Lakewood Township is a diverse community with a rich history, a growing population, and a wide array of attractions and amenities. Located in Ocean County, the township's accessibility to major urban centers has attracted residents who want to feel like they're part of a small town while having access to New York City, Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore. Lakewood is home to many ethnic and religious groups, young families as well as a growing senior community.
Lakewood’s Past and Present
Lakewood has seen many changes over the past several decades. Once a known as a popular resort destination, the town has grown as an influx of new residents have settled in the area.
“As with most of New Jersey, Lakewood's population has boomed,” says Stacey Spina, museum coordinator at the Lakewood Heritage Museum. “Fifty years ago it was a winter resort for the middle class and horse carriages carried Lakewood Heritage Museum guests around the lake and through the pines. During the off-season it was a lovely bedroom community. Many of the townspeople were immigrants who came to Lakewood after World War II. The architecture was some of the most eclectic in the country and included Tudor, Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival styles – all reflecting the town’s affluence. Lakewood even had a castle built by Jasper Lynch. The outskirts of the town were home to chicken farms in a thriving poultry industry.”
Lakewood’s popularity as a vacation destination began to wane as tourists began to favor areas further south, however.
“Twenty-five years ago, the town suffered from the same urban blight that plagued many older towns during the post-recession years,” says Spina. “The tourism industry had cooled, and people were heading for southern winter destinations. The town responded by making great efforts to redevelop the lovely and historic downtown area with brick pavers and charming lamp posts,” says Spina.