History of Asbury Park
The teenage home of famous and prolific American author Stephen Crane is now property of the Asbury Park Historical Society.
"For the first time in the society’s 14-year history we now have our own home and a headquarters from which to operate," society President Don Stine said.
The house was given free-of-charge to the Historical Society by Frank D’Alessandro, who purchased it in 2001. The official closing took place last Thursday, Sept. 24.
Stine said it was a group effort among the trustees, members, and several generous benefactors to obtain the house and he added that the society wants to particularly thank society Vice President Jim Henry and Freehold-based attorney Mark Williams for their "lengthy and tireless efforts" to prepare and file the proper deeds and paperwork.
"And, of course, we would not be here at all without the generosity of Frank D’Alessandro, who has been a good caretaker of the house for the past 14 years" he said.
And D’Alessandro said he is "very grateful" for the efforts of members of the Asbury Park Historical Society, among them Dave Sobotka, Tom Chesek, and Susan Rosenberg, for the prodigious amount of work they produced to get the house on the State and Federal Registries of Historic Places.
The Stephen Crane House, at 508 Fourth Avenue, was officially placed on the New Jersey State Register of Historic Places on Dec. 16, 2014 and on the Federal Register in August. The Crane House, built in 1878, is believed to be the oldest house in Asbury Park.
"So it is fitting now that the Historical Society should take possession and make the Crane House their home. The wonderful Hayes family, Tom and Regina and their kids, made this all possible 20 years ago by saving the decaying house from the wrecking ball. In a city that often does not place any value on its own fascinating history, this is a step forward," he said.
Stine said that some repairs to ceilings, windows, the roof, and the exterior will be made within the next month and that donations to help fund the restoration work are always welcome.
The Historical Society has begun a $250,000 fundraising campaign to restore the Crane House. Go to www.aphistoricalsociety.org for more information.
Stine said a special open house/fundraiser for the public will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, which is also Stephen Crane’s birthday. He said more information on the open house will be available soon.
"We still have some repairs and cleaning up to do," he said.
Stephen Crane [1871- 1900] was a prolific American author who began his literary career in Asbury Park as a teenager. Throughout his short life, Crane wrote notable works in the Realist tradition as well as early examples of American Naturalism and Expressionism. His writings include "The Red Badge of Courage", "Maggie: A Girl of the Streets" and many other important fiction, poetry and essays.