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Ocean Grove, New Jersey

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Title: Ocean Grove, New Jersey  
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Subject: Neptune Township, New Jersey, Bradley Beach, New Jersey, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Asbury Park, New Jersey, Categories for discussion/Log/2015 September 16
Collection: 1869 Establishments in New Jersey, 21St-Century Chautauquas, Census-Designated Places in Monmouth County, New Jersey, Chautauqua, Evangelicalism in the United States, Former Boroughs in New Jersey, Former Municipalities in Monmouth County, New Jersey, History of Methodism, Jersey Shore Communities in Monmouth County, Lgbt Topics and Christianity, National Register of Historic Places in Monmouth County, New Jersey, Neptune Township, New Jersey, Places in New Jersey That Prohibit the Sale of Alcohol, Populated Places Established in 1869, Protestantism in New Jersey, Religion and Politics, Separation of Church and State, United Methodist Church
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Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Census-designated place
The Ocean Grove Great Auditorium (2007)
The Ocean Grove Great Auditorium (2007)
Location of Ocean Grove in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Inset: Location of Monmouth County in New Jersey.
Location of Ocean Grove in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Inset: Location of Monmouth County in New Jersey.
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Monmouth
Township Neptune
 • Total 0.428 sq mi (1.109 km2)
 • Land 0.372 sq mi (0.964 km2)
 • Water 0.056 sq mi (0.145 km2)  13.05%
Elevation[2] 16 ft (5 m)
Population (2010 Census)[3]
 • Total 3,342
 • Density 8,979.9/sq mi (3,467.2/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)
ZIP code 07756[4][5]
Area code(s) 732[6]
FIPS code 3454480[1][7]
GNIS feature ID 02389609[1][8]

Ocean Grove is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located within Neptune Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States.[9][10] It had a population of 3,342 at the 2010 United States Census.[3] It is located on the Atlantic Ocean's Jersey Shore, between Asbury Park to the north and Bradley Beach to the south. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ocean Grove is noted for its abundant examples of Victorian architecture.

Ocean Grove was founded in 1869 as an outgrowth of the camp meeting movement in the United States, when a group of Methodist clergymen, led by William B. Osborn and Ellwood H. Stokes, formed the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to develop and operate a summer camp meeting site on the New Jersey seashore.[11] By the early 20th century, the popular Christian meeting ground became known as the "Queen of Religious Resorts."[12] The community's land is still owned by the camp meeting association and leased to individual homeowners and businesses. Ocean Grove remains the longest-active camp meeting site in the United States.[13]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
    • Census 2010 3.1
    • Census 2000 3.2
  • Governance 4
  • The Great Auditorium 5
    • Organ 5.1
    • Performances and other events 5.2
  • Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association 6
    • Tent City 6.1
    • Programs 6.2
  • Hurricane Sandy 7
  • Gay relations 8
    • Civil union controversy 8.1
  • Transportation 9
    • Roads and highways 9.1
    • Public transportation 9.2
  • Notable people 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


On July 31, 1869, Reverend Osborn, Reverend Stokes, and other Methodist ministers camped at a shaded, well-drained spot on New Jersey's seashore and decided to establish a permanent Christian camp meeting community called "Ocean Grove."[14]

Drawing from the major population centers of New York City and Philadelphia, Ocean Grove became a popular destination during the growth of the camp meeting movement in post-Civil War America. Tents and an open-air wooden shelter, or tabernacle, were erected in the 1870s, for the trainloads of visitors arriving by the New York and Long Branch Railroad after 1875. In 1877 alone, 710,000 railroad tickets were sold for the Ocean Grove-Asbury Park train station.[11]

The first tabernacle in 1876
Harper's Monthly
Postcard of Ocean Grove Railroad Station, dated 1908
The "North End Hotel" had 255 rooms and a saltwater pool

A well was dug in the summer of 1870, near the site of the first tabernacle, to provide fresh water (the "Beersheba" well, named from a well in Israel mentioned in scripture, is still in existence).[11] A second, larger tabernacle was built in the 1880s, and permanent structures began to be constructed. Streets were paved and some were given Biblical names, such as "Pilgrim Pathway" and "Mt. Tabor Way".

