A Square Mile of God's Community
Inspired by a week long, outdoor holiness camp in Vineland, New Jersey in 1867, Reverend William B. Osborn, a Methodist preacher, founded a new camp meeting site in a secluded Jersey Shore town. This community was based as a place where spiritual and physical health could be renewed.
On July 31, 1869, a group of ministers met at what is now called "Founders Park" and dedicated themselves to the creation of a permanent Christian "camp" called "Ocean Grove". A state charter was issued to the Association on March 3, 1870, with 26 trustees to oversee the improvements and operations of the new community.
This Christian community established unique rules and regulations, the most prominent was the banning of all carriages and automobiles on the streets on Sunday. All residents and visitors were required to tether their rides outside the gates and walk, as President Ulysses S. Grant had to do in 1875, when visiting his sister. This rule stayed in effect into the 20th century, and residents parked their vehicles in Asbury Park, and walked across bridges spanning Sunset lake.
Bathing on Sunday was also banned, and the sale of liquors prohibited in this one-square mile town.
The most prominent building of this community is the auditorium, which still holds venues to this day. Another recognizable feature in Ocean Grove, are the summer tents, of which 130 still stand. This camp at one time had 600 of such features. They are simply a small wooden structure, with a platform in front. During the summer months, a tent is placed over the front platform, creating a dwelling. After the season, the tents are removed, and placed into the wooden structre for storage until next year. This is still apractice in use, as these "tents" have been handed down for generations.
Furthermore, the district contains the largest aggregate of Victorian and early 20th century structures in America.