Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/760

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

which, formed the southern limit, and in 1810 became impassable. The barrier thus formed existed until 1830 or 1831, when it was broken through and a second inlet was created. By a change in the tidal currents, due to the formation of this new inlet, the isthmus which formerly connected Sandy Hook with the Highlands of Navesink was again brought into existence and remained until 1835. An artificial channel was then cut through it, and this being gradually deepened and widened by the ebb and flow of the tides, has ever since remained open. The second Shrewsbury inlet closed in 1840 near Island Beach, having moved northward nearly three miles during its existence of nine or ten years. In 1837 or 1838 the third and last inlet opened near the present Bellevue Hotel, and afforded a better channel for navigation than the second inlet, which it followed in its northward course and survived by about eight years. From 1818 until September, 1889, no inlet has been opened; but this fact is due rather to the efforts of the railroad company to maintain its road-bed than to a diminution of the tendency of the waves and tidal currents to open a passage.

The facts and dates concerning the Shrewsbury Inlets have been obtained chiefly by inquiry from old fishermen and sailors who have spent their lives on or near the waters of the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers. Coming from a number of independent sources, they agree very closely, and those here given may be accepted as worthy of credence. The tendency of the inlets to work northward, periodically closing and reopening farther south, has been observed in all those between Point Pleasant and Sandy Hook, especially in those of Manasquan and Shark Rivers. Between Point Pleasant and Cape May, however, all the inlets are moving southward.

From Monmouth to the head of Barnegat Bay there is no beach similar to that of Sandy Hook. Instead of a sand-reef separated from the main land by a navigable channel, there is only the sloping strand adjoining, as at Long Branch, the foot of an upland bluff, or as at Spring Lake, Seagirt, and Point Pleasant, with its crest on a level with the surface of the upland. Between Bay Head and Cape May, however, there are twelve beaches, mostly well developed and preserved, and named respectively Squan, Island, Long, Island or Little, Brigantine, Absecon, Peck's, Ludlani's, Seven Mile, Five Mile or Holly, Two Mile, and Poverty. The majority of these, however, do not show the high degree of development exhibited by Seven-Mile and Five-Mile Beaches. Some appear to be only in the earlier stages of growth, while others have passed their prime and are now yielding to the attacks of wind and wave.

These agents have been hitherto considered only with reference