What’s My (House’s) Age Again? Part 1

In this two part post we will examine the history of our area and the sometimes conflicting stories we’ve heard about our house.

Tiltons Corner NJ

We have been told a lot of different things about the origins of our house in the past year. We’ve been told the house was built from military housing lumber, we’ve been told it was the first house on the street, we’ve been told it was built in 1952, 1953, and even the 1940’s. I’m beginning to question these facts and I’m beginning to wonder what the real story is.

Tiltons Corner, NJ

From what I understand, our house is in Hazlet Township, our mailing address is West Keansburg (although we aren’t part of West Keansburg or Keansburg) and the area was at some point in the past known as Tilton’s Corner. This name only shows up in the 1930 US Geological Survey, and on some old topographical maps. The (extremely) local dialect seems to pronounce the town “Kingsburg” sometimes. However illogical that sounds, it turns out that at some point that may have been accepted. According to C.C. Vermeule and the first NJ state topographical study, the area was, in fact, known as Kingsburg. With that being said, take it with a grain of salt. This was the 1870’s were talking about here. Except for a few typos I can’t find any solid evidence that the area was ever called Kingsburg. Nowhere in my travels, including John Kean’s biography, for whom the town is named to the town historical society website can I find a clear path to “Kingsburg”.

Kingsburg NJ Topo Map

Our neighborhood was farms “as far as the eye could see” until the middle of the century. The last farm disappeared in the 1980’s and was replaced with some pretty standard single family homes. According to our deed and records the neighborhood was first divided into blocks in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The town of Hazlet changed its name from “Raritan” to “Hazlet” and the town experienced significant growth in the 1960’s.

Keansburg Development Company Inc

There isn’t any info online about “The Keansburg Development Company, Inc” that divided and sold the lots but our deed shows that they did in fact divide and publish a map with the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office on August 31st 1950. So that means our house could not have been built before 1950. That’s at least one mystery solved.

1953 & 2007 Keansburg NJ

That’s all for now. Look out for part two of this two part post about our house’s history.

Photos taken by Andrew. Maps and images were pulled from Historic Aerials , the NJ DEP and USGS.

Gutter Madness! Part 2

Last week we told you about a little near disaster we had with a clogged downspout.

Leaf Guard Macro

The other problem we’ve been having stems from some sort of design flaw while installing the gutter guard that was in place when we moved in. Or maybe just lack of attention to (obvious) detail. Our kitchen was an addition built sometime in the 1960s (maybe ???) and the roof over it differs from the rest of the house. The shingles are different and the drainage system is different.

Different Roof Kitchen Addition

The gutter guards however are the same. Since there aren’t any shingles to fold over the gutter guard, anything and everything can make its way into the gutter.

Old Gutter Guard

The remedy we’ve come up with is a different style guard we got at Lowes. (Durabuilt Rain Removal Gutter Protection) It has a rubber edge that acts as a seal to keep the debris from sliding down the roof into the gutter. DUH! Here’s a side by side of the old vs new as I was doing the installation.

Side by Side Old Gutter Guard vs Durabuilt Gutter Protection

Rather than sliding under the guard and into the gutter and down the spout, the leaves stop on top or just fall over the edge. It may require a little maintenance to keep the tops clear, but its definitely less work than what needed to be done before. If you’ve ever smelled the gunk that’s collected in a gutter, you’ll understand.

Gutter Madness!

As part of our “go outside” initiative, we’ve been outside a lot. It isn’t always frolicking in the grass and catching fireflies, sometimes its dealing with gutters. People tend to make a really big deal about keeping their gutters clean. (Just Google it if you don’t believe me) I’ve always thought that those people were somewhat crazy and a tad bit extreme. We learned a pretty good lesson in the importance of routine gutter maintenance this weekend. We also learned not to trust whatever gutter guard was installed previously, or whoever installed said guard and drain spout.

Down Spout

To make a long story short, we’ve gotten a good bit of rain since our regional drought ended. Saturday morning, while doing yard work(which we are no strangers to), I noticed water dripping from the gutter. I hopped up on the roof, checked it out. Sure enough the gutter was filled with water. I stuck my hand down the spout and couldn’t pull anything out. Unfortunately, that meant the problem was in the spout. I climbed back down to the ground, climbed back up the ladder and removed the spout. (I made that seem fast. it was anything but a fast process) Out came all of the water but still nothing solid.

Location of Gutter Gunk Hiding

All of the solid stuff was hiding in an “s-curve” portion of the downspout. After all the water had drained, and I was able to look at the spout. Turns out this section was made of 3 sections. The middle portion had been so bent to fit inside the other two that nothing could pass. Except maybe water. Brilliant engineering! Removing this proverbial wrench in our works, and reassembling the downspout seems to have solved that problem.

Downspout Bottom

Not to pat myself on the back, but I’d say we narrowly avoided catastrophe. Stay tuned for a follow up on our gutter issues.