The Beachwood Historical Alliance is a citizen-run, non-partisan, heritage non-profit service organization set up in late 2008 to work with the Borough of Beachwood (Ocean County, New Jersey) towards creation of an official town-run Preservation Commission for the purpose of recognizing, restoring and preserving our unique community’s origins and ongoing heritage held within its original structures and sites.
The B.H.A.’s longterm purpose is to locate and acquire funding, donated or discounted goods and services for the purpose of aiding in the restoration and preservation of the Borough of Beachwood’s important cultural structures as well as the possible exact reconstruction of some already lost. In addition, the alliance exists to educate the borough residents about their town’s history and importance; encourage the creation of other town alliances of those communities surrounding the Toms River waterfront for the formation of a strong community heritage bond; to alert local officials and residents when and if any cultural sites become endangered and to work with them in those situations to finding solutions agreeable to all.
Membership is open to any current or past residents of Beachwood, the surrounding Toms River waterfront area or general public whose interests match those of the Beachwood Historical Alliance. Further membership details will soon be forthcoming, but we wish to draw attention to two very specific and unwavering points:
1. This organization at no time will endorse any candidate for political office, nor shall partisan politics or political candidates be discussed at meetings or any BHA-run events. Additionally, no controversial religious discussions will be tolerated at meetings or any BHA-run events.
2. No trustee, officer or member of this organization shall use it as a means of furthering any financial, political or other non-altruistic aspirations, nor shall the organization as a whole take part in any movement not in keeping with the real purpose and objects of the Beachwood Historical Alliance.
To join our mailing list, please email email@example.com.
Donations and physical mail can be sent to:
Beachwood Historical Alliance
P.O. Box 3
Beachwood, N.J. 08722
Beachwood Historical Alliance – One Year On
The Beachwood Historical Alliance hit its one-year mark this month, and so I wanted to thank the members and contributors that have helped make our organization – and this website – such a success over the past twelve months, as well as offer a quick assessment and word of my own about the future.
First – to our members, contributing past and current residents and borough officials: without your encouragement; attendance and participation in these early meetings; recollection of places, people and events since passed; and photographs, documents and other artifacts to offer historic visual ties to our borough, the Beachwood Historical Alliance would be nothing more than a failed good intention and empty website. A special mention also goes to my family and the families of all those who have given their time to this organization. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Next, a short assessment and recap of the year. Starting off after the borough council meeting on December 3rd, 2008, we began to steadily fill the Alliance website with content accumulated from some early sources and interested residents, officials, our borough clerk, Bette Mastropasqua, and official borough historian, Carolyn M. Campbell, to immediately provide a social and educational benefit to all those interested in the borough. By April of 2009, we officially began holding meetings in space graciously provided by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Cable Avenue in the borough.
After first setting in place our bylaws, a core group of members emerged and set to work developing a slate of future projects that we could take beyond the website in the coming years.
These include, to date:
- a research project to accumulate all aspects of the borough’s past, for the creation of a centennial book that would be published with all proceeds benefiting the Beachwood Library
- communication with borough and county officials to rebuild Beachwood’s train depot as a visitor stop on the upcoming Ocean County Barnegat Branch Rail Trail
- research and contact with state and county programs, to recognize our downtown for economic revitalization through restoring its original buildings and working with property owners and businesses on an improved business district (and, conversely, the argument against a proposed plan to demolish nearly half the heart of downtown Beachwood for a Rite-Aid franchise)
- genealogical research into original borough families, in order to locate and contact living descendants to both educate them on their family’s past and invite participation in the form of recalled memories, photographs, and other historic artifacts
- steps toward creating a system whereby past and current borough residents can have their entire family photo collection digitized – for free – with copies stored as part of our digital archive
- educational programs, including presentations and outreach first to the Beachwood Library and Ocean County Library System and later with local schools within the Toms River Schools district
- a “Centennial Pine Project”, that would provide free or low-cost pitch pine tree seedlings and saplings (and other native plants) along with information on how to grow and care for their own to interested borough residents for planting on their property, leading up to and after Beachwood’s centennial, as a way of replenishing its native tree population and allowing current and future residents to watch the next century literally “grow up”
- a proposed annual borough heritage day – involving all interested borough organizations and institutions – that could take place annually or biennially in the spring or fall and give visitors from all over the area a hands-on experience of our area’s past (likely also in conjunction with an antique/collectible show)
- a design guidelines and house plans archive, centered on Beachwood’s original craftsman-style bungalow homes that could be utilized – free – by any borough or area resident and builder looking to restore, conform or build anew structures within the borough that reinforce its unique past
- and last, but certainly not least, the development of a borough Historic Commission, preservation ordinance and local registry that would allow all interested property owners the chance to participate in preserving Beachwood’s original homes for the benefit of the property owner and that of all future generations
As we progress into the new year, we will begin scheduling our meetings around public presentations and events on various aspects of our borough’s and surrounding area’s history, inviting partnership and participation from all interested borough and area organizations, institutions and residents. Anyone with any ideas or interest on the content and execution of these events, or to participate and aid in accomplishing our burgeoning list of projects, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, this website was set up and is maintained to foster an online community that all residents, past, present and future, can go to for a better understanding of where they now live or a piece of nostalgia from a place they once did. If you read and enjoy our postings, especially if they reignite long-lost memories of your life and experiences in the borough, please consider taking a moment or three to aid us – not monetarily, but educationally – and send us an email or a letter asking to take part in an in-person or telephone oral history interview that will allow us to preserve not only your recollection of Beachwood as a singular account, but also as an important addition to the greater fabric of the borough’s social history for the benefit of all future generations.
We are also greatly aided by any photographs, motion pictures, documents, et cetera on your life in and around the borough that can be either temporarily lent for reproduction into our digital archive or wholly donated as a physical artifact for our hardcopy archive. Archival local news articles and official photographs only tell a piece of our past – it is the goal of the Beachwood Historical Alliance to gain a fuller, brighter picture by inviting participation from all residents across the board. Word of mouth helps move it all along.
In the end, it will not be us who tells the history of our town, it will be you – the long-ago summer visitor; the recently arrived year-round homeowner; the latest in a long line of borough residents.
So, send us a message today – write to email@example.com or P.O. Box 3, Beachwood, N.J., 08722. We’ve even produced memory forms and community tree documents to make it easier for you – arriving at the site tomorrow, just click their links at the top of the main page.
Also – our first meeting of the year will be held on Thursday, January 28th at 7pm in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church through the Cable Avenue entrance. Please mark your calendars and consider helping us further the borough’s – and your – history for future generations by coming by.
Thanks, best and Happy New Year 2010,
Director, Beachwood Historical Alliance
January 3rd, 2010