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Home | About Us | Branches | Pt. Pleasant Beach Branch | Community Profile
Pt. Pleasant Beach Profile pt. pleasant beach branch

History  

Ocean 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 climate.

It 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.

Water 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 immigrants.

By 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.

During 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 livability.

During 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 developed.” 

Topography

Climate 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.

Commerce

The 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 downtown area.

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.

Tourist-related 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, and transportation.

The downtown commercial district includes restaurants and coffee shops, clothing stores, gift shops, beauty salons, two banks and several antique shops. The Point Pleasant Beach Chamber of Commerce is very active in promoting tourism and business in the community.

Transportation 

Two 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.

Area 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.

Community Organizations    

There 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 Point 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.

Because 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.

There are six churches in the area that offer a variety of Bible studies, support services, and recreational activities to their members.

Recreation and Entertainment

In 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.

The 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 year-round activities.

All 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.

Point 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.

Lifestyles

Point 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 attractions.  As a summer resort it undergoes large, seasonal shifts in population.  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.  Point 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 school. 

Single 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 single adults.  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 the community. 

Local organizations play a large role in the community culture.  The 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.

Communication

Local 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. 

Compiled by Robin Shader,
Former Branch Manager

 
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