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As the 19th century turned into the 20th, the United States experienced a renaissance known now as the Gilded Age. Nowhere was this more evident than in Asbury Park. Begun in 1870 by New York industrialist and real estate developer James A. Bradley, by 1890 this up-and-coming residential resort on the north shore of New Jersey's Atlantic coast was poised for the new century.


Hotels and restaurants on Ocean Avenue bustled with activity and John Steinbach heralded the arrival of department-store buying on the Jersey shore when he opened a majestic four-story, yellow-brick and terra cotta Romanesque pantheon to merchandising.

Asbury Park also distinguished itself as an early adopter of the nation's new technologies. James Bradley had the first telephone installed in his home at the corner of Main Street and Mattison Avenue. Thanks to the Atlantic Coast Electric Company, the residential resort was one of the earliest to have an electric street car system.

In the 20th century, Asbury Park was firmly established among New Jersey's foremost seashore resorts. Asbury Park sparkled with the presence of five-and-dime czar Frank W. Woolworth, jazz great Duke Ellington, crooner Frank Sinatra, former New York City mayor Ed Koch and Danny DeVito and Jack Nicholson.

Asbury Park's unique role in late 20th century popular music was born in 1973 when songwriter and rock and roll musician Bruce Springsteen debuted his first record album, Greetings From Asbury Park. The jacket's design featured a colorful chrome postcard printed by the Tichnor Brothers of Boston whose balloon letters framed the resort's
most recognizable
boardwalk attractions.

Now the 20th century has turned into the 21st, and Asbury Park is experiencing a new renaissance. The city's rich immigrant experience continues, reflected in its culinary offerings. Asbury Park's rebirth as an art and performance incubator for rising musicians, actors, playwrights, poets and artists continues as does its new-old attraction as a central retail and office location connected to the state's inter-modal transportation network.