History of Keansburg

  • The present Borough of Keansburg was incorporated in 1917. William W. Ramsay served as the first mayor for two terms. The land that was developed was from Campview Place to Highland Avenue, and bounded by Seeley Avenue and the shore. This was accomplished by the dredging of sand from the Raritan Bay. Carr Avenue was laid out as one of the first streets.
    William A. Gehlhaus organized and incorporated the New Point Comfort Beach Company, whose charter dates back to 1906. Mr. Gehlhaus organized the Keansburg Steamboat Company in 1909. In 1910, the first steamboat, named the Nantasket, was purchased from the Long Island Railroad. The boat was used as a commuter service and operated four round trips daily between Decoration Day and Labor Day.

    Over the years, many other steamboats were purchased and operated from the Battery, New York to Keansburg. The “City of Keansburg” was the only steamboat that was built specifically for the Keansburg Steamboat Company in 1926 in Newburgh, New York. The steamboat era ended with the destruction of the pier during the hurricane in 1962.
    Keansburg became one of the most popular vacation spots on the shore, known for its bathing beaches, large rooming houses, fishing, boardwalk, and amusement parks. The amusement parks continue to be a popular summer attraction. In the beginning of the 20th century, the winter population would be approximately 500, increasing in the summer months to 10,000. Since the 1970s, the year round population has been 10,000 or more.