Ocean Grove is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located within Neptune Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. It had a population of 3,342 at the 2010 United States Census. It is located on the Atlantic Ocean's Jersey Shore, between Asbury Park to the north and Bradley Beach to the south. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ocean Grove is noted for its abundant examples of Victorian architecture and the Great Auditorium, acclaimed as "the state’s most wondrous wooden structure, soaring and sweeping, alive with the sound of music".
Ocean Grove was founded in 1869 as an outgrowth of the camp meeting movement in the United States, when a group of Methodist clergymen, led by William B. Osborn and Ellwood H. Stokes, formed the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to develop and operate a summer camp meeting site on the New Jersey seashore. By the early 20th century, the popular Christian meeting ground became known as the "Queen of Religious Resorts." The community's land is still owned by the camp meeting association and leased to individual homeowners and businesses. Ocean Grove remains the longest-active camp meeting site in the United States.
On July 31, 1869, Reverend W. B. Osborn, Reverend Stokes, and other Methodist ministers camped at a shaded, well-drained spot on New Jersey's seashore and decided to establish a permanent Christian camp meeting community called "Ocean Grove." About twenty tents were pitched that summer. By the following year paths were being graded, lots were sold, and plans were set in motion for a new town. In the summer of 1870, near the site of the first tabernacle, a well was dug to provide fresh water. It was named the "Beersheba" well, for an ancient well used by the Biblical patriarchs Abraham and Isaac, and is still in existence.
Drawing from the major population centers of New York City and Philadelphia, Ocean Grove soon became a popular destination during the growth of the camp meeting movement in post-Civil War America. Tents and an open-air wooden shelter, or tabernacle, were erected in the 1870s, for the trainloads of visitors arriving by the New York and Long Branch Railroad after 1875.