New Video! The Rjukan Shipwreck of 1876

Did you know that there are the remains of a 19th century shipwreck just off the beach where Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach meet? The Rjukan went down on the day after Christmas 1876. Watch our new video to hear the heroic rescue story, learn about the controversy that followed, and find out where some of the ship’s wood wound up in Asbury Park.

Camera and editing: Mary Solecki

Researcher, writer and host: Kim Brittingham

Funding has been provided by the New Jersey Historical Commission. 

Photos from our “Suffragettes of Ocean Grove” Event

If you came out yesterday to our “Suffragettes of Ocean Grove” event, thank you! We loved having your smart and curious collective energy in the room.

The audience was treated to three speakers: Mary Walton, author of A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot; Dell O’Hara, history professor from Nyack College in New York City; and Gayle Aanensen, author of Summer of the Suffragists.

Enjoy these event photos courtesy of Mary Solecki.

Audience members settle in for a great presentation.

Audience members settle in for a great presentation.

 

Registration

The registration table was buzzing!

 

Our special guest, Mary Walton, author of A Woman's Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot, had us captivated.

Our special guest, Mary Walton, author of A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot, had us captivated.

History professor and Ocean Grove historian Dell O'Hara discusses how the women's suffrage movement was received in 19th century Ocean Grove.

History professor and Ocean Grove historian Dell O’Hara discusses how the women’s suffrage movement was received in 19th century Ocean Grove.

Gayle Aanenesen, author of Summer of the Suffragists, talks about women's suffrage supporter Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt.

Gayle Aanenesen, author of Summer of the Suffragists, talks about women’s suffrage supporter Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt.

Reproduction of a tea set commissioned by Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt for a women's suffrage rally on her property in Newport, RI.

Reproduction of a tea set commissioned by Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt for a women’s suffrage rally on her property in Newport, RI.

The speakers take questions from the audience.

The speakers take questions from the audience.

Top row (L to R): Event organizer Kim Brittingham, speaker Gayle Aanensen; Bottom row (L to R): Speakers Dr. Lyndell "Dell" O'Hara and Mary Walton.

Top row (L to R): Event organizer Kim Brittingham, speaker Gayle Aanensen; Bottom row (L to R): Speakers Dr. Lyndell “Dell” O’Hara and Mary Walton.

Congratulations to our door prize winner, Fred Pachman!

Congratulations to our door prize winner, Fred Pachman!

Some of our attendees posing by the photo booth.

Some of our attendees posing by the photo booth.

Left: Kim Brittingham, event organizer; Right: Author and speaker Gayle Aanensen

Left: Kim Brittingham, event organizer; Right: Author and speaker Gayle Aanensen

If you’d like to buy our speakers’ books, click on the book covers below.

crusade

summer

New Video! Curiosities of Ocean Grove NEWS, October 2015

We put together this quick “news update” for viewers of our video series, “Curiosities of Ocean Grove”. In it, we give a shout-out to some of our fans who’ve posted on Facebook and our blog, and introduce a brand new museum exhibit on the “Summer of 1890”, curated by Dell O’Hara. Some of you may already know Dell from her fantastic women’s history walking tours of Ocean Grove. (And she’ll be doing a talk on the suffragettes of Ocean Grove on October 25th. Don’t miss it!)

EVENT: Suffragettes in Ocean Grove

Promoting suffrage on the NJ boardwalk

Suffragists campaigning on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ.

With the release of the major motion picture Suffragette on October 23rd, many will grow curious about the suffragette movement as it played out locally. Ocean Grove, a town known for its Victorian architecture and unspoiled shoreline, is one of New Jersey’s most important sites of women’s history. Here, suffrage conventions were hosted in the tabernacle and the Great Auditorium, an impressive wooden structure completed in 1894 and still standing. On Sunday, October 25, 2015, author Gayle Aanensen and history professor Lyndell O’Hara will speak about the historical intersection of suffrage and Ocean Grove. Attendees will also have the opportunity to pose as circa 1905 suffragettes in photos for friends and family.

What’s the difference between a suffragist and a suffragette? Gayle Aanensen will explain!

Dr. Lyndell O’Hara is a professor of history and the Department of Humanities Chair at Nyack College in New York City. She is the creator of the popular women’s history walking tours from the Historical Society of Ocean Grove and a frequent curator of exhibits for their museum.

NJ suffrage band

A New Jersey suffragist band.

Gayle Aanensen is a familiar literary figure of Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Since moving to Ocean Grove in 2000, she has authored two books of historical fiction: Summer of the Suffragists and The Little Rough Rider at the Jersey Shore. Her latest book, the Christmas novella Greater Than Gold travels through time to ancient Bethlehem.

The “Suffragettes in Ocean Grove” history talk takes place Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Museum of the Historical Society of Ocean Grove, 50 Pitman Avenue, Ocean Grove. Admission is a $20 donation per person. Advance reservations are a must. To reserve, call (732) 774-1869. Free on-street parking available. Appropriate for ages 12 and up. Event is wheelchair accessible.

