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FOUR COMMUNITIES MERGED INTO ONE TOWN

Mayors of Spring Lake
Spring Lake Churches

Veterans Day History

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FOUR COMMUNITIES MERGED INTO ONE TOWN
By Elaine Cannizzaro
Archives of the Spring Lake Historical Society

         A handful of ambitious developers transformed Spring Lake from spacious farmland to seaside resorts for families from North Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia.

         Four separate communities – North Spring Lake, Villa Park, Spring Lake Beach, and Como – were established and later merged to form Spring Lake.  The borough was established to provide the complicated services needed by the growing number of year-round residents and the thousands of summer visitors.

         Spring Lake Beach was established on the 300-acre Osborn farm in 1875 by the Spring Lake Beach Improvement Co. This resort community grew rapidly from 1877 to 1885.

         John Lucas, president of the Spring Lake Beach Improvement Co., admitted in 1885 that the company had inadequate funds to provide for the maintenance of such services as a jail, police, fire, lighting, streets, sidewalks, and sewers. Mr. Lucas said these costs would have to be paid by the property owners.

         The Citizen’s Committee of Spring Lake Beach was formed to devise solutions to these problems.  The first unsuccessful attempt at a solution was the formation of the Spring Lake and Sea Girt Co. in 1889. The company’s driving forces were Henry H. Yard and Alexander Hemphill, who were later joined by O.H. Brown, W.H. Potter, J.W.Vroom, and L.V.Maltby.

         The new company’s plan was to purchase all the property owned by the Improvement Co. – “including all of the lake known as Spring Lake and about half of what is commonly known as Wreck Pond.”  Once accomplished, the Spring Lake and Sea Girt Co. would attempt to address the need for services.

Borough Is Formed

         A second attempt, the formation of Spring Lake Borough, was successful. A petition for incorporation was presented in 1890, and on March 8, 1892 a special election was held in Wall Township.  The vote was unanimous to incorporate Spring Lake Borough, which at the time ran from Wreck Pond north to halfway between Morris and Jersey Avenues.

         In 1892 the census showed there were about 200 year-round residents.  However, the number greatly increased in the summer “resort” months.  It was for this reason of having to accommodate and provide the services for the swelling population that a private development company turned into a municipal incorporation.
        
         On March 14, 1892, the town was incorporated and a mayor and a four-member council were elected.  The first meeting of the Spring Lake governing body was held on March 29, 1892 at 2:30 in the afternoon in the firehouse. 

         Sworn into office were Mayor E.V. Patterson, Councilmen James H. Buchanan, Richard T. Divine, E.L. Hall, and J.M. Goddard.  Also installed into office were Jacob Stults, borough clerk; William G. Schank, collector and treasurer; M. Stanton Taylor, assessor; William Lucas, commissioner of appeal; Michael Sexton, judge of election, and Tim Hurley, pound keeper.

         Members of council drew lots for their terms of either one or two ears.  The first council committee appointed – on rules and ordinances – consisted of Councilmen Buchanan, Divine, and Hall.  The mayor served as an ex-officio member of all committees.
        
         Other committees appointed during the first meeting included ones to oversee the cleaning of Lake and First Avenues and to procure a site for council meetings. 
        

         Today, standing council committees include: Finance; Public Safety; Personnel; Legislation; Land Use; DPW/Recycling; Beach and Pool Utilities; County Relations; Parks and Recreation; Water & Sewer; Roads; COAH; Technology; BID Liaison; Construction/Zoning/Code Enforcement; Planning Board; Wreck Pond; Historic Preservation; Library; Board of Education; Environmental Affairs; Shade Tree Committee; Emergency Management.  (Plainly, committees and responsibilities have grown).

         At the second meeting, on April 4, 1892, council appointed the firm of Hawkins and Durand of Asbury Park as counsel for the borough at a salary of $50.

         The first municipal bonds – a $1,000 bond of the clerk and a $10,000 bond of the collector and treasurer – were issued to finance the borough at the April 11, 1892 council meeting.

Early Laws

         In addition, council adopted, by a 3-1 vote, its first ordinance, which established business licenses and fees.  Licenses were required for stages, vehicles, hacks, or omnibuses carrying people or baggage, with fees ranging from $7.50 to $20 per year.  The license for peddling and huckstering on foot carried a $7 fee.  The fee for selling ice was $15 per vehicle.

         Fees for those engaged in the business or occupation of conducting a theater or opera house was $50 per year; for a circus, $50 per day, and for a street amusement, $5 per day.  A $150 year fee was charged to anyone operating a merry-go-round, toboggan slide, or shooting gallery, while those engaged in the junk business were charged $3 for each wagon.  An organ grinder license was $1 per day.

        
         Council also adopted an ordinance setting its regular meetings on Monday evenings each week.  The governing body currently meets the first and third Tuesday evenings of the month.
Other ordinances were adopted to prevent obstructions on sidewalks and to prevent the running at large of horses, cattle, goats, geese, dogs, and swine.

        
         In addition, laws prevented vice and immorality, public games, plays, or quarrels on Sunday; rudeness in church, and ladies from wearing slacks.

         To address the need for adequate municipal services, council created the Board of Health on June 11, 1892.  Board President Charles A. Bye stressed two problems in a 1893 report – the need to stop dumping garbage in the ocean and the need to collect garbage at the hotels and cottages on a regular basis.

         In March 1897, the need for a public water supply was identified and tentative plans to have it supplied by the Spring Lake Water Supply Co.

         The governing body also provided street lighting.  At first, 100 oil lamps were used with 25 in service year-round and the additional 75 operating from May to October.  It was discovered that more lights were needed, and on Dec. 19, 1892, a two-year contract was signed with Neptune Electric Co. to provide electric lighting

         On April 29, 1895, the Borough recognized the necessity of providing a bathing beach for summer visitors.  Subsequently, a strip of land from Jersey Avenue to Union Avenue was leased for $4,000 for 10 years from the Spring Lake and Sea Girt Co. and the Coast Co.

         The first council also arranged for police protection, a “lock-up” (jail), and fire protection.  (The jail still stands behind Fire Co #1).
        
         The day-to-day responsibilities of the mayor and council have changed with the times, but the overall purpose has remained the same - providing services to Spring Lake residents.

*Council Standing Committee list was updated from the writing of this article to correspond to present day. 
---Barbara Kolarsick-Harrigan, President

 
MAYORS OF SPRING LAKE
 
         E. V. Patterson was born in 1856, married Anna Buckelew in April, 1878 and came to Spring Lake one month later to take the position of the resort station master for the New York and Long Branch Railroad – a job he held for 18 years.  He and Anna were the parents of seven children: Arden, Benjamin, Mary, Leon, Irene died as an infant, Edward, Jr., and Robert.  All were born in their home above the railroad station, except the youngest.
           
            He was an entrepreneur who succeeded in his first business enterprise established to transport the large trunks brought by train to the homes of summer residents. After retiring as station master, he entered the real estate and insurance business in Spring Lake which he located on Third Avenue in a newly erected building.  Later his son, Benjamin Yard Patterson became a junior partner in the successful firm E.V. Patterson & Son.  Generations of Patterson’s continued the business on Third Avenue for over 100 years. It was recalled by one of his sons that his father often would pass up selling a piece of property because he could tell the prospective buyer could not afford it.
           
