Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Ocean Grove is an unincorporated community and census-designated place[11] (CDP) that is part of Neptune Township, in Monmouth County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey.[12][13] It had a population of 3,057 at the 2020 United States census.[3] It is located on the Atlantic Ocean's Jersey Shore, between Asbury Park to the north and Bradley Beach to the south. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ocean Grove is noted for its abundant examples of Victorian architecture and the Great Auditorium, acclaimed as "the state’s most wondrous wooden structure, soaring and sweeping, alive with the sound of music".[14]

Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Ocean Grove Welcome Sign
Ocean Grove Welcome Sign
Location of Ocean Grove in Monmouth County circled and highlighted in red (left). Inset map: Location of Monmouth County in New Jersey highlighted in orange (right).
Location of Ocean Grove in Monmouth County circled and highlighted in red (left). Inset map: Location of Monmouth County in New Jersey highlighted in orange (right).
Ocean Grove is located in Monmouth County, New Jersey
Ocean Grove
Ocean Grove
Location in Monmouth County
Ocean Grove is located in New Jersey
Ocean Grove
Ocean Grove
Location in New Jersey
Ocean Grove is located in the United States
Ocean Grove
Ocean Grove
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 40°12′43″N 74°00′25″W / 40.21182°N 74.006944°W / 40.21182; -74.006944
Country United States
State New Jersey
 • Total0.42 sq mi (1.10 km2)
 • Land0.37 sq mi (0.96 km2)
 • Water0.05 sq mi (0.14 km2)  13.05%
Elevation16 ft (5 m)
 • Total3,057
 • Density7,300/sq mi (2,800/km2)
Time zoneUTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
Area code(s)732[6]
FIPS code34-54480[7][8][9]
GNIS feature ID02389609[7][10]

Ocean Grove was founded in 1869 as an outgrowth of the camp meeting movement in the United States, when a group of Methodist clergymen, led by William B. Osborn and Ellwood H. Stokes, formed the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to develop and operate a summer camp meeting site on the New Jersey seashore.[15] By the early 20th century, the popular Christian meeting ground became known as the "Queen of Religious Resorts."[16] The community's land is still owned by the camp meeting association and leased to individual homeowners and businesses. Ocean Grove remains the longest-active camp meeting site in the United States.[17]


Ross' Pavilion in Ocean Grove, 1902

In July, 1869, Reverend W. B. Osborn, Reverend Stokes, and other Methodist ministers camped at a shaded, well-drained spot on New Jersey's seashore and decided to establish a permanent Christian camp meeting community called "Ocean Grove." This followed a search of the Jersey Shore for a place not infested with mosquitoes.[18] About twenty tents were pitched that summer. In 1870, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association was incorporated and land was purchased. The property was laid out into 30-by-60-foot (9.1 by 18.3 m) lots and roadways. The lots were leased for 99 years with the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association retaining ownership. Residents were expected to follow the strict Methodist social norms of the era which included prohibitions of alcohol, tobacco, cards, dancing, the reading of novels, and chewing gum.[19] Nine wells were driven in 1870 to provide fresh water. The first was eventually named the "Beersheba" well, for an ancient well used by the Biblical patriarchs Abraham and Isaac. It is still in existence under a photogenic 1881 gazebo,[15] though belatedly connected to the town water system in 1911.[15]

Drawing from the major population centers of New York City and Philadelphia, Ocean Grove soon became a popular destination during the growth of the camp meeting movement in post-Civil War America. Tents and an open-air wooden shelter for speakers, were erected in the 1870s, for the trainloads of visitors arriving by the New York and Long Branch Railroad after 1875. In 1877 alone, 710,000 railroad tickets were sold for the Ocean Grove-Asbury Park train station.[15]

A Surfside Meeting in 1876
Harper's Monthly
Postcard of Ocean Grove Railroad Station, dated 1908
The "North End Hotel" had 255 rooms and a saltwater pool

A third, larger auditorium was built in 1880.

As Ocean Grove drew more and more visitors, the facilities were outgrown, and construction of the present Great Auditorium was completed in 1894. Originally designed to accommodate crowds of as many as 10,000 people, the subsequent installation of theater-style cushioned seating in many sections reduced seating capacity to 6,250.[20] It remains Ocean Grove's most prominent structure and the centerpiece of its summer programs (see more about the Auditorium further down the page). By the early 20th century, said The New York Times in 1986, it was called the "Queen of Religious Resorts ... Visitors would travel miles to bask in the Victorian seaside splendor and to attend engaging, extroverted religious ceremonies. Millions of people, tourists and pilgrims both, made the trip to Ocean Grove every summer."[16] The social disillusionment around 1920 following World War I had a profound effect on Ocean Grove and churchgoing in general. There was a decline in these activities and there was little in the way of new construction in the town after this time. One result was that Ocean Grove became a time capsule of late Victorian and early 20th century architecture.

Until Ocean Grove's municipal authority was folded into Neptune Township in 1981, it had its own set of unique laws, including one that made it illegal on Sundays to have horses, wagons, then cars on the streets of Ocean Grove.[21] This had a significant effect on the development of a close-knit community. People looking to get away for the weekend typically avoided the Grove (the beach was closed on Sunday, too). That meant the visitors were likely to be coming for a week-long visit or more. Most came to attend programs sponsored by the Camp Meeting.

