Township of Ocean Historical Museum
Copyright 2016 (C) Township of Ocean Historical Museum
Township of Ocean Historical Museum
Address: 703 Deal Road, Ocean, NJ 07712
Mail: P.O. Box 516, Oakhurst, NJ 07755-0516
Golden Crest, on Norwood Avenue (still standing), was designed by Stanford White, of McKim Meade and White, for E.F.C. Young, President of the the First National Bank of Jersey City and unsuccessful Democratic candidate for New Jersey Governor in 1892. He built the house in 1901, as a golden wedding anniversary gift to his wife Harriet. In 1929, the house was sold to Victor and Edmund Wisner, who ran it as a rooming house for summer vacationers. In the 1960, it was a fraternity house for the then Monmouth College. From 1972 to 1976, it was owned and restored by Mary and Samuel Weir. It is now a private residence.
The view of Norwood Avenue, looking north from Park Avenue in the early 1900's
Built in 1868 by James H. McVickar, Shakesperian actor and theatre owner, this victorian "cottage" was typical of architecture of its day. The male figure on the porch of the cottage (photo on the left) is Edwin Booth (1833-1893), son-in-law of McVickar and frequent visitor to the home. This home was sold in 1875 to actresss Maggie Mitchell (1832-1918), who renamed the property "Cricket Lodge" after her most famous role, Fanchon the Cricket. The property still stands, but has been changed significantly.
Heartsdelle, the summer estate of Samuel Sachs (1851-1935), investment banker and founder of the investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs, was located on the west side of Norwood Avenue, between South Lincoln Avenue and Maplewood Avenue. The home is no longer standing.
The Jane Elkus Camp was a summer camp for underprivilaged Jewish youth from north Jersey and New York. The Camp was named for the daughter of Abram I. Elkus (1867-1947), an attorney from New York City, who resided in Rumson, New Jersey. Mr. Elkus started the New York law firm that, today, is Proskauer Rose. He served as United States Attorney in New York. In 1916 he was appointed United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (Turkey today) by President Wodrow Wilson. While in Constantanople, his daughter Jane died of disease (from which he also suffered and prevented him from returning to the United States at the outbreak of World War I). The camp no longer exists. It was on land across Monmouth Road from the Oakhurst First Methodist Church. It was later a private residence. The main house was torn down in the 1990's and Crimson Circle has built there.
This house, once located on Park Avenue, west of Larchwood Avenue, was first called Fairlawns and owned by renowned actor Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth). In 1875, Booth sold the house to Thomas T. Kinney. Later, William Campbell Clark, son..in..law of Kinney, owned the house and renamed it The Oaks for the many oak tree surrounding the house. Local lore has it that the village of Oceanville also changed its name to Oakhurst at this time. The building no longer stands. Mr. Clark donated a portion from the rear of the estate to build a Methodist Church in Oakhurst. The Oakhurst First United Methodist Church stands there today.
The estate of Walter Reade, Sr. [1884–1952] and later his son Walter Reade, Jr. [1916-1973], owners of the Walter Reade Organization theatre chain. The property was sold and subdivided in the 1970’s, but the mansion house was originally the Magen David Synagogue. It was torn down in the 1990’s and the current Magen David was built on the site of the original mansion.
Madam Lillian Nordica (1859-1914) was a world famous operatic soprano who starred in Europe and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She was one of the first opera singers to be recorded by Thomas Edison, and was one of the first celebrities to endorse a product, Coke-A-Cola, in advertising. Madam Nordica, tragically, died in Jakarta, Indonesia, while returning from a tour of
Australia. Her home in Ocean Township was sold to a group that turned the property into Hollywood Country Club. Her home was the original club house.
The Gardner farmhouse, located at Grant Avenue and Monmouth Road, is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad of the 1850s. A secret tunnel dug to hide fugitive slaves in their flight to Canada and freedom was located in the basement. The anti-slavery movement had many sympathizers in New Jersey. The home is a private residence today.
