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Past Events & Activities in 2022

December 14: Presentation: The Evergreen Boats: Monmouth County’s Forgotten Christmas Greens Trade by Michelle Moon at Bahrs Landing Restaurant and via Zoon

Another example of Monmouth County's waterborne trade with New York City: For weeks before Christmas, Monmouth County locals harvested greens from the woods and hand-crafted them into roping, swags, and wreaths.

Schooners and steamboats, loaded to the rails with evergreens, plied back and forth between Bayshore ports and New York’s markets.  From the end of the Civil War to the 1930's, New York City’s churches, homes, and department stores wanted lavish displays of evergreens, and Monmouth County’s farming and fishing communities could supply them.

Michelle Moon will share stories, images, and surprising details from this forgotten industry. She is a public historian and museum consultant whose mission is to connect people deeply to the meaning  of their local histories. As principal of Saltworks Interpretive Consulting, she works with cultural organizations nationwide on exhibition development, interpretive planning, and audience strategy. Her research interests include tourism history and food history, and she has published two books on food in museums,  Interpreting Food at Museums and Historic Sites and (with Cathy Stanton)  Public History and the Food Movement: The Missing Ingredient. She holds an MA in Museum Studies from Harvard University and a BA  from Connecticut College. 

October 19: Presentation: Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the United States by Rik van Hemmen at Bahrs Landng restaurant and via Zoom.

The 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence occurs in 2026, and Rik van Hemmen, president of NMHA, presented some thoughts on celebrating this important event.  His idea for a celebration centerpiece for Eastern Monmouth County is the construction and long-term operation of a replica solar powered sidewheeler paddle boat similar to the vessels that operated in Eastern Monmouth County in the last two centuries.  More information on the sidewheeler design HERE.

This replica steamer will evoke the history of Monmouth County, but incorporate the future of the country by being solar powered, and by aiming to operate to a maximum level of environmental sustainability and provide economical public service.  The selection of a solar powered paddle wheeler is particularly appropriate for New Jersey and Monmouth County since the solar cell was invented at AT&T’s Bell Labs by Russell Ohl, and he was a longtime resident of Little Silver, New Jersey.  

September 12: Event NMHA Community Paddle the Navesink at Maple Cove, Red Bank

Over 40 people young and old Paddled the Navesink at Maple Cove in Red Bank in colorful wooden canoes. It was all free! Canoes, life vests, and paddles were provided.  Open to the Monmouth County community, to ALL families, adults, youth, and kids (under 15 must come with an adult).

Click HERE to see photos of paddlers on the water.

August 8-12: RIVER RANGERS - Summer Canoeing Fun on the Navesink

The third and final week of this award winning on-the-water program continued successfully on Monday through Friday, 8.30 AM to 1:30 PM, under the direction of experienced leaders/ counselors, Courtney and Pierre. Canoes, paddles, life vests, and expert supervision were supplied

The week was at again at capacity with 20 paddlers in 10 canoes and three counselors, plus 2-3 support volunteers on land.

Click HERE to see pictues of the week's paddle 

August 1-5: RIVER RANGERS - Summer Canoeing Fun on the Navesink

The second week of this award winning on-the-water program continued successfully on Monday through Friday, 8.30 AM to 1:30 PM, under the direction of experienced leaders/ counselors, Courtney and Pierre. Canoes, paddles, life vests, and expert supervision were supplied

The week was at again at capacity with 20 paddlers in 10 canoes and three counselors, plus 2-3 support volunteers on land.

Click HERE to see pictues of the week's paddle.

July 20 - Agust 20 Events Set Sail! Art ad Design in Maritime at the Atlantic Highlands Arts Counci and Sandy Hook Bay.

A month-long collaboration between AHArts and the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association celebrated the maritime heritage of the greater Atlantic Highlands and Navesink areas. This colaboration included an exhibition on the history and art of boat painting, a canoe building event, a canoe painting contest, kids camp classes, all held in the AHArts gallery on First Ave, Atlantic Highlands. The last day of the exhibition ws marked by paddleing the canoes in Sandy Hook Bay! Click HERE to see pictures of all the events.

