The Auditorium

Auditorium Drive
Atlantic Highlands
NJ 07716

The Auditorium

Historical Feature

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Used as an auditorium for summer meetings from July 1881 until 1885, this natural bowl in the hillside is symmetrically regular, nearly in the form of an old Greek amphitheater. The oval rises gradually from stage level, and as many as 4,000 seats were placed there. Its side were planted in pines with no lower branches, providing shade in summer, but also allowing a clear view from hillside to stage. Acoustics were excellent, and evening events were often illuminated by Chinese lanterns. Events included Chautauqua Association gatherings and lectures, camp meetings, concerts and political addresses. Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland supposedly spoke here.

Religious services were "camp meetings" organized by Methodists in the Atlantic Highlands Association, who also set up a tent community called Camp Hilton to the east, along lower bayside lands.

Downhill, on the bluff north of the auditorium, they later erected a large octagonal tabernacle, where meetings were held in bad weather. It was later know n as the Octagon and became an ice cream parlor and entertainment hall before burning down in 1903.

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