Happy Birthday Toms River! You’re invited to the big celebration Saturday
Happy 250th Birthday Toms River! In the second installment of our two-part series examining Toms River's impact on the Revolutionary War, we look closer as to how Huddy Park got its name.
Township Historian Mark Mutter explains that on June 24, 1767 Toms River became an official town.
"That is the day that the Royal Assembly of New Jersey passed the act that created our township," said Mutter.
Flash forward 15-years later, where a surprise attack by British Forces in March of 1782 resulted in Nine American Patriot casualties from hand-to-hand combat, and the British also overtook the blockhouse, burned the village of Toms River to the ground and captured its defender and hero, Joshua Huddy.
That's where the name of the park comes from, Joshua Huddy, an American Patriot sent to Toms River at the request of its residents who feared an attack by the British and asked our first Governor William Livingston to send down Huddy.
He came down in February of 1782 to take command of the blockhouse at the time being watched by volunteers.
Huddy Park was purchased by the township in 1905 following a voter referendum and was named in honor of its hero.
Mutter explains that now, in 2017, following recent renovations to the park which it needed following Superstorm Sandy resulted in something breathtaking.
"We're going to re-open the park and remember what Huddy and those American Patriots did at the end of the Revolutionary War," said Mutter.
He adds the soldiers silhouettes you see guarding the entrance to the park were the brain child of high school students who drew up the idea and, "presented it to our historic commission a couple years ago and our engineers in the town like it a lot," said Mutter.
He says the ideas for the new Huddy Park weren't just developed by town officials by the very people who call Toms River home.
"It was a very interesting connection of younger people and older people making the park become what we see today come together," said Mutter.
What do you do when it's someone's birthday? Celebrate!
Toms River will be doing just that and you're all invited to attend and help them celebrate 250 years at Huddy Park, which Mutter says has become the heart and soul of the township.
"Through the course of the twentieth century so many community events have been held here, even people getting married here," said Mutter.
The Birthday bash begins with a ceremony in Huddy Park at 11 am and will include music for the Old Barracks Fife and Drum Corp, the Joshua Huddy Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and you'll get to sign the township charter.
Following the ceremony there will be a food truck festival at 12-noon on Washington Street in Toms River which also includes a beer garden and children's activities.
Proceeds will benefit the Toms River PBA and Volunteer Fire Companies.