Video: Mrs. Wagner’s Pies and Ocean Grove, New Jersey

35In the early 20th century, Mrs. Wagner’s Pies could be found in tens of thousands of American stores and restaurants. (Even Simon & Garfunkel sang about them!) But did you know that Mrs. Wagner — a real person — started her enterprise in a modest residential kitchen on Webb Avenue in Ocean Grove? It’s true! Check out the latest episode of “Curiosities of Ocean Grove: The Video Series” in which we share the Jersey Shore origins Mrs. Wagner and her famous pies.

And thanks for all the encouraging feedback!

Kim Brittingham, Writer and Host

Mary Solecki, Camera and Editing

Funding for “Curiosities of Ocean Grove: The Video Series” has been provided by the New Jersey Historical Commission.

Then and Now: 19 Ocean Avenue

Today’s “Then and Now” features 19 Ocean Avenue:

thennow19ocean

It was a September Saturday in 1899. Elizabeth Wood, a widow who summered annually in Ocean Grove, drove her handsome horse-drawn phaeton into the heart of OG to run some errands. She parked in front of Perrine and Jackson’s Meat Market on Heck Avenue and went about her business.

What is a phaeton? Popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the phaeton was the sports car of its day. Drawn by one or two horses, the phaeton was a light, open carriage on four large wheels.

Example of a phaeton.

Phaeton

But while she was gone, her skittish horse grew uneasy in the presence of a dog and started bucking and kicking. By the time the horse had been soothed, the phaeton was completely destroyed.

The demolished phaeton would certainly have been an inconvenience for her, but not the end of the world. Elizabeth Wood was a well-to-do woman and no doubt she was able to replace her phaeton in short order.

Just nine years earlier, she’d purchased oceanfront property in Ocean Grove from James Black – specifically, lots 600 and 601, and parts of lots 598 and 599. She paid $7,000. It was on this plot that she built her summer home, which still stands today at 19 Ocean Avenue. (She made changes to her home and possibly expanded it in 1894.)

ocean grove lots 2

1870 plan of Ocean Grove Camp Meeting grounds showing lot numbers. The circled lots at the corner of Main and Ocean Avenues were purchased by Mrs. Elizabeth Wood in 1890.

When she wasn’t summering in Ocean Grove, Elizabeth Wood lived in a beautiful row house mansion in Harlem. The building still stands today at 14 Mt. Morris Park West, between 121st and 122nd Streets. In 2009, a nearly identical house just one door down was on the market for $8 million. The web site Curbed.com provides a floor plan and interior photos of 12 Mt. Morris Park West, which will give you an idea of what it was like to be Mrs. Wood in the off-season living at #14.

14 mt morris

The house under the arrow is 14 Mt. Morris Park West in Harlem, where Mrs. Elizabeth Wood lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Elizabeth Wood was known for being generous with her wealth and made many charitable gestures, both big and small, to the people and organizations that mattered to her. For example, the Ocean Grove Record newspaper tells us that in August of 1906, Mrs. Wood paid for her friends Mrs. J.N. Fitzgerald and Mrs. A.H. DeHaven to become lifetime members of the Ocean Grove auxiliary of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society. She was also a member of the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf, was active with the New York House of Refuge for wayward girls on Randall’s Island, and was a vice president of the New York City Indian Association, the aims of which were “to awaken and strengthen, by every means in its power, that Christian public sentiment which shall aid our Government in its present policy of granting citizenship to Indians, and the same protection of law enjoyed by other races among us”, and “To aid in the support of suitable missionaries and instructors to reside among the Indians, to labor for their industrial, political, moral and religious education”. (The “Indians” the organization sought to Christianize were native Americans.)

Upon her death from pneumonia in April 1907, Elizabeth Wood endowed a parcel of property to Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church of Harlem — three buildings at Second Avenue and 118th Street. She was 75 years old and died at home in New York. She’s buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Elizabeth Wood probably willed her Ocean Grove house to one of her siblings. She had at least two brothers – John and William Laird. In the Ocean Grove Times of April 5, 1913, it’s noted that “Mrs. H. Murgatroyd, of New York City, who recently bought the Laird cottage at the corner of Main and Ocean Avenues, over Sunday last entertained a party of Newark friends.” It seems Mrs. Murgatroyd (“Hettie”) named the cottage “The Bellaire” (also seen spelled as “Belaire”). According to her great-granddaughter Cindy, Mrs. Murgatroyd sold the house when her husband was away during World War I.

By 1937 the house had become the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. S. Walter Stauffer of York, PA. Mr. Stauffer had been engaged in the manufacture of lime, crushed stone and refractory dolomite from 1916 to 1936, and went on to serve as a U.S. Congressman from 1953-55 and again in 1957-59. According to his granddaughter Salome who made a recent visit to Centennial Cottage, Ocean Grove was where her grandparents fell in love. It’s no wonder they chose to make their summer home in a place that held such sweet memories.

