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Long Branch was formed on April 11, 1867, as the Long Branch Commission, from portions of Ocean Township. Long Branch was incorporated as a city by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 8, 1903, based on the results of a referendum, replacing the Long Branch Commission.
Long Branch station, 1873
The Beach at Long Branch - wood cut illustration by Winslow Homer (1869)
President Grant and his family summered in Long Branch the first year of his presidency in 1869 and for most of the rest of Grant's life, at this time it came to be called the "summer capital". President Garfield was brought to Long Branch in the hope that the fresh air and quiet might aid his recovery after being shot on July 2, 1881, an incident that left the assassin's bullet lodged in his spine. He died here on September 19, 1881, exactly two months before his 50th birthday. The Garfield Tea House, constructed from railroad ties that had been laid to carry Garfield's train, is in Elberon.
Originally a resort town with a few hotels and large estates and many farms in the early 20th century, Long Branch grew in population. Italian, Irish and Jewish immigrants settled in during this period. During the 1930s, the city used government policies to enforce racial segregation against Blacks at local beaches, assigning all black applicants for beach passes to a single, segregated beach.
By the 1950s, Long Branch like many other towns had developed new residential spots and housing to make room for the growing population. Many of the former farms of Long Branch were transformed into residential suburbs. Many of the estates and a few old historic resorts (with the addition of many new ones) still remain.
In the early 20th century, Long Branch lost much of its activity as a theater spot. In addition, the opening of the Garden State Parkway in the mid-1950s allowed shore visitors to access points further south, which added to Long Branch's decline. The civil unrest of the 1960s caused riots in neighboring Asbury Park, and many fled the shore cities for the suburban towns west of the beach. Decades later, the older, more dilapidated parts of the resort town were condemned and redeveloped, in part by using eminent domain legislation.
Long Branch still continues to be a popular resort area. Many people from New York City travel or settle into the area to escape the crowded city and enjoy Long Branch's beaches. The area also attracts some tourists from the Philadelphia area as well.
On October 29, 2012, Long Branch was one of many shore communities that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Although Sandy's winds were powerful, Long Branch's position between Long Beach Island and Sea Bright gave Long Branch a much larger wall of security because it could not be engulfed by surrounding waters. Despite this mainland advantage, there were still several instances of flooding in Long Branch during the storm. Many residents went without electricity for as long as two weeks. The boardwalk was destroyed; the city began rebuilding it in 2015, and it reopened in April 2016, making it the last boardwalk damaged by Sandy to be rebuilt.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 6.283 square miles (16.274 km2), including 5.274 square miles (13.660 km2) of land and 1.009 square miles (2.614 km2) of water (16.06%).
There are several distinct neighborhoods and areas in the City of Long Branch, each with its own character. Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include Branchport, East Long Branch, Elberon (served as ZIP code 07740), Hollywood, Kensington Park, North Long Branch, Pleasure Bay and West End. Other areas include North End (once known as "Atlanticville"), Beachfront North and South (including Pier Village, adjacent to the site of the former Long Branch Pier at the foot of Laird Street), Downtown and Uptown. As the city's redevelopment initiatives continue to expand, the lower Broadway area (a portion of the city's Downtown) will become an Arts District.
Long Branch's fame as the Nation's First Seaside Resort waned in the years following World War II. The defining moment marking the end of this era occurred on June 8, 1987 when the largest fire in the history of the city destroyed the landmark amusement pier and adjoining Haunted Mansion, "Kid's World" Amusement Park and other businesses.
Broadway Center is a planned entertainment and commercial hub of Long Branch, as envisioned by the City Government and Thompson Design Group, who created the Master Plan for the city. This complex is planned to offer retail shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and two performing arts theaters as well as 500 new residences sitting atop a 1,500 car parking garage. It will be designed by the architectural firms of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK).
In June 2013, the city approved designation of the area around its train station as a transit village, which can bring incentives for revitalization and denser development.
There are several mid-rise buildings lining the oceanfront. In December 2013 another 12-story residential project was approved.
Portions of Long Branch are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone, one of 27 zones in the state. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (versus the 6.625% rate charged statewide, effective January 1, 2018) at eligible merchants. Established in 1994, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in November 2025.
There were 11,753 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.2% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.5% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.23.
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 12.2% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.8 years. For every 100 females there were 100.3 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 98.3 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $52,792 (with a margin of error of +/- $2,549) and the median family income was $56,778 (+/- $4,202). Males had a median income of $36,404 (+/- $3,363) versus $33,397 (+/- $4,036) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $30,381 (+/- $2,212). About 11.5% of families and 14.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.7% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.
