:  Dedication of the Fountain    (DO NOT MISS THIS)    and Re-enactment of Bishop Fitzgerald by Rev. Dr. Tom Tewell.  Founders Park

Note: from Cindy Bell: “the restored fountain is back in town, and Robinson Iron anticipates the final installation on Tuesday July 9th. Landscaping and final touches will be put in place the week of July 15th.  Dedication ceremony:  Saturday July 27th at 11:00 am. Community members are invited to stop by the park to watch the action.”


12-4 pm Horse and carriage tour

Afternoon tours of Great Auditorium, tours of Historical Society Museum,and walking tours of Ocean Grove


There will be more events on August 10 for Ocean Grove Forever Day.




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A typical Ocean Grove historic neighborhood. Submitted by Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net.  The proposed North End plan will be from the same school of historic design that gave us the Greek Temple on Ocean Avenue. It won’t look like this.


This is what the Master Plan (2011) says about new construction in the historic district:   “…..encouraging new construction that is compatible in scale and design to the physical
character of the surrounding neighborhood.”

And this is what Municipal Land Use Law says:   “The MLUL responds to a generally held belief that those sections of a municipality that still bear the visual imprint of the past should be preserved. The concept is that existing buildings in historic area should be retained, or at least as their exteriors, and that new buildings in such areas should be on the same scale and should have facades compatible with the older buildings.

Does this sound like what those altruistic developers (OGNED), CMA, and Neptune Township have in mind for the over 5 acres at the North End which they allege is being done according to historic principles?

Let’s face it, historic preservation and replication is not what is going on over there.  The idea that bringing back the North End Hotel site is historic is like looking at an archaeologic site in Israel where scientists have their eyes on history going back 3000 years and not on some Ottoman casino which burned down in 1910.

They may get what they want, but it is wrong and is being misrepresented to the Ocean Grove public.

And let’s mention the 2008 ruling that allowed the Township, on the  behalf of WAVE and the CMA, to change the zoning from single family residential to mixed use due to the designation of that area as an area in need of redevelopment.   This is NJ Law as to the criteria for that designation:

“Areas, in excess of five contiguous acres, whereon buildings or improvements have been destroyed, consumed by fire, demolished or altered by the action of storm, fire, cyclone, tornado, earthquake or other casualty in such a way that the aggregate assessed value of the area has been materially depreciated.

The OG North End was misrepresented as an area of over 5 acres.  In addition, the land’s value was not shown to be materially depreciated.  Today it is worth a large sum of money—-no one has released the price tag when the CMA sells to OGNED.  Another excuse was that the land suffered from many Code violations, but those were easily corrected.  There was a law suit which Kevin Chambers lost over this, but that doesn’t mean that he was wrong.

OTIS REDDING    “Wonderful World.”

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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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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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Undated photograph submitted by Paulie D.

It’s the North End, and the consensus is the hurricane of 1944. Some more information would be helpful. Click on comments below. 



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The old Neptune Township Municipal Building. Undated. Photo hangs on the wall of the Township Committee. Blogfinger photo.

The old Neptune Township Municipal Building. This undated photo hangs on the wall of the Township Committee. It should be an inspiration, but they don’t know much about history over there.

On Jan 1, 2017, a Neptune Twp.government organization ceremony will be held at the Neptune Twp. Municipal Building at noon.

But since things have gotten out of hand at town hall, here’s a modest proposal:   they go back to basics by moving into their old building again and seeking some new (?or old) values and ideas.

M. WARD with a song that finds new ideas in an old composition:


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37 Atlantic Avenue. 2012 Beersheba Award winner. Blogfinger photo ©  This is what it's all about!

37 Atlantic Avenue. 2012 Beersheba Award winner. Blogfinger photo © This is what it’s all about!

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

As noted in our recent posts, the Township Committee wants to pass an ordinance to make major changes in the HPC Guidelines. They placed the proposal on the December 12 agenda giving the HPC and others only a few days to consider the matter.