As Ocean Grove drew more and more visitors, the second tabernacle was also outgrown, and construction of the present Great Auditorium was completed in 1894. Originally designed to accommodate crowds of as many as 10,000 people, the subsequent installation of theater-style cushioned seating in many sections reduced seating capacity to 6,250.[15] It remains Ocean Grove's most prominent structure and the centerpiece of its summer programs (see more about the Auditorium further down the page). By the early 20th century, said The New York Times in 1986, it was called the "Queen of Religious Resorts ... Visitors would travel miles to bask in the Victorian seaside splendor and to attend engaging, extroverted religious ceremonies. Millions of people, tourists and pilgrims both, made the trip to Ocean Grove every summer."[12] The social disillusionment around 1920 following WWI had a profound effect on Ocean Grove and church going in general. There was a decline in interest in camp meeting type activities and there was little in the way of new construction in the town after this time. One result was that Ocean Grove became a time capsule of late Victorian and early 20th century architecture.

Until Ocean Grove's municipal authority was folded into Neptune Township in 1981, it boasted a set of unique laws, including one that made it illegal on Sundays to have cars on the streets of Ocean Grove. This had a significant effect on the development of a close-knit community. People looking to get away for the weekend typically avoided the Grove (the beach was closed on Sunday, too). That meant the visitors were likely to be coming for a week-long visit or more. Most came to attend programs sponsored by the Camp Meeting.

President Ulysses S. Grant visited Ocean Grove during his time in office and made his last public appearance in this town. Other presidents to speak on the grounds include James Garfield, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Richard Nixon. Heavyweight boxing champions James J. Corbett and Max Baer and department store magnate F.W. Woolworth were among the celebrities of the day who vacationed in Ocean Grove.[11]

In 1975, Ocean Grove was designated a State and National Historic District as a 19th-century planned urban community. It has the greatest extent of Victorian and early-20th century architecture in the United States.[11]

During the 1960s–1980s, the town declined along with much of the New Jersey seashore, and was pejoratively called "Ocean Grave" due to the general air of decrepitude and the elderly population.[16] But beginning in the 1990s, and through 2006, Ocean Grove experienced a dramatic increase in property values and a considerable revival in fortune, particularly with the restoration of older hotel structures, many of which had deteriorated into single room occupancy ("SRO") quarters. Also – as part of this resurgence – a number of sidewalk cafés and shops along Main Avenue (the main business thoroughfare) now cater to visitors and seasonal residents.

Plans were announced in 2006 for a major new hotel and condominium development on property which has been vacant since the 1970s, when the old North End Hotel – once Ocean Grove's largest – was damaged by fire and subsequently demolished in 1980.[17] These plans have become controversial though, and in January 2008 the Planning Board of Neptune stated the North End Redevelopment Proposal was "inconsistent with the town's Master Plan".[18]


According to the United States Census Bureau, Ocean Grove had a total area of 0.428 square miles (1.109 km2), of which, 0.372 square miles (0.964 km2) of it is land and 0.056 square miles (0.145 km2) of it (13.05%) is water.[19][1]


Because Ocean Grove is a summer resort community and many residences are unoccupied during the winter months, these statistics may not be representative of the population at all times of the year.

