Long Branch City Hall Images
Plus, the “Mayors of Long Branch” —
Long Branch has had two municipal buildings in its long and storied history — both located on Broadway.
The first city hall opened in 1891. The three-story, red brick building was designed by David Henry of Patterson, NJ and cost $25,000. Prior to its construction, Long Branch commissioners met on the top floor of the Atlantic Firehouse on Broadway and Second Avenue.
Even though the Long Branch Commission ran things in town, official credit for the building goes to the Ocean Township Committee of which it was part. The city took absolute control of the building in 1905.
Known as “the grand old lady of Long Branch, ” a 700-pound bell hung in the building’s turret for 80 years. The building was torn down in 1976. According to a June 29, 1976 Asbury Park Press report, the day the old city hall was demolished “hardly anyone came by to see.” Mazza & Sons were the wreckers. The lime and sandstone structure had been rotting for years.
In October 1972, the city council adopted a bond ordinance to construct a new city hall. After 18 months of delays while city officials, merchants, and residents debated about the best location, construction finally began in May 1974. The final cost was about $2.7 million; its total area was 32,600-square feet. The builder was Hall Construction Company of Little Silver and Uniplan Associates of Princeton was the architect.
By November 1975, city government was operating in the new Broadway facility. The building was officially dedicated in July 1976 in conjunction with the city’s American Bicentennial celebration. During this time, Henry R. Cioffi was city mayor, Dr. Sal J. Prezioso was city administrator, and Jennie DeFazio was city clerk.
Mayors of Long Branch:
• John Pallone — 2018-present
• Adam Schneider — 1990-2018
• Philip D. Huhn — 1982-1990
• Henry R. “Skip” Cioffi — 1970-1982
• Paul Nastasio, Jr. — 1966-1970
• Vincent J. Mazza — 1965-1966
• Milton F. Untermeyer, Jr. — 1963-1965
• Thomas L. McClintock — 1961-1963
• J. Paul Kiernan — 1960-1961
• Daniel J. Maher — 1956-1960
• Alexander Vineberg, DO — 1952-1956
• J. William Jones — 1948-1952
• J. Paul Kiernan — 1944-1948
• Alton V. Evans — 1936-1944
• C. Dorman McFaddin — 1932-1936
• J. William Jones — 1928-1932
• Frank L. Howland — 1924-1928
• Clarence J. Housman — 1920-1924
• John W. Flock, Sr. — 1918-1920
• Marshall Woolley — 1916-1918
• Bryant B. Newcomb — 1912-1916
• Henry Joline — 1912
• Edwin W. Packer — 1910-1912
• Charles O. McFaddin — 1906-1910
• C. Asa Francis — 1904-1906
• Rufus Blodgett — 1903-1904
• Walter S. Reed, MD — 1902-1903
• Benjamin P. Morris — 1900-1901
• Augustus Chandler — 1899-1900
• Rufus Blodgett — 1894-1898
• George W. Brown — 1892-1893
• Thomas R. Woolley — 1891-1892
• George W. Brown — 1889-1890
• Wilbur A. Heisley — 1887-1888
• George W. Brown — 1885-1886
• Richard H. Woodward — 1883-1884
• Thomas R. Woolley — 1880-1883
• Joseph H. Cooper — 1870-1879
• Francis Corlies — 1867-1870
Note: From 1867 to 1904, the “mayor” was actually “president” of the Long Branch Commission. All were Democrats except Heisley, Chandler, and Reed.
First “Mayor” of Long Branch
His name is neither honored or recorded in city history. But Francis Corlies was the first “mayor” (or rather the first president of the Long Branch Commission). The “record” shows he was appointed in April 1867 and served until 1870.
These details appear in a January 1918 front-page story in the city’s official newspaper, the Long Branch Daily Record (story below). Its plausible because Francis Corlies played a significant role in the development of the North Jersey Shore, according to a July 1915 Long Branch Daily Record story.
Corlies was deep in the makings of the Long Branch & Sea Shore Railroad — a than magical mode of transportation that could easily shuttle the rich and famous from NYC to the Jersey Shore via ferry and train. In March 1864, Corlies was part of a committee that negotiated a land deal directly with President Abraham Lincoln to build a railroad starting on government property at Spermaceti Cove on Sandy Hook to Long Branch and on down to Manasquan. To ensure completion of the line from Sandy Hook to Long Branch by July 1865, Corlies was put in charge.
Later on as a three-term NJ state assemblyman, he was “instrumental in the initial movement for a government in Long Branch,” according to a Long Branch Daily Record story in May 1954. He also helped organize the city’s first bank, the Long Branch Banking Company on Broadway in March 1872 and sat on the first Monmouth Park Racetrack board of directors in 1869. Born in Shrewsbury Twp., he was the son of Benjamin W. Corlies, one of Monmouth County’s top surveyors in his day. Francis died in April 1897 at age 70.
Joseph H. Cooper is the guy most often credited with being the first “Long Branch mayor.” The salute while laudable is wrong. He did indeed serve as commission president for most of the 1870s (true boom times in the “Summer Capitol”) and did own the popular Metropolitan Hotel (off Cooper Avenue) — but the city’s paper of record shows Corlies first in 1867. In keeping with city politics of today, both Cooper and Corlies were Democrats.