Ocean County Takes Steps to Expand Historic Cedar Bridge Tavern Property

Jun 27, 2018
File Photo by: Pat Johnson The Cedar Bridge Tavern in Warren Grove is the site of a Revolutionary War skirmish re-enactment every year.

The Ocean County Board of Freeholders approved a couple of measures during its June 20 meeting that include improvements to the county’s natural land holdings and improvements to the park system in general. Mike Mangum, director of the Ocean County Parks and Recreation department, said on Tuesday that the $2 million appropriated by the freeholders for redevelopment of parks and acquisitions will be used for myriad upgrades in the park system, including replacing the restrooms at the A. Paul King County Park in Manahawkin. This project will begin in the fall after the swimming season.

The resolution also includes some funds for the land swap between the state and the county that will increase the land around the historic Cedar Bridge Tavern in Barnegat Township. In May, the freeholders approved spending $84,350 from the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund for survey work in relation to the land swap.

Magnum said the county owns about 260 acres in the middle of Bass River State Forest and the state owns 190 acres around the tavern site and will exchange them. But the survey work is required first. Van Cleef Engineering Associates LLC was the low bidder for the project.

The tavern property is believed to be the site of the last skirmish of the Revolutionary War in 1782. Every Dec. 27, the county holds a re-enactment of the skirmish between the local militias and John Bacon and his Pine Robbers and residents loyal to the crown.

The tavern that is presently on the site was built in 1816. In 1959, Rudolf Koenig purchased about 200 acres and eventually sold all but 5 acres to the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “Sometime in the 1980s NJCF conveyed the land to the state,” said Mangum.

The county purchased the 5-acre tavern site in 2007 with the understanding Koenig could continue to live there until his death. He died in 2012. In 2010, archeology students from Monmouth University spent six days digging test pits and uncovering the “broadcast zone” for household garbage. They found red ware pottery shards and various household items and the foundation of another building.

“The land swap will mean we can do more archeology on the site; there are a couple of old building sites besides the tavern,” said Mangum.

— Pat Johnson


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