South Amboy Genealogical and Historical Resources


South Amboy Citizen
Years 1910-2000





South Amboy Times
Years 1991-Present

St. Mary's (Cardinal McCarrick High School)
Years 1962-2007


South Amboy High School
Years 1960-2005


Family Tales @ dowdell library

Did you ever wonder about your distant relatives?


HeritageQuest provides an extensive collection of resource materials for tracing family history and American culture. Genealogists can now use this powerful online library, with original page images for all documents, from the convenience of home or office provided by the Sadie Pope Dowdell Library. So, shake up the family tree and delve into the past! Just enter your library card number to begin.



New Jersey Digital Highway – Selected Archives from the Sadie Pope Dowdell Public Library



Dowdell Library of South Amboy

  1640 Dutch fisherman started village 6 houses South Amboy was originally known as Redman's Ferry
    1798 Incorporated as a township
  1808 First store opened - owned by Samuel Gordon
  1831 Colonel John Stevens brought his steam engine "John Bull" to Camden Amboy Railroad and ran it's first train over the entire line
  1832 First lawyer in town Charles Moore
  1844 First post office was established with Charles Perrine as post master
    1850 Christ Church Parish was established
  1851 St. Mary Catholic Church established
  1852 Swan Hill Pottery was established
  1865 First Presbyterian Church organized - Rev. G. C. Bush
  1868 St. Mary School was established by Sisters of Mercy
    Thomas Joseph Scully, an American Democratic Party politician who represented New Jersey's 3rd congressional district from 1911 to 1921 is born in South Amboy.
  1872 First Baptist Church organized - Rev. Thomas S. Snow (2nd Street)
  1880 Great Beds Lighthouse was built
  1882 The Citizen - Local newspaper started
  1888 Borough of South Amboy was formed with Cornelius McGonigle as first mayor
    1889 Knights of Pythias Lodge founded - City's oldest fraternal organization
  1890 Biggest fire raged destroying the entire block of wooden houses on the east side of Broadway which brought about the the organizing of the first fire house - On May 31 1890 - Independence Engine and Hose Company and Enterprise Hook and Ladder Co.
  1890 Protection Engine Company established
  1895 Sacred Heart Catholic Church established
  1885 Sacred Heart School was established
  1896 Governor Harold G. Hoffman was born in South Amboy
  1904 Mechanicsville Hose Company was formed
    1908 City of South Amboy Charter granted - Doctor Tregonowan, Mayor
  1911 South Amboy native Thomas J. Scully elected as a Democrat to the 62nd United States Congress and to the four succeeding Congresses.
  1912 Woman's Club was formed
    New Jersey's first air mail flight - South Amboy to Perth Amboy - Pilot O. G. Simmons passenger Mayor Fred Garretson
  1914 South Amboy Public Library was established
  1917 Congregation Beth Israel Mordecai Formed - Lasted approx. 1 year
  1918 Mogan Explosion - Gillespie Shell Loading Plant at Morgan blew up
    1919 First public high school was erected
    1921 Progressive Fire Company was formed
  1924 South Amboy Hospital was built
  1925 Harold G. Hoffman becomes Mayor
Victory Bridge was built linking Perth Amboy to South Amboy
  1930 John McKeon, former Major League Baseball manager born in South Amboy.
    Major League Baseball stars Johnny and Eddie O'Brien(twins) are born in South Amboy.
  1931 First Aid Squad was formed
    1932 New York Yankee, Alfred Aloysius "Allie" Clark born in South Amboy
    1933 Benjamin Franklin Howell, American Republican Party politician who represented New Jersey's 3rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1895 to 1911 interred in Christ Cemetery
  1950 4 munitions barges exploded in Raritan Bay off S. Amboy coast
  1953 Gregory Ralph "Greg" Evigan known for the television series "B. J. and the Bear" and "My Two Dads" born in South Amboy
    South Amboy natives Johnny and Eddie O'Brien became the first twins in major league history to play for the same team in the same game.
  1954 Harold G. Hoffman died
  1972 Re-dedication of the South Amboy Public Library to Sadie Pope Dowdell Public Library
  1979 B. J. and the Bear (television series), starring South Amboy native Greg Evigan premieres
