Joseph Brower

Joseph Brower immigrated from, Russia in the mid 20’s.  He quickly became a real estate developer responsible for over 1,000 homes in New Jersey. In Ocean Township, he developed a good part of Wanamassa building “affordable” homes for vets (Much of the area between Wickapecko, Sunset, the golf course and Logan. (Wanamassa Park) .
Brower Boulevard  – and most of the homes from Park Blvd to Interlaken Ave were “Brower Built” (Interlaken Manor, Interlaken Estates) .  He developed “Runyon Park” in Deal – the area between Parker, Ruyon and the railroad tracks – Brower Built. 

His early ads included phrases such as ” Wanamassa, when in Wanamassa you are everywhere”! . As a kids growing up in Wanamassa – how true was that! .  He pushed the ideas in the late 30’s and 40’s of the need for “small homes” . Homes that were “expandable” as the family grew. He fought for that right – while all along being accused of destroying the neighborhood.  He was accused of being a “flag waiver” by local residents – for marketing to Vets in Wanamassa, Defense Workers in northern NJ and more.  He took the assembly line approach to building in Wanamassa and elsewhere – a common practice today.  

Brower was a leading member of Temple Beth Miriam which eventually moved to it’s present location on S Lincoln Ave in Elberon. 

–   He and his partners once owned the Plaza Hotel in Asbury Park. They also held land once slated to become the Miami International Airport.  He built a group of motels in Miami Beach / Sunny Isles.

  He accomplished much in the short time he came to the US to his death in 1969. 
 One of his first purchases was the 167 acre farm of Samuel Bennett “near”  Tinton Falls for $7,000 . 

1924 – Brower begins his construction career building 50 homes in Metuchen.

From approximately 1927 to 1935 – Brower is a Mack truck salesman in Europe*

1936

By 1936, he dissolved a partnership with Stanley C. Clayton and opened his own real estate company, where they state they had about 175 properties along the New Jersey Shore. 

In 1936 and into 1937, Brower and a partner, purchase the “Lehman Polo Grounds” in Deal – between Runyan and Parker.  Their plan was to divide into 30 lots – 80×100 . 

Deal had them enter into an agreement that no home costing less than $5,000 will be built. 

In Dec of 1937, Deal officials praise Brower for ” his vision…his energy promises greater things then Deal has ever known” . At his point, Brower forms, “New Deal Builders Inc” with his partner, Leo Weiss.

1938

Jan of 1938, Brower appointed to Shrewsbury Board of Adjustment. Also, Brower announces they purchased Phillip Lehman’s last property – his estate on Brighton an Ocean Avenue in Deal.  They propose to build 12 homes on the estate. In February of 1938, Deal passes ordinances regulating sub-divisions of these estates.  Brower and New Deal Builders object to the ordinances. 

Brower’s former Tinton Falls farm continues to be sold off while many farms and estates throughout Monmouth County are being sold.  By May of 1938, Brower has 10 units under construction in Deal  – Between Parker and Runyan – “cape-cod style” .

1939

Early in 1939, Brower had to pay  for electric to be run or promise there would be enough usage to his Runyan Ave project.  In March of 1939, Brower predicts a demand for “smaller” homes vs huge home with staff quarters.  Life is changing. Trains, climate and the enchancement of the Atlantic Ocean.

Runyan Park Inc incorporated in May of 1939 by Brower for his development. 

1940
August of 1940, Brower announces plans to build 100 homes on 36 acres, west of Wanamasssa School . This the beginning of the homes and streets around Bendemere Ave.   “Wanamassa Homes Inc” is the name Brower chooses to build under. 

1941

By March of 1941, Brower has 8 homes completed on Bendemere Ave and the “new curved road” has been cut through to Logan. Plans now call for 150 homes. 

June 1941 – the first ads appear in the Asbury Park Press for “Wanamassa Gardens”  – the project west of the Wanamassa School. 

1942

Brower continues to build the area around Wanamassa and will start building homes in Fords, NJ. 

Last Chance for Deal homes (1) and Wanamassa (4) in his ads. 

Brower defaults buying Deal lots.  The names – Theodore Appleby – continuing his families real estate business, David Cronheim  from Deal, still going strong in 2023 – was to develop Asbury Park, owned the Seaview Towers in Long Branch that was taken down in 2022 – and is quite a character when I last spoke to him in 2021. 

Brower continues to advertise homes in Wanamassa throughout the year.

1943 

January the Boro of Deal land squabble between Lazarus and Brower continues. Brower wins bid by paying $2,500 and posting bond of $120,000 for the 12 lots. Lazarus angry as “hid grandfather owned the farm before Deal was Deal and the Meyer Agency for whom he worked – built more houses then Brower could every dream of !

June 43 – Brower defaults on Deal to buy land he won at auction and to build 12 homes. The War continues on – gasoline rationing, Boro of Deal to raze burned out homes. Lowy offers to rent warehouse in Deal. 

December 1943 – Brower’s  7 month old infant son dies following an operation.

1944

March 44 – Brower again loses Deal lots. Deal continues to auction lots.

1945 

War is over. Brower picks again. Building resumes as does the advertisting. He builds 15 homes in the area of Norwood Ave, Deal.

May 1945 – Post – war homes  with $100 deposit available. Ads for “Brower Built” homes appear. 

May 27 – Brower announces plans to build 100 homes. He acquired Wanamassa Park (Sunset to Golf Course  and Interlaken Estates – to continue where they left off in 1939 pre-war. Now post-war, veteran housing in demand. Houses for $6,000-$8,000 of “9,000 cubic feet” . 

June – Brower joins Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce. Other real estate people include Theodore Appleby. 

June – Deal appoints Brower to Board of Ajustment

June – Brower continues to run large ads in Asbury Park Press.

July 1945 – Brower buys  Block 44 lots 1 and 2 in Deal.

Oct 1945 – Brower saga of lots in Deal continues vs Marshall. “Shortage of supplies and high cost of labor” .

November  – 50 Brower Builts going up in Wanamassa.

1946

Jan 46 – Brower has 3 homes going up East of Norwood in Deal, between Parker an Runyon. 

March – now 9 homes under construction by Brower in Deal.

April – Brower announces 100 homes for Wanamassa Park – but again cites cost of material an labor 4 times the cost it was before the war.

1947

June – Brower sells his home at 78 Lehman Ave,  Deal

August – Brower starts construction of homes in Wanamassa “Sunset Veteran’s Homes” project. Homes are in $8,000 class. First of 250 homes rto be built.

September 8 – Brower files tax appeals on his properties in Deal. Also that day, Oakhurst Manor, successor to Schnell in developing that section of Oakhurst also files appeals. 

To the end of the year, Brower continues to build Wanamassa Park – the area from Wickapecko, Applebee to the South, Sunset and Logan Road.

Battles continue as Brower homes are “veteran Ready” 9,000 cubic ft 1.5 story homes with an unfinished attic ready for an expanding family. Older home owners pre Brower, want the homes to be 13,000 sq ft – they did not want “cheap homes” in their area.  Other vets who were already homeowners –  wanted more vets to have the chance to own. 

December 23, 1947 – 25 homes ready in Wanamassa Park, ten have already moved in.

1948

March, Brower appears on WJLK – the radio station of Asbury Park ” What can be done to solve the housing problem”?

May 1948, Brower has to stop work as a neighbor complains Brower homes are not far enough back West of Opdyke Ave.  Ocean issues a restraining order against Broward. 

May 1948 – Residents of Colonial Terrace and other sections of Wanamassa object to Brower’s “small houses” and claim his marketing to veterans is “enough flag waving” . The objectors claim that soon enough, they will be unhappy in their cramped homes.  At the same time, those who are existing customers WANT other to be able to join them in their new neighborhood.

May 1948 – Ocean Township board approves 42 homes for Wanamassa Homes inc  (Brower) vs the 52 he first planned for. Other requirements include 9400 cubic ft homes, vary designs and more.

June 8 1948 – The board back tracks on the approval for Brower and his Wanamassa Homes Inc “small home project” . Residents complain these homes are ruing the area, are a detriment and an eyesore. The attacks on the homeowners an Brower are hard – with both sides and objectors having lawyers speak for them. Brower continues to argue for homes of “middle income” or people of modest means. 

June 29 1948 – Brower gets final approval to build 42 homes between golf course and Appleby. This is the next phase after he had completed 100- homes prior. This section is from Spruce St to Logan.  These homes are slightly larger at 9,400 sq ft vs 9,000 sq ft.  The ordinances called for 11,000 to 13,000 sq ft – enacted to deter Brower from building “small houses” . Brower was convinced “small homes” were in demand. They were easy to maintain, easy to heat and were “expandable” 

July  – Albert Rediker of Reed’s Jewelers Red Bank buys a Deal Brower home.

August 1 1948 – Interlaken Manor begins to take shape . These are “Brower Built” homes on Grassmere and Raymere avenues.

November 1948 – Brower agrees to contribute to road repairs along with others to “Wanamassa Park Road” 

December – series of ads from suppliers for Interlaken Estates con

 Section 3 of Interlaken Estates begins. Several homes available in Section 2.19

1949

April 1949, Brower had offered land 120×500 east of the Wanamassa School for expansion. He had previously offered land on the Northwest side.  Board asks for the offer in writing. 
Certified Substitute Teachers – pay was $9.75 per day. 

Brower continues as Deal Regional Chairman of United Jewish Appeal.

