Historical Vignettes

History is not only facts and figures, dates and names, times and places. History is also stories and memories and anecdotes of a time remembered. Lives of people - how and where they lived and how they influenced what followed them.

This section of the website is devoted to such stories and anecdotes related to Brielle. We gratefully acknowledge these contributions by borough historian, John E. Belding. The most recent entry is added first.

It Was Only Yesterday (1/09)

Ponder the following troubled Resolution adopted by Brielle Borough Council on January 30, 1934.

Historical Photo - Crowd of People in a Line"Whereas, under the provisions of the Tax Law (Revision of 1918) …. It is the duty of the Collector of taxes on the first day of each month or oftener if required by the Governing body of the municipality, to report his collections to the governing body of the municipality and to pay the amount collected to the Treasurer …. of the municipality …. and

"Whereas it is likewise the duty of the Governing Body of each such municipality to cause to be paid to the County Treasurer one half of the amount of County taxes required to be assessed and raised in such municipalities on or before June 15th in each year and on or before the 15th day of December shall cause to be paid to the County Treasurer the remaining one half of said County taxes, together with all taxes required to be assessed and raised by taxation in such taxing district for State School and other State purposes; and

"Whereas due to causes beyond the control of the Collector and this Governing Body, it has been impossible for the Collector of Taxes to collect sufficient funds to pay and satisfy the County and State taxes levied for the years 1932 and 1933, and it likewise being found impossible to borrow the moneys necessary to meet said taxes so due the County and State in said years, as a result of which the County Treasurer of the County of Monmouth has instituted mandamus proceedings before the Supreme Court to compel payment of the sums due from this Borough to said County Treasurer for County and State taxes and a hearing upon said application of said County Treasurer on a Rule to Show Cause has been fixed for February 8th next, and in order to avoid the expense incident to such litigation and with a desire to cooperate with the County and State government in an effort to realize said taxes so due and payable and to meet said obligations:

"Be It, Therefore, Resolved by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Brielle, the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Monmouth concurring in the terms of this resolution, that, of the amount of taxes and interest, if any, hereafter collected …. for the years 1932, 1933 and 1934, until said arrearages of County and State taxes for 1932 and 1933 have been fully met and satisfied, the said Collector …. shall deposit to the credit of the County Treasurer and subject to his immediate withdrawal in a place designated by this Council on or before the 15th day of each and every month the proportionate share of total collections of all County and State taxes and interest collected for the years 1932, 1933 and 1934 to the County and State and a report of the amount and place of such deposit of such …. taxes shall be forwarded by the Collector …. to the County Treasurer on or before the 16th day of each and every month until said County and State taxes in default have been fully met and satisfied."

So, who would not agree this drastic and far-reaching resolution portrayed a sense of desperation? It does provide some small indication of the ramifications of the Great Depression that had begun in October 1929. Our Borough finances were placed on a short leash in a frightening situation, as we were in essence technically bankrupt. Yet we did survive. The financial collapse of those years makes today's problems seem a picnic. To fully understand and accept that statement it would be required for the reader to have lived through that period when virtually no safety nets existed – no "bailouts" for one and all. The average family in those days would probably have had a party line telephone and many found it necessary to cancel service to preserve scarce family funds, saving maybe $1.25 per month. (Wonder if many – or any - cell phones turned in as yet to preserve scarce family funds?) The unemployment rate in those days topped 25%. Those who today importune the federal government to "do something" (maybe the miracle balm of higher taxes on "the rich"?), might possibly regret it later. Historians now agree multiple actions of the government back then merely prolonged and exacerbated the agony of the depression. In the bargain, the very nature of the relationship between individual American citizens and the Federal government was forever changed.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (10/08)

What were the issues and concerns surrounding the upcoming borough election exactly 70 years ago? On September 17, 1938 Councilman Leslie T. Knight drafted a letter "To the Voters of Brielle" seeking their support on two subjects which, in his opinion, were of real consequence. Les Knight was owner operator of the Dodge/Plymouth agency located on the corner of Union Avenue and Union Lane. (The building still stands and is now the sales room of Volvo marine engines). Possibly in your view those items which disturbed him do not appear as acute and divisive as those facing us today. Yet they were quite possibly of real significance to folks back then. Consider that $100 in those days was a considerable sum of money. He wrote the following:

To the Voters of Brielle: -

During the past ten years I have been honored and privileged to serve you as councilman. In recent years the co-operation of some members of the Council has been definitely lacking when it came to economy in the Borough expenditures. For instance, consider the Police Budget, which over my objection, has been pyramided up to the point where it now represents 24% of the amount of Borough expenditures to be raised by taxation. This is greatly in excess of the amount a municipality like this should spend. When the police car was purchased this Spring there was only one bid and I requested that the purchase be deferred until a later date. I am convinced that up to $100.00 could have been saved by a few weeks delay.

Another example of the inefficient result we are getting, was the awarding of the 1938 Garbage Collection contract. I objected, as there was only one bid at that time. Witness the difficulty we have experienced this summer.

Although I have always endeavored to merit your support, I have never solicited votes for myself. However, I feel I am justified in asking your help at the present time, so that I may have the assistance of able men in the interest of economy and efficient Borough operation.

Vote for these two public spirited citizens, Reginald N. Pearce and Wilbur A. Potter, who are interested only in the welfare of the Borough of Brielle.


Leslie T. Knight

It Was Only Yesterday (7/08)

Here is the story of an exciting "naval engagement" of the war of 1812 right here at the Manasquan River Inlet. In that time the inlet came in about where Main Street Manasquan is today. It then turned south parallel to and fairly close to the beach, thence meeting the river close to where Fisherman's Cove is today. This tale is recorded in Salter's History of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, N.J. as related by retired Judge John S. Forman about 1880:

"The American coasters hiding in the rivers and inlets were constantly looking for a chance to slip out and run up to New York with their cargoes of wood and material that were in great demand. During a storm I have frequently stood on the beach, and looking out to sea, have been unable to detect a single sail. It is then that all prudent navigators make haste to get out of sight of the Jersey Coast. It was on such occasions as these, that the little American vessels stole cautiously out of the inlet, and crowded all sail for New York. It was assuming great risk, but, if successful, they were sure of making a handsome profit on their cargo, and all were eager to take the chance.

"I was down in the meadow one day in July, 1813 when I noticed that a British brig that had been standing on and off shore for a number of weeks, had all sail crowded on, and was heading almost directly in. As the white foam curled away from her prow, it was easy to see that she was coming with great speed, or there was some mischief afoot. A glance northward told what it meant. Two of our sloops, after making the run into New York, were creeping down the coast, hoping to reach unobserved, when the brig sighted them and instantly spread every stitch of canvas for the purpose of cutting them off. Well knowing their peril, the coasters ran with desperate haste for Squan inlet, certain that if they could once get in there, all danger would be at an end. Thus all three were heading toward the same point, and at one time they were about equidistant. The sloops were much the faster, and had everything been favorable, would have effected their escape; but, when the turned to run into the inlet, the water was too low. There was a heavy thump, and, as the bows lurched upward, we could see that both were immovably grounded. The crews were in the boats in a twinkling, and in a few minutes later landed safely.

"The brig approached as close as was prudent, and then opened fire on the helpless sloops. The shots were well directed, and the hull and rigging were splintered and battered until it seemed as if they were totally destroyed. Some of the shots passed over the bluff, and struck a mile or two inland. They fell all about the house of Uncle Tom Kiel, and one of them, I recollect, just grazed the top of his barn and ploughed up the field beyond. They were not chary of their shots either, but kept hammering away at the sloops, until certain they were destroyed, they withdrew to watch for other daring coasters that might be prowling along shore. After they were out of the way, and the tide had risen, we got the sloops over the bar and up the inlet, where they were repaired and used for years afterward. Three thousand two hundred pounds of shot were picked up in the shape of cannon balls. I remember that we expected the British would land that night; and there were a hundred and eighty of us under arms, and on the lookout. We would have given a good deal to induce them to do so, but they were all very timid about venturing on shore, and preferred to drop a shot now and then upon us, from their men-of-war, or to land only long enough to steal a few cattle and make off again."

It Was Only Yesterday (4/08)

Once upon a time, in the dim dark past, life was actually more three- dimensional. This was before video games, and before kids (and adults too) seemed to drift into a coma-like stare at a computer or TV screen, large or small, while engaging in a bored and repetitive channel surf or endless computer games, or the stupor of blogs, or chat rooms, and before kids were preprogrammed for a constant flow of organized sports, day and night. There was an era, within memory of the more mature citizens among us, when there was actually time for kids to contemplate and be creative and innovative and think of constructive activities for themselves. Those simpler days may never return, at least not in the foreseeable future. Yet whatever happened to marbles, kit radios, jump rope, simple games like hide and seek, ring-a-leevio and kick the can? Little boys actually would "do" things or go down the cellar or into the garage to "make" things? In days gone by, kids by necessity had to be more creative and innovative.

Reflect on the many different ways kids' games and amusements have morphed and mutated over the years? For the better? It can be argued that youngsters really have no time to be kids today. There are highly structured athletic programs for all ages. Today kids can't just play, adult officials are required, and often lots of practice demanded even during school nights. Remember when kids merely congregated, chose sides, played ball or just hung out under the street light, "talking big", until supper time. Movies on Saturday afternoon, then kids talking about them on the way home, and reenacting in the back yard any exciting action. "Stay out of the house; your feet are dirty or muddy," etc. You were not even welcome in the house during the day to listen to the radio by the hour – no TV or video games back then. (Some may remember that while you were expected to go out and play, if it was a chilly day and you had taken a hot bath, you couldn’t go out for a while because your "pores" were open.) Wonder if open pores are a problem anymore?

