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Freehold Township was inhabited by the Lenni Lenape Indians when it was first sighted in 1498 by John Cabot, a European Venetian sailor. The monumental task of returning to explore the land took nearly 200 years and gave the Scottish reformers, who had fled persecution, the new life they sought. On October 31, 1693, those early settlers formally put down roots and established Freehold Township. Those brave explorers created a strong community steeped in traditions that are still honored today. For more details about the town’s fascinating history, visit the Freehold Township Heritage Society at www.ftheritage.orgor look for the beautifully documented photographic history, Freehold, written by Lee Ellen Griffith and available in paperback through Arcadia Publishing.
Parks and Recreation
The Monmouth County Park system is quite extensive with over 30 park areas and six golf courses (www.monmouthcountyparks.com/page.aspx?Id=2540). Recreational activities abound year-round with ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months; fishing, boating and archery in the summer; plus camping and hiking available no matter what the season. Freehold Township has it all. The 2014 Recreation Directory, “Explore the World through Recreation,” invites visitors and residents to experience all that nature has to offer and can be found at www.monmouthcountyparks.com/page.aspx?ID=3263.
Attractions and Activities
Freehold Township’s significant history calls to the explorer in everyone. Historic site tours should be on the list of must-see attractions and activities. The first stop should be the Walker, Combs, Hartshorne, Oakley Farm – notably listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 18th Century farmstead incorporates original homes and outbuildings dating back to the Revolutionary War. Next on the tour should be the Paradise Grove Schoolhouse – this original building was used to teach children of all ages and color in the 19th Century. Jeanette Blair’s historic account “Freehold Township: The First 300 Years” details more on this schoolhouse and other notable properties. Moore’s Inn and Restaurant can provide some local cuisine and libation. Known to locals as Mount’s Tavern, this best-known historic site was a stagecoach stop dating back to the 1700s. Visitors will also want to see the 9/11 Memorial constructed as a tribute to those lost on that infamous day. All elements of the events on September 11, 2001 are incorporated to symbolize the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and southwestern Pennsylvania honoring the passengers of Flight 93. A list of all the town attractions and activities can be found at twp.freehold.nj.us/historical-sites-tours.
Community members treasure their heritage and yet enjoy creating some of their own traditions. Everyone looks forward to their annual events such as Taste of the Towns, Springfest and Fallfest, the Independence Day Concert and Fireworks, and the most popular of all, Freehold Idol – a local version of the trend-setting television show. Learn more about these and other entertaining events at twp.freehold.nj.us/event-calendar.