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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Ted David’s new book “Forgotten Ocean Grove” is available on Amazon. The whole title is:  “Forgotten Ocean Grove

God’s Square Mile

New Jersey’s Most Interesting Beach-side Town”

It is a 161 page paperback edition which is a combination history and guide book.   It has an unusual design in that it consists of 147 segments which he calls “mini-stories.”

Ted David is an optimistic cheerleader for the small village of Ocean Grove, New Jersey. You will see his enthusiasm for this very special town throughout his book and summarized in his last chapter (147):  “Living in the Grove Today.”

Ted finds nothing controversial to discuss in this volume. It is a cheerful book. He says little about current lifestyles, land use issues, culture clashes, single minded groups, demographics, economics,or politics….ie the sorts of topics which we gravitate to on Blogfinger.  But nevertheless he manages to offer 147 anecdotes which are quite engaging.

However, I suspect we will see more revealed about Ted’s keen insights into people and Grovarian culture when his new book comes out soon:  “More From the Other Side of Ocean Grove.” 

His research is impressive on the historical side. He says that he is saving the readers the trouble of doing that themselves, and he dedicates this informative book to OG historians, past and present.

Ted sums up his overall theme by saying that he has “carefully assembled the long since forgotten pieces of the historical puzzle that create the modern day Ocean Grove.”   For those such as Blogfinger, who like to analyze the undercurrents in town, he gives us the tools to gain perspective.

Ted David leaves no stone unturned, including the marvelous anecdote called “The Rebecca Stone” about a Grover who was redoing an old sidewalk when he flipped over a paver and found that it was actually a tomb stone from 1869.

Many of the stories in David’s book are intriguing, and many are delightful as well as informative.  For those of you who love OG history, this concise book makes for pleasurable reading as well as for new historical insights into our town.

For example, here are a few of the titles:  “The Sunday Closing Laws; Camp Meeting Charter; Mosquitoes; Ferries on the Lakes; Fairy Island; Pound Boats; The Barbara Heck; U.S. Grant’s Visit; OG Jail; Life Guards and Bathing Masters; The Wisdom Bench; The Girls of Ocean Grove 1870′; OG Locals; and Condos in the Grove.”

In one section of the book, where the subject of naming the streets is discussed, David points out that the “Mounts” such as Mt. Tabor, are taken from real mountains  “mentioned in the Bible” such as Mt. Tabor and Mt. Hermon. He also discusses street names, and it is curious that no streets are named for Stokes or Osborne.  Yet a woman who is largely unknown in town, Barbara Heck, has her own street.

So, maybe it’s time to rename some streets, getting away from all those Camp Meeting preachers and references to the Bible.  After all, the Supreme Court of NJ had no problem in getting rid of those religious based blue laws in 1980, so in the spirit of separating church from state…….

Ted David is a great supporter of the Camp Meeting Association and the role of religion in our town. He is optimistic about the future.  At the end of his book he says, “Since 1869 there have been times, frankly, when the Grove faltered. Besieged by problems from within and without, some thought ‘God’s Square Mile’ would not survive. But the reality is much to the contrary, as is everywhere visible. Revitalization and renewal are the order of the day.”

He concludes by saying, “The Reverends Osborn, Stokes, and Thornley must smile down with satisfaction to see their handiwork march confidently into the 21st Century.”

Here is a link to the July, 2018 Blogfinger article about Ted David and his books.

Ted David Blogfinger article

“By the Sea” from Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

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