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Home | About Us | Branches | Waretown Branch | Community Profile
Waretown Community Profile waretown branch

History  

The Township of Ocean was incorporated on April 13, 1876. At that time, the major village, situated on what is now Route 9, was Waretown. Approximately seven miles to the west lay the village of Millville, which became Brookville in 1892, when the post office was established. Since that post office no longer exists and there is no municipal government in Brookville, Waretown and the Township of Ocean are now one and the same.

Waretown was originally called Waier Creek or Waier Mills, after Abraham Waier, who had come to the area with a religious sect known as the Rogerines. Expelled from Connecticut for their hostility to the Puritan laws of New England, the Rogerines arrived here in 1739. They moved on eleven years later, but Waier stayed and built a mill.

From 1700 to 1900, Waretown was a shipbuilding center, but by the end of the 19th century the main industries had become lumbering, cutting pine and oak wood, and the making of charcoal for the New York market. As the timber sources were depleted, the residents turned to gathering swamp moss, which found a ready market among florists. When the moss supply was exhausted, they began picking cranberries and huckleberries. Until about 1920, oyster beds were plentiful, and for many years Waretown was a focal point for the clamming industry in Ocean County. Throughout most of this century, fishing and crabbing have been major activities, and in recent years charter boat fishing and pleasure boating have become increasingly popular with summer residents and weekend visitors.

Perhaps because of the unique nature of many of its early industries, there is a strong sense of community among Waretown's older families. However, in the last 25 years the town has become a significant retirement area, and while many of these retirees have now been here for decades, they do not identify with the town in the same way as the families who have been here for generations. Their loyalties are more to the developments they live in (Skippers Cove, Pebble Beach, etc.) than to the Township of Ocean as a whole.

Most residents who have moved into the township since World War II came from either northern New Jersey (especially Bergen and Hudson counties and the Newark area), or from Greater Philadelphia, but some have also relocated from New York City, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and the Trenton area.

According to the 2000 Census, population of the township is 6,450. Of that total, 4,807 residents were over the age of 18, while 1,743 were under 18.

A more complete history of Waretown can be found in the History of Ocean Township, NJ.

Topography

The Township of Ocean is generally flat, wooded area lying between the Barnegat Bay and the Pinelands, with Lacey Township to the north and Barnegat to the south. It has a land area of 20.80 square miles and a water area of 11.22 square miles. The township is planning its growth around the Ocean County Fire and First Aid Training Academy, off Volunteer Way, and two senior housing developments to be built off Routes 532 and 9. There are minimum lot sizes in the entire township, but the area west of the Garden State Parkway is under Pinelands regulations. Waretown does receive summer visitors and vacationers, due to its close proximity to the Barnegat Bay and Long Beach Island. Ship Bottom is approximately 11 miles from Ocean Township. The Barnegat Lighthouse is visible from Waretown's bayside shoreline.

Commerce   

Except for the Clayton Block Company, there is virtually no industry in the Township of Ocean. Fishing remains a major activity, but most fishermen work independently. The small retail businesses are typical of a town this size. There are no major retail chains, banks, or fast food other than pizzerias. Of note are those businesses related to fishing and boating: half a dozen marinas, two seafood stores, a repair shop for boat propellers, etc. In addition, there are several home-based businesses in Waretown, such as a framer, welder, an embroidery class and a beekeeper that sells honey.

Along with the fishermen, the township has a wide range of professions, with a significant number of engineers, teachers, computer operators and programmers, nurses, secretaries, municipal government employees and construction workers. Waretown schools employ over 100 people. Many residents work outside the township, most commonly in Toms River, Barnegat and Stafford, although many also travel to Monmouth County, northern New Jersey and New York.

At its location on Main Street, the library lies only one long block from the commercial center of town on Route 9. Another focal point is the post office, located on Main Street south of the library. The post office, which employs 8 or 9 people, anticipates an expansion of its staff upon the completion of a new 1,400 home retirement community in Waretown.

Transportation 

The major arteries are Route 9, north and south, and Route 532, east and west. There are no buses that run through the township to the library. On Wednesdays an O.C.H.E.T.S. bus takes seniors to the Stafford Mall. New Jersey Transit buses run along Route 9 from Atlantic City to New York, making local stops in Waretown and in other townships in Ocean County. 

One factor contributing to the volume of traffic on Route 9 is the limited access to and from the Garden State Parkway. At present there are ramps for northbound traffic exiting at Waretown, and for residents traveling the Parkway south from Waretown, but none for those coming south on the Parkway or for those wishing to go north from here. Over the years there has been some discussion about adding these ramps, but it remains an open issue.

