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Toms River NJ Brief History:
There are two legends as to the naming of Toms River. The first is that it was named for Thomas Luker, who operated a ferry across Goose Creek in the 1600’s. The second, more dramatic legend is that it was named for Captain William Toms, a pirate in the 18th Century who would attack ships sailing past the area.
Either way ~ Toms River can be confusing to both visitors and residents alike due to its large size. Actually, Toms River is a neighborhood within Dover Township ~ not to be confused with the town of Dover in northern New Jersey. Although Toms River is considered a neighborhood, it takes up most of the square mileage of Dover Township. A very long time ago, Dover Township was part of Shrewsbury Township. In 1767 a group petitioned the Royal General Assembly in the hopes of getting their own township. At that time, Shrewsbury comprised 441 square miles, spanning the north Monmouth County line all the way to Lacey Township in the south. Dover Township was formed 80 years before Ocean County was established.
There are many areas of Toms River, one being the “village” where the county seat offices are located as well as many restaurants and stores. Other areas include the shoreline communities of Ortley Beach, Normandy Beach, Ocean Beach and Pelican Island. Ortley Beach offers a small boardwalk with benches, a gazebo and lifeguarded beaches from 9am to 5pm during the season. Normandy Beach is a very popular rental destination for families.
Toms River has much to offer visitors. Movie fans will be interested to know that the 1979 classic “Amityville Horror” as well as 1988’s “X-Files” movie were both filmed here. Toms River also served as the backdrop of the 1984 best seller “Blind Faith” by Joe McGinnis. All that aside, Toms River remains a great spot to enjoy beautiful beaches as well as easy access to shopping, dining, and other southern Ocean County beach towns.