Point Pleasant’s history from 1609

Have you ever thought about the names of streets, parks, or businesses and what those names mean?  Maybe your favorite restaurant (Half Moon Point), school, or even the road you live on.  There are clues to our local history if we research a bit of our past.  There is much to learn about Point Pleasant’s history from 1609 to modern times.  This is something that I find quite interesting and is a reminder of how vibrant our past was.  While you read this post, you should spot some local landmarks you might frequent regularly. 

The Lenape

In the early 1500s, the land around Point Pleasant Beach and Brick Town,  America, was home to Natives who called themselves the Lenape.  The Lenape called the area “Land of Tall Timber” and used it as a ceremonial meeting place.  Today, the towns of Point Pleasant and Brick have embraced the Lenape legacy by honoring their memory through streets, parks, and businesses.

Henry Hudson’s Ship the Half Moon

Point Pleasant’s history starts as far back as September 2, 1609, when Henry Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon, sailed north along the shores of Point Pleasant, searching for the mythical North West Passage to the West Indies.  A crewman named Robert Juet was aboard the Half Moon.  Juet kept a journal of the journey, the tides, and currents, detailing the land and water depths.  He just occasionally deviated from his everyday journaling and added some personal thoughts. On that day, Juet wrote the very first words of Point Pleasant, “this is a very good land to fall with, and a pleasant land to see.”

I am sure that the crew of the Half Moon weren’t the first to land in the Point Pleasant area, but Juet, from Limehouse, England, was the very first to write about it.  It is not sure if Juet’s journal was his private diary or if this was an official ship’s log.  As the Half Moon returned from Hudson’s 1611 Exploration, a mutiny broke out, and Juet died.

The White Lawn Cemetery

On February 15th, 1846, a violent snowstorm wreaked havoc along the Jersey Shore, leaving two ships wrecked off the Point Pleasant area beaches, The Alabama and the John Minturn.  Stranded at the entrance of the Manasquan inlet was Alabama, and off the shore of Mantoloking, the John Minturn.  The rescue of Alabama’s crews became unsuccessful, and the focus shifted to the John Minturn.  They had a cargo worth approximately $84,000 ($3,240,000 in today’s money). 

Perishing from the wrecks were 36 crewmen, their bodies brought to Point Pleasant until their families could be notified.  The White Lawn Cemetery, located at the corner of Trenton and Borden Avenues—a 20-foot marker inscribed with ‘Unknown Dead of the Sea’ marks the final resting place of the unclaimed casualties.  Point Pleasant’s White Lawn Cemetery is an important part of our history and dates back to 1727.

Steam Locomotive No. 72 and Point Pleasant Hardware in the background circa 1885-1890


Steam Locomotive #72 in Point Pleasant and Point Pleasant Hardware circa 1885-1890 Courtesy of Pt. Pleasant Historic Society


Point Pleasant Resident Rodrick Clark

In 1862, local man Roderick Clark enlisted to fight in the American Civil War.  Clark joined the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry and fought many battles.  After being shot in the leg and left for dead on the battlefield, Clark was captured by the Confederate troops.  He was shot through the lung while being transported to Fredrick City Army Hospital.  His left leg was amputated below the knee.  Nurse Elizabeth Ott of Harper Ferry, Virginia, cared for him while he was recovering.  Shortly after being discharged from the army, Clark and Ott were married.

Point Pleasant’s Clarks Landing

In July 1872, Clark purchased a parcel of land along the Manasquan River along Arnold Avenue.  He built his home and later began a boat-building business.  Clark’s property became a popular location for boating and fishing.  A few years later, Clark bought adjoining land and expanded where he would rent boats; people would have picnics.  Elizabeth added a merry-go-round, a steam ice cream machine, and a pavilion, and Clark’s Landing became a popular tourist location throughout the State. 

On any random hot summer day in 1920, Clark’s landing could see over two thousand guests.  Clark’s Landing continued to thrive until 1924 when Clark was sold to Leolard Patrick.  In 1926, Charles Jenkinson bought Land along the Point Pleasant Beach Boardwalk and opened Jenkinson’s.  Clarks Landing slowly lost its charm, and in the 1970s, condominiums were planned for a portion of the land.  Today, Clark’s Landing restaurant and a marina are all that remain.  

Formation of Ocean County

Ocean County was created on February 15, 1850, including Brick and the Point Pleasant area.  Point Pleasant became independent from Brick and incorporated in 1920.  J.H. Harvey declined the office as mayor, and Melville B Parker became Point Pleasant’s first Mayor. Point Pleasant Fire Co. #1 was formed in 1920, Fire Co. # 2 in 1954, followed by the First Aid Squad in 1968.  In 1943, Point Pleasant resident Oona Oneill married world-famous actor Charlie Chaplin.

The Manasquan River-Bay Head Canal was completed to become a part of the Inland Waterway.  This created a safer way for boats to travel to Florida. In addition, the canal divided Point Pleasant into two, known to locals as East Point Pleasant and West Point Pleasant.  Consequently, the Manasquan River-Bay Head Canal is entirely in Point Pleasant.  Therefore, the name was changed to The Point Pleasant Canal.


I find it amazing that Point Pleasant’s history goes as far back as 1609 and is a testament to the vibrant past of the area. From 1609 to modern times, the area has seen significant growth and development, with locals and visitors alike


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