Spring Lake isn’t what most consider when thinking of the ‘Jersey Shore’ and with good reason. One county north of the hullaballoo of Seaside Heights lies Monmouth County and in the southeastern section is the borough of Spring Lake. It is much like a time capsule of the Victorian era.
The New Jersey Leisure Guide describes Spring Lake as …”affectionately referred to as the ‘Irish Riviera,’ … a small beach resort town with huge Victorian houses, manicured lawns, tree-lined streets, flower-filled parks, and a well-managed beach that’s never been corrupted by honky tonk.”
The town grew up around the body of fresh water that is its namesake. Spring Lake is fed by fresh water springs. The area started out as a sleepy seaside farming community but by the 1870s it was transforming itself into a summer resort. From the mid 1850s, Spring Lake enjoyed status as a summer destination for those of wealth and privilege from New York and especially, Philadelphia. It rivaled the development of Newport, Rhode Island and Bar Harbor, Maine. Spring lake incorporated as a borough on March 14, 1892.
Many fine examples of Victorian architecture still exist in Spring. There are 11 Victorian bed and breakfast inns and boutique hotels located in this town of less than 4,000 year-round residents. They were built circa 1870 to 1888. (Eastern USA Visitor) Here are a couple of places to see if you visit Spring Lake.
The Martin Maloney Cottage is located on Morris Avenue. Martin Maloney was an Irish potato famine refugee who came to the United States with his parents in 1854. He is notably known for improving a “gasoline burner which became widely used in street lighting.” (Slieveardagh) The cottage is all that’s left of the Maloney’s Ballingarry Estate. It is an example of Queen Anne architecture. The cottage added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 26, 1992. It is also in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.
Another fine example of Victorian architecture and charm is the Normandy Inn, also known as the Audenreid Cottage. It was built before 1889 and was a summer rental home of the Audenreid family of Philadelphia. (Normandy Inn) The building started out on Passaic Avenue but was moved in 1909 to its current location on Tuttle Avenue when it was purchased by Oliver H. Brown in 1909. Warren Conover was retained to design a three-story rear extension after it was moved. His work on the home was seamless leaving behind a building that looks like it was built the way it now stands.
Spring Lake retains much of its Victorian charm. Its beach is pristine and the boardwalk unencumbered by commerce. The summer population isn’t that much larger than the other three seasons. Downtown boasts many quaint shops and dining opportunities. It is easy to envision the inhabitants of yesteryear when walking through the neighborhoods.
What fun it would be to experience Spring Lake wearing fashions inspired by the era!
Cort, Leigh. “A Jersey Shore Sojourn to Spring Lake.” Vacation, Visitor and Travel Information – Spring Lake New Jersey. Eastern USA Visitor, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017. <http://www.easternusavisitor.com/spring-lake.htm>. http://www.leighcortpublicity.com/
“Martin Moloney – Emigrant -.” Slieveardagh Rural Development. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017.
“The Normandy Inn History.” Normandy Inn History | The Normandy Inn | Spring Lake, NJ | USA. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017. <http://www.normandyinn.com/history.htm>.
“Spring Lake, New Jersey – A Visitors Guide.” New Jersey Leisure Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2017. <http://www.new-jersey-leisure-guide.com/spring-lake.html>.
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Maloney Cottage and Normandy Inn, Dmadeo
Ballingarry was my very own private playground during the 1960s, the white marble reflecting pool was still there and beautiful, and on the west end was a small earth and stone bridge one could take refuge under when it rained. The south west corner was a small hill with two sides held up by a red brick wall. The day the hill was leveled to build a house on that corner was a very sad one in my very young life. The only drawback to playing on the estate were the sharp-edged holly leaves on the grass, behind the white gravel pathway that was just behind the black wrought-iron fence that encircled the entire estate. Those holly leaves from the Ballingarry Estate trees made it necessary to wear sneakers, when mostly we all walked around barefoot, enjoying the smooth delightful warmth of the grey slate sidewalks throughout Spring Lake.
All the expensive homes were east of Third Avenue by the beach, and the closer you got to the train tracks, the less expensive the homes. We even had a greenhouse business on the west side of Third Avenue not far from the library owned by Mr Freeman, I bought a rose from him one year for my mother on Mother’s Day.
My father owned Anckarstrom’s Laundry and Dry Cleaners at 306-308 Morris Avenue next to the old Post Office, and he owned the building itself, where we lived above the store as many of the town’s business owners families did.
It has been sad to see so many of the beautiful old homes have been torn down just to divide the property and build cheap new houses at such incredibly outrageous prices.
There were many churches around Divine Park Lake that no longer exist, the charming grey stone chapel on the east side of the lake is no longer there and the white wooden Luthern church to the south also gone. You might note the lake was built in the shape of Italy, in fact all of Spring Lake was made of fill as it was a marsh at one time, just like most of the city of San Francisco on the bay. In Winter when the lake froze we would go ice-skating when the green flag on the flagpole was hung. One year in the Spring we even had the street on the east side of the lake blocked off in order to rollerskate. There was always something for children to do in Spring Lake.
H.W. Mountz Public School was where all the local children of the business owners and workers went to school, and it did not matter if your father worked at the lumberyard by the train tracks living in a small cottage, or was retired military like Betsy Burdge’s father was, living in a huge white house with wide porches on Passaic Avenue on the lake, we all played together on the school playground.
I went back to the source of that information but since it can’t be confirmed in another source, I removed it. If you are sure of your 1.8 mile figure, I will insert that and use you as the source, if you approve.
You made a mistake in reference to the beach size. it definitely is not 2.5 miles long – more like 1.8 miles
You give the definite impression that Spring Lke is now and always has been a very elite community.
Back in the 1950’s many of the school teachers and police lived in the town, The populace was
Very diversified unlike to-day and while some ( mostly the summer residents ) were quite wealthy
Most of the year round residents were not.
Sincerely, ROBERT TORRES