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When a Two by Four was Two by Four and Hazlet was Raritan

A look into the way our corner of the world has changed in the past 80 years, locally within our homes and with suburban sprawl.

This post originally appeared as part of Fresh Nest Blog, a log of the life and times of my wife and I as we moved to and bought a house in Hazlet, NJ. We've been documenting the process as we've been trying to bring our home into this century and learning about a locale that is new to the both of us.

In this multi part post we will continue to examine the history of our area and the sometimes conflicting stories we've heard about our house.

Our home was built in 1952 or 1953, but we knew something wasn't right about that date when we had a home inspector look at the house. He noticed something odd when he took a look up in the attic. No, it wasn't a raccoon or asbestos, it was two by four's. Real ones. Not the modern incarnation of a 2x4. That meant the house was older than its supposed date.

 

We later learned from a neighbor that the construction date we had was probably right, and that the lumber used to build the house had come from Fort Dix after the war. The building materials had been on site housing for the troops at the fort, and had been given away for free after it had been decommissioned. That right there is another mystery solved.

Thanks to some knowledgable neighbors posting on the Hazlet-Holmdel Patch, we've learned that our neighborhood was indeed farmland until the 1950's and in fact some of the homes still standing are old farm houses. Some were even moved from a different location to their present spot. Take a look at the comparison photo I posted showing Hazlet when it was Raritan Township in 1930 and then in 2010. The pinpoint is on the Hazlet Train Station.

What's not immediately obvious is how almost the entirety of Hazlet and the surrounding area has been developed in the last century. In the 1930 photo it is all divided farm lands, and now it is all divided lots and homes. It nice too see that some land is still there and hasn't been developed, notably the land around all of the creeks and waterways. Also, check out the Navy pier on the right in the 2010 photo that was built in 1943. The Garden State Parkway, nonexistent in the 30's and built in the 1950's is quite the stand out in the present day image.

As we continue to look into the history of our house and the surrounding area, we will ultimately find more questions than answers. I'll leave you with this picture taken last night at Popamora Point in Highlands, NJ.

Does anyone reading have any information on the lumber from Fort Dix after the war? I've searched news archives and haven't been able to find anything. I'm interested in more input on the evolution of Hazlet Township.

 

Photos taken by Megan and Andrew Baker. Maps and images were pulled from Historic Aerials.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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