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MIDDLETOWN: IT TAKES A VILLAGE

The Middletown Arts Center on Church Street is the point of departure for a walking tour of the historic Middletown Village district Saturday morning.

Among other things, the Independence Day holiday serves to spur awareness of our own Yankee Doodle history here on the Greater Red Bank Green — a timeline that predates the signing of the Declaration, as represented by National Historic Sites like Little Silver’s Parker Homestead (established in 1665), the Seabrook-Wilson House at the Bayshore (c. 1720), and the centuries-old structures of Shrewsbury’s “Four Corners.”

Then there’s Middletown Township; Monmouth County’s largest, most sprawling municipality — and among its oldest. Even many who reside there may not realize that at the heart of its nearly 60 square miles sits a walkable little village — and this Saturday morning, history buffs and the historically curious are invited to take a step back in time, one that begins mere minutes from station stop Red Bank and just a few paces from the North Jersey Coast Line platform.

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MIDDLETOWN: ‘GIANTS OF SCIENCE’ POP BY

Their not-so-secret identities include familiar names that span centuries: founding father Ben Franklin, inventor Thomas Edison, anthropologist Dian Fossey and Silicon Valley visionary Steve Jobs. Considered together, they’re the American Giants of Science — a superteam with a mission to rekindle a young nation’s intellectual curiosity in a tech-driven age when scientific inquiry appears under siege.

On Wednesday morning, explorers aged 7 and up are invited to take part in an interactive “whirlwind tour through time,” with the point of departure the Middletown Township Public Library.

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SHREWSBURY: HISTORIC PLAQUE REDEDICATED

Left to right: Local NSDAR chapter Vice Regent Deborah Hvizdos, Lillian Nemcik, Elizabeth Dunnell, Chaplain Jo Ann Mazzucca, Jacob Rue, and Regent Kathleen Evans rededicate a restored bronze plaque marking the historic Delaware Trail, during a Memorial Day ceremony at Shrewsbury’s Patriot’s Isle.

Press release from Shrewsbury Towne-Monmouth Chapter, NSDAR

In 1935, a bronze plaque was set on a sycamore tree located on Patriot’s Isle, at the Four Corners intersection of Sycamore Avenue and Broad Street in Shrewsbury. Planted by early colonists, the tree served to mark the Delaware Trail, used by the area’s Native American inhabitants — and later by George Washington’s troops, as they marched through New Jersey during the Revolutionary War campaign.

On Memorial Day, May 29, the refurbished bronze plaque was reinstalled near the site of its historic host tree, by members of the Shrewsbury Towne-Monmouth Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).

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LITTLE SILVER: VINTAGE BASEBALL RETURNS

Captain Russ McIver (front and center) returns with the Monmouth Furnace Base Ball Club to Sickles Park this Sunday for an afternoon of 19th-century-style sporting.  

Send the DH to the bench; leave the protective helmets in the equipment locker; and be prepared to hurl a complete game every game, if you happen to be the pitcher. The Monmouth Furnace Vintage Base Ball Club is back on the Greater Red Bank Green — and once again, it’ll be playing the Great American Pastime according to 60’s-era rules. The 1860s, that is.

Based at Allaire State Park — and playing a summertime schedule within a regional amateur league of Vintage Base Ball clubs — the organization formerly known as the “Bog Iron Boys” returns to Little Silver this Sunday as part of a special day at the historic Parker Homestead 1665.

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RED BANK: RACIAL ROOTS OF MEMORIAL DAY

Walter Greason in 2014.   (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

As part of a continuing series of discussions called “Let’s Talk About Race,” the Red Bank Public Library hosts a lecture Wednesday night on “The Surprising Origins of Memorial Day.”

RED BANK: AIR RAID SIRENS SILENCED AT LAST

Civil Defense sirens atop a pole on Branch Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

First came the spoken warning of a test, and then, the extended, ear-piercing blare.

During the chilliest part of the Cold War, the weekly tests of the Civil Defense air raid sirens mounted on utility poles across town served as a weekly reminder to Red Bank residents and visitors that the potential for nuclear catastrophe was real, imminent, and that they should be ready for it.

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RED BANK: ‘BOBFEST’ OF DYLAN, WAR & PEACE

A promo video recaps the history of the annual Bobfest salute to Bob Dylan, which returns to the Count Basie Theatre Thursday night.

