Friday, August 9, 2013

The Last Remnants of Camp Osborne

The last few houses in Camp Osborne, left to be carted off by demolition crews nearly ten months of after Hurricane Sandy. 

Some 80 to 90 homes, most of them about the size of these two diminutive dwellings, were destroyed by a natural gas-fed fire (caused by ruptured gas lines) in the aftermath of the storm. 

As all of these homes were on leased land, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the folks who owned the structures but not the ground beneath them. 

By the end of the next week, there will probably be no building left on ocean side of the town or in the strip dividing Highway 35 at the Jersey Shore, as the demolition teams work diligently to clear the area. But, what comes next?

When the Jersey Shore was first heavily developed in the period of after World War II, most of the homes were modest seasonal dwellings like these. Perhaps it would have been best for everything if it had stayed that way. 

When these tiny bungalows were built, most probably cost about $2,000 to $5,000 dollars to build. While not a pittance given the value of a dollar in the late 1940's and the 50's, what has happened since on this barrier island defies belief. This includes my own shore home. 

Possibly, nothing of great cost or intended permanace should ever have been erected on a sand spit in the first place. But, it seems there's no turning back the clock.

See this thought-provoking article written by John Seabrook in a recent issue of The New Yorker:  

I suspect that the landholder will seek the path of greatest short term profit and perhaps sell the land as individual lots to the highest bidders who will then build the biggest houses they can. All this, still in harm's way of what will certainly be devastating storms to come.

Leica M8, 28 Elmarit Asph

Camp Osborne at the Jersey Shore, August 2013.


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