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Long Branch is a city in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the city population was 40,340.
Long Branch was formed on April 11, 1867, as the Long Branch Commission, from portions of Ocean Township. Long Branch was incorporated as a city by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 8, 1903, based on the results of a referendum, replacing the Long Branch Commission.
Long Branch was a beach resort town in the late 18th century. In the 19th century it was a "Hollywood" of the east, where some of the greatest theatrical and other performers of the day gathered and performed.
It was visited by presidents Chester A. Arthur, James A. Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson. Seven Presidents Park, a park near the beach, is named in honor of their visits. The Church of the Presidents, where all seven worshiped, is the only structure left in Long Branch associated with them.
President Garfield was brought to Long Branch in the hope that the fresh air and quiet might aid his recovery after being shot on July 2, 1881, an incident that left the assassin's bullet lodged in his spine. He died here on September 19, 1881, exactly two months before his 50th birthday. The Garfield Tea House, built from railroad ties that carried Garfield's train, is in Elberon. The famous Long Branch Saloon of the American Old West, located in Dodge City, Kansas, was originally named that by its first owner, William Harris, who had moved west from Long Branch, New Jersey, his hometown.
Originally a resort town with a few hotels and large estates and many farms in the early 20th century, Long Branch grew in population. Italian, Irish and Jewish immigrants settled in during this period. By the 1950s, Long Branch like many other towns had developed new residential spots and housing to make room for the growing population. Many of the former farms of Long Branch were transformed into residential "suburbs". Many of the estates and a few old historic resorts (with the addition of many new ones) still remain.
With the ascendancy of Hollywood in California as a film capital, Long Branch lost much of its activity as a theater spot. Parts of traditional living areas with old houses were altered to support private projects by eminent domain legislation.
Long Branch still continues however to be a popular resort area. Many people from New York City travel or settle in to the area to escape the crowded city and enjoy the benefits of Long Branch's beaches. The area also attracts some tourists from the Philadelphia area as well.
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