The Borough Historian, being on earth longer than most of his fellow citizens, can remember constructing "buggies" (homemade racing cars) if wheels and axles could be found, (money was never available to buy things) and enjoying impromptu races on those local hilly streets in one's home town. In reviewing borough archives, it was noted that over 50 years ago here in Brielle, 1953 to be exact, local kids built soapbox racers which they raced under the auspices of the Brielle Fire Department and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The racers were required to adhere to certain standards, but otherwise the kids built and decorated them as pleased them. These soapbox derbies were held each year for about 20 years. Not quite so free and easy as back before World War II, but fun nevertheless with good kid participation. Of course back in the Borough Historian's day the activity was a bit more exciting if not more treacherous as the streets were not blocked off for the benefit of the racers. In later years with some adult guidance, safety was properly declared a factor and streets were blocked off for the races. The Borough Historian understands there are plans for our Fire Department to once again conduct soapbox racer competition here in Brielle for younger kids this September! Inside information indicates the races will be down Schoolhouse Road. All kids start as equals in this type of competition and able to enjoy the equalizing sport of racing as much as the next kid. One kid's coordination is about the same as another’s in this activity. And the thrill of actually making something and testing it out and maybe even being the first down the hill is exciting. This is primarily a local activity and open to each and every kid to participate.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (1/08)

Ever wonder about the status of law enforcement in Brielle 78 years ago? The situation was a bit less complicated back then. Note the Police Report dated December 30th for the year 1929.

"Investigations: 86

Arrests on warrants: 7

All Fires were covered

Local court cases: 19

County Court: 1 day

Co-operative cases: 27

Written warnings: 48

Accidents: 22

35.5 hours on extra duty, painting streets and special traffic duty.

53 lights noted out during summer night patrols.

8 dogs killed by cars or shot.

9 robberies reported, a lost child found in woods.

Another child twice turned over to police as lost.

2 stolen cars. 2 lost articles returned. 4 cases referred to State Vehicle Dept., 2 calls for First Aid. 3 rendered first aid., 3 Raids., 10 persons held and questioned on suspicion., 3 Rail Road Crossing accidents. 2 evenings and 2.5 days given to assist at out of town Parades.

Half day at Brielle Playgrounds closing exercises.

One all night patrol each week (mostly Sat. Nights) during summer.

Sunday afternoon traffic duty when necessary.

A few subpoenas and summons served.

Fines collected for State, County and Boro - $624.00 plus

Three raid cases still pending also assisted in state vehicle raid which netted $130 (half day)

Police car has been driven 3240 miles since its purchase in April.

Used 240 gal. Gas @ $44.85 other service cost $13.75 total of $58.60 an average of 13.5 miles per gallon at a total cost of 1.5c per mile. I have complete record of all above cases.

Would like to make the following recommendations:

1st The police car is in A-1 shape with these exceptions. It now should have a good coat of paint under fenders and running gears.

The windshield was hit by a stone while following fire truck to a fire making a small spot which has slowly cracked all the way across and may have to be replaced.

I would like very much to have a small spot light installed.

I do not feel that I should pay the minor repairs and service of this car another year, 1930. (If appointed to this office)

Signed ___Geo. W. Legg_____
             Geo. W. Legg
Chief of Police & constable"

In the report above, note that Chief Legg painted traffic street lines as part of his job. He also personally paid for all police car expenses. Also after being on duty all day, pulled a once per week all night patrol in the summer. What about gasoline at a little over .18c per gallon?

A couple of things to keep in mind: Just five years prior, it was noted, "the {two} police officers have done efficient service without compensation and at a loss to themselves financially." (Borough Council Minutes Dec. 17, 1924) On January 1, 1930, Councilman Borden moved an "ordinance fixing the Police Chief salary at $500 per annum and creating a Police Department." (Borough Council Minutes January 1, 1930)

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (10/07)

Almost exactly 120 years ago the following article appeared in the September 2, 1887 issue of The Sea Side describing the pace of life here for summer visitors. These vignettes were included in a regular weekly column known as "Crestdale Scribblings". The Sea Side was the precursor of The Coast Star. The Crestdale was an early resort hotel on the banks of the Manasquan River. There is a historic site marker indicating the location.

"There were several violent rainstorms during the week.

A veritable bull, or bear (or both) from Wall Street, New York, is among us making sad havoc of ladies' hearts.

Miss Mary Dunlap, of Danville, Ky., is a guest at Crestdale. From there she will proceed to Wellesley College, near Boston.

Mrs. W. V. Pearce and Miss Tillie S. Bird took tea Tuesday evening at the hospitable home of Mrs. E. L. Morris at Long Branch.

The chance callers at Crestdale on Monday evening joined the guests in an impromptu dance, followed by merry games, music and song.

There was a German at the Carteret on Saturday evening, led by Miss Semple and Mr. Louis Benson. The closing dance for the session is set for Saturday next.

Fishing at the inlet has been popular this week. On Tuesday Mr. Joshua Benson caught a fine mess. On Wednesday there were twenty boats gathered there.

Mrs. H. F. Hutchinson of Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn, and Misses Kitty, Evelyn and Florence Hutchinson, will be down from Seabright, today, visiting friends at Crestdale.

The hotels along the Jersey coast have been unusually crowded all season. Proprietors have had to refuse many applicants from Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and other cities. The cool wave has, however driven scores of persons to their city homes.

There will be a new yacht twenty feet long built for Messrs. Wheaton and Wilbur Smith by Mr. Bartie Pearce. He will also build one for Captain George Bailey, and perhaps another for Mr. Willie Flemming. Captain Rodney Clark contemplates building several new boats by next season.

Crestdale boasts a tiny pear tree which is in as luxuriant bloom as if it were early Spring. The unpromising willow twigs which were planted along the river some days ago by Captain Pearce and little Maggie Denny, are in thriving condition.

A most glorious picture greeted those who were fortunate enough to rise early on Wednesday morning. The silvery moon was still shining, the great, red sun was lighting the ocean and river as it slowly rose above the horizon, a brilliant rainbow spanned the heavens, and through all a heavy shower of rain poured furiously down.

The sun and moon are rivaling each other in tempting pic-nics by day and by night. On Tuesday evening a large party from the Union spent the hours from four to ten on the beach. They built a fire and swung the Gypsey pot. The result was a savory compound called cassambo, and peculiar to the Indian nation. Then a pot of coffee was made and a merry feast followed. One or two side issues of "coffee and pistols for two" did not materially mar the general happiness, and the moon looked gloriously down upon all. Wednesday afternoon the Frou Frou took parties from the Presbyterian and Baptist Sunday Schools of Manasquan to the island up the river, where they enjoyed a feast and such innocent games as were suited to a holiday in the woods. In truth it would require a daily sheet to report the outings and pleasurings among us since the scorching heat of Summer is abated."

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (7/07)

When your friends and relatives first learned of the location of Brielle, which is pleasantly situated on the Manasquan River, did these folks comment? Something like "how nice to live near a river, is there a nice place for the children to swim and play?" They may possibly have been contemplating and visualizing a sandy public beach with minimal wave action and undertow, where kids would be comparatively safe. So how do you reply? I guess the answer is really "no, we have no such spot". Kids or anybody for that matter cannot in truth swim at the end of Union Lane, nor dive off one of the marina docks. Debbie's Creek is rather shallow, even at high tide. True the folks who live in Brielle Shores, which is consists of Shore Drive and the streets up that way, have private access to the river off of Shore Drive, although not too much beach area. The end of the road on Donnelly Lane is really not too adequate. And for our town’s geographic location, does it not seem a bit of a shame there is no safe clean beach where kids, and families too, could hang out all day if they would like. Would it surprise you to know that we were once the proud possessor of a beautiful and popular beach? The borough owned a wide sandy beach, with sandy bottom maintained, on the Glimmer Glass. The tidal effect was gentle and there was a lifeguard on duty. In July and August, Brielle Recreation Department sponsored various water sport activities for the children, by age group. If they wished, kids could ride their bicycles to get there. You may wonder just how long ago this idyllic situation existed. Back in the nineteenth century? Maybe in the 1920s? The truth of the matter is this beach was in existence as recently as the 1950s, 1960s and into the 1970s. Check out the accompanying photos. Looks rather desirable. Families could picnic there. By the 1970s maintenance began to be neglected. It is rather an overgrown area at this moment, but still owned by the Borough of Brielle. You may wonder if such an amenity from only 30-50 years ago may be worthy of historical consideration or not. Yes it does from a quality of life standpoint. And remember history is nothing more than what people who went before us did. Some of which may be nice and some maybe not so nice. But such a beach is indeed a pleasing part of our history, heritage if you will. But it was one of those things that combined with other attributes, natural and people generated that helped make our town a truly desirable place to reside and raise children. This beach was reached from Magnolia Avenue where the borough owned land provided access. Perhaps at some time in the future, some nice history may be in the making and this area could be reclaimed to serve us once again. The Borough of Brielle still has ownership of this land.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (4/07)

Back in 1888 the children of this southern Monmouth County-Manasquan River area, a large portion of which now encompasses the Borough of Brielle, attended a two-room white clapboard school located on what became School House Road. Today the site of this school building is marked with a "Brielle Historic Site" sign. The school had been built in 1856 and was in continual service until 1918. (Of incidental intelligence, the entire lumber bill for this school building was $141.25.)  We were a section of Wall Township in those days and located in Laird (School) District 55. You will note, according to the following article from the Manasquan Seaside of May 25th, 1888, that then as now, top-drawer teachers were drawn to labor in our midst. Also it was evident the pupils were dedicated to their studies in those days and we hope the same continues to hold true today. The parents back then evinced concern and did involve themselves in their children’s education. They were willing to pay a premium to attract and hold a good teacher. Parents today have carried on this tradition. They too are willing to pay a premium to attract and hold "top-drawer" teachers. Here's the 1888 newspaper account:

"The Union School District, which should now be called the Brielle Academy, has reason to be justly proud of its management in the hands of Professor Carver. Children who did not know the alphabet in September are now in the third reader. The pupils and the parents are so entirely satisfied with the late principal that they will do all in their power to have him return to his post. There was no special preparations whatever for the closing exercises, and yet the little ones acquitted themselves admirably. There were prizes of money offered in the 'A' arithmetic and in the mental arithmetic classes. Misses Mary Brown and Fannie Wainwright tied in the former and received equal shares. Misses Mattie Hudson and Edith Irvine tied in the latter and were similarly rewarded. Parents are discussing the wisdom of making up an extra sum of money as an inducement, if there be need of any, for Professor Carver to return in the fall. The health of that gentleman has been impaired so that the citizens feel inclined to stimulate his energies in a special way, if feasible. He has started on a recuperating trip through the West. At his departure the children wept freely and grieved as if for some near and dear relative. From my own personal acquaintance with the rising generation of that neighborhood, no teacher could ask finer material to work upon, or expect greater promises from his labors. They have quick bright minds, and manners as polished as those of a city-dancing school. Truth demands this passing tribute."

