Aptly dubbed the “crown jewel” of the strand of beaches that constitutes Barnegat Beach Island: a dazzling rustic haven by the sea; a town of mystique and wonderment and timeless beauty, a friendly and elegant but down-home atmosphere for its 1,300 permanent residents and scores of visitors alike.
The earliest inhabitants of the area were the Indians, Lenni-Lenape, who resided inland during the stormy, wintery months. The Englanders, in the 1600’s were the first non-native settlers – farmers, fisherman and seamen. But contemporary history dates to 1876 when David Mount, a Princeton banker, purchased beach acreage from a salty, peg legged retired sea captain, John E. Johnson. A few years later, Mount’s fellow bankers, Edward Howe and William Harris, formed the Bay Head Land Company and tastefully began to develop the farms, woods, cranberry bogs and bayberry dunes into what is now the borough of Bay Head, whose centennial was celebrated in 1986. Many of the town’s streets were named after Princetonians, Philadelphians and New Yorkers who were its founders, and many of its current residents are their direct descendents.
The summer exodus of visitors from the north and west was facilitated by the Jersey Central’s extension of the New York & Lon Branch line to Point Pleasant, in 1882. There it met the Pennsys’ Philadelphia & Long Branch line connecting it with Camden to the south. In town train service came with the addition of the Bay Head Junction loop in 1918. With these transport conveniences, and the advent of motor cars, the town began to grow. The several fine guest houses, as well as placed of worship, were built to accommodate the ever increasing numbers of sum worshippers, bathers and boaters in their quest for social enjoyment at New Jersey’s newest and most exclusive summer resort. Bay Head became internationally famous for its high-quality boat building, and remained so well into the present century.
Bay Head’s unique character was carefully molded and nurtured right from the very start. At the turn of the century, a determined mayor and council, armed with axes and snipers, cut down the poles and electric wires installed by an equally determined utility company desirous of bringing electricity and trolleys into town. An injunction was obtained and the town’s officials surrendered to worthy progress. But over the years and throughout the decades following, the Borough’s officials have remained steadfast in preserving Bay Head’s refined, low-keyed, small town image, so that, even now, the quest for peace and comfort and cultural social relaxation continues to be realized.
Bay Head has it’s own K-8 school renowned for it’s small class size and superior academic excellence. In both 2013 and 2014, Bay Head School was designated a “Reward School” and most recently was listed as one of “The 50 Best American Public Elementary Schools” by TheBestSchools.org.
We invite you to share our places of worship, our magnificent, unspoiled beaches, our lovely Centennial Park and its numerous, year-round social events. Stroll its picturesque streets, with its well-kept homes and gardens. Enjoy the warmth and hospitality of its superior hotels and fine Bed & Breakfast Inns. Treat yourself at our distinguished outdoor cafes and fine restaurants. Discover our community, with its many art galleries, distinctive boutiques, antique, food and other specialty shops. Enjoy these many attractions and share with us our pride in BAY HEAD!