Old Bridge Township to celebrate 150 years with a number of events

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OLD BRIDGE – Township officials are rolling out a marketing campaign with the theme “Celebrate Old Bridge” and are holding a number events to mark the township’s 150 years.

In the coming weeks, street banners, pole banners and other signs, which include a logo of the township’s years 1869 to 2019 and names Madison-Old Bridge, will be installed throughout the town, and bumper stickers “#OBProud” will be distributed.

“This is a whole township event to bring everyone together,” said Anahita Feltz, manager of Silver Linings at Old Bridge/the Office on Aging. “We are going to reach out to various entities, schools, fire companies and more to include them in the celebration.”

Business Administrator Himanshu Shah said the logo will be used in everyday communications.

Feltz and Matt Mercurio, director of parks and recreation and social services, presented the township’s plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Old Bridge at a meeting on March 11.

Mercurio presented some history of the township, which was provided by the Thomas Warne Museum/Madison-Old Bridge Township Historical Society.

“Madison Township, the future of Old Bridge Township, was established on March 2, 1869, when it broke from the township of South Amboy,” he said. “The township was named in honor of [the fourth president] James Madison, a friend to small farmers who visited the area regularly while trying to date [poet] Philip Freneau’s sister, Mary Freneau.”

The Freneau homestead was known as Mount Pleasant Hall, which was located in the neighboring town of Matawan Township/Aberdeen.

The first council meeting was held on March 12, 1869. Officials renamed the town Old Bridge Township in 1975 to avoid confusion with the Borough of Madison in Morris County.

The celebration will kick off with the Mayor’s Health and Wellness Council’s inaugural Health and Wellness 5K honoring the township’s hometown heroes on March 30. Officials said some 400 people have signed up so far.

Along with the 5K a health and wellness fair will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the John Piccolo Ice Arena parking lot.

Next, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development will hold a week-long shop, dine and buy local week from April 13-20 to continue the celebration.

“Businesses will have special discounts, raffles and giveaways,” Mercurio said.

The Thomas Warne Museum will host three separate lectures on the history leading up to 1869, on Madison Township from 1869 to 1975, and on Old Bridge Township 1975 to present.

And, the construction of a 150th anniversary float is in the works for the Salt Water Day in August, officials said.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com.