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (1/07)

It's time for another "Did you know?" Therefore, did you know that back at the turn of the last century, there was a nationally recognized military school here in Brielle that catered to the carriage trade? No? A bit of background. The Brielle Land Association incorporated in 1881 had erected a fine new "Queen Anne style" hotel at what is now the corner of Brielle Avenue and Fisk Avenue (which in those days was called Park Avenue). After 2/3 owners, the building went up for sale and was purchased in 1895 by a D. Gerlach who established a school he named Gerlach Academy. According to his brochure, "The Gerlach Academy is incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey. The work of the pupils is at all times open to the inspection of the State Board of Education. The high character of the work performed by us as educators, and the excellent results obtained, have received the commendation and approval of the State Board of Regents." This institution remained in existence for about 20 years. One of his ads (Scribner's of April 1900) regarding this military boarding school states: "Prepares for American and European Universities. Located in one of the prettiest spots on the Jersey shore – truly an ideal spot for a boy's school." In larger print the ad goes on to state "We Will Take Care of Your Boys During Your Visit to Paris". Another advertisement indicates, "Getting ready for the battle of life includes something more than mental equipment at Gerlach Academy. It means the training of boyhood into noble manhood … surrounded with the most healthful condition…" Their brochure states "Brielle is one of the most healthy spots on the Jersey coast." We also learn "the school has its own electric plant, which lights the buildings and grounds." Further, "No instructor has at any time more that six pupils in his class." And "The younger pupils are at all times under supervision, which prevents the formation of bad habits." "The charge for board, room and tuition is $500 per year of twelve months. This sum includes care of underclothing, books, stationery and laundry." "The regular vacations are at Christmas and at Easter, when pupils are allowed to spend the holidays at home." On Thanksgiving, parents were expected to take dinner with the Headmaster, instructors and pupils at the school. Remember, this was a twelve-month school year. "Pupils must write at least once a week to their parents. They may write more frequently at their pleasure." Among the necessary personal items needed to be brought by the students are "four outing shirts without collars, six pairs of stockings, six pairs of cuffs, six standing collars and one napkin ring." "The School Uniform is of dark blue, with white stripes, and costs $14.00 - $16.00. Uniform Cap, $2.50. The school tailor makes this cap. During the summer the khaki uniform is worn."

Among the "General Rules and Regulations" we learn that Students must rise promptly at first bugle call (6:00 AM) and must fall in line in upper hall at second bugle (6:10 AM). "No talking is permitted when line is descending or ascending the stairs." "Lounging about the grounds or building will result in the forfeiture of recreation period." "No disobedience or insolence will be tolerated from any pupil."

Should any wish to review the entire brochure, regulations, photos of the school/ pupils, or seek further information; the Borough Historian would be pleased to receive a visit at his office in Borough Hall.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (4/06) 

The everyday events of life took place here, yes even back in 1849. We were Howell Township in those days. Below is a copy of a lease drawn up by a fairly literate person. Check out the annual rental figure!

April 2, 1849

This Indenture made this Second day of April in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred & Forty Nine ----- Witnesseth that I James Osborn of the Township of Howell county of Monmouth and State of New Jersey --- of the first part & Josiah Wainwright of the same county and state as aforesaid - of the Second part - do Lease unto the said Josiah Wainwright the one Equal half of a certain Dwelling House wherein James Cramman formally Lived together with one half the Garden & lot set off for said House for his own use and benefit thereof for the term of One year from the date hereof and the Said Josiah Wainwright doeth agree to pay in Quarterly payments therefore the yearly rent of Forty dollars and agrees to keep the premises in as good repair as they now are reasonable ware and tare only exception and at the Expiration of Said Lease to yield up the leasable possession thereof unto the Said James Osborn his Heirs and Assigns.

In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and Seals this day and year first aforesaid. Sealed and Delivered in presence of Josiah Wainwright & James Osborn.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (10/05)

OK folks; raise your hand if you know when we celebrated the first ''Brielle Day''. Give up? Well, our records indicate we enjoyed our 33rd annual get-together this year, the first Brielle Day having occurred in September 1973. Local lore states, ''It never rains on Brielle Day'.' True so far as over the years we have been blessed with fair weather. Once, in 1983, a Sunday rain date was established, but turned out to be unnecessary. None has been declared since. In early Brielle Days, activities started with a parade along Union Avenue then up Union Lane to Brielle Park. There were two bands, the Wall High School Band and a mummer's type string band. There were floats, dignitaries, emergency equipment, etc. After the parade, we enjoyed a town festival at the park. There were a number of crafters there, actually working in their crafts, i.e. chair caning, carving of decoys, etc. They no doubt had items for sale or would take orders. Local painters also displayed their work. Recorded music was broadcast to the crowd all day from the ''fair center'' where the disc jockey could also announce an event, lost kids, etc.
There were pony rides, pony cart rides, and a miniature train ride for the kids. Each local organization set up a table to advertise their role in town activities and would sell items to raise funds. Many organizations sold food. The library conducted a book sale, in the remains of the Loughran showroom. This structure was later incorporated into the new library. The Brielle Cyclery sponsored a bicycle race in the afternoon. It was mostly a local Brielle event although some other nearby residents or friends might join with us.

Changes and growth came along through the years. The attendance grew from a few thousand in the beginning to something in excess of 20,000 this past Brielle Day. As time went on, more and more crafters arrived to sell goods. The Union Landing Historical Society originally hosted them, but in later years the Brielle Woman's Club took charge of that event. For a year or two we enjoyed a sing-along of the old favorites accompanied by June Weiss at the piano delivered in a truck. One memorable Brielle Day, a NJ Indian tribe was invited to demonstrate some of their ancient customs. This included twelve of their braves sitting on the ground and playing war chants etc on a huge low drum measuring about 24'' in height and about ten feet in diameter. The sound could probably be heard for several miles. In olden days this could have made those of a different tribal persuasion somewhat nervous. The library has continued to sell books. For a time there were square dancing demonstrations.

Different contests and games for kids developed over the years. Since its inception, many groups have participated in Brielle Day including Bayberry Garden Club, Brielle Boy Scout Troop 63, Brielle Chamber of Commerce, Brielle Community Association, Brielle Cyclery, Brielle Environmental Commission, Brielle Fire Company #1, Brielle First Aid Squad, Brielle Library Association, Brielle Men's Club, Brielle PTO, Brielle Woman's Club, The Church in Brielle, Deborah Hospital Foundation, Jersey Shore Audubon Society, Junior Woman's Club, Manasquan Football Club, Manasquan-Wall Jaycees, Manasquan Kiwanis Club, New Jersey Chamber Singers, Ocean Artists Group, Manasquan River Group of Artists, Monmouth County Rifle & Pistol Association, Shiloh Baptist Church, Point Pleasant Hospital Guild, Riverview Seniors, Spring Lake- Brielle Rotary Club, St. Denis PTA, Union Landing Historical Society, Union Landing Woman's Club, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10103. Also for as long as anyone can remember, the Fire Company has provided rides on the fire trucks for the kids. This has also proved to be a popular attraction for dads many of whom insist on going. The fair continues to attract an even larger number of our friends and neighbors from near and far.

An added sidebar attraction the last few years has been the small antique auto show next door in the Storer's front yard. Since the 1980s, the day has begun with the well-known 10K Hill & Dale race in which a couple of hundred male and female runners participate. The day's activities, displays, and events have continued to evolve over the years, and it's always a pleasant day looked forward to by all.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (7/05)

The Matawan Journal of July 16, 1881 reported "a new station named Brielle has been opened on the Central Railroad below Manasquan". The station was located 6/10 mile south of the Manasquan station. Brielle station stop was the result of the efforts made by prominent New York and Jersey City businessmen who had newly formed the Brielle Land Association. They wished to provide train service for patrons of their new vacation development, which they had named ''Brielle". The New York & Long Branch Railroad, originally built by the Central Railroad of New Jersey, began operations in July 1875 opening an all rail route between Jersey City and Long Branch. The line was extended to Asbury Park at the end of August 1875, then to Sea Girt in the spring of 1876, to Point Pleasant in 1880 and to Bay Head by April 1882. The first station agent was Robert Hance. The June 23, 1882 issue of The Seaside stated, "the grounds around the station were being ornamented with shrubbery, flowers and gravel walks. This station was located on the SE corner of Brielle Avenue and Fisk Avenue. (A small portion of curbing for the station drive is still visible on Brielle Avenue). Also in 1882, an agreement was reached with the Pennsylvania RR for joint use of the N.Y. & L.B. tracks. Train service directly to Manhattan from Brielle on the P.R.R. began in 1910 with the completion of the construction of a RR tunnel under the Hudson River and the building of Penn Station, New York. P.R.R. subsequently extended their tracks from Bay Head, which then became Bay Head Junction, down the coast, over to Toms River and on to Camden, where ferry service to Philadelphia was provided. Thus from Brielle station in the early part of the 20th century, residents and visitors enjoyed train service to New York and Philadelphia.