Today, 19 Ocean Avenue is still a private residence. The current owners call the property “Strandvue”.

 Kim Brittingham

If you like this story, you’ll like Then and Now: Lane Villa.

Funding provided by the New Jersey Historical Commission.

Video: The History of Day’s Ice Cream of Ocean Grove, New Jersey

The legendary Day’s Ice Cream is a Victorian delight and the oldest continually operating business in Ocean Grove, NJ. In the latest episode of our video series, get a peek at 19th century images of the Ocean Grove and Asbury Park locations of Day’s, view the whimsical antique molds they used to shape their ice cream, learn about their early promotional schemes and find out which famous folks worked at Day’s.

Funding for “Curiosities of Ocean Grove: The Video Series” has been provided by the New Jersey Historical Commission.

Women’s History Walking Tour of Ocean Grove

Are you curious about our Women’s History Walking Tour? We don’t blame you! Last summer it was such a huge success, we’re bringing it back again! Led by historian Dell O’Hara, the tour travels on foot through charming Ocean Grove, New Jersey, stopping at sites connected to remarkable women who lived or visited here in the past. It’s partly a “living history” tour, with volunteer residents dressed in costume, portraying real women from the 19th century — innkeepers, a spiritual leader, a physician and more.

You have three opportunities to catch the tour in 2015:

June 25th – 10:30 AM
July 23rd — 1:00 PM
August 20th — 1:00 PM

Reservations are a MUST. Tour is $10 per person, $8 for seniors. Call 732-774-1869.

Hope you enjoy this video trailer we put together with scenes from last year’s tours:

Then and Now: The Broadmoor

Today’s “Then and Now” features The Broadmoor:

Broadmoor Then and Now

In the late 19th century, Ocean Grove, New Jersey was teeming with lady business owners, most of whom presided over hotels and guest houses. One of those ladies was Elizabeth Sherman Moore.

Miss Moore owned The Broadmoor Hotel at the corner of Central Avenue and Broadway. As early as 1881, the property belonged to her married sister Emogen Hewson, but at some point ownership was transferred to Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Moore seems to have enjoyed being a businesswoman. In March of 1889, she decided to expand her holdings and contracted with the firm of Carman & Holbrook to build two more houses, which she would later call the Holly and Laurel Cottages. It cost her $3,500.

The “Carman” of Carman & Holbrook was William H. Carman: Civil War veteran, Freemason, Democrat, and builder/architect whose firm erected many of the earliest homes and hotels in Ocean Grove.

Now I can’t help but wonder what Miss Moore thought about her hired contractor. Did she find Mr. Carman handsome? As she chatted with him over cottage blueprints, did she blush?

Ah, but what did it matter? He was a married man, after all.

But as fate would have it, in 1894, Mr. Carman’s wife passed away. She had been ailing for several years.

Four years later, on Christmas Day, a wedding took place in the parlor at The Broadmoor — that of William H. Carman to the landlady herself, Elizabeth S. Moore.

While the second Mrs. Carman enjoyed life as a hotelier, Mr. Carman’s business thrived. He was also appointed aide-de-camp on the staff of Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic for the department of New Jersey, and was appointed as a member of the election board in Ocean Grove. He was known to speak to schoolchildren about his time in the Civil War and loved walking alongside his fellow vets on parade.

He also found time to champion the cause of introducing gaslight to Ocean Grove. He felt it was necessary for the advancement of Ocean Grove, and was quick to remind folks that it was cheaper than electric lights.

Carman was the kind of guy you’d like to have for a neighbor. Mr. W.J. Cramer would certainly know. Late one January night in 1896, he was cooking up some kind of turpentine concoction in the kitchen of 107 Embury Avenue when the substance caught fire. Cramer tried to throw the pot out the back door, but instead he wound up dropping it and soon the kitchen woodwork was in flames. Luckily for Mr. Cramer, William Carman was just two doors down. Carman rushed in with a bucket of water and helped douse the flames.

Never a dull moment in Ocean Grove for Mr. or Mrs. Carman!

William H. Carman died in 1916 and Elizabeth Moore Carman in 1918. Several years before her death, Mrs. Carman had become a semi-invalid due to a fall and a fractured hip, and it seems The Broadmoor passed into the care of a Mrs. M.H. Hennig. Here’s an ad from The Ocean Grove Times of July 6, 1916, trumpeting Mrs. Hennig’s skill in the kitchen:

broadmoor adLike Mrs. Hennig, future owners of The Broadmoor would keep its name, although sometimes with slight variations (like the Broadmoor “Inn” of 1932). Eventually it would become, and stay, a private residence.

Kim Brittingham

If you like this story, you’ll like Then and Now: Lane Villa.

Funding has been provided by the New Jersey Historical Commission.