The first inhabitants
of the area are thought to be Paleo-Indians, nomadic
the Lenni-Lenape Indians in the Woodland period
made seasonal visits to collect shellfish, fish,
beach plums, wild cranberries, birds’ eggs, and
perhaps even salt.
first Europeans to see the area were probably the
crew of Henry Hudson’s ship The
Half Moon, in 1609.
In the late 1600s, whalers from Long Island
and New England established outposts on the beach. By 1765, the area--cut in half by a 1758 storm—was known as
Squan Beach and Lord Stirling Beach.
Smugglers from the mainland preyed upon ships
entering the inlet.
were few permanent residents until the mid 1800s.
The Philadelphia/Long Branch Railroad, traversing
Camden through Toms River, across the bay and up
the peninsula to Point Pleasant, where a connection
could be made to New York, increased access by 1883.
Clamming, fishing, boatbuilding, and ice
provided early industries.
Life saving stations were established due
to the frequency of shipwrecks of vessels bound
for New York.
The Sea Side Park Hotel was established in
1875, with access provided by a hired yacht from
The use of the area for recreation increased,
and visitors from New York and Philadelphia were
Park was settled in 1876 and incorporated in 1898.
Mantoloking, a part of Brick, separated and
incorporated in 1911.
Lavallette incorporated in 1887.
Seaside Heights, originally part of Berkeley
Township, separated and incorporated in 1913.
residents meant the need for greater access.
The Mantoloking Bridge was constructed in
1914-1915, a wooden toll bridge was established
across the bay to Pelican Island into Seaside Heights.
The amusement park was built in 1935.
residents were eager for a permanent branch library. Bookmobile service existed, but customers wanted more.
As long ago as 1973, the communities of Seaside
Heights, Seaside Park, and Lavallette petitioned
the Ocean County Library Commission for their own
branch facility. In 1986, the Ocean County Library Master Plan detailed a building
program for eleven new branches in Ocean County,
including one in the Upper Shores region.
Plans could now go forward, but a building
site must be chosen.
In 1988 a Library Committee was appointed
to work with county and municipal officials to obtain
a suitable location.
properties were proposed and discarded before the
current site in Lavallette was chosen in 1990.
Groundbreaking was held on October 24, 1994.
During construction, the Friends of the Library
organization was formed, with the first officers
installed on October 2, 1995.
Opening for the Upper Shores Branch was held on
December 2, 1995.
During its first year, the library registered
2,600 customers and checked out 88,000 items.
The narrow strip of
land just off the coast of middle and southern New
Jersey is really a series of islands, collectively
known as the Barrier Islands.
The Upper Shores Branch of the Ocean County
Library serves communities occupying a twenty-mile
stretch of these islands, from Mantoloking in the
north, to Island Beach State Park in the south.
This area is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean
to the east, and Barnegat Bay to the west, and only
rarely exceeds a half-mile in width.
Composed of beaches and sandy dunes, the
area is ecologically sensitive and has long been
used as a summer resort.
residents continue to enthusiastically use their
library turned five years old in December 2000,
and celebrated with a week-long series of programs
funded by the Friends of the Upper Shores Branch.
First Branch Librarian Gail Bourque took
a well-deserved promotion and was succeeded by Rita
branch routinely circulates over 100,000 each year
and registers an average of fifty new customers
There are currently over 7,000 registered
The library houses over 26,000 volumes.
A Customer Service Satisfaction Survey conducted
in October 2000 indicated an overwhelmingly positive
degree of support from the community at large.
The library offers a variety of programs
for children and adults, Internet access, as well
as informational and popular reading materials,
books on tape, CDs, DVDs, and CD-Roms, and a staff
eager to assist customers with any questions they
are three preschools in the area:
ABC by the Sea in Seaside Park; Faith Lutheran
Nursery School in Lavallette; and Seaside Heights
Preschool in Seaside Heights.
The elementary schools feature all-day kindergarten.
Lavallette Elementary School holds classes
for students through 8th grade.
The Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School in Seaside
Heights and the Seaside Park Elementary School hold
classes through 6th grade.
are no secondary schools in the immediate area in
the immediate area.
Students in Lavallette attend Point Pleasant
Beach High School.
Students in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park
attend Central Regional High School.
Students in Ortley and Normandy Beaches attend
Toms River High School East.
Water is omnipresent
in everyday life.
Sailing, canoeing and kayaking, fishing,
crabbing, scuba diving, and swimming are all popular
activities, among the year-round residents and the
tourists who visit during the summer months.
People not actively engaged in water sports
still enjoy walking along the boards or upon the
is relaxed and casual.
Summers find the beaches and restaurants
crowded, but the locals take it all in stride.
Residents are active in yacht clubs, beach
associations, and in church activities.
People are civic minded and support area
First Aid Squads and Volunteer Fire Departments.
There is a strong interest in maintaining
a clean environment in the ecologically sensitive
areas of bay and beachfront.
Island Beach State Park offers a great opportunity
for birdwatchers and nature lovers to enjoy pristine
beaches, while Seaside Heights offers high-energy
amusements with rides, games, and arcades.
For the young people, scouting and baseball
provide group activities.
There are active senior citizens groups throughout
The Lavallette Heritage Committee plans a
variety of cultural and community events.
The largest of these is the annual “Lavallette
Heritage Day” festival, a daylong event held
each September featuring food, crafts, and community
There is an annual town-wide garage sale
Fireworks provide spectacular entertainment
each Wednesday night in July at the beach in Seaside
concerts are frequent on Sunday nights at the Gazebo
in Lavallette, and there are ongoing events at the
Carteret State in Seaside Heights.
The Friends of the Upper Shores Branch Library
actively support library programs, particularly
providing funds for special events for children
as well as adults.
Oakes, Branch Manager