An official welcome to new members, an update on the status of some beloved landmark buildings — and a chance to make the acquaintance of some extraordinary women. All are on the agenda for the evening of Thurs., Jan. 19, as the Asbury Park Historical Society welcomes the public to its annual membership meeting at the city’s Public Library at 500 First Ave.
The all-volunteer organization headquartered at the nearby Stephen Crane House will be expanding its yearly event to the equally historic library building, helping in turn to celebrate the 122nd anniversary of the local landmark that was first dedicated Jan. 15, 1901. In the process, Historical Society President Kay Harris and the Board of Trustees will honor the spirit of the 19th century women of the Asbury Park and Ocean Grove Library Association, whose vision for a cultural and educational resource for the people of the young seaside community took shape at the corner of First and Grand Avenues, and has endured there across generations of the city’s sometimes tumultuous history.
In a year that recently saw Asbury Park swear in its first all-woman City Council, the Society’s “sister” organization The Asbury Park Museum has curated an exhibit on the theme of “Trailblazing Women of Asbury Park,” currently on display inside the library’s Bradley Room through the Women’s History Month of March 2023. The team of the nonprofit founded by Harris has created an illuminating installation that shines a spotlight on the often overlooked figures who stood as pioneers in the fields of social activism, business, medicine, arts and letters — and whose groundbreaking work touched every aspect of contemporary life in the greater community, prompting Harris to tell The Coaster in November of 2022, “I believe that visitors to our exhibit will find these Trailblazing Women very inspiring, and relevant to our times.”
The 7 p.m. meeting program will include a slide presentation keyed to the Trailblazing Women display, narrated by professional actor and director Lindy Regan, who has previously portrayed historic figures and participated in stage presentations at the Crane House. Complimentary refreshments will be furnished, books on local interest topics will be available for purchase, and the public will be able to initiate or renew their membership in the organization at the event (complimentary copies of the Historical Society’s “Soundings from Asbury Park” 2023 wall calendar will be offered to all paid members).
Members are encouraged to discuss their becoming involved in the various aspects of the Historical Society’s operations and activities, and board members will also be on hand to answer questions and provide updated information on several issues of concern to the public, including the fate of the century-old Holy Spirit Church and the ongoing maintenance of the Convention Hall/ Paramount Theatre complex. Presently in the preliminary discussion stages is a project that seeks to establish the city’s first official Historic Preservation Commission, an entity that would advise and work with both governmental bodies and private owners, on matters pertaining to the proposed redevelopment, renovation, and repurposing of structures on or adjacent to properties designated as Historic.
For more information go to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (732)361-0189. Contact the Asbury Park Public Library at (732)774-4221, and visit ap-museum.org for more on the Asbury Park Museum and its activities, including the “One Voice Is Not Enough” exhibit on the city’s music history; an installation that continues through January 2023 in the lobby of the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, before moving to the West Long Branch campus of Monmouth University.