Additionally, boat-train service was available from Brielle to Atlantic Highlands where the Sandy Hook steamers transported passengers to and from Manhattan. The steamers used Pier 10 at the foot of Cedar Street, continuing on to Pier 81 at the foot of West 42nd Street. According to the CRR timetable in effect as of June 23, 1907, 12 daily boat trains to and from New York stopped in Brielle. This was in addition to the all-rail service where for example, as per the timetable in effect September 30, 1934, one could catch the ferry at the foot of Liberty Street in New York at 5:10 PM to connect with the train at Jersey City, and arrive in Brielle at 6:58. Alas, in December 1946 P.R.R. service south of Bay Head Junction ended. The boat trains made their last run on September 6, 1941. During World War II the P.R.R. ended service to Brielle and in January 1949, Jersey Central service ceased.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (4/05)

A Look at a 1929 Letter from Mayor Powell March 11, 1929 Mr. Philip Shingler, Borough Clerk

Dear Sir:

I hereby Veto the resolution accepted at a meeting of the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Brielle held on Friday evening March 8th, 1929 which authorized the purchase of a Chrysler Plymouth automobile for use of the Police Chief.

The reason is we can purchase a Ford Coach for $591.00 fully equipped including chains and lettering, whereas the Chrysler Plymouth car would cost us $600.00 without extra equipment.

It being necessary to spend additional $75.00 or $100.00 to equip and letter same. As we are obliged to keep within the sum of $600.00 the first car mentioned would answer the purpose.

I am opposed to the higher priced Chrysler Plymouth car.

I am yours very truly,
Allan L. Powell, Mayor

So, do you think the Mayor made a good decision 76 years ago? Adding $87 (average of $75-$100) to the cost of the Plymouth puts that car at $687 vs. $591 for the Ford. This difference of $96 seems rather insignificant today. Yet to put into perspective, multiply any figure of those days by 25 for comparable costs today. The $96 in 1929 translates to about $2400 today. But also bear in mind the less expensive Model A Ford while very reliable, had only four cylinders, not as speedy as the six-cylinder Plymouth. However the record tells us the Ford was purchased, and served as the police car through December 1933. The department had just one car in those days.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (1/05) 

Check out the following. It’s an excerpt from the Borough Council Minutes of January 1, 1946. The author was Mayor Edward A. Carpenter.


To the Planning Commission:

For some years, I have felt the greatest need of our Borough, is a Community Center, to provide an adequate meeting place for all the Borough activities, social, religious, and fraternal. I strongly urge that your board suggest a site for such a building, giving thought to the future housing of all the Borough activities, together with ample parking spaces for any possible gathering which might use the facilities of the building. I further urge that when such a plan becomes an accomplished fact, that the center be dedicated as a war memorial to our boys and girls who served in the armed forces in the late war. You should develop an overall plan, which should contemplate the establishment of open areas as parks, playgrounds, and future parking sites in congested areas.

Back in 1946, Borough Hall was located in cramped space on the second floor of the old firehouse. Today's Borough Hall was the local school in 1946. And, Mrs. Mary Strong had founded a library at her home on Longstreet Avenue and personally administered it for 33 years until 1954. That was the extent of our public facilities. There was no place in Brielle to house religious activities. We were fortunate Mayor Carpenter articulated a vision and initiated leadership to establish those desirable public facilities that we now enjoy and take for granted. Good things do not just occur by themselves. The Mayor apparently had in mind just one center, but we ended with three plus a house of worship. First, in 1953, Borough Hall was established in much larger and indeed commodious quarters in the school following the construction of a new larger school next door. Brielle School has been enlarged twice since then, the latest just three years ago. Secondly, as there was no place for religious gatherings Brielle, the Reformed Church of America did organize a congregation here in 1957. And while local government did not institute it, the identified need was met. Thirdly 1970, the "park" now known as Brielle Park was added including our community center known as the Curtis House. The park was obtained through help from the Green Acres Fund, of the State of New Jersey. Jersey. In 1973, the meeting room portion of the Curtis House was added. The park was officially dedicated In September 1975. See the plaque on the stone at the walkway entrance. The park was rededicated this past Brielle Day by Mayor Nicol.

Then in 1990 the Brielle Public Library acquired its own building, previously having been located since 1954 in the basement of Borough Hall. The Mayor's 1946 facilities wish list has been realized and we enjoy an even deeper sense of community today in part due to his farsightedness. Yet, can you identify which portion of his Recommendation has never been enacted?

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (10/04)

Turn off the television, turn off the radio, turn off the cell phone, turn off the computer and set your mind back to the pace of life locally 117 years ago. Here's a neat article, a regular feature in those days, entitled "Crestdale" Scribblings from the September 23, 1887 issue of The Seaside, precursor of The Coast Star.

"The summer dwellers of the Hope Cottage left on Wednesday. The bathhouses of the shore cottages have all been brought in. Several horses in the neighborhood are ailing, Mr. Chas Osborn lost one. Mr. & Mrs. Jno. B. Cole and Mr. Wm. P Cole, of Brooklyn, spent several days at Crestdale*.

Nearly all the boats that but lately dotted the river with gay parties have been hauled into winter quarters. The Union** members of the Ocean Hill M.P. Church met with the Mite Society at Mr. Calvin Curtis's on Wednesday evening.

Green Peas are as sweet and tender as in early spring. Sweet potatoes are especially fine this season. Cantaloupes and grapes are plentiful and refreshing.

The air has been filled with the burning brick kilns in the vicinity till we have the Indian summer haze without its warmth and mildness.

Capt. Robert Brown took in the Philadelphia Centennial in all its glory, saw all the sights, heard all the sounds, and returned home a wiser and perhaps a happier man.

Mr. Louis Benson has charge of the plans for Mr. George Mohlman's new house on the river. It is to present ample porch room and will be built with an eye to summer comfort.

Miss Nellie Johnson, of Brooklyn, who has graced Crestdale* all summer with her beauty, winning manners and birdlike sounds, left on Wednesday for her home. It is needless to add 'we shall mourn her, we shall miss her'".

*There is a Brielle Historic Site sign marking the former location of the Cresdale House on Ashley Avenue. The seasonal hotel was originally constructed as a summer "cottage" for Captain Winant V. Pearce of Brooklyn. Correct spelling is Cresdale, the newspaper spelled it incorrectly.

**Union Landing vicinity was often referred to simply as The Union.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (7/04) 

(There was quite a bit of excitement in town back in July 1941, just 63 years ago according to the Asbury Park Evening News).

''BRIELLE - A clattering of exploding bullets brought Granden Pearce, who lives opposite police headquarters, on the run to his front window at 12:55 am today. No, it wasn't an invasion - only the police station going up in flames. Mr. Pearce quickly got a fire alarm sounded. He knew that if he didn't act fast not only all of the borough's police equipment would be gone but all of the borough's fire equipment would be burned up, too. Firemen racing to the scene got their fire apparatus out of the first floor of the building and then turned their attention to fighting the fire in police headquarters on the second floor.

Before the flames were extinguished damage of $4,000 had been caused, records were lost, police equipment was wrecked. The cause of the fire was either defective wiring or a short circuit in the police radio receiver, Police Chief George Legg said.

According to Howard M. Folk, president of the fire company, flames ate thru the metal of headquarters but only scorched roof beams in the attic overhead. A metal ceiling over the fire engine garage withstood the flames and when firemen arrived the entire building was filled with smoke and one of the borough fire engines had to be pushed from
the garage when it failed to start.

The Chief reported that Patrolman John Rogers had come on at midnight to relieve Officer Shern Pearce who had been on duty since 4 o'clock. Rogers was taking Pearce home when he heard a series of explosions, which they thought 'was some wise guy shooting fire crackers'.

At the same time the borough fire whistle sounded and the officers rushed to the firehouse to find the police station ablaze. The exploding ammunition was credited by the Chief with preventing the complete destruction of the building. The Chief said that there were over 100 rounds of .38 caliber loads on the desks in headquarters.

The ammunition had been given to the Chief several days ago by Officer Rogers when he found it would not work in his weapon. The Chief said he had forgotten to take the bullets home.

The Chief said this morning that the department will be without a headquarters for several days and any emergency police calls will have to be made to WX3360* and then relayed ,over the county radio to the patrol car. The damage was chiefly by smoke and water. The loss is covered by insurance.''

*A WX call was the precursor of 800 numbers.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (10/03)

The Beginning of the Manasquan River Golf Club

On September 8th, 1922, an organization then bearing the name "Manasquan River Golf & Country Club" filed its first corporate certificate at the Monmouth County Clerk's Office in Freehold. The club was founded through the efforts of its charter members, Howard Folk, Edwin Isham, Tosso Fisher, Peter Bochus, George Duvoll, Bancroft Gheradi, E.F. Emerick, Matthew Marcellus and William VonPlanck.

The Corporation acquired the "Old Charles Osborn Farm", an area of about 145 acres of wooded rolling hills and fertile pastures that sloped to some 1800 feet of waterfront on the Manasquan River. The purchase price was $60,000 and 200 shares were reported to have been subscribed to at $500 each. Edwin Isham donated an additional 6 acres, located near today's first green and second fairway. A creek and a series of small ponds border the area.

A ridge, crossing from the present third tee through the 11th fairway, is reported to be the highest point on the eastern coastline between Atlantic Highlands and the ocean dunes in North Carolina.

The attractive two-story brick farmhouse, built in 1822 by Lt. Abraham Osborn, became the first clubhouse. Today it is that portion of the clubhouse on the left when viewed from the road.

The first nine holes were fashioned from swampy lowlands along the river and opened for play on July 22, 1924. Robert White, well-known architect and professional golfer, constructed them at a cost of $26,000. A native of St. Andrews, Mr. White designed or remodeled many courses in the eastern United States. In 1926, the second nine, carved from the Scotch heather and laurel-laden ravines and elevated forests overlooking the river, opened for play. The original plans called for tennis courts and a large marine complex on the river. The marina was never constructed and the tennis courts, while built, were only temporarily maintained and later became the practice range.

