Ocean Grove, New Jersey - Website of New Jersey Shore

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Ocean Grove NJ

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A Brief History of Ocean Grove

The Town of Ocean Grove was incorporated in 1869 by a group of spiritual lay leaders and is a National Historical District. Since its incorporation, the one-square-mile town has been host to thousands of summer visitors, including U.S. Presidents.

The most impressive structure in Ocean Grove, and the center of activity since 1894, is The Great Auditorium. Built in 1875, the auditorium was originally covered with tree boughs. It provided shade but not shelter from rain for the congregation. A permanent roof was added in 1876. At this time the Auditorium could seat 3,000 worshipers. The congregation continued to grow over the years, resulting in the construction of a new building to seat 10,000 in 1893. The Great Auditorium continues to be used for Sunday services during the summer. It also serves as a showcase for popular preachers and evangelists such as Billy Graham, Gypsy Smith and Norman Vincent Peale.

In the early days of Ocean Grove tents were the predominant shelter for visitors. Today, 114 tent structures can be seen nestled around The Great Auditorium. Some of the tent owners are descendents of early Ocean Grove families, passing the tradition from generation to generation.

Until 1980, the town gates were closed and chained from midnight Saturday until midnight Sunday. No vehicles of any kind were permitted on the Sabbath. The same year, the courts ruled that there was a conflict between church & state and the gates must remain open.

Come to Ocean Grove this year and enjoy an elegant resort town where historic architecture and pristine beaches await you. Ocean Grove’s tree lined streets boast the largest assemblage of authentic Victorian architecture in the nation. In 1977, Ocean Grove was entered into the National Register of Historic Places