            Mr. Patterson served as Mayor of Spring Lake Beach for 12 years, including the two years when the town was incorporated to include North Spring Lake and Como in 1892.  He was not re-elected to serve in 1904. He retired from public life for a short time, but then served as Borough Clerk from 1908 to 1920 when his failing health prompted him to decline seeking reappointment.  He passed away in March of 1920.

            E.V. was a founding father, publicly serving and guiding the resort of Spring Lake Beach and then the incorporated Borough.  His acumen as a businessman and foresight as to the area’s potential helped create what Spring Lake is.  His obituary states:  “There is probably no citizen of Spring Lake who was better known or more universally liked and respected than E.V. Patterson.”


EDWARD V. PATTERSON

His obituary states, “There is probably no citizen of Spring Lake who was better known or more universally liked and respected than E.V. Patterson.”
 

         Oliver H. Brown was the first Mayor of Spring Lake as it is today, following the union of Como, Spring Lake Beach, Brighton, and Villa Park, which formed our present Borough.

         Born December 12, 1852, the fifth of thirteen children to Peter and Sarah Megill Brown of Farmingdale, NJ, he was educated in local schools and began his mercantile career at age 18 as a clerk in a general store for William Laird in New Branch (now Avon). He made the princely sum of $15.00 a month, plus board.   In 1873 he took a manager’s position with John Githens in Asbury Park, NJ for eight years and managed to save $5,500.00 which he used to open a successful furniture and bric-a-brac business on Third and Jersey Avenues in Spring Lake.  He traveled widely and brought many foreign articles back with him, which he sold in his shop. In 1891 he opened branches in Lakewood and also a store in Asbury Park. He never married.

         His efforts and hard work enabled him to become the largest landowner in both Spring Lake and Lakewood.  When he passed away he owned 47 houses in the area. A genial and generous man, he had many friends, was active in many ways including the building of the Community House, the institution of the Spring Lake Bank, and local politics. He was President of the Spring Lake Hotel Co. which he founded, Treasurer of the New Monmouth Hotel, President of the Essex and Sussex Hotel and the New Monterey Hotel in Asbury Park.  He was also President and half owner of the Waumbek Hotel in Jefferson, New Hampshire, located in the White Mountains. He helped organize and establish eight banks including the 1st National Bank of Spring Lake where he was President until his death.

         He became Mayor in 1894 and held that office for 32 years until the time of his death in 1924.  In 1896 he was elected to the State House Assembly for one term. In 1902 the Republican Party named him Candidate for the State Senate.  They then re-nominated and re-elected him in 1905, 1908 and 1911 serving nine years in the Upper House.

         He lived with his brother Peter Charles and his wife, Ella Brown until his last few years.  He then lived with his niece, Lilly Lawrence and in his final years with his niece, Kate Brown, on Washington Avenue across from the Police Station and next to Voorhees Bakery. He died April 1, 1924 at age 71.

His is a real Horatio Alger story of an American young man’s hard work earning success and respect from all who knew him.

OLIVER HUFF BROWN

“I care neither for money, as such, nor for men with money if they haven’t something back of it.”

 

            William H. Potter was born in 1859 a New Jersey Hunterdon County town named for his grandfather, Pottersville.  He began his career in his father’s store and was later employed by Steinbach’s for six years.  He then struck out on his own and opened his shop, POTTER’S DRY GOODS, on Third Avenue in Spring Lake. The building is still standing, and was operated for many years as YE TOWNE SHOPPE.    It was located next to O.H. Brown’s fine furniture store at Third and Jersey Avenues. The two businessmen became friends and worked together as public servants.  After his shop became a success, he sold the business and went into real estate and insurance which were also prosperous ventures.  Like all the early Mayors and Councilmen of Spring Lake, one of his contributions lay in building a prosperous business community that insured a resort environment that was attractive to a more desirable class of people.

        
         He remained a bachelor and was an active Mason and a Vice-President of the Spring Lake Bank.  Elected to Council in 1893, he served for two years before he became Mayor in 1906.  Unfortunately, his term as Mayor lasted only one year.  He developed appendicitis in those pre-penicillin days, and after being ill for a short time, died at the youthful age of 47.

        
         In town, his memory remains in the Community House meeting room which bears his name and in Potter Park, across from the railroad station.

WILLIAM  POTTER

As a Councilman in 1903, he helped the Borough acquire the land at Warren & Fifth Avenues which now bears his name, Potter Park.

 

         Daniel H. Hills was born in 1865, a direct descendant of Samuel Griswold, who was a Revolutionary War soldier with the Connecticut Line at the battles of Stony Point and Yorktown, Daniel Henry Hills came to Spring Lake in 1890 from his native Forest County, Pennsylvania. He married Alma Kusle and they had one child, Harriet, who contracted diphtheria and died in early childhood.  He undertook the raising and education of his sister, Jeanette M.H. Weeks and her six youngsters. His wife, Alma died in 1931.

         Trained as a pharmacist, he opened and operated Hills Drug Store located on Third Avenue at the corner of Third and Jersey Avenues. A drug store, now the Sundae Times was run during the summer months and it was a tradition for all near-by Ritz Theater patrons to stop at Hills Pharmacy for a soda after the movie.

         Mr. Hills was a 32nd degree Mason, Master of the Wall Lodge and organizer of the Spring Lake Lodge, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, a President of the N. J. Board of Pharmacists and in 1900, a Councilman. Upon the untimely death of William Potter, Dan Hills, Council President, became Mayor in 1907, only to lose his seat to O.H. Brown in the following election. He was then elected Mayor from 1924 to 1935.  He also served as Tax Collector in Spring Lake for six years.

         When Brown died in office in 1924, Hills once again filled the position and remained as Mayor until ill health forced his resignation in 1935. For the last ten years of his life he lived with his niece Eunice Weeks Voorhees in Deland Florida where he died in 1960. He and his wife are buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Brielle NJ.

         His years as Mayor were part of Spring Lake’s heyday as a wealthy resort.  In May of 1932 he spoke on WOR radio from 4:00 – 4:45 about Spring Lake’s attractions and advantages as a summer resort and as a place for a permanent home.  There were few permanent residents who did not depend in some way on the summer visitors for their livelihood.  Under Hill’s direction, the town managed to thrive and prosper through the great Depression.

DANIEL H. HILLS

Retiring after 40 years of service to the borough, he was described as, “.…..the epitome of everything that’s good in Spring Lake.”

 

         Frank Marucci was born in Italy in 1886, and arrived in New York at the age of three.  While still a youngster, his father taught him the art of tailoring, which was to be his life’s work.  He obtained early experience at Brooks Brothers in NY making jackets.  In 1900, he moved to Spring Lake with his father and opened his own business, Marucci and Son. In 1910 he erected the Marucci Building on Third Avenue, where it still remains a viable business part of the town. 

         He became active in community affairs, becoming Assistant Fire Chief in 1914 and from 1916 to 1936, a member of the Council. He was elected Mayor in 1936 and Mr. Marucci officiated in that capacity until his death in 1956.  He was known as a “doer” and was always available to solve problems and act promptly to serve the town and its people. He was proud of the town’s modern facilities, and considered Spring Lake’s natural gifts to be the town’s greatest assets. To prevent development in a way detrimental to the community, he was instrumental in the purchase of the property which now bears his name, Marucci Park, and its surrounding area. He also vetoed a proposal to spend $10,000 to advertise and promote Spring Lake.  Mayor Marucci had the preservation of our town’s quiet character at heart and strove always for its improvement.

