JACKSON – On Dec. 23, 1973, a young singer by the name of Bruce Springsteen appeared at what was then the Rova Farm Resort, Route 571 Trenton Rd. The admission fee was just $5.
Now the governing body is looking to purchase 34 acres on the Rova Farm site at 120 Cassville Rd. that part of the historic Rova Farms property.
The singer’s name was misspelled on tickets to the event according to a fan website that noted the appearance decades ago but the event nearly ended when police entered the scene. The $5 charge covered all the beer you could drink.
Council President Robert Nixon and the rest of the council expressed excitement about the pending purchase of land in the Cassville section of the township noting their own memories of the landmark property.
As of April 18, a contract of sale had not been signed according to Township Clerk Janice Kisty. “We don’t have a fully signed contract yet for Rova Farms it is circulating for signatures.”
Business Administrator Terence Wall said during a meeting last month that once the contract is signed, officials would be able to release additional details of the transaction including what the purchase price for the township would be.
The property is vacant according to the resolution concerning the planned purchase. It is also environmentally constrained and a large portion of the parcel is in a recreational open space zone.
Council members said that the land would be acquired for open space purposes.
Nixon noted that Rova Farms has a rich history that dated back to the early 20th century and involved early Russian immigrants who bought up 1,400 acres of it in the early 1930s for $50,000.
The money for its purchase was gathered up by thousands of Russians who immigrated to the United States, according to Councilman Alexander Sauickie.
“We know the property simply and affectionately as Rova Farms. There is a tremendous amount of history there. What we are voting on is the remaining 39-plus acres.” Sauickie said.
The township has two Russian Orthodox churches that were constructed around that time. Russian children learned Russian as one means of preserving their heritage.
Sauickie said that at one time around 7,000 Russian orthodox residents lived within a 20-mile radius of the property. “I am happy see it go forward.”
“It is historic, it is in a great location. It has a lake adjacent to it and what we can do with it for the future of the town I think is a great thing,” Saucikie added.
Nixon noted that the purchase would preserve the environmentally sensitive site from development and would “benefit the entire community for the rest of our history and to preserve it.”
The council president hopes that the purchase will serve as inspiration for other officials to examine additional property that could be acquired for the same purpose.
As for Springsteen, the singer referenced his Rova Farm Resort visit in his memoir “Born to Run.” He recalled that the only full-scale bar brawl he and his band have ever experienced happened in Rova Farms which he described as a “Russian social club on the outskirts of town.”
Oddly enough, the brawl began right before the band sang the popular holiday song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Township police were summoned and several people were taken out on stretchers. The show however, went on and the band completed its performance before a large crowd of holiday revelers.