There were 12,594 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.4% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,651, and the median income for a family was $42,825. Males had a median income of $37,383 versus $27,026 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,532. About 13.9% of families and 16.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.3% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Long Branch is governed under the Mayor-Council (Plan A) form of municipal government under the Faulkner Act, enacted by direct petition as of July 1, 1966. The government consists of a mayor and a five-member City Council, whose members are elected at-large in nonpartisan elections to serve four-year terms of office on a concurrent basis.
The Mayor of Long Branch is John Pallone. Members of the City Council are Dr. Mary Jane Celli, Bill Dangler, Mario Vieria, Dr. Anita Voogt and Rose Widdis. The mayor and city council members serve concurrent terms of office ending on June 30, 2022.
Federal, state and county representation
Long Branch is located in the 6th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 11th state legislative district.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 13,442 registered voters in Long Branch, of which 4,293 (31.9%) were registered as Democrats, 1,783 (13.3%) were registered as Republicans and 7,358 (54.7%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 8 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 64.5% of the vote (5,421 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 34.5% (2,897 votes), and other candidates with 1.0% (81 votes), among the 8,470 ballots cast by the city's 14,289 registered voters (71 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 59.3%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 61.2% of the vote (6,171 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 35.7% (3,600 votes) and other candidates with 1.0% (98 votes), among the 10,090 ballots cast by the city's 14,433 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.9%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 58.0% of the vote (5,724 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 40.5% (4,001 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (99 votes), among the 9,870 ballots cast by the city's 14,563 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 67.8.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 57.4% of the vote (2,621 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 41.1% (1,876 votes), and other candidates with 1.6% (71 votes), among the 4,677 ballots cast by the city's 14,129 registered voters (109 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 33.1%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 48.1% of the vote (2,714 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 44.7% (2,523 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 5.7% (320 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (48 votes), among the 5,645 ballots cast by the city's 13,812 registered voters, yielding a 40.9% turnout.
Long Branch's public schools are operated by the Long Branch Public Schools, serving children in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide, which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. All Long Branch Public Schools are free, including the district's preschool programs which are full-day and accommodate children ages 3-5 years old. Long Branch schools offer free breakfast each morning for the students. In addition, Long Branch Public Schools provide free summer programs for most of the summer.
As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its 10 schools had an enrollment of 5,732 students and 492.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 11.7:1. Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are
Lenna W. Conrow School (433 students; in grades PreK-K),
Joseph Ferraina Early Childhood Learning Center (429; PreK-K),
Morris Avenue School (337; PreK-K),
Amerigo A. Anastasia School (598; K-5),
George L. Catrambone Elementary School (859; K-5 - new for 2014-15),
Gregory School (626; 1-5),
Long Branch Middle School (1,115; 6-8),
Long Branch High School (1, 278; 9-12) and
Audrey W. Clark School / The Academy of Alternative Programs, an alternative education program
George L. Catrambone Elementary School was constructed at a total cost over $40 million for a facility that was designed to house 800 students in a facility covering 109,000 square feet (10,100 m2) for which construction began in 2012. With the start of the 2014-15 school year, a realignment of the district closed West End School, converted Morris Avenue School for early childhood use and repurposed Audrey W. Clark School for alternative education.
Seashore School is a private K-8 school, with class size limited to 16 students.
WRLB "Radio Long Branch" signed-on June l, 1960 at 107.1 FM. Since December 1996 the call letters have been WWZY.
Route 36 in Long Branch
Roads and highways
As of 2010, the city had a total of 89.49 miles (144.02 km) of roadways, of which 80.10 miles (128.91 km) were maintained by the municipality, 6.26 miles (10.07 km) by Monmouth County and 3.13 miles (5.04 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Route 36 and Route 71 are the most significant highways that pass through the city.
Long Branch station, which is served by NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast Line
Local bus transportation is provided by NJ Transit on the 831 and 837 routes. Transportation to New York City is provided by Academy Bus' Route 36 and Shore Points routes.
According to the Köppen climate classification system, Long Branch, New Jersey has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa). Cfa climates are characterized by all months having an average mean temperature > 32.0 °F (> 0.0 °C), at least four months with an average mean temperature >= 50.0 °F (>= 10.0 °C), at least one month with an average mean temperature >= 71.6 °F (>= 22.0 °C) and no significant precipitation difference between seasons. During the summer months at Long Branch, a cooling afternoon sea breeze is present on most days, but episodes of extreme heat and humidity can occur with heat index values >= 95 °F (>= 35 °C). During the winter months, episodes of extreme cold and wind can occur with wind chill values < 0 °F (< -18 °C). The plant hardiness zone at Long Branch Beach is 7a with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of 3.9 °F (-15.6 °C). The average seasonal (Nov-Apr) snowfall total is between 18 and 24 inches (46 and 61 cm), and the average snowiest month is February which corresponds with the annual peak in nor'easter activity.
