MIDDLETOWN, NJ - In every developing community, there has always been a need for a schoolhouse and an education for its children. In the mid-19th century, that need became evident in Middletown Township and on March 10, 1841, a decision was made to establish a school in the Nut Swamp area.  That was the Union School, now The Little Red Schoolhouse, located on Middletown Lincroft and Dwight Roads.

It was built in 1842 on property purchased from Edward and John Micheau for $7.00 and that first fall, 49 children attended, taught by a single instructor who taught all grades from first through high school.  The instructor received $30 to $40 per quarter and roomed at nearby farmhouses.

That schoolhouse transitioned to being the home of Garden Club R.F.D. in 194l and has continued to be their home for the past 73 years. Currently owned by Middletown Township and maintained by the Club, it is a New Jersey Historic Site and listed on the National Register of Historic Places as of 1976.

The Garden Club R.F.D. is a member of the Garden Club of New Jersey and the Central Atlantic Region of the National Garden Club as well as the National Garden Club.  There is a quarterly newsletter called “News Leaf” that comes to each member via email.

The first meeting of the year was on Tuesday, September 16, where members created a floral design under the guidance of G.C R.F.D. member and National Garden Club Judge, Tanya Ashuck.  The October meeting, on October 21, will feature Brian Buck of Buck’s Garden Center whose topic will be “Winter Interest in the Garden”.  A question and answer period will follow his discussion.  Brian has been instrumental in helping members maintain the property properly.

On November 13, the next meeting will be held at Middletown Arts Center at 36 Church Street in Middletown.  It will be a fundraiser for the schoolhouse featuring Bruce Crawford, Director of Rutgers Gardens, discussing “Exotic Flowers and Unusual Bulbs”.  In addition, Tanya Ashuck will highlight the best exotic flowers and bulbs for use in floral design.  Plants from Rutgers Gardens will be available for sale at the end of the program.

For further information about the Club or the programs, please contact June Smith at 671-9216.