President Ulysses S. Grant visited Ocean Grove during his time in office and made his last public appearance in this town. Other presidents to speak on the grounds included: James Garfield, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Richard Nixon. Heavyweight boxing champions James J. Corbett and Max Baer and department store magnate F.W. Woolworth were among the celebrities of the day who vacationed in Ocean Grove.[15]

In 1975, Ocean Grove was designated a State and National Historic District as a 19th-century planned urban community. It has the most extensive collection of Victorian and early-20th century architecture in the United States.[15] The Historical Society of Ocean Grove maintains a museum and a restored c. 1884 cottage in addition to offering walking tours.

During the 1960s–1980s, the town declined along with much of the Jersey Shore, and was pejoratively called "Ocean Grave" due to the general air of decrepitude and the elderly population.[22] But beginning in the 1990s, and through 2006, Ocean Grove experienced a dramatic increase in property values and a considerable revival in fortune, particularly with the restoration of older hotel structures, many of which had deteriorated into single-room occupancy ("SRO") quarters. As part of this resurgence, a number of sidewalk cafés and shops along Main Avenue (the main business thoroughfare) now cater to visitors and seasonal residents.

Plans were announced in 2006 for a major new hotel and condominium development on property which has been vacant since the 1970s, when the old North End Hotel – once Ocean Grove's largest – was damaged by fire and subsequently demolished in 1980.[23] These plans have become controversial though, and in January 2008 the Planning Board of Neptune stated the North End Redevelopment Proposal was "inconsistent with the town's Master Plan".[24] On April 13, 2019, the remaining structures on the North End were destroyed by fire leaving the whole area vacant land.[25]



According to the United States Census Bureau, Ocean Grove had a total area of 0.428 square miles (1.11 km2), including 0.372 square miles (0.96 km2) of it is land and 0.056 square miles (0.15 km2) of water (13.05%) is water.[7][26]


The Ocean Grove Great Auditorium (2007)
Historical population
Population sources: 1880-1890[27]
1990–2010[12] 2000[28]
2010[29] 2020[3]

Because Ocean Grove is a summer resort community and many residences are unoccupied during the winter months, these statistics may not be representative of the population at all times of the year.

2010 census

Cafe in Ocean Grove

The 2010 United States census counted 3,342 people, 1,948 households, and 616 families in the CDP. The population density was 8,979.9 people per square mile (3,467.2 people/km2). There were 3,132 housing units at an average density of 8,415.6 units per square mile (3,249.3 units/km2). The racial makeup was 91.41% (3,055) White, 5.48% (183) Black or African American, 0.03% (1) Native American, 0.87% (29) Asian, 0.03% (1) Pacific Islander, 0.81% (27) from other races, and 1.38% (46) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.34% (145) of the population.[29]

Of the 1,948 households, 7.9% had children under the age of 18; 23.0% were married couples living together; 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present and 68.4% were non-families. Of all households, 57.2% were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.64 and the average family size was 2.56.[29]

8.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 38.9% from 45 to 64, and 24.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 52.7 years. For every 100 females, the population had 83.2 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 80.6 males.[29]

2000 census


As of the 2000 United States census[8] there were 4,256 people, 2,331 households, and 785 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,564.6 people/km2 (11,822 people/sq mi). There were 3,156 housing units at an average density of 3,384.8 units/km2 (8,767 units/sq mi). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93.1% White, 4.0% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.0% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.6% of the population.[28]

There were 2,331 households, out of which 10.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.6% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 66.3% were non-families. 56.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.67 and the average family size was 2.59.[28]

In the CDP the population was spread out, with 9.9% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 24.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.[28]

The median income for a household in the CDP was $31,935, and the median income for a family was $58,583. Males had a median income of $38,389 versus $31,886 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $26,232. About 5.1% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.0% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.[28]


Ocean Grove's beach

The desire to develop a Christian seaside community for summer worship and relaxation led William B. Osborn (1832–1902), a leader of the camp meeting movement in mid-19th century America, to select the site of present-day Ocean Grove for its wooded, mosquito-free location.[15] Ellwood H. Stokes (1815–1895), a Methodist minister from Philadelphia, and others joined to purchase a square mile of land fronting on the Atlantic Ocean. A state charter was issued to the newly formed Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association on March 3, 1870, granting the 26 trustees (13 ministers and 13 lay persons) the authority to purchase and hold one square mile of real estate comprising Ocean Grove (though Ocean Grove today is less than 0.5 square miles), and to construct and maintain all necessary works to supply the community with utilities and other municipal services, including law enforcement.[15]

Later, efforts to establish a separate borough of Ocean Grove were attempted many times. Ocean Grove was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 5, 1920, from portions of Neptune Township, but the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals ruled the municipality unconstitutional on May 12, 1921, and the borough was dissolved as of June 16, 1921.[30]