Census 2010

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,342 people, 1,948 households, and 615.6 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 8,979.9 per square mile (3,467.2/km2). There were 3,132 housing units at an average density of 8,415.6 per square mile (3,249.3/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.41% (3,055) White, 5.48% (183) Black or African American, 0.03% (1) Native American, 0.87% (29) Asian, 0.03% (1) Pacific Islander, 0.81% (27) from other races, and 1.38% (46) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 4.34% (145) of the population.[3]

There were 1,948 households, of which 7.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.0% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 68.4% were non-families. 57.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.64 and the average family size was 2.56.[3]

In the CDP, 8.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 38.9% from 45 to 64, and 24.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 52.7 years. For every 100 females there were 83.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.[3]

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census[7] there were 4,256 people, 2,331 households, and 785 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,564.6/km2 (11,956.5/mi2). There were 3,156 housing units at an average density of 3,384.8/km2 (8,866.3/mi2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93.1% White, 4.0% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.0% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.6% of the population.[20]

There were 2,331 households out of which 10.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.6% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 66.3% were non-families. 56.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.67 and the average family size was 2.59.[20]

In the CDP the population was spread out with 9.9% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 24.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 82.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.[20]

The median income for a household in the CDP was $31,935, and the median income for a family was $58,583. Males had a median income of $38,389 versus $31,886 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $26,232. About 5.1% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.0% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.[20]


Ocean Grove's beach

The desire to develop a Christian seaside community for summer worship and relaxation led William B. Osborn (1832–1902), a leader of the camp meeting movement in mid-19th century America, to select the site of present-day Ocean Grove for its wooded, mosquito-free location.[11] Ellwood H. Stokes (October 10, 1815 – July 16, 1895), a Methodist minister from Philadelphia, and others joined together to purchase a square mile of land fronting on the Atlantic Ocean. A state charter was issued to the newly formed Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association on March 3, 1870, granting the 26 trustees (13 ministers and 13 lay persons) the authority to purchase and hold the one square mile of real estate comprising Ocean Grove, and to construct and maintain all necessary works to supply the town with utilities and other municipal services, including law enforcement.[11]

Later, efforts to establish a separate borough of Ocean Grove were attempted many times. Ocean Grove was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 5, 1920, from portions of Neptune Township, but the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals ruled the municipality unconstitutional on May 12, 1921, and the borough was dissolved as of June 16, 1921.[21]

Although Ocean Grove reverted to being a part of Neptune Township with the court's decision of 1921, the Camp Meeting Association continued to exercise local ordinance enforcement powers until 1981, when a newspaper deliverer successfully sued to end the resort's blue law banning Sunday vehicular traffic and requiring it to disband its police force and "municipal" court.[22] The Camp Meeting still owns all the land in town and leases it to homeowners and businesses for 99-year renewable terms.[11] The Camp Meeting Association currently keeps its beach closed on Sunday mornings between 8:30 am and noon, and Ocean Grove is still "dry", that is, the sale of all alcoholic beverages is prohibited.[23]

The Great Auditorium

Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association District
A statue of Ellwood H. Stokes and the Great Auditorium facing Ocean Pathway – once named one of the ten most beautiful streets in America
Location Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Area Bounded by Fletcher Lake, NJ Route 71, Lake Wesley, and the Atlantic Ocean
NRHP Reference # 76001170[24]
Added to NRHP April 12, 1976

The Great Auditorium was constructed in 1894 and is mostly unchanged. The wooden building rests on bridge-like iron trusses laid on stone foundations. Aside from the trusses. It features numerous "barn door" entrances with colored glass, dormers, and panels that open for ventilation. Originally the Auditorium could accommodate an audience of almost 10,000, before many sections of smaller, wooden seats were replaced in later years with cushioned, theater-style seating having armrests; at present it can seat 6,250 persons.[15]

The Auditorium's acoustics, resulting from its barrel-vaulted wooden ceiling, have been widely acclaimed; famed conductor [25]

The hall is surrounded by 114 tents, which are occupied from May to September, as has been the case since 1869. Each tent is connected to a shed containing a kitchen and bathroom; the sheds are also used to store the tents during the winter. They are in such demand that there is a waiting list of some ten years for summer rentals.[11]


