Freehold Borough, New Jersey
|Freehold Borough, New Jersey|
|Borough of Freehold|
South Street in Downtown Freehold
Map of Freehold Borough in Monmouth County. Inset: Location of Monmouth County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Freehold Borough, New Jersey
|Incorporated||March 25, 1869 (as town)|
|Reincorporated||April 15, 1919 (as borough)|
|• Body||Borough Council|
|• Mayor||Nolan Higgins (D, term ends December 31, 2015)|
|• Administrator||Joseph B. Bellina|
|• Clerk||Traci L. DiBenedetto|
|• Total||1.952 sq mi (5.055 km2)|
|• Land||1.950 sq mi (5.050 km2)|
|• Water||0.002 sq mi (0.005 km2) 0.09%|
416th of 566 in state
31st of 53 in county
|Elevation||171 ft (52 m)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|• Estimate (2014)||11,973|
204th of 566 in state
17th of 53 in county
|• Density||6,180.8/sq mi (2,386.4/km2)|
|• Density rank||
81st of 566 in state
8th of 53 in county
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (EDT) (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||609 and 732|
|GNIS feature ID||0885226|
Freehold is a borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. It is the county seat of Monmouth County. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 12,052, reflecting an increase of 1,076 (+9.8%) from the 10,976 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 234 (+2.2%) from the 10,742 counted in the 1990 Census.
What is now Freehold Borough was originally incorporated as a town by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 25, 1869, from portions within Freehold Township. The town became independent of the township in 1888. On April 15, 1919, Freehold was incorporated as a borough, including all of Freehold and additional portions of Freehold Township, based on the results of a referendum held on July 8, 1919. Additional portions of Freehold Township were annexed on September 7, 1926.
The Hispanic population is rapidly growing in Freehold Borough, making up 4.6% (0.2% Mexican) in the 1980 Census, 11.3% (2.8% Mexican) in the 1990 Census, 28.0% (17.3% Mexican) in 2000 and recently 42.9% (29.6% Mexican) in 2010. On the contrary, the Black or African American population has decreased in recent decades: 17.1% in 1970, 19.8% in 1980, 18.2% in 1990, 15.8% in 2000 and 12.6% in 2010.
- Early history 1.1
- Colonial Freehold 1.2
- The Revolutionary War in Freehold 1.3
- Freehold in 19th Century 1.4
- Freehold divided 1.5
- The Borough in the 20th Century 1.6
- Geography 2
- 2010 Census 3.1
- 2000 Census 3.2
- Local government 4.1
- Federal, state and county representation 4.2
- Politics 4.3
- Education 5
Roads and highways 6.1
- Freehold Circle 6.1.1
- Public transportation 6.2
- Roads and highways 6.1
- Points of interest 7
- Notable people 8
- See also 9
- References 10
- External links 11
The Lenni Lenape Native Americans were the earliest known people to live in the area that became Freehold. The Lenape were a hunter-gatherer society. They were largely sedentary, changing campsites seasonally. They were prolific hunters of small game and birds. They were also skilled fisherman, and were known to harvest vast amounts of clams from the bays and inlets on the Jersey Shore. They also practiced some agriculture to augment their food supply. During this time, an important crossroad of two major Lenape trails was located in the area of Freehold.
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- Adelberg, p.22
- PBS Resource Bank. Colonel Tye", "Africans in America". Accessed October 13, 2013. "In September, 1780 Tye led a surprise attack on the home of Captain Josiah Huddy, whom Loyalists had tried to capture for years. Amazingly, Huddy and his friend Lucretia Emmons managed to hold off their attackers for two hours, until the Loyalists flushed them out by setting the house afire. During the battle, Tye was shot in the wrist, and days later, what was thought to be minor wound turned fatal when lockjaw set in."
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- Griffith, Lee Ellen; Freehold, Arcadia Publishing; Charleston; 1996; introduction
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- Metzger, Dick. "Bicycle buffs have a haven at Freehold museum: Local collector’s prize possession is ‘Zimmy’ manufactured in town", East Brunswick Sentinel, July 11, 2002. Accessed May 15, 2007. "More than 100 years ago, in the late 1880s and 1890s, the village of Freehold was arguably the bicycle capital of the world."
