History of Asbury Park, New Jersey

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Asbury Park, a city in Monmouth County, is situated on the Atlantic coast of New Jersey, about 55 miles from New York City. Planned in 1869 and founded in 1870 by New York businessman James A. Bradley, it was intended as a haven for temperance advocates. The city is named for Francis Asbury, the founder of Methodism in the United States. Many of the streets are named for prominent 19th-century Methodist ministers.

Served by the Central Jersey Railroad, Asbury Park developed rapidly as a center of light manufacturing as well as a resort and residential community. The community became a borough in 1874 and was incorporated in 1897. Actor Bud Abbott, of the comedy team of Abbott and Costello, was born in Asbury Park in 1895. The city was an early adopter of telephones and had the first municipal sewer system on the Jersey Shore. Woodrow Wilson used Asbury Park as his summer headquarters during his campaign for re-election in 1916.

The teenage home of Stephen Crane, author of "The Red Badge of Courage," is now the Crane House, a museum dedicated to his life and writings. Rock and roll musician Bruce Springsteen broke into the music scene in Asbury Park, and his first record album was titled "Greetings From Asbury Park." He is featured in the Asbury Park Rock 'n Roll Museum.

In 1903, resident doctors from Asbury Park started what developed into Jersey Shore University Medical Center in adjacent Neptune. Local history is on display at the Ocean Township Historical Museum in nearby Oakhurst.

Asbury Park is served by Brookdale Community College. The campus of Monmouth University is in West Long Branch, about five miles north.

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