         Frank died on December 15, 1956 at his home, 1112 Third Avenue after a long illness.  He was 70 years old. He and his wife had three children. Of his three children, Washington is still a Spring Lake resident, Maria died in 2009 at the age of 96, and Doris Marucci Martin lives in Florida.  Wash, along with the rest of us, continues to enjoy the fruits of Mayor Marucci’s endeavors.

NOTE:  Washington Marucci, Frank’s brother, passed away in 2016 at the age of 98.  (Info obtained since the scripting of this document in 2015).

FRANK MARUCCI

He served the Borough for 40 years, 20 as Councilman and 20 as Mayor.  Marucci identified the gifts of nature as one of the town’s greatest assets and he was most proud of the town’s  modern facilities.

 

         Ellis B. Gant was born in Lakewood, NJ and lived in Spring Lake until moving to Route 71 in Spring Lake Heights six months before his death on June 5, 1964. He was a member of Spring Lake Volunteer Fire Co. No.1; Spring Lake Lodge 239 F&M, and St. Andrews Methodist Church.                                                           

         Though he and his wife, Ella Fulton Gant had no children, they had many friends and he was known as a man of sincerity and common sense whose prime interest was Spring Lake and its people.  He lived on Morris Avenue and operated his garage on Mercer Avenue.  Mr. Gant owned Gant’s Garage and Taxi service where cars were stored from the Warren Hotel in Spring Lake.  He had started the business in 1910 with a carriage service.

         He was elected to the Spring Lake Borough Council in 1927 and served as Council President from 1936 until he served out Mayor Frank Marucci’s term after his death in 1956. He was then elected mayor in 1958.  Mr. Gant, a Republican served two terms as Mayor, choosing not to run for re-election in 1961. He consistently fought against commercialization of the beachfront. While Mayor the Spring Lake Borough Council passed an ordinance, adopted on May 6, 1957, which amended the zoning ordinance. It further defined land use and building structures, setting up specific residential, hotel and business districts.  This action set the pattern for future development of Spring Lake as a year round residential town while maintaining the town’s character as a beautiful summer resort on the Ocean front. They also passed an ordinance banning overnight parking on public streets in most areas of the Borough between 3 A.M. and 6 A.M.

 
ELLIS B. GANT
“I’ve felt very strongly against any commercialization of the beachfront and have aided the Council in voting against every attempt that was made during my term of service to change the long boardwalk into a game and arcade thoroughfare."
 

         Edward J. Heine was born January 30, 1895 in New York.  His mother and father were born in Germany and immigrated to New York, and later would move to Newark, NJ. Edward enlisted in the army in 1917 and served in WWI. After graduating from Seton Hall College, where he excelled both academically and in sports, being the only 4-Letter man in the college’s 100 year history at that time, he joined Royal Globe Insurance Co. in Newark, NJ as an insurance auditor. He was an auditor with royal Globe Insurance for 39 years, retiring in 1960. In 1927, Ed moved with his wife Jane (Regan), whom he had married in 1922, and their three small sons to Spring Lake. Two more sons would follow.      


         He coached the Spring Lake Community basketball team during the 1930’s and was active in town affairs and organizations for many years. Ed entered local politics in Spring Lake in 1943 getting elected to Council as a Republican.  While as Commissioner of Parks, Lakes, and Beaches, Councilman Heine,  along with Mayor Frank Marucci, convinced the owner of the desert (as it was commonly referred to), to sell to the Borough this parcel of land instead of selling to a land developer and builder of small homes.   Ed wanted to preserve this large expanse of land as a recreational area (later to become Marucci Park).                                                                                                

         In 1961 Ed was picked to succeed Mayor Gant and won the election handily.  He would serve as Mayor for the next fourteen years. In 1968 he was honored at Princeton University with a citation of merit by the New Jersey Conference of Mayors for his years of outstanding public service.  In 1974 Ed declined to seek a fifth term, and Councilman Andrew P. Raffetto was the Republican Party’s choice to run in the 1974 general election.                                                                                              
In 1976 Ed was enshrined in the Seton University’s Sports Hall of Fame.  Edward J. Heine passed away October 25, 1987 and his wife Jane on February 6, 1994.

MAYOR EDWARD J. HEINE'S FAMILY
1ST born:    Frank Heine m. Helen
Children:   Bobby, Jane, John Francis, Paul

2nd born:   Edward, Jr. Heine
Children:   Edward, III, Tim, Chris, Kevin, Brian

3rd born:    George Heine
Children:   David, Gretchen

4th born:    Jim Heine m. Rosemary
Children:   Mary Jean, Kathy, Eileen, Jim Jr., Sharon, Susan, Michelle

5th born:    Richard (Dick) m. Pat Farrell
Children:   Michael, Ann, Matthew, Greg, Tommy

 

EDWARD J. HEINE

According to his son, Frank, Mayor Heine, “worked hard to keep Spring Lake as he knew it.  He tried to make sure there were no major changes in the quality of life in Spring Lake.”

 

         Andrew P. Raffetto was born in Greenwich Village, New York City on January 7, 1918, and moved to Belmar in 1928 where he attended local schools.  While a student at Monmouth College, World War II intervened.  Andy enlisted in 1941, and spent four years in the Army including the European Theater of Operations.  He received four combat stars as a result of the actions in Europe and later a medal for participation, with the 8th Infantry Division, in the Normandy Beach Landing.  While on leave in 1943 he married Helen Casagrande, a native Spring Laker.  After the war, they lived in Spring Lake, where he took over the operations of Casagrande’s Market for more than three decades.  Andy passed away on August 12, 2002.

        
         Andy was first elected to Council in 1961 and following 14 years in that capacity, served two terms as Mayor. Aside from his many Mayoral duties, he was active in many state and county organizations including the Monmouth County Beach Erosion Commission, New Jersey Conference of Mayors, Monmouth County Solid Waste Council and the Executive Board of the State League of Municipalities.  He also acted as Director of Economic Development, Deputy Director of Emergency Management for Monmouth County, member and chairman of the South Monmouth Regional Sewer Authority and member of the North Eastern Developers Association which encompasses states from New England to Washington, D.C. He was also a devoted member of the Spring Lake American Legion Post #432.

         Andy enjoyed traveling with his wife, Helen, particularly to visit their six children who were scattered throughout the country and in Germany.  In his spare time, he sold real estate for the Danskin Agency and played a mean game of golf.

         During his 21 years of service to Spring Lake, he was always proud that the townspeople placed their confidence in him, and Mayor Raffetto endeavored to justify the people’s faith by preserving our town as the lovely, serene community we all enjoy so much.

 

“I think my biggest single accomplishment was preventing serious inroads from being made into the character of the town.  I’ve done my utmost to see that wasn’t changed.”

