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This magnificent facility in Lakewood has a rich and fascinating history. Ocean County Park was originally part of Financier John D. Rockefeller's vacation estate. White pine, hemlock and other unique specimen trees, now mature, were imported by Rockefeller from all over the country. Tennis courts, open play fields, beach volleyball and even a driving range, all free of charge, appeal to adults of all ages, and children will delight in using the playgrounds or swimming in the large, clean swimming lake on hot summer days. Warm weather isn't the only time to enjoy this park, however. Transformed into a lovely and silent winter wonderland after a snowfall, it's a great site for cross-country skiing. Of course, there is no charge for casual use of the park, the beach or its other many facilities. Bike trail, cross-country skiing, driving range, fishing, fitness trail, handicapped accessible, open playing fields, picnic area, playgrounds, restrooms, softball, swimming, tennis courts, volleyball, disc golf. 1 "Ocean County Park."

Photo Courtesy of Pauline Miller

Photo Courtesy of Pauline Miller
Throughout the first quarter century Lakewood enjoyed the opulence brought by wealthy visitors from New York and Philadelphia who enjoyed sports and leisurly carriage rides throughout the streets and along the lakes.

John D. Rockefeller began to buy property in Lakewood in 1902. He purchased the Ocean County Hunt and Country Club from George Jay Gould and converted it into his private estate where he played golf. Rockefeller's prime aesthetic interest was not in buildings but in architectural landscape. In 1904, he began to plant large evergreens, spruce and ceder trees on his estate. For years the public was allowed to stroll around the tree-lined drives and spacious lawns, until a series of thefts and vandalism in 1925 halted the practice and caused him to erect a fence around the four mile perimeter of his estate.

After Rockefeller's death, his heirs conveyed the 634-acre estate to the County of Ocean. This grand property became the flagship for all future parks acquired in the county park system.

2 Miller, Pauline.

Miller, Pauline. Ocean County: Four Centuries In The Making. Toms River, New Jersey: Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission, 2000. 501-502. "Ocean County Park." Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation.