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James Bradley, Founder of Asbury Park and Bradley Beach, Dies at 91

On June 7, 1921, James A. Bradley, founder of the Monmouth County communities of Asbury Park and Bradley Beach, died at age 91, just three weeks before he could see a statue of him erected near Convention Hall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the town’s founding. Bradley, born in Staten Island, was in the brush business before getting into real estate development. In 1870, he purchased 500 acres of “waste land covered with underbrush.” He cleared the land, laid it out in streets and this became Asbury Park. Another 500 acres were added and Bradley Beach was born, where James Bradley and his wife would spend their summers for many years.

As mayor and city commissioner, Bradley “always imposed upon the community as far as he could his views of proper behavior.” This includes advocating and effecting racial segregation designed to keep minorities away from the boardwalk and beach. The Asbury Park Historical Society says people should never forget the city’s late founder James Bradley’s ‘advocacy of segregation,’ but it draws the line on removing the statue erected in his honor near Convention Hall.

Jas. A. Bradley Dies; Founder of Asbury. (1921). The New York Times, Tuesday, June 7, 1921, P. 17.

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