- pepe; p.134
- pepe; p.133
- Pepe; p. 135
- Pepe; p.128
- Lurie, Maxine ed.; Hamburger, Susan. “Freehold Borough” in The Encyclopedia of New Jersey, Rutgers University Press; New Brunswick, NJ; 2004; p. 290.
- Greason, Walter. The Path to Freedom: Black Families in New Jersey, The History Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-59629-992-4. Accessed August 13, 2014.
- Councilman Jaye Sims, Freehold Borough Democrats. Accessed August 13, 2014. "Jaye was appointed to the Freehold Borough Council in June 2006. It was an historical appointment. Jaye was the first member of the African American Community to serve on the governing body."
- Pepe; p.146
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Borough of Freehold, Geographic Names Information System, accessed January 4, 2008.
- Areas touching Freehold Borough, MapIt. Accessed July 13, 2015.
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- DP-1: Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000 - Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data for Freehold borough, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed July 25, 2012.
- DP03: Selected Economic Characteristics from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates for Freehold borough, Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed March 15, 2012.
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- Celano, Clare Marie. "Higgins, DiBenedetto, Schnurr win in Freehold", News Transcript, November 16, 2011. Accessed November 20, 2011. "Democrats George Schnurr and Michael DiBenedetto will maintain their seats on the Borough Council following their re-election to Freehold Borough’s governing body in the Nov. 8 election. Democrat Nolan Higgins was elected to his first four-year term as mayor. Higgins ran unopposed and received 1,332 votes. He will take office in January."
- Celano, Claire Marie. "Freehold H.S. honors first hall of fame inductees: Wilson, Springsteen, White, Hendry among school's celebrated grads", Freehold News Transcript, April 19, 2006. Accessed April 5, 2011. "Wilson is the longest serving mayor in Freehold Borough's history, having taken office on May 9, 1985, at the age of 34. He will soon mark his 21st consecutive year in office."
- Celano, Claire Marie. "Friends salute retiring mayor: Michael Wilson has been Freehold Borough’s mayor since 1985", News Transcript, November 16, 2011. Accessed March 15, 2012. "The end of an era is fast approaching in Freehold Borough. Michael Wilson, 61, who has been the mayor of his hometown since May 9, 1985, will leave office on Dec. 31 after 26 years.... On May 10, 2005, Wilson became the longest running mayor in Freehold Borough’s history, eclipsing the previous mark set by Dr. Peter F. Runyon, who was mayor from Jan. 1, 1926, to Dec. 31, 1945."
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- Monmouth County Government, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- Freeholder Gary J. Rich Sr., Monmouth County, New Jersey. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- Freeholder John P. Curley, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- Freeholder Deputy Director Serena DiMaso, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- Freeholder Gary J. Rich Sr., Monmouth County, New Jersey. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- About the County Clerk, M. Claire French, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- Sheriff Shaun Golden, Monmouth County Sheriff's Office. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- Monmouth County Surrogate, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Accessed February 4, 2014.
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- District information for Freehold School District, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed July 8, 2014.
- School Data for the Freehold Borough Schools, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed July 8, 2014.
- Freehold Learning Center, Freehold Borough Schools. Accessed October 13, 2013.
- Park Avenue Elementary School, Freehold Borough Schools. Accessed October 13, 2013.
- Freehold Intermediate School, Freehold Borough Schools. Accessed October 13, 2013.
- New Jersey School Directory for the Freehold Borough Schools, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed October 13, 2013.
- Freehold Borough Public School District 2014 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2015. " Upon graduation the students enter the Freehold Regional High School District for grades 9-12, which is under a separate governing board."
- Freehold Regional High School District 2014 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2015. 'Freehold Regional High School District, the largest regional high school District in New Jersey, has six high schools with almost 12,000 students and over 1,500 employees and spans 200 square miles. District members include the townships of Colts Neck, Freehold, Howell, Manalapan, and Marlboro, and the boroughs of Englishtown, Farmingdale, and Freehold."
- Metzgar, Dick. " Library celebrates century of service to Freehold; Andrew Carnegie gave town $11,000 to fund construction of building", News Transcript, August 13, 2003. Accessed August 13, 2014.