    1984 "Purple Rose of Cairo" (movie) written and directed by Woody Allen was filmed at the Raritan Diner starring Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels & Danny Aiello
    1987 John T. O'Leary elected Mayor
      My Two Dads (television series), starring South Amboy native Greg Evigan premieres
  1991 South Amboy Sayreville Times - Local newspaper started
  1993 Amboy Beacon - Local newspaper started
  1998 Raritan Bay Waterfront Park opens
  1999 "Coyote Ugly" (movie) starring Piper Perabo & John Goodman was filmed
    South Amboy native Jack McKeon was named National League Manager of the Year
  2002 South Amboy Neighborhood Preservation (SAND) Program Started
      Seastreak Ferry Service started
      South Amboy Business Association founded.
  2003 South Amboy native Jack McKeon wins the World Series as manager of the Florida Marlins and named National League Manager of the Year
  2004 Train Station Addition opened on Broadway
    Commissioner Susan Bass Levin designates the City of South Amboy to the Main Street Program
  2005 B. Judith Lecki Bridge dedication (Raritan Bay Waterfront park)
    2006 Railroad crossing dedication/ Newcomb-Admaecs Crossing O'Leary Blvd/Broadway
  2009 Dedication of Memorial to Army Sgt. First Class Benjamin Sebban
    Dowdell Library Foundation established
  2010 YMCA & Senior Center opening
    “Mercy” (television series) episode " I Did Kill You, Didn't I?" filmed
    Crackers” (movie) staring Vincent D'Onofrio filmed
    Fred Henry elected Mayor
  2011 South Amboy native Jack McKeon takes over as manager of the Florida Marlins at age 80, becoming the second oldest manager in major league history.
    1950 Pennsylvania Railroad Explosion Marker dedicated.
  2012 100th Anniversary of the first air mail flight- July 4, 1912
    Superstorm Sandy devastates South Amboy/East Coast
  2013 125th Anniversary of Amboy National Bank
      Camden & Amboy Railroad Marker dedicated
    2014 125th Anniversary of the South Amboy Fire Department
      100th Anniversary of the Sadie Pope Dowdell Library
      World Trade Center Memorial dedicated
      Mayor Fred Henry re-elected
    2015 First Air Mail Delivery in NJ Marker dedicated
      Fire destroys C-Town (Foodtown) Grocery Store
      Sinkhole on Gordon Street
    2016 Terra Cotta Works Marker dedicated
      RollerMagic Roller Skating Rink's roof collapsed
    2017 RollerMagic Roller Skating Rink re-opens
    2018 Mayor Fred Henry re-elected
      Woodmont Cove Ribbon Cutting
    2019 History of the "City of South Amboy" Marker dedicated
      South Amboy Historical Society Gallery dedication
      Veterans Memorial Signs dedicated
    2020 Covid-19 Pandemic shuts down New Jersey (USA)
    2021 City reopens after COVID Pandemic
      Shoregate fire displaces residents
    2022 "Eileen" movie starring Anne Hathaway filmed at Lagoda's Tavern on Broadway
      First phase of Station Bay Apartments begins leasing
Ferry Terminal Project groundbreaking
Veterans Plaza (on Bordentown Avenue) groundbreaking and dedication
Allie Clark Sports Complex Baseball Field renovation and dedication
Woodmont Industrial Partners Warehouse groundbreaking
Mayor Fred Henry re-elected
    2023 225th Anniversary of South Amboy Township
Osprey platform installed at SA Waterworks
Mural unveiled at Raritan Bay Waterfront Park
Canadian wildfires smoke produced worst air quality ever seen in NJ
Ferry service to New York begins
    2024 100th Anniversary of South Amboy Memorial Hospital

Dowdell Library is Looking for South Amboy Memorabilia

The Library would like to borrow the community’s photos, media, documents and memorabilia to scan; the material would be returned within minutes. If residents wish to donate these items, originals will be preserved using professional archival storage materials.

This project will continue the preservation of South Amboy’s history within the library's temperature controlled, historical collection. Earlier phases of the project digitized the library's newspaper collection and South Amboy high school yearbooks, which are available for viewing.

So, please help preserve South Amboy’s heritage! Contact us at 732.721.6060 or

E-mail us at

Have a question? Click here

Historical Local Newspapers





Newark Evening News

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