Union Beach

RECORD GROUP: Municipalities
RECORD SERIES #: 8600.16
SERIES: Union Beach
DATES: 1926-2018
VOLUME: 1o cubic feet

The following historical narrative about Union Beach is adapted from the essay prepared by Florence Buchman, Borough Historian, for the book, Town by Town: Impressions of Monmouth County (Freehold: Office of the Monmouth County Clerk, 2002):

Union Beach, with a population of 6,430, is located on the bank of the Raritan Bay between Keyport and Keansburg. It is 1.8 square miles in area and was part of the farming Township of Raritan (Hazlet). Union Beach is one of many communities in Monmouth County to have organized and charted its own governing body.

One of the leading men to press for community independence was Harry McCandless, a Spanish-American War veteran who bought land on Union Avenue when World War I ended. Prior to 1920, the area lacked fire protection, postal service, and a local train station.  Mr. McCandless was instrumental in organizing the Lorillard and Union Beach Improvement Association, a group of men committed to developing community services.

With growing interest, the First Volunteer Fire Company organized in 1920, and by 1929 three more companies were created for property protection. Postal service was established in Charles Parry’s grocery store in 1921 and the train station also became a reality.  It was during McCandless’s tenure as president of the Association that the question of severing ties with Raritan Township came to a vote.  A committee of six men was chosen to present the issue to Monmouth County’s State Senator, William A. Stevens.  His Bill to incorporate the Borough of Union Beach passed in the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor George S. Silzer on March 16, 1925.  Within the next forty days, Township votes approved the new Borough’s independence.

Charles E. Miller, the Fusion candidate, became Mayor and chaired the first council meeting on May 18, 1925. An outspoken champion of social justice, Mr. McCandless was a staunch democrat until 1940 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran for a third term. “Something must be very wrong in the country if a new man can’t be found after two terms to run for its presidency,” he said.

McCandless changed parties and became a registered Republican. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to see his sense of reasoning become the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution proposed by a resolution in Congress in 1947 and ratified February 27, 1951, whereby no person shall be elected to the Office of President of the United States more than twice. Harry McCandless, a totally dedicated man, served twenty years as President of the Union Beach Board of Education.  He died September 20, 1945, after a three-week illness and was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Keyport.

Education began in Union Beach in a humble one-room schoolhouse and over the years has grown considerably. The Memorial School has sending privileges with Keyport High School, Red Bank Regional High School, and the Mast Program at Sandy Hook.  High Technology and allied health classes are held at (vocational) Brookdale.

In 1937, five dedicated women founded the Union Beach Free Library. In 1946 its name was changed to the Union Beach Memorial Library in memory of the twelve local men who were killed in World War II. From a Borough population of 2,076 in 1940, 30 men and 6 women served in the armed forces.

As part of the five-year celebration of the signing of the Constitution of the United States in 1987, a bronze plaque was placed on the lawn in front of the Borough Hall honoring Richard Poole, a Revolutionary war figure and Colonel during the war of 1812 who was born here in 1761. The written and authenticated history of Poole’s life resulted in a Bicentennial leadership award during the celebration as an ongoing project by the Borough, presented in Annapolis, MD.

“The Constitution of the United States was not made merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity-unlimited-undefined-endless-perpetual posterity.” (Henry Clay 1777-1852).

Union Beach has become a thriving residential community with International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc., as its foremost and largest taxpayer; a number of small businesses, an excellent elementary school system, four churches, four volunteer fire companies, a volunteer emergency medical service, professional police department, beautiful restored beachfront, paved roads, and dwellings of considerable monetary value – all are part of the Borough’s 75 years of progress.

The records consist of Union Beach borough ordinances, 1926-1984, and minutes of the governing body, 1925-2018, as follows:

  • Ordinances, 1 through 444, 1926-1984













    • Minute Books, 1-45, 1925-2018
Box Number Start End Book Numbers
1 May 1925 September 1952 1-6
2 September 1952 March 1966 7-11
3 April 1966 September 1974 12-16
4 October 1974 October 1980 17-21
5 October 1980 August 1985 22-26
6 September 1985 June 1992 27-31
7 June 1992 March 2001 32-36
8 April 2001 May 2010 37-41
9 May 2010 May 2018 42-45
There are no restrictions on use of the material.
These records are available in the Archives.
The books are arranged chronologically.
Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Phone: 732-308-3771
Historical records from Union Beach were placed on deposit in the Monmouth County Archives and Records Center on April 30, 2009, pursuant to a municipal resolution and a depository agreement which provide that Union Beach retains ownership of the records and that the Monmouth County Archives can provide access to them. A supplement with additional records was delivered in August 2018.
This finding aid was created by Gary D. Saretzky on May 1, 2009, and updated October 11, 2018.