40 historic Monmouth County sites to be open for visits May 1 and 2

FREEHOLD, NJ –“Weekend in Old Monmouth” will be bigger and better this year with 40 historic sites throughout Monmouth County opening their doors to visitors interested in local history. Hours for most sites are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 1 and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 2.

“Forty historic sites will participate in the second Weekend in Old Monmouth event,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the county’s Historical Commission, coordinator of the weekend event. “Independent and local historic sites are generally operated independently of one another, but this special tour project synchronizes the hours of operation so history buffs can walk or drive to many of the county’s richest historic places and enjoy them in the spring.”

“This year the tour is expanded to include 40 sites,” said Randall Gabrielan, executive director of the Historical Commission. “The outlined tours place what are often widely separated sites in some semblance of order. Visitors may see the places in any order or no order at all. While we propose starting points, it’s really a tour designed to fit different history interests.”

You can start planning your route by previewing the tour sites on the county’s Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com. A detailed tour book and tour map will be available at each tour location.

The tours also represent several historic themes:

  • The Revolutionary War: The Revolution is visited here, not only the major sites in the Monmouth Battlefield area, but in lesser known places such as the Burrowes Mansion in Matawan, Marlpit Hall and the Murray Farm, both in Middletown.
  • Military:  There is Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook, the most heavily fortified installation on the East Coast for much of the 20th century, the National Historic Landmark Monmouth Battlefield in Manalapan and one of the more fascinating, but lesser known museums, the New Jersey National Guard Militia Museum in Sea Girt with museum exhibits and fighter aircraft on the ground and tanks.
  • Preservation: Marlpit Hall in Middletown was the first restored house museum in the region, dating from its 1930s opening.
  • Faith: Architectural gems of each of the last three centuries, 18th century Christ Church in Shrewsbury, 19th century All Saints Memorial in Middletown and 20th century St. Catharine’s in Spring Lake. In addition, Old Tennent Church in Manalapan is closely tied to the Battle of Monmouth and the Friends Meeting House in Shrewsbury represents one of the oldest worship traditions in Monmouth County.
  • Shore: While the tour includes sites on the north, (Sandy Hook), central (Ocean Grove) and southern shores, (National Guard Militia Museum) the drive along the shore is one of the best ways to feel and appreciate Monmouth County’s relationship to the shore.

Other elements on the tour also include lighthouses, Victorian homes, agriculture, industry, education and science. All of the sites contributed to the importance of preservation and history throughout Monmouth County. The county supports the preservation movement annually by awarding preservation grants to historic sites.  Many of the tour locations have received grants in the past.

A site list and map are available on the county’s website at www.visitmonmouth.com