The organ console in 2012

The Auditorium's

Preceded by
Asbury Park
Beaches of New Jersey Succeeded by
Bradley Beach
  • Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association official website – the founding organization
  • Robert Hope-Jones and the building of the Auditorium organ
  • Chautauqua Network
  • Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce
  • Neptune Township website
  • Ocean Grove Historical Society
  • RecordOcean Grove

External links

  1. ^ a b c d Gazetteer of New Jersey Places, United States Census Bureau. Accessed June 13, 2013.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Ocean Grove Census Designated Place, Geographic Names Information System. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f DP-1 – Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data for Ocean Grove CDP, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  4. ^ Look Up a ZIP Code for Ocean Grove, NJ, United States Postal Service. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  5. ^ Zip Codes, State of New Jersey. Accessed September 17, 2013.
  6. ^ Area Code Lookup - NPA NXX for Ocean Grove, NJ, Accessed September 17, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  8. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  9. ^ a b New Jersey: 2010 – Population and Housing Unit Counts – 2010 Census of Population and Housing (CPH-2-32), United States Census Bureau, August 2012. Accessed December 16, 2012.
  10. ^ GCT-PH1 – Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 – County – County Subdivision and Place from the 2010 Census Summary File 1 for Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed December 16, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Wayne T. Bell (2000). Images of America: Ocean Grove. Charleston, S.C.:  
  12. ^ a b c d Page, Tim. SUMMERFARE' OFFERS CHOIR FESTIVAL", The New York Times, July 30, 1986. Accessed June 30, 2015. "Ocean Grove, about six miles south of Long Branch, was founded in 1869 as a Methodist camp meeting ground; by the early 20th century it had been dubbed the 'Queen of Religious Resorts.'"
  13. ^ a b Home page, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Accessed November 6, 2007.
  14. ^ "The Story of Ocean Grove". Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Archived from the original on June 20, 2008. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b c Amico, Ross (July 26, 2013). "Organist Gordon Turk to headline concert at Ocean Grove's Great Auditorium". ( 
  16. ^ a b c Capuzzo, Jill (September 3, 2007). "Civil Union Dispute Pits Methodist Retreat Against Gays Who Aided in Its Rebirth". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  17. ^ Michelle Sahn, "New life at old hotel site", Asbury Park Press, March 23, 2006.
  18. ^ Steven Froias (January 27, 2008). "Split Decision or technical knockout from the Planning Board?". Ocean Grove Record. Retrieved February 6, 2008. 
  19. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  20. ^ a b c d e DP-1 – Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000 from the Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data for Ocean Grove CDP, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  21. ^ Snyder, John P. The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606–1968, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 114. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  22. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. "Ocean Grove tries to retain ideals, but not some civic burdens", The New York Times, August 22, 1982. Accessed August 8, 2012. "In 1979, however, the New Jersey Supreme Court found its charter unconstitutional because it decreed 'that in Ocean Grove the church shall be the state and the state shall be the church.' Since then, Ocean Grove has had to disband its police department and municipal court and to rely more on its parent community, Neptune Township. It has also had to drop a series of Sunday blue laws designed to enforce observance of the Sabbath and take down the chains that blocked automobiles from its entrances on that day."
