Muriel J. Smith
Muriel J. Smith

It became official on April 15, 1919;  a portion of Freehold Township separated from the township and became Freehold Borough, a thriving and busy downtown area around the Monmouth County Courthouse, the county seat of Monmouth County.

Residents had come to terms with themselves and their neighbors that local issues including the use of tax dollars were causing a divide between those who lived in the area surrounding the Monmouth County Courthouse and those who farmed the lush lands surrounding the residential area.  The dispute over spending which had been simmering for many years was heightened in 1916 when a polio epidemic swept through the area.  When it came to a vote of the people throughout the Township, it was overwhelmingly in favor of splitting the township into two individual municipalities. And Freehold Borough was officially incorporated.

Those in the courthouse area, downtown as it was known, retained the government buildings and the title of County seat for Monmouth County as well as the name Freehold Borough.  Those in the newly defined Freehold Township which encircled the Borough set up their own city hall complex on Schanck Road.

The Freehold Borough Centennial Committee and the Mayor and Council have planned a series of activities to celebrate and recognize the 100th birthday of  Freehold Borough. In connection with their efforts, the Freehold Transcript will feature a story each week, highlighting one or two items of interest, some political, some amusing, some just downright neighborly,that happened that week in Freehold Borough of 1919. Look for that piece of history in this column each week.

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Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...