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Little Silver's Parker Homestead to Open to Public This Month

The historic building will open to the public on Dec. 22.

Parker Homestead Committee member Keith Wells at recently discovered fireplace at Parker Homestead.
Parker Homestead Committee member Keith Wells at recently discovered fireplace at Parker Homestead.
By Christopher Sheldon

After surviving the Revolutionary War, Civil War and the countless storms that have battered the Jersey Shore for centuries, Little Silver's Parker Homestead is opening to the public this month.

The historic 1665 farmhouse, located at 235 Rumson Road, is being restored thanks to grants provided by Monmouth County and a group of borough residents.

The Parker Homestead Committee, a 501 c 3 not-for-profit corporation, is overseeing the restoration of the home and its outer buildings. The interior restoration began in early October and is expected to be complete in time for a open house on Dec. 22 from 1-4 p.m.

“We are so excited to see progress made in the preservation of one of our area’s most historic places,” said Bob Sickles, a descendant of the Parker family and preservation committee member.  “A 501 c3 will allow us to begin raising some serious funds to preserve this historical gem.”

The buildings on the property were built by Peter Parker and his descendants, starting in 1665, and the property remained in family hands for 330 years. In 1976 the Homestead was listed on the New Jersey State Historic Register and when Julia Parker died in 1995 she deeded the property to the borough. Parker stipulated that the home be preserved and used for historical and educational purposes, but did not leave funds for those purposes. 

Former Little Silver Mayor Suzy Castleman, who is now deceased, spearheaded an effort to manage the homestead property in 1995. The contents of the house were removed, the structure was stabilized, the exterior of the house was painted and the front porch was rebuilt.

In 2012, the Parker Homestead was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The county awarded a $250,000 grant for the stabilization and restoration of the three barns, which include a cow barn, horse barn and wagon barn the same year. A preservation grant for a partial interior restoration was awarded in 2013.

Sickles said he is also planning to host a farm-to-table dinner fundraiser next year either at Sickles Market, which is located near the homestead on land that was once part of the Parker Farm, or on the Parker Homestead property.

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