A President in Monmouth Beach
A President of the United States of America did visit Monmouth Beach or what was to become Monmouth Beach (the town was considered part of Ocean Twp. from 1849 to 1906).
According to a June 23, 1924 article in the Long Branch Daily Record, Benjamin Harrison, America’s 23rd President, was a regular guest here in the late 1880s when the location was an exclusive coastal resort community run by the Monmouth Beach Association. Another article in the Red Bank Register from January 1, 1930 also states that the President summered in town. By all indications, the Summer White House was likely the Monmouth Beach Clubhouse Hotel on Beach Road. President Harrison served in the White House from 1889 to 1893.
When it comes to presidential visits to New Jersey, our neighbor to the south, the city of Long Branch, played host to seven U.S. presidents, including the Republican Harrison. Beginning in 1867, soon-to-be-elected President Ulysses S. Grant visited Long Branch and fell in love with the area. He would return every summer during his eight years (1869-1877) as the nation’s chief executive. He owned a home in Long Branch may even have visited the Monmouth Beach area. According to Entertaining a Nation, the hero general loved to get around. He was known to “wildly” race his horse & buggy up and down the beach.
“Great lives never go out; they go on.”
The six American presidents (with their terms in office) to follow Grant and visit Long Branch were: Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), James A. Garfield (1881), Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885), Harrison, William McKinley (1897-1901), and Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921). Garfield died in Elberon from his assassination wounds.
Prior to his presidency Harrison was a Civil War general, U.S. senator, and prosperous Indiana lawyer. He holds several distinctions as President. He was the only man to serve between the two terms of another President (those of Grover Cleveland); his grandfather was William Henry Harrison (the nation’s ninth President); his great-grandfather (also Benjamin Harrison) signed the Declaration of Independence; his wife died while he was campaigning for re-election (he lost by 3% out of 12 million votes cast); he was the last President to wear a beard (five of the previous seven had them); and the first to have electricity in the White House. He died in March 1901 at age 67.
According to a July 1897 New York Times report, President William McKinley was scheduled to visit Monmouth Beach that summer as a guest of the Houghtons at the MB Clubhouse Hotel. I couldn’t confirm he made the visit.