Jersey Shore Train Advertising
The Lure of the Coast
The trains that were built to bring tourists to the beach worked hard at stimulating as much interest in the Jersey shore as possible. Books were published that described the places one could visit along various train routes. This books, which could be purchased for a few cents, included pictures, timetables, train fares and available accommodations. The language and descriptions tended to be flowery and complementary. No mentions, for example, of the swarms of flies and gnats in the salt marshes.
It is interesting to imagine what it must have been like to have been part of the working class in Philadelphia or New York around the turn of the 20th century. A trip to the beach along the coast of New Jersey would have been quite an exotic adventure. If you were interested in traveling to the beach and got your hands on one of these books that featured the shore train destinations it would surely have fired up your imagination.
The following is adapted from one New Jersey shore railroad book. It was published in 1912 and the passage here focuses on what it calls The North Jersey Coast.
An idyllic representation of the Jersey shore
Where else in this glad land may one find so glorious a stretch of summer-time rest and beauty spots as the Northern coast of New Jersey from Atlantic Highlands to Point Pleasant? Where else such charmingly varied sources of vacation pleasures and sports, such uniformly delightful and diversified recreation joys as those to be found throughout the length and breadth of this wonderful coast?
No other coast is comparable with it, no other coast approaches its untold advantages, appropriated not only by myriads of Easterners but thousands from the far-off West.
The advantages of accessibility are always vital; the ease and comfort with which one may reach anyone of the North Jersey shore resorts afford one of their chief attractions, only an hour or so of clean and restful riding by boat or train being required to take one there.
There is a railroad station for nearly every one of the twenty-five miles of shore line, which is almost continuously dotted with cities, towns and villages-a region resembling one great community, easily and pleasantly reached by the All Rail Lines and Sandy Hook Route fleet of steamers of the Central Railroad of New Jersey.
Of the latter means of transportation, much might be said, for it is one of the main attractions to the shore resorts. This fleet comprises the "Asbury Park," the "Monmouth" and the "Sandy Hook" - the speediest craft of their class afloat - which run at frequent intervals, throughout the summer, from foot of West Forty-second Street and foot of Cedar Street, New York, to Atlantic Highlands Pier, where connections are made with fast trains on the Sea Shore branch for all points on the Coast, as well as along the south shore of Raritan Bay.
The topographical location of the town of Atlantic Highlands is unique. Built on a magnificent headland which forms the northern extremity of the Highlands of Navesink, it presents a rarely magnificent marine perspective spreading eastward-Sandy Hook Bay, in the immediate foreground resembles a great lake with Sandy Hook Peninsula across its generous expanse; beyond, the Atlantic, with the Long Island shore in the distance.
Barely a step from the water's edge, with nothing but the Central's steel highway intervening, heavily wooded hills rise with towering abruptness, giving the town an aspect not unlike the City of the Caesars. Beyond this rugged, formidable boundary, stream-traversed farm lands stretch to the southward. The bay and its coves afford exceptional shelter, and yachtsmen and aquatic sportsmen find it a delightful domain; bathing, sailing and motor boating number among the favored sports.
Highlands, another widely favored resort, is located under the very lee of the lighthouses, the smaller colonies at Hiltons and Water Witch being located between Highlands and Atlantic Highlands. The Navesink River, just above its confluence with the Shrewsbury, flows into Sandy Hook Bay at Highlands. Between these two streams runs the Rumson Road, one of the finest driveways in the East, and notable for the magnificent residences to which it gives access. The favorite spot for surf bathers from the adjoining communities is Highland Beach, just across the Navesink River: then come the delightful cottage colonies of Normandie, Sea Bright, Low Moor, and Galilee, boasting a few large hotels.
Sea Bright, a fashionable watering place, is also said to have the largest fishing station on the coast - a fact which few of the guests at the big hotels suspect, unless they venture to explore the quaintly romantic "fishing village."
Monmouth Beach, just below, is essentially a cottage community from which all mercantile business is excluded; it has an attractive inn, a new pavilion, and an exceptionally fine swimming pool.
Situated on a formidable bluff overlooking an attractive beach is Long Branch. a pleasure resort for over a century. Six miles long and two miles wide, this seaside city inclucles a large area of high and dry soil, not sand. "'here trees, lawns, hedges, flowers and shrubbery thrive luxuriously.
In the height of the season, Long Branch boasts a population numbering over 100,000 and points with pride to the veritable palaces which line the Ocean Boulevard for miles. Of late, many varied improvements have been made, all tending to sustain its reputation as one of America's foremost watering places. The celebrated boulevard, Ocean Avenue, skirts the edge of the bluff, its course being marked by a continuous procession of equipages, while the paralleling promenade presents a scene of gay pedestrians. West End and Hollywood, where the steamer trains take the tracks of the All Rail Route, are really parts of the city of Long Branch, and, like Elberon, are within city boundaries. Deal Beach and Allenhurst, still farther to the south are also cottage communities of the highest type.
And now for Asbury Park, known from coast to coast as the people's playground. Boasting a bathing beach of extraordinary excellence, a boardwalk that's become historic, music pavilions of unusual attractiveness, the big natatorium. Asbury Park unquestionably attracts pleasure seekers and year-round residents from every corner of the country, creating especially a distinctly cosmopolitan summer population. One cannot help wondering where the vast crowds come from, especially on Sundays or holidays, when the bathing reservations and boardwalk prove a constant revelation to the most casual observer.
Still another mental query arises when one contemplates the great number of hotels, large and small, in which Asbury Park houses its summer populace-one wonders how it is possible to find people enough to fill these hundreds of hotels and boarding places: yet it is. In this connection, especial interest is found in the erection on the beach front of the largest and most modern hotel on the entire North Jersey coast - the New Monterey, which will open its doors about July 1 - as well as in the extensive enlargements and improvements of other hostelries.
An unusual phase of seaside resorts is Asbury's splendid possession of two fresh water lakes. Deal and Wesley, which form the city's northern and southern boundaries, with Sunset Lake midway between. Row boats, motor boats and canoes in great numbers are constantly plying the placid surface of Deal Lake, which has a remarkably picturesque setting.
Another feature of utmost importance every season is the Children's Carnival, held during the latter part of August, the baby parade having long since become an almost national event in the scope of the entrants and widespread interest. The present year, the customary water pageant will he held on Wesley Lake on July 25. instead of later in the season; the Queen's Coronation is set for August 14, and the Baby Parade for August 21. A new attraction this season - The Carnival of Neptune and Mardi Gras - is scheduled for Labor Day, September 2, while a big firemen's parade will be held September 5, 6 and 7.
Ocean Grove, located on the other side of Wesley Lake, in many ways is exactly the reverse of Asbury Park. Methodists originally founded it as a camping ground, and much of the old decorum and strict propriety are still retained. Its famous auditorium seats ten thousand persons, and contains the largest pipe organ in the country. Nearly a quarter million dollars has becn expended in the erection of a 200 room boardwalk hotel on Wesley Lake.
Going in a southerly direction, we next touch Bradley Beach, which directly adjoins Ocean Grove. Avon follows, then Belmar, which in addition to its ocean front, enjoys the unnumbered advantages of Shark River, famed for its crabbing and sailing. A prettily wooded spot, Como, separates the town from Spring Lake. The latter, often termed the "Newport of New Jersey," is notable for its magnificent summer homes ancl the fashionable gaieties of its hotel and cottage residents.
Sea Girt, our next stop, has long been known as the summer encampment of the New Jersey National Guard. as well as the summer capital of the State. Manasquan follows next on the shore, then Point Pleasant, that happy combination of ocean on one side and the broad Manasquan River on the other.