In the early 1900s, business was booming, and land values in Highlands had more than doubled over a few years. The Red Bank Register of July 7, 1909, had a story describing the crowds at Highlands and Highland Beach.
These crowds were greater than ever seen before when 15,000 people were at the Highlands and 10,000 at Highland Beach on Saturday and more on Sunday during the holiday weekend. Many people had to go back because they were unable to find accommodations. Ten thousand people were cared for by Sandlass over the weekend. Throngs of people arrived, all were served at the restaurant and those requesting bathing suits. No one was turned away. All venues were jammed constantly with people requesting pictures in the gallery or enjoying the bowling lanes. An enormous amount of soda was consumed at the counters and in the crowded fountain booths. Out on the river, 300-400 boats filled the river on Sunday to Monday.
Highland Beach Resort, c. 1900
The resort growth was building to a crescendo. Growth of shore communities was at its zenith and increasing. In 1910, the summer visitors increased again when more than twenty thousand tourists filled all livable space on both land and sea in the town of Highlands over the Fourth of July according to weekend reports. On Sunday alone, the record-breaking crowd applied for 3,000 bathing suits and the same on Monday at Highland Beach. The rented suits were washed in carbolic soap and hung to dry on racks above the Bathing Pavilion, ready for another user. Occasionally, suits were thrown over the bathhouse lockers to an awaiting friend, saving the rental fee.
Highland Beach Resort, c. 1900
Ropes were attached to poles in the ocean to provide more safety for bathers. Non-swimmers could catch onto the rope if lucky enough to hang on during a rogue wave trying to snatch them away.
Lifeguards played an important role in safety at the seashore resorts. Many bathers were unable to swim in the early years. Eventually, rescues by friends and local swimmers transformed into a summer job for on-duty lifeguards at the local beaches. Romance blossomed every summer when the young bathers gathered around the life-guard stands as part of a rite of passage. Eventually, the local social news picked up snippets to share about the latest and most interesting heartthrobs at the northernmost part of the Jersey Shore. One of these lifeguards went on to national fame, Vince Lombardi, head coach of the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Champions.
Learn more about Highlands and Highland Beach. Stories and artifacts of a bygone era await you in Gallery 1 at the Twin Lights Museum. Read the recent book, Sandy Hook’s LOST Highland Beach Resort, found in the museum store recounting a fanciful era in a town glittering with stars from Broadway and the early years of silent film.
SANDY HOOK’S LOST HIGHLAND BEACH RESORT
THE PERFECT GIFT FOR THE HISTORY HOUND ON YOUR LIST!
TLM Museum Store Online, Order Here! https://www.twinlightslighthouse.org/product-page/sandy-hook-s-lost-highland-beach-resort
ARCADIA PUBLISHING & THE HISTORY PRESS