What's in a Name?

Welcome to Historic Jamesburg       When one mentions the word 'Jamesburg,' several things come to mind. Some mention the State Home for the Boys in 'Jamesburg,' others think of exit 8A on the New Jersey Turnpike. When you ask someone from Monroe Township, 'Jamesburg' is the donut hole of Monroe. If you ask a resident from a planned retirement community, you will hear Mendoker's Bakery or Fiddleheads Restaurant...and now even Dunkin' Donuts, further providing proof that Jamesburg is the donut hole of Monroe Township! Ask a young boy riding his bike on Front Street and he will simply reply that Jamesburg is "home." To each person this is what Jamesburg is to them whether they are a traveller, business owner, or resident. Yet, there is more to Jamesburg than these phrases that convey what Jamesburg is known as from landmarks and geography. The true Jamesburg is something more than a dot on a map...literally.

      The Borough of Jamesburg may only be 0.9 square miles, one of the smallest municipalities in Middlesex County, yet the Borough seems as if it was one million strong. Jamesburg is a community unlike any other, with many volunteers willing to help in a heartbeat. This fall has brought out some of the very best in our community. Attending the scarecrow building contest and annual pumpkin festival were reminders that Jamesburg is a community steeped in tradition. Families, friends, business owners, Borough officials, and even school administrators take time away from their families to provide the family of Jamesburg with special events that are free for all to enjoy.

      Over the summer Mayor Tony LaMantia made it his quest to raise money for the after school activities and middle school sports programs so that our children would have a place to stay and be involved with their peers after school. The Board of Education unfortunately could not afford these programs. Over the past two years, the Jamesburg PTA has been able to pick up the tab of over $20,000. However, the PTA could not raise as much money this past year leaving them unable to foot the bill. In response, the Mayor wrote to various businesses in Jamesburg and Monroe requesting donations. The response was unbelieveable - money began coming in from individuals in Jamesburg, Monroe Township, and businesses small and large. Even parents spent afternoons on the weekend collecting change from drivers at the Borough's traffic lights. Thankfully, enough money was raised to pay for the fall soccer program and money is still being collected for the basketball program.

      The Jamesburg Area Chamber of Commerce is another group that made a strong appearance this fall. Sponsoring a fall town-wide yard sale and a scarecrow decorating contest, these events brought the community together and stregthened bonds between residents and businesses. The Jamesburg Civic Association held a Clam Bake, the annual circus, a Taste of Italy, and helped put together a spectacular fireworks celebration - all in one summer! The crowds at all of these events benefitted from the atmosphere and positive attitudes of a safe community.

      Another form of teamwork that is not always visible is the work of the Jamesburg Historical Association. For the past twenty five years they have been entrusted in the care of Lakeview Mansion. The original section of this twenty three room mansion dates to 1685. They have worked hard to maintain the structure and educate the public about the importance of this mansion and the man who left behind a legacy. Consisting of entirely volunteers, they host events all year long, continuing the traditions Mr. Buckelew left behind. However, over the past ten years, interest in the mansion has declined. Only this year has enthusiasm been sparked but it seems like it is becoming too late. The mansion is in desperate need of repairs to the foundation, roof, and structural condition of the house. Slowly the group has been working towards its goal but they need help.

      Another group in need of help is the Jamesburg First Aid Squad. With a small active membership they are not always able to respond to local calls. This year, a new ambulance was obtained through a state grant thanks to the State Assembly. However, what good is an ambulance without a driver?

      These are only a sampling of the groups in Jamesburg that are working for the better. If you are new to Jamesburg or have not been involved lately, you are always welcome to join a group, attend a meeting, and become part of the Jamesburg family. Below are a listing of some meetings, groups, and associations in Jamesburg that any citizen is free to attend.

  • Jamesburg Borough Council ~ Second and Fourth Wednesday of Every Month @ 7:00 P.M.: 732-521-2222
  • Jamesburg Board of Education ~ Second and Fourth Thursday of Every Month @ 7:30 P.M.: 732-521-2134
  • Jamesburg Parent-Teacher Association ~ Third Wednesday of Every Month @ 7:30 P.M.: 732-521-0303
  • Jamesburg Historical Association ~ First Wednesday of the Month @ 7:30 P.M.: 732-521-2040
  • Jamesburg Civic Association ~ First Wednesday of the Month @ 7:00 P.M.: 732-521-0580
  • Jamesburg High School Alumni Association ~ Second Thursday of the Month @ 7:00 P.M.: 732-521-1102

          Consider joining a group or association in Jamesburg if you have not already. If you have, consider joining another if you have the time. The success of any town is based solely upon the participation of its residents. Looking back, Jamesburg is pretty lucky to have a wonderful volunteer base. However, I challenge each and every one of its residents to join at least one new group this fall/winter. If a group is not for you, stop in at the Jamesburg Public Library, use one of our parks, or join the recreation program. Help define that Front Street child's definition of "home." Whenever a group or family in Jamesburg is in need, the residents of this community are always there to help each other. No matter the tragedy or problem, there is always a friend in Jamesburg and this my friend, is what is in the name Jamesburg.

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