RED BANK: A BRIEF BOUT OF ANGLOMANIA

red bank royal visit 1939 2A detail from the front page of the Red Bank Register’s June 15, 1939 edition. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njIt was a day unlike any ever seen before or since in Red Bank, turning hordes of area residents and visitors into Anglophiles, at least for a late-spring morning.

Imagine: an estimated 200,000 people jamming downtown Red Bank and the roadways through Little Silver, Fair Haven, Rumson and Sea Bright to catch a glimpse of king and queen of England.

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RED BANK: PARADE MARCHES BACK TO LIFE

Red Bank’s Memorial Day Parade, a onetime tradition that halted an indeterminate number of years ago, was back in full force Monday.

Under fabulously sunny skies, the Parks & Rec-organized event saw a stableful of therapy horses leading the way up Broad Street from Irving Place to the Veteran’s Monument on Monmouth Street. There, a short ceremony in commemoration of military victims of foreign wars was held.

Enjoy the 50-photo slideshow from both events below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: FORTUNE CULTURAL CENTER OPENS

red bank fortune house Dozens of supporters gathered on the front lawn for the opening of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center. Below, a view of the ceremony from inside the restored house. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank fortune houseMore than a century after the departure of its most famous resident, the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank reopened Thursday as a cultural center dedicated to his mission of advancing civil and human rights.

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RED BANK: OFFICES WITH CAR LIFTS OK’D

red bank 94 98 East FrontA schematic of the proposed structure with the underground vehicle storage racks visible. (Drawing by Bob Van Remoortel. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposed office building that would transform a prominent corner of Red Bank’s Washington Street Historic District won planning board approval Monday night.

The project comes with a first for the town: a valet-operated parking system that can store up to 92 cars in underground racks.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE ‘MIRACLE’ COMPLETED

red bank nj t. thomas fortune cultural centerThe restored T. Thomas Fortune House on Drs. James Parker Boulevard plans to formally open as a cultural center in May. Below, restoration supervisor Spencer Foxworth and foundation member Robin Blair examine a chandelier to be installed. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank nj t. thomas fortune cultural center

An against-the-odds, decade-long effort to save a Red Bank house that was once the home of a pioneering civil rights journalist has reached its improbable conclusion, people involved in the effort say.

This weekend, local history lovers will get their first-ever chance to tour the T. Thomas Fortune House, a National Historic Register structure that not long ago was about to be razed.

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RED BANK: VICTORIAN IN CROSSHAIRS

red bank 95 east front st.A prominent Victorian structure on East Front Street is on the agenda for the next Red Bank planning board meeting. 

What’s Going On Here? Click ‘read more’ for the answer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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MIDDLETOWN: FUNDRAISER FOR BOWDENS

Family and friends have raised more than $12,000 to help two former Red Bank volunteers injured by a fire in their Middletown home earlier this month.

George Bowden, 91, and his wife, Gladys Bowden, 88, were both injured when their condo in the Shadow Lake Village complex in the River Plaza section of the township was heavily damaged by an electrical fire on December 15.

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RED BANK: BUILDING DESIGN TO BE REVISED

rb river properties brian taylorArchitect Brian Tracy shows the Historic Preservation Commission a revised proposal for a medical office building Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA modernist office building topped by what looked like an overturned laundry basket won’t be built in Red Bank’s Washington Street Historic District as proposed, an architect said Wednesday night.

But neither, it appears, will his replacement design, which Historic Preservation Commission members still found unacceptable.

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RED BANK: HISTORIC YACHT LIGHTS UP RIVER

red bank NJ admiral's barge joe ruffini 121518 4red bank admiral bargeRed Bank resident Joe Ruffini’s history-rich yacht, the Naval War College, brought some Christmas sparkle to the Navesink River Saturday night, one night before it was scheduled to participate in a parade of boats on the Shrewsbury River.

The boat parade is slated to run again on Sunday, December 23. Meantime, for the fascinating backstory about Ruffini’s vessel, which has hosted two American presidents, check out this redbankgreen article from 2016. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: HOSPITALS CLAIM BASIE MARQUEE

red bank nj count basie hackensack meridian marqueeThe new name, Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre, applies to the historic performance space, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It may always be best known to locals as ‘the Basie,’ but Red Bank’s oldest and most prominent entertainment venue is nothing if not prolific with monikers.