---ANDREW RAFFETTO
 

         Harry A. Erbe was born in Spring Lake at the Ann May Hospital, which was formerly situated on Vroom Avenue, and resided in Spring Lake for a large part of his life. Mr. Erbe attended classes in the basement of St. Margaret’s Church and from there went to Asbury Park High School and Monmouth College.  He became a teacher at Antrim Elementary School in Point Pleasant Beach, and in the summer months, was the Tennis Director at the Bay Head Yacht Club.

         During his teenage years, his first duty for the town was as a locker boy at the Pavilions.  His extended family has a long connection with the town, and other family members have served and continue to serve in various capacities.  Harry was elected to a seat on the Council in 1974, chairing the fire, public safety, streets and public buildings committees. He was appointed to succeed Mayor Andrew Raffetto upon the latter’s retirement as Mayor in 1982.  Mr. Erbe became Mayor in his own right the following year, and in that capacity was a part of the Library and Planning Boards of the Borough.  He was a member of the New Jersey League of Municipalities and was past President of both the Berkely Township and Point Pleasant Beach Teacher Associations.  He also was Chairman of the South Monmouth Regional Sewer Authority. He was sworn into office for his second full term on January 1, 1988. On December 4, 1989 he resigned due to personal reasons.

        
         Mayor Erbe and his wife, Cherie, resided on Brighton Avenue and were the parents of eight children and had many grandchildren. Cherie passed away in 2004.  Harry now resides in Florida.  Mayor Erbe was honored by the trust and confidence the people of Spring Lake conferred upon him.  He constantly strove to improve our community.

Upon stepping down from public office, Mayor Erbe considered it to be, “….my good fortune and that of my family to live in the Borough.” ---HARRY A. ERBE

 

          Lou Taylor was born August 25, 1929 in West Orange, NJ, second son of four boys and a girl.  He went to Immaculate Conception High School in Montclair after his family moved to Montclair. There he was a three-sport athlete with football and basketball being his top sports.  A scholarship in basketball got him to Holy Cross College in Worchester, MA where he played for four years, and upon graduation, he first enlisted in the National Guard, then in the Air Force, training as a pilot.  During his service career he spent four years in Germany flying border control during the Cold War.  After Germany, Lou was a flight instructor at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, NV. He retired as a Captain after ten years of service in the Air Force and his career then turned to business working as President of MIT Trucking here in NJ. He retired from there in 2003.              

         During High School and College he and his brother were life guards in the summers at The Allaire Hotel and ran the beach concessions.  Thus, he developed a great love for Spring Lake and the beach where he had made many good friends.  He married Diane Cross in 1957, so upon Air Force retirement he happily moved to Spring Lake with his family. He is the father of seven children, some of whom still reside in the area or visit frequently.

         While Mayor Heine was in office, Lou was elected to Borough Council and served in that capacity for twenty-two years.  He was chosen President of that body and then was elected acting Mayor upon the resignation of Mayor Harry Erbe in 1989.  Under his guidance and good judgement, mostly as a Councilman, many noteworthy projects added to the enhancement of Spring Lake as a family oriented, lovely, economical town in which to live. He proposed the Spring Lake Five-Mile Run which became internationally known and continues with its popularity. The Borough saw growth, safety, and self- sufficiency during his tenures in office. (Since the writing of this article in 2016, Mayor Lou Taylor passed away at the age of 87).

 

LOUIS V. TAYLOR

He continued the level of  services for residents established during his 18 years on the Council, many as Council President.

 

         Thomas Byrne was born on October 2, 1943 in Newark, NJ to Harriet and Thomas Byrne.  From the age of five, Tom was raised in the home his father built with the help of members of the Newark police and fire departments.  Tom attended St. Catharine School in Spring Lake and graduated from St. Rose High School.  He graduated from Monmouth College in 1965 with a degree in political science. After graduation from college, Tom accepted a job with the NJ Department of Transportation and remained there for 31 years. 

        
         Tom met Rita Moriarty in 1969 at the Manasquan Inn and they married on December 18, 1971.  Their sons, Bryan and Kevin were very active in sports and Tom became active as well.  He volunteered in the Spring Lake Soccer League for seven years and was president and an officer in the Tri-Boro Little League for 17 years.  He was a coach of the Spring Lake Recreational Basketball for 10 years, was elected to the Board of Education in 1983 and served until 1990.

        
         His interest in politics began as a child when his father befriended Dennis Carey, Essex County Democratic Chairman.  Dennis’ son Jimmy Carey became Tom’s best friend.  In 1949, Tom’s family moved to Spring Lake where Tom would eventually begin his political career.  He was appointed to the Federal Relations Network and served as an aide to former Governor, James Florio.  He also served as Executive Director of the Pinelands Credit Bank.

        
         After his election to Mayor in 1990, Tom became Executive Director of the Monmouth County Democrats for four years.  He also served eight years on the Board of Trustees for the League of Municipalities. Tom served as Mayor of Spring Lake for a total of 16 years and retired in 2006 when he was appointed to the Monmouth County Tax Board. Tom gave a total of 23 years in public service to the residents of Spring Lake and many more as a volunteer.  As Mayor, Tom was a strong, guiding force who saw Spring Lake through many contentious issues and natural disasters.

        
         Tom will best be remembered for his deep appreciation for the work of the Public Works Department, Borough Hall Staff, and Police Department.  Mayor Byrne was known for his fairness and honesty in dealing with residents, public officials or anyone he encountered.  He was loved and appreciated by nearly all of Spring Lake’s residents.  Sadly, he passed away in March of 2016. In 2007 Spring Lake chose Tom as its Citizen of the Year.

 

THOMAS J. BRYNE

His goal was to, “keep Spring Lake the first class residential community it is.  A lot of people over the past 100 years have served their community and served it well. They have all contributed to what Spring Lake is today.”

 

THE SLHS DEDICATES

THIS EXHIBIT

MAYORS – ARCHITECTS           

OF SPRING LAKE

IN MEMORY OF

MAYOR THOMAS BYRNE, III

(October 2, 1943 – March 25, 2016)

 

            Jennifer Naughton was born in Jersey City, NJ in 1960, and moved to Spring Lake as a young child. She attended kindergarten in the basement of St Margaret’s Church, grammar school at St. Catharine School, high school at St. Rose in Belmar, and graduated with a BA in English and a minor in Journalism from Montclair State University.  In 1985, she married Gary Ciliberto, and eight years later Jennifer and her husband left their home in Maplewood and bought their house at 207 Ludlow Ave. The pull of Spring Lake, the Jersey Shore and grandparents was impossible to resist; Spring Lake was where they wanted to raised their two children, Nicholas and Elyse.

            After working for years in the publishing industry, Jennifer Naughton, her husband and two colleagues founded a small technology firm called Radiant Resources. Now as the President & CEO, Jennifer manages this business from their offices in Wall Township.
           
            During her children’s school age years, Jennifer was active in the HW Mountz PTA and other school organizations.  She served as Co-Chair and Treasurer for the Spring Lake Recreation Commission.  In 2000, Mayor Tom Byrne asked Jennifer to run for an open seat on the Spring Lake Council.  She joined the ticket, and both Mayor Tom Byrne and Jennifer were elected that year.

