Frederick W. Downer started to buy land around 1875 with a New York lawyer, Frank
L. Hall, in the area today known as the Borough of Mantoloking, then part of the
Township of Brick. The Downers gave the land south of Lake Street, now the yacht club
driveway, to the Mantoloking Yacht Club, and the land for The Church of St. Simon-by-
the-Sea. Later Mrs. Downer gave the furnished rectory to the church. The family also
gave the land for the Mantoloking Water Company. No liquor may be sold on these
pieces of land. Through their love of the area, Mantoloking was developed and received its
name in 1881. According to Donald W. Becker’s book Indian Places in New Jersey,
Mantoloking translates into “frog ground,” with a secondary meaning of “sand place.”
According to Frederic R. Colie in An Exercise in Nostalgia, “When the acquisition of
the land was substantially complete, two corporations were formed, Seashore Land and
Seashore Improvement Companies, and titles put in the names of one or the other.”
Captain John Arnold, who came from Point Pleasant in about 1882 to be superintendent
of the Seashore Land Company and Seashore Improvement Company, was responsible for
the development of Mantoloking. In 1884 he built the Mantoloking bridge. He was
Mantoloking’s first postmaster, and it was for him that Arnold Street was named.
The railroad was built in 1881, the Mantoloking bridge in 1884, but there was no
road between Mantoloking and Bay Head until 1908. The road to the south stopped at the
Bay Head line, therefore the north end of Mantoloking was developed last. When the
bridge between Ocean Gate and Seaside Park burned on December 1, 1946, train service
was suspended. The tracks were removed in 1949 and the railroad land was returned to the
Seashore Land and Seashore Improvement Companies. When the land was sold after
World War II, major development began in the north end of Mantoloking.
St. Simon-by-the-Sea is said to be a copy of a Norwegian fishermen’s church and
became an Episcopal Church because the first minister, the Reverend Dr. Bishop, was an
Episcopalian. There is a Tiffany window over the altar in memory of the Reverend Dr.
In 1897 the Mantoloking Golf Club was started and golf was played with a red ball,
which was easier to see on the sand. The course ran from bay across the railroad tracks to
the sand dunes between Herbert Street and Downer Avenue. Later the name was changed
to the Mantoloking Golf and Yacht Club and then to the Mantoloking Yacht Club. The
Mantoloking Yacht Club is honored to have had ten Olympians.
In the early years Mantoloking was part of Brick and in 1911 became the Borough
Mantoloking. The Borough of Mantoloking will celebrate it’ s centennial in 2011.
Anne L. Benedict Historian of Mantoloking