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- Carney, Leo H. "Monmouth Seeks to Channel Growth", The New York Times, May 1, 1988. Accessed April 10, 2013.
- Staff. Transportation Reserah Record, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, 1991. Accessed April 10, 2013.
- Kroh, H. H. "RESORTS IN NEW JERSEY; New Highways and Bridges Will Connect Points Along the 125-Mile Seashore", June 16, 1940. Accessed April 10, 2013.
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- Fitzgerald, Alison. "Track Financier Buys Historic Freehold Raceway He Paid $23 Million For The Oldest Harness-racing Track In The U.S.; He Has His Eye On Other Sites, Too.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 15, 1994. Accessed October 13, 2013. "Robert E. Brennan, the controversial financier and self-anointed savior of the casino and racetrack industries in the state, has bought Freehold Raceway, the nation's oldest harness-racing track, for $23 million dollars.... Freehold Raceway, which first opened in 1853, is unique in the United States because it is the only harness track that runs a daytime schedule, and therefore provides the only daytime harness races for the national simulcasting market."
- Historic Houses, The Monmouth County Historical Society. Accessed October 13, 2013. "Built 1752-3, it served as headquarters for British General Sir Henry Clinton before the Battle of Monmouth in 1778."
- St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Freehold,
- Garbi, Jill. "Shul celebrates century of ‘tradition and caring’", New Jersey Jewish News, December 6, 2010. Accessed October 13, 2013. "In 1911 residents drew up a charter for the formation of an Orthodox synagogue and purchased a lot at First and Center streets. The land and the construction of the small wooden structure cost about $1,000, which was collected in pennies, dimes, and quarters from members of the struggling congregation."
- History, Metz Bicycle Museum and Treasures of Years Gone By. Accessed October 13, 2013.
- Lodge History, Olive Branch Lodge No 16 Free and Accepted Masons. Accessed October 13, 2013.
- Russell, Suzanne C. "Lion's heart beat disability Scott Conover: I went from a nerd to the NFL", Home News Tribune, February 28, 2004. Accessed July 30, 2007. "Conover, a native of Freehold who now works as the in-school suspension teacher, head football coach and assistant track coach at Perth Amboy High School, told the students that school is where it starts."
- Anthony DeSclafani, Cincinnati Reds. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Danny Lewis, December 25, 2007.
Morris, Tim. "Pats' win over CBA is historic", News Transcript, January 28, 2004. Accessed May 8, 2007. "If the great area teams that had featured all-state forward Zucker, who went on to a fine career at Rutgers, or that had future NBA player Tim Perry of Freehold Borough couldn’t beat CBA, who
- Celano, Clare Marie. "Colts' Reid returns home with plan to help youths", News Transcript, June 21, 2006. Accessed May 15, 2007. "Reid, a former Freehold High School football player, is currently a member of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts but a piece of his heart remains in the town in which he grew up – Freehold Borough."
- In The Lane With Licht, October 22, 2004.
- Rebecca Soni, WNBC-TV. Accessed August 2, 2012. "Known as 'Reb,' Soni was born in Freehold Borough, N.J."
- Sapia, Joseph. "A day in the life of Freehold Borough", Asbury Park Press, December 16, 1999. Accessed May 8, 2007. "Maybe it's a case of Springsteen's lyrics having been influenced by his environment. Just as the borough is Coyne's hometown, it is Springsteen's as well."
- Goldstein, Stan. "Bruce Springsteen Rocked Here", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 15, 2009, updated September 10, 2010. Accessed July 13, 2015.
- Scott Conover (born 1968), former Detroit Lions offensive tackle and author of the children's book Can I Play Too? was raised in Freehold.
- Anthony DeSclafani (born 1990), starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds.
- Danny Lewis (born 1936), NFL running back from 1958–66, playing for the Detroit Lions, the Washington Redskins, and the New York Giants.
- Joel Parker (1816–1888), 20th Governor of New Jersey, elected to two non-consecutive terms (1863–1866 and 1871–1874). A lawyer by profession, he served as Attorney General of New Jersey in 1875 and as a justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court, from 1880–1888.
