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Middlesex County's past mixes evolution, revolution and innovation

East Jersey Old Town Village is a collection of original, replica and reconstructed 18th- and 19th-century structures, tools and artifacts. They help illustrate the farm and merchant communities once found in central New Jersey.

Middlesex County has such a rich and storied past that it is very likely that something that occurred or originated in Middlesex County has touched the life of almost every person on the planet. While only 318 square miles in size, the County has left a huge footprint on history.
 
Just a few examples:
  • A partial feather, constituting the oldest known fossil record of a terrestrial bird in North America, was discovered in Sayreville amber deposits. 
  • Deinosuchus, 33- to 40-foot crocodiles, hunted their prey in Sayreville and Old Bridge during the Cretaceous Period.
  • The Band-aid, the forerunner to modern baby formula, the first known antibiotics, and duct tape were developed here.
  • Thomas A. Edison obtained over 300 patents, including ones for the phonograph and the incandescent light bulb, while working in his Menlo Park laboratory.
The Lenni Lenape, the first known human inhabitants of Middlesex County, developed an extensive system of trails that eventually established wagon roads and even some of our current roads. That early road system developed into one of the largest transportation networks in the nation. Nearly every major north-south rail and roadway on the East Coast passes through Middlesex County.
 
Located strategically along the Raritan River and between New York and Philadelphia, the County developed into a thriving trading and port hub for early colonists. It also played an important role in the American Revolution, as troops from both sides camped here. In fact, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and a number of other patriots stayed here.
 
As the industrial age hit, Johnson & Johnson, a leading health care and personal products corporation, established its world headquarters here in 1886. J&J remains an active partner in the Middlesex County community, underwriting educational and recreational programs for our citizens.
 
Middlesex County is the home of the first Vocational-Technical School System in the Nation (New Brunswick, 1914) and the first County College in the State (Edison, 1964).
 
There are chapters of history to uncover and explore right here in Middlesex County.
 
You May Also Be Interested In:
 
Related Links:  

Middlesex County Office of Culture and Heritage ​
The Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park (Edison)
Great Beds Lighthouse (Raritan Bay off the South Amboy shore)
Proprietary House (The Residence of the last Royal Governor loyal to the British Crown)
Metlar-Bodine House Museum (Historical Museum of Piscataway Township)
Sayreville Historical Society
South River Historical and Preservation Society
Buccleuch Mansion (New Brunswick)
New Jersey Historical Commission

 

 

 

 

 Middlesex County Office of Culture and Heritage

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