History of Our Borough

President Woodrow Wilson on Shadow Lawn porch (September 2, 1916)
President Woodrow Wilson on Shadow Lawn porch (September 2, 1916)

In the past, our community has been known by various names; Hoppersville, from the Hopper family; Mechanicsville, 1851 map; Branchburg, 1873 map, likely due to its proximity to the long branch of the Shrewsbury River. An 1889 map shows it as West Long Branch P.O. and West Long Branch School District.

In 1908, the people of the West Long Branch section of Eatontown became unhappy with paying taxes to Eatontown and not getting what they thought was a fair return. A request was made that the West Long Branch section be separated from Eatontown. The Township of Eatontown strongly resisted since there were several large estates in the West Long Branch section that were a source of considerable taxes. The Freeholders authorized an election and on May 5, 1908 the election was held in West Long Branch. The results as recorded in the Advertiser, an Eatontown newspaper, were: 163 for and 73 against separation. On Tuesday, June 16, 1908, the West Long Branch section of Eatontown Township became the independent Borough of West Long Branch. The following Monday, Monroe V. Poole, Edward M. Beach, Frank S. Brand, Thomas W. Cooper, Charles A. Poole, Thaddeus Schenk, and John H. Sutphen met for the first council meeting. Thomas W. Cooper was elected Council president.

At the next meeting of the Council, a beer bottling plant on Oceanport Road (now Oceanport Avenue) near Eatontown Boulevard (now Broadway) was declared "a public nuisance and illegally conducted." The prosecutor was requested to take action to revoke the license. Actions taken at following meetings indicated the neglect felt by the residents. The council authorized the installation of lights on Wall Street and on Monmouth Road, initiated action to widen "Locust Avenue…from Southerly Borough limits to Wall Street." (Monmouth Road from Cedar Ave south was then considered a part of Locust Avenue), and requested the Board of Freeholders to build stone roads on Cedar Avenue and on Monmouth Road.

One of the first actions taken by the new council in 1908 was to authorize the appointment of three marshals. R. Hayes Cubberly was appointed for the Kensington Park section (north of Broadway near Oakwood Avenue), Charles Stricklin for the Wall Street section (the vicinity of Oakwood Avenue and Norwood Avenue, also known as Lane’s Corner), and Nicholas V. White for the West Long Branch section (centered around the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Monmouth Road). Each marshal was equipped with a cap, badge, stick, and handcuffs. The speed limit was set at 12 miles per hour. In the 1920’s, a motorcycle patrolman covered the borough. In the thirties and the forties, the Borough was served by a two-man police force. Then, in the forties, a two-door coupe replaced the motorcycle. Radio communication to Monmouth County police in Freehold was installed in 1934. Then in 1968, the Borough installed its own 2-way radio system.

The Eatontown Fire Department Chemical Engine Company No. 3, located at the intersection of Monmouth Road and Cedar Avenue, became the West Long Branch Engine House Company, later called Fire Company No. 1. Two horses drew the ladder wagon with Freeman Howland as the driver. In 1915, Fire Company No. 2 was formed on Oceanport Avenue.