The Tinton Falls Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. .
The Tinton Falls Historic District is located within Monmouth County, New Jersey. The Tinton Falls Historic District comprises some twenty-one points of historic and archeological interest, including nine old residences, the site of an early iron works, the site of the mansion of the first Colonial Governor of New Jersey, the site of an early applejack distillery, a seventeenth century grist mill, a mineral spring, an early blacksmith shop, the sites of two early hotels, the site of an attempted 1910 airplane flight and the namesake of the district. Dating from the late 17th through the 19th century, the Tinton Falls Historic District was a center of residential and commercial activity of Shrewsbury Township, of which it was then a part.
The epicenter of the Tinton Falls Historic District is a natural waterfall on what is now known as "Pine Brook" but is shown on early maps as "Falls River." According to studies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture District Soil Conservationist, the waterfall is the highest natural falls in all the coastal plain of New Jersey. It has a drop of 19 feet. The Tinton Formation, a hardened, iron-cemented sandstone, has a thickness of 22 feet at Tinton Falls and dates from the Cretaceous Period of 120 million years ago. The falls furnished water power for early industries.
Adjacent to the falls is the Old Mill. It was constructed ca. 1674 by Bartholomew Applegate. The Miller's residence (Sycamore Avenue) constructed during the same period, is alongside the mill. It is a two story clapboard building.
Across the mill pond from the mill is the site of the Tinton Iron Works established in 1674.
The site of the Mineral Springs Hotel is located across the common. It has been replaced by the firehouse.
On Sycamore Avenue are the Lemon, Goodrich & Cottingham residences. They are all two story frame buildings which were built in the early 19th century. The Lemon residence was covered in stucco.
At the intersection of Tinton Avenue and Water Street is the site of the Governor Lewis Morris Mansion. The Mansion was built in the late 17th century.
Adjacent to the iron works site is a mineral spring which was reported to have very tonic effects. In 1867 the Tinton Falls Mineral Spring Co. was formed to exploit this.
Next to the Spring is the Barrett residence. Built in the early 18th century it is a 2 story frame building, with mud-lined walls. It has a Stone Foundation and is built in the Dutch colonial architectural style. On the property is a two-story blacksmith shop which contains the original brick forge. The second story was used as a carriage repair shop. The carriages were hauled via a ramp to a door at the rear.
Adjacent to the Barrett residence is a house which was the residence of Captain David Walling who operated an applejack distillery on the property. It is a frame two-story residence and several frame outbuildings are also located on the property.
Further along the north side of Tinton Avenue is the site of the Tinton Falls Hotel. The Hotel operated during the Revolution.
On the south side of Tinton Avenue is the Russo residence which is of early 18th century construction. It was the residence of Dr. William Hubbard who practiced there from 1834 to 1856. A Dr. Jacobus Hubbard, Sr. lived in a house on that property ca.1713. Next to that property is the Ober residence a two-story frame house of early 19th century construction.
Next to that site is the O'Callaghan residence. Although the house is of 20th century construction, the property is the site of a 1910 flight of an aeroplane fitted with an automatic balancing and stabilizing device designed, patented and built by Thomas M. Walling.
The house adjacent to the O'Callaghan residence is the Crawford residence. This is a two-story frame house built in the early 19th century. The outbuildings were used as an abattoir and butcher shop by the Crawford family from 1865 until the mid 1960's.
The Crawford residence which is next to Pine Brook is a late-17th or early-18th century building. It has two stories and is shingled and clapboarded.
The Tinton Falls Historic District has very few modern intrusions. It remains a basically late-18th and 19th century town.
The Tinton Falls Historic District was settled and development began in the 1664. It has significance in archeology, industry, military and politics/ government. A discussion of each follows.
The Tinton Falls Historic District was occupied, prior to the arrival of Europeans, by various groups of American Indians. These Indian sites have not been fully investigated, they present a good source of material for future excavations.
In 1664 a group of men from Long Island purchased the land from the local Indians. By 1676 a flourishing well established community was in operation. A very good detailed map, now in Rutgers University Library, drawn in 1676 has a tiny sketch of each building.
The first purchase of land in the area was made by a deed of August 24, 1674, from Matapeas, Tawapung and Seapeckne, Chief Sachems of the Toponemese.
