A Walking Tour of Spring Lake, New Jersey
a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from walkthetown.com
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2010 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
The Spring Lake Beach Improvement Company organized shortly after the New York & Long Branch Railroad reached the area in 1873. At the time, the area consisted of a handful of farms and the scattered shacks of local fishermen. The group purchased 285 acres of land from Formon Osborn in 1875 which had near its center a small lake fed by pure spring water just a few hundred yards from the Atlantic Ocean.
The developers set about building the luxurious Monmouth House hotel on the oceanfront and summer visitors began work on their own places. At about the same time the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia was breaking down and as the fair buildings were dismantled the deep-pocketed Spring Lake pioneers had lumber and fixtures shipped by rail and steamer to their building sites. In some cases entire Centennial buildings - the Missouri State Building (Ocean Road) and the Portugese Government Pavillion (a guest house on Atlantic Avenue for over 100 years) for instance - ended up in Spring Lake. Even the main comfort station was shipped to Spring Lake where it became the Lake House Hotel in 1877 with 92 rooms, large dining parlors and a bowling alley. It was demolished in 1904 and was replaced by a public park.