Although Ocean Grove reverted to being a part of Neptune Township with the court's decision of 1921, the Camp Meeting Association continued to exercise local ordinance enforcement powers until 1981, when a newspaper deliverer successfully sued to end the resort's blue law banning Sunday vehicular traffic and requiring it to disband its police force and "municipal" court.[31] The Camp Meeting still owns all the land in town and leases it to homeowners and businesses for 99-year renewable terms.[15] The Camp Meeting Association currently keeps its beach closed on Sunday mornings between 8:30 am and noon, and Ocean Grove is still "dry", that is, the sale of all alcoholic beverages is prohibited.[32]

The Great Auditorium


The Great Auditorium was constructed in 1894 and is mostly unchanged except for the front end that was extended for the 1908 Hope-Jones organ. The wooden building rests on bridge-like steel trusses laid on stone foundations. Aside from the trusses. It features numerous "barn door" entrances with colored glass, dormers, and panels that open for ventilation. Originally, the Auditorium was claimed to hold an audience of almost 10,000. Many of smaller, wooden seats were replaced in later years with cushioned, theater-style seating reducing capacity to an audience of 6,250 persons.[20]

The Auditorium has been called, "the state's most wondrous wooden structure, soaring and sweeping, alive with the sound of music".[14] Its superb acoustics, resulting from its barrel-vaulted wooden ceiling, have been widely acclaimed; famed conductor Leonard Bernstein once compared it to Carnegie Hall.[20] In the days before electronic amplification, this allowed a preacher to be heard throughout the vast space. The building features a lighting system advanced for its time: arching rows of bulbs hanging from the varnished wood ceiling paneling. Also novel is a painted representation of a waving American flag (c. 1916 and rebuilt) covered with light bulbs that flash in an undulating manner. Illuminated signs, possibly the very oldest surviving examples of that type (1894), proclaim "Holiness to the Lord" and "So be ye holy", a reflection of the emphasis at camp meetings. The illuminated Memorial Cross was placed on the Auditorium's front facade at the end of World War II in 1946.[33]

The hall is surrounded by 114 tents, which are occupied from May to September, as has been the case since 1869. Each tent is connected to a shed containing a kitchen and bathroom; the sheds are also used to store the tents during the winter. They are in such demand that there is a waiting list of some ten years for summer rentals.[14][15]


The organ console in 2012

The Auditorium's pipe organ is the 17th largest in the world.[34] Installed in 1908 by the organ builder Robert Hope-Jones, its components have been rebuilt and expanded several times, especially since resident organist Gordon Turk and curator John Shaw (who died on July 24, 2019) took their posts in 1974 and 1975, respectively.[35] Additions made in the 21st century include a 14-rank echo division in 2008, in an effort to broaden the resources necessary to play repertoire of many styles and periods, and to restore those stops unique to the instrument as Hope-Jones conceived it.[36] In the 2010s, the organ continues to be further enlarged and revoiced, with additions underwritten by donors.[37] As of July, 2018, the organ has five manuals, 202 ranks, and 12,200 total pipes.[38] About 75 percent of the original Hope-Jones pipework remains extant, according to John Shaw.

Prominent organists to have played the Ocean Grove Auditorium organ include Edwin H. Lemare, Pietro Yon, and Frederick Swann.[36] Celebrated organist Virgil Fox gave his last solo concert in the building in 1980. Turk and guest concert organists play free recitals on most Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons in July and August.[33]

A popular organ piece, often played in the early years of the organ, was "The Storm", which featured the stops of the organ for thunder, lightning, rain, and birds singing. An article in The New York Times from 1909 reports on the annoyance of some nearby residents at the frequent repetition of the performances of the piece.[39]

Performances and other events


The Great Auditorium has over the years featured famed hymn writer Fanny Crosby, band leader John Philip Sousa, and tenor Enrico Caruso. More recently, singers Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, Kenny Rogers, and Ray Charles performed there.[15] Other concerts filling the summer schedule included [40] the acclaimed Summer Stars chamber music programs, which bring some of the finest classical musicians from Philadelphia and New York each Thursday night in July and early August.[33] Saturday nights featured popular entertainment, including appearances by Johnny Mathis, Ronan Tynan, Linda Eder, the Beach Boys, comedian Bill Cosby, and Christian rock stars such as Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nichole Nordeman, Hillsong United l, and Sonic Flood. In 2017, the CMA announced it would be cutting back on secular concerts in the Auditorium and they have since been stopped altogether in favor of Christian programming, with the exception of Classical and Patriotic performances.[41]

Tents around the Great Auditorium

Since 1980, the Auditorium has hosted an annual memorial service for New Jersey law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The service includes a full Honor Guard, bagpipe procession, and singing by state high school choirs (Princeton High School and both West Windsor-Plainsboro High School choirs have performed in the past). Police, soldiers, National Guardsmen, executive-level officials, and the governor typically attend.

The Auditorium is also used during the month of June for high school graduation ceremonies.

Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association

Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association District
A statue of Ellwood H. Stokes and the Great Auditorium facing Ocean Pathway – once named one of the ten most beautiful streets in America
LocationBounded by Fletcher Lake, NJ Route 71, Lake Wesley, and the Atlantic Ocean
Area220 acres (89 ha)
Architectural styleBungalow/craftsman, Stick/eastlake, Queen Anne
NRHP reference No.76001170[42]
NJRHP No.2036[43]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 12, 1976
Designated NJRHPDecember 16, 1975

The OGCMA was established in 1869 and incorporated in 1870. Its mission is to "provide opportunities for spiritual birth, growth, and renewal in a Christian seaside setting."[44]

Tent City


From May to September of each year, 114 tents are erected around the Great Auditorium.[45] These tents form "Tent City," a tradition of the Camp Meeting Association that dates back to 1869. Each tent is connected to a shed containing a kitchen and bathroom; the sheds are also used to store the tents during the winter. Tents are in such demand that there is a waiting list of over ten years for summer rentals.[15] Rent runs from $4,000 to $6,000 per summer. All prospective tent inhabitants are interviewed. Subletting of tents is not allowed; dogs, cats, and barbecuing are also prohibited. Tent inhabitants do not have to be Methodist, but they do have to support the association's spiritual missions.[14][46]


Ticket to Rossini's Stabat Mater, performed in 1903

The Camp Meeting offers traditional and contemporary worship programs throughout the summer. Sunday worship services are held in the Great Auditorium. These services have featured preachers such as Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, Robert H. Schuller, Billy Sunday, Ralph W. Sockman, David H. C. Read, Frank Thewlis, Tony Campolo, James A. Forbes, D. James Kennedy, Charles Stanley, William Jennings Bryan, Booker T. Washington, and Rodney "Gipsy" Smith.[15]

The music is led by a volunteer choir, along with professional soloists such as Ronald Naldi.[47] Gordon Turk accompanies at the Hope-Jones organ. Jason Tramm is the musical director. Lewis A. Daniels Sr. (1927–2012), was director of music from 1966 to 2004.[48] Since 1955, the annual Choir Festival held in July has gathered thousands of church choir singers, predominantly from the northeastern U.S., to sing "to the glory of God".[16] In 1986, New York television station WNET featured the Choir Festival on its Summerfare program.[16] The Choir Festival is also a regular feature on the Sacred Classics radio broadcast.[47]

Stuart Briscoe speaking at the Bishop Janes Tabernacle in 2018

The Camp Meeting also offers a contemporary worship service, "Pavilion Praise," in the beach's Boardwalk Pavilion each Sunday morning. A Bible Hour is held each weekday morning in the Bishop Janes Tabernacle, built in 1877, adjacent to the Great Auditorium.[33]

"Bridgefest," an annual two-day event, brings contemporary Christian music to young people and their families. The event is promoted by New York–area radio station "Bridge FM" (WRDR-FM).[49]

Hurricane Sandy


In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage in Ocean Grove. Over half of the town's boardwalk was destroyed, and the town's fishing pier was significantly damaged.[50] Ocean Grove was denied Federal Emergency Management Agency funding because the Camp Meeting Association is a nonprofit organization. While nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive FEMA funding, Ocean Grove was denied funding because the boardwalk was classified as being used solely for recreational purposes.[51] The town formed a group called "Together" to address storm recovery. The group includes the Camp Meeting Association, the chamber of commerce, the homeowners association, the beautification committee, the historic society, the fishing club, and Ocean Grove United, a gay and lesbian group.[51][52]

Hurricane repairs are estimated to cost $3.5 million.[50] The "Together" campaign raised $1.5 million, including $750,000 for the boardwalk, $100,000 for the roof of the Great Auditorium, and $500,000 for architectural and structural repairs to Thornley Chapel. The Camp Meeting Association has appealed FEMA's funding rejection three times.[53] Federal officials also denied the Camp Meeting Association's request for funding in the wake of Hurricane Irene.[52][54]

In 2013, members of the gay-rights group Ocean Grove United and the OGCMA joined up to co-sponsor an event aimed at raising funds to rebuild Ocean Grove's hurricane-damaged boardwalk.[55]

The third appeal by OGCMA to FEMA, supported by some NJ politicians, was accepted. As MaryAnn Spoto elucidated on NJ.com in 2014: "The storm destroyed about a third of Ocean Grove's nearly half-mile of boardwalk.... FEMA's $2.3 million to Ocean Grove includes $1.13 million for that project as well as money for three other recovery projects."[56]

Gay relations


From the late 1990s through 2000s, Ocean Grove saw the opening of a large number of gay-owned restaurants, hotels, and stores.[22] According to The New York Times, Ocean Grove's gay and Methodist populations coexisted peacefully until a 2007 controversy over whether gay couples could conduct civil unions at the Camp Meeting Association's Boardwalk Pavilion. Previously, the Association sought to realize income from its structures by renting them as wedding venues. There were no religious restrictions placed on the ceremonies. Also according to the Times, "Ocean Grove has long been considered a community that embraced gay residents." In 2007, a representative of Garden State Equality, an LGBT rights advocacy organization, said: "I'm hearing from gay people all over the country who thought Ocean Grove was the leading light for gay tolerance and that's not the case anymore."[57]

In 2012, Christian actor Kirk Cameron gave a lecture in Ocean Grove on the subject of strengthening marriage.[58] Cameron's lecture sparked a protest by gay rights activists. After Cameron's speech, a lunch was arranged between members of the Camp Meeting Association and members of the gay community. Camp Meeting Association President Dale Whilden said, "This is an opportunity to show that we respect them." Democratic congressman Frank Pallone attended the event. Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality, noted: "We may not agree on everything, but we are, today, starting to see each other as human beings."[59]

