County was formed from southern Monmouth County
in 1850. At that time Point Pleasant was one of
the principal towns of Brick Township. In 1886,
Point Pleasant Beach separated from Brick and incorporated.
The years between incorporation and the turn of
the century were fundamental in the development
of the greater Point Pleasant area. Land developers
purchased large tracts of farmland and sold them
as commercial and residential lots. The area boasted
several selling points: woodlands for lumber and
boat building, location near waterways, and a healthy
was during this period that the commercial district
was established and public recreation developed.
Commerce was supported by railroad service and civic
improvements including a bank, the library, and
a fire company. Churches were built: Episcopal,
Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian. Recreation facilities
included Clark's Landing Amusement Park (1879) and
an early plank boardwalk.
was a major factor in the historical and economic
development of Point Pleasant Beach. Sport and commercial
fishing activities have been present throughout
the Beach's history. A Coast Guard station was established
in 1915. The 1920's saw the peak of commercial pound
fishing. These activities attracted many Scandinavian
this time, West Point Pleasant has separated from
Point Pleasant as an independent borough.
It was incorporated in 1920, and included
four-fifths of Point Pleasant’s land area.
Point Pleasant Beach then took on its identity
as a small borough (roughly one square mile) that
housed most of the tourist attractions.
the Depression, Point Pleasant Beach sold oceanfront
land to remain solvent.
Private owners developed bathhouses and pavillions
– the beginnings of beachfront enterprise.
The Works Progress Administration constructed
the sewer system and sidewalks, enhancing community
the 1950's, the area experienced a wave of development.
The Garden State parkway was completed in 1952.
The Route 35 bridge over the Manasquan was opened.
People who worked in urban areas and had summer
homes decided to establish permanent residence at
the shore. Census figures show a 150% growth from
1960 to 1980. According to the Borough's most recent
Master Plan, “Point Beach is essentially fully
and topography have intimately defined life style
for area residents. Water in a variety of settings
provides for boating, fishing, and swimming. The
small size of the inlets discouraged the development
of heavy industry, allowing the recreational use
of these waterways to flourish. A central location
on the eastern seaboard encourages seasonal use
of the area by nonresidents. Location along the
seashore has also determined the accompanying flat
terrain. This topography and the small size of the
community make all of its commerce and institutions
easily accessible. Pedestrian access is encouraged
by a well-maintained network of sidewalks.
The downtown commercial area, residential sections
along the Manasquan River, ocean areas within four
blocks of the ocean itself, and residential areas
east and west of Route 35 are the most prominently
defined neighborhoods. Even though these areas can
be uniquely identified, the overall size of the
community means that all neighborhoods are relatively
compact and closely linked.
dominant industries and businesses in Point Pleasant
Beach can be grouped into three categories: fishing
and boating businesses concentrated on Broadway
and Inlet Drive, tourist-related services along
the oceanfront, and the commercial district in the
commercial fishing industry is an important year-round
activity. Related businesses include sport fishing,
party boat services, boat manufacture and repair,
and fishing supply shops.
businesses are concentrated along the oceanfront,
and include restaurants, motels, boardwalk concessions,
an aquarium, and craft shops. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk (the largest employer in
the town) estimates that approximately 100,000 visitors
come to the boardwalk each summer. Clearly tourists
have a major impact on all aspects of community
life, most notably recreational activities, shopping,
downtown commercial district includes restaurants
and coffee shops, clothing stores, gift shops, beauty
salons, two banks and several antique shops. The
Pleasant Beach Chamber of Commerce
is very active in promoting tourism and business
in the community.
major arteries serve Point Pleasant Beach: Route
35 (north and south) and Route 88 (east and west).
The library itself is approximately two blocks north
by northwest of the intersection of Route 35 South
and the main downtown thoroughfare, Arnold Avenue.
public transportation is available. Bus service
companies make regular stops in the center of town,
and at the Point Pleasant Beach Railroad Station.
Train service is available on the New Jersey Transit,
North Jersey Coast Line. Taxi service is also available
in Point Pleasant Beach.
are a minimum of thirty-one groups based in Point
Pleasant Beach. Volunteer fire and first aid companies,
St. Gregory’s Pantry, and Coastal
Caregivers attend to community needs. Service
organizations include Rotary and Lions Clubs. The
Pleasant Historical Society affords many residents
an opportunity to research, preserve, and promote
the town’s past. The Point
Pleasant Beach Public Education Foundation raises
money for the support and improvement of the town’s
public school system. The Point
Pleasant Beach Chamber of Commerce promotes
the downtown business area and summer tourism.
