Developers buy the remainder of Brant Beach
In the 1920s, a partnership of Osborne, Noonan and Duebaraw, under the name of the Brant Beach Realty Company, purchased all available land from Ship Bottom to 55th Street, to the point where Henry McLaughlin’s holdings began.

The original division is evident because McLaughlin’s higher-numbered streets bear the names of Civil War Navy admirals (Farragut is famous for “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”), while most streets from 31st to 54th are unnamed.

Brant Beach now stretched over two miles, from 31st street on the Ship Bottom border to 74th Street, where the Peahala Park neighborhood began.

There began an era of small two- and three-bedroom cape cod homes with uninsulated knotty pine walls and brick fireplaces selling fully furnished for $350. Knotty pine has the benefit of resisting mildew and dank odors during the long, damp winters. A 1926 newspaper ad announced, “The Gem of the Ocean Front – Brant Beach on the Island of Long Beach, NJ” and offered oceanfront lots for $550 with 2½ years to pay. Most buyers were still from Philadelphia because the developers kept offices there and advertised there. New York was not a prime market because the roads and public transportation south were poor.

The boom years of the 1920s also brought the Colony Movie Theater to 35th Street in Brant Beach. However, plans for an oceanfront boardwalk were dashed with the Wall Street crash of 1929.

The Brant Beach Yacht Club
In 1927, a local community club built a pavilion on the oceanfront dune at 61st Street. The pavilion was later moved to the bayfront on land gifted by Henry McLaughlin, and it gradually developed into the first Brant Beach Yacht Club. It floundered during World War II but was resuscitated in 1947 with 15 members under the leadership of Captain John Brown of Tuckerton.

Today, the Brant Beach Yacht Club is both a very successful sailing club as well as a local family gathering place. It is widely recognized for hosting regional, national and international sailing regattas.

The club’s bayfront property stretches seven blocks, enabling hundreds of small boats to launch or return quickly. In addition, BBYC owns and protects High Island, which was originally created from dredging spoils but today abounds with wildlife. The club’s naval traditions are still on exhibit each Memorial Day and Labor Day, when its officers in their starched white uniforms fire the cannon and salute the flag.

The developer’s original plan for Brant Beach was to have a large hotel every five blocks, but only one was built before the Great Depression sank in.

Today’s DaddyO’s, at 44th Street was built in the 1920s as the Ockonickon Hotel, named after a famous Lenape chief. Before long, it was sold to a Hungarian immigrant and butcher named Martin Wida, who renamed it Wida’s Brant Beach Hotel, a first-class establishment with fine entertainment and a small speakeasy onsite. When Prohibition ended in 1933, Wida obtained one of the first liquor licenses in the township.

During World War II, Wida leased the hotel to the U.S. Coast Guard to be used as barracks for many of the servicemen patrolling the beaches. Following the war, Wida resumed operation as a well-loved Brant Beach staple until the early 2000s, when the Fearless Restaurant Group of Philadelphia completely remodeled it and opened DaddyO’s.

World War II
World War II in the 1940’s brought nightly blackouts, military patrols on the beaches, and German U-boats right offshore. Four ships were attacked during the summer of 1942, with local fishermen and Coast Guard rescuing crew while vessels were still under attack. Through the 1960’s, beachgoers found tar on their feet from oil seeping from sunken ships.

After World War II, builders began the real development of Brant Beach. Veterans were offered island cottages for under $2000, with no money down and years to pay. Middle class families, primarily from Philadelphia and central New Jersey, could realize their dream and afford their summer homes by the sea.

Post-war years
When the Garden State Parkway (originally planned as a toll-free highway) opened in sections in the 1950s, easy access to the shore widened. Suddenly, a two-hour trip from northern New Jersey or New York City could bring a family to LBI. Brant Beach was discovered! Its unique location, with uncrowded beaches and a family-oriented small-town feel, made it very inviting to young families who went on to develop a generational tradition of vacationing here.

Typical Brant Beach families in the 1950s and 1960s drove down when school ended in June. The families were large, and children spent their summer days outdoors with tremendous freedom and little supervision. Many fathers were here only on weekends, and often left on Sunday night with the family’s only car.

At the time, many homes had no landscaping, fences, or visible property lines, and early residents recall that they resembled Monopoly houses dropped onto a sandy, weedy parking lot. Children commonly ran and biked between houses, and the easiest way to get from one street to another was to cut through the middle. Except for the few year-round residents, the neighborhoods were ghost towns in the winter. Many building lots sat empty.

The census shows that the year-round population of Long Beach Township increased greatly from 1940 to 1960, from 425 to 1561. Brant Beach accounted for perhaps a quarter of that. Similar to today, the summer population was 10 to 20 times greater than the winter population.