Woodside Hall, an imposing three story brick structure, was built by Thomas Kinney in the 1880's on Park Avenue. He was the founder of the Newark Advertiser. The property was later acquired by the Frelinghuysens, and the building was used for staff housing and also used as a gymnasium for the older boys. The building was razed in the 1940's.
"White Wings" was the home of Frederick Frelinghuysen [1848-1926], President of Mutual Benefit Life Insurance, (He was the son of Frederick Frelinghuysen [1817-1885], U.S. Senator from New Jersey and Secretary of State during the administration of Chester A. Arthur; and Great-Grandson of Frederick Frelinghuysen [1753-1804], artillery captain during the American Revolution, Member of the Continental Congress and Senator from New Jersey.) The home was located on Larchwood Avenue, next to Woodside Hall, with Monmouth Road and the Brinley Mill House to the rear. The house burned down in the 1950's.
Henry B. Billings bought the southwest corner portion at Norwood and Park Avenues in 1902 for $10,500. Warrington G. Lawrence designed this fine Colonial Revival, that was depicted in the July 1904 Architectural Record.
Milton S. Erlanger then bought the Estate. Mr. Erlanger, a textile magnate and the President of the B.V.D. underwear company, owned both sides of Park Avenue, including his horse racing stable, one of the best in the country. Sadly, the Billings/Erlanger Estate house was torn down in 2005, and the property remains vacant.
This twenty--five--room house was first called the Willows because of the many willow trees bordering Whale Pond Brook on the north. The name was later changed to Brookside because of it proximity to the brook. The mansion was built by the Plum and Gaddis family, who had bought the property in 1899 from Mary Jeffrey Mount. In 1961, the then Monmouth College bought the building for it Department of Education. In 1981, it became the college president's official residence. The house was torn down by the University and replace with the current structure, which looks strikingly similar to the original. This is the only building belonging to the Monmouth campus that is in the Township of Ocean. The rest of the campus buildings are in adjoining West Long Branch and Long Branch
The Brinley Grist Mill is the reason the town of Oakhurst is located where it is today. The grist mill stood on the south side of the Whale Pond Brook near the present Monmouth Road in Oakhurst. The land was purchased under the Monmouth Patent by William Reape in 1665. It was willed to William Brinley in 1715 by his grandmother, Sarah Reape. The mill was probably built in the 1700's by John Brinley ,son of William. In his will dated 1745, John is called a "miller" and he is listed a the owner of a grist mill and a saw mill. The saw mill in Brinley's will was probably one built on another mill pond of the Whale Pond Brook. The pond was located on the west side of the present Route 35. This mill is later referred to as Maps' Mill and the pond is called Maps' Pond.
The grist mill was the center of the growing community's activities. It was here that farmer brought their grain, exchanged their news, collected their mail and welcomed new settlers.
The mill remained in the Brinley family until the early 1800's. Changing hands many times, the mill continued in operation until the 1900's. In the mid-1800's it was known as Hopper's Mill. Later it was called the Ocean Flour Mill.
This is Monmouth Road looking north in about 1915. The store on the left was a butcher's shop at the time. Today it is the fish market on Monmouth Road across the street from 7-11 and the building remains unchanged, despite the passage of 100 years.
Van Note's General Store is the building on the northwest corner of West Park Avenue and Monmouth Road. It was the local grocery store and a center of the community. The store was also where people could pick-up their mail, and it was the location of the first telephone in town. In the 1940's, after the Second World War the store was expanded, adding the second floor and the area to the north. It remained a grocery store into the 1970's. Today, it is Mike Duffy's Personal Training.
Davis' General Store is the building located on the southwest corner of Monmouth Road and West Park Avenue. Davis was originally partners with Van Note, but after a "falling out" he opened up a competing store just across the street. The building is very little changed from its original form. Today it houses a pizzeria.
The Inn, in downtown Oakhurst has changed its name as often as the town has, including the Oceanville Inn, and finally settling on the Oakhurst Inn. The building remains on the east side of Monmouth Road, at the intersection with West Park Avenue. The porch is gone and there are no longer trees in the front, but it is still known to many as the Inn.
