[Virtual tour] Planning a summer day trip? Greetings from Asbury Park! Last year, Asbury Park’s beach was named as one of the best in the country by Travel + Leisure. James Russiello explores the history of this beachfront New Jersey city in two parts. In this first part, learn about the colorful New Yorker James A. Bradley who developed the city in 1871 after a refreshing summer season at the neighboring Methodist beachfront Ocean Grove. Named for Francis Asbury, the first American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, the land was developed as a vice-free northern buffer to the Methodist camp meeting grounds at Ocean Grove (Bradley Beach was developed as the southern buffer) and the city was infilled with the developer’s additional bizarre stipulations. Virtually stroll through early development and along the boardwalk, which developed against Bradley’s intent, as the city shook off its morality as it competed with Atlantic City as a convention destination before the Great Depression and the Interstate system took their toll.
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