Park System History
Then & Now
Favorite Parks, Programs & Memories
East Freehold Showgrounds established
. First 61 acres assigned to the Park System in 1970 from Monmouth County (who had purchased it).
Pottery/Ceramics Program begins. Classes were held in the former “mash house” behind the 40-stall barn, a building formerly used to cook grains for the racehorses. Today, the program is held in the
Creative Arts Center
Outdoor Recreation Division formally established. Park System began coordinating a variety of canoe, camping, biking and backpacking programs in the parks, as well as canoe/white-water rafting trips and ski trips in winter.
Cultural Services/Performing Arts Division formally began with programs in theater, drama and the arts; as well as art/craft workshops .
Open Space Plan
adopted. This document becomes the “driving force” behind the county’s land acquisitions.
Hartshorne Woods Park
. The park “opened” almost immediately as existing, informal trails were used by public.
Received gift of first 76 acres from Genevieve Hubbard Tatum in 1973 and purchased another 96 acres from Tatum family that same year.
Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook established
. The Park System preserved a portion of this site by purchasing 8 acres in 1973. Mount Mitchill was dedicated November 27, 1973.
Shark River Golf Course established
The 176-acre golf course property was acquired. The course was dedicated on August 7, 1973.
Annual Park System attendance over 800,000;
Howell Park Golf Course
hosted over 35,000 golfers (1973 Annual Report)
Huber Woods Park
. Received gift of first 119 acres from the Huber family in 1974; another 29 acres purchased that same year.
Huber Woods Park
opened in 1974 with guided nature programs . Received a second 48 acres, including the Huber home (now the
), from the Huber family in 1985.
opened in 1992.
Monmouth County Fair
operated by Park System and the 4-H held at
East Freehold Showgrounds
. (Monmouth County Fairs date back to the mid 19th century, and were originally sponsored by the Monmouth County Agricultural Society).
Annual Park System attendance 1,132,325; 73,128 rounds of golf were played at
Shark River Golf Courses
(from 1975 Annual Report)
Sports & Fitness Division programs technically started in 1976 with square dances, movie nights, tennis lessons, archery, etc. These offerings grew progressively more sports-oriented in the following years and the division was formally renamed.
3,569 preserved county park acres; 1,152,361 program participants (1976 Annual Report)
Deep Cut Gardens
. Received gift of first 20 acres from Wihtol family estate in 1977; purchased another 20 acres with Green Acres Funds.
Deep Cut Gardens
opened in 1978.
Hominy Hill Golf Course established
. Hominy Hill Golf Course was dedicated April 25, 1977.
Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park established
. The Park System entered into a use agreement with Long Branch to begin operating the beach in 1977. The Activity Center opened in1988. The Pavilion opened in 1984; the Skateplex opened in 2005.
Therapeutic Recreation Department established as “Special Populations” and began offering recreation programs to individuals with disabilities and seniors.
First E. Murray Todd Half Marathon held.
Monmouth Conservation Foundation
. Purchased first 114 acres of farmland with Green Acres funding. Park is undeveloped.
. Purchased first 170 acres of farmland from Clayton family at below-market value with Green Acres funding. The Clayton family donated another parcel in 1982.
opened over a period of time as some of the land was leased to local farmers. Formally opens in 1995.