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Rumson Borough


Rumson Borough Hallis located at 80 East River Road, Rumson NJ 07760; phone: 732‑842‑2200.

Note: Portions of the text below were adapted from a copy of the 1988 Borough Master Plan. [1] Keep in mind that references to "today" or other contemporary notions are more than 2 decades old.

Regional Setting

The Borough of Rumson is a small residential community of approximately 5.2 square miles located in the coastal area of northeastern Monmouth County with its picturesque location between the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, the absence of a major state highway access from the surrounding communities, and limited access to major shore points, Rumson has been able to successfully preserve an attractive townscape characterized by a range of dwelling types which runs from modest bungalows to suburban estates. The Borough's business areas are compact, pedestrian in scale, and relate well to adjoining residential streets.

Proximity to the New York Metropolitan Region and other business and commercial developments have significantly influenced the growth of the Borough. Four miles to the west, residents have access to Exit 109 of the Garden State Parkway which runs from New York State south through Monmouth county to Cape May. State Highway Route 35, which parallels the Parkway, and the Red Bank station of the recently electrified North Jersey Coast Line also provide Rumson with transportation to major metropolitan communities.

Historically, Rumson had a regional role as an area of country estates and gentlemen farms. Its desirability was enhanced by its proximity to the coast and pastoral landscape. By the early 1900's, almost all of Rumson's land area, with the exception of the Village of Oceanic and a few operating farms, had been divided into large parcels for estate homes.

As subdivisions and growth continued into this century, Rumson developed a suburban character. Today, the Borough is recognized as a picturesque coastal community characterized by a diversity which reflects its history, its inhabitants, and its location.

Beginnings

Before its settlement by Europeans, the Lenape Indians set up summer villages on the neck of land which stretched eastward between the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers. They named this land Navarumsunk.

Rumson Road follows a route that was part of the network of Indian trails across New Jersey. A Lenape footpath extended from Blackpoint in Rumson to Tinton Falls where it connected with the Burlington Trail which was the main Indian road going to Crosswicks in Burlington County. During the summer, when food along the coast was abundant, the Lenape camped near the shores and enjoyed the plentiful supply of clams and oysters to be found there. Evidence of a skeleton from excavations for the foundation of a house at Blackpoint confirms the Indian presence in Rumson.

The permanent settlement of Monmouth County by Europeans commenced in 1664 at Middletown and Shrewsbury. The English made three separate purchases from the Indians of land extending south into Monmouth County. After Dutch rule in New York was ended, the new English Governor verified the purchases through the grants made in the Monmouth Patent in 1665.

Shrewsbury Village was the first site of a European settlement on Rumson Neck. To the east several large farms and plantations were in operation before 1700. An inn at Blackpoint was operated by John Hartshorne from 1759 to 1785. During the American Revolution, Blackpoint was the site of several skirmishes. The land area of Rumson Neck, which included the present day Red Bank, Fair Haven, Little Silver and Rumson, was part of Shrewsbury Township and agriculture was the main activity in the early nineteen century. A school was located on Rumson Road and Buena vista Avenue around 1841. In 1840, a dock was built on the Navesink at the present location of Washington Street along with a summer hotel and a church for summer guests. The area, which was then called Port Washington, became a location for steamship operations to New York and Rumson Neck was promoted as a resort. Within Port Washington, a canning factory was located on Lafayette Street and in 1849 another school was opened on the east side of Bingham Avenue on Church Street.

After 1870, with America prosperous and New York thriving as its premier city, the area of Rumson Neck became popular as a location for estate development. A bridge connecting Rumson to Sea Bright was completed in 1870 and Rumson Road was extended from Navesink Avenue to connect with the bridge. During this period, a number of churches were constructed including the Church of the Holy Cross and the First Presbyterian Church. A two room school was constructed at the northwest corner of Lafayette and Church. The building was later replaced by a four classroom brick building that accommodated elementary grades and two years of high school. In an effort to obtain a Post Office, Port Washington changed its name to Oceanic. A second school was erected on Blackpoint Road in 1902. In 1879, the Oceanic Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was formed. A second fire company, the Rumson Fire Company, was formed in 1905.

In 1907, Rumson was incorporated by the New Jersey Legislature and its political life as a New Jersey municipality began. The present Borough Hall and its site were donated in 1927, it continues to house the municipal administration. In the 1930's, with the help of a loan and grant from the Public Works Administration, the Rumson High School was constructed. Following the end of World War II, with school enrollments growing, Rumson and Fair Haven created a regional school district which took over operation of the High School. The High School building itself was expanded in 1958. During the same period, the Borough approved the building of the present Forrestdale School.

  1. Borough of Rumson, 1988 Master Plan, www.rumsonnj.gov, accessed July, 2010.
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