Founded in 1871 by manufacturer James Bradley, Asbury Park began as a seaside residential resort in a prime waterfront location. Shortly after the city’s inception, a beach boardwalk was constructed, featuring an orchestra pavilion, public changing rooms and a pier extending into the Atlantic Ocean, capitalizing on the opportunity to attract visitors beyond the local region. News of the boardwalk traveled fast and attracted tourists from the surrounding areas. As well as entrepreneurs and entertainers looking to bring their business to town and brand their entertainment to the boardwalk’s growing crowds. As Asbury Park’s popularity increased, the size and offerings of the boardwalk expanded to accommodate higher demand. In the 1920s, the Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall ushered in a new era of music and performing arts that still exists to this day.
Following its growth and success in the 1920’s, Asbury faced the depression-era 1930’s and the post-war decades with grit and resolve. Despite a decline in tourism following the emergence of suburban communities in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The unique entertainment culture that defined the city remained. In 1974, legendary music club, The Stone Pony, opened its door and has since played host to iconic local and national musicians from Southside Johnny and the Asbury jukes, to Bon Jovi and Brunce Springsteen. Since its inception, many of the world’s most popular musicians have played at the venerable club which today is considered one of the greatest rock & roll venues of all time. The Stone Pony, The Wonder Bar, Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall have not only helped launch many musician’s careers, but have also contributed to the creation of an entire music genre known as The Jersey Shore Sound
In 2007, a new chapter in Asbury Park’s rich history began. The boardwalk began an extensive restoration process on some of its key historic features, including the Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall, as well as a complete revitalization of its core facilities and surrounding Waterfront. Today, the transformation is ongoing and the boardwalk now combines the original majesty of its past, with modern design and innovative amenities. More than 130 years ago, the boardwalk’s entertainment offerings and universal appeal contributed to the foundation and success of Asbury Park. With its new restoration and development; combined with a contemporary boutique hotel, restaurants and curated retail, the boardwalk is positioned to solidify Asbury Park’s future by attracting visitors for years to come.