  23. ^ Gordon, Bill. "SOAPBOX; Can't We All Get Along? Evidently So.", The New York Times, May 30, 2004. Accessed August 8, 2012. "Ocean Grove is a dry town: No alcohol can be bought or sold. Although that can sometimes mean more drinking (people seem to bring their own bottles just about everywhere), the lack of readily available liquor and the lack of a commercial boardwalk tend to keep things quiet and relatively safe."
  24. ^ National Register of Historic Places
  25. ^ a b c d Ocean Grove Summer Calendar of Events 2007. Ocean Grove, NJ: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, 2007.
  26. ^ "The Top 20 – The World's Largest Pipe Organs".  
  27. ^ a b Shaw, John R. (2008). The Great Auditorium Organ. Ocean Grove, NJ: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. pp. 15, 17. 
  28. ^ Walton, Mary (June 28, 2012). "With New Pipes, a Great Organ Gets Even Better". Retrieved July 15, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Organ Recital Too Noisy: Ocean Grove Cottages Say 'The Storm' Disturbs Their Naps",
  30. ^ An Historic Theme Study of the New Jersey Heritage Trail Route: Religious Resorts, National Park Service. Accessed November 6, 2007. "Known for its fine acoustics, the auditorium has attracted the noted and the celebrated during its century of use, and remains the focus of cultural life in Ocean Grove."
  31. ^ "About Us". Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  32. ^ 2009 Summer Events, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, p. 1.
  33. ^ Sudol, Valerie (April 2012). "Ocean Grove Tent City Rises Again". Inside New Jersey. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  34. ^ Genovese, Peter (July 15, 2013). "Tent City: Life in Ocean Grove's one-of-a-kind community - but no barbecues or dogs, please". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  35. ^ Chesler, Caren (May 7, 2010). "Where Time Stands Still". New Jersey Monthly. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b 2013 Summer Events, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, pages 16–17.
  37. ^ "Lewis A. Daniels, Sr. (obituary)". Asbury Park Press. September 6, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  38. ^ Bridgefest Beach Festival website
  39. ^ a b Wanko, Lauren (March 20, 2013). "As Shore Towns Repair Boardwalks, Ocean Grove at a Standstill Because of FEMA’s Denial". NJ Today. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  40. ^ a b Di Ionno, Mark (April 22, 2013). "Despite FEMA denial, Ocean Grove bands together for Sandy rebuilding". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  41. ^ a b Chesler, Caren (February 8, 2013). "FEMA Won't Fund New Boardwalk for Ocean Grove". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  42. ^ Panissidi, Anthony (October 22, 2013). "Ocean Grove tries again to gain FEMA funding". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  43. ^ Bowman, Bill (February 7, 2013). "Feds say no to N.J. boardwalk request". USA Today. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  44. ^ Walton, Mary (July 23, 2013). "Methodists and gay residents reconcile at Ocean Grove fund-raiser". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  45. ^ a b Capuzzo, Jill (September 18, 2007). "Group Loses Tax Break Over Gay Union Issue". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  46. ^ Spoto, MaryAnn (July 28, 2012). "Kirk Cameron appearance in Ocean Grove draws protests from gay supporters". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  47. ^ Moore, Chadwick (August 1, 2012). "In Methodist Stronghold, a Dialogue on Gay Rights". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Municipal Equality Index 2013". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  49. ^ Bartlett, Jill (November 19, 2013). "Asbury ranks low on list of state’s LGBT friendly cities Ocean Grove rated more LGBT friendly in comparison". Asbury Park Sun. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  50. ^ Schwebber, Nate (June 24, 2007). "The Week in New Jersey". New York Times. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  51. ^ Fleming, James; McLain, Linda (2013). Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues. Harvard University Press. p. 323. 
