Middletown, located in Monmouth County, New Jersey, is one of the oldest European settlements in the state. Initially a farming community, Middletown began to experience rapid growth in the Twentieth Century as our nation's economy grew and as more transportation options opened. Today, it is known as one of the nation's safest towns, and is a popular place for those wanting a suburban lifestyle with excellent access to beaches, parks, and ways to commute to New York City.
Below are some frequently asked questions that we receive at the Middletown Township Historical Society. If you have any more questions about the history of Middletown or an object you have in your possession, please Contact us.
Middletown, NJ FAQs
When was Middletown, nj founded?
Middletown likely began to receive its first permanent European settlers in 1664, though it had been visited before then by traders from nearby New Netherland settlements and charted by even earlier sea explorers. Originally (and briefly) known as Middleton, the town was officially incorporated in 1667.
Who were the European settlers?
The first permanent settlers were families of English extraction who largely came from Gravesend, Brooklyn and Newport, Rhode Island. They sought both religious and economic freedom. After purchasing large tracts of land from the Native Americans, they had their acquisitions officially recognized by the English government in 1665 with the Monmouth Patent (though its validity would soon come to be questioned). In this first wave of settlers are names that are familiar to those interested in history and genealogy, including John Bowne, Richard Hartshorne, and Penelope Stout.
who was in middletown before the settlers?
The Lenni Lenape, also known as Delawares, were the Native Americans that were present when the Europeans first arrived. They sold their land to the settlers and they seemed to have coexisted peacefully together until most of the Lenape eventually moved out of the area.
was middletown always its current size?
Middletown initially encompassed roughly the northern half of today's Monmouth County. Through secession by towns wanting to assert their independence and by government mandating that more easily governable jurisdictions be created, Middletown reached its current borders in 1917. It is still, however, the most populated municipality in Monmouth County.
why do many areas of middletown not have a middletown mailing address?
Middletown is made up of many neighborhoods, most of which sprang up before easy transportation and quick communication became readily available. Due to this mild isolation, the neighborhoods came to have their own identities and names. When postal and train service began, some of these neighborhoods received official name recognition, but remained within the borders of Middletown. Complicating matters, the nearest post office for many neighborhoods in Middletown is one in a neighboring, unaffiliated town, and postal needs are taken care of by those entities.
What are some historic structures in middletown?
Despite encroaching development, Middletown still has many historic structures, a number of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Here are just some, in no order: Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Fort Hancock, Seabrook-Wilson House, Marlpit Hall, Taylor-Butler House, Christ Church, Old First Church, All Saints Memorial Church, Murray Farmhouse, MacLeod-Rice House, Portland Place, a number of homes in private hands, and even the Calico the Clown sign.
Has middletown had an effect on culture?
A number of noted individuals have been raised or lived in Middletown. To name a few, the list includes musicians Steven Van Zandt, Deborah Harry, Jon Bon Jovi, and Max Weinberg; artists and writers Donald DeLue, Henry Gulick, Tom Dunn, and Brian Lynch; athletes Swede Hanson, James Van Riemsdyk, and Knowshon Moreno; politicians Phil Murphy and William Barbour; broadcasters Brian Williams, Connie Chung, Maury Povich, and Geraldo Rivera. Middletown has also been the filming location for a number of popular movies, including Clerks, A Touch of Mink, and The Miracle Worker.
does the historical society have jurisdiction on historic properties in middletown?
No, the Middletown Township Historical Society is independent of Middletown Township, and does not have any role in properties that are in the historic districts. For more information, you may want to contact the township's Landmarks Commission or Zoning Board.
What neighborhoods are in middletown?
Today's popularly recognized neighborhoods are Lincroft, Oak Hill, Chapel Hill, Fairview, Belford, Port Monmouth, Leonardo, North Middletown, Middletown Village, Navesink, River Plaza, New Monmouth, Harmony, Monmouth Hills, Locust, and Sandy Hook. As time has passed, some neighborhoods have had their names change, and others have been swallowed up by other neighborhoods or towns.
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Middletown Township Historical Society is a nonprofit New Jersey corporation with federal 501(c)(3) status. Contributions may be tax deductible as allowed by federal and state law; please consult a tax advisor. Middletown Township Historical Society is not affiliated with the government of Middletown Township, NJ and is not responsible for the content of any of the links included in this website.
PO Box 180 Middletown, NJ 07748