About Middletown NJ

Middletown was settled by English who migrated from western Long Island and New England, beginning at the 1665 proclamation of the Monmouth Patent by royal governor Richard Nicholls. This grant, issued to 12 Britons, contained several provisions governing settlement. The new settlers were required to secure the land from the local Indians, a population that was, in time, displaced. Additional people were required to settle here in order to foster permanence. Three "villages" were established near-simultaneously, including the short-lived Portland Point located near Atlantic Highlands, Shrewsbury, south of the Navesink River, and the village of Middletown, which was, in a rough geographic sense, in the "middle" of the aforementioned.

In the post-Civil War era, country houses and gentlemen's farms were developed, substantially along the Navesink River shore. The desire of the residents there to preserve the character of this area led to the adoption of the Township's first zoning laws in 1935. The law initially governed only that region, but zoning was adopted on a voluntary sectional plan; the process was completed in the 1950s when Navesink joined. Effective land use may be dated from the adoption of the Township's first Master Plan c1960s. This process resulted in heightened awareness of the value of open space and preservation of historic character. As a result of the aforementioned post-World War II building boom, the population exploded, educational facilities were expanded, roads were improved and infrastructure enhancements, such as sewage treatment plant, were made. Middletown in the third quarter of the 20th century transformed from agarian-rural to metropolitan-suburban, It had become a bedroom community, shaped by commutation capabilities. Office and research facilities increasingly moved to suburban areas, including Middletown in the century's fourth quarter and resulted in an additional component to the Township's land use patterns. Establishing parks, maintaining open space and historic preservation became key public issues in this quarter century. The 20th century closed with the needs of governance aiming to shape a broad, diverse Township into a single entity, a guiding principle where the realities of public life are meeting the historic culture of sectionalism.


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