In 2013, the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights advocacy group, included Ocean Grove in its Municipal Equality Index, a study that scores 291 American cities based on their inclusivity of LGBT people. Ocean Grove scored 77 out of 100, representing the second highest score for cities located in New Jersey.[60][61]

In July 2022 the CMA unveiled the design for the new fishing pier, which had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, in the form of a cross. Some members of the LGBTQ+ and secular community were upset that neighborhood input was not sought before the plans were finalized and that the donors were not informed of the design ahead of time. They reached out to local and state officials hoping to delay the start of construction until the matter could be fully reviewed.[62]

Civil union controversy


In 2007, two lesbian couples asked to have their civil union ceremonies at the OGCMA's Boardwalk Pavilion. According to The New York Times, "the couples' requests were rejected, and they complained to the state's Division on Civil Rights, which began a discrimination investigation."[22] The complaint stated that Scott Rasmussen, on behalf of the OGCMA, informed the couple it would not permit them to use the OGCMA's facilities for a civil union.[63] In 2008, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights found that there was probable cause to credit one of the two couples' complaints, but rejected the other.[64][65]

In an attempt to halt the state's investigation, the OGCMA filed a federal suit.[66] In the suit, the OGCMA wrote that it would be "thrust into government compelled expressive association with those who promote same-sex 'civil unions'" if it is forced to allow them at its facilities, and "such forced association would severely compromise the Association's desire to communicate to the general public a message consistent with its religious views on marriage and family." The OGCMA's motion was dismissed.[67]

Complicating the dispute over civil unions was the fact that Ocean Grove's boardwalk and beachfront were held in a 1908 ruling to be exempt from property tax because they "had been dedicated years ago by the association as a public highway."[68] The Boardwalk Pavilion lost its tax-exempt status in 2007 because the state ruled that it no longer met the requirements as a place open to all members of the public. From 1989 until the Pavilion lost its tax-exempt status, the OGCMA had received $500,000 in annual tax breaks through the state's Green Acres program. The boardwalk and beach remain tax-exempt.[57]

On January 12, 2012, Administrative Law Judge Solomon Metzger ruled that the Camp Meeting had violated the state's law against discrimination.[69][70] The OGCMA discontinued use of the pavilion for weddings for the general public after the controversy started.[71] While the Association reports that it no longer offers any of its property to the general public as wedding venues, they have a process in place that grants use on an exception basis, provided the couple meets additional criteria.



Roads and highways


Interstate 195 provides highway access to Ocean Grove from the New Jersey Turnpike, Philadelphia, and points west. The nearby Garden State Parkway connects Ocean Grove with points north and south, such as New York City and Atlantic City.

Public transportation


Frequent rail passenger service to New York City is provided by NJ Transit on the North Jersey Coast Line from the nearby Asbury Park station. New Jersey Transit offers service between Ocean Grove and Philadelphia on the 317 route and local bus service on the 830 route.[72] Additionally, Academy Bus has regular service to area shore towns and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.[73]

The nearest airport having scheduled commercial airline service is Newark Liberty International Airport, 45 miles (72 km) north, while Monmouth Executive Airport for general aviation airplanes is just 6 miles (10 km) away.[74]



According to the Köppen climate classification system, Ocean Grove has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa). Cfa climates are characterized by all months having an average temperature above 32.0 °F (0.0 °C), at least four months with an average temperature at or above 50.0 °F (10.0 °C), at least one month with an average temperature at or above 71.6 °F (22.0 °C) and no significant precipitation difference between seasons. Although most summer days are slightly humid with a cooling afternoon sea breeze in Ocean Grove, episodes of heat and high humidity can occur with heat index values above 103 °F (39 °C). Since 1981, the highest air temperature was 100.3 °F (37.9 °C) on August 9, 2001, and the highest daily average mean dew point was 77.4 °F (25.2 °C) on August 13, 2016. The average wettest month is July which correlates with the peak in thunderstorm activity. Since 1981, the wettest calendar day was 5.56 inches (14 cm) on August 27, 2011. During the winter months, the average annual extreme minimum air temperature is 3.8 °F (−15.7 °C).[75] Since 1981, the coldest air temperature was −5.7 °F (−20.9 °C) on January 22, 1984. Episodes of extreme cold and wind can occur with wind chill values below −6 °F (−21 °C). The average seasonal (November–April) snowfall total is 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm), and the average snowiest month is February which corresponds with the annual peak in nor'easter activity.

Climate data for Ocean Grove, 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1981-2019
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 71.6
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 40.1
Daily mean °F (°C) 32.4
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 24.8
Record low °F (°C) −5.7
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.62
Average relative humidity (%) 64.6 61.7 60.3 61.8 65.7 70.0 69.6 71.2 71.3 69.4 67.3 65.3 66.5
Average dew point °F (°C) 21.8
Source: PRISM[76]
Climate data for Sandy Hook, NJ Ocean Water Temperature (18 N Ocean Grove)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °F (°C) 37
Source: NOAA[77]



According to the A. W. Kuchler U.S. potential natural vegetation types, Ocean Grove would have a dominant vegetation type of Appalachian Oak (104) with a dominant vegetation form of Eastern Hardwood Forest (25).[78] The plant hardiness zone is 7a with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of 3.8 °F (−15.7 °C).[75] The average date of first spring leaf-out is March 24[79] and fall color typically peaks in early-November.

