PHOTO: “Sea Bright Beach” by Rumson artist Michel Jacobs, ca. 1940
FREEHOLD, NJ – The months of June through August mean a time of sun, fun, and outdoor activities at the Jersey Shore. Monmouth County Historical Association now features an exhibition that captures some of the various pastimes that were offered to visitors years ago during the summer season. Summer at the Jersey Shore opened to the public on June 15 and will remain on view through September. Museum hours are Tuesdays – Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Paintings, prints, and drawings dating from 1850 to 1940 illustrate such things as horse racing, sun and sea bathing, sport fishing, casino gambling, preaching on the beach, steamboats that served the shore, and shore landscapes. Artists represented include Alfred T. Bricher, George C. Lambdin, Winslow Homer, August Kollner, John W. Alexander, Theodore R. Davis of Asbury Park, and Michel Jacobs of Rumson. Scenes depict activities at Sea Bright, Long Branch, Monmouth Park, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Manasquan, and Cape May. Souvenirs displayed from Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, and Red Bank displays the types of mementos that shore visitors could purchase as a token of their summertime experience, either as a day-tripper or as an extended stay guest at one of the many hotels and boarding houses available in New Jersey’s coastal communities.
In many respects, shore visitors of the twenty-first century can take advantage of the same range of activities as those who enjoyed the area’s attractions in the nineteenth century, with a large gap in between. In 1894, New Jersey outlawed horse racing and gambling. In the intervening years, they have been restored. Horse racing returned to a new Monmouth Park in 1946, casino gambling to Atlantic City in 1976, and Governor Murphy placed the first bet under the new sports betting law at Monmouth Park on June 13. The sun, sandy beaches, saltwater fishing, social life, and easy access from Philadelphia or New York continue to draw thousands of visitors to the Jersey Shore each year.
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For more information, visit www.monmouthhistory.org.
Monmouth County Historical Association is a private non-profit organization that has been working to preserve history and provide educational opportunities since its founding in 1898. MCHA’s Museum and Library & Archives are located at 70 Court Street in Freehold. Museum hours are: Tuesdays – Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Library & Archives are open Wednesdays through Saturdays. MCHA maintains five Historic Houses Museums throughout the county which are open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from May 1 through September 30. For further information, please call (732) 462-1466 or visit the website at www.monmouthhistory.org. Monmouth County Historical Association received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.