We’re Just Getting Warmed Up for 2019!
Mark your calendar for fundraisers, parties, and open houses!
It’s a calendar of happenings that range from open houses to exclusive affairs — and from festive thank-yous for our supportive neighbors and dedicated volunteers, to a generations-spanning salute to one of the biggest milestones in music history. All on the agenda in the months to come, and all coming to you courtesy of the Asbury Park Historical Society’s Special Events Committee.
A Library Open House
A work in progress for the better part of a year, the upstairs library at The Stephen Crane House is getting “ready for its close-up” in Spring 2019, as part of a slate of projects that also included the installation of a new state-of-the-art fire and security alarm system at our 140-year old headquarters. On the evening of Thursday, May 2, the public is invited to take a first look at this resource for the preservation of the noted 19th century American author’s literary legacy, during a special Membership Party with complimentary refreshments in our downstairs reception room, and donations welcomed toward the ongoing renovation of our State and National Historic Site.
A Weekend in Old Monmouth
The first Saturday and Sunday in May means the return of A Weekend in Old Monmouth, the annual schedule of self-guided historic house tours coordinated by the Monmouth County Historical Commission. The afternoons of May 4 and 5, 2019 will represent the third year that the home of the Asbury Park Historical Society has taken part in the county-wide event; the only participating property in the city, and a popular stop for hundreds of Old Monmouth visitors since its debut on the tour in 2017. Attendees are invited to view the most recent improvements to the property, take in an informative slideshow on the house’s colorful history, and speak in person to our Historical Society docents. Check in at visitmonmouth.com for full details on the tour routes and participating sites.
A Kickoff to Summer Party
As director of the Bruce Springsteen Archives at Monmouth University, a longtime central figure on the Shore area music scene, and a member of the Asbury Park City Council, Eileen Chapman has applied both her artistic credentials and her administrative expertise to numerous projects designed to preserve and promote our city’s “principal export” and best known signifier: its multi-faceted music. As chair of our Special Events Committee, Eileen has teamed with fellow APHS trustees Teddy Chomko, Susan Rosenberg and Jennifer Stine — as well as a squad of skilled volunteers — to assemble an exciting spring/summer of activities that begins with a Kickoff to Summer “for Locals Only.”
Hosted on the semi-enclosed oceanfront deck, surfside stage and beach-top dance floor of the Anchors Bend bar and restaurant on the north side of Convention Hall, the “fun-raiser” event keynotes the prime-time season in hotter-than-ever Asbury Park, on a late May or early June date to be announced. Admission includes hors d’oeuvres, one complimentary drink, and of course live music. Follow the Asbury Park Historical Society on Facebook for updates and more details.
A Very Groovy Asbury Woodstock
There's No Time to CHILL, for a Busy Historical Society!
The Historical Society rang in a busy year 2019 with our annual reorganization meeting, hosted at the Asbury Park Public Library on the evening of January 17. Continuing a tradition of illuminating presentations by guest speakers on topics of local interest, the APHS board of trustees welcomed author Rick Geffken for a slideshow lecture based on Lost Amusement Parks of the North Jersey Shore, the 2017 book by Geffken and photo curator George Severini. Attendees were treated to complimentary refreshments, introductory remarks by president Don Stine and board member Kay Harris, plus a tour of some long-gone pavilions, public places and palaces of amusement in Monmouth County — from the fondly re- membered, to the nearly forgotten — that once upon a time offered relaxation, recreation, and rollicking entertainment to hundreds of thousands of Shorebound visitors. Find out more about this popular volume of Garden State history at arcadiapublishing.com.
APHS president (and dealer in rare books) Don Stine is pictured with an all-new, custom-built, illuminated bookcase, commissioned to house and display a collection of first editions and other antique published works by Stephen Crane. The centerpiece of an extensive renovation of the Crane House’s second floor library, the display allows visitors an opportunity to view early publications of Red Badge, Maggie, and other milestones from the famed author’s brief but prolific career (including the posthumously published The O’Ruddy, in a volume gifted by Stephen’s sister Nellie to their brother Townley). The library, which has been fully replastered, repainted, refurnished, and rewired, also houses editions of works by Stephen’s favorite authors from within his lifetime, while the house’s Archive Room will feature biographical/ critical studies, works by Crane’s friends and contemporaries, plus materials of local and regional interest.
A Successful "Pop-Up" Preview for the Asbury Park Museum Project!
The project wasn’t designed to be anything other than a temporary, limited-time exhibit — but as a way of introducing to the public the concept of The Asbury Park Museum, the winter-time “pop-up” installation on the city’s famous boardwalk was a successful endeavor; one that served to point the project’s planning committee toward a permanent home location in the seasons ahead.
The Museum committee was chaired by business owner, educator, author, and Historical Society trustee Kay Harris — and energized with the assistance of a team that included music historians Charlie and Pam Horner, fellow APHS board members Susan Rosenberg, Eileen Chapman, Don Stine, and Dolly Sternesky, story teller and actress Lorraine Stone, NJ Pan African Chamber of Commerce president Dina Todd, Crane House writer in residence Tom Chesek, and AP Historical Society members and volunteers Ray Sternesky, Charles Trott, Conrad Neblett, Maureen Nevin, John Brown, and Yvonne Clayton. The project transitioned quickly from drawing board to brick-and-mortar reality, when Asbury Park Boardwalk property managers Madison Marquette offered the season use of a 1,430 square foot space within the Fifth Ave Pavilion. Located between Tim McLoone’s restaurants and the site of the forthcoming Iron Whale, the space became the setting for a display of photographs, posters, and artifacts representing all facets of our “roller coaster” history, from the days of Founder James Bradley to the threshold of the new century — with a special emphasis on the people, the local landmarks, and the amazing musical heritage of the oft-neglected West Side.
Many of the materials on display were included in a celebrated mobile exhibit on West Side music, drawn from the Horners’ first-rate collection of recordings, photographs and memorabilia. The Society donated numerous items from its own archives for the occasion, and the display further featured materials assembled by the various volunteers, with Asbury Park’s Mayor John Moor (at right in the above photo) even donating an authentic conductor’s cap from the city’s original electric trolley car system.
The mayor and fellow members of the City Council were on hand for the ribbon cutting event on the afternoon of December 15, 2018 — and the Museum was up and running!
Boosted by such events as the Holiday Bazaar, the New Year’s Polar Bear Plunge, and the annual Light of Day festival — and helped tremendously by a winter with no significant snowfall — the Museum welcomed hundreds of unique visitors each weekend, hailing from just blocks away, to all over the United States, and several European countries as well. Special events included book signings and presentations by figures from the region’s rich vocal music scene (including Duprees singer Tommy Petillo, and singer-songwriter-producer Billy Terrell); a fundraiser featuring a tribute to Nat King Cole by Herb Glenn and his jazz combo; several Black History Month readings of works by African American poets and authors, and an illuminating lecture on the often overlooked history of the area’s Sand Hill Indians.
While the Museum packed up its displays following its closing day on March 10, the quest continues to secure a year-round site for this celebration of the people, the places, and the parade of events that have come to define our endlessly fascinating city. Discover more about The Asbury Park Museum (a NJ Non Profit Corporation) on Facebook. Follow the progress of this worthy project, and find out how you can lend a helping hand!