ASBURY PARK, NJ — They’re the faces who represent the city, every bit as much as the landmark buildings, boardwalk or beach…the politicians and the preachers; the show people and the shopkeepers; the visionaries and the viewers of the grand parade. And, according to one area writer, they’re just the sorts of Locals who can be called Legendary.

A whirlwind tour through more than 140 years of local life…from the days of Founder Bradley, right up to the here and now…“Legendary Locals of Asbury Park” paints a group portrait of a small city that’s put a big stamp on the regional identity and the national culture. Scheduled for publication in the spring of 2015, the book will be an entry in the Legendary Locals series from Arcadia Publishing, the imprint famous for its Images of America volumes of hyper-local history.

Contracted to produce “Legendary Locals of Asbury Park” is Tom Chesek, a longtime correspondent for the Asbury Park Press, and a city resident who is based at the historic Stephen Crane House, where he serves as “writer in residence” and director of programming at the museum, meeting venue and community resource. As an associate editor of the news site — and a regular contributor to numerous local, regional and national websites and periodicals — he has interviewed and profiled hundreds of figures in the performing arts, publishing, business and public life over the course of a 35-year career.

For “Legendary Locals,” the author collects snapshots, in words as well as pictures, of the people who have given Asbury Park its unique character: The pioneers who planned a paradise (and a playground) at the edge of a fickle sea, and the true believers who sought, often against all odds, to make a year-round life in this city of summers. The generations of merchants, movers and shakers; the advocates on the front lines of social change, and the chroniclers who witnessed history. The entertainers, entrepreneurs and athletes who dreamed big in a little town — and the many famous visitors who made waves here and in the big carnival beyond.

The author is actively seeking photographs and other materials, regarding the many people to be profiled for this project — not only the famous figures, but the “everyday heroes” who played a prominent part in the life of a community. Images can date any time from the city’s founding in the 1870s to the present day, and can be in the form of photographic prints, printed matter (brochures, flyers, advertisements, record covers etc.) or high-resolution digital files of 300 dpi or greater. All “hard copy” materials will be scanned and returned promptly to the owner, and all images reproduced in “Legendary Locals of Asbury Park” will be properly credited, and used only with the express permission of the owner.


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“Whether you’re part of a family with deep roots in the city, or just one of the many people who have a great affinity for Asbury Park, we invite you to be part of this project,” says Chesek, adding “what distinguishes this series from other books is the focus on the living history here in the 21st century…we’re interested in your insights and input, as to the community leaders and public faces of Asbury Park; the ones who represent the city at its best.”

If you possess any “Legendary” images that you’d like to share for publication, contact the author at (732)361-0189, or at [email protected] for a “wish list” of materials — and follow the Legendary Locals of Asbury Park project on Facebook.  

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Avatar of Allan Dean

Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...