Recognition of The City of Long Branch's Centennial Celebration -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 21, 2004)
HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR.
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2004
Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, it is with great honor that I have the opportunity to recognize the city of Long Branch in honor of their centennial celebration of incorporation. In 1903, Long Branch was formally incorporated as a city, but its rich history predates this initial incorporation, and dates as far back as 1498, when Long Branch was first explored by John Cabot.
The land, which makes up current day Long Branch, was claimed by Henry Hudson in 1664, and then purchased from the Native American Leni Lenape tribe in 1668 by European settlers seeking religious freedom. The newcomers named the settlement "Long Branch" after the long branch of the Shrewsbury River that is located at the northern end of the city.
Much like their Native American neighbors, the first settlers created a self-sustaining community that relied on hunting, gathering, and fishing to survive. Those hardy people (as well as the town they resided in) existed in relative isolation until the 19th century, which is when Long Branch entered its "Golden Age." During that period, commerce in the American northeast grew, and the Long Branch area began to expand rapidly. Due to the town's proximity to the coast, and the natural beauty of the region, leaders in finance, theatre, politics, and the military flocked to Long Branch by the hundreds to enjoy the area's treasures. Individuals from New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. made Long Branch the premier vacation destination. At the height of its Golden Age, Long Branch became the most glamorous summer resort location of the Northeast. Among the notable visitors were General Winfield Scott, actor "Buffalo" Bill Cody, and writers such as Bret Harte and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Most importantly, Long Branch became the nation's summer capital. Several United States Presidents summered in Long Branch. Among them were Chester A. Arthur, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson and Ulysses S. Grant, who visited the area every summer during his Presidency and many summers thereafter. President James A. Garfield, after he was mortally wounded by an assassin's bullet, left Washington D.C. for Long Branch to recuperate from his wounds. Unfortunately he died shortly thereafter, in the Elberon section of the city.
Long Branch began experiencing major changes in the early 1920's, after gambling was outlawed and other cities began competing for tourism. It became a city of permanent residents with a business and manufacturing center. Long Branch continues to be a city of changes. The beachfront that had lured (and still lures) many tourists is being redeveloped. More small businesses are coming into town and expanding operations. Many of the homes of the Golden Age of Long Branch are being restored as a tribute to the beauty and history of the region. The city is more conscious of its historic sites, but also of the various ethnic groups, religious and cultural organizations that have created the melting pot that is today's Long Branch.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my fellow colleagues to acknowledge the City of Long Branch for its one-hundredth anniversary of incorporation, and join me in wishing the city many more years of rich history and prosperity.