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Belmar Brief History

It was probably Englishman Henry Hudson who was the first to anchor in Monmouth County. The logbook of his ship, the “Half Moon”, made note of arriving at a hilly inlet. Since the Shark River Inlet is the only inlet of the area, certainly this is where Mr. Hudson landed.

When Henry Hudson returned home, he claimed this territory for the Dutch; hence, New Jersey was under Dutch control before the English took over the land. It was not until 1664 that King Charles II of England was able to give the entire territory, what is now the entire State of New Jersey, to Lord Berkely and Sir George Carteret.

Over 200 years later, a group of twenty-five investors decided to build a summer community in what is present day Belmar. They chose this location for the great fishing and cool sea breezes. The town was named “Ocean Beach” in 1872. The name was changed in 1889 to Belmar, French for “Beautiful Sea”

Belmar’s first hotel, The Ocean Beach House, was built in 1873. By 1890, more than 17 hotels were in operation catering to hundreds of summer visitors. The most fashionable hotel was The Columbia. The largest, taking up an entire block, was The Atlantic. This hotel catered to the literary class. Sadly, it burned to the ground in 1972.

In 1893 the first ice cream parlor was opened in Belmar. By 1900, there were shooting galleries, rental boats and bait for sale around town.

The Fifth Avenue Pavilion opened in 1894, followed by the construction of hundreds of bathhouses. By the early 1900’s, Belmar was established as a premier resort destination of the Northeast.

Since the early 1900’s, Belmar has kept its reputation as a resort town for all seasons. Whether you are seeking a relaxing vacation on the beach or a vacation full of activities and nightlife, you can find it at Belmar.