Friday, August 28, 2009

My hometown

A bit of a virtual tour of my hometown ... Freehold in the middle of New Jersey.

Freehold, NJ. That's the city that Springsteen ripped in his song "My Hometown". "Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores. Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more. They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks. Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back to your hometown." True enough. But it turns out that the biggest employer in Freehold is actually the government since it's the County Seat. Anyway, perhaps because of this awkward reference, the town has no acknowledgment of its most famous resident.

Probably the next most famous visitor was George Washington. Freehold, you see,
is about midpoint between Philadelphia and New York City. The British were ending their occupation of Philly and were marching to New York. They had camped here when, one hot summer morning (28 June 1778), they were attacked by GW. After a full day of battle, the British slipped away over night and successfully finished their commute. This was the first engagement after George's troops were trained in Valley Forge, and the 'mericans were ecstatic that they didn't lose the battle. So this is sometimes called a victory for him. Anyway, while GW didn't hunker down in town, he definitely passed through. This Farmhouse sits in the middle of the Battlefield.

Nowadays, t
he biggest crowds traveling here are in the fall. This area was all fairly bucolic farmlands up until recently. In fact, a good chunk of the Battlefield is still farmed. Orchards of apples & peaches line the hills, and pumpkin patches crop up in the fall. (Yeah, pun intended.) Here's what those apple orchards on Wemrock Farm look like after the fall.

HIstorically, this area was more of an eggbasket than a breadbasket. That is, southern Monmouth County for some reason became poultry central in the 1920's. The business fell off after a couple of decades, but retired chicken coops still dot the countryside.


Freehold Chiropractor said...

One has to love the town flare of Freehold. It has changed a lot over the years. I grew up in Freehold in the 70's and 80's...when it was mostly farmland and safe to run across 537. When After graduating the Boro HS, I vowed never to return to NJ let alone Freehold. After going to Penn State, then Atlanta for grad school, I came full circle and now practicing in the town I grew up in to give back to the community and share true health and wellness. It's nice to see the improvements in town and now The American Hotel about ready to open after years of being an eyesore.
I am proud to be back in My Hometown!

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