Keyport, NJ - The Pearl of the Bayshore Keyport, NJ - The Pearl of the Bayshore


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Village History


Pictured: The corner of Broad Street and W.Front Street, looking uptown at the turn of the 20th century. The building on the corner is Walling Hall, circa 1878. In its history, the building has housed a dry goods store, a Victorian department store, a warehouse, and a shuffleboard and archery club. Fred Astaire and his sister once danced on its floors. Walling Hall still stands today, beautifully restored by Kenny Schwartz and occupied by an antiques auctioneer, a financial services company, and an advertising agency.

History

The Kearny family settled the Keyport area in 1714. Their plantation, which featured timber and produce, and as many as 70 slaves and two sloops, prospered for over a century. The plantation was then divided and auctioned off, and Keyport was established in 1830. From then until about 1900, it was a major shipping center. In the mid-1800's, it was a major ship-building center as well.

From 1917 to 1937, Keyport was home to Aeromarine Plan & Motor Company, one of the pioneers in aviation. They introduced the first electric starter, first international airline, first metal-clad plane, and numerous other "firsts" in aviation.

Keyport's rich history is captured in the Steamboat Dock Museum at the foot of Broad Street at the Bay and the Keyport Fire Museum and Education Center on Broad Street.

The Steamboat Dock Museum opened in 1976 on the waterfront in Keyport. The museum's exhibits of Keyport's history cover the plantation century, the docks and shipping, steamboat building, the oyster industry, the Aeromarine Plane & Motor Company, a printing exhibit of the Keyport Weekly, commercial & industrial establishments, and other smaller displays. The Steamboat Dock Museum is open May 15 through September 25 on Sundays from 12-4 PM and Mondays from 10-12 noon. Tours can be arranged by appointment. Call 732-739-6390.

Keyport is located in Monmouth County in Central New Jersey. To get here use the Garden State Parkway. Take exit number 117 the Route 36 exit towards RT. 35/Keyport/Hazlet. After the toll plaza merge towards the left NJ Highway 36 East. Once on Highway 36 bear right and use the Broad Street jug Handle. Cross over Highway 36 and head down Broad Street. At the foot of Broad Street, where it becomes American Legion Drive, is the Steamboat Museum building, facing out to the bay.

86 Broad Street

Built in 1900 for the Raritan Hose Company No. 2, and originally located on Division Street in "the Hollow", the building was moved to its present site in 1919. It served as a firehouse until 1969. Restored by members of the Keyport Fire Department over the past two years, it is now Monmouth County's only fire museum, displaying artifacts and equipment dating from the 19th century to a section of steel from the World Trade Center's twin towers.

 

 


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