This is the west side of Monmouth Road at the intersection with West Park Avenue in about 1910.
In the early 1900's, local Methodists tired of travelling to Danglerville (now Wayside) or Mechanicsburg (now West Long Branch) to attend services on Sunday, decided to form a local congregation. Land was donated by William Clark Campbell, at the rear of his estate, at the intersection that today is Monmouth Road and South Lincoln Avenue in Oakhurst. A church was built and remains today the Oakhurst First United Methodist Church.
The Goldvogel Estate is located on the northwest corner of Norwood Avenue and Park Avenue in the Elberon Park section of town. Originally built by the Goldvogel family. It was also a Roman Catholic Convent in the 1960's and 1970's. It still stands and has returned to private ownership
Peter Pan Farm, located on Park Avenue, was the home of French-actor Claude Dauphin and his wife, American-actress, and Oakhurst native, Norma Eberhardt Dauphin.
Gene Tinelli's Restaurant was originally built on Norwood Avenue, at the bridge over the Pennsylvania Railroad. Today it is the VFW Post 2226 Gimbel Lehy Quirk
The Cook Homestead at 365 West Park Avenue was built in 1865 by Thomas Cook. Cook had opened a general store in 1860 at West Park Avenue and Monmouth Road, across the street from his former partner, George Brown. Cook also served as tax assessor, justice of the peace, school board trustee, and director of the Long Branch Banking Company. The Homestead Tea Room was located in this home, serving villagers and visitors. Sadly the home was torn down in 2009 and the property remains vacant.
The Oakhurst School, built in 1900 at a cost of $12,000, had four rooms and outside plumbing. The teaching principal was Professor Ralph Busch, who received $700 per year. Electricity was added in 1905. Two more classrooms and an auditorium were added in 1908. In 1912, running water and lavatories were installed. With an enrollment of 210 pupils in 1921, two more classes were added and the present auditorium was constructed at a cost of $25,300. The last addition on the original building was made in 1932, when two classrooms were built over the auditorium. A new wing of eight classrooms was added in 1951. The school accommodated all the children from Wayside and Oakhurst in grades one to eight from 1900 to 1958. From 1959 to 1978, it was used as a facility for kindergaden through 5th grade. Principals serving the Oakhurst School were Busch, Charles J. Strahan, Frank Parker, Jesse Love, Harry Patterson, Estelle Voorhees, Ernest Smith, Richard Randall, John D. Rasp, Donald Vineburg, and Glen Morgan. In 1978, the building wa turned into the school district's administrative offices.
The Loomis family house was on Monmouth Road at the foot of Grant Avenue. Mr. Loomis was a prosperous cotton manufacturer who helped plan the Deal Beach Estates. Temple Torat EI is located on the site of the Loomis Farm today.
The Woodside Hall Stables, were located on the south side of Park Avenue between Norwood and Larchwood Avenues. The barn was owned by Milton S. Erlanger, who purchased the land from the Frelinghuysen estate in 1945.
The Erlanger stables housed prize thoroughbred racehorses. Horses were bred, raised, and trained on the farmlands along Park Avenue. The Erlanger horses raced at Monmouth Park and at racetracks across the country. The barns were demolished in the 1960s to make way for luxury homes.
The first Township of Ocean volunteer fire company was formed in Oakhurst in 1913. The group rented space in the Mechanics' Hall and had only a hand pump donated by a local estate owner. By 1915, the company had purchased equipment and also the blacksmith's shop at 68 Monmouth Road. The first motorized truck was purchased in 1917. In 1928 the first ambulance, which was donated by Sanders A. Wertheim, was purchased.
The House on the Corner of Park Avenue and Monmouth Road was one of the oldest houses in town. A small farmhouse it was built in 1834. It was marked as a Centennial Home by the Township of Ocean Historical Society (predecessor of the Museum) for the Bi-centennial in 1976. Despite this fact, the house was torn down and replaced in 2003.
Originally built by the White family as a farm house, this structure in downtown Oakhurst was converted to an office building and now houses the White House in Oakhurst Tea Room and Tea4u.