The document is long and detailed, and it was not marked in a way that would readily reveal the changes. At the meeting, the 1st reading was tabled to a later date to allow proper assessment of the document, but a few OG groups did get to review it, and their response was resoundingly negative, saying that the new guidelines would threaten historic preservation in the Grove.

During the public portion of the meeting, some individuals spoke for the allotted 5 minutes. The one voice that really needed to be heard was that of Deborah Osepchuk, the long-time Chairperson of the HPC. She read a prepared personal statement, but she was cut off when her 5 minutes were up.

We thank her for providing Blogfinger with her complete remarks. We cannot print the entire speech, as it is quite long for us, but we will quote most parts of it, skipping only some of the most technical details:

“In the spring of 2015, Randy Bishop announced at a Township Committee meeting that the HPC Guidelines were going to be revised and submitted to the Township Committee by Sept 1, 2015.

“A sub-committee within the HPC was formed, working through the summer and after review by the entire board, submitted our draft of the revised guidelines to the Township Clerk by Sept. 1, 2015.

“This was the last we heard of them. I sent emails, as did our attorney, asking for information and updates on the guidelines. We received no reply.

“Last Friday, Dec.9, 2016, at 3:35 pm,  I received an email stating that the revised guidelines were not the guidelines we had submitted. I respectfully request that ‘prepared by the Historic Preservation Commission’ be removed from the cover page, and the names of those people responsible for this document be listed instead.

“There is much to be concerned about in this draft, but let me first focus on what I feel is the most damaging to the historic district.

The applicability of said design guidelines shall only be applicable to any portion of the structure that fronts on the street. Side and rear facades that do not front on the street shall not be subject to the guidelines.

The Commissioner described one change where “the word ‘avoid’ used in the original draft in regards to inappropriate architectural elements has been replaced with  the word ‘discouraged’  a total of 37 times.

Also the words “historically inappropriate” have been eliminated. The term “where practicable” has taken its place.

She says, “All of this translates into guidelines that regulate and protect nothing.”

In addition Commissioner Osepchuk notes that a number of provisions in the original have been eliminated including the section on “Historic Flare, a unique and rare example of urban planning—- the key reason for our historic designation.”

(Editor’s note: This is where Ms. Osepchuk had to stop speaking at the meeting, but we continue below:)

“Hot tubs, solar panels, satellite dishes, retaining walls, sheds, roof top construction, chain link fencing, auxiliary structures, etc., are no longer restricted unless they are on the ‘regulated frontage’ of the structure. Then they are merely ‘discouraged.’

“Add to all this, the fact that now homeowners will need to have signed and sealed architectural plans in order to make an application. The HPC has never required this of homeowners.

“Why the sweeping changes? What will they accomplish? Who is responsible or them?

‘The objectives of Ocean Grove District Architectural Guidelines are to preserve the historic architectural integrity, craftsmanship, and heritage of the nationally Designated Historic District and encourage architectural solutions which will “Recapture the Spirit of Ocean Grove.’

“The document dated Oct. 2016 does not accomplish this, its stated purpose. Instead it works at destroying the historic district.

“Property values in Ocean Grove continue to rise. People are renovating, building new and making improvements to their homes in increasing numbers. As of today the HPC has reviewed and approved 249 applications.

“What is the attraction of Ocean Grove? It’s certainly not the parking or the fact that we pay high taxes on land that we don’t even own or that we live on lots that in any other part of Neptune would be considered undersized. Our homes need constant maintenance, since most of them are over 100 years old and we live with the constant threat of fire fueled by the town’s density.

“It is because Ocean Grove looks and feels like no place else…for now.”

Also, this matter is on the agenda for the Dec. 14 Planning Board meeting which Blogfinger will attend.

And, On December 13, 2016, the HPC voted to draft a statement speaking out against the guidelines.  Stay tuned.




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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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