BHS Museum at Union Firehouse

Belmar Historical Society Museum – Now Open!
900 E Street, Belmar, NJ
In the Annex of the UNION FIRE HOUSE – c. 1911

The BHS held its Grand Opening on April 11, 2015 on a beautiful Spring day in Belmar. Visitors are now welcome to tour the exhibits and research facilities at the Belmar Historical Society Museum in the Annex of the Union Fire House at 9th and E Street.

Library hours:

Mayor Doherty with Trustees and Volunteers at Museum Grand Opening

Mayor Doherty with Trustees and Volunteers at Museum Grand Opening

Monday 2-4 p.m.,

Thursday 10 a.m. – noon,

The second Saturday each month 1-3 p.m.

Hours of opening are subject to change: please call the Belmar Historical Society Museum, 908 309 3380

The Belmar Museum offers residents and visitors displays and photos of the development of Belmar from its inception, when it was first called Ocean Beach.  The well organized and beautifully displayed items allow visitors to visit the past, to see the first schools, churches, and ocean-side pavilions that no longer exist. There is much to see at Belmar’s first Museum and History Room– be certain to plan your visit!

Belmar residents and visitors who attended the Grand Opening marveled at the immense amount of historical

Museum Open House Ribbon Cutting April 11, 2015

Museum Open House Ribbon Cutting April 11, 2015

documents, photographs and memorabilia that volunteers have carefully organized and set up on display.  There is even a history to the opening of the Museum: it  had been five days before its opening in 2012 when Super Storm Sandy hit and storm water entered the Museum offices as well as the firehouse.  With thanks for their many hours of diligent work by BHS volunteers that items were transferred to sites around the country for storage while the facility was completely reconstructed, then  safely rebound and now returned to Belmar.

Visitors begin the tour with an introduction to the first settlers, the Indians who visited the shore each summer for the same pleasures experienced today: the sun, surf, and food.  Circling the main room, the tour takes visitors through the first 100 years of Belmar.  Displays include renderings of the first hotels built at the Philadelphia World’s Fair and shipped by barges to Belmar to be reconstructed and hotels for summer visitors.  Photograph displays of the early buildings, churches, and shops lead the visitor through the town’s development, entertainment facilities, structures and businesses — providing a glimpse of life in Belmar at the turn of the Century.
You will learn a bit about life at the Jersey shore as you explore Belmar’s past, see how people dressed, dined,

Display of Buhler Family Boat Rental on Shark River at turn of century

Display of Buhler Family Boat Rental on Shark River at turn of century

shopped, worked and lived.  Belmar residents and lovers will undoubtedly relish the photos of the beach, the buildings and games on the ocean front, and the swimmers, lifeguards and activities people enjoyed as they passed their time during their summers in Belmar.

Recognizing the Belmar Historical Society’s work to restore our WW I doughboy statute, the BHS is particularly proud of the displays of WW I and WW II memorabilia at the museum.  In addition, BHS volunteers continue to recreate displays and regular visitors will enjoy a rotating display developed every few months to feature a prominent part of Belmar’s history.
The History Room is the second feature of the Belmar Museum. It features books of Belmar, Monmouth County and New Jersey, and maps of Belmar in a small library room,  ideal for specific research and preservation. On display and carefully preserved for history, are maps from the 1800’s through the 1940’s that show what was where and who

Display of WW1 and WW2 materials.

Display of WW1 and WW2 materials.

owned which parcels of land as well as what they did on that site. This fascinating collection of materials provides a picture of the people and environment that is the foundation for Belmar today.

Another very unique and important element of the Belmar Museum is its digitized Coast Advertiser newspaper collection from 1893-1973.  Researchers are able to read first hand from council minutes to social tidbits, and advertisements of the businesses that were in town.  To the delight of many who have found unexpected ancestors living in Belmar during its early years, you can look up names, do a genealogy search, learn what businesses where here and how people lived. This remarkable research tool can open doors to Belmar’s past as well as the past of many of its current and former residents.  The digitized Coast Advertiser newspaper collection is also available at the Belmar Public Library located on the corner of Tenth and E Street.
The Museum is packed with materials and information that will intrigue any history buff or person who appreciates

UNION FIRE HOUSE – c. 1911 900 E Street, Belmar, NJ

UNION FIRE HOUSE – c. 1911
900 E Street, Belmar, NJ

Belmar. As a double treat, visitors can also enjoy the  Union Fire House in which the Annex is located,  that was built in 1911 at a cost of $15,000, and was designed to be multi-functional.   The first floor housed the Union Fire Company and their horse drawn fire engine, equipment and hose tower with stables in the back.  The second floor served as the Belmar municipal offices with the Belmar Police Department and jail situated in the annex.

 

 

Naomi Reissner President of the Belmar Historical Society (from Belmar) showing Randall Gabrielan, who represents the Monmouth Historical Society, (from Middletown) the history of Belmar

Naomi Reissner President of the Belmar Historical Society (from Belmar) showing Randall Gabrielan, who represents the Monmouth Historical Society, (from Middletown) the history of Belmar

Belmar Museum Grand Opening

Belmar Museum Grand Opening

Original Fire truck on display at Union Firehouse

Original Fire truck on display at Union Firehouse

Museum Annex Clean Up Crew

Members of the BHS Archive Committee moving into the new BHS Museum at the Union Fire House Annex:
*Patricia O’Keefe (Secretary)
*Doris Hayes
* Kathy Fitzpatrick
*Naomi Reissner (President)