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 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.

The Hurrican’t

So, Hurricane Irene has really brought our projects to a grinding halt. Luckily we’ve stocked up on Hurricane Chow, and headed over to my parents house a bit further inland.

hurricane bilco doorsWe battened down the hatch at home and threw all of the loose junk from our projects into the basement.

bilco doors basement storageAnd now for an incriminating photo of our illegal precautionary actions.

shed storageFor the safety of our home and the others around us, we took our bulk scraps (waiting to be picked up by the garbage company) and threw them into the shed that is technically not on our property. It was part of our property at one time, but it was subdivided and sold separately before we bought the house.

So as I’m writing this, we are 20 miles inland and south of Hazlet, waiting out Hurricane Irene at my parents’ house. Hopefully we can return tomorrow afternoon/evening and get back into the house. In the mean time, we’re just going to sit here and panic. Bye now!