- Tim Perry (born 1965), former NBA player, most notably with the Phoenix Suns.
- Darrell Reid (born 1982), defensive tackle for the Indianapolis Colts.
- Nehemiah Shumway (1761-1843), composer, farmer, principal of Freehold Academy.
- J. R. Smith (born 1985), professional basketball player who has played for the New York Knicks.
- Rebecca Soni (born 1987), Olympic gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympic Games who set world records in the 100-meter breaststroke (short course) and the 200-meter breaststroke (short and long course).
- Bruce Springsteen (born 1949), rock musician, was raised in Freehold Borough. The borough is the subject of his song "My Hometown," from the Born in the U.S.A. album, which described racial and economic tensions in the 1960s (the "textile mill being closed" was the A & M Karagheusian rug mill at Center and Jackson Streets). Springsteen has also performed the humorous song about the borough called "In Freehold", which can be found on some bootleg live recordings.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Freehold Borough include:
- Freehold Public Library
- Monmouth County Historical Association, a museum and library dedicated to the history of Monmouth County.
- Freehold Raceway, the oldest harness racetrack in the United States, dating to 1853.
- Hankinson-Moreau-Covenhoven House was constructed in the 1750s and used by the British as a headquarters during the Battle of Monmouth. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
- St. Peter's Episcopal Church was built in 1771 based on a design by architect Robert Smith and was added to the National Register in 1998 as one of one five churches in the state dating back to the 1700s still standing.
- Freehold Jewish Center, a synagogue established in 1911 which was constructed as the Orthodox Jewish Congregation Agudath Achim.
- Metz Bicycle Museum exhibits antique bicycles dating back to the 1850s.
- Olive Branch Lodge No. 16 Free and Accepted Masons was instituted October 20, 1849.
Points of interest
New Jersey Transit bus service connects Freehold with towns along U.S. Route 9, Newark Liberty International Airport and New York City, to Philadelphia (via transfer in Lakewood) and to Six Flags Great Adventure located in Jackson Township. The 131, 135 and 139 provide service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, on the 67 to Newark, on the 64 and 67 to Jersey City and local service on the 833 and 836 routes.
The railroad that ran through Freehold was originally a Central Railroad of New Jersey branch connecting the still-active former Penn Central line from Jamesburg to CNJ's Seashore Branch and the New York and Long Branch line (now owned by New Jersey Transit) at Matawan. The Central Railroad of New Jersey went into bankruptcy in the early 1970s and entered into Conrail on April 1, 1976. Freight service on the rails from Freehold to Matawan was terminated in 1979 and the rails removed in 1980. Today, it is mostly a rail-trail.
- See also
Freehold Circle was located near the western boundary of Freehold Borough near the Freehold Raceway. The circle carried traffic between US 9, Business Route 33 and Manalapan Avenue (CR 24); it was eliminated in the 1980s due to the increased traffic load caused by a boom in commercial and residential development. Most notable of the commercial development is the Freehold Raceway Mall, in Freehold Township just south of the old circle on US 9, whose development in the late 1980s was a major impetus to redesign the circle. The former circle now features several jughandles, and most Manalapan Avenue traffic must use a connector road to Business Route 33 to reach the main intersection, but it is still known by locals as Freehold Circle. In the early 1940s, the Freehold Circle was the planned terminus of highway that would funnel traffic from South Amboy to the Jersey Shore by way of Matawan and Marlboro Township.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 31.31 miles (50.39 km) of roadways, of which 26.60 miles (42.81 km) were maintained by the municipality, 1.30 miles (2.09 km) by Monmouth County and 3.41 miles (5.49 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Roads and highways
The independent Freehold Public Library is one of the remaining Carnegie-funded libraries in the state and is believed to be the only one with the name "Carnegie Library" engraved on its front. It is not part of the Monmouth County Library system.
Students in public school for ninth through twelfth grades attend Freehold High School, as part of the Freehold Regional High School District or may apply to attend the district's specialized programs housed in other high schools in the FRHSD. The Freehold Regional High School District also serves students from Colts Neck Township, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Freehold Township, Howell Township, Manalapan Township and Marlboro Township.