            In 2006, Mayor Byrne was appointed to serve on the Monmouth County Tax Board and resigned as Mayor. The Council then unanimously appointed Jennifer to serve out the remaining one year term of Mayor Byrne. In 2007, Mayor Naughton was elected to a full four year term and was re-elected in 2011 and 2015.  She is the first woman to serve as Mayor of Spring Lake. According to Mayor Naughton, Tom Byrne served as her most important mentor…generous with his advice and supportive of her decisions. She also counts Councilwoman Janice Venables as another important influence.

           “If I had to take away only one memory from my tenure as Mayor, it would be the way the community came together after Superstorm Sandy.  Whether it was the Public Works crew hauling truckloads of debris, the SLPD closing the town and manning Checkpoint Charlie, the Borough staff working in unheated offices, the Firemen and First Aid volunteers opening their buildings as comfort stations or the residents coming out in droves to help with the massive cleanup,  Sandy brought out the best in Spring Lakers. I have never been so proud of my community.”

 
JENNIFER NAUGHTON
“Most town wide accomplishments result from the combined efforts of all Councilmembers.  In recent years, the Council has worked under a shared vision for Spring Lake and that vision has produced strong results.”
 
MAYORS BYRNE & NAUGHTON ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Mayor Naughton is quick to point out that most town wide accomplishments result from the combined efforts of all Councilmembers.  In recent years, the Council has worked under a shared vision for Spring Lake and that vision has produced strong results.  Together, her administration has replaced an aging pool and pavilion, rebuilt the entire boardwalk (twice), secured millions of dollars in funding to alleviate flooding in the Wreck Pond neighborhood, and created new recreational spaces. We enjoy a revitalized downtown and protected a vibrant condominium complex housed in the historic Essex and Sussex building.  Active projects include a major roads program and rehabilitation of our aging water and sewer program.

(Since the writing of this article in 2016, Mayor Jennifer Naughton has been reelected Mayor again in 2020).
 
 
SPRING LAKE CHURCHES - BRIEF EARLY HISTORIES
 

           The month of December brings to mind, for many of us, the important role church has played in our observance of Christmas. This article’s intent is to inform the reader of the history of all our beloved churches in town along with the ones that no longer exist. Spring Lake witnessed some houses of worship built for summer worshipers, and the churches only held services in that season as the town was founded as a summer resort.  Prominent in many of their histories is the generous donations that enabled these houses of worship to be erected.
           
           In the 1880’s, there were six religious communities established among the inhabitants of the geographic area which makes up the Spring Lake we know today. “Como” and St. Andrew Methodist represented the year round community protestant congregations, and St. Catharine, represented the Catholic parish which evolved from St. Ann Catholic Church. The other houses for summer worship only were Holy Trinity Episcopal and Spring Lake Presbyterian, serving for the most part, wealthy vacationers visiting the hotels from homes in the Trenton and Philadelphia areas.  The third summer church was St. John’s which served the black community.

            The first church structure was the meeting house of the First Methodist Church of Sea Plain, (Como) built in 1872 by a congregation organized as an independent local church in 1870.  Through the years, this congregation was known as the “First Methodist Church of Lake Como”, and eventually left the original church building to merge with other Methodist congregations and became St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Spring Lake.
           
            At stated above, prior to 1880 the Methodists in the area attended services at the Sea Plain Methodist Protestant Church, but in the summer of 1880, a community Protestant Sunday School was opened in the Spring Lake Beach Post Office, 203 West Lake Avenue.  As attendance increased, the services were first moved to the offices of the Spring Lake Beach Improvement Company and later to the parlor of the Lake House situated in Potter Park at Warren and Fifth Avenues.
           
            In 1887, construction began on the present Methodist church at the corner of Fourth and West Lake Avenues. Two lots were donated by John Lucas, a member of the Board of Trustees. Other Trustees who were prominent businessmen in town included O.H. Brown, William Lucas, Robert Carson, Edward Patterson, John Middleton, and William Trout. The building was completed and dedicated in August, 1888.  It is a fine example of Queen Anne style with Gothic Revival influences. The exterior features wood panels of inset, rounded, and saw-cut shingles, set off by boards of a contrasting color.  In 1912, a bell tower was constructed on the northeast corner of the church. This is an interesting quote about the early days from the St. Andrew’s Yearbook in 2006.


A second hand, one manual, hand pumped organ placed floor level served the congregation until about 1902.  Home baked pies and cakes sales, socials, musical teas, etc. raised funds for a motor driven Esty Organ.  At this time the loft was built to accommodate organ and choir, soon to be enclosed as you see it today.  The preacher and the choir wore their Sunday best, not robes, and the ladies requested the solid front to the loft necessary to protect their modesty.  In the early years of the 1900’s the preacher wore “morning dress” consisting of striped trousers and tailcoat.

            Out with the old organ in 1902 went the boy pumpers and the end of the comical incidents for which they were responsible. Over the years, this has remained a very active congregation, and quality renovations have been done to the church.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey Resister of Historic Places in 1991.

            Holy Trinity Episcopal Church holds the honor of being the first church structure built in Spring Lake Beach, on the corner of Monmouth and Third Avenues.  Built in 1880 to serve summer vacationers, no parsonage was erected.  The clergy and choir came from Trenton and resided at the Monmouth House. The church was built on land donated by J.B. Morehouse. His house still stands next door.  The original Trustees were wealthy businessmen, mostly from Philadelphia and Trenton, who maintained formidable “cottages” along the ocean and around the lake.  The Trustees were also substantial donors to the building of the church namely:  Roeblings, Rolins, Kirkbrides, Reeves, and Moses.  An interesting memorial gift was the oak-encased organ dating back to 1904.  Originally powered by water, it was converted to electric power in the 1930’s, but retains the original blower and can still be hand pumped.  Another memorial gift in 1888 by the Backus Family was the Chancel Chandelier.  Over a hundred years later, it was discovered in an antique shop and purchased and returned to Holy Trinity.  It now hangs in “ecclesiastical splendor” in its original place above the altar. 

   
   

            Holy Trinity’s design is typical of New Jersey Shore churches of that era.  The steep slate roof, arched doors and windows are essentially Gothic, with Stick Style influences evident in the gable trim, eaves and use of wood. The steeple which replaced a simple belfry in the 1920s was donated by Ruth Roebling in honor of her mother, and gas fixtures were replaced by electrical lighting in 1928. The brilliant stained-glass windows depict Biblical scenes.  Holy Trinity gained the status of being on the National Register and State Register of Historic Places in 1991, and recent renovations and restorations have helped to ensure its place in history for another hundred years.

            The cornerstone for The Presbyterian Church at Spring Lake Beach was laid on August 25, 1881 for the summer use structure to be built on lots at East Lake and Essex Avenues (the foot of the lake). The lots were donated by Mrs. Matthew (Anna) Baird, who also contributed generously to the building of the church. The widow, Mrs. Baird of Philadelphia, owned and operated many Queen Anne style “cottages” in Hasting Square which included the original Essex Cottage and the Sussex Cottage. The renowned architect of Philadelphia, Benjamin Linfoot, was commissioned to design the church.  The contracted construction by Charles Supplee was finished in time for the summer services to begin in 1883.

            The edifice of worship was of no special style of architecture. It was principally built of granite with a slate roof, and the interior was finished with light woods, giving it a cool and inviting appearance. The building was said to be one of the handsomest church edifices on the coast, having cost about $16,500. The Hook and Hastings organ costing $2,000 was a donation by Mrs. Dickson and her lady friends, as was a 1,500 pound bell from George Griffiths.  Also an anonymous friend gave a stained-glass window worth over $1,000.