The young club filed for bankruptcy during the Depression but was rescued through the generosity of Lee Bristol, of Bristol Myers. He agreed to underwrite all debts, without interest, until the club reorganization in 1935 as the Manasquan River Golf Club.

The first of many changes and improvements was the construction of a large multi-purpose room with a cathedral ceiling, massive hand-hewn beams and a huge fireplace. The room was modeled after the American Room in the Museum of Natural History, New York.

In 1941, the annual dues were $50, which included full privileges of the club and course for one child less than 21 years of age.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (7/03)

Here are some neat memories committed to paper by Grace Dalrymple O'Malley Molman. She married first Frank Ward O'Malley, the well-known writer who was associated for many years with the New York Sun. They lived in the stone house on School House Road in Brielle. She later married a George Molman following the death of O'Malley. She became a widow for the second time and died well past age 100. In her later years she lived on Holly Hill Drive.

"The first time I came to Brielle was in 1901. At that time I was 10 years old - not old enough to be one of the 300 voters. I visited my relatives, the Noes. The Noe house is now the Colabellas' and the site is Hoffman's Boat Yard on Green Avenue. Directly across the railroad tracks, also fronting on the river, was Bart Pearce's boat building shop.

For light - in those days we had candles and oil lamps. For water - it was a hand pump in the kitchen. Each bedroom had a wash bowl and pitcher. Outdoors, a three-holer surrounded by cedar trees took care of that.

For warmth and cooking, there was a coal stove in the kitchen, which also warmed the dining room. A pot-belly stove in the living room and another small pot-belly stove in one of the bedrooms. The other bedrooms were warmed by carry-around kerosene stoves at bedtime and morning dressing time.

For transportation - it was walk or ride a bicycle. For special errands one hired a horse and wagon. To get to Point Pleasant, we rowed or sailed to Clark's Landing where there was a trolley car that went to Bay Head. Also at Clark's Landing there was a merry-go-round and ice cream for 5 cents a plate.

For swimming, we towed or sailed to Point Pleasant Inlet Beach.

For marketing - grocery, vegetables, fish and meat, wagons came to the house every day or so, and one could give an order for the next time around.

The telephone in Brielle was in the Post Office. The Post Office was situated in the Union House at the foot of Union Lane (the salt works spot).

We did have an icebox, which was filled with huge cakes of ice. This ice had been cut the previous winter at McGreevey's Pond.

The roads were dirt or sand, a bare space in the center where the horses' hoofs wore it down, and two outside bare lanes where the wheels rolled, with weeds growing in between. During rainy spells and in the spring, the roads were a sea of mud.

Progress sets in -

By 1903, we had a windmill to pump water and a bathroom and a one-cylinder car for transportation.

Brielle was quiet and natural in the days I have described. It sounds like hardship living, but the 'Good Old Days' were really good.''

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (1/03) 

Here is an item from the Asbury Park Press on February 16, 1914. Recall the Union House was mentioned in the last Brielle Bulletin.

"Historical Hotel at Brielle Destroyed"

Union House, once home of Robert Louis Stevenson, burns with loss of $100,000.

Occupants Flee in Night Clothes

BRIELLE, Feb 16: Fire early yesterday destroyed the Union House, a historic hostelry on the shore of the Manasquan River, entailing a loss of $100,000. The hotel was the home of Robert Louis Stevenson, (month of May, 1883), while he wrote the greater part of "The Master of Ballantrea".

Awakened by the crisis of their infant son, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley V. Wainwright were startled at seeing the room lighted by darts of flame coming through walls and floor. After helping his wife and children to safety, Mr. Wainwright ran back and upstairs where his mother lay asleep in a rear bedroom. He carried her out also, next arousing Amanda Anderson, a servant who slept in an adjoining room. The girl, by stopping to gather her clothing, was nearly cut off from escape.

Mrs. Wainwright ran with her child through the cold over ice and frozen roads to the home of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Folk, who gave them shelter. Clad only in his night clothes, Mr. Wainwright ran half a mile to the firehouse and sounded an alarm. It was soon seen that the local department could not cope with the fire, so a call was sent to Manasquan.

Chief William H. Ruf of the Manasquan department responded with members of the Manasquan Fire Company, but refused to permit any apparatus to be taken to Brielle. He was hooted and jeered on his return, after the destruction of the hotel.

So intense was the cold, that at one time the Brielle Fire Engine froze, with the result that it had to be hauled closer to the burning structure to get it in working order again. By hard the firemen managed to save the store and post office building only a few steps away.

Priceless autographs, which hung on the walls of the Union House, were destroyed. The room in which Stevenson wrote the closing chapters of "the Master of Ballantrea" was always kept as a literary shrine.

Before bridges were built across the Manasquan River at this place, the Union House was the connecting point for stage lines from the north and west, passengers being ferried across the stream.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (7/02) 

On the river at the foot of Union Lane, at Union Landing, a resort hotel had been erected sometime after 1850 by Captain John M. Brown and called the Union House. *Over the years, this inn became a favorite vacation spot for many, including well known artist and authors. In April 1888, Captain Brown's daughter, Adelaide Wainwright, then managing the hotel with her husband Henry, received a letter from Mr. Will H. Low, artist. He requested that the inn might accommodate a friend of his, Robert Lewis Stevenson, along with some Stevenson family members for the month of May, notwithstanding the hotel would not as yet be open for the season.

In an interview years later, Mrs. Wainwright stated, "they were always glad to comply with Mr. Low's requests. Artists and authors were not uncommon visitors in the old home whose roof had sheltered such". The proposed guest was just becoming well known. She went on to reminisce: "At the time he was with us, his wife was in San Francisco arranging for a trip to the Pacific. The family coming to the inn consisted of Stevenson, his stepson Lloyd Osborne and (the family's French maid), Valentine (Roch). The month of May in that year was particularly one of fogs and damp weather, but there were many bright days, and on such, Stevenson, wrapped in his long dark cloak would take lengthy walks, usually beside the river or across the bridge to Point Pleasant, sometimes with Osborne sailing in his hired boat. On damp days he would remain in the house - more often in his room - doing much of his writing in bed; at such times he would have around him a Mexican blanket having a hole cut in the center to slip over his head, thus protecting from any drafts which might otherwise be felt. A little grate fire in the corner of the room gave added cheer. While here, he was writing "The Master of Ballantrae".

I recall the bright Sunday when Saint Gaudens, the sculptor, came down from New York to model the hands of Stevenson for his medallion. The little son of Saint Gaudens came with his father and Mr. Stevenson was delighted with him. Charles Scribner, at that time his New York publisher, also visited him, and spent at least one night with him. Numerous telegrams passed between Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson relative to the plans for their anticipated trip. I recall one sent to Mrs. Stevenson, because it cost eight dollars.

On the morning he left for San Francisco, via New York, he wrote the following lines in my little daughter's album:

'Little girls should take and tackle their pianos Early in the morning as I like to hear you do, Stick to early rising, and the various other virtues, Looking out for early folks will come and stick to you'.

He left our home on May 28, 1888."

*(The Borough Historian has the full interview in his files. The location of the Union House, which burned down in 1914, was about where the Sand Bar Restaurant is today.)

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (4/02)

It is apparent that wars, rumors of wars and depredation have not been unknown to residents of our area in years past. You may recall that there was once a large salt works located in the vicinity of the Union Landing (foot of Union Lane where there is today a sign marking this historical spot).

Here is what happened there on April 7th, 1778 as reported by the New York Gazette & Weekly Mercury. As you review this article bear in mind how important salt was for the preservation of food in those days. In addition, we had believed over the years that the raiders burned all the houses in our area (with a single exception). From the tenor of this article it would appear that the word "houses" might actually refer to salt boiling sheds and not residential homes.

"New York, April 13. Last Tuesday arrived Captain Robertson, of the 35th Regiment, from an Excursion on the Monmouth Coast, with the pleasing account as follows. That on the 4th Instant, Capt. Potterfield of the 71st Regiment with a Detachment of 150 men, sailed from New York in three small Vessels, under the Convoy of the armed Sloop George and proceeded to Sandy Hook, where they were joined by 40 Marines and Provincials. On the 5th in the Morning they sailed from the hook, under the command of Capt. Collins of the Fowey; at eight o'clock of the same morning arrived off Squam, where the troops landed and marched up to some very considerable Salt Works, erected there by the rebels, which they entirely demolished. There could not be less than One Hundred different houses, in each of which were from six to ten coppers and kettles, for the purpose of boiling salt; one of the houses (which belonged to congress), cost 6000 1. Besides demolishing the above Works, they destroyed immense Quantities of Salt, Beef, salted and dried Hams, sides of bacon, flour, corn and hay. They brought off a sloop belonging to Boston, partly loaded with flour, and at three o'clock in the afternoon re-embarked without opposition"

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (1/02) 

The Borough Historian, admitting that we indeed live in perilous time, calls your attention to the fact that that this was also true fifty years ago. While circumstances differed, keep in mind in those days we were engaged in the Korean War, the Chinese army was about to sweep in and engulf our troops there, the Soviet Union had obtained the atom bomb, the Cold War was in full swing, nuclear holocaust was feared, fallout shelter were much in the news, air raid sirens sounded every Monday afternoon and children had to practice "duck and cover" drills in school.

Take a look at some news items copied from the front page of the Friday, January 5, 1951 edition of The Brielle Times, a newspaper published here for a few years after World War II.

*WHEREAS, Executive order has established a New Jersey Civil Defense Plan, and

WHEREAS, Each citizen of this Community has a responsibility to aid in National Security, and

WHEREAS, Many volunteers are needed for the various services requisite to Civil Defense

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Reginald N. Pearce, mayor of the Borough of Brielle, do hereby proclaim the week of January 7 thru 13, 1951, as CIVIL DEFENSE WEEK and urge all residents to volunteer their services in any of the local organizations of the Defense Plan, namely auxiliary firemen, wardens, rescue, road clearance, and Red Cross groups.