Freehold Borough's public school students in pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade attend the Freehold Borough Schools. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's three schools had an enrollment of 1,475 students and 114.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.94:1. Schools in the district (with 2011-12 school enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Freehold Learning Center (grades PreK-5, 515 students), Park Avenue Elementary School (PreK-5; 559) and Freehold Intermediate School (6–8; 401).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 61.7% of the vote (1,264 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 36.6% (750 votes), and other candidates with 1.6% (33 votes), among the 2,093 ballots cast by the borough's 5,279 registered voters (46 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 39.6%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 55.0% of the vote (1,360 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 36.6% (906 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 6.9% (170 votes) and other candidates with 1.1% (26 votes), among the 2,474 ballots cast by the borough's 5,178 registered voters, yielding a 47.8% turnout.
 In the
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 5,108 registered voters in Freehold, of which 1,459 (28.6%) were registered as Democrats, 820 (16.1%) were registered as Republicans and 2,827 (55.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 2 voters registered to other parties.
 and Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters (Middletown Township).)Farmingdale Sheriff Shaun Golden (),Wall Township Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk M. Claire French (; 2016).Holmdel Township and Serena DiMaso (R, ; 2015)Middletown Township (R, John P. Curley ; 2016),Neptune City Thomas A. Arnone (R, ; 2014),Spring Lake Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr. (R, ; term ends December 31, 2014),Colts Neck Township, R (Lillian G. Burry As of 2014, Monmouth County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director 
For the 2014-2015 Session, the 11th District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Jennifer Beck (R, Red Bank) and in the General Assembly by Mary Pat Angelini (R, Ocean Township, Monmouth County) and Caroline Casagrande (R, Colts Neck Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
New Jersey's Fourth Congressional District is represented by Christopher Smith (R). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019).
Freehold Borough is located in the 4th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 11th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Freehold Borough had been in the 12th state legislative district.
Federal, state and county representation
Michael Wilson had been elected in 1985 and served in office until January 2012, making him the longest-serving mayor in Freehold Borough history with 26 years of service.
In the November 2011 general election, Nolan Higgins ran unopposed for a four-year term as mayor and fellow Democrats Michael DiBenedetto and George Schnurr both won re-election to another three years on the borough council, all with terms of office that will begin in January 2012.
 As of 2015, the
Freehold is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Freehold, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
The median income for a household in the borough was $48,654, and the median income for a family was $53,374. Males had a median income of $35,855 versus $30,377 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $19,910. About 7.7% of families and 12% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.8% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.
In the borough the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 34.4% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.0 years. For every 100 females there were 106.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.7 males.
There were 3,695 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.39.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 10,976 people, 3,695 households, and 2,571 families residing in the borough. The population density was 5,501.1 people per square mile (2,118.9/km2). There were 3,821 housing units at an average density of 1,915.1 per square mile (737.6/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 71.02% White, 15.83% Black, .55% Native American, 2.45% Asian, .02% Pacific Islander, 6.64% from other races, and 3.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28.07% of the population.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $52,000 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,634) and the median family income was $60,471 (+/- $3,989). Males had a median income of $29,752 (+/- $8,068) versus $34,976 (+/- $8,305) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,331 (+/- $1,602). About 13.1% of families and 16.01% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 14.2% of those age 65 or over.
In the borough, 24.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.3 years. For every 100 females there were 111.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.0 males.
There were 4,006 households, of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98 and the average family size was 3.48.
At the 2010 United States Census, there were 12,052 people, 4,006 households, and 2,660 families residing in the borough. The population density was 6,180.8 per square mile (2,386.4/km2). There were 4,249 housing units at an average density of 2,179.1 per square mile (841.4/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 65.72% (7,920) White, 12.57% (1,515) Black or African American, 0.52% (63) Native American, 2.89% (348) Asian, 0.07% (8) Pacific Islander, 15.35% (1,850) from other races, and 2.89% (348) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 42.87% (5,167) of the population.
The borough is completely surrounded by Freehold Township.
Freehold has an elevation of 174 feet (53 m) above sea level at its center.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.952 square miles (5.055 km2), including 1.950 square miles (5.050 km2) of land and 0.002 square miles (0.005 km2) of water (0.09%). It is situated in the heart of Monmouth County and is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) south of New York City and 65 miles (105 km) northeast of Philadelphia. Freehold is also about 16 miles (26 km) west of Asbury Park on the Jersey Shore.
Bruce Springsteen grew up in the Borough and lived on South Street. In 1963, he graduated eighth grade from St. Rose of Lima School, and graduated from Freehold Borough High School in 1967. In 1973, he released his first album, and rocketed to international fame. Springsteen has always remained loyal to Freehold and makes reference to it in several of his famous songs, including "My Hometown". In 1996, he conducted a small benefit concert in Freehold for St. Rose of Lima.
Freehold Borough was an important center of African American civil rights activity in New Jersey during the years leading up to the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1955. In 2007, Jaye Sims became the first African American official to be elected to office.
Freehold Borough initially prospered in the early 20th century. However, by mid-century, the Borough began to decline as downtown areas across the country shrank, and suburban areas began growing. In 1961, the A & M Karagheusian rug factory closed. This factory had long been the largest employer in the area, and its closure had a devastating effect of economic stability of the Borough. The Borough managed to turn around its economic decline by establishing the downtown area as a center for restaurants and nightlife. Several well-known local restaurants on Main Street are now crowded every night of the week.
The Borough in the 20th Century
On April 15, 1919, Freehold Borough formerly separated from Freehold Township. Freeholders generally refer to the different municipalities simple as, the Borough and the Township. The Borough, the downtown area around the courthouse, retained all the existing government buildings around Court Street and Main Street. The Borough also kept the designation as county seat. Freehold Township, the farming communities that surrounded the courthouse, set up a new city hall complex on Schanck Road. The Township completely encircles the Borough. On September 7, 1926, Freehold Borough annexed additional territory from the Township.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Freehold was an increasingly divided community. The issue of local tax dollars, used as funding for public works and infrastructure projects, was the primary point of contention. The Freeholders living in the downtown area, around the courthouse had very different ideas about how to spend public money compared to the Freeholders living in the surrounding farmland. Tension within the community increased greatly in 1916 when a severe polio epidemic swept through Freehold. After contentious public debate, a referendum was held to on the future of Freehold, and voters overwhelmingly decided to split the town into two separate municipalities.
Freehold also has a relatively forgotten but important place in the history of the bicycle. Cycling champion Arthur Augustus Zimmerman resided in the town during his racing career in the 1880s and 1890s, and from 1896–1899 operated the Zimmerman Bicycle Co.; the company's bicycles were known as the "Zimmy." Today, Freehold Borough is home to the Metz Bicycle Museum, where the only extant "Zimmy" can be seen.
In 1824, the American Hotel opened on Main Street in Freehold. It is still standing today, and is one of the oldest buildings in Freehold. In 1853, the Freehold Raceway opened. Though the original grandstand burned down in a fire, the racetrack is still open today, and is one of the oldest harness racetracks in America. The Great Fire of Freehold happened on October 30, 1873. The fire reportedly began in a commercial building on Main Street. It soon spread to engulf a large section of the village, and many wooden buildings, including Monmouth Courthouse, were burned down.
During the early 1800s, Freehold steadily grew in size. The village around the courthouse was now called Freehold, along with the surrounding farmland. In 1852, when long distance railroad systems were first being developed, a railroad station, with trains making regular stops, was built near the courthouse in Freehold. Freehold soon had public sewers in the village and in some of the outlying farmland. By 1883, there was an electrical grid and a telephone switchboard, at a time when these inventions were still brand new. These public advancements caused rapid economic growth in Freehold. The village of Freehold became an important commercial and industrial hub in central New Jersey. The farms in the rest of Freehold benefitted greatly by being able to sell their products more easily in New York and Philadelphia. Both the village and the farms prospered together, however the public policies sought by the two different communities continued to grow further apart. The municipal government was increasingly divided between the villagers and farmers.