When he first offered an impromptu birthday toast to Bob Dylan during a 1999 set at the old Downtown Café in Red Bank, Jersey Shore “saloon singer” supreme Pat Guadagno didn’t harbor any thoughts of making Bobfest an annual thing, let alone an ever-expanding phenomenon with a life and passionate following all its own.

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SANDY HOOK: A FREE FUNDAY ON THE HOOK

The historic lighthouse at Sandy Hook is one of the man-made and natural highlights of Sunday’s Ocean Family Fun Day.

Closing in on Memorial Day weekend, which marks the return of entry fees at Sandy Hook, the folks at the Hook-based local chapter of the American Littoral​ Society are offering sightseers of all ages one last pre-season opportunity to enjoy the peninsula’s many natural and man-made wonders this Sunday.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY MARKS PAST, EYES FUTURE

The heirs of manufacturer Sigmund Eisner donated his West Front Street mansion to the library, which opened there on April 15, 1937. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Continuing its comeback from a period of drastic retrenchment, the Red Bank Public Library plans a celebration of the borough’s past Saturday with the reopening of the Local History Room, which was put off-limits due to staff cuts three years ago.

The second-floor room’s return to part-time action is one piece of a daylong schedule of events to mark the institution’s 80th year in its home overlooking our beautiful Navesink River.

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ON THE GREEN: AUTHORS SERVE UP MEMORIES

George Severini of Dorn’s Classic Images (above left) joins co-author Rick Geffken for a Thursday evening presentation keyed to their book “Lost Amusement Parks of the North Jersey Shore.”

A must-see presentation on some of the most fondly remembered attractions of our local Shore — and not one but two encore appearances by a best-selling beach-read favorite — are booked in this Thursday, May 11 for galloping gourmets and nostalgia buffs alike.

It begins tomorrow afternoon at Red Bank’s Molly Pitcher Inn, during the Fourth Annual Scholarship Luncheon for the Northern Monmouth County Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) — an affair at which members of the community are invited to join in an afternoon filled with fun, good food and the opportunity to hear from the New York Times bestselling author, Mary Kay Andrews.

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ON THE GREEN: A TIME-TRIPPING WEEKEND

The Allen House in Shrewsbury’s Historic District is just one of many history-kissed homes, museums and houses of worship open for public perusal during the annual Weekend in Old Monmouth.

It’s a step back in time that includes Little Silver’s Parker Homestead — at more than 350 years of age, a house that’s every bit as old as the colony of New Jersey; the homes and graves of rebel patriots and Tories alike; and centuries-old structures that have served as worship houses, museums and even venues for some Reckless Steamy Nights.

If it’s the first Saturday and Sunday in May, this must be the Weekend in Old Monmouth — and if you’re sufficiently curious about the rich history of the place where you live, there’s never been a better time to get acquainted with the Greater Red Bank Green’s historic sites.

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RED BANK: A FORTUNE HAPPY HOUR

The T. Thomas Fortune House, as it appeared in November and as it’s expected to appear after rehabilitation. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Not so many months ago, the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank was a place whose own fortunes were in doubt, prior to the announcement of a development deal (reported here in redbankgreen) that set the deteriorating structure on the path to a new life as a community resource “dedicated to human rights, journalistic integrity, (and) advancement for all people.”

The announcement was certainly a happy one for the volunteers of the T. Thomas Fortune Project Committee — and on Thursday, May 25, the nonprofit entity hosts “a festive night out to celebrate the rebirth, now underway, of the National Historic Landmark and support the opening of our soon to be T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center,” as well as the legacy of the pioneering 19th century African American journalist T. Thomas Fortune.

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RED BANK: HOMEBUILDER EYES FACTORIES

A cluster of industrial buildings between Catherine Street, above, and River Street would be razed for new brownstones, according to the prospective builder. Part of the site abuts the Cedar Crossing homes, seen in the distance above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A block of factory buildings on Red Bank’s West Side, including some old millworks and a former guitar factory, could give way to new housing in coming months, redbankgreen has learned.

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FAIR HAVEN: ACME CENTER MAKEOVER OK’D

Three renderings of the proposed monument sign that proved a sticking point for planning board members. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A makeover of Fair Haven’s dowdy Acme shopping center won borough planning board approval Tuesday night, but minus a proposed slab of signage that dominated a three-hour meeting.

