This bridge runs between Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea. I featured it for the December Theme Day; when I did, I was unsure of its name. So when I once again found myself traversing the bridge on foot, since it was daytime and I could actually find the plaque, I photographed it. (I won’t show the plaque because even in the daylight, it’s very difficult to read.) I saw that it is the Shark River Bridge, but I didn’t realize until I got home that a famous trombonist/bandleader had been one of the officials who brought the bridge into existance!

Here is what the plaque says:

Shark River Bridge
Bridge W43 [W48?]
on Ocean Avenue
between Avon and Belmar
Monmouth County, New Jersey
Built 1936
Board of Chosen Freeholders
Raymond L. Wyckoff, director
Henry W. Herbert . . . James S. Parkes
Joseph Mayer . . . . . . . . . Arthur Pryor
John E. Hogan, County Engineer
Ash Howard Needles & Tammen
Morris Goodkind
Consulting Engineers
Merritt Chapman & McLean Corporation

Now, that may seem like just a bunch of names, and it is, but the part that caught my attention was one of the Chosen Freeholders.

Arthur Pryor?

Arthur Pryor was a Chosen Freeholder?!

Arthur Pryor was a famous bandleader and trombonist in the John Philip Sousa Band. (The only reason I know this is because one of my community bands did a huge Arthur Pryor feature last year. We imported a trombone virtuoso from Virginia who dressed up in period band costume and narrated the songs.) Pryor had strong ties to this area: although he retired from the John Philip Sousa Band (in 1903) before the band started making regular appearances at the Ocean Grove Auditorium [outside view] (from 1912-1926, until Sousa made a crack about Prohibition and the Ocean Grove Methodists decided not to invite him back), Pryor’s own band performed for 26 seasons on the Asbury Park boardwalk (which is less than a mile from the OG Auditorium); he retired to Long Branch; he died immediately after a rehearsal in the Asbury Park bandstand.

And APPARENTLY, according to this source, he DID win a seat on the Board of Chosen Freeholders, so the name on the bridge IS the same Arthur Pryor!

What an unexpected perk of a bridge plaque photograph!

P.S. I actually used a fill flash! I’m so proud of myself.