Trains to AC, Sharks, and More — July 1 is a Busy Day in NJ History
A lot has happened on July 1st in New Jersey history, according to the book On This Day in New Jersey History.
- In 1676, East Jersey and West Jersey tried to formalize a dividing line between the two provinces; George Carteret oversaw East Jersey while Quakers dominated West Jersey. The two provinces were joined in 1702 as New Jersey.
- In 1864, the first train to Atlantic City began operation, allowing tourists easy access to the resort town, greatly enhancing its popularity.
- In 1894, the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove (God’s Square Mile at the Jersey Shore) opened. The wooden Victorian auditorium is known for its 12,000 pipe organ, a staple since 1908 (although it has undergone several restorations). According to the Ocean Grove website, the auditorium originally seated 10,000 on wooden bleachers, but once more modern, cushioned seating was installed, the capacity was reduced to about 6,250. It is still in regular use for concerts and worship (Ocean Grove was founded by the Methodists as a camp-meeting retreat).
- In 1916 a famous series of shark attacks began at the Jersey Shore with a swimmer being attacked at Beach Haven, killing a man who was pulled from the water with “shredded legs.” Three more people were killed and one injured in the series of attacks that lasted until July 12th; the subsequent attacks took place in Spring Lake and Matawan and set off a national panic.