Notable people


People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Ocean Grove include:


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  16. ^ a b c d Page, Tim. "'Summerfare' Offers Choir Festival", The New York Times, July 30, 1986. Accessed June 30, 2015. "Ocean Grove, about six miles south of Long Branch, was founded in 1869 as a Methodist camp meeting ground; by the early 20th century it had been dubbed the 'Queen of Religious Resorts.'"
  17. ^ Home page, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Accessed November 6, 2007.
  18. ^ "The Story of Ocean Grove". Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Archived from the original on June 20, 2008. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
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  21. ^ Gilinsky, Robert. Asbury Park and Neptune, p. 64. Arcadia Publishing, 2011. ISBN 9780738575360 Accessed July 16, 2019. "An infamous blue law prohibited Sunday driving is documented here a few years before the courts determined that the statute was illegal in 1981. Not only was it illegal to drive in Ocean Grove, but in 1914 it became illegal to have a car parked on the street there."
  22. ^ a b c Capuzzo, Jill (September 3, 2007). "Civil Union Dispute Pits Methodist Retreat Against Gays Who Aided in Its Rebirth". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  23. ^ Sahn, Michelle. "New life at old hotel site", Asbury Park Press, March 23, 2006. Accessed August 28, 2022, via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Froias, Steven (January 27, 2008). "Split Decision or technical knockout from the Planning Board?". Ocean Grove Record.
  25. ^ Oglesby, Amanda. "Dunes Boardwalk Cafe still smoldering day after fire", Asbury Park Press, April 14, 2019. Accessed August 28, 2022.
  26. ^ US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 4, 2014.
  27. ^ Report on Population of the United States at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Part I, p. 240. United States Census Bureau, 1895. Accessed October 20, 2016.
  28. ^ a b c d e DP-1 – Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000 from the Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data for Ocean Grove CDP, New Jersey Archived 2020-02-12 at archive.today, United States Census Bureau. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  29. ^ a b c d DP-1 – Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data for Ocean Grove CDP, New Jersey Archived 2020-02-12 at archive.today, United States Census Bureau. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  30. ^ Snyder, John P. The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606–1968, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 114. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  31. ^ Sullivan, Joseph F. "Ocean Grove tries to retain ideals, but not some civic burdens", The New York Times, August 22, 1982. Accessed August 8, 2012. "In 1979, however, the New Jersey Supreme Court found its charter unconstitutional because it decreed 'that in Ocean Grove the church shall be the state and the state shall be the church.' Since then, Ocean Grove has had to disband its police department and municipal court and to rely more on its parent community, Neptune Township. It has also had to drop a series of Sunday blue laws designed to enforce observance of the Sabbath and take down the chains that blocked automobiles from its entrances on that day."
  32. ^ Gordon, Bill. "Soapbox; Can't We All Get Along? Evidently So.", The New York Times, May 30, 2004. Accessed August 8, 2012. "Ocean Grove is a dry town: No alcohol can be bought or sold. Although that can sometimes mean more drinking (people seem to bring their own bottles just about everywhere), the lack of readily available liquor and the lack of a commercial boardwalk tend to keep things quiet and relatively safe."
  33. ^ a b c d Ocean Grove Summer Calendar of Events 2007. Ocean Grove, NJ: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, 2007.
  34. ^ "The Top 20 – The World's Largest Pipe Organs". Sacred Classics. September 28, 2012.
  35. ^ "Obituaries: John Richard Shaw". Asbury Park Press. July 27, 2019. p. A9 – via Newspapers.com. 
  36. ^ a b Shaw, John R. (2008). The Great Auditorium Organ. Ocean Grove, NJ: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. pp. 15, 17.
  37. ^ Walton, Mary (June 28, 2012). "With New Pipes, a Great Organ Gets Even Better". Blogfinger.net. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  38. ^ Specification of the Great Auditorium Organ, Ocean Camp Meeting Association (July 2018)
  39. ^ "Organ Recital Too Noisy: Ocean Grove Cottages Say 'The Storm' Disturbs Their Naps", The New York Times, July 16, 1909. Accessed September 17, 2013. "Ocean Grove, July 15. – Ocean Grove's new pipe organ, the largest in the world, is causing trouble for its owners, the Camp Meeting Association. : An organ recital is one of the daily events of the Summer's musical programme and its feature is the daily playing by Will C. Macfarlane of "The Storm," a composition that shows of the organ to its best advantage. : But the cottagers and the hotel guests in the vicinity of the Auditorium have become surfeited with the organ's noise. They complain that it disturbs their afternoon naps and annoys them at tea-time. : They will appeal to the association and suggest that for "The Storm" be substituted something more soothing."
  40. ^ An Historic Theme Study of the New Jersey Heritage Trail Route: Religious Resorts, National Park Service. Accessed November 6, 2007. "Known for its fine acoustics, the auditorium has attracted the noted and the celebrated during its century of use, and remains the focus of cultural life in Ocean Grove."