            Mrs. Baird, had she been alive, would have been heart broken when the 92 year old Presbyterian Church, in which she found so much consolation, was razed by a suspicious fire on April 27, 1974.  Rebuilding the church would be costly and procuring a minister for only the summer months would be challenging so the land was sold and a trust established to support other churches and groups involved in church work.  St. Raphael’s Church in Brick was the recipient of the saved stained glass windows, pews, and the bell.  The Spring Lake Historical Society was instrumental in acquiring a stain-glass window, now on display in the Museum, and about a decade later, obtaining the bell which the Borough of Spring Lake moved and located to the spot of the church on the lake. The bell now sits among a landscaped Borough flower garden.
           
            St. John’s Methodist Church of Spring Lake was established in 1885, and its congregation consisted of the Black community who worked in the summer servicing the hotels, cottages, and businesses of the resort area. The lot and a donation of $1,000 were supplied by various businessmen to build the church at Fourth and Pennsylvania Avenues. In 1908, after fire had completely destroyed the church, St. Ann’s Catholic Church building was purchased for use by the Methodists and moved to its Pennsylvania and Fourth Avenues site.  Then another fire in 1914 burned and damaged that house of worship and the congregation held services in a tent while the church was being repaired.  Over the years St. John’s became known as “the friendly church” and persons of many different denominations worshiped there in the summer months. Services were held on Sundays at 9:00 P.M. to accommodate those who worked late to complete their jobs in the hotels, etc.   St. John’s served the community well over 80 years and merged with St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in 1965.  St. John’s structure was then demolished.

            1880 also saw the beginnings of the Catholic community of Spring Lake.  A 6:30 A.M. mass was celebrated Sundays at the Parker House in Sea Girt by a priest who came down by horse and buggy from Asbury Park. In 1883 this congregation moved to Thomas Devlin’s home on Atlantic Avenue. (His home was originally built as the Portuguese Pavilion at the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876 and moved and reconstructed in the Spring Lake Beach area.)  During 1884 a small frame church, St. Ann’s was built on the corner of Fifth and Monmouth Avenues and dedicated in 1885.  As the congregation grew in the summer an additional mass at 10:30 A.M. was added.  The Catholic population had increased to about 200 parishioners by that time. Besides door money and Sunday collections, festivals and fairs were held to increase the building fund and to replace such things as chairs with pews. In 1887 a little frame cottage was established that served as the rectory, a relief for the priests who had no place to prepare and rest between the two masses. In 1897, a pastor was assigned and stayed in the rectory making it a year round church.  After being the parish church for seventeen years, St. Ann’s was sold to St. John’s Methodist Church and moved to its Fourth Avenue location.
           
            Martin Maloney, a wealthy summer resident of Spring Lake Beach, was granted permission by the Bishop of Trenton to give a new church as a “Gift to God” in memory of his deceased youngest daughter, Catharine. Permission was also granted by the Bishop and the Trustees of St. Ann’s Church to change the name to St. Catharine’s Church. The cornerstone was laid on March 17, 1901 on land at West Lake and Essex Avenues.  Building of this architecturally prominent edifice proceeded, and the church was finished and ready for services in January of 1907.  Its construction was reported to have cost $175,000.  A new rectory was built on land bought in 1903 at Third and Essex Avenues.  The new office and residence for the priests was completed in 1910. 

   
   

            Martin Maloney’s life is a “rags to riches” story exemplified by the immigrant boy who “forged his way to the front” by taking advantage of the opportunity provided him in America.  He advanced from working in the coal mines starting at age 12 to becoming, in his early adulthood, one of the leading figures in the United States in the utility field.  He held many patent rights and went into the lighting business, obtaining contracts for lighting Philadelphia, Jersey City, Pittsburg and Camden. He also received the contract for lighting the Centennial Exposition grounds at Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. Maloney was a philanthropist, buying and donating many buildings and educational components both in the United States and in Europe.  He was recognized by the Pope Leo XIII for his many contributions and was made a Papal Marquis in 1903 and appointed Papal Chamberlain by Pope Pius X in 1904.  Martin and his wife Margaret had three daughters, Margaret, Helen, and Catharine. Catharine died at the age of seventeen on a returning ship from Europe where she and her mother had sailed for her health improvement. Martin and his wife were involved in many local charities and took part in fund raising and social events in Spring Lake. Maloney died in 1929 at the age of 81.                                                              
           
            St. Catharine Church is known for its “rare beauty of design, wealth of art, and exquisite grandeur of exterior and interior finish.”  It is of Romanesque architecture, with granite foundation and walls of grayish brick, flanked by limestone pilasters, having finely carved capitals.  It is a Greek cross in shape, and the main entrance is crowned by a pediment and supported by engaged columns.  A massive octagonal dome, roofed with copper and surmounted by a richly gilded cross, rises gracefully from the roof.  For lighting purposes, two beautiful bronze standards, eight hundred years old, brought from Rome, Italy are at either side of the steps leading to the main entrance.                                                                                  

            The interior of the church is also captivating, and the artwork displayed is truly eye capturing in its beauty.  Graceful columns with sculptured capitals, the ceilings and the smaller domes, the rich paintings in the large dome, the various apses, and the magnificent marble altars attest to this rare gem of architectural beauty and art. The stained glass windows are from the House of Mayer and Co., Munich, Bavaria as are the custom designed Stations of the Cross.  Italian Carrara marble was used for the altars, floor, and additional marble features.  The mural paintings illustrate the doctrines of the Church and are the work of a master artist, Professor Gonippo Raggi, graduate of St. Luke’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts at Rome.  He also executed the arabesque and symbolic decorations of the walls, the rich ornamentation of the coffered ceiling, and the soffits of the nave arches.  His contributions of art were completed in 1927.  St. Catharine Church was listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 1991.

            St. Margaret’s Church does not have the early history as the other churches in Spring Lake, but it too began as a summer house of worship to accommodate the growing number of Catholics coming to the resort area of Spring Lake. Planned to be in the north section of Spring Lake, it was situated at Ludlow and Third Avenues and was ready and opened for summer services in 1930.  However, it soon became a year round church due to the increase of permanent Spring Lake area Catholic residents. Built in the Italian Renaissance style, its exterior is of brick construction that is attractive and functional.  Interior oak beams form a rigid framework, in truss fashion supporting the roof of the church negating the need of supporting pillars in the church and giving everyone an unobstructed view of the altar. To accommodate the summer breezes, the structure has many windows on its north and south walls.  When built, the nave could accommodate about 420 worshipers.

            Spring Lake has been blessed with beautiful churches that have welcomed and continue to welcome the many summer visitors and permanent residents of the community. We acknowledge and appreciate the generous people who gave of their time and money to establish these places of worship.

            Barbara Kolarsick-Harrigan, President
            SLHS Archives of Booklets
            December, 2020

   

100TH ANNIVERSARY  (1919 – 2019)
11TH HOUR, 11TH DAY, 11TH MONTH

WW I Ended With An Armistice
Rather Than A Surrender

 

 
           November 11 would become a hallowed day.  In 1919, US President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day, which in 1926 became a permanent legal holiday.  The day is also known as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations.  In 1954, the U.S. Congress – at the urging of veterans’ organizations – changed its name to Veterans Day to honor service members who had served in WW II and the Korean War as well.