  52. ^ Spoto, MaryAnn (December 30, 2008). "State sides with lesbian couple in fight against Ocean Grove association". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  53. ^ Capuzzo, Jill (August 14, 2007). "Church Group Complains of Civil Union Pressure". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  54. ^ Gallagher, Mary Pat (November 8, 2007). "U.S. Court Won't Hear Suit by Church That Barred Same-Sex Ceremonies". National Organization for Women of New Jersey. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  55. ^ Sagara, Eric (June 1, 2013). "Ocean Grove boardwalk appeal for FEMA aid denied". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  56. ^ LaPlaca, Charlie (January 13, 2012). "Judge: Ocean Grove Church Violated Law by Preventing Civil Union". Manasquan-Belmar Patch. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  57. ^ "Judge Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Couple in Discrimination Case". American Civil Liberties Union. January 13, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  58. ^ Spahr, Rob (October 24, 2012). "Lesbian couple discriminated against by Ocean Grove association, state says". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  59. ^ Monmouth County Bus / Rail Connections, New Jersey Transit, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 26, 2010. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  60. ^ "Academy Bus – Commuter Bus from New Jersey to New York City". Academy Bus LLC. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  61. ^ Monmouth Executive Airport website
  62. ^ Staff. "Rev. Thomas Chisholm, 93, Dies; Wrote 1,200 Protestant Hymns", The New York Times, March 2, 1960. Accessed August 8, 2012. "OCEAN GROVE, N.J., March 1 – The Rev. Thomas O. Chisholm, author of 1,200 Protestant hymns and devotional verse, died tonight at the Methodist Home here.... In 1916, Mr. Chisholm moved to Vineland, where he went into the insurance business."
  63. ^ Staff. "New Jersey paddleboarder Michelle Davidson salutes Diana Nyad's Cuba to U.S. swim", News 12 New Jersey, September 5, 2013. Accessed November 10, 2013. "OCEAN GROVE – A New Jersey woman has a special appreciation for Diana Nyad's recent accomplishment.Michelle Davidson, 43, paddled from Cuba to Florida as part of a relay team back in 2004.... The Neptune resident teaches business classes at Holmdel High School now, and says she plans on talking to her students about Nyad's triumph."
  64. ^ Minor, E. Kyle. "Music; A Bar Band Once Again Takes to The Road", The New York Times, June 18, 2000. Accessed December 16, 2012. "That association was made in Mr. Lyon's youth, growing up Ocean Grove, N.J., half a mile from Asbury Park."
  65. ^ Randolf, Eleanor. "Keep the Met Open", The New York Times, July 31, 2014. Accessed August 1, 2014. "Naldi, known to his peers as Donal, was born and raised in Bound Brook. He currently resides in Ocean Grove, New Jersey."
  66. ^ Thomas, Robert McG., Jr. "Haydn Proctor, 93, a Judge And New Jersey State Senator", The New York Times, October 5, 1996. Accessed February 10, 2011. "Haydn Proctor, a longtime New Jersey official who operated at the highest levels of all three branches of state government, died on Wednesday at a hospital near his home in Lakewood, N.J."
  67. ^ Harris, John F. "In Such a Tight Race, Pollster Sees a ProfitN.J.-Based Business Uses 'Robo Calling'", The Washington Post, October 31, 2004. Accessed August 8, 2012. "That would be Scott Rasmussen, who is following this anxious election with contentment from his home town of Ocean Grove, N.J., confident that he is divining the mysteries of democracy with the help of a computerized phone bank in Texas and several pleasant-voiced women in the Midwest."
  68. ^
  69. ^ Junior, Chris M. "BOSS CAPS GUITAR FEST OPENER", Asbury Park Press, January 20, 2006. Accessed August 8, 2012. "The brainchild of festival co-founder and artistic director David Spelman of Ocean Grove (below, second from left), The Nebraska Project, held at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden, featured various artists performing the songs from Springsteen's 1982 solo album, plus other Springsteen tunes that were written around the same time period."


