"Sesquicentennial" is a big word for a big anniversary. In 2022, the coastal community of Belmar, New Jersey, celebrated its 150th anniversary (AKA sesquicentennial).
The celebration culminated with the dedication of a commemorative clock on August 31, 2022, during the Belmar Founder's Day Celebration.
During the event, brief remarks were presented by Belmar Mayor Mark Walsifer; Spencer Heulitt; President of the Belmar Historical Society; Tom Arnone, Monmouth County Freeholder Director; and other government officials.
Following the presentations, bagpipers and drummers from the Pipes and Drums of the Jersey Shore performed several songs.
Over $70,000 was raised through private donations to the 2021 Belmar Mayor's Ball fund for the purchase, design, and installation of the clock at its place of honor on 10th Avenue and Main Street. This location is one of the busiest thoroughfares in the center of town, making it the perfect place to mark the passage of time in the borough.
The clock is surrounded by a custom paver walkway and a specially designed Belmar blue "wave" logo.
"A clock measures time," Heulitt said. "In history, we measure what has been done in time. There is a connection in Belmar’s 150 years. Land was divided by avenues and streets, then lots. Roadways, rails, and award-winning bridges, which allowed for a marina with charter boats, contributed to the town’s growth. Magnificent public and private buildings, some coming from the nation's 1876 Centennial Fair in Philadelphia, were constructed. A business district was established."
"Monuments honoring those that served the community and country were erected, including the WWI Doughboy, one of the most recognizable statues in America," he added. "In Belmar, world-class swimmers broke records, top surfers rode waves off its beaches, and Baseball Hall of Famers performed in Major League games on its Memorial Field. Skilled musicians of all genres have played throughout the town. What it all says is that Belmar has had its share of firsts, biggest and best.…In Belmar’s 150 years, there is a lot to celebrate. Time is a part of life. So thanks to the Mayor and Council for a clock that reminds us of this and the link between past, present, and future."
The Belmar Historical Society (BHS) also organized Belmar Day on September 10, 2022. The event took place at Taylor Pavilion on the Belmar boardwalk and included informational exhibits by the Belmar Arts Center, the Belmar Police Department, Belmar Cares, the Belmar Public Library, and other community organizations, as well as free slices of chocolate and vanilla cake to commemorate the birthday of Belmar.
According to a BHS email, "More than 500 people visited Taylor Pavilion to see displays and learn more about local organizations such as the Friends of the Belmar Harbor, the Belmar Environmental Commission's new Treasure Trail, and much more. Plus, Union Fire Co. brought their 1889 horse-drawn steam engine and 1956 Seagrave engine for all to enjoy."
Belmar 150th Anniversary Calendar
In addition to the well-attended community events, the Belmar Historical Society produced a special 12-month calendar to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Belmar in 2022.
According to the official Facebook page for the Borough of Belmar, the calendar includes "12 months of vintage photos with a bonus of two extra photos from its archive collection. The calendar also records important dates in Belmar’s development. Each month depicts a look back in time from the marina at Shark River, summer carnival at Silver Lake, to the beachfront and boardwalk."
The calendar is selling for $15.00 and may be ordered online or purchased at several places in town: the BHS museum and history room, 900 E Street in the annex of the Union Firehouse; the Belmar Public Library, 517 10th Avenue; and Taylor Hardware, 914 Main Street. Calendar order forms are also available at the Belmar Municipal Building, 600 Main Street. RELATED: Belmar Business Spotlight - Taylor Hardware
A Day Of Baseball In Belmar
On Saturday, June 25, 2022, the Belmar Historical Society and Belmar Recreation came together to celebrate “A Day of Baseball in Belmar,” with a bronze plaque dedication ceremony at Memorial Field across from the Belmar Post Office. As part of the ceremony, two dugouts at the ballfield were named after two Negro National League stars who played in Belmar between 1933 and 1941. The plaque also recognizes Belmar Braves Hall of Fame players. According to the Belmar Historical Society, "The Belmar Braves were a semi-pro team formed in 1919 originally called the Belmar Mystics, but changed their name when Judge Fuchs, a Belmar resident and owner of the Boston Braves, donated uniforms that had 'Braves' on them. The team was sponsored by the Belmar First Aid Squad. The home field where they played many a game still exists in Belmar on Main Street between 12th and 13th. It is called Memorial field and featured a 5,000 seat grandstand. Some very well-known visiting baseball players could be seen during the hay day of league games in Belmar such as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Roy Campanella, to name a few."
Following the plaque dedication, the Monmouth Furnace and the Hoboken 9 baseball teams faced off in a historical re-enactment game following baseball rules from 1865. "A Day of Baseball in Belmar" concluded with a free showing of the baseball-themed movie "The Sandlot" in the outfield of Memorial Field.
Belmar Treasure Trail Relaunch
The Belmar Environmental Commission has partnered with the Belmar Arts Center, the Belmar Historical Society, and the Belmar Public Library to relaunch the Belmar Treasure Trail, a self-paced walking tour of noteworthy points of interest in the borough. The tour has expanded from 30 to 50 destinations that showcase the environmental, artistic and historical treasures of Belmar. Each is identified on an interactive online map and accompanying podcast. Pictured below is Stop #29, a butterfly waystation garden. With plantings of milkweed, coneflowers, and other native plants, the garden is specially designed to host monarch butterflies and bees, while also preventing pollution from rainwater in the nearby Silver Lake.
RELATED: 7 Ways To Enjoy The Water In Belmar
Live Like A Local: Rent A Belmar Beach House
Day trips down the shore are fun, but it's even better to rent a beach house for the week to experience everything wonderful about the Belmar area. For couples, single adults and small families, the two-bedroom Blue Hydrangea Cottage rental in Belmar, New Jersey, is the perfect getaway place. The home sleeps up to four people and is consistently rated five stars for cleanliness, amenities and location. Learn more at www.vacationinbelmar.com.
Story and photos © copyright by Christine Cardellino, owner of www.VacationInBelmar.com and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide for the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.