           By November, 1918 both the Allies and Germany agreed to stop fighting rather than surrender.  An armistice was the fastest way to end the war’s misery and carnage.  An Allied invasion would have defeated a weakened Germany, but would have been costly in lives, resources, and morale.  The armistice achieved peace with victory for the Allies; although, the terms of the agreement later contributed to the rise of Hitler and WW II.
   

           Armistice Day, now known as Veteran’s Day is celebrated each year on November 11 and it marked the end of WWI on November 11, 1918.  The focus of this November brief history article will be the WWI experience of a soldier, Andrew Parker Hammitt, who summered on the NJ Shore after the war, and bought a house at 30 Ludlow Avenue, Spring Lake in 1949, living there until his death in 1965. The Hammitt family donated many items, among them is Lieutenant Hammitt’s Army and Navy Service Record containing useful information for this article. The family originally lived in Des Moines, Iowa where Andrew was born and raised. He attended high school in Des Moines where he was a running athlete, and then graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Illinois. After the war Andrew married Julia Gnichtel who called West Street, Trenton, NJ her home, also summering at the Jersey Shore.  Relatives still remain in Spring Lake area, including Andrew’s grandson, Fred Hammitt (Rich) who contributed information to this family history. Lieutenant Hammitt’s deceased daughter-in-law and Rich’s mother, Barbara Hammitt, was a former member of the Spring Lake Historical Society.

            Although the SLHS does not have any personal war accounts of other Spring Lake or area residents, it is known that Peter Stanley Brown, son of Ella Johnson and Peter C. Brown, and nephew of Mayor O.H. Brown served our country.  The Museum archives contains a picture showing a large group of men from the area in their WWI military uniforms.

   
   
           President Woodrow Wilson, in his War Message delivered to Congress on April 2, 1917 expressed the reasons for the necessity to declare the end of the U.S. neutrality in WWI and our country’s obligation to declare war against Germany’s inhumane acts and its violation of rules of neutrality. The President cited Prussia’s reckless and lawless submarine warfare against commercial, passenger, and hospital and relief ships resulting in the loss of lives, and enemy spying as a war against all nations.  Wilson strongly emphasized the rights of free and self-governed peoples of the world to insure observance of those principals.

           Lt. Andrew Parker Hammitt’s Army Service Record contains a photo of him and information about his service. Some interesting inclusions in the record help illustrate Lt. Hammitt’s tour of duty.  He entered the army on August 27, 1917 at the age of 26, and received his first training at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana as a candidate in the 9th Training Company.  The army sent him to Ft. Monroe on the Virginia Peninsula for further training.  He was then assigned to Ft. Adams in Jamestown, and Fort Getty in Newport, both in Rhode Island, to the 66th Squadron as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Coastal Artillery Corps.

            On July 18, 2018, Andrew left Ft. Adams and travelled to Boston, embarking for Liverpool England the next day aboard the Steamer Lancashire.  A postcard notification of his ship’s safe arrival was sent to his mother. Awaiting him at Knotty Ash Camp in Liverpool on August 3 was a message from king George of England. 

WINDSOR CASTLE

Soldiers of the United States, the people of the British Isles welcome you on your way to take your stand beside the armies of many Nations now fighting in the Old World the great battles for human freedom. The Allies will gain new heart and spirit in your company.  I wish that I could shake the hand of each one of you and bid you God speed on your mission.
George R.I.
April 1918.

            Soon after arrival in Liverpool, Lt. Hammitt was sent from Knotty Ash Camp to La Havre France via Southampton England. Some interesting items from Andrew’s time in service in France include:  French coins, railroad tickets, a money order, a postcard to his mother who had moved from Des Moines to LaGrange, Illinois to live with her daughter, his service medals, military stripes, and his 66th Squadron medals. He was socially acquainted with the Haviland Family, whose American company was the biggest exporters of Limoge Porcelain, named after the town of Limoge in southwestern France.  Andrew had often stayed with the family and because of this friendship had accumulated much Limoge china according to Rich Hammitt. 

   
            His scrapbook contains some interesting newspaper articles and his strong connections to Des Moines, Iowa.  The articles are about people he had served with, known, connected to Des Moines, or just information he found memorable.  One headline reads, NO EUROPEAN FOOD SHORTAGE   GERMANS HAVE PLENTY TO EAT   VIEW OF MAJOR JOHN RUSSELL.  Major Russell was commander of a sanitary train in France and had returned to Des Moines to resume his medical practice.  Major Russell’s views, according to the journalist was that the people in France looked, “rosy and healthy”, no one looked starved, the “French Bread” was “Good” - no butter or jam needed, and the “Doughboys” are the “Best Ever”.  Quoting the Major, “The American Boys surely are peppy and plucky.  You’d think they’d be sick half the time from exposure. But they’re not.  They sleep in damp barns and beside muddy roads and never complain.”  Another newspaper clipping tells of a high school history professor, N.H. Weeks, involved in Y.M.C.A. work overseas.  He worked for months in France and then on to Germany where, “He will conduct soldiers’ excursions to interesting points along the Rhine, among other duties.”  A small notice in a newspaper states Harper “Dutch” Snow was snowbound at a resort in the French Alps while on furlough. According to another news piece, after fifteen months in France, Captain Snow was commissioned a Major and would be sent to Washington to serve as a rubber tire expert. 
   
Major Snow, N.H. Weeks, and Major Russell had a common thread – they were from Des Moines, Iowa and had connections to West High School in that city. There are five other news clippings that concern servicemen from Des Moines, including two who had lost their lives in battle.  Published January 25, 1918, a Paris clipping’s headline states, YANKEES CAN NOW TAKE PICTURES. Restrictions were suspended by orders of the American general headquarters on photographing or shooting moving pictures of American expeditionary forces. 

            Lt. Hammitt's 66th squadron stationed at La Courtine France was being ordered to the front in November, 2018, but the armistice was announced on the 11th.  Fighting being over, the squadron then left Bordeaux France on February 18, 1919 on the ship Powhattan bound for New York City, arriving on March 5, 1919.  Unfortunately, influenza broke out on the ship with 102 cases and Lt. Hammitt and company were quarantined in the harbor at Hoboken, NJ. An Honorable Discharge Certificate was granted Andrew in March, 1919 at Camp Grant, Illinois.


            The SLHS is grateful to Lt. Andrew Hammitt and all our veterans who gave so much service to this country during wars and conflicts.  The Society would like to post the names of those from Spring Lake who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  These names are listed on the War Memorial at the west end of Divine Park.

WWII
                                                            Vietnam
James Marshall Braly                                John Reilly, Jr.       
C. Harold Chafey                                       Dominic Scatuorchio
Wilbur T. Fields
Leon H. Height, Jr.
John El. Lesher
Herbert J. Miller Jr.
Peter B. Roetzel
James W. Truax                                                      

_______
Barbara Kolarsick-Harrigan
November, 2020

   

SPRING LAKE FIRE COMPANIES
(A Brief History)

SPRING LAKE FIRE COMPANY NO. 1

   
            Spring Lake Fire Company No.1 was formed in 1890, before the town was incorporated to service the needs of local residents. Spring Lake Beach had a growing number of hotels and many large cottages for summer renting, plus another resort known as North Spring Lake was adjacent to it.  Two other bordering areas included Villa Park and Como. Up until 1892, Spring Lake Beach had no borough incorporated government and was part of Wall Township as were the other resorts.
 

