Souvenir Journal



October 18, 1991 to July 26, 2014

South Amboy St.Mary

St. Mary’s/Cardinal McCarrick Yearbooks

 South Amboy/Hoffman High School Yearbooks

New Jersey Digital Highway – Selected Archives from the Sadie Pope Dowdell Public Library

Selected South Amboy Historical Resources

Dowdell Library of South Amboy

  • 1640 Dutch fisherman started village 6 houses South Amboy was originally known as Redman’s Ferry
  • 1798 Incorporated as a township
  • 1808 First store opened – owned by Samuel Gordon
  • 1831 Colonel John Stevens brought his steam engine “John Bull” to Camden Amboy Railroad and ran it’s first train over the entire line
  • 1832 First lawyer in town Charles Moore
  • 1844 First post office was established with Charles Perrine as post master
  • 1850 Christ Church Parish was established
  • 1851 St. Mary Catholic Church established
  • 1852 Swan Hill Pottery was established
  • 1865 First Presbyterian Church organized – Rev. G. C. Bush
  • 1868 St. Mary School was established by Sisters of Mercy
  • 1868 Thomas Joseph Scully, an American Democratic Party politician who represented New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district from 1911 to 1921 is born in South Amboy.
  • 1872 First Baptist Church organized – Rev. Thomas S. Snow (2nd Street)
  • 1880 Sacred Heart School was established by Felician Sisters
  • 1880 Great Beds Lighthouse was built
  • 1882 The Citizen – Local newspaper started
  • 1888 Borough of South Amboy was formed with Cornelius McGonigle as first mayor
  • 1889 Knights of Pythias Lodge founded – City’s oldest fraternal organization
  • 1890 Biggest fire raged destroying the entire block of wooden houses on the east side of Broadway which brought about the the organizing of the first fire house – On May 31 1890 – Independence Engine and Hose Company and Enterprise Hook and Ladder Co.
  • 1890 Protection Engine Company established
  • 1896 Governor Harold G. Hoffman was born in South Amboy
  • 1904 Mechanicsville Hose Company was formed
  • 1908 City of South Amboy Charter granted – Doctor Tregonowan, Mayor
  • 1911 South Amboy native Thomas J. Scully elected as a Democrat to the 62nd United States Congress and to the four succeeding Congresses.
  • 1912 Woman’s Club was formed
  • 1912 New Jersey’s first air mail flight – South Amboy to Perth Amboy – Pilot O. G. Simmons passenger Mayor Fred Garretson
  • 1914 South Amboy Public Library was established
  • 1917 Congregation Beth Israel Mordecai Formed – Lasted approx. 1 year
  • 1918 Mogan Explosion – Gillespie Shell Loading Plant at Morgan blew up
  • 1919 First public high school was erected
  • 1921 Progressive Fire Company was formed
  • 1924 South Amboy Hospital was built
  • 1925 Harold G. Hoffman becomes Mayor
  • 1927  Victory Bridge was built linking Perth Amboy to South Amboy
  • 1930 John McKeon, former Major League Baseball manager born in South Amboy.
  • 1930 Major League Baseball stars Johnny and Eddie O’Brien(twins) are born in South Amboy.
  • 1931 First Aid Squad was formed
  • 1932 New York Yankee, Alfred Aloysius “Allie” Clark born in South Amboy
  • 1933 Benjamin Franklin Howell, American Republican Party politician who represented New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1895 to 1911 interred in Christ Cemetery
  • 1950 4 munitions barges exploded in Raritan Bay off S. Amboy coast
  • 1953 Gregory Ralph “Greg” Evigan known for the television series “B. J. and the Bear” and “My Two Dads” born in South Amboy
  • 1953 South Amboy natives Johnny and Eddie O’Brien became the first twins in major league history to play for the same team in the same game.
  • 1954 Harold G. Hoffman died
  • 1972 Re-dedication of the South Amboy Public Library to Sadie Pope Dowdell Public Library
  • 1979 B. J. and the Bear (television series), starring South Amboy native Greg Evigan premieres
  • 1984 “Purple Rose of Cairo” (movie) written and directed by Woody Allen was filmed at the Raritan Diner starring Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels & Danny Aiello
  • 1987 John T. O’Leary elected Mayor
  • 1987 My Two Dads (television series), starring South Amboy native Greg Evigan premieres
  • 1991 South Amboy Sayreville Times – Local newspaper started
  • 1993 Amboy Beacon – Local newspaper started
  • 1998 Raritan Bay Waterfront Park opens
  • 1999 “Coyote Ugly” (movie) starring Piper Perabo & John Goodman was filmed
  • 1999 South Amboy native Jack McKeon was named National League Manager of the Year
  • 2002 South Amboy Neighborhood Preservation (SAND) Program Started
  • 2002 Seastreak Ferry Service started
  • 2002 South Amboy Business Association founded.
  • 2003 South Amboy native Jack McKeon wins the World Series as manager of the Florida Marlins and named National League Manager of the Year
  • 2004 Train Station Addition opened on Broadway
  • 2004 Commissioner Susan Bass Levin designates the City of South Amboy to the Main Street Program
  • 2005 B. Judith Lecki Bridge dedication (Raritan Bay Waterfront park)
  • 2006 Railroad crossing dedication/ Newcomb-Admaecs Crossing O’Leary Blvd/Broadway
  • 2009 Dedication of Memorial to Army Sgt. First Class Benjamin Sebban
  • 2009 Dowdell Library Foundation established
  • 2010 YMCA & Senior Center opening
  • 2010 “Mercy” (television series) episode ” I Did Kill You, Didn’t I?” filmed
  • 2010Crackers” (movie) staring Vincent D’Onofrio filmed
  • 2011 Fred Henry elected Mayor
  • 2011 South Amboy native Jack McKeon takes over as manager of the Florida Marlins at age 80, becoming the second oldest manager in major league history.
  • 2012 100th Anniversary of the first air mail flight- July 4, 1912
  • 2013 125th Anniversary of Amboy National Bank
  • 2014 125th Anniversary of the South Amboy Fire Department
  • 2014 100th Anniversary of the Sadie Pope Dowdell Library

Dowdell Library is Looking for South Amboy Memorabilia

The Library would like to borrow the community’s photos, media, documents and memorabilia to scan; the material would be returned within minutes. If residents wish to donate these items, originals will be preserved using professional archival storage materials.

This project will continue the preservation of South Amboy’s history within the library’s temperature controlled, historical collection. Earlier phases of the project digitized the library’s newspaper collection and South Amboy high school yearbooks, which are available for viewing.

So, please help preserve South Amboy’s heritage! Contact us at 732.721.6060 or