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10 Incredible Things You Didn't Know About the Highlands

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10 Incredible Things You Didn't Know About the Highlands

Jonathan "Jon" Bowen

I have lived in Monmouth County a majority of my life.  Growing up in Freehold until attending Monmouth University, and then living my adult year...

I have lived in Monmouth County a majority of my life.  Growing up in Freehold until attending Monmouth University, and then living my adult year...

Oct 19 3 minutes read


1.  Giovanni de Verrazano was the first to explore the Highlands almost 500 years ago in 1525.  For the next few centuries the Highlands would welcome English and Dutch settlers coming to the area via water.


2.  The Highlands leads up to Mount Mitchill which is the highest point above sea level on the United States Eastern Sea Board at 260 feet above sea level, and 248 feet above the Highlands.


3.  Henry Hudson sailed to the area via the Sandy Hook Bay and over the next hundred years the land we know as the Highlands changed names from “Rensselaer's Hoeck” to “Portland Poynt” after different trade deals between the Native Americans and Dutch.


4.  Richard Hartshorne came to the area in 1677 and purchased the land we recognize as the Highlands and Sandy Hook and his family became the first permanent settlers of the land.  


5.  Joshua Huddy was a part of the Monmouth Continental Militia and pursued refugees in the Highlands area.  Most people will recognize a street today with his last name, as well as Gravelly Point Road where Huddy was captured as a prisoner and allowed to write his will.


6.  Years later in 1796, the first hotel was built in the Highlands with many to follow.  This is the time period where tourism began to grow and new homes were built as the population of residents began to grow.


7.  In the 1860s and 1870s there was a railroad built on Sandy Hook, a ferry service to take people back and forth from Highlands to Sandy Hook, and the Sandy Hook Bridge was also built.


8.  The Twin Lights Tower was the first place where experiments with radar were held before WWII and the experiments were successful enough that the government began using radar for navigation and ceased using the Twin Lights Tower for that same purpose.


9.  By 1920, alcohol was prohibited in the Highlands and rum-running became common practice as the Highlands became the main port for the illegal trade.


10.  Notable people who resided in the Highlands include Gertrude Ederle (first women to swim across the English Channel), Kevin Smith (famous movie producer), and Frankie Montecalvo (famous racecar driver)

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