  41. ^ "Is the Great Auditorium still great? This is part of our series on the modern history of the Grove.", Blogfinger. Accessed September 16, 2022."
  42. ^ "National Register Information System – (#76001170)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  43. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Monmouth County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. December 28, 2020. p. 14.
  44. ^ "About Us". Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  45. ^ Sudol, Valerie (April 2012). "Ocean Grove Tent City Rises Again". Inside New Jersey. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  46. ^ Chesler, Caren (May 7, 2010). "Where Time Stands Still". New Jersey Monthly. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  47. ^ a b 2013 Summer Events, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, pages 16–17.
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  49. ^ Bridgefest Beach Festival website
  50. ^ a b Wanko, Lauren (March 20, 2013). "As Shore Towns Repair Boardwalks, Ocean Grove at a Standstill Because of FEMA's Denial". NJ Today. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  51. ^ a b Di Ionno, Mark (April 22, 2013). "Despite FEMA denial, Ocean Grove bands together for Sandy rebuilding". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  52. ^ a b Chesler, Caren (February 8, 2013). "FEMA Won't Fund New Boardwalk for Ocean Grove". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  53. ^ Panissidi, Anthony (October 22, 2013). "Ocean Grove tries again to gain FEMA funding". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  54. ^ Bowman, Bill (February 7, 2013). "Feds say no to N.J. boardwalk request". USA Today. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  55. ^ Walton, Mary (July 23, 2013). "Methodists and gay residents reconcile at Ocean Grove fund-raiser". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on October 28, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  56. ^ Spoto, MaryAnn. "Ocean Grove boardwalk called a 'miracle' project after FEMA funding was denied twice", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, July 3, 2014. Accessed August 29, 2022.
  57. ^ a b Capuzzo, Jill P. "Group Loses Tax Break Over Gay Union Issue", The New York Times, September 18, 2007. Accessed August 28, 2022. "A boardwalk pavilion in the seaside town of Ocean Grove, N.J., that has been at the center of a battle over gay civil union ceremonies has lost its tax-exempt status because the state ruled it no longer met the requirements as a place open to all members of the public."
  58. ^ Spoto, MaryAnn (July 28, 2012). "Kirk Cameron appearance in Ocean Grove draws protests from gay supporters". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  59. ^ Moore, Chadwick (August 1, 2012). "In Methodist Stronghold, a Dialogue on Gay Rights". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  60. ^ "Municipal Equality Index 2013". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved December 30, 2013. Note that Ocean Grove is listed and the encompassing Neptune Township is not, despite the fact that Ocean Grove is not a municipality and therefore most of the criteria that contribute to the index are the responsibility of the encompassing Neptune Township.
  61. ^ Bartlett, Jill (November 19, 2013). "Asbury ranks low on list of state's LGBT friendly cities Ocean Grove rated more LGBT friendly in comparison". Asbury Park Sun. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  62. ^ Roman, Jackie. [1], NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, August 22, 2022. Accessed September 16, 2022. "Jersey Shore pier in shape of cross in deeply religious town raises concerns."
  63. ^ Schwebber, Nate (June 24, 2007). "The Week in New Jersey". New York Times. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  64. ^ Fleming, James; McLain, Linda (2013). Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues. Harvard University Press. p. 323.
  65. ^ Spoto, MaryAnn. "State sides with lesbian couple in fight against Ocean Grove association", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, December 30, 2008. Accessed August 28, 2022. "The state Division on Civil Rights ruled Sunday a lesbian couple can move forward with a discrimination complaint against Ocean Grove for refusing to let them use an oceanfront pavilion for a civil union."
  66. ^ Capuzzo, Jill (August 14, 2007). "Church Group Complains of Civil Union Pressure". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  67. ^ Gallagher, Mary Pat (November 8, 2007). "U.S. Court Won't Hear Suit by Church That Barred Same-Sex Ceremonies". National Organization for Women of New Jersey. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  68. ^ Sagara, Eric (June 1, 2013). "Ocean Grove boardwalk appeal for FEMA aid denied". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  69. ^ LaPlaca, Charlie (January 13, 2012). "Judge: Ocean Grove Church Violated Law by Preventing Civil Union". Manasquan-Belmar Patch. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  70. ^ "Judge Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Couple in Discrimination Case". American Civil Liberties Union. January 13, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  71. ^ Spahr, Rob (October 24, 2012). "Lesbian couple discriminated against by Ocean Grove association, state says". NJ.com. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  72. ^ Monmouth County Bus / Rail Connections, NJ Transit, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 26, 2010. Accessed August 8, 2012.
