Ocean Grove was founded in 1869 as a Christian summer camp meeting community in the Methodist tradition. In 1870, a state charter was issued for one square mile of real estate governed by the thirteen ministers and thirteen laymen who composed the leadership of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Within a short time, a permanent town began to emerge.
Today the town stands as a noted example of a late 19th Century planned urban community. The district contains the largest number of Victorian and early 20th century structures in America—over 1000. The current summer tent community, of 114 tents, remains centered around The Great Auditorium.
Ocean Grove is admired for its diversity, its sense of community, its religious commitment, and the summer programs of music and the arts.
Historic Preservation and Designation
The purpose of the Historical Society of Ocean Grove is to sustain the heritage and honor of being designated a National Historic District.
The Historical Society of Ocean Grove has information available to residents regarding the history of their home. Visit our research library in the Museum. “So How Old is My House” is an interesting pamphlet prepared by local historians Marty Rakita and Ted Bell. It is available for sale in the Museum shop, along with many books about Ocean Grove and its unique history.
The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) of Neptune Township is a separate organization. The HPC is dedicated to the goal of sharing information about the benefits of preserving Ocean Grove’s heritage and to “Recapture the Spirit of Ocean Grove” with all residents.
Today, the tenting community stands as a unique and vital part of historical Ocean Grove.
At the outset, Ocean Grove was truly a camp community, families settled into tents when they came to the town for the religious activities. As homes were built, summer tents remained popular and at one time, nearly 900 tents were leased on individual lots throughout Ocean Grove.
Today, only 114 tents remain in the historic district near the Great Auditorium. Each spring, the tenting area is transformed as tenters, as they are often called, create wonderful homes. From May 15-September 15, the canvas is erected over the front wooden platform transforming it into a large tented living area. A front porch is also part of the structure. Behind the tent portion is a wooden structure containing the kitchen, bathroom and usually another room.
The Historical Society of Ocean Grove works hand-in-hand with our community neighbors which include the The Ocean Grove Beautification Committee, The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, The Ocean Grove Home Owners Association, the Jersey Shore Arts Center, and Ocean Grove United.