June 15 – Brower turned down to build 30 new homes in Wanamassa Park as new code requires 11,000 cubic sq ft whereby he requested to build 9,000 cubic sq ft homes. Hearing to continues

July 28 1949 – Brower again denied to build 25 “sub-standard” homes by Interlaken Manor Inc  to build in Wanamassa Park (area between Appleby and Sunset ave.  Residents believe that these “sub-standard” house hurt property values – as evidenced by lower assessed values on the existing homes since Brower started building. 

July 30, 1949 – Brower full page ad advertising the few homes left – and beginning to talk about being denied the right to build “affordable homes” . 

July 30 1949 – 100 years of Ocean Township – Brower major builder of homes in NJ. Now living at 171 Norwood Ave, Deal.  By 1949 ,  370 homes in Ocean Twp were “Brower-Built”.  His 15th year as a builder.

First mention of the slogan “When in Wanamassa, You are Everywhere” .

August 1949 – ads for Brower Built in Wanamassa run throughout end of year. 

October 1949 – Brower sold his home 171 Norwood Ave, Deal to The Cohn family. He secretary to Joseph Stein (Stein Cadillac-Studebaker) in Asbury Park.

Feburary 1950  – Brower names Westmoreland and Stevens, Deal as agents to sell remaining homes in Wanamassa.

Brower steps down from Deal Board of Adjustment – as he is spending more time in Sunny Isles, Florida developing 140 units.

November 1950 – Board of Ed accepts a land donation of a lot 75×500 west of Wanamassa School to help them expand.

1951

October 1951 – Brower buys along with Loe Weiss operating as the Lincoln Property Co, The Plaza Hotel in Asbury Park for $100,000 in a Sheriff sale.’

1952

Fred Beegle, a real estate broker (and owned the cigar shop on wickapecko), wins a bidding of several lots on the West side of Spruce, out-bidding Brower. 

1953

March 3, 1953 – a number of residents complain about Brower’s “construction” sheds on the corner of Sunset Ave and Logan road. They claim it is a fire hazard. Brower had promised to remove these structures once done building in the area. He had not. 

November – Brower buys a l50 x100′ lot from town for $300. – Corner of Raymere and Logan.

1954

May -Brower announces plans to build 100 new homes  – north west of wanamassa school..  Today, these homes are the “spilt-level” homes . North of Brower Blvd (named for him…)  – Darlene, Raymere etc.  These homes are in the “$14,000 to $15,000 class” – that’s how the qualifed homes then – the value after completion. This area will be known as Interlaken Gardens 

June 8 – At a town planning board meeting, residents complain about the rapid growth of Ocean Township as Hugh Stearns presents plans to build 300 homes and stores in Wayside – between Deal Rd, Bowne and Cold Indian – and some retail stores.  At the same meeting, Brower  int his cases operating as Wanamassa Garden Homes Inc, wins approval to build 124 homes north of the new Brower Blvd in Wanamassa.  As part of the plan and what became a common practice, was the builder giving $300 towards schools. In later years, the $300 “per home”  – ends up in a lawsuit whereby the town has to reimburse the builders.

Dec 1954 – Brower and town work on resolving issues with an illegal extension he made to his yard at Sunset and Logan.  Complaint signed by Police Chief Frank Eisele . At some point one of Browe’s new roads in Interlaken Gardens – is Eislele Avenue (off Interlaken Ave) . 

1955

January 3 – Arson appears to hit Brower home located at 51 Runyon Ave, Deal

Brower moves to Queen Anne Drive, Deal. 

Feb 8  – Town approves zoning changes to areas around Interlaken Gardens, west side of Logan and Wickapecko – along Wickapecko.  Also Tex Wiener is listed as builder of homes on Spruce and Birch in “Sunset Manor”

March 8 – Brower again denied subdivision for Interlaken Gardens. Town and Brower disagree on maps and more . 

March 9 – School board discusses plans for the new Dow Ave School. The schools now have 1,300 students. Brower’s Interlaken Gardens is expected to add 150 more students.

March 22 – Town tries to get $300 per home for school fund from Sarowitz who is building Hollywood Estates. Stearn, who is proposing 300 homes in Wayside , while Brower also agreed. This will come back years later in a lawsuit against the town,. 

April 5 – Pioneer Development, Brower’s co. sues town for denying zoning change.

April 16 – Brower begins running ads denying he is politcal and how the town was against him building “future” slums . Takes on Garrity. 

1964

Miami Florida – Brower  and Leo Weiss sell the Atlantique Motel for $499,000. 16801 Collins Ave and the Santa Anita 16421 Collins Ave.

1965

1966

1967

1968

1969 

April 6 – Joseph Brower dies in Miam Beach at the Miami Heart Institute. He was 72.  His 22 year old son Michael had passed away just 3 days earlier at the Carlton House,  Deal Lake Drive, Asbury Park. 

Joseph M Brower, was from Russia – 35 years lived here in the states for 43* .  He accomplished much in the short term he was active in the building industry and was responsible for building “affordable housing” in Ocean Township.



fsfsfs