Churches

The following sections are reproduced from Grace Trott Roper‘s historical retrospective on how the Borough of Belmar came to be. The original booklet is © Copyright 1978 by Grace Trott Roper, Belmar, NJ and was printed by Hoffman Press, Belmar, NJ.

Duplication or reproduction is not permitted

 

The first place of worship for the early settlers of Belmar was The Old Newman House on Eighteenth Ave. Here were held prayer meetings. The building was built in 1825 and was used for meetings every Thursday for sixty years.

There were a few churches in Wall Township. Belmar was to eventually incorporate as a borough from this township.

One of the churches was the Independent Methodist Church. It was located in what is now Glendola, but was then known as Chapel Town. This church, almost directly west of Belmar, was erected in 1851.

There was also the Presbyterian Church to which the people of Belmar travelled three miles on the Como-Allaire Road. The Methodist Episcopal Church was in Shark River Village.

The First church in Belmar was organized by the Methodist Episcopals in 1873. The building was donated by the Ocean-Beach Association and was located at 10th avenue and “D” street. It was dedicated July 4th, 1873, and for about twenty years was known as the 10th Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church.

Between 1891 and 1894, the church was moved from 10th and “D” to 9th and “F” streets. The organization was re-incorporated in 1893 and the name was changed to First Methodist Episcopal Church of Belmar.

In 1903 701 “D” street became the parsonage and the site of the present church 7th and “D” was purchased. The church was dedicated on July 19, 1903 and it had five stained glass windows.

The addition in the rear of the church was built in 1921 to accommodate church suppers and other affairs. A fire on Aug. 22, 1964 severely damaged the church and it had to be reconstructed and at that time it was completely modernized.

After the Methodists came The Protestant Episcopalians. This group was called the church of The Holy Apostles and is known to have organized before 1877. The cornerstone for the church was laid at 303 Fifth Avenue, between “B” and “C‘. This church was dissolved in 1940.

Since the First Presbyterians of Belmar had no building, they held their services every other Sunday in the Methodist Church.

The church was incorporated as the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Beach on July 19, 1880. In June 1880 a pavilion from the Centennial Expo in Philadelphia was brought to Ocean Beach and set up as an Undenominational Summer Tabernacle at 7th and “A” street. There was an unsuccessful attempt to call the building Westminster Chapel, but the title Tabernacle stayed throughout its existence.

The Presbyterians started to plan a church of their own in the fall of 1880. In 1881 The Ocean Beach Association donated two lots, at 9th and “E”‘ street. The cornerstone was laid on Oct. 18th and the building dedicated in 1883.

St. Rose Roman Catholic Church was organized in Belmar in 1888 as a mission. The first services were held in a rented building on second avenue. In 1890 the cornerstone was laid at 601 Seventh Ave. Present church was erected in 1906.

The stone from the first church was used in the construction of a parish hall after the completion of a larger church in 1926. The certificate of incorporation of the church of St. Rose of Belmar was received and recorded on Dec. 28th, 1897.

The church celebrated its Golden Jubilee on Oct. 30th, 1938 with a Solemn High Mass. Three Bishops, Three Monsignori and Thirty-six Priests assisted at the celebration.

The First Baptist Church was begun in July 1889 and services were held in Hoylers Hall on 10th Avenue until the church was built in the Spring of 1906. It stands now at 410 Ninth Ave.

First begun as a Sunday School, The Calvary Baptist Church group was organized on the 17th of June 1896, as Gruelle Memorial and the meetings were held in a building on 10th Avenue between River and “F” street. A small church was built at the corner of 12th and “F.” It was called the 12th Avenue Baptist Church. In 1906 the bigger church was erected and the smaller building was transformed to a Social Hall. In 1925 the two buildings were moved to the corner of 13th and “E” street. The smaller building was attached to the larger one. When its location was changed its name became The Calvary Baptist Church.

St. Rose Parochial School, a two story red brick building at the northwest corner of 8th Avenue and “E” street was completed in 1921. The grammar school with eight grades opened in 1921 and the high school in 1923.