Freehold in 19th Century
In the aftermath of the Battle of Monmouth, Loyalist control of Freehold faltered. The town ceased to have a functioning municipal government, and the courthouse was closed until the end of the war. Minor clashes between loyalists and continentals flared up in town, with the violence peaking around 1780. Colonel Tye, an escaped slave and leader of a prominent loyalist guerilla force, conducted several raids in and around Freehold. One famous incident was the capture and hanging of Joshua Huddy by British Loyalists under the direction of Richard Lippincott. Colonel Tye was killed during the raid on Huddy's home. Patriots later cut down Huddy's body hanging from the gallows and buried it in Freehold, at Old Tennent Church. At the end of the war, the community was deeply divided, and nearly 120 loyalist families left Freehold, fearing persecution from their neighbors. Most of these families re-settled in Canada.
Several famous figures from the Revolutionary War fought at the Battle of Monmouth. British forces were commanded by Charles Lee. Charles Lee was court martialed by the Continental Army for his behavior at the Battle of Monmouth. Nathaniel Greene, Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette and Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben also fought for the Continental Army at the Battle of Monmouth. Another famous figure at the Battle of Monmouth was Molly Pitcher, who manned a cannon during the battle after her husband was wounded.
In June 1778, the British Army began a major strategic evacuation of the city of Philadelphia. They attempted to protect a long, slow moving column of loyalist families, equipment, and other supplies seized in Philadelphia, as they moved towards ships in New York Harbor. On June 28, 1778, the Continental Army intercepted the column in Freehold. The Battle of Monmouth was one of the largest battles of the Revolutionary War, involving over 25,000 soldiers combined in Continental, British, and Hessian forces. The Continental Army was able to repeal the British forces, and held their ground on the battlefield. However, British forces were successful in completing their primary goal, the evacuation of Philadelphia. Both sides claimed victory in the battle.
However, after British success at the Battle of Long Island, Freehold and all of Monmouth County fell under the control of Loyalists. The British government continued to operate the Freehold Courthouse, and several people involved in revolutionary activists were arrested and tried for treason at the courthouse. The success of the Continental Army at the Battle of Trenton helped to weaken loyalist control of Freehold.
Freehold was deeply impacted by the American Revolution. By the early 1770s, the Sons of Liberty were actively recruiting local members in Freehold, and were agitating the relationship between the British government and the colonists. In 1775, immediately after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Capt. Elias Longstreet recruited the first company of Freeholders to join the Continental Army. Freehold was a known center of patriot activity. The Declaration of Independence was publicly proclaimed, read aloud, from the steps of the Freehold Courthouse just a few days after being signed in Philadelphia.
The Revolutionary War in Freehold
As of 1745, the majority of families in Freehold were still Scottish immigrants. In modern Freehold today, many important streets bear the name of early colonial families, including Barkalow, Applegate, Rhea, Throckmorton, and Schanck.
In the area surrounding Monmouth Courthouse, many successful farms began to appear. The farms in Freehold were particularly well known for the production of potatoes, beans, and rye, which were sold in the markets of nearby cities. Freehold also became known for its excellent horse farms. The differences within Freehold between growing village around the courthouse and the surrounding farmland were the seeds for the eventually division of Freehold into two separate municipalities in the early 20th century.
Freehold was officially designated as the seat of the Monmouth County government, and a court house was commissioned to be built on the land purchased from John Reid. The Monmouth Courthouse opened in 1715. A small village quickly began to develop around the courthouse. At first, the village was called Monmouth Courthouse. Over time, other government buildings opened near the courthouse, including a sheriff’s office, a prison and a post office. A number of homes and commercial businesses also sprang up in the village, including a blacksmith, a general store, a bank, a hotel, and saloon.
In 1714, when the colonial government was deciding where to locate the county seat and courthouse, Freeholder John Reid, the first Surveyor General of East Jersey, wanted the county seat located in Freehold Township. Reid sold land suitable for use as a courthouse to the Board of Chosen Freeholders at a bargain price, and this may have been the deciding factor why Freehold was selected over Middletown and Shrewsbury. In return for the heavily discounted price, Reid placed a restrictive covenant in the deed that, should the property ever cease being used as a courthouse, ownership would revert to the Reid family. Direct descendants of John Reid still reside in Freehold Township.
 ownership.property fee simple, an English legal term describing Freehold The name of the borough comes from the word , Freehold was established by act of legislature as one of the three original townships in Monmouth County.Shrewsbury and Middletown In 1693, Along with