2) The Towns Around Asbury

Allenhurst, Part 1

3.1. The Allenhurst Gazebo

"We streetcar'd from Asbury to Allenhurst where we searched the pavilions for beauty."
From: This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Allenhurst has been called a Great Gatsby town. I don't think the expression refers to the fact that F. Scott Fitzgerald mentions Allenhurst in his first novel. Rather, I believe it has more to do with the dapper style that this borough (at its best) conveys. So many beautiful views of Allenhurst are possible that it is difficult to decide which photos to display here.

Originally part of Ocean Township, Allenhurst was incorporated in 1897. Two years earlier, the Coast Land Improvement Company purchased the entire Allen Estate, a farm that bordered the ocean, and began the development, adopting the year-round traditions of the original pioneers: Allenhurst would be a place to live both summer and winter, a resort and a year-round home. The company had its own architects and builders. No doubt they were an inspired bunch!

Image 3.2. A real estate prospectus from near the turn of the century titled Allenhurst and Allenhurst highlights the conjunction of seaside and countryside.

Image 3.3. The same "sea and country" idea is expressed in the seal on the floor of Allenhurst's locally famous Gazebo.

A branch of Deal Lake carves out Allenhurst's west side, just west of the "train station."

3.4.Corlies Avenue Bridge, looking northwest. This is one of Deal Lake's three smaller bridges. This delightful span leads to West Allenhurst (which is not part of Allenhurst itself). Looking south from the bridge you can see the north tip of Interlaken and the south edge of Loch Arbour. Click HERE to see another pleasant image of the bridge, in a different season.

Architecturally, couple of "missteps" have happened on Allenhurst's Main Street in recent years. At one time, a red brick Victorian train station sat in the little block long park on Main Street. A graceful canopy ran along the west side of the tracks. The train station was replaced with an office building of rather bland design, a rather unpicturesque loaf of beige bricks that "sort of" acts as a station. Here's the old station:

3.5. The old Allenhurst Station. The Allenhurst Gazebo is to the left of the station on the banks of the branch. A block east of this Deal lake branch (on the other side of the station) is Main Street, which continues from Asbury and Loch Arbour.

Click HERE to see various shots of the Allenhurst Gazebo and one old postcard.

The bridge in the above photo is NOT the Corlies Avenue Bridge. There were once three bridges on Deal Lake in Allenhurst. Click HERE to see a few images of those bridges and read an explination.

I recall that the old RR station had a little newspaper and magazine store inside (in the north side of the building). The place was of old dark wood and lit by natural window light. It had a natural old-fashioned look. Racks of magazines flanked the right and left sides as you walked in. The small counter was at the right rear. A jovial, corpulent guy named Mike was the proprietor. He wore eyeglasses and a little hat or beanie.

A row of stores line both sides of Main Street.

3.6. Main Street, Allenhurst, looking south toward Loch Arbour and Asbury Park. The train station is (was) across Main Street to our right. Until recently, Main Street looked a lot like this. The east side (left) still resembles, in part, what we see here. Note the top of "Old Al" the water tower peeking up at right. (We will see it again.)

A main feature of Main Street was the Allenhurst Pharmacy, on the southwest corner of Main and Allen Avenue. It was a great old fashioned neighborhood drugstore. When you walked in, the cash register counter was at left; it was crowded with items - sen-sens, Dr. Greybow's pipes, candies, all sorts of things. Along the rear (north) was the lunch counter. There were also booths. They were of brown wood; they lined the east side (the Main Street side) of the store. I remember sitting in a booth with my mother and pointing to a poster of Elsie the Cow (the Borden's Milk character). I must have been four or five years old.

The residential streets of Allenhurst are, for the most part, an inspiration. The sight stills the nerves. The houses are Victorian, usually of the robust Queen Anne variety, and colonnaded colonials. You can find several onion-dome Queen Annes. I would say that the vast majority of houses in Allenhurst has a porch. Many of its porches are of the "wraparound" type. A few older mansions still sit impressively on certain corners and remind one of the days when wealthy people would come down from New York with their entourages and pass the summer here.

3.7. Typical example of an Allenhurst residential street.


3.8. One of Allenhurst's several grand houses.

Please continue on to part two of Allenhurst. Some gorgeous sights are coming up (and one singular treat for those of you who have QuickTime installed)!


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