Growing up in New Jersey, specifically Monmouth County, a common field trip my elementary school classes would make each year was to the Historic Village at Allaire. This was one of my personal favorite field trips I would go on. It is a town rich with history, an example of the impact of the Industrial Era in the United States. I knew that while I was in New Jersey visiting family, I wanted to revisit this historical town.
The Historic Village at Allaire was the home to Howell Iron Works in the 1830s. The Howell Iron Works Company was headed by James P. Allaire, a New York-born mechanic and businessman, who developed the first marine steam engine company in New York City. In the 1830s, Allaire purchased what is now the Historic Village at Allaire because of the amount of bog iron ore located on the property. Allaire’s goal was not only to build a company, but to build a completely independent community from the workers of the company. However, Allaire’s vision ended when his business closed down in 1846. The village continued to have residents, but was at one point abandoned. It became known as the “Deserted Village.”
The property had several uses while a deserted village. You can see it in several silent films from the 1900s through the 1920s, it was a Boy Scout camp, and at one point, training grounds during the Second World War. It wasn’t until the 1950s that an attempt to restore Allaire Village was made, which proved successful. The Village was restored and reopened in 1958.