Utilization of Cox House in Barnegat Now Up to Ocean County

Mar 14, 2018
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Barnegat Township’s historic Cox House is officially out of local hands and is now owned by Ocean County, according to an ordinance adopted by the township committee last week.

Located at the intersection of West Bay Avenue and Route 9, the landmark has served as a meeting place for the Barnegat Historical Society and the Barnegat Garden Club among other local organizations, and has been used for special events such as a spring tea and a holiday meet and greet with Santa Claus.

Helping oversee the building was the Cox House Committee, which was abolished.    

A study performed nearly 20 years ago by Margaret Westfield, an architect specializing in historic preservation, said the original portion of the house, including the rear kitchen area and second-floor bedrooms, was built around 1825. The house’s main feature, the large front rooms, date back to 1854, when they were constructed by Capt. William Cox.

Township Administrator Martin Lisella estimated that in the past five years, the township has spent $50,000 for various rehabilitation projects, including $27,000 for roof repairs.

“The county has much better resources than we do to maintain the house,” he said. 

Deputy Freeholder Directror John C. Bartlett said the county has not yet made any specific plans as to the future use of the Cox House. He said that soon engineers and architects would inspect the house to determine if additional repairs are needed.

“I don’t know what activities will take place in the future, but they would be of interest to the whole county, not just Barnegat.”

Bartlett said the house will be the second historic site under the parks and recreation department auspices. The other is the Cedar Bridge Tavern, also located in Barnegat.

He said the county Cultural and Heritage Commission will perform an inventory of antique items.

“These are historical landmarks,” said Bartlett. “The Cox House will need a lot of work ... to be done before it reopens. These old homes require a lot of attention, and that is something the county will be able to do.”

— Eric Englund


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