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STEPHEN CRANE HOUSE FUND-RAISING BEGINS

The Asbury Park Historical Society has launched its first-ever Internet fundraising campaign to help offset costs associated with its proposed acquisition of the historic Stephen Crane House on Fourth Avenue.

“We are trying to raise $250,000 within the next six weeks through the online campaign. We will need more money in the future but we have a least begun the effort,” society President Don Stine said.

A special video was prepared featuring current Crane House owner Frank D’ Alessandro and the video can be seen on the campaign web sites. D’Alessandro talks about the history of and past preservation efforts to save the house, including a generous donation from Bruce Springsteen. The Boss donated money from a 2001 concert in Convention Hall for a new roof. Repairing the roof was a key restoration project needed before D’Alessandro could move forward with future restoration work.

The Crane House, build circa 1877, is probably the oldest house remaining in Asbury Park. The city was founded by James A. Bradley in 1871.

D’Alessandro recently announced that he will be selling the Crane House to the society for $1 and the society, in turn, has been looking into its various options and having the house structurally inspected. It will become the first-ever headquarters for the historical society if the purchase goes through.

“But, obviously, the house does not actually cost a dollar. There are going to be closing, escrow, insurance and other costs coming up soon and we thought one of the quickest ways to raise some money is through this online campaign,” Stine said.

“We certainly urge people to visit the site and see the video, at the very least, and possibly donate some money. We also hope people will pass this information on to others through social media or come up with their own fund-raising ideas,” Stine said.

And while at the historical society web site, Stine also encourages people to sign up and become members and join a committee.

“Actually, there is still a lot of historic preservation work to be done in Asbury Park and we need as much help as we can get. And it is now easier than ever to get in touch with any trustee or committee chair,” he said.

The historical society is planning to hold an official fundraising, launch garden party at the Crane House in May, with more events planned during the year. Stephan Crane is considered to be one of the pioneering giants in American literature, with his Realist novels “Maggie” and “The Red Badge Of Courage” garnering him much success early in life.

Crane moved to Asbury Park when he was 11 and stayed here until he was about 20. “He actually began writing in Asbury Park and one of his earliest books, “The Black Riders,” was inspired by waves in Ocean Grove. It would have been interesting to see what more Crane would have written had he lived longer,” Stine said. Crane, who also became a war correspondent, died from tuberculosis in Germany on June 5, 1900. He was only 28 years old.