A Brief History of Spring Lake - (Prepared by The Spring Lake Historical Society)
Historical Society WInter Museum Hours:
After Sunday, December 15, 2013, the Musuem will be open by appointment only until March 13, 2014. We make every effort to accommodate visitors by appointment during the Winter. If an appointment is needed, please call 732-449-0772 or 732-974-0360.
Photo: Arches at Sunrise
The Borough of Spring Lake derives its name from the fresh water spring-fed lake formerly known as "Fresh Creek Pond”. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Borough consisted of four separate areas: Villa Park, Spring Lake Beach, Brighton-North Brighton, and Como, which were combined to form what is now Spring Lake. These four communities were primarily delineated by farms. Villa Park, in the South, had been the Reid farm; Spring Lake Beach was the Osborn farm, Brighton-North Brighton was called the Walling and Ludlow tracts, and Como, in the north end, was the Morton and Curtis farms.
Early development occurred as a result of land subdivision and the advent of rail service to the area. A large hotel was the focal point of each of the four districts. The Villa Park House was erected in Villa Park, the Monmouth House was the keystone of Spring Lake Beach, and the Brightens had Wilburton-by-the-Sea (now the Breakers Hotel). The intended hotel for Como was used solely as a private home. Through the foresight, efforts and promotion of various Spring Lake pioneers like William Reid, John Rodgers, Joseph Tuttle, C. Wilbur Tuttle, Robert Worthington, Rev. A.A. Willits, O.H. Brown and E.V. Patterson, the town eventually became a fashionable seaside resort. In the early 1900's, the town boasted fine hotels, lavish estates, and pretentious private homes (known as "cottages"),surrounded by the beautiful clear pond renamed "Spring Lake."
On September 19, 1900, a disastrous fire destroyed several buildings including a number of large cottages in Hastings Square, (the block on which the Essex & Sussex Condominium now stands), structures in the former First Avenue business district, and the well-known Monmouth House and Carleton Hotel. Third Avenue, established in the late 1800's as the Brighton-North Brighton business district, then became the primary commercial center for the borough.
Two structures in town, the Normandy Inn and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, are on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Spring Lake is a unique year-round community that welcomes a large influx of summer vacationers. The town boasts a comfortable two mile non-commercial boardwalk that borders a beautiful sand beach, lovely bed and breakfast inns, a quaint downtown area and a number of charming historic Victorian homes.