Climate data for Long Branch Beach, NJ (1981-2010 Averages)
^(2006) The Year in Review, The Long Branch Historical Museum Association, Page 1.
^Staff. "'Church of the Presidents' To Reopen in Long Branch", The New York Times, May 1, 1950. Accessed July 3, 2012. "'The Church of the Presidents', where Harrison, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, McKinley and Wilson are said to have been worshipers while on seashore vacations, will be reopened June 15 as a house of meditation and as a museum, the Rev. Christopher H. Snyder, vicar, announced today."
^ abSharkey, Joe. "The Great Boardwalk Towns of Jersey", The New York Times, August 4, 1991. Accessed July 10, 2007. "Along the 125-mile (201 km) stretch of Jersey seashore, the northernmost of the Great Boardwalk Towns is Asbury Park, a resort that developed in the late 1800s as an alternative to its then vice-ridden neighbor, Long Branch, the town where President James Garfield died from gunshot wounds and thus became the first, but by no means only, local habitue to be dispatched at the hand of a disappointed office seeker."
^Williams, Carol Gorga. "Restoring Historic Church Where Seven Presidents Elected To Worship", Asbury Park Press, September 24, 2004. Accessed July 3, 2012. "One is the Garfield Tea House, a small structure that was built from the railroad ties used to lay the emergency track that transported a mortally wounded President Garfield from the Elberon train station to the oceanfront Franklyn Cottage, owned by railroad magnate Charles Franklyn, where the president died 12 days later."
^Kansas Fun Facts and Trivia, Legends of America. Accessed January 8, 2018. "The Long Branch Saloon really did exist in Dodge City, Kansas. One of the owners, William Harris, was a former resident of Long Branch, New Jersey and named the saloon after his hometown in the 1880's."
^Kahrl, Andrew W. "The North's Jim Crow", The New York Times, May 27, 2018. Accessed September 9, 2018. "In the 1930s, Long Branch, N.J., passed an ordinance requiring all residents to apply for a pass that would allow access to only one of the town's four public beaches. Town officials claimed the rule was meant to prevent overcrowding. Without exception, though, black applicants were assigned to the same beach and were denied entry to the others."
^Kahrl, Andrew W. "Free the Beach", Boston Review, May 21, 2018. Accessed September 9, 2018. "In the town of Long Branch, New Jersey, officials instituted a policy requiring beachgoers to first purchase a ticket that allowed them to access one of the town's four beaches. Which beach they could enjoy was at the seller's discretion. Without exception, African Americans received tickets for Beach 3 only."
^Spahr, Rob. "Last of N.J.'s Sandy-damaged boardwalks finally reopens", NJ Advance media for NJ.com, April 12, 2016. Accessed September 9, 2018. "Long Branch - The day after Hurricane Sandy pummeled the Jersey Shore, city officials went out to check on the beachfront and found a destroyed boardwalk and the bluffs upon which it sat severely eroded.... On Monday afternoon - flanked by city, county and state officials and wearing shorts and sandals - Schneider cut through a ceremonial ribbon to finally mark the reopening of the boardwalk, which was the last in New Jersey to reopen after Hurricane Sandy."
^Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Monmouth County Park System. Accessed January 8, 2018. "Long Branch was placed "on the map" in 1869 when President Grant made the city the nation's "Summer Capital," a tradition followed by Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Harrison, McKinley, and Wilson."
^Senator Joe Benning, Vermont General Assembly. Accessed January 5, 2018. "Joe Benning of Lyndon, Caledonia County, Republican, was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, on December 7, 1956. Occupation: trial lawyer. Joe graduated from Mater Dei High School in New Monmouth, New Jersey, in 1975"
^Storms, A. D. The Players Blue Book, p. 204. Sutherland & Storms 1901. Accessed November 12, 2015. "Mrs. Bloodgood is an actress whose transit to the front has been very rapid; not by undeserved promotion, for she is a most discreet, sympathetic and convincing actress, and has well merited her promotion. She was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, in 1870, her mother was Miss Annie Sutton, a sister of Mrs. Lloyd Aspinwall, her father is Mr. Edward Stephen, a well known lawyer in New York."
^Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual, 1984, p. 211. Accessed February 1, 2018. "11th District (part of Monmouth) John D'Amico Jr., Dem., Oceanport.... Mr. D'Amico was born in Long Branch Jan. 24, 1941. He attended Red Bank High School and Harvard College, where he received his degree, cum laude, in 1963."
^ abNash, Margo. "Photography; Beneath The Sea, With Fins And Lens", The New York Times, June 11, 2000. Accessed September 17, 2013. "IN the 19th century, when Long Branch was the first seaside resort in America, Winslow Homer painted seascapes there.... At his house in Elberon, which is now home base, Mr. Doubilet displays a 7-inch shark's tooth."
^Lawn, Connie. "Long Branch Day For Connie Lawn", Huffington Post, December 14, 2016. Accessed April 5, 2018. "What does one do with a key to a city? I am not certain, but my profound and humble thanks go to my home city of Long Branch, New Jersey and to Molly McCluskey of my beloved National Press Club in Washington, D.C.... Hope I don't have to march in any parades or ride on any floats, as I did during my days in Long Branch High School!"
^Norman MailerArchived 2007-04-05 at the Wayback Machine, New York State Writers Institute. Accessed May 2, 2007. "Norman Mailer, a formidable presence in American letters for nearly six decades, is the author of novels, creative nonfiction, short stories, essays, and screenplays and an ex political candidate for Mayor of NYC and public persona who was born in Long Branch, New Jersey on January 31, 1923."
^Hurte, Bob. John Montefusco, Society for American Baseball Research. Accessed September 9, 2018. "On September 3, 1974, John Montefusco from Long Branch, New Jersey, arrived at Dodger Stadium, one hour before that night's game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants."
^Robert Pinsky - Poetry , Boston University. Accessed January 8, 2018. "Born in 1940 in the seashore resort of Long Branch, New Jersey, Robert Pinsky attended Long Branch High School, Rutgers College, and Stanford University, where he held a Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing."
^Jacoby, Lars. "Zombies a scream for horror aficionado", The Arizona Republic, October 16, 2007. Accessed March 3, 2011. "America's love affair with the undead began in 1968 with the release of director George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, which changed the vision of horror forever. It was at that time 7-year-old Brian Pulido, of Long Branch, N.J., got caught up in the feverish outbreak of the film, which set his life into a dimension of horror he would never escape - and that's just fine with him."
^"NFL official Jim Quirk proud of his Long Branch roots", Atlanticville, June 28, 2001, backed up by the Internet Archive as of January 29, 2006. Accessed January 8, 2018. "Jim Quirk is one such person. A National Football League umpire since 1988, Quirk looks back on his beginnings at Long Branch with reverence, and remains thankful for the experiences he had as a member of the Green Wave's program."
^Wilkowe, Ellen S. "Man with a horn", Asbury Park Press, February 8, 2009. Accessed February 4, 2011. "After joining the Jukes Rosenberg moved to the Shore area and lived in Belmar, Long Branch and even across from the Stone Pony he said."
^Lustig, Jay. "'Rock Lobster,' The B-52's', NJArts.net, August 2, 2015. Accessed June 24, 2019. "The B-52's formed in Athens, Ga., in 1976, but its two most high-profile band members have Jersey roots: Fred Schneider was born in Newark and grew up in Belleville and then Long Branch; Kate Pierson was born in Weehawken and grew up in Rutherford."
^Wagman, Jake. "He is Mount Laurel's Angel", The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 21, 2002. Accessed December 26, 2007. "The parents of World Series pitcher Scott Schoeneweis want to set the record straight. Yes, he was born at a hospital in Long Branch, Monmouth County."
^Goldstein, Stan. "Bruce Springsteen Rocked Here", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 15, 2009, updated September 10, 2010. Accessed July 13, 2015. "Long Branch - 23. 7 1/2 West End Court -- Springsteen has said in interviews that he wrote 'Born to Run," "Thunder Road" and "Backstreets" while living here.... 24. Monmouth Medical Center -- Bruce was born here on Sept. 23, 1949. It then was known as Monmouth Memorial Hospital album."
^Michael Zapcic, AMC (TV channel). Accessed August 29, 2019. "Zapcic, who resides in Long Branch, NJ, is busy rebuilding his comic book collection after Hurricane Sandy flooded his home and destroyed some of his most prized possessions."
^Oshinsky, Matthew. "Sopranos On Location", New York Sun, March 27, 2007. Accessed September 17, 2013. "10: Crazy Horse Club Long Branch, N.J. - After growing up around mobsters and eventually becoming engaged to Christopher, Adriana La Cerva wanted to have a business of her own, so Chris set her up as the manager of Crazy Horse club."