999 Ocean Avenue | P.O. Box 3066 | Sea Bright, NJ 07760 | Tel: (732) 842-0245
 
 HISTORIAN PAGE

The Club’s history presented below was written by Dan Seitz.  Sadly, Dan passed away in the spring of 2009.   Dan's passion for the Club and its history was unsurpassed.  Dan was the perennial keynote speaker at the Annual Swim Team dinner for more than three decades.  In his remarks, Dan routinely highlighted the importance of camaraderie, teamwork, good sportsmanship, and respect for others.  He will be remembered fondly for his many contributions to the Seabright Beach Club.

Dan Seitz spent his summers as a boy at his grandmother's house in Locust, enjoying the use of her membership at the Beach Club. He became a full time resident and member here in 1962. A graduate of Exeter and Harvard, he made his career with Bankers Trust Co. in New York, taking early retirement in 1984. He busied himself with his garden and a number of non-profit activities, including Monmouth County Historical Association and Friends of the Monmouth County Park System.


A SHORT HISTORY

WRITTEN BY DAN SEITZ 

In the late 1800’s, Sea Bright, New Jersey, was a substantial coastal resort of summer “cottages” whose owners enjoyed the ocean and beach in the privacy of their own backyards. Neighboring Rumson had a parallel development of impres­sive places, but it lacked the direct access to the ocean. Several families in both communities who did not own oceanfront property, and a few that did, determined that a club should be formed to enjoy ocean bathing and gather­ing with friends. Consequently, the Seabright Beach Club was founded in 1895 on a 150’ strip of beachfront property. The original clubhouse was a Victorian cottage, enlarged to accommodate comfortable showers and bath houses, and the initial membership comprised about 25 families.

For the first two decades, activities centered on the beach and ocean bathing; social aspects of the Club were limited to teas, an occasional reception and Saturday afternoon mu­sicals. By 1913, however, the membership had expanded, a younger generation had matured and automobiles had arrived, extending the geographical breadth from which the membership would naturally be drawn. That autumn, plans were made to enlarge the Club in response to a growing and evolving local community, and a contiguous property to the north was purchased, thereby doubling beachfrontage. A now storm-battered clubhouse was replaced in the spring of 1914 by a new, larger building which included expanded reception facilities and wide porches. Handsome colonial revival-railings, columns and roof balustrades added distinction to the simple dignity of this new structure. A boardwalk was constructed, the bath houses were expanded and a pool was built, the first in this area.

This impetus of spirit and camaraderie embodied by the 1913 expansion expressed itself in ever expanding social and swimming activities in the years to follow. Dances, regular food and bar service and varied programs of family entertainment were established. Today, the Club is used both during the day and evening for scheduled and informal gatherings of members, their families and friends. With the pool came a swimming program, including instruction, for children. Intramural water sports competition in the 1920’s gradually led to meets with other clubs and to participation in the North Shore League. At the Club, generations of children have learned to enjoy swimming and the importance of good sportsmanship and team spirit.

In appearance today, the Club is much as it was in 1914, with additions over time including a baby pool, teen room, enlarged bath house facilities and office space. Porches have been widened and there have been several extensions of the boardwalk. The colonial re­vival embellishments of the club house have largely gone the way of wind, weather and the need to accommo­date other improvements. The pool was reconstructed and modernized in 1986, and a handsome octagonal gazebo was constructed at the north end in 1993. Over the years, the ocean frontage has been increased through a series of purchases and now exceeds 700’. Inevitably, there has been erosion of beachfront due to regular and storm driven ocean action. However, in the fall of 1995, the year in which the Club celebrated its Centennial, massive amounts of sand were pumped into the New Jersey beaches, and for the moment the eastward extent of the beachfront now seems as great as it was in 1895.

In August 1998, a fire damaged portions of the main building and entrance porch. That winter a major renovation of the affected areas was undertaken including a restoration of the clubroom and the entrance porch in the colonial revival style reminiscent of the structure as originally built. A similarly inspired renovation of the ocean side porch was completed in advance of the 2001 season.

In June 2002, in response to the events of September 11, 2001, the Club dedicated a bench on the dunes as a memorial to all the victims of that tragedy and established a special swimming trophy in memory of the Club’s former President, Karl T. Smith, who was killed in that tragedy.

Today the Club’s Membership stands at over 450 families. Among them are descendants of the early members as well as many other friends and their offspring who have joined over the years. A strong emphasis on families and friends has constituted the vital force behind the history and development of the Seabright Beach Club.

Throughout its long history, the Club has continued to fulfill its primary purposes, including the encouragement of ocean bathing and the safe use and enjoyment of the beach, the ocean, and swimming facilities. The Club also encourages the education of its members in water safety, provides opportunities to engage in competitive swimming, and encourages the development of outdoor sports and physical exercise. 

HISTORICAL SBC PICTURES

       
       
       
       
       
     
       
       
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