Point Pleasant Beach is a long-established borough
and early population center, veterans groups and
a fraternal organization have facilities here to
serve area members. An American Legion Post, VFW
Post, Masons Lodge, and Elks Lodge are all located
within the boundaries of Point Pleasant Beach.
are six churches in the area that offer a variety
of Bible studies, support services, and recreational
activities to their members.
general, most recreation is linked to Point Beach’s
role as a seaside resort. The most widely known
area is Jenkinson’s
Beach and Boardwalk, which provides rides, games, restaurants,
a nightclub, an aquarium, and beach access. Sport
fishing boats are another popular attraction, and
these vessels also provide scenic cruises and trips
to view the fireworks.
Surf fishing and fishing off the inlet are
also popular with locals and tourists.
public recreation areas are Pleasure Park, the Arnold
Avenue Recreation Area, the G. Harold Antrim School
Recreation Area, and Gull
Island County Park & Conservation Area.
Other types of recreation and entertainment, such
as golf courses and movie theaters, are found outside
the local area.
There are no community buildings that support
age groups participate in the area’s typical
seasonal activities: swimming, boating and boardwalk.
Seniors are active in club and church oriented
events, including bus trips, quilting groups, and
lectures. Activities for youth are geared toward
elementary and junior high school ages: scout troops,
Little League baseball, Pop Warner football, basketball,
soccer, and the summer recreation program.
Pleasant Beach has several annual activities. One
of the most popular local events is the traditional
Seafood Festival in September.
It is a street fair held in the town center,
and features food, crafters, and general exhibitors.
The day after the Festival, the Lion’s Club
hosts the Annual Ocean Inner Tube Race and Parade.
On the last Friday night in June, July and
August, the town holds a Classic Car Cruise, which
also attracts large crowds.
Another very popular local event is The Festival
of the Atlantic, which consists of free concerts
on the beach in July and August, and are conducted
by Reverend Alphonse Stephenson.
Point Pleasant Beach has also hosted Offshore
Powerboat Racing for over thirty years.
Pleasant Beach is a small community both in population
and in physical size. Its traditional small town
center, with its accompanying friendliness where
everyone knows everyone, remains one of its chief
a summer resort it undergoes large, seasonal shifts
It is different from many of its neighboring
Ocean County communities in that it has an energetic
and viable traditional downtown business area.
This business area provides a cohesive social
and physical center for the community. Given the
town’s small size, its age, and its near full
development, there have been few opportunities for
the establishment of institutions. A U.S. Coast
Guard Station at the Manasquan Inlet was established
in 1915, and is still active. Educational institutions
are also few in number.
Pleasant Beach High School with a current enrollment
of 370, was ranked #38 in the state by New
Jersey Magazine (Sept. 2000).
The two elementary schools are G.
Harold Antrim Elementary, current enrollment
520, and St. Peter Elementary, a private Catholic
family homes account for the majority of housing
units in Point Pleasant Beach. A substantial number of multifamily units do exist including
condominiums and apartment buildings.
Numerous rooming houses provide homes for
The town has few vacant lots and this, coupled
with the river and oceanfront location of the community,
keeps real estate prices relatively high.
Apartments, smaller homes, and winter rentals
do bring a more complete spectrum of incomes into
organizations play a large role in the community
family orientation and the community spirit of the
town are well reflected in the considerable number
of civic, charitable, and social groups active in
Point Pleasant Beach.
news is covered most extensively in The
Ocean Star, a weekly newspaper based in the
community. Point Pleasant Beach news is also published
in the Ocean
County Observer and the Asbury
Park Press. These are daily newspapers, which
include council meetings and other newsworthy events
or special activities in their coverage.
Although there are
no radio stations based in Point Pleasant Beach,
several local stations broadcast in this area.
WOBM and WJRZ
from Toms River, B98.5 from Manahawkin, The Point
94.3 from Ocean Township, and WRAT
from Belmar, all cover Point Pleasant Beach events.
by Robin Shader
Former Branch Manager