BELMAR, NJ — “Home is where the heart is” for the Belmar Historical Society, which has enlisted the community to help bring life to the borough’s history.

As part of its “Capturing the Heart of Belmar in Photos” effort, the society is asking residents to submit “then and now” photos of their homes so that a pictorial history can be compiled.

From cottages to grand old homes, Belmar boasts a wealth of architectural styles dating to its founding as Ocean Beach in the 1872. By creating before and after records of homes for its archives, the society hopes to capture and preserve this unique character through photos.

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Since the project was launched 10 months ago, some 30 individuals have brought in photos and other documentation chronicling their homes origins, according to Pat O’Keefe, secretary of the society.

“People have been extremely generous in bringing to us old photos before renovations and paperwork, including deeds and agreements of sale,” she said, adding that another homeowner found a “list of essentials” for a rooming or boarding house being sold furnished back in the 1930s. The list was a full inventory of furniture in every room, and the entire contents of the kitchen cupboards.

Another homeowner has deeds and sales agreements from everyone who owned her home, dating back to the original owner. “It’s fun to see what people have kept for such a long time,” O’Keefe added, explaining that this information is quite useful historical data as well.

In addition to photos of homes that are at least 50 years old, the society also welcomes photos of unusual features, such as stained glass windows, turrets, widow walls, fireplaces, barns or other structures that were built when the town was young.

Copies of photos and documents can be emailed to the Belmar Historical Society at or brought in to the Belmar Museum, 900 E Street, Belmar. The museum, located in the annex of the Union Firehouse, is open Monday, 2 to 4 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon and the second Saturday of the month, 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call the museum 908-309-3380.