The Heritage Park of Stafford Township stands as a reminder of yesteryear for the surrounding community. The park is on West Bay Ave, just west of Rt. 9 and across from the A Paul King Park which is on Manahawkin Lake.
1 Heritage Park.
Within the park is the rebuilt Old Stone Store which stands today in
the same place it did in the mid to late 1700s. Rt 9, formerly
Broadway, used to curve from the traffic light at Rt. 9 and Bay Ave. and
run straight in front of the store. When
Rt. 72 was put through, the coarse of Rt. 9 was changed and the store
no longer had a road but a 20 ft berm to open its doors up to. Also in the park is the Manahawkin Train Station which has been
moved from its original location at Letts and Stafford Ave. about where
Larry's Barber shop now stands. The insides have been refinished and
you can still see the many years of use scuffed into the floor. It will
hopefully be soon turned into a museum for Stafford.2 Heritage Park.The Manahawkin Train Station was moved in 1990 from its original
location at Letts and Stafford Ave., about where Larry's Barber shop now
stands, to it's present location in Heritage Park. The Historical
Society raised funds for the restoration of the historic building. The
insides have been refinished and you can still see the many years of use
scuffed into the floor.
In 1883 and 1884, the Pennsylvania Railroad built the first
railroad bridge from Manahawkin to Ship Bottom and the down to Beach
Haven and north to Barnegat City. This line connected with the
Tuckerton Railroad at Manahawkin where the Manahawkin Station was later
The Pennsylvania and Tuckerton Railroads ceased operations
around 1935 due to increased availability of automobiles and the loss of
the trestle bridge to Long Beach Island during a storm.The station is currently being used as an Information Center (funded by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce ) and museum for Stafford.Open on Saturdays, 10am to 2pm during the summer months.3 Manahawkin Railroad Station. Local historians say the building that became the general store was built in the mid-1700s by Reuben Randolph.
The date 1838 carved into the southeast corner stone marks the
year that the exterior was reinforced in stone by Benjamin Oliphant, who
had bought the mill complex and a large tract of land there.
The next owner was Michael Sprague, who operated the store
until 1888, using the enterprise's central location as a meeting place
for the township committee during his membership. The store was also
pressed into service as a recruiting station at the time of the Civil
In 1888 another Benjamin Oliphant took over. Customers came
and went until about 1901, say local residents. The building later
became a local residence.
The structure eventually declined into abandonment, then
vandalism and then a fire in 1964. It was finally taken down and all
the stones marked and moved to an Ocean County maintenance garage for
Since many stones were lost, the remaining stones were laid on
edge in order to have enough stones to complete the exterior. Originally
the stones were laid flat. The 1838 cornerstone was placed in its
original location. The reconstructed Old Stone Store, dedicated in
1979, stands as a reminder of Manahawkin's early commercial activity.
In April of 2000, the Historic Society purchased a heating/air
conditioner that was installed into the Old Stone Store to keep the
building at a constant temperature and help preserve the artifacts.
In July of 2002, due to the leaks of water and air, the
structure was reroofed with cedar shingles. The Township of Stafford
paid for the effort.
The Stafford Township Historical Society maintains the building
as the town museum. We hope to find volunteers who will staff the
museum so that it can be open year 'round.
4 Old Stone Store of Manahawkin.