  73. ^ "Academy Bus – Commuter Bus from New Jersey to New York City". Academy Bus LLC. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  74. ^ Monmouth Executive Airport website
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  77. ^ "Water Temperature Table of All Coastal Regions". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
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  80. ^ "Grove Woman Was 'Caliban' Leader; Miss Mary Porter Beegle, Well Known Here, Directed New York Pageant.", Asbury Park Press, May 31, 1916. Accessed May 24, 2020. "Miss Mary Porter Beegle, a former resident of Ocean Grove and well known to many residents of this city, was, perhaps, the happiest young woman in New York when 'Caliban by the Yellow Sands' the Percy Mackaye Shakespeare masque, was finally presented in the City college stadium last Wednesday night."
  81. ^ Burke's Peerage, vol. 3 (2003), p. 3,965.
  82. ^ Staff. "Rev. Thomas Chisholm, 93, Dies; Wrote 1,200 Protestant Hymns", The New York Times, March 2, 1960. Accessed August 8, 2012. "Ocean Grove, N.J., March 1 – The Rev. Thomas O. Chisholm, author of 1,200 Protestant hymns and devotional verse, died tonight at the Methodist Home here.... In 1916, Mr. Chisholm moved to Vineland, where he went into the insurance business."
  83. ^ "A Unique Hymn Writer.; Fanny Crosby's Method of Composing Religious Verses to Order.", The New York Times, August 22, 1897. Accessed August 24, 2023. "Among the cottagers at Ocean Grove each Summer can be seen a unique and interesting old lady, whose name is known in Sunday school and church circles the world over, and who can safely say that she has more hymns to her credit than any mortal, living or dead.... She is, too, a frail, wee creature, tipping the scales at about 100 pounds, and yet, despite this life-long infirmity, Fanny Crosby has made a generous competence .and an enduring name by composing, since 1804, over 4,000 Sunday school hymns."
  84. ^ Staff. "New Jersey paddleboarder Michelle Davidson salutes Diana Nyad's Cuba to U.S. swim" Archived 2013-11-01 at the Wayback Machine, News 12 New Jersey, September 5, 2013. Accessed November 10, 2013. "Ocean Grove – A New Jersey woman has a special appreciation for Diana Nyad's recent accomplishment. Michelle Davidson, 43, paddled from Cuba to Florida as part of a relay team back in 2004.... The Neptune resident teaches business classes at Holmdel High School now, and says she plans on talking to her students about Nyad's triumph."
  85. ^ Bell, Wayne T., Ocean Grove (Arcadia Publishing, 2000): 56. ISBN 978-0-7385-0425-4
  86. ^ Capuzzo, Jill P. "An Active Night Scene Is a Major Attraction", The New York Times, August 6, 2000. Accessed June 1, 2018. "Born in nearby Ocean Grove, Mr. Pettibone got started in the music business spinning discs at CJ's record store here in the 1970's."
  87. ^ Thomas Jr., Robert McG. "Haydn Proctor, 93, a Judge And New Jersey State Senator", The New York Times, October 5, 1996. Accessed February 10, 2011. "Haydn Proctor, a longtime New Jersey official who operated at the highest levels of all three branches of state government, died on Wednesday at a hospital near his home in Lakewood, N.J."
  88. ^ Harris, John F. "In Such a Tight Race, Pollster Sees a Profit; N.J.-Based Business Uses 'Robo Calling'", The Washington Post, October 31, 2004. Accessed August 8, 2012. "That would be Scott Rasmussen, who is following this anxious election with contentment from his home town of Ocean Grove, N.J., confident that he is divining the mysteries of democracy with the help of a computerized phone bank in Texas and several pleasant-voiced women in the Midwest."
  89. ^ Litsky, Frank. "Dr. George Sheehan, Running Figure, Dies at 74", The New York Times, November 2, 1993. Accessed December 6, 2012. "Dr. George Sheehan, a cardiologist who became the philosopher of the recreational running movement in the 1970's and 1980's, died yesterday at his home in Ocean Grove, N.J."
  90. ^ Minor, E. Kyle. "Music; A Bar Band Once Again Takes to The Road", The New York Times, June 18, 2000. Accessed December 16, 2012. "That association was made in Mr. Lyon's youth, growing up Ocean Grove, N.J., half a mile from Asbury Park."
  91. ^ Junior, Chris M. "Boss Caps Guitar Fest Opener", Asbury Park Press, January 20, 2006. Accessed June 1, 2018. "The brainchild of festival co-founder and artistic director David Spelman of Ocean Grove (below, second from left), The Nebraska Project, held at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden, featured various artists performing the songs from Springsteen's 1982 solo album, plus other Springsteen tunes that were written around the same time period."
  92. ^ Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual, State of New Jersey, Volume 194, Part 2; Volume 195, Parts 1-2, p. 363. J.A. Fitzgerald, 1971. "Richard R. Stout was born September 21, 1912, at Ocean Grove, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Neptune High School, Lawrenceville School, Princeton University and the Newark Law School."
  93. ^ Schrag, Paul. "President Rocks: University Puget Sound President Ronald R. Thomas reflects on music and the '60s", University of Puget Sound Weekly Volcano, December 13, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2021. "While growing up in Ocean Grove, NJ, Thomas sat behind E-Street Band bass player Gary Tallent in home room at Neptune High School."
  94. ^ "Gordon Turk CD at Ocean Grove", The Diapason, July 12, 2021. Accessed August 28, 2022. "As organist and artist-in-residence of the auditorium since 1974, Turk plays this organ for twice-weekly recitals in July and August and for Sunday services."
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