July 25 - 29: RIVER RANGERS - Summer Canoeing Fun on the Navesink

This award winning on-the-water program is for youth age 10 -14, continued this summer on Monday through Friday, 8.30 AM to 1:30 PM, under the direction of experienced leaders/ counselors, Courtney and Pierre. Canoes, paddles, life vests, and expert supervision were supplied.

The week was at capacity with 20 paddlers in 10 canoes and three counselors, plus 2-3 support volunteers on land.

Click HERE to see pictres of the week's paddle.

July 10: Members BBQ and Flea Market at Grover House, 930 West Front Street, Red Bank.

Grover House is a c.1730 farmhouse built by a descendent of one of the founders of Monmouth County in 1665, named James Grover, and has been NMHA's headquarters since 2014.

NMHA volunteers have upgraded part of the first floor, and Eagle Scout projects have enhanced the grounds. Burgers, veggie burgers, franks and bratwurst were served to a hungry crown on a glorious summer day! 

Click HERE to see pictures of the event

June 4: Rally for the Rivers Eco-Fest at Victory Park, Rumson organized by Clean Ocean Acton and the Rumson Environmental Commission.

A gathering of some 20+ environmental and ecology-friendly organizations entertained and educated children and adults through fun projects and activities throughout the morning, focusing on keeping our local rivers and creeks healthy.

This this was the fourth Eco-Fest to be held in Victory Park. NMHA had a booth and amused many children with its "sink a boat with pennies" challenge

May 18: Presentation The Meaning of Colonel Tye: Loyalist Blacks in the American Revolution by Graham Hodges, Professor of History and Africana Studies, Colgate University, via Zoom.

This talk examined the history and impact of the famous Black freedom Fighter, Colonel Tye. He escaped from his Quaker master, John Corlies of Shrewsbury, in November 1775 and returned three years later as leader of a "motley crew," to terrorize White Patriots of New Jersey.

Tye operated from Sandy Hook and ravaged Monmouth County for three years until his death in 1780. Memorialized in the nineteenth century as a brave fighter, Tye has captured the imagination of American Historians. 

This presentation was supported by a grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust 

April 13: Presentation The Grovers, Founding Family of Middletown by Rick Geffken, via Zoom

Rick Geffken presented an enthralling and well researched tale of the Grover Family of Monmouth County before and after James Grover (1686-1753), who built the Grover House in 1730 (and which has been the NMHA HQ since 2014).

Grover and his descendants occupied the house for over two hundred and fifty years. Research was based on Grover Wills, property deeds, genealogical records, newspaper articles, and other historical documents.

The land where the Grover House stood (near Exit 109 on the Garden State Parkway) was part of a tract of 330 acres which Governor Carteret granted in 1676 to James Grover I on the Swimming River and which Grover referred to as “Grover's Inheritance.” It was on this tract of land that the Grover House was built and where Grover's descendants lived until the death of Anna Lum in 1983. Nine generations of Grover’s lived in this historic Middletown, New Jersey, house. In 1902, historian William Nelson claimed that “The old Grover homestead was originally built in 1730; this date is authentic, since it is plainly cut into the old shingles of the roof which still form ample protection against wind and weather.

This presentation was supported by a grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust 

April 9: Bird Watching Cruise. View Local & Migratory birds from the deck of the MARINER!

Members and friends joined NMHA on its fourth bird watching trip on Classic Boat Rides' MARINER with Captain Dan at the helm.

Embarking at Atlantic Highlands, we viewed the resident and migrating birds of Sandy Hook Bay and Shrewsbury River, starting with a look at the bayside flats at the tip of Sandy Hook, then cruising to the mouth of the picturesque Navesink River. Brant, Cormorants, Osprey, Gulls, Terns, Oyster Catchers, Ducks, were some of the birds we saw, ably spotted and narrated by Chuck Abel, a NMHA Trustee and avid bird watcher and boater.  