Given under my hand and Seal of the Borough of Brielle this 27th day of December 1950.

Reginald N. Pearce


Sauer Rejoins Ship at Norfolk

Robert W. Sauer, F.A.U.S.N. who recently graduated from the United States Navy Training Base at Great Lakes, Ill, has returned to Norfolk, Va. where he is stationed aboard the U.S.S. Seneca. He was home on a New Years leave, which was spent with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry C. Sauer, Manasquan Avenue, Brielle.


Brielle Breezes

Warren Pearce started this morning for Lincoln Memorial College in Tennessee, taking three other boys. Ted Burlew, Jr. helped out with his car, sharing with the boys and baggage. Robert Sanders, a grandson of Mr. and Mrs. George Sanders, who attends the University of Virginia, came north with his wife to spend Christmas with the Sanders on Cherokee Lane.


European Defense Is Slow Moving

(Story followed)

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (10/01) 

The Borough Historian does not feel that 1959 was that long ago, although others may disagree. Anyhow, here's what was happening around our town according to the October 1, 1959 edition of The Leader of Point Pleasant, under the heading of "Brielle Doings". Recognize any of these names from "yesterday"?

Brielle Little Theater Group is busy rehearsing three nights a week for the musical comedy "Roberta" which will be produced November 20 and 21 at Brielle School for the Brielle scholarship fund. Mrs. Gloria Sacco Morro will play the lead.

Mrs. Leona Hurt of Woodland Avenue was guest of honor at a surprise birthday party September 20 arranged by her son Clifton and Mr. and Mrs. Booker Kenney. Special surprise was the arrival of her cousin Mrs. Ardena Fice of Chicago and Mrs. Ella Eve of Atlantic City....... and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jones of Brielle.

G. Gerard Barnett 3rd, son of G.G. Barnett of Sycamore Lane, spent his 19th birthday on Sunday at Duke University where he is a freshman.

Mrs. Michael Tornillo of Leslie Avenue was feted at a family dinner on Saturday at the home of her parents Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Cortese of Lake Avenue. Also present were Mr. Tornillo and Mark and Tom, and Mrs. Tornillo's aunt Miss Kay Lennon of East Orange.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Patterson of Locust Lane celebrated their anniversary on Monday at Buck Hills Falls Inn.

There were birthday greetings in the freshman class on Tuesday for the 14th birthday of Barbara Williams, Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Williams of Cedar Crest drive. Patsy Meyers was dinner guest to mark the occasion.

Mr. and Mrs. Milton O. Hull and their daughter Mrs. Franklin C. Hill of Riverview Drive returned this week from a trip to Bermuda.

Weekending with Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Stires of Cardeza Avenue were Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lannon and daughter Helen of Yonkers and Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Baltz of Thousand Islands, NY.

Philip Voorhees, son of radio announcer William Voorhees and Mrs. Voorhees of Fisk Avenue, shared his one-candle cake with brothers Peter and Paul on Monday.

The Old Cedar Inn, Toms River, was celebratory spot for Mr. and Mrs. Harry Speicher of Leslie Avenue for Mr. Speicher's birthday on Sunday. Speicher is owner of Hollyberry Gift Shop in the old Brielle Post Office, Green Avenue.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (7/01)

There are those who contend the "good old days" were "better", especially for children. (Although we might refute that from a medical point of view). But all things considered, and not to put too fine a point to it, what's your opinion? Travel back a bit in time via the following newspaper stories from The Sea Side, precursor of The Coast Star.

The Sea Side Friday, July 28, 1882. "The Manasquan River at this season of the year presents a really charming appearance. Its smooth waters flecked with the white snails of numerous boats, the happy and pleasure-seeking fishing parties dotted here and there, the beautiful and picturesque scenery along the banks, and with the joyful sound of music and the ringing laugh of happy children coming from the hotels and cottages along shore tends to make it one of the most delightful places for a days enjoyment.

The Sea Side, Friday, July 9, 1886. "A small and select company of young people in town accepted the kind invitation of Capt. T.S.P. Brown and indulged in a quiet sail on the Manasquan on Monday evening last. After several hours of enjoyment on the water the company visited the pleasantly situated residence of capt. Brown, where ice cream and other refreshments were served in abundance. The Capt. is full of such tricks.

The Sea Side, Friday, June 24, 1887. The children who labored so patiently to make the recent fan Drill a success, were treated to a picnic at Crestdale* on Tuesday. As they skimmed along the river in the gay boats, passengers at the windows at the train that dashed across the bridge were greeted with a vision of rare innocence and beauty. With their hostess among them, a child herself for the time being, they played upon the lawn, chased each other along the galleries, and limbed to the tower whence stretches a lovely view of land and sea. Then a feast in the summer-house and a drive back home in the farm wagon with flags waving and fresh young voices stirring the echoes in song. Happy Little Ones! What future is written for them on the scroll of time?

*The Cresdale House was a small hotel located on the Manasquan River.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (4/01)

Or was it the day before - when a ride up or down Holly Hill Drive would have revealed a small forested and overgrown area at the curve in the road. A sign proclaims this is the location of the historic Osborn graveyard, although not long ago this graveyard was barely noticeable from the road. The members of the Union Landing Historical Society, as well as many community residents, and indeed others in Monmouth County, had become increasingly distressed over the continuing deterioration of this ancient graveyard (21 known burials between 1822 and 1868). It was feared this bit of history would disappear forever if remedial action were not taken. One of the graves, previously marked by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1935, contains the remains of Revolutionary War Soldier Lt. Abraham Osborn. A pre-meeting field trip to the graveyard by the Union Landing Historical Society, on April 30, 2000, removed any doubts regarding the serious of then-existing conditions. At least one other small, private family burial ground in Brielle had already been lost to "progress", as indeed have many throughout the country and state. It would have been shameful to not save, protect and secure our last one.

Upon reconvening at the Curtis House, a draft copy of a Restoration Proposal was distributed which set out methodology for handling the proposed restoration project, was distributed to Society members. All were instructed to review promptly and suggest any refinements needed. Following this feedback, a finished Proposal was promulgated, given to each Society member plus a copy to Brielle Mayor Tucker Nicol and one to Borough Administrator Thomas Nolan. This constituted a blueprint for forward movement including methodology for keeping all - the official borough family as well as interested persons - informed of future restoration progress. Thus, Society members committed themselves to this formidable task.

The Proposal Mission Statement proclaimed the Society's goal to restore and preserve a site of local historic consequence and importance, and to utilize that proposed experience to stimulate public interest in, and help further an understanding and appreciation of, our local heritage. In addition, the project will serve to re-establish respect and restore a sense of quiet dignity for this too long neglected final resting place of departed members of a prominent local family. Our endeavor will assist in portraying the significance of ancient graveyards and this one in particular. There is acceptance that the vast majority of burial ground restoration projects nationwide are successfully handled by concerned and educated local citizens relying on advice and counsel of qualified professionals - in person, via publications and through the internet.

We accepted our authorization to embark on the task from Chapter 294, Laws of 1983, sections C.40:10B-1 through C.40A:4-45,18. This Law, "Historic Cemeteries Act", noted that "many... historic cemeteries... have fallen into disrepair, disorder and decay. The legislature, therefore, declares that it is altogether fitting and proper, and in the public interest, to enable local governmental units to assist in the restoration, maintenance and preservations of such cemeteries". Upon our request, the official family of the Borough of Brielle promptly and graciously offered "to assist in the restoration..."

Thus supported, our first task was to locate and identify all boundary markers. Local surveyor Charles O'Malley generously handled this undertaking as a community service.

The first tangible expression of Borough assistance included extended help from the Department of Public Works handling removal of trees and underbrush. This was accomplished with exemplary cooperation from Tom Nolan, Borough Administrator, Bill Burkhardt, Superintendent of Public Works and Bob Mac Arthur, Asst. The Society contracted with Falkenburg Tree Experts to remove seven large trees. All work was handled under the auspices of the designated Project Director, at that time also the Union Landing Historical Society President.

Once the land was cleared, the complexity of the remainder of the task became apparent. Every gravestone, with the exception of that which marked the grave of Lt. Osborn, was partially or completely broken, some in as many as six fragments. Most were scattered and many pieces buried or missing. The challenge was to attempt to match up the broken pieces, then locate where each headstone (and some footstones) were originally located. It developed that virtually all stones had been broken off at ground level, or just below, and over the years almost all were covered by soil and no longer visible. The Society commissioned the blacksmith at Allaire State Park to produce three iron probes, and with these we probed the ground, inch-by-inch, searching for the lost buried pieces of headstones. By good fortune we discovered that most of the broken off sub-terra pieces were still upright in the ground. As we located them, we made each plumb, then made a determination as to which grave it represented. Ernest Reed had reaffirmed an inventory in 1945 and we had a copy of this. While he did not use a numbering system or draw a map, he did list the graves pretty much in a certain order, and this enabled us to begin to understand with fairly close accuracy where each grave was located, and where we might reasonably find that part of the stone which was broken off in the ground. And of course, prior to reattaching all broken sections, it had to be determined that all pieces fit together perfectly to be sure we were reconstructing a single headstone, and not attempting to put together one from the pieces of two or more stones. We were able to find all pieces from the headstones of 18 of the 21 graves and cement together with epoxy cement. The final three required more reconstruction work as significant pieces are missing. We have made use of and have received excellent advice from professional associations of which we are a member, the Internet and local professional contacts. Ed Burke, Supt. of Old Tennent Burial Ground, and Ed Convery of H.T. Hall, were helpful in matters of gravestone restoration.

While probing for buried stones, an old foundation of brick and mortar, not listed in any of the inventory of graves, was discovered in the exact center of the burial ground. It measured 3'x3'x2' deep. It is assumed this may have been the foundation for some type of monument, which apparently had been removed years ago, if indeed it had ever been completed. The bricks used are of an antique variety, possibly manufactured locally.

As restoration progressed, the Society made the decision to erect an iron fence around the perimeter of the burial ground. The fence was to provide site security, plus make a visual statement of the existence of this historic graveyard. For aesthetic qualities, black "wrought iron" of mid nineteenth century design was deemed appropriate. A map board is placed to the right of the gate showing location of all graves, plus headstone inscriptions. The bricks in the walkway leading to the gate were acquired in 2002 from the demolished Manasquan Borough Hall. That building had originally been erected as a school in 1880. See postcard photo on map board.

Those buried here include Lt. Osborn and his wife Elizabeth. Also, the three wives of his son James: Elizabeth, Hannah, and Jane, all who died at an early age. In addition, 13 of James' children are buried here, from ages one day through childhood and young adult. There are also three relatives buried here, Elias Burge, age 11, and James and Jane Goble. The Gobles lived on or near what is now Ramshore Drive, Wall. In July 2002, the Society contracted with USRadar to handle ground radar inspection of the graveyard to determine whether there may be any unmarked graves. Seven were located and are now marked. It is believed one is the grave of James, and the other a married daughter Catherine Elizabeth Osborn Collins. Five others are a mystery at this time.

The Historical Society will be happy to arrange tours of the graveyard. School children and adults are encouraged to visit and become supportive. We continue to reach out for community involvement and we seek to add to our knowledge regarding this graveyard, and of those buried here. And if you would like to learn more about the family, or may wish to contribute financially to the project, the Union Landing Historical Society would be pleased to hear from you. Many have assisted with the physical rehabilitation and your assistance would also be welcome. You may contact John Belding, Project Director & Brielle Borough Historian, at (732) 528-5867.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (1/01) 

Would you like to hear a heart warming story of a romance from days gone by? Here's one that was reported in the Asbury Park Evening Press on Thursday January 30,1913.

Wedded While on Trip to Florida

Mrs. Anna Wilson became Bride of Capt. Ralph T. Pearce at Daytona Brielle, January. - "Well, I'm tied down at last".

That was the message that came into Brielle from Florida yesterday and confirmed the believe of many that the "getting tied down" was the real motive for the trip south which Capt. Ralph T. Pearce made as the skipper of the yacht Vagabond. Pearce, who is a son of Capt. S. Bartley Pearce of this place, found good railroad accommodations between Jacksonville and Daytona where Mrs. Anna Wilson was spending the winter months with her father, William Reed, a summer resident of this place. There isn't much more to tell except that they eluded their watchful friends and the Reed home and skipped off to the minister's and then to New Smyrna, where they are now honeymooning.

The wedding, which took place last Saturday, is the culmination of a romance of the riverfront here. The Reeds occupied the Smart cottage next door to the Pearce home last summer and it was here that Capt. Ralph succumbed to the bold Cupid's arrow. Mrs. Pearce's first husband was Fred Wilson, a lineman for the New York Telephone Company, who was electrocuted at Spring Lake a few years ago. She has one daughter, Caroline. Word comes from Florida to the effect that when they have finished their sojourn at New Smyrna they will go back to Daytona and occupy the Reed cottage. The Reeds intend to return to Brielle next week.

[JB's notes: Ralph Tyson Pearce was born September 6, 1887. He subsequently became inspector of state bridges. He was a member of a well-known family many of whom were long active in community affairs. The family name is noted, for example, by Pearce Lane and Granden (Pearce) Hall at the Brielle Fire Company #1 Headquarters.]

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (10/00) 

Items from the Manasquan Seaside, September 16, 1887

"Capt. Green's sloop, Rio Grande, has gone outside to carry lime.*

The Hill school opened Monday, gathering the children of the district**

Miss Maggie Benson will leave soon for boarding school at Burlington, NJ

Some parties along the shore went to a Sunday-school picnic at Allaire on Tuesday.

The fish-hawks have flown to the sunny south. A flock of wild geese from the north were seen in the neighborhood a short time ago.

Capt. V.W. Pearce has a charter of ten trips to carry gas coal from Baltimore to New York. He is on the fourth trip, and arrived at Baltimore Tuesday.*

Our obliging letter-carrier, Clance Marsh, was unfortunate enough to wound his foot recently by stepping upon a sharp spike. He is on crutches. Capt. T.S.P. Brown spent a few days at home recently. He is now en route for Norfolk, Va. Mrs. Brown and Miss Mary are again among us after a delightful summer at various Atlantic ports.*

The river shore looks like some vast banquet hall deserted, whose lights, both of sun and moon are dead, whose hopes of any more merry-makings, are fled, and all but a few lingering forms, departed. Rain and mist and wind and clouds have taken the place of the glorious sunshine, moonlight, picnicking and gypseying. Row boats and aground, yachts dismantled, and the extra trains, so numerous during the season, have been diminished to the old winter quota. It is not easy to realize the change. On every side the ghosts of merry sights and sounds haunt one, and those who have not gone are 'only waiting until the shadows are a little longer grown'."

*Note the number of sea captains in our midst in those days gone by.

**This referred to the wooden school that was located at the top of the hill on Schoolhouse Road from 1856 to 1918. The location is marked.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (4/00) 

Did you believe that we have just recently discovered the possible salubrious effects of competition in the delivery of utility services or that the service challenges are a today thing? read on. Here is a story on that subject from the Asbury Park Evening Press of Friday April 9, 1915. While the write was not 100% lucid, and the story is just a tad convoluted, we can perhaps identify with some of the sentiments expressed.

Take Light Complaint to Utility Board

Brielle residents Oppose the Proposed Division of Franchise Territory Brielle, April 9. -Residents of this place are making protests to the state public utilities commissioners against the proposed plan dividing Wall Township (that's who we were in 1915-JB) into two lighting districts, one to favor the Point Pleasant company exclusively and the other to favor the Atlantic Coast Electric Light Company of Asbury park. Such a proposition has been before the commission for many months and hearings were held on the subject last year but no decision has yet been rendered. The proposal was made at the instigation of the Point Pleasant company after the Wall Township Committee had granted the Asbury Park concern a franchise for the township.

In making the protests, the residents here consider that they are justified to complain to the state officials for what they believe is an inexcusable apathy on the part of the light company to fulfill its street lighting contract. For three nights Brielle was without lights following the recent storm. The company's men hastened to repair the damages at Spring Lake and Manasquan, where they also hold contracts but let Brielle wait. For two nights not a light was burning in the district and on the third night a very few were burning.

House lighting during the past two months has been unsatisfactory according to the consumers generally. The lights do not burn with a steady glow, and flicker to going completely out.

The residents of Brielle feel that their only satisfaction from this sort of service lies in the approval by the utilities commissioners of the franchise which was granted to the Asbury Park concern which is still in their hands for approval or disapproval. Competition is wanted in this section and is believed to constitute the only way through which adequate lighting at reasonable rates can be secured. Any decision toward eliminating the possibility of competition in the township likely will be followed by a protest to the supreme court.

The Point Pleasant Electric Light & Power Company is not at the present time operating in Wall Township under any franchise. All it holds is a document of permission to place poles as far as Sea Girt. In this agreement the company among others is said to have agreed to keep its poles painted and this has never been done.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (1/00)

You say there is not enough salacity and spice in this column? Well, check out the following story from the Asbury Park Evening Press, dated Wednesday January 29, 1913. This article actually covers not one, but two divorces of the rich and famous in High Society, receiving considerable attention at the time.

Divorce Is Sought by Brielle Woman

Mrs. Bayard Fuller Met Husband on Banks of the Manasquan River

Brielle, January 29 - Divorce proceedings for the institution of which Mrs. Bayard Fuller, wife of the former head of the New York Food Inspectors, has gone to Reno, adds another chapter to the already extensively paged history of the Fullers. The story is closely linked with Brielle by the virtue of the Fullers having been summer residents here for several years. Mrs. Fuller was formerly Miss Darnley Zimmerman of Wisconsin, and for several summers one of the prettiest of the summer contingent here. She charges desertion. Her husband is several years her senior.

Prior to his marriage, Bayard Fuller for several years lived during the summers with Mrs. Margaret F. Mann, a sister, at her riverfront place here. Mrs. Mann was famous for her entertaining and the Mann cottage was one of the gala spots in the resort. It was there that Upton Sinclair wrote most of his greatest novel "The Jungle".

Furthermore, it was there that "Uppy" met Miss Meta Fuller, a niece of Mrs. Mann's, whom he later married and as a result of which marriage came the sensational divorce action last winter. The divorce was instituted because Mrs. Sinclair was smitten with the charm of Harry Kemp, the "walking poet" from Kansas. Kemp lived with Mrs. Sinclair and Mrs. Mann at Point Pleasant all last winter. Mrs. Sinclair is the daughter of William Fuller, crier of a New York court. Mrs. Bayard Fuller was here early last summer, trying to locate a cottage, but went away disappointed. She was accompanied by her five year old daughter. She stayed at Point Pleasant.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (10/99) 

Take a look at the following letter written to the Editor of the Manasquan Sea Side dated October 13, 1886.

"Dear Sir, - Will you kindly permit me to encroach upon your valuable space to enter my protest against a proposed new road which the surveyors of highways have soon to pass upon, as applied for from River Drive (now Riverview Drive-JB) through a hedge between the lands of George Rankin and Phebe A. Wiley, thence along the river frontage to Point Pleasant Bridge. A drift-way open to the public and kept in order by persons and teams without cost to the township. A public road along the riverbank as applied for, would involve the township in a very large expense, as the land being valuable water-frontage, would have to be paid for at a fair valuation before it could be taken from owners for use as a public highway. The cost of building and keeping the road in repair would be very great as it would often be from three to four feet under water. Perhaps a no less important objection of the proposed road, would be the destruction or injury to the trees along the riverbank, and of the hedge between George Rankin's land and the writer's land. The shade trees which beautify the picturesque bands of the Manasquan River, add to the attractions of the locality which being annually visited by summer sojourners who seek renewed health and vitality along our shores.

