Atlantic Highlands is Located in
Monmouth New Jersey
Atlantic Highlands is a Borough in Monmouth County,
New Jersey in the Bayshore Region. As of the United States 2000 Census,
the borough population was 4,705. Atlantic Highlands contains the
highest point on the east coast south of Maine.
Atlantic Highlands was incorporated as a borough by
an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 28, 1887, from portions
of Middletown Township, based on the results of a referendum held that
day. The borough was reincorporated on September 1, 1891.
Atlantic Highlands is part of the Bayshore Regional
Strategic Plan, an effort by nine municipalities in northern Monmouth
County to reinvigorate the area's economy by emphasizing the traditional
downtowns, dense residential neighborhoods, maritime history, and the
natural beauty of the Raritan Bayshore coastline.
The town overlooks where the Atlantic Ocean and
Raritan Bay meet at Sandy Hook, and its hills mark the highest point on
the eastern seaboard of the U.S.
For thousands of years, the original inhabitants
lived along its cliffs and creeks, where there is still evidence of
them. Here the Lenape first encountered Europeans, and soon were trading
with them. Fifty-six years after Henry Hudson's 1609 visit, English
settlers bought the whole peninsula from the Lenape and called it
Colonists convened the first Assembly of New Jersey
in 1667 in what is now Atlantic Highlands. During Revolutionary War
years, loyalists to the English crown and patriots of the new America
clashed in repeated raids and counterattacks across these lands. And
here passed retreating English troops after their 1778 defeat by
Washington at the Battle of Monmouth.
During the late 1800s, a handful of farms met an
onrush of resort developers, church groups and town builders. They
created the Victorian core of the town, attracting thousands of visitors
and year-round residents.
Atlantic Highlands is the location of the Twin
Lighthouses, which were built in 1828, reportedly the first ever twin
lighthouses, the first to use kerosene, and the first to use
In 1879, a surveyor was engaged to lay roads and
lots for a permanent community. The Atlantic Highlands Association was
formed by prominent members of the Methodist Church. This organization
developed the community of Atlantic Highlands.
Individuals and groups came from New York City and
the surrounding vicinity to camp along the water in tent colonies. An
outdoor amphitheater was created with a large seating capacity and
outstanding acoustics. An indoor auditorium was built, which was
utilized for entertaining visitors at the camp meetings. In 1887,
Atlantic Highlands was incorporated as a borough, containing 1.2 square
miles (3.1 km2) of prime real estate bordering on the Raritan Bay.
Major construction occurred from the 1880s through
1900. It included hotels, cottages, rooming houses, and private homes. A
pier was built extending well into the bay to accommodate steamboats
from New York City. The next twenty years saw rapid development within
the community. A water and sewer system was constructed, cottages were
erected, and the road system was completed. During this period of
development a fire department was organized.
A number of churches saw their beginning in the
1880s: the Central Baptist, First Presbyterian, Saint Agnes Roman
Catholic, First Methodist, and Saint Paul Baptist Church.
Atlantic Highlands became a haven for bootleggers
Steamer service was the most important transport
during the formation of the borough, and continued through the 1940s. In
the 1890s, rail service came to Atlantic Highlands. This opened up
Highlands and points south to vacationers. The 1920s saw 26 passenger
trains daily passing through the Borough. The Central Railroad of New
Jersey built a major pier at the end of First Avenue. Several trains at
a time could continue to the end of the pier to off load steamboat
passengers. From the 1910s through the 1940s, the steamers “Sandy Hook”
and the “Monmouth” navigated the waters bringing businessmen and
vacationers to Atlantic Highlands.
Today, from its ridges and bayside, the Manhattan
skyline can be seen. From its harbor sail pleasure, fishing and commuter
boats. The municipal harbor was built from 1938 through 1940 with
municipal, state, and federal funds. It is the largest on the East
Coast, home to 715 craft including high-speed ferry service to New York
City which was introduced in 1986. In 1962, the Central Railroad of New
Jersey pier was destroyed by fire. Its rail route is now used by the
Henry Hudson Trail.
Names that appear in the directories of the 1890s
are the same names that populate the borough and run businesses in the
community today. The bungalows on the East Side of the borough, which in
the 1920s were summer bungalows, are now year-round homes. Portland
Pointe, a five-story senior citizen building, provides housing for the
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