THE SPRING LAKE COMMUNITY HOUSE
Oliver H. Brown, born in Farmingdale, Monmouth County in 1852, led a life of devoted service to Spring Lake – and New Jersey – throughout his life. Elected in 1896 as a member of the New Jersey State House of Assembly, he was selected to be one of only 20 delegates to the 1900 Republican National Convention that nominated William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt for the Republican presidential ticket. His dedication to Spring Lake is best demonstrated by his simultaneous holding of the offices of Mayor of Spring Lake, and a member of the New Jersey State Senate. Oliver Brown’s service to Spring Lake was not limited to his political career.
His early career began in the retail industry. After a trip to Europe, he returned to New Jersey to begin his own retail establishment in 1882. He "wanted to cater to people of refinement and culture" (Spring Lake Gazette, July 6, 1923) and purchased three lots on Third Avenue for his own store, O.H. Brown’s Furniture. He later served as President of Spring Lake’s First National Bank, founded in 1901.
But one of his greatest legacies – the dedication of the Spring Lake Community House in 1923 – was also one of his last. He died in North Spring Lake in 1924, after a full lifetime of service and dedication to Spring Lake.
Home to the Spring Lake Theatre Company
Since 1978, the Theatre has been the home of the Spring Lake Theatre Company – probably the most well-known and popular member of the Community house “family”. Renovated in 1986, the theater seats over 350 patrons. The Spring Lake Theatre Company is known far and wide for producing Broadway-quality musicals, comedies, and dramas, with professionally talented casts, lavish sets and costumes, and show-stopping performances. Each year, the Company puts on six different shows per season, with the opening night ticket sales of several performances donated to a different, well-deserving area charity.
The highlight of every season is the annual performance of the Christmas classic "Scrooge", with generations of families returning every year to experience its unique magic and spirit of giving.
The Brown Room and Potter Room
Home to Civic and Community Organizations
In 1923, the first-floor meeting room was dedicated as the Brown Room, in honor of Oliver Brown. Along with the Potter Room, these rooms serve as an essential – and only – haven for many groups that do much to help the people of Spring Lake. Many civic and community organizations use these inviting, elegant rooms as their only meeting place, including support groups, service organizations, and other programs and gatherings.
The Potter Room also serves as the hub of the operations of the Community House, the business office of the Spring Lake Theatre Company and Board of Trustees. This is also the place where most of the beautiful costumes in the Spring Lake Theatre Company productions are assembled and coordinated.
The Upper Gallery
Home to the Upper Gallery
Since 2014, The Upper Gallery has been showcasing the works of local artists. The space is also utilized for meetings of civic organizations and piano recitals. The beautiful Steinway piano and many of the furnishings are original to the building.
The gallery is open when ever the building is open.
Home to the Spring Lake Public Library
The Library provides the Community with a welcoming and lively cultural connection offering author events, musical programs, educational courses and informative programs for adults. We also offer many activities and fun programming for children throughout the year.
The Rehearsal Space
Home to the Children’s Theatre Workshop
The Rehearsal Space is just that – a sparsely furnished “space” – but it is also a warm, vibrant home to a very special member of the Spring Lake Community House community – the Children’s Theatre Workshop. Since its inception in 1982, almost one thousand children in the Jersey Shore community have graduated from the program. This exceptional program has provided area children access and exposure to professional-level training in acting, singing, dance and other aspects of theatrical performing. It also provides children with opportunities to gain friendships, skills and greater self-esteem. Each child participates in a performance that often rivals those performed by the Spring Lake Theatre Company – which is where the children often progress to after their always-positive experiences at the workshops.
The Rehearsal Space was designed to be used by large groups, and is ideal for the Children’s Theatre Workshop needs. In the fall of 2010, the space was refurbished with a new hardwood floor throughout. Additionally, many students have been named recipients of the Community House’s Adelaide Heilner Scholarship since it was established in 1986. This scholarship is awarded to the graduating high school senior who exemplifies the true spirit of community during his or her tenure at the Community House.
The Dance Room
Home to the Spring Lake Theatre Dance School
Oliver Brown's original mission of “the furtherance and appreciation of music and art, classes … devoted to specific educational needs” is truly realized through the Dance Room, home to the Spring Lake Theatre Dance School. The Dance Room has been designed to meet to meet all the needs of dancers learning and honing their craft–mirrored walls, barre, and low-impact wooden floors.
The Spring Lake Theatre Dance School has been in residence in the Community House since 1976. Each year, students enter the Dance School program to learn ballet, modern dance, and other dance techniques from professional instructors and choreographers.
The highlight of the year is the annual Spring recital featuring all of the students, from age three to high school seniors. Over a thousand children have graduated from the Dance School since its inception.