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Greetings From Asbury Park: 1914

"Asbury Park, New Jersey." The North End Hotel on the Ocean Grove side of the boardwalk circa 1914. George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

"Asbury Park, New Jersey." The North End Hotel on the Ocean Grove side of the boardwalk circa 1914. George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Sunday Drivers

Bob, sorry but they no longer put up the chains across the roads on Sunday. It ended back in the Seventies. Someone from New York, vacationing in Ocean Grove, complained that a Newspaper Delivery man was allowed to enter the Grove in the early hours on Sunday to deliver the Sunday paper. A lawsuit ensued and now the chains are gone. At one time nothing on wheels rolled in Ocean Grove on Sunday. Not bicycles or baby carriages. Everyone walked. Even cars had to be parked either in garages or out of town. Not on the streets of Ocean Grove. Most everything in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, from that time, is gone. Even the carousel that had the brass ring is gone. I was born in Neptune and raised there about 60 years ago, and still live down by the beach.

It was a joke

Um, I was joking. I guess I sounded too much like some of the genuine comments that insist Dave is trying to pull the wool over our eyes in some fashion.

I'll try to be more obvious in my attempt at humor from now on.

Love the site, and this picture in particular.

Re: Can you hear me now?

Is that person serious? You get a lot of comments like this, Dave?

[No comment. - Dave]

Can you hear me now?

This is such a detailed recreation, it almost had me fooled. The man with the cell phone gives it away as a fake. He is about even with the man blowing his nose, a few paces to his right.

Clever, Dave. But not clever enough :-)

[Seeing as how his hand is empty, he's probably not chatting on his cell. - Dave]

Oh, the clothes!

I know, I know. If all we talked about in Shorpy comments was clothes, we could still be here all day. But this is one of my favorite fashion eras, where the elaborate styles of the nineteenth century were enjoying a happy marriage with the simpler, more practical ones of the twentieth. I could spend hours just poring over the lace insets the black-hatted lady in the lower right is sporting on her summer frock. The bemiddied teen girls at center are adorable, yet comfortable enough to play with the boys. And every man is Maurice Chevalier!

"By the sea..... the sea, by the beautiful sea,
you and me, you and me,
oh, how happy we'll be..."

I don't know the rest of the words but it seems to precisely describe this photo of the halcyon days of 1914. Looks like a "barbershop quintet" of five similarly dressed males who just might be entertainers. Wish I was there.

Everyone is so thin

in a good way.

The Summer of '47

Wow! This brought me back to 62 years ago. I spent a week in Ocean Grove with a family of neighbors while my dad was on a business trip in Europe. High spots of the time there was at the Carousel on the Asbury side of the lagoon, going for the brass ring, and seeing a performance of "Pirates of Penzance" in the huge old wooden auditorium. Ocean Grove was an old Methodist tent-meeting resort back then, like Ocean City farther down the Jersey Coast, and Oak Bluffs up on Martha's Vineyard. At Saturday midnight, chains were put up on all streets entering the Grove to prevent any auto traffic on Sundays. I wonder if they still do that there. And thanks for putting up the old postcard to reorient me.

So Many Scenarios

One need not walk into the "SCENARIO" entrance to see them. For free, a lot of them are playing out right here. Here are some favorites:

The Prohibition is clearly in force here. Against smiling. What a grim bunch of happy vacationers.

The man talking in front right to the other two - he is flashing "East Side," homie. I hope he got the right sign back, for the sake of the man in the bowler.

The man, dead center, blowing his nose. Look at the wide latitude he is given. No wonder. A runny nose in 1914 was fearsome.

I give up trying to see what the young girl, front bottom center, is turning around to spy upon. If a young man is returning that gaze, about 20-30 people might be alive today as a direct result.


What a wonderful negative. I marvel at these treasures, some of which are well over 100 years old. I wonder how well our current generation of digital images will fare over this same time. My fear is that most of them will be lost forever. (I've already heard people bemoaning the loss of pictures they were to "busy" to transfer from an old computer to a new one.) But I digress.

This picture is a wonderful microcosm of American society. There are dynamics at work here. A father and his "soon-to be flapper" daughter just exiting the bottom of the frame. Three young girls walking up the boardwalk, one of whom seems to be casting an eye back ... to what? (a rival?) Not far away is an animated discussion between three men. A little farther up, a family (?) of six females and two small boys, stretched out in a line. A man all alone, suffering from a cold (?) and on and on. Until up on the right, most disturbing of all, a small knot of men clustered at the swimming pool fence.

Ansel Adams had the Zone System. I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there ...

"In the Beautiful Seaside Air"

That's the title of a Victor record by Billy Murray and the Peerless Quartet, circa 1915. My late Grandma's favorite vacation spot was Asbury Park, and I'm glad that she didn't live long enough to see the boardwalk fall into ruin. One of the large buildings (the Exhibition Hall?) once had a museum of player pianos and mechanical music boxes, which all worked. I wonder what happened to them?

A Derby?

Guy at bottom right:
"You're on holiday, man - where's your straw boater?"

Feels like I am right there.

I love that you can get all the root beer and ginger ale you want for 5 cents!

Fourth of July, Asbury Park

Gossip overheard on the boardwalk this day: "Did you hear, the cops finally busted Madam Marie for tellin' fortunes better than they do?"

In case of fire -- run for your life

The lace on each of those dresses is gorgeous, and the expressions on the faces make you feel that you were really there. But on the far right is a bucket labeled for fire. If you tried to put out anything larger than a burning napkin with that little bucket you would be in sorry shape. There is no apparent supply of water with the bucket. What did they expect you to do, run off the boardwalk, over to the waves, and run back, one bucket at a time, to splash the fire out?

[Weren't fire buckets usually full of sand? - Dave]

Trim and Fit

A fantastic picture. Caught in mid-conversation, everyone seems so animated, even the onlookers on the benches. The men, as always, were in ties, sport coats and hats, even though it was probably summer. But what is really astonishing is that absolutely everyone in that picture is trim and fit, no fatties in sight anywhere that I can detect. Ninety-five years later, another picture taken in the same area would undoubtedly yield a broad selection of suburban New Jersey heavyweights.

Postcard View

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