BRICK – Most of the earliest houses in the township were built on main roads and on large parcels of land. Some of the homes are still standing, and many of their original occupants have familiar township names like Hulse, Havens, Herbert, Osborn, Burr, Gant and VanNote.
The Brick Township Historical Society hosted township historian Gene Donatiello during a recent meeting, and there was a record attendance of about 75 people to hear his PowerPoint presentation on the Historic Houses of Brick Township.
The earliest township homes were built with post and beam construction, which utilizes large beams joined and pasted together without using nails, he said.
“The Lizzie House and museum were built this way,” Donatiello said, referring to the society’s Havens Homestead Museum at 521 Herbertsville Road, purchased by Curtis Havens in 1827. The home remained in the Havens family until 1993 when they donated it to the Historical Society.
The circa 1790 Lizzie House, once located on Herbertsville Road near the Wall border, was moved to the museum property in 2001 and serves as the museum store. Emma Elizabeth (Lizzie) Herbert was born in the house in 1902, and lived there all her life until she died in 1998 at the age of 96.
Another historic home is the circa 1810 Richard Burr house, located at 1581 Burrsville Road. Burr and Banajah Butcher owned the Butches Burr Iron Forge located near Forge Pond, and the first town meeting was held there.
There are a number of historic houses on Drum Point Road. The circa 1920 Percy Gant house still stands in an altered form at 241 Drum Point Road since a front porch was added, but the original owner was a well-known duck decoy carver and an image of one of his decoys was used on a U.S. stamp, Donatiello said.
Some early settlers made their living by farming cranberries. There is still a sorting shed on the property at 203 Drum Point Road, a corner property formerly owned by Alanzo and Ella Van Note. Across the street at 197 Drum Point Road what was called “The Cranberry House,” circa 1900, owned by Van Note’s daughter, Mutah and her husband John Patterson. Mutah had her own cranberry farming business and was known for hiring women.
The present-day shopping center, Brick Plaza, was the site of a large cranberry bog, owned by the Van Note family. The nearby stream would be blocked off during wet harvesting of cranberries, which float due to pockets of air inside the fruit.
At the turn of the century, Brick Township led Ocean County in the production of cranberries.
Enoch Robbins, a sea captain, owned 1845 Highway 88 East. The home was built in 1840 and all the buildings are still on property, including barns, a cedar outhouse and a carriage house.
The home recently sold and will be used as office space for an electrical company.
The circa 1890 Hulse house at 471 Herbertsville Road was located on Maple Avenue and was moved to its present site. The original owners had a business that produced about 30,000 handmade bricks a year. It is presently owned by the township where the Preservation Commission holds its meetings.
The Wagner house, circa 1790, located off Herbertsville Road on Winding River Lane was typical in that it had multiple additions, including two rooms upstairs that were not connected. To get from one to another, a person had to go downstairs and back up again, Donatiello said. One of the sets of stairs was in a closet.
Sears Catalogue houses started popping up around 1908, he said, and there are still several in town. The “kit” houses were known for having markings on the beams to help with their assembly, not unlike current “kit” houses sold by Home Depot for about $44,000, Donatiello said.
The 1950s brought a number of steel houses to Brick Township. One located at 3919 Herbertsville Road was built by the Riviera Brothers who built Lake Riviera and Riviera Beach.
The Brick Historical Society welcomes new members. For more information call 732-785-2500.