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Sea Bright is a borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 1,412, reflecting a decline of 406 (-22.3%) from the 1,818 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 125 (+7.4%) from the 1,693 counted in the 1990 Census.
Sea Bright was formed as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 21, 1889, from portions of Ocean Township, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day. The borough was reincorporated on March 10, 1897. Additional portions of Ocean Township were annexed by the borough in March 1909.
Some sources attribute the name to a suggestion made by Martha Bayard Stevens, The borough and other sources say that the borough was named for Sea Bright, England, though there is no evidence such a place exists. Earlier sources often spell it as one word, "Seabright", as seen in the United States Coast Guard's Station Seabright and the Seabright Lawn Tennis and Cricket Club.
In the early 1840s, the area of present-day Sea Bright was a fishing community of simple shacks near the beach dunes; Ocean House, the area's first hotel, opened in 1842, featuring access to fishing and sea bathing. The area was called "Nauvoo", a Native American word, meaning "bright sea". An alternative explanation, which the borough credits as the source, is that the name is derived from the Hebrew language meaning "pleasant place," which was the same name that Mormon leader Joseph Smith gave to Nauvoo, the Illinois town he founded in 1839. Smith is said to have visited Monmouth County during a missionary journey in 1840.
The first bridge across the Shrewsbury River connecting Sea Bright to Rumson was constructed in 1870. After several iterations of the bridge, Monmouth County has announced plans for a replacement of the existing span built in 1950 that connects to Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright with a new bridge that would be completed in 2020 at a site south of the current crossing.
The Sea Bright Skiff was developed on the Jersey Shore in the early 19th century for fishing offshore, by being launched through the surf and returned to shore.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.287 square miles (3.333 km2), including 0.730 square miles (1.890 km2) of land and 0.557 square miles (1.443 km2) of water (43.30%).
Sea Bright has seven members-only beach clubs, of which five are in the North Beach area: Ship Ahoy, Sands, Surfrider, Sea Bright Beach Club and Chapel Beach Club; and two are south of the center of town: Driftwood and Edgewater, all of which charge thousands of dollars for membership and have waiting lists of several years for prospective members.
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