Rowan Professor?s Book Provides History, Highlights of the Jersey ShoreJune 14, 2004
Jersey?s the ?in? place to be during the summer, at least that?s what Rowan University geography professor and Pitman resident Charles A. Stansfield Jr. determined while writing his book ?Vacationing on the Jersey Shore: Guide to the Beach Resorts Past and Present.?
?There was a slight decline in tourism in past years, but Jersey is definitely back ?in.?? said Stansfield, who has researched and written about New Jersey tourism and the Jersey Shore for more than 40 years. ?Tourism has been a major industry in New Jersey for several generations, but now it has surpassed agriculture in economic importance to the state.?
In ?Vacationing on the Jersey Shore (Stackpole Books, $19.95),? Stansfield provides a historical perspective of the tourism industry in New Jersey and a modern-day guide to the best beaches, attractions and amusements to be found on the Shore. The 256-page guide is illustrated with 133 color photos, 22 black and white photos, nine maps and reprints of vintage postcards. The book has received positive reviews in The New York Times and the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa.
Although comfortable with its reputation as a summer mecca for visitors from up and down the East Coast, the Jersey Shore was little more than undeveloped shoreline 200 years ago, according to Stansfield. It was the advent of steam transportation (ferries and trains) that spurred the Shore?s attraction as a vacation destination, he said. ?Things began to change in the early 1800s, but most especially after the Civil War when the population became more mobile,? he said.
As a graduate student Stansfield began studying New Jersey tourism and geography as a defense against the ?boring? research papers for which his field of study was known. ?I wanted to do something interesting and I really liked the Jersey Shore. Studying its economy and geography seemed a way to combine my interests,? he said. A full professor at Rowan, Stansfield teaches courses in New Jersey geography, urban geography and economic geography.