Directions
Address:290 Mathistown Rd., Little Egg Harbor, NJ 08087
Phone:(609) 294-1197
Fax:(609) 294-1302
Mon
10-5
Tue
10-9
Wed
10-9
Thu
10-9
Fri
10-5
Sat
10-5
Sun
Closed
Local History

A "Little Treasure by the Bay," according to the newly unveiled township motto, Little Egg Harbor is both seeking to preserve its history while advancing into the 21st century.

Originally part of Burlington County, Little Egg Harbor took its name from the portion of the bay called Egg Harbor by Dutch sailors because of the great quantities of sea gull eggs found in nests along the shore. Little Egg had its share of privateers, smugglers, pirates, and other ruffians that were part of early Jersey Shore history. The first recorded account of the area was made by Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey who sailed the harbor area in 1614.

Early settlers of the township were the Andrews, Falkinburgs, Shourds, Ongs, Willets, and Osborns. Edward Andrews settled on the east side of Pohatcong Creek, while is brother, Mordecia, settled on the west side.

Henry Jacobs Falkinburg, Sr. was the first white man to settle in the township. He arrived sometime prior to 1698 and began trading merchandise with the local Indians, securing the properties later known as Osborn and Wills Islands and a number of farmlands. Later, Falkinburg, who could speak fluent Lenni-Lenape, acted as an interpreter between the Indians and settlers in the area.

Within the township are sites where both archaic and woodland material has been found that prove that prehistoric man was in the area for over 5,000 years.

Early settlers in Little Egg who did not farm began building boats, getting timber from the surrounding forest for hulls. One of the first recorded ships of the township was a sloop belonging to Thomas Ridgway Sr. John Mathis Sr. was also an early ship owner. His vessel was commanded by his son Daniel and sailed the West Indies routes.

The gathering of clams and oysters was also profitable and it was not long before Philadelphians and New Yorkers were dining on shellfish harvested in Little Egg Harbor.

The township eventually broke from Burlington County and became part of Ocean County, and the Tuckerton section of Little Egg became an entity unto itself.

Little Egg Harbor is famous for two historic sites: the Pulaski monument, marking a 1778 Revolutionary War skirmish; and the location of the former Great Tuckerton Wireless, an 865-foot structure built by a German company in 1912.

Today, Little Egg Harbor Township surrounds Tuckerton on three sides with a land area of 45 square miles. It includes West Tuckerton, Parkertown, Osborn Island, and large developments like Atlantis, Mystic Island, Holly Lake Harbor, Deerfield Park, Tuckerton Gardens, Spring Valley Lakes, as well as a part of Warren Grove.

The township has two elementary schools (Frog Pond and George J. Mitchell) and is home to Pinelands Regional School District (High School and Junior High School), which also accept students from Tuckerton, Eagleswood, and Bass River.

The Township Committee made strides in establishing the Little Egg Harbor Recreation Complex, located off Route 539 and Tuckerton Manor, and it includes baseball, Little League, football, softball, and soccer fields as well as a band shell, gazebo, roller hockey rink, and passive recreation areas.

Also accomplished in 1998 was the formation of the township Historical Preservation Society. The commission will assess historic properties in the township and help tailor the municipality's master plan in light of these structures to protect them for future generations.

 

Published in the Southern Ocean Community Guide 9/23-24/98, Times-Beacon Newspapers; edited by K. Pennell 1/2014.

Branch History

The Little Egg Harbor library was among the 1987 (1986, 1985) 11 building projects included in the Library Commission’s master plan, and should have been completed by 1990, would have been 5,000 square feet, and cost $485,000. A new master plan was adopted in 1993, and included the Little Egg Harbor building at 10,500 square feet and cost $1,911,000.

Little Egg Harbor Branch was in the planning for six or seven years prior to the groundbreaking on October 14, 1994. Community leaders involved in the planning were Robert J. Kozlowski, Ricco J. Gelmetti, and Thomas S. Woolsey, Little Egg Harbor Committeemen, Mayor Robert Correira, Freeholder James J. Mancini, Library Director Elaine McConnell, Library Commissioner James T. Mullins, and Friends Steering committee member Debbie Kraft.

The library site (2.9 acres) was purchased by Little Egg Harbor Township from Jim Forsythe for $60,800 (asking price was $67,500) in 1993. The Little Egg Harbor Township bonded $775,000 for the library project in 1990.

The original site (3.9/4.5 acres) was at Radio Road and Harbourtown Boulevard, donated by the developer Harbourtown Associates, under the provisions of the Planning Board’s site plan approval for the 177-acre Harbourtown residential development, in 1988. The plan was to include a baseball field, pavilion, and restrooms on the land adjacent to the library parcel. The Little Egg Harbor Township committee had discussed building a community center on the library site also. The site was later found to have unstable soil (wetlands) which would have required additional pilings and drainage, raising the cost of the project an additional $250,000 to $300,000. It took more than one year for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and Energy to determine that the site was wetlands, would require additional permits to build on, and the building plans would need to be changed, increasing the cost of building on the site.

Little Egg Harbor Township covered half the cost of the building, the county the other half. A $209,340 Public Library Construction Grant helped pay part of the cost. The anticipated total cost was $1.7 million, and then it was $1.9 million. The actual cost was $1.87 million. Little Egg Harbor Township had its half of the cost credited with the appraised value of the site, which doubled after the poles were moved.

The county architect was James Hyers. Atlantic Electric had to move and remove utility poles that ran straight through the property. Atlantic Electric moved slowly on this project, requiring a lot of paperwork to ensure that they would be compensated by the county (the township and the county split the cost of moving the poles). The Ocean County Road Department cleared the lot.

The county would not claim title of the land until the utility poles were moved. The township committee gave approval in 1993 to deed the property to the county, but the county would not take it without a clear title – the township, commission, and county had to work together negotiating with Atlantic Electric to move the utility poles and the township had to make Mathistown Road “buildable,” which required the passing of a $500,000+ bond for road repairs.

The county needed Little Egg Harbor Township’s Planning Board approval prior to July 19, 1994, because under the Coastal Area Facility Review Act regulations at that time, the building would not need CAFRA permit since it would be a public building. New CAFRA regulations took effect on July 19, 1994, requiring all public buildings approved along the shore to have CAFRA approval.

Construction went out to bid in July 1994 and contracts were awarded in October 1994. Groundbreaking was on October 14, 1994. Construction was expected to be completed by October 1995, but was not completed until April 1996. During construction in June 1995, a worker was hurt when part of the concrete construction collapsed. Winter weather then further delayed construction. The building opened at the end of April 1996.

Friends of the Little Egg Harbor Branch

Officers:

  • President: Alice Hazeltine
  • Vice President: Dorothy Kirschner
  • Treasurer: Walter Lange
  • Secretary: Diana Michaels
  • Membership: Edwina Revack
  • Volunteers: Jackie Cilento
  • Fundraising Chair: Milly Cross
  • Newsletter: Ms. Kathie Tyhanic

 

Contact email: