History of Sea Girt


History of Sea Girt

Prior to the arrival of the white man, the Lenni Lenape Indians held a yearly feast on the cedar covered dunes at the north east corner of what is now Sea Girt. The tradition continued with the early settlers meeting on the second Saturday in August for "Big Sea Day".

What is now Sea Girt Boro was farmed in the 19th century. Dr. Charles Montrose Graham of New York City owned the Bell farm and John Sherman owned another large tract that was purchased by Commodore Robert F. Stockton in about 1835 for his summer home. With the Sea Girt Inlet on the North and the Manasquan River on the south it was appropriately named Seagirt. [Seagirt is an adjective meaning: surrounded or enclosed by the sea]. Commodore Stockton built a summer mansion in the spot that would later have the Stockton Hotel (now Morveen Terrace). His sea house had a sweeping lawn leading down to the sea and flanked by 2 large ornamental bathhouses. Mrs. Stockton supposedly refused to spend a night by the ocean and so the farmhouse near the railroad was remodeled for her convenience.

The name Sea Girt first appears in a deed from Commodore Stockton in 1866, with the Bell farm called Ocean Side. The "Sea Girt Land Improvement Co.” was created in 1869. The corporation helped to bring the central railroad to Sea Girt in 1875. The first station was constructed in concrete made from sand from the beach. A later station is now the home of the town library.

In 1887 The legislature purchased 120 acres for $51,000 to establish a permanent camp, rifle range and seacoast battery for the use of the National Guard of the state. Sea Girt annexed the land in 1939 when the annexation bill passed both houses of the Legislature. The camp served as the summer capitol of New Jersey where the Governors spent the warm months until the Second World War. Woodrow Wilson was at the camp when he learned of his nomination for the office of President of the United States.

The first Governors cottage was an old farmhouse from the Stockton Farm. The current house was the State of New Jersey's exhibit at the St Louis 1906 Exposition, and was moved here after the exposition.

In 1895, United States government obtained a plot of land on the beach, to build a Lighthouse. Click here for the history of the lighthouse.

In about 1909, an investment company. "Sea Girt Company", began to offer lots in Sea Girt as summer homes. We are fortunate to have a scanned copy of the original Offering Brochure.

Sea Girt was incorporated in 1917, being part of Wall Township prior to that time.