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SANDY HOOK: RAMBLE, ANGLE AND STARGAZE

Jeff Dement of the American Littoral Society invites anglers of all ages and skillsets to a Surf Fishing Clinic, Saturday morning at the northern end of Sandy Hook.

There’s a rare opportunity to see a corner of the local coastline that’s usually off limits to public eyes; a tutorial in recreational surfcasting; opportunities to gaze at some heavenly bodies under cover of night; and a celebration of earthly treasures in creative expression.

And it’s all all happening in the days and evenings to come on the Sandy Hook peninsula.

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FAIR HAVEN: ACME CENTER CHANGES DETAILED

Forman Street resident Bonnie Moore photographs an exhibit used in the hearing. Below, an illustration showing proposed changes to building 1, on the western end of the site. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Overdue for a new look, the 1950s-vintage Fair Haven strip mall anchored by an Acme supermarket is also badly in need of a new parking scheme, its owner told the borough planning board Thursday night.

It would get both by the end of October if the board approves an extensive makeover plan in coming weeks, Dan Hughes, a principal in the company that bought it for for $5.8 million two years ago, told the board.

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RUMSON 8TH GRADER TAKES A STAND

Press release from Rumson School District

In a recent event hosted at Monmouth University, eighth grade student Sarah MacGillis of Forrestdale School, competed in the regional level of National History Day, a non-profit education organization that engages over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world annually in conducting original research on historical topics of their choice.

The theme for this year’s competition was “Taking a Stand in History” — and Sarah’s entry, titled “Britain’s Failed Stands For Nationalism,” was a colorful and engaging display that highlighted Great Britain’s involvement in the Treaty of Versailles and its impact on the Middle East today – an ambitious and impressive project. Congratulations on a great job to Sarah, who will also be presenting her project at Forrestdale School’s “Enrichment Showcase.”

SOMEONE’S IN LITTLE SILVER’S KITCHEN

The historic Parker Homestead is one of nine exceptional homes open to the public on May 4, during the Little Silver Kitchen Tour.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 4, when The Little Silver Kitchen Tour offers the public a close-up look at nine exceptional kitchens in the borough, ranging from one of the oldest in Monmouth County (the 350 year old Parker Homestead) to the home of House of Cline designer Amanda Haytaian.

Between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., the self-guided tour will also highlight the talents of area builders, decorators and florists, with attendees will be treated to culinary delights from some of Monmouth County’s finest chefs.

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LINCROFT: HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE AT BCC

SLC_autumn_1000x380Press release from Brookdale Community College

On the evening of Monday, January 30, the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education (Chhange) at Brookdale Community College will host an International Holocaust Remembrance Day Program on the Lincroft campus.

Scheduled for 7 p.m., the program is held in memory of Dr. Seymour “Sy” Siegler, a former Red Bank teacher and Brookdale psychology professor who co-founded Chhange in 1979. Siegler passed away on October 4, 2016.

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RUMSON: A HISTORY LESSON FOR RCDS KIDS

Storyteller-StudentsStoryteller Len Cabral address students at Rumson Country Day School in January 17 assembly. In addition to learning about Dr. King, the students learned about their school’s history during a special Scavenger Hunt event on January 20.

Press release from Rumson Country Day School

On Tuesday, January 17, the students of Rumson Country Day School attended a special assembly to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A gifted orator, Dr. King used the power of words to inspire others and to achieve seemingly impossible goals. The overall theme of the assembly focused on the values that Dr. King’s legacy upholds, specifically kindness, which parallels the qualities of character that are the cornerstone of the RCDS experience.

The main event featured Len Cabral, an internationally acclaimed storyteller who has been enchanting audiences with his storytelling performances at schools,  libraries, museums and festivals since 1976.

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RED BANK: NO LEAD IN WATER, OFFICIAL SAYS

al larotonda 011117Alberto Larotonda brought his ruptured water line, complete with a connector made of lead, to the council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Extensive testing of Red Bank water has found no evidence of lead contamination, despite the presence of lead pipes serving some homes, a borough official said Wednesday night.

The remarks by public utilities Director Cliff Keen, made during the council’s first semimonthly meeting of 2017, came after a resident showed off  a water service line with a lead connector that was recently excavated outside his Spring Street home.

“For more than 20 years, I’ve been drinking out of a lead straw,” Alberto Larotonda told the council.

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