Community Organizations

Waretown has approximately 20 community organizations. There are senior organizations (AARP, Old Guard, WWII Veterans, etc.), Service organizations (Holly Auxiliary, Ocean Township Historical Society, Friends of the Waretown Library, etc.), and Recreational organizations (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc.). There is a fire company, first aid squad, a first aid auxiliary, and a coast guard auxiliary. There are also 5 churches located in Waretown.

Recreation and Entertainment

The Township of Ocean has 4 public parks with a new park planned for 2002-2003, and 1 county park: Waretown Dock, Waretown, Tuomey Park, Faust Park, and Sands Point Park, which is planned for 2002-2003 and will be located on Dock Rd., Sands Point Harbor. Wells Mills Park is owned and maintained by the county. It hosts the Pine Barrens Jamboree each fall.

The Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation (Brookville Boy Scout Camp) is 600 acres of campsites and facilities located in Ocean Township. 

The township has a Community Center located on 11th Street, which services the residents of the township and community service groups. The Waretown Athletic Association and the Township of Ocean Recreation Department provide various athletic and recreational activities throughout the year for various ages. The Senior Citizens Advisory Group provides services and trips for the senior citizens. 

Boating and Fishing are the main interests of this shore community. There are several marinas in Waretown which help provide the opportunity to do both for residents as well as seasonal visitors. It proximity to Atlantic City provides the opportunity for regular bus trips to the casinos enjoyed by the seniors and used to provide a method of raising funds for some of the local organizations. 

Local events in Waretown include Waretown Athletic Association's opening day parade and ceremony, Founder's Day (125th Year Anniversary in 2001), The Skipper's Cove Festival of Lights which features a summer Saturday afternoon and evening parade of decorated boats, and the Pine Barrens Jamboree. 

There are two cultural institutions in Waretown. The local branch of the Ocean County Library is located on Main Street in Waretown. The famous Pinelands Cultural Society, which has a music hall, located at 125 Wells Mill Road in Waretown commonly known as Albert Hall. This group offers country, folk, and bluegrass music every Saturday night and has 2 Bluegrass Festivals throughout the year. 

Lifestyles

In response to our 1993 questionnaire, the overwhelming majority of residents said that what sets Waretown apart from its neighbors to the north and south is its rural, small-town character. On the other hand, many also commented on the fact that there is not the variety of community activities here that might be found in other parts of the county.

There are not any nursing homes, hospitals, prisons, military installations, or colleges here. The Ocean County Vocational/ Technical School has a site on Route 532 and there are two public elementary schools in the township: Waretown Primary School (grades K-2) and the Frederick A. Priff Elementary School (grades 3-6). As of September 2001, kindergarten classes will be all day. Ocean Township is a sending district, so 7th through 12th grade students attend Southern Regional Middle and High Schools, located in Manahawkin.

Most of the housing is detached, single-family homes, but there are three substantial condominium developments on the bay. Very few multiple-unit dwellings, apartments, or rentals are available in the area. Apartments are mostly located in private homes, as there are no apartment complexes in the area. A new development of single family homes will be completed soon. It is called "The Woods at Oceana" and will be comprised of 39 homes. The first senior citizen development, "Greenbriar Oceanaire", a community complete with a golf course and clubhouse, is planned to begin construction some time in 2001. It will contain 1,400 homes for adults aged 55 +.

Communication

Most residents get their news from the Asbury Park Press, The Beacon, or the Ocean County Observer, but they may also the Barnegat Banner. The Times-Beacon is a local paper published on Thursdays and carries articles relating to Waretown and neighboring towns. Other newspapers from Atlantic City, Philadelphia, northern New Jersey and New York have gained in popularity and are readily available in the area. The Forked River Gazette, The Islander, The Sandpaper and The Senior Scoop are examples of local pennysavers. 

Many residents hear about local happenings through various clubs to which they belong or through the local paper. Township meetings also provide information. The regular township meeting is held on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall. Special regular meetings with a caucus are held at Town Hall on the 4th Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public. A calendar of meeting dates for all committees is posted at Town Hall by the clerk's office.

WOBM 92.7 am and WJRZ 100.1 fm are the local radio stations. Comcast Cable offers complete Television service to Waretown residents. Local Ocean County news is available on Comcast 8 daily. CN18 is a new channel providing New Jersey news and other programming. Residents also find out about local events through SNN Channel 21, the Southern News Network. SNN shows school events, has a bulletin board system, and also broadcasts a summer magazine program that advertises programs at libraries in Southern Regional's sending districts.

 
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