            The newly formed fire district’s area consisted of “Lake Como on the north, Newberry’s Pond (Wreck Pond) on the south, Wall Church Road to Manasquan Turnpike (Rt. #71) on the west, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east.” The by-laws of the new fire company stated, “It shall be the duty of each member to assist in drawing the engine to and from a fire and to put himself in readiness to discharge all duties assigned to him by the officers in command.”

            To equip the company, a Number 4 Sesby Steamer and two hose carts were purchased and stored at Monmouth House Stables on First Avenue, plus a stove for the Stables was bought to keep the equipment from freezing.  A team of horses was donated in 1901, but keeping them soon became expensive so in 1907, the local livery stables were paid $2.00 for the first arriving teams. The first motorized equipment was purchased in 1915 and stored in Mayor Ellis Gant’s garage until room was made at the fire house.         

   
            The first fire house was built in 1892 at Fifth and Warren Avenues, across from the Lake. During the early years of the 20th Century, Spring Lake’s firehouse played host to various entities.  It was used as the local courthouse, public school classes, and dances and dancing school classes were held there. Gala events at the Monmouth Hotel, rebuilt in 1901 after the fire that destroyed the Monmouth House in 1900, became a place for major fundraisers.  Over the years new equipment was acquired and the company outgrew its home.  In 1957, a new building was erected on the same site and was enlarged with a second floor in 2004.  This addition contains space for community meetings and for training purposes.
 

            The first fire house was built in 1892 at Fifth and Warren Avenues, across from the Lake. During the early years of the 20th Century, Spring Lake’s firehouse played host to various entities.  It was used as the local courthouse, public school classes, and dances and dancing school classes were held there. Gala events at the Monmouth Hotel, rebuilt in 1901 after the fire that destroyed the Monmouth House in 1900, became a place for major fundraisers.  Over the years new equipment was acquired and the company outgrew its home.  In 1957, a new building was erected on the same site and was enlarged with a second floor in 2004.  This addition contains space for community meetings and for training purposes.

            Spring Lake Fire Company No. 1 plays an integral part in educating local school age students on fire safety.  Each year in October, some of the crew instructs the children in both schools on prevention and safety in their homes.  The fire fighters bring their gear and equipment and allow the younger grades to experience first-hand what modern day apparatus is like. (They may just be planting the seed for future firefighters.) The volunteers take on an arduous and time-consuming job, contributing so much to the community for which we salute them. In 1959, both companies were memorialized on the plaques at the monument on East Lake Drive and Mercer Avenue.     

   
GOODWILL FIRE COMPANY NO. 2
   

            In December of 1901, concerned citizens of North Spring Lake met to establish their own fire company to service the residents and establishments of what is now the center and north part of Spring Lake. (North Spring Lake was not yet incorporated into Spring Lake Beach.)  The disastrous fire of 1900 destroyed most of the Spring Lake Beach business area around the Lake, the Monmouth House, the Carleton Hotel, and some guest cottages. Third Avenue was expanding and becoming the major business area.  Third Avenue was in Brighton, part of North Spring Lake, and it was decided by those with major interests in keeping their residents and establishments safe to add more fire protection security north of Spring Lake Beach.  (At that time, there was only horse or hand drawn fire equipment, a slow response to emergencies and it required a lot of manpower.) Two names for the new company were proposed, Olive Branch Engine Company Number 1 and Goodwill Engine Number One, the second one chosen.  It is not known exactly when the name was changed to Goodwill Fire Company No. 2. 

            In 1903, Goodwill was offered Spring Lake Fire Company No. 1’s building for keeping their equipment and was lent the use of its fire bugle.  Goodwill’s first piece of equipment was a circa 1900 hand-drawn chemical engine and hose. The “smoke-eaters” were called to action by a hammer clanging an iron ring; where, upon arrival, they hand-pulled their fire rig to the scene of the blaze. In the first part of the 1900’s, the company’s headquarters was established at 311 Washington Avenue.

            The firefighting equipment has certainly changed over the years, but Goodwill remembers the services of the “antique” pumpers starting with a 1905 three-cylinder Chase Hose Truck and the 1914 Seagrave Pumper.  The company keeps their favorite 1930 Seagrave Pumper in excellent condition and parades it around town whenever the occasion arises.  Goodwill is a member of the antique fire apparatus organization, winning many awards and distinctions of pride. Needing upgrades and space for modern day fire-fighting engines, etc., the Borough laid the cornerstone in 1989 for a new state of the art fire building and police station on Washington Avenue on the site of the demolished buildings.

   
            On the Golden Jubilee anniversary in 1951 of Goodwill’s founding, the parade was considered the biggest ever held in the Borough.  Fire companies from all over the state sent representation.  Goodwill’s outreach to the community has expressed itself in many activities including sponsoring the Boy Scouts of America Troop N. 31 for which the company won a Gold Star Plaque in 1974 for 50 years of doing so.  History over the years shows a comradery group of firefighters holding various types of fund-raisers, entertainment, and membership in the South Monmouth Bowling League, as was Company No. 1.  For the children of Spring Lake Goodwill sponsors an annual Easter Egg Hunt, Santa Claus Ride, and Halloween Parade and Party as well as taking part in safety education.
 
            October 31 being Halloween, I thought I’d focus on the part Goodwill Fire Company has played in making it a special treat for the children in town.  According to Ed Megill, the tradition of Goodwill Fire Company’s Halloween Contest started in 1939, making 2020 the 81st year of this ongoing event.  According to Russ Brahn, committee chair from 1972-2016, the parade always started with firetrucks and participants at the flagpole and ended at Mountz School, as it did before his tenure.  Participants were allowed to ride the firetruck instead of marching on foot. At Mountz School, students’ costumes were judged by different age groups as well as best overall for all age groups.  John Boles is now Halloween Committee Chair and the party and contest have been held at the Spring Lake Community House.  The treats now include gift cards to local businesses as prizes.  This year of the Covid Pandemic, treating the Spring Lake only resident children continues with more safeguards in effect, but promises to be another generous and much-appreciated event offered by Goodwill. Many thanks goes to you, Don Brahn, Jr., for gathering some history of the Halloween Parade and Contest.
   
   
                   The names of the many volunteer firemen of both companies in town are too extensive to mention and there’s always the possibility of leaving important ones out.  Research shows a substantial number of Spring Lake founding fathers were involved in actually serving and or starting these fire companies.  Three mayors were firefighters:  E.V. Patterson, O. H. Brown, Ellis Gant, and Frank Marucci.  Many government officials and town businessmen also were “smoke-eaters” who set a good example of volunteerism at its best. The Brahn Family has to be mentioned for their continuous service by many generations, starting with Charles Brahn.  We are so grateful for all the firemen’s service to our community.

            Barbara Kolarsick-Harrigan

            October, 2020

 
 
 
 
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