A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

History: Keansburg Gateway, Palmer Avenue & State Route 35 (1926 - 1958)

With the opening of New Jersey State Highway 35 in the 1920s, tourists driving down from New York City to visit Bayshore beaches were soon taking the Palmer Avenue jughandle as the most direct route to Keansburg and its then-popular beach resort and amusements. Known as the "Keansburg Gateway," this intersection, which spawned numerous "Gateway" business names and even a small community, ironically was not even in Keansburg.

For a time, everything was at or near the Keansburg Gateway. Accidents happened, people lived and died in, businesses relocated to, and even school district maps began at the Keansburg Gateway. But when the Garden State Parkway opened in the 1950s, Exit 117 led beach goers onto State Highway 36 instead, leaving Palmer Avenue out of the picture. Also, Hurricane Donna wreaked havoc on the Bayshore in the mid-1950s. The last reference to the Keansburg Gateway that I could find was in 1958, when Middletown and Holmdel were arguing over whether to split 15% of the cost of a traffic light at the Palmer Avenue/Route 35 intersection. There were more important things for them to spend their money on, the politicians said, so the state paid 85% and the county picked up the remainder.

Palmer Avenue at Route 35 is that confusing intersection where the Target store is currently located. I remember the Middletown movie theater at that corner for many years. The property is up on a hill and has complicated entry and exit points. Cherry Farm Road only adds to the confusion at that intersection.

Below is a sampling of local news articles I found mentioning the Keansburg Gateway between 1926 and 1958. If you know of information specifically related to the origins of the gateway name and its demise, I'd be interested. Drop me a line or add a comment.


The 10 Sep 1926 edition of The Matawan Journal reported the arrest of a Holmdel man at Cherry Tree Farm, near the Keansburg Gateway on the state highway. The man paid a $20 fine, $5 in court costs, and another $200 fine, plus he lost his license for two years, all for driving under the influence.

The 30 May 1928 edition of The Red Bank Register (pg 22 col 4) reported an automobile accident at the Keansburg Gateway.

The 16 Oct 1929 edition of The Red Bank Register included an advertisement for a tradesman's shop called Bergman's, which would henceforth be located at the State Highway and Palmer Avenue, the so-called Keansburg Gateway. Bergman's offered "new and second hand lumber and mill work," "plumbing and roofing," and "sheetrock and paints."

The 17 Jan 1935 edition of The Red Bank Register included reporting on the Middletown Village Civic Association, which said the Keansburg Gateway section of Middletown Township would now be included in the 5 cent bus fare zone.

The 28 May 1936 edition of The Red Bank Register reported a serious car accident that took place on Palmer Avenue near the Keansburg Gateway.

The 29 Jan 1942 edition of The Red Bank Register (pg 12 col 3) provided the precise bounds of Middletown Township School District's No 1, No 2 and No 3.  Keansburg Gateway was the starting and ending point for the description of District No 1.

Helen Miller ran a tropical fish store on Route 35 near the Keansburg Gateway, according to an ad in the 9 May 1946 edition of The Red Bank Register. She also had an ad on pg 29 of the 29 Jan 1942 edition (below) and ads on pp 8 and 15 of the 30 Nov 1944 edition.

An obituary in the 20 Feb 1947 edition of The Matawan Journal reported that Mrs Anthony Granata, of Keansburg Gateway Road in Middletown, had recently lost her mother.

The 29 Dec 1949 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 6 col 1) identified members of an upcoming petit jury, including Nadie G Stampler, of Keansburg Gateway.

The 12 May 1955 edition of The Matawan Journal mentioned the opening of the Bowl-o-Drome in Middletown near the Keansburg Gateway. (See History: Bowling in Keyport (1954-1955) in this blog for details.)
The 17 Jul 1958 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1 col 3) reported that Holmdel and Middletown couldn't agree to a deal with the State of New Jersey on the installation of a traffic light at the corner of Palmer Avenue and Route 35, even when the two municipalities would be only paying 15% of the cost -- $375 each. The intersection, known as the Keansburg Gateway, would mostly benefit Keansburg, but the traffic light was not in its jurisdiction and Holmdel and Middletown had better things to do with their money. Monmouth County finally stepped in and funded the light.


Post a Comment