Ideal Views from Ideal Beach

September 11th 2012 Tribute in Light Ideal Beach, NJ

This photo was taken last night at Ideal Beach in Middletown, NJ. Obviously yesterday was September 11th, 2012 and the 11th anniversary of the September 11th attacks in New York City. Although never directly affected, being residents of the state of New Jersey, the attacks and their memory will always be a part of our lives. What you’re seeing in the photo is the “Tribute in Light” from the site of Ground Zero.

Let me give you some direct context to go with this photo. Megan and I were driving around on our way back from Target when we noticed the light in the distance to the north. All we could see was a beam extending above the tree line. We knew that just across Route 36 we could easily get to the bay shore for a clear view of New York and the memorial. I guess that makes sense, but what we didn’t realize was just how good the view would be and how clear of a night it was. One of the people you see in the photo above was overheard as saying “every year I come down here to take a look and it has never been this clear.”

While driving up we figured we would just hop out of the car, take a look and go home. After all, it was a week night and the beach was probably (technically) closed. It turns out there were a bunch of other people there doing the same thing. Taking pictures, talking and there was even one guy who lit and placed a candle by the water. Sometimes being young, I forget that there is a sense of togetherness that exists in these situations. I’m not even talking about on a larger level, or the idea that “we were all there.” I’m just talking about the feeling you get when you realize that you are a part of a shared experience on a very small, local level. Here we are going to the beach to see what we can see, and there are a handful of other people who had the same idea. And they probably acted on it the same way we did. No one made a scene or a big deal. Everyone had an understanding that we were all there for the same reason. And that’s a good feeling.

What’s My (House’s) Age Again? Part 2

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

Our home was built in 1952 or 1953, but we knew something wasn’t right about that date when we had a home inspector look at the house. He noticed something odd when he took a look up in the attic. No, it wasn’t a raccoon or asbestos, it was two by fours’s. Real ones. Not the modern incarnation of a 2×4. That meant the house was older than its supposed date.

Tiltons Corner, NJ

We later learned from a neighbor that the construction date we had was probably right, and that the lumber used to build the house had come from Fort Dix after the war. The building materials had been on site housing for the troops at the fort, and had been given away for free after it had been decommissioned. That right there is another mystery solved.

Thanks to some knowledgable neighbors posting on the Hazlet-Holmdel Patch, we’ve learned that our neighborhood was indeed farmland until the 1950’s and in fact some of the homes still standing are old farm houses. Some were even moved from a different location to their present spot. Let’s take a look this comparison, the pin point is on the Hazlet Train Station.

1930 - 2010 Hazlet New Jersey

What’s not immediately obvious is how almost the entirety of Hazlet and the surrounding area has been developed in the last century. In the 1930 photo it is all divided farm lands, and now it is all divided lots and homes. It nice too see that some land is still there and hasn’t been developed, notably the land around all of the creeks and waterways. Also, check out the Navy pier on the right in the 2010 photo that was built in 1943. The Garden State Parkway, nonexistent in the 30’s and built in the 1950’s is quite the stand out in the present day image.

As we continue to look into the history of our house and the surrounding area, we will ultimately find more questions than answers. I’ll leave you with this picture taken last night at Popamora Point in Highlands, NJ.

sunset at Popamora Point Highlands, NJ

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.