The Birth of the Howell Heritage and Historical Society (HHHS)
In February of 2019, word started to spread that the future of the MacKenzie Museum and Library on Lakewood-Farmingdale Road in Howell was in jeopardy of being torn down. A small group of historical enthusiasts knew the “MacKenzie House”, the home of the Museum and Library, had to be saved. They started attending Howell Township Council Meetings to gather information and plead the case of the MacKenzie House.
In order for the group to have any chance of owning the MacKenzie House, they would have to become incorporated and a 501(c)3 organization. On February 24, 2020, HHHS received the deed for the MacKenzie Museum and Library property from Howell Township.
On September 14, 2021 Howell Township Council passed an ordinance leasing the land under the Ardena Schoolhouse to the Howell Heritage and Historical Society. They were now in full possession of two major historic properties in Howell.
The mission of Howell Heritage and Historical Society is to collect and preserve materials related to Howell Township’s cultural and historical heritage; to provide the Howell Township residents and the public at large, accessibility to materials, displays and buildings that highlight the historical significance of Howell Township, and to promote the study of local and regional history through educational programs and events.
The Howell Heritage and Historical Society meets the 4th Friday of each month (except November & December) 7pm at Ardena Baptist Church Gym, 593 Adelphia Rd, Howell. The meetings feature various talks and presentations, and are open to anyone with an interest in the history of the Howell area.
HOWELL HERITAGE AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY BUSINESS PLAN
There are many towns that have historical societies and even historic houses available for tours and visitation, but the thing that makes us unique is the historical significance of, not only our buildings, but also the historical contributions of the Prickitt family. They owned and operated the gristmill, sawmill, a dairy farm, a cannery where they canned and bottled their surplus crops, and lived on the Gilman Farm where the MacKenzie Museum is located. In summer, they had an art school taught by renowned artist Corwin Knapp Linson.
Capt. William A. Prickitt was attached to Co. G, 25th Regiment United States Colored Troops during the Civil War and credited his men with saving him during a life-threatening illness. He respected them so much that he carried a 2-inch, leather pocket photo album with photos of 17 men, identified by name. His family passed the album down generation after generation with the story of the Civil War soldiers for 150 years until it was realized that it was not only a family treasure but also a national treasure. The little album is now in the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Capt. Prickitt was mustered out December 1865, when he came home and engaged in the banking and insurance business in Trenton, NJ. Then, he went to New York and became a member of the Stock Exchange.
In 1873, Capt. Prickitt obtained an interest in 3 tracts of land in Howell Township known as the Gilman Farm that included a gristmill and dwelling house (current MacKenzie Museum). In 1876 Capt. Prickitt retired to the farm. His dairy on Gilman Farm had a reputation of long-standing for the quality of its milk and for the extreme cleanliness which characterized its service to customers. In 1887 Capt. Prickitt invested in the facilities for canning. The care which was used in every branch of the business paid well, for Gilman Farm canned goods were quoted high in the wholesale catalogues. In November 1897, Capt. Prickitt of Lower Squankum received an appointment as United States Consul to Rheims, France where he represented the U.S. for many years. Then, he was promoted and transferred to Auckland, New Zealand, where he was located as Consul General. The two assignments lasted 20 years. During that time Gilman Farm was operated by Prickitt’s daughter and son-in-law, Franklin and Jennie Patterson, and maintained the same quality and reputation as was set by Capt. Prickitt.
The activities of Howell Heritage and Historical Society will be conducted in Howell Township, as well as other locations in Monmouth County, and, occasionally, elsewhere in the State of New Jersey, if an event meets the criteria for participation held by HHHS.
10 monthly meetings, including planned programs
Repairing and opening the Ardena One-Room Schoolhouse for tours and visitation
Repairing and opening the MacKenzie Museum and Library for tours, genealogy research, general local history research, programs, and events
Participation in Monmouth County Archives Day
Participation in Spirit of the Jerseys History Fair
Shared programs with other historical societies
Participation in Patterson Family Fun Day (spring and fall)
National Night Out
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The following Board of Directors will take responsibility for the day to day functions of HHHS. A Nominating Committee will be appointed in August, the slate of officers will be presented in September and election will take place in October. There will be no meetings during November and December, so officers will be installed and take their positions at the January meeting.
• President – Robert Novak
• Vice Pres. – Ann Malsbury
• Secretary – Anne Hartman
• Treasurer – Leigh Shaffer
• Trustee – Cathy McKee
• Trustee – Ellen McGirr
• Trustee – Lynn Barrall
There are currently 28 Lifetime members and 26 yearly members for 2022.
Most members of Howell Heritage and Historical Society have been involved with other community groups; have experience presenting historic programs; have experience networking with other historical groups; and/or have been involved with fund-raising for other causes.
HHHS will have no employees. Everything will be done by a group of very committed volunteers.
HHHS has been researching and applying for grants for the types of work that need to be done by professional contractors. Since many grants require matching funds, it is necessary for us to concentrate on two specific areas: fund-raising for matching funds; and donations of labor and materials for repairs and maintenance of buildings.
Ways of accomplishing these goals:
Donations in honor or memory of someone
Sponsoring a project or supplies such as: paint, cleaning supplies, labor, etc.
Donations of goods to sell at other functions
Monthly newsletters to members and friends of HHHS
Publicize a needs list on social media and at events, listing specific needs with anticipated costs
Participate in public events to meet people in the community, network with other organizations, gain exposure, publicize the activities of the organization and share information on what has been accomplished
The Howell Times (www.jerseyshoreonline.com)
The Tri-Town News (www.centraljersey.com)
Howell Heritage and Historical Society NJ
MacKenzie Museum and Library NJ
Old Ardena Schoolhouse No. 2 NJ
Howell Happenings NJ
postal mailing address -
Howell Heritage & Historical Society
2 Ardmore Road
Freehold, NJ 07728
Howell Township Council Meetings – can be seen online, on YouTube, on Fios TV