There were some good things that came out of the Stock Market Crash of 1929. One of them was the beautiful Island Beach State Park, here on the Jersey Shore. Henry C. Phipps, a childhood friend of Andrew Carnegie and a big shareholder in Carnegie Steel, bought the southern part of the long barrier island with the intent of making it into a resort. With the crash of the stock market, construction halted and with the interruption of World War II, the land was never developed. The State of New Jersey wisely purchased the land from his heirs in 1953, and hence today, it is the only undeveloped, large, piece of land on the entire New Jersey coast.
We spent the afternoon exploring the park. The kids felt bad for me that we didn’t see any birds in the salt marshes, so they pretended they were birds, in part to make me feel better. It is hard to believe that this is how the island looked before the extensive building of vacation homes and urbanization of the northern part of the island. In looking at real estate magazines, the big homes pictured below sell for over 1 million dollars and the smaller rental properties are also quite expensive. Park managers have done a pretty good job of allowing access to the park and preserving the environment.
I wish they would have preserved more of the coast, not only in New Jersey, but everywhere. I understand that everyone wants waterfront property, but I find myself gravitating to coastlines without development, which are few and far between.