[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 34 (Thursday, March 23, 2000)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E407-E408]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                        HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR.

                             of new jersey

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 23, 2000

  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to my constituents in 
the Borough of Highlands, NJ, as this community celebrates its 100th 
anniversary. To commemorate this great occasion, a centennial dinner 
was held yesterday evening at Bahr's restaurant, since 1917 an 
institution in this community located on beautiful Sandy Hook Bay.
  Mr. Speaker, we stand at the threshold of a new century. At the last 
turn of the century, Highlands became a borough, having separated from 
Middleton Township. But, the history of the area goes back a great deal 
further. The first Europeans to see Highlands were Giovanni Verrazano 
and his crew aboard the Dauphine. The first map of the Highlands area 
was made by the Spaniard Diego Ribero, who called the area now known to 
us as

[[Page E408]]

Sandy Hook as Cabo De Arenas (cape of sands) and the Navesink/
Shrewsbury River as Rio de Santiago. It was on September 2, 1609, that 
Henry Hudson first saw the Highlands area. The name of this explorer 
continues to be a household name in the Borough as the regional high 
school serving the young people of the area is Henry Hudson Regional 
High School.
  Throughout the Colonial and Revolutionary eras, many of the 
illustrious names still recalled throughout Monmouth County, New Jersey 
and the nation were associated with Highlands. Richard Hartshorne, for 
whom Hartshorne Woods County Park is named, settled in Highlands in 
1678. In 1778, the British General Clinton retreated through Highlands 
after his defeat in the Battle of Monmouth, a major turning point in 
America's War for Independence. In 1782, Captain Joshua Huddy was 
hanged at Water Witch.
  Phillip Freneau, known as the ``poet of the Revolution,'' wrote a 
poem called ``Navesink'' focused on the Highlands hills. James 
Fennimore Cooper served in the Navy doing shore patrol of the Raritan 
Bay area during the years 1805-11, and in 1830 this great American 
writer would produce The Water Witch, whose setting is the Highlands 
hills. (Water Witch Avenue is to this day one of the borough's 
thoroughfares.) In 1872, the noted engraver Granville Perkins came to 
Highlands to sketch several scenes for the first edition of Picturesque 
America. In 1876, William Cullen Bryant published the Centennial 
Edition of Picturesque America in which Highlands was featured in the 
picture and text as the leading site. In 1875, Walt Whitman visited 
Highlands and wrote two poems, ``Fancies at Navesink.'' In 1889, 
Harper's magazine writer F.E. Fryatt visited Highlands and wrote 
extensively of its beauty, sites and quaint way of life. That same 
year, the noted writer Gustav Kobbe visited Highlands and described 
town life, writing the first description of the clamming industry.
  Perhaps the best known landmark of Highlands is the Twin Lights, 
which holds a commanding position overlooking Sandy Hook Bay and the 
gateway from the New Jersey/New York Harbor area to the Atlantic Ocean. 
The first single beacon lighthouse was built in 1765. It was in 1828 
that the first Twin Lights were built. In 1841, the south tower of the 
Twin Lights received a Fresnel lens. In 1862, the present Twin Lights 
were constructed, and in 1889 the south tower was fitted with an 
electric arc light to produce 25,000 candle power output. In 1924, an 
incandescent lamp replaced the arc light, to produce 9,000,000 candle 
power output. The Twin Lights were deactivated and shut off in 1952, 
and in 1965 it was made a National Historic Site.
  Highlands has been throughout its history a major transportation hub. 
In 1832, the steamboat Saratoga was the first to serve Highlands from 
New York City, ushering in the steamboat age which ran for 100 years. 
In 1865, the Long Branch and Sea Shore Railroad began its run between 
Long Branch and Spermaceti Cove steamboat dock, bringing New York City 
vacationers to the Jersey Shore. During the 19th and early 20th 
centuries, rail and trolley service helped bring people to Highlands 
and on to other transportation infrastructure. In 1872, the first 
Highlands-Sea Bright bridge was opened (although it was struck by a 
sloop and wrecked three years later.) The current drawbridge along 
Route 36, built in 1932 and called the Million Dollar Bridge, has 
proven much more durable in our present-day transportation age.
  Today, Highlands is still well known for its fishing industry and 
marinas. In 1947, the Highlands boat basin was renovated. Although the 
age of steam ships has passed into memory, Highlands today is the site 
of ferry service that continues to provide round trip transportation to 
New York for commuters and day-trippers.
  Through the years, members of diverse religious denominations found a 
home in Highlands, as members of various denominations established 
meeting places, often in people's homes. Today, the Borough is the home 
to a number of houses of worship with deep roots in the community.
  During the 19th and 20th centuries, the community developed a strong 
system of schools and other public services as the quality of life and 
sense of community continued to improve. Residential communities took 
shape and a strong commercial life was established. Highlands Borough 
was established in name in 1900. Twelve years later, the Water Witch 
section officially became part of the Borough. Also in 1912, the 
waterfront area bounded by Bay Avenue, Shrewsbury Avenue and Miller 
Street was filled in and streets were laid out for houses to be built. 
Throughout the 20th century, Highlands developed its fame and renown as 
home of some of the Jersey Shore's best seafood restaurants, as well as 
charming bed-and-breakfast establishments.
  At the time of Highlands' founding in 1900, the United States Census 
listed a population of 848 persons. By the time of the 2000 Census is 
completed, it will indicate that the community has grown by a factor of 
six. The people of Highlands have played an important role in the 
history of our country, state and nation, involved at every stage of 
our history from the earliest days. In the last 100 years, The Borough 
has survived and rebounded from natural disasters, such as nor'easters 
and hurricanes, as well as fires and other disasters. It even enjoyed a 
brief period of notorious fame during Prohibition as a center for 
illicit trade on water and land for illegal whiskey.
  On this great occasion, I want to express my best wishes to Mayor 
Richard W. O'Neil, Council Members John Bentham, Dolores Monohan 
Howard, Sherry Ruby and Robert M. Rauen, and all of the dedicated men 
and women who make the Borough services work day-in and day-out.
  Mr. Speaker, it is a great privilege and an honor for me to pay 
tribute to the Borough of Highlands, a beautiful community with an 
unsurpassed location, a place with a proud history, a bright future and 
many, many great people.