It goes without saying that the greater attractions we can offer, the greater the numbers we attract, and correspondingly add to the financial benefits to all classes of our citizens. In addition to this, the climatic influences of forest trees, and shade trees along our highways and hedges, act as conservators of moisture, and serve to lessen the effect of ocean winds so injurious to vegetation. This fact is recognized by all who have given the subject thoughtful consideration. For this reason legislation, in this and other States, encourages tree planting. Cutting down trees along our hedges and highways should be regarded as acts of vandalism by the enlightened residents of this locality, and if done by act of public officials, would be very deeply deplored by many.

Yours very respectfully,

Wm. H. Wiley"

It Was Only Yesterday (7/99)

Here's a neat little story of a steamboat cruise from the Union House as reported in the Manasquan Sea Side on Saturday, October 5, 1878.

"A Cruise up the River"

On Saturday last we went on a cruise up the Manasquan River. It was not the first we had made by many a score, but there were some peculiarities connected with the trip that made it worthy of a record. Our former cruises to the headwaters of the Manasquan had been in our sailboat, alone, but on this occasion we made the trip in the USS "Kate" and in good company (a government survey team, J.B.). Mr. Rogers was captain and engineer of the steamer. We started from the Union and enjoyed the run to the second bridge (approximately where the Rt 70 bridge is now J.B.), where we performed the maneuver of "take in the smokestack" without stopping the vessel. Here the surveyors had a few angles to take and we improved the time in angling for a few perch, which we found plentiful. Here we were also fortunate enough to secure the company of Allen Osborn, who owns several miles of the river shore and kindly consented to act as pilot. Above the bridge the river maintains an average width of about half a mile, but the shores are bold and the scenery surpasses that of the lower river. A draw will no doubt soon be put in at this bridge, thus increasing the privileges of the hundreds who sail upon the river in the summer season.

At the principal points on the shore the surveyors erected their signals to be used in sounding the river, and while this was being done by the subordinates a reconnaissance was made of the waters above. About two miles above the bridge the river suddenly narrows to the width of a rod or two, (1 rod = 16'6" J.B.) and above this point our trip was especially charming. Never before had these wilds echoes to the whistle of a steamboat, and as our little craft puffed away on her meandering course, through wide meadows, at times, and then under overhanging birches that nearly raked our upper works, we felt somewhat like Hendrick Hudson or Desoto or Tomkiel or any of those great explorers. But no inhospitable native attempted to impede our course, and even the cows on the meadows gave us but a passing glance, and the flocks of blackbirds in the reeds refused to leave their breakfast at our approach. More and more tortuous became the channel and more frequent the snags projecting from the banks, but Mr. Osborn had not forgotten the skill with which he made a fortune by guiding the lighters loaded with wood down the same river, and Capt. Tomkiel had the little boat trained to obey the slightest touch of his little foot. Our journey terminated at Allenwood, where the "old bridge" crosses the stream, but we have no doubt that we could have pressed our way to Allaire.

The return trip was without excitement except the discovery that the supply of apples and strawberries, which the pilot had brought on board was exhausted, and this induced the Captain to put on all steam for the Union. On our arrival home we found a good dinner awaiting us, the principal part of which was a dish of squirrels which one of the party had secured from the woods of Uncle Charlie Osborn the day previous. These rapidly disappeared, as nothing promotes an appetite like a trip in the water in good company. We shall long remember the first steamboat cruise up the Manasquan."

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (4/99) 

You think international fame had not attached itself to any of our early citizens? Think again. here's a true story. It's about Captain S. Bartley Pearce, the son of Captain Shem Pearce. Bart was a well known ship builder, and if you care to check out the history category on our web site, note the photo of his boatyard.

However, well regarded as he was a craftsman of boats, he achieved fame in another area of endeavor, motor boat racing. In 1907, driving Commander E.J. Schroeder's racing boat "Dixie", he won the British International Cup. In 1908 Captain Pearce was skipper of "Dixie II" which successfully defended the Harmsworth Trophy in a race on Huntington Bay, Long Island Sound, winning the race with an average speed of 32 statute miles per hour. A thrilling finish to the race is described in "Motor Boat", Volume V, No. 15:

"On came that glorious little boat. Our hearts were in her...There was Pearce at the wheel, we could see the tense outline of his head and shoulders, even in a distance. As she came nearer, she seemed to swerve this way and that, as if reeling under a heavy strain. "Dixie" came careening across (the finish line), Pearce clutching the wheel with one hand. As he passed... we saw Pearce shaking (the unconscious engineer) Rappuhn desperately. (It happened that) when (Albert) Rappuhn felt himself losing consciousness, just before the (final) turn, he instinctively opened the throttle to its limit. It was then that we saw the "Dixie" jump ahead. For four miles or more, Pearce ran that boat (with one hand) and held up the helpless man, shaking him and throwing water on his head... He held "Dixie" on course (being half senseless himself. The "Dixie"... is the fastest motor boat in the world. Captain Pearce piloted "Dixie" in numerous other races in eastern waters and at Hempstead Harbor made a world's record of 36.04 miles an hour".

In those early racing boats, not only was the engine (of 12-16 cylinders) placed forward in the boat, but so were the stubby, vertical, large diameter exhaust pipes, allowing the carbon monoxide fumes to blow steadily on the occupants driving the boat, often with unhappy results.

The full account of the racing career of S. Bartley Pearce can be found in "History of Monmouth County", printed by Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc., 1922.

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (1/99) 

Think you correctly identified the first three streets to be laid out and graded in "Brielle"? Did you guess Union Lane - Schoolhouse Road - Riverview Drive - Union Avenue, for example? Sorry, all incorrect.

Think about this. "Brielle" was only the name of a resort development, laid out between Debbie's (or Longstreet's) Creek and Mud Pond. Yes, but the name was soon changed to the Glimmer Glass by the developers. Brielle was not a town in the 1880's, simply a real estate venture. The first three streets, therefore, in this resort development were Magnolia Avenue, Park Avenue (now called Fisk Avenue) and Woodland Ave, subsequently changed to Woodland Avenue. These streets terminated originally at Union Avenue.

Later, streets were extended and lots were also sold west of Union Avenue. This area was referred to as West Brielle. We were still part of Wall Township in those days and did not become a borough until 1919.

The Manasquan Seaside reported: "A contract was made on Saturday, October 28, by the Brielle Land Association with Jacob H. Morris, builder of this place, to erect a hotel building on the corner of Park and Brielle Avenues, to be completed and ready for occupancy on the first of May next... Spacious verandahs and piazzas 14 feet in width will extend around the easterly, southerly and westerly fronts, a handsome Porte-cochere will ornament the principal entrance on the East. The hotel will be finished in modern style.... and will also be provided with gas and water.... The cost of the hotel when completed and furnished will, we understand, be about $25,000. the object of the Association is to provide a comfortable and homelike establishment, with all necessary conveniences for the accommodation of families."

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (10/98)

From Whence We Came

First of all, to assuage your curiosity by answering the question in the July Bulletin, Brainard Place and Howell Drive reflect the names of property owners in those areas. The rather extensive Brainard estate extended from about where Osprey Lane meets Riverview Drive and into the area of current Brainard Place. The mansion itself was approximately where 9 The Kings Path is today and the barn still stands as 1006 Riverview Drive. When Mr. Brainard died, Mrs. Brainard built a smaller house for her residence which is today 1005 Riverview Drive.

On June 27, 1942 John D. and Jean M. Howell purchased 714 Schoolhouse Road which included considerable acreage around and in front of the house. This was farmed in those days. When much of the land was sold after World War II, the road subsequently built on the Howell property received the name Howell Drive.

Now, try this: give the names of the first three streets in "Brielle" - careful. You'll have to think about this one.

Does anyone know how Higgins Avenue got its name? Was there a Mr. Higgins? Was he important?

I continue to seek additional photographs, documents, etc. for the archives. If you possess any, please call me at (732) 528-5867. I'll pick them up, copy (unless you wish me to retain the originals) and return to you promptly.

And this, according to The Sea-Side on Saturday, July 18, 1878: ''Fishing is unusually good on the river. During the week, large quantities of barb and plaice have been taken with hook and line. The barb or king fish have not visited our river before for many years. Eels are also caught in large numbers".

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (7/98) 

What's in a name? Did you ever wonder how various streets in town got their names? Maybe your street. Some obviously topical - Riverview Drive, Oceanview Road. But for starters, what about Howell Drive and Brainard Place? Famous people? Early members of borough council? Answers in next issue.

A number of you came forth following my last request for old local photos and documents. Again, many thanks. I'm looking for more, so please call me at (732) 528-5867, I'll pick them up, have copies made, and promptly return your originals. They will be on display soon in the library.

Here's a neat news item from "The Seaside" (now the Coast Star) dated August 7, 1887: "Mr. Jacob Herbert has fitted up a fine saloon on Osborn's Island, where he will be glad to get up oyster and clam baked to order, and do all he can to make it pleasant for parties who may come there."

John Belding
Borough Historian

It Was Only Yesterday (4/98)   

The history of our borough is neither dull nor boring. It is our past, our foundation and our grounding for the future. It helps to describe who we are and how we have developed our sense of community which makes Brielle what it is.

Here's how you can expand our understanding of the past. Do you have photographs of local people, places or things from days gone by? Same for documents - deeds, wills, mortgages, leases, tax receipts, bills, newspaper clippings, etc. I will be glad to pick them up, make copies and return to you the same day. Perhaps you have a story or an anecdote of "what happened" back then.

If you have an affirmative response to any of the above, I would like to hear from you. I can be reached at (732) 528-5867 (home) or you can address mail to me c/o Borough Hall.

In future issues, I will share with you vignettes of days gone by.

John Belding
Borough Historian