The iron works that soon followed the original purchase was the first built in New Jersey and one of the earliest in the New World, being predicated only by the enterprises erected earlier in the century at Jamestown, Virginia and along the Saugus River in Massachusetts. Details of the project are revealed in a 1676 account and book of the Tinton Iron Works, at which time more than 25 men were employed. The project prospered and four years later the number of workers had tripled.
A Colonel Lewis Morris of Barbados owned a half-interest in the iron works. On February 28, 1679, he purchased about 700 acres. A detailed map of this tract contains sketches of several buildings, including the mansion house which faced the stream along what is now Water Street.
Colonel Morris died in 1691, leaving his ironworks, his estate and other property to a nephew of the same name.
The new owner of the ironworks, Lewis Morris, was to become an important part of New Jersey Colonial History.
In 1714, the ironworks was noted as not too profitable. It was suggested that the new owner was more interested in politics than the industry.
In 1687, Lewis Morris was made a County Justice of the Peace. By 1692 he was Presiding Supreme Court Justice in Monmouth County.
In 1738, Lewis Morris became the first Colonial Governor of New Jersey. He maintained his residence at Tinton Falls where he lived until his death in 1746. He held the office of Governor until his death.
A 1797 deed mentions a Negro burial ground at the rear of the Allen Crawford property. It is presumed that the men from the ironworks were buried there.
There were numerous grist and saw mills in the area during colonial times, possibly inspiring the raids on the village made by British troops and Tory sympathizers during the American Revolution.
There is record of three raids on Tinton Falls. On April 26, 1779, some 700 British made raids at Middletown, Red Bank, Tinton Falls and Shrewsbury, taking some prisoners and large quantities of Supplies.
The principal raid at Tinton Falls, however, came on June 9, 1779, when some 50 men surprised colonials at Colonel Daniel Hendrickson's grist mill, which was being used as a magazine for powder, arms and military stores for the American army. They took with them several prisoners and quantity of stores.
In the last raid, on April 1, 1780, seven prisoners were said to have been taken but no other details can be found.
In the late 19th century Tinton Falls industry was to flourish again/Captain David August Walling purchased Arthur Wilson's cider mill and distillery in 1883. There is evidence that this distillery was in operation many years before Captain Walling acquired it. From early deeds it shows that the distillery was on the property as early as the 1830's.
Captain Walling made only apple brandy. During their busy season three men were hired at the cider mill, two for the presses and one for the engine. Two distillers were on duty, one during the day and one at night.
In 1914 Captain Walling died and his two daughters took over the distillery for several years, but later closed it down and sold the equipment.
Another interesting feature is Tinton Falls, the highest natural falls in all the coastal plain of New Jersey. It has a drop of 19 feet. The Tinton formation, a hardened, iron-cemented Sandstone, has a thickness of 22 feet at Tinton Falls and dates from the Cretaceous period of 120 million years ago. The falls furnished power for early industry, including the iron forge, the grist mill, a saw mill, possibly a fulling mill, and other industries.
The Tinton Falls Historic District has been able to develop since the late-17th century into a thriving community. Its geographic location, combined with the inventiveness of the people who settled there, helped to give Tinton Falls the beginning it needed to grow and survive until the present.
Freiday,Dean, Tinton Manor; The Iron Works, Proceedings of the N.J. Historical Society, October 1952.
New Jersey Archives, Newspaper Reports.
Weiss, Harry B., and Howard R. Kemble, They Took to the Waters, Pass Times PRESS.
Weiss,Harry B., The History of Applejack, New Jersey Agricultural/Trenton 1962 Society. Trenton, 1962.
History of Monmouth County, New Jersey, by Franklin Ellis. Reprinted by the Shrewsbury Historical Society.
New History of Old Tinton Falls, by James S. Brown. The New Shrewsbury Siren.
Historical Collections of the State of New Jersey. Barber & Howe.
East Jersey Deeds.
Tinton Iron Works Papers, Monmouth County Historical Association Vault.
New Jersey Collection, Rutgers University Library.
Historical Scrapbook of New Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Published by The New Shrewsbury Tercentenary Committee.
‡ Nanci Kostrub, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Tinton Falls Historic District, Monmouth County, NJ, nomination document, 1976, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Old Mill Road • Route 537 • Sycamore Avenue • Tinton Avenue • Water Street