People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Ocean Grove include:

Notable people

The nearest airport having scheduled commercial airline service is Newark Liberty International Airport, 45 miles (72 km) north, while Monmouth Executive Airport for general aviation airplanes is just 6 miles (10 km) away.[61]

Frequent rail passenger service to New York City is provided by New Jersey Transit on the North Jersey Coast Line from the nearby Asbury Park station. New Jersey Transit offers service between Ocean Grove and Philadelphia on the 317 route and local bus service on the 830 route.[59] Additionally, Academy Bus has regular service to area shore towns and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.[60]

Public transportation

Interstate 195 provides highway access to Ocean Grove from the New Jersey Turnpike, Philadelphia, and points west. The nearby Garden State Parkway connects Ocean Grove with points north and south, such as New York City and Atlantic City.

Roads and highways


On January 12, 2012, Administrative Law Judge Solomon Metzger ruled that the Camp Meeting had violated the state’s law against discrimination.[56][57] The OGCMA discontinued use of the pavilion for weddings after the controversy started.[58] The Association no longer offers any of its property to the general public as wedding venues.

Complicating the dispute over civil unions was the fact that Ocean Grove's boardwalk and beachfront were held in a 1908 ruling to be exempt from property tax because they "had been dedicated years ago by the association as a public highway."[55] The Boardwalk Pavilion lost its tax-exempt status in 2007 because the state ruled that it no longer met the requirements as a place open to all members of the public. From 1989 until the Pavilion lost its tax-exempt status, the OGCMA had received $500,000 in annual tax breaks through the state's Green Acres program. The boardwalk and beach remain tax-exempt.[45]

In an attempt to halt the state's investigation, the OGCMA filed a federal suit.[53] In the suit, the OGCMA wrote that it would be "thrust into government compelled expressive association with those who promote same-sex 'civil unions'" if it is forced to allow them at its facilities, and "such forced association would severely compromise the Association's desire to communicate to the general public a message consistent with its religious views on marriage and family." The OGCMA's motion was dismissed.[54]

In 2007, two lesbian couples asked to have their civil union ceremonies at the OGCMA's Boardwalk Pavilion. According to the New York Times, "the couples’ requests were rejected, and they complained to the state’s Division on Civil Rights, which began a discrimination investigation."[16] The complaint stated that Scott Rasmussen, on behalf of the OGCMA, informed the couple it would not permit them to use the OGCMA's facilities for a civil union.[50] In 2008, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights found that there was probable cause to credit one of the two couples' complaints, but rejected the other.[51][52]

Civil union controversy

In 2013, the Human Rights Campaign, a LGBT rights advocacy group, included Ocean Grove in its Municipal Equality Index, a study that scores 291 American cities based on their inclusivity of LGBT people. Ocean Grove scored 77 out of 100, representing the second highest score for cities located in New Jersey.[48][49]

In 2012, Christian actor Kirk Cameron gave a lecture in Ocean Grove on the subject of strengthening marriage.[46] Cameron's lecture sparked a protest by gay rights activists. After Cameron's speech, a lunch was arranged between members of the Camp Meeting Association and members of the gay community. Camp Meeting Association President Dale Whilden said, "This is an opportunity to show that we respect them." Democratic congressman Frank Pallone attended the event. Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality, noted: “We may not agree on everything, but we are, today, starting to see each other as human beings."[47]

From the late 1990s through 2000s, Ocean Grove saw the opening of a large number of gay-owned restaurants, hotels, and stores.[16] According to the New York Times, Ocean Grove's gay and Methodist populations coexisted peacefully until a 2007 controversy over whether gay couples could conduct civil unions at the Camp Meeting Association's Boardwalk Pavilion. Also according to the New York Times, "Ocean Grove has long been considered a community that embraced gay residents." In 2007, a representative of [45]

Gay relations

In 2013, members of the gay-rights group Ocean Grove United and the OGCMA joined up to co-sponsor an event aimed at raising funds to rebuild Ocean Grove's hurricane-damaged boardwalk.[44]

Hurricane repairs are estimated to cost $3.5 million.[39] The "Together" campaign raised $1.5 million, including $750,000 for the boardwalk, $100,000 for the roof of the Great Auditorium, and $500,000 for architectural and structural repairs to Thornley Chapel. The Camp Meeting Association has appealed FEMA's funding rejection three times.[42] Federal officials also denied the Camp Meeting Association's request for funding in the wake of Hurricane Irene.[41][43]

[41][40] The town formed a group called "Together" to address storm recovery. The group includes the Camp Meeting Association, the chamber of commerce, the homeowners association, the beautification committee, the historic society, the fishing club, and Ocean Grove United, a gay and lesbian group.[40] In 2012,

