The former Turf Club in Asbury, Park, New Jersey provides a unique physical connection to an important cultural context – the social and entertainment heritage of the local African American community. Its significance is enhanced by the loss of other buildings that once shared this association with a thriving African-American commercial district on the west side of Asbury Park, which was lost during a week of rioting in July 1970 and the period of disinvestment that followed.
Prior to the riots, the Turf Club was one of several music venues along Springwood Avenue that hosted performances by internationally renowned musicians as well as local performers. It was also a social hub for the African American community. Today, this modest building is the last vestige of this cultural center.
While simple in design, the architecture of the building communicates its historic function. Key elements include the low one-story mass, painted stucco walls, small window openings, and brick details at the corner entrance.
Rosin Preservation is assisting the dedicated volunteers who are working to preserve not only the building, but the stories, the music, and the spirit that comprise the legacy of the Turf Club. Given its status as the sole surviving resource from Asbury Park’s African American commercial district, its preservation will provide a critical, tangible connection to this important cultural context.