March 20: The First History Cruise Around Staten Island with Seastreak!

NMHA members and friends boarded a Seastreak ferry and explored Staten Island by sea and learned about its incredibly rich maritime, industrial, cultural and environmental history. Departing from Highlands and travelling up Arthur Kill and around Staten Island in its entirety, we passed a number of landmarks of unexpected significance. Rik van Hemmen, NMHA's president, was the guide and narrator.

We passed the site of the first manned and controlled flight, an unsuccessful Revolutionary War peace negotiation, the oldest yacht club in the United States, a ships' graveyard, and one of the world’s most impressive manufacturing cities. As we travelled around the island, we heard stories from many ages ago, ranging in time from the 1500’s to present day.

March 16: Presentation Take me to the River, an Insider's Guide to Waterfront Access at Monmouth County Parks via Zoom by Paul Gleitz, principal park planner, Monmouth County Park System.

Much of our public access to the waterfront is provided by the Monmouth County Parks System. Paul Gleitz, principal park planner at the Parks System, described the expanding recreational opportunities on local rivers and future plans for riverfront parkland acquisition and programming.

He explained the recently completed Open Space Plan with its vision of an integrated network of preserved public land that links trails, greenways, and 'blueways', into a comprehensive network of natural resources that serve people and wildlife. Paul also highlighted recent projects and future plans for some Navesink area sites, including Swimming River Park, Hartshorne Park, Claypit Creek, and beyond.

February 16: Presentation T. Thomas Fortune: The Most Famous Person You Never Heard Of via Zoom by Gilda Rogers, Executive Director of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center.

Gilda Rogers introduced us to the important work of T. Thomas Fortune, who challenged the American body politick to live up to its ideals of freedom, justice and equality for all people.  We learned about the history of the home, the life of Fortune and how the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center is continuing his legacy, as an important resource in the greater Red Bank community.

T. Thomas Fortune was a stalwart for social justice. Born into slavery in 1856, he became one of the most influential American journalists and newspaper publishers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Fortune christened his home in Red Bank, New Jersey, “Maple Hall,” where he and his family resided between 1901-1915.  Here he entertained the great African American leader Booker T. Washington and other prominent figures of the time.

You can view the presentation HERE

January 26: Presentation The AJ Meerwald and New Jersey's Oyster Industry via Zoom by Rachel Rogers Dolhanczyk, MA.

Rachel Dolhanczyk of the Bayshore Center at Bivalve shared highlights from the new book that charts the history of New Jersey's Delaware Bay oysters and the historic ship that carries the industry's traditions today. 

The AJ Meerwald is a restored Delaware Bay new style schooner that was built to dredge oysters under sail but saw a lifetime of change. She served the US Coast Guard during World War II, returned to oystering under power for 10 years, was converted to dredge clams and then was left to rot in Maryland before being saved in 1986 by John Gandy and the Bayshore Center at BivalveYou can order the book, The AJ Meerwald and New Jersey's Oyster Industry, HERE.

Rachel Dolhanczyk's presentation may be accessed HERE

January 19, 2022: Presentation NMHA AGM & REVIEW of 2021-2022 via Zoom by Rik van Hemmen and Michael Humphreys

NMHA successfully conducted its 2021 AGM and Review via Zoom which was well attended. We reviewed the events and activities of 2021 and described our plans for an active 2022, COVID willing. The agenda: 1. Welcome and Review of 2021    2. Outlook for 2022    3. Election of Officers.

Click HERE to see the slide show covering all our diverse activities: presentations, boat cruises, childrens' and families canoeing, Sea Scouts, and more.

Election of Officers: NMHA Members voted unanimously to re-elect the Board of Trustees, whose bios can be accessed HERE

Copyright © Navesink Maritime Heritage Association

Navesink Maritime Heritage Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging Eastern Monmouth County with maritime and water related historical, skill building, environmental, and recreational activities, and encouraging responsible use of the Navesink estuary through its Discover, Engage, and Sustain approach

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