Historical society will mark 40th anniversary

The Battleground Historical Society's dedication to preserving the history of the Manalapan-Englishtown area has stretched over more than a generation. The group will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Sept. 27.

According to the society's Internet website, www.thevillageinn.org, the organization was founded on Nov. 19, 1969, under the leadership of Evelyn Harrod and Stanley Lehrer. The group was named the official historical society of Englishtown.
Dorothy McCue, a trustee of the historical society, said the highlight of the group's history has to be saving the Village Inn, which sits at the corner of Main and Water streets in Englishtown.

"When Manalapan Township put the Village Inn up for sale, rumor had it that the site would become a gas station. We were able to save and refurbish the inn, and the members of the Battleground Historical Society take a lot of pride in being its caretakers and proprietors," she said.

James S. Brown's book "Manalapan in Three Centuries" states that the Village Inn, once named the Herbert Inn after one of its early owners, Daniel Herbert, was founded circa 1726. Gen. George Washington established the Herbert Inn as his headquarters in 1778 during the Battle of Monmouth. The papers for Gen. Charles Lee's court martial are dated from the Englishtown site.

Other notable achievements of the Battleground Historical Society include saving a one-room school in the West Freehold section of Freehold Township, and rescuing the Cobb House on Route 522. The house is currently occupied by state Department of Environmental Protection offices. The society is also proud to have marked more than 100 local homes as historic sites.
The group meets on the fourth Friday of every month, with the exception of a holiday in the summer months. At each meeting, historical topics of interest are presented and discussed.

Trustee Lora Capozzoli explained, "The main goals of the Battleground Historical Society today are to maintain the Village Inn in Englishtown, improve the society's membership, and to explain local history to the public."

The society has planned a 40th anniversary celebration for Sept. 27. The society's members, costumed in colonial garb, will open the Village Inn to the public from 1-5 p.m. Representatives of the Battleground Historical Society will be available to answer questions about local history and will provide light refreshments.

Tickets at the door will cost $15. All money from the event will benefit the continuing maintenance of the Village Inn. For more information, visit www.thevillageinn. org.

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