PH Cobb set
A collection of baseball cards from 1909, including two feauring Ty Cobb, found among the possessions of a former Parker family member will be on display Sunday.
(Photo by Liz Hanson. Click to enlarge)

Spring 2016 offers local residents and New Jersey history buffs several chances to tour the Parker Homestead, the National Historic Site (one of the oldest standing residences in the Garden State) that marked its 350th anniversary in 2015.

On the afternoon of Sunday, April 17, the public will be able to view the progress of the ongoing interior restoration effort, with tours offered between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m. Meanwhile, the old Parker property will host one of Little Silver Borough’s fire trucks, for a special “Touch-A-Truck” session that allows kids to get up close and hands-on with this hard-working piece of emergency response equipment. Families are encouraged to bring a camera for photo ops with borough firefighters, during the event dedicated to the memory of longtime LSFD volunteer Doug Parker.

On the weekend of April 30 through May 1, the Homestead will be participating for the first time as a stop on the annual Weekend in Old Monmouth Tours, organized by the Monmouth County Historical Association (and about which more to come here on redbankgreen). Then on Sunday, June 12, it’s “Play Ball” — by 1864 rules, that is — as Allaire’s Monmouth Furnace Base Ball Club (aka The Bog Iron Boys) meets the Baltimore-based Chesapeake 9, in a game of vintage-style baseball played with period-correct uniforms and gear. The sporting match takes place on Sickles Field adjacent to the Parker Homestead property — while inside the farmhouse, a set of 1909 Philadelphia Caramel Company baseball cards will be on display from 1 to 4 p.m.

As reported here last year on redbankgreen, the cards were part of a collection of postcards and other paper collectibles once owned by Stan Parker — a treasure trove that had been thought lost for 75 years, until Homestead restoration volunteer Liz Hanson discovered its contents “in a closed cookie tin buried in a bag of old letters and postcards.” The tin had been salvaged from the 150 year old Bates House, a nearby borough-owned property which was razed after sustaining severe damage from a burst water pipe, and among the cards offered for public viewing are two featuring baseball immortal Ty Cobb, as well as one featuring fellow Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson.

Restoration efforts continue apace at the Parker Homestead farmhouse and outbuildings, which were bequeathed to the Borough of Little Silver by the Parker family, and which earlier this year received a $5,148 grant from the Monmouth County Historical Commission, to be dedicated toward “east lean-to renovation.” Check in at the property’s website for updates on the work’s progress, as well as for additional public-welcome special events throughout the year.