On Friday, yet another new one went up on the Monmouth Street marquee that bears the name of the town’s most famous son.

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RED BANK: FINAL FADEOUT FOR GUITAR PLANT

Now being developed for townhomes, the lot between Catherine and River streets was once home to the Danelectro guitar factory. Below, a Danelectro with the distinctive “coke bottle” headstock. (Photo above by John T. Ward, below courtesy of Lorie Mouklas. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Without fanfare, a half-dozen factory buildings on Red Bank’s West Side were leveled last month, making way for new homes.

Among the structures razed was one that deserves a final flick of the lighter from rock music fans. In the early days of rock ‘n roll, the building at 10 River Street churned out low-priced but distinctive-sounding electric guitars, some of which helped launch the careers of rock superstars such as Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page.

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RED BANK: ANTIQUES BUILDING SOLD

The home of Riverbank Antiques, as seen in 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s antiques district, which took a big hit six years ago, is about to shrink some more.

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RED BANK: RIVERMARK PROJECT APPROVED

The proposed Rivermark building shown above was modified before approval. (Rendering by Michael Monroe. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s planning board gave swift approval Monday night to a proposed commercial and residential building at a key downtown corner after it was downsized.

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RED BANK: SAXUM SPREE CONTINUES

Located at Broad and West Front streets, Saxum’s latest acquisition has Urban Outfitters as its sole ground-floor tenant. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Morris County-based real estate investment firm has acquired one of downtown Red Bank’s oldest and most prominent commercial structures.

The purchase of the home of an Urban Outfitters store by an arm of Saxum Real Estate is the firm’s third major investment in the town in the past 18 months, and the first for occupied space.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY DIRECTOR CHECKS OUT

Red Bank library staff and patrons held a sendoff party last week for the retirement of director Elizabeth McDermott, seen above speaking with public utilities director Cliff Keen.

Monmouth County Freeholder John  Curley, a former Red Bank councilman, presented McDermott with a county proclamation recognizing her for, among other accomplishments, leading the library through the most turbulent period in its 81-year history.

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RED BANK: WORDS AND MUSIC IN THE PARK


Five thousand strong, music lovers found a few hours of respite from everyday noise when the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra played an open-air concert in Red Bank’s Marine Park last summer.

This Sunday, the NJSO returns to the park with another free show, where those in attendance will also get a chance to connect to the borough’s history via the written word.

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RED BANK: CORNER PROJECT ‘TOO BIG’

The two buildings on the northeast corner of West Front Street and Maple Avenue would be replaced under Mark Forman’s plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s planning board asked the developer of proposed commercial and residential building at a key corner downtown to make it smaller Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: PARKING, TAXES & MORE

A consultant was hired to conduct a long-awaited parking study following the failure last year of plans to redevelop the White Street lot, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the Red Bank council, these things happened:

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RED BANK: DOUBTS ON PRESERVATION LAW

Homes along Washington Street, in the borough’s designated historic district, would be affected by the ordinance, as would properties beyond the district’s borders. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Does Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission need more teeth?

The borough’s planning board began chewing on that question Monday night, and seemed not to like the taste of it.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY DIRECTOR TO RETIRE

Elizabeth McDeromott, center, at the 2015 Red Bank Mayor’s Ball. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Elizabeth McDermott, who guided the Red Bank Public Library through perhaps the most turbulent chapter of its 81-year history, will retire at the end of June.

An ex-software industry consultant who changed careers well into adulthood, McDermott announced her retirement in the spring issue of the library’s newsletter, out this week.

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RED BANK: LUXURY UNITS, OFFICE PLANNED

The building at the corner of West Front Street and Maple Avenue, and the one next door would be razed for redevelopment.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A developer has plans to transform a high-profile corner on the edge of downtown Red Bank into ground-floor offices topped by luxury housing, redbankgreen has learned.

Dubbed ‘Rivermark,’ the project would replace two vacant and crumbling buildings that builder Mark Forman said make for a “really terrible” gateway into the the business district.

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