(LONG BRANCH, February 28, 2023) – The City of Long Branch announced this past December that they purchased the Oliver Byron Fire House with the vision of creating the Long Branch Fire and History Museum. The historic 1891 building and property are located at 46 Atlantic Avenue at the corner of Ocean Avenue. Renovations to the building by the city's Department of Public Works already began in January. The city has now learned that the Governor has included in his budget, at the request of Senator Gopal, money that will be used to expand ADA accessibility in the building and continue the renovations on the second floor of the historic site.
"We want to thank Governor Murphy and Senator Vin Gopal for getting this money in the budget for Long Branch. With this extra $200,000, we can now add more to the project and expand the renovations to the second floor. When I told Senator Gopal about our hopes to expand the project and the importance of an elevator for ADA accessibility, he immediately wanted to help. We always appreciate his support for Long Branch." Mayor John Pallone said.
"Just this month, our DPW crew has been hard at work restoring the first floor of the building to the original finishes, so finding out about these additional funds already has us thinking about how we can expand to the second floor and get an elevator," Mayor Pallone explained.
It was important to the city to preserve this building with all of the rich history it holds with the Fire Department. Mayor Pallone and Council did not want to see it torn down or lose a piece of our important history, making the decision to purchase it in December an easy one.
Long Branch’s Oliver Byron Hose Company No. 3 was originally formed in 1890. It was the third fire station to be established in the city.
A notable image of a fish with the name “Fishtown” is visible on the Oliver Byron Station House door. It refers to the early years of North Long Branch, when the area was known as Fishtown.
The Oliver Byron Station House is named after the famous Broadway stage actor, Oliver D. Byron, who lived in Long Branch and owned several properties in the city and made a sizeable donation to the newly formed hose company.
The Future of Oliver Byron Engine Company:
The members of the Oliver Byron Engine Company have consolidated with the Neptune Hose Company. When the company members made the decision to sell their property, they were approached by an interested private party, but the members sought out the City of Long Branch with the hope that their important legacy could be preserved.
“Our fire company is ecstatic that the City is purchasing our facility and transforming it into a Fire and History Museum. We look forward to working together to make this a success, and we will assist in seeing that our history will be preserved and displayed for many to experience,” summarized Oliver Byron Engine Company’s Secretary and Trustee Ronald Guidetti.
The City plans to open at least part of the museum in 2023 with a grand opening filled with rich history and memories of historic Long Branch. There are historic, interesting artifacts from all nine fire companies that can be displayed in the new museum. This includes a historic horse-drawn chemical steamer. More details to follow.