The Navesink Historic District is generally located along Monmouth Avenue from just west of Browns Dock Road to the east side of Lakeside Avenue, and north on Navesink Avenue from the crossroads with Monmouth Avenue. Monmouth Avenue, which comprises the backbone of the district, is part of the King's Highway which is the most historic road in Monmouth County. Following the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778, the British troops retreated down this road and encamped throughout the area while awaiting their evacuation from Sandy Hook.
Read the Navesink Historic District Survey Report. (PDF)
The district is comprised of 96 contributing properties, including churches, a school, houses and association outbuildings, a library, and commercial establishments. The slightly rolling landscape and wooded lots west of Monmouth Avenue give way to more open and level terrain east of Navesink Avenue. In contrast to other sections of Middletown Township where structures are placed on sizable lots and are not visible from the road, nearly all the buildings in the Navesink Historic District are located near the street. The siting helps to define the area as a close-knit village with a variety of establishments and residences.
Although permanent settlement of the Navesink area began as early as the late 18th century, the greatest numbers of houses were built during the mid- to late- 19th century. Construction continued throughout the 20th century, but because the newer houses are traditional in design, they do not detract from the cohesive character of the district. In general, the earlier houses are more simple and less stylish than those that were built later in the 19th century. Numbers 167, 171, and 175 Monmouth Avenue are examples of this type of vernacular cottage. Number 197 Monmouth Avenue is a stylized, Greek Revival house of this early period. Noteworthy examples of mid-19th century structures are the houses as 179 Monmouth Avenue and 108 and 124 Navesink Ave. The Craftsman style bungalows at 210 and 154 Monmouth Avenue are examples of contributing structures constructed in the first quarter of the 20th century.
The Navesink District is primarily a 19th century village which grew around a commercial center at the crossroads of Monmouth Avenue and Navesink Avenue. During the 19th century, Navesink was the largest town in the area and provided an economic base for the surrounding area as well as town residents. Facilities included a post office, 3 general stores, a feed and grain store, a saw mill, a grist mill, barbershops, taverns, hotels, blacksmiths, a wheel wright, a shoe store and a stage coach proprietor. Several of the structures within the district housed businesses such as these, as seen on the 1873 Beers Atlas of Monmouth County.
Although buildings survive from the late 18th century, the primary significance of the Navesink Historic District lies in it continuing integrity as a rural 19th century village. The period of significance for the Navesink Historic District covers from the 18th century until 1930 when development effectively ceased for a decade, and the physical appearance of the district was largely set. The retention of so many structures from the past, in such close proximity to one another, provides a clear view into the appearance of the town one hundred years ago and establishes a distinctive village setting, quite distinct from the surrounding suburban development of the mid- and late-20th century.