Hurricane Sandy

"Bridgefest," an annual two-day event, brings contemporary Christian music to young people and their families. The event is promoted by New York–area radio station "Bridge FM" (WRDR-FM).[38]

The Camp Meeting also offers a contemporary worship service, "Pavilion Praise," in the beach's Boardwalk Pavilion each Sunday morning. A Bible Hour is held each weekday morning in the Bishop-Janes Tabernacle adjacent to the Great Auditorium.[25]

[36] radio broadcast.Sacred Classics The Choir Festival is also a regular feature on the [12] program.Summerfare featured the Choir Festival on its WNET In 1986, New York television station [12] Since 1955, the annual Choir Festival held in July has gathered thousands of church choir singers, predominantly from the northeastern U.S., to sing "to the glory of God".[37] The music is led by a volunteer choir, along with professional soloists Monica Ziglar, Martha Bartz, Jeremy Galyon, and

The Camp Meeting offers traditional and contemporary worship programs throughout the summer. Sunday worship services are held in the Great Auditorium. These services have featured preachers such as Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, Robert H. Schuller, Billy Sunday, Ralph W. Sockman, David H. C. Read, Tony Campolo, James A. Forbes, D. James Kennedy, Charles Stanley, William Jennings Bryan, Booker T. Washington, and Rodney "Gipsy" Smith.[11]

Ticket to Rossini's Stabat Mater, performed in 1903


From May to September of each year, 114 tents are erected around the Great Auditorium.[33] These tents form "Tent City," a tradition of the Camp Meeting Association that dates back to 1869. Each tent is connected to a shed containing a kitchen and bathroom; the sheds are also used to store the tents during the winter. Tents are in such demand that there is a waiting list of over ten years for summer rentals.[11] Rent runs from $4,000 to $5,000 per summer. All prospective tent inhabitants are interviewed. Subletting of tents is not allowed; dogs, cats, and barbecuing are also prohibited. Tent inhabitants do not have to be Methodist, but they do have to support the association’s spiritual missions.[34][35]

Tent City

The OGCMA's president is Dr. Dale C. Whilden. He succeeded political analyst Scott Rasmussen, who was president from 2006–2011.[13] The OGCMA's slogan is "God's Square Mile at the Jersey Shore."[32]

The OGCMA was founded in 1869. Its mission is to "provide opportunities for spiritual birth, growth, and renewal in a Christian seaside setting."[31]

Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association

The Auditorium is also used during the month of June for high school graduation ceremonies.

Since 1980, the Auditorium has hosted an annual memorial service for New Jersey law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The service includes a full Honor Guard, bagpipe procession, and singing by state high school choirs (Princeton High School and the West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South choirs have performed in the past). Police, soldiers, National Guardsmen, executive-level officials, and the governor typically attend.

Tents around the Great Auditorium

The Auditorium continues to be the focus of cultural life in Ocean Grove. Among the concerts filling the summer schedule are[30] the acclaimed Summer Stars chamber music programs, which bring some of the finest classical musicians from Philadelphia and New York each Thursday night in July and early August.[25] Saturday nights feature popular entertainment, including appearances by Johnny Mathis, Ronan Tynan, Linda Eder, the Beach Boys, comedian Bill Cosby, and Christian rock stars such as Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nichole Nordeman, Hillsong United and Sonic Flood.

The Great Auditorium has over the years featured famed hymn writer Fanny Crosby, band leader John Philip Sousa, and tenor Enrico Caruso. More recently, singers Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, Kenny Rogers, and Ray Charles have performed.[11]

Performances and other events

A popular organ piece, often played in the early years of the organ, was "The Storm", which featured the stops of the organ for thunder, lightning, rain, and birds singing. An article in the New York Times from 1909 reports on the annoyance of some at the frequent repetition of the performances of the piece.[29]

[25] Prominent organists to have played the Ocean Grove Auditorium organ include


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