HISTORY OF THE EDEN WOOLLEY HOUSE
Bordering the land of Potter and Drummond to the north and west is a section of the Township once referred to a Poplar so named because of the numerous poplar tree in the region. Poplar Road, now running through the heart of the section, was the site of the Woolley homestead. Emmanuel Woolley of Rhode Island purchased shares in Monmouth County in 1667. Although he never settled here, his sons were to make their homes on the land at Poplar.
Of the three Woolley sons, John ,was to become the patriarch in Ocean Township. Marrying Mercy Potter, daughter of Thomas, John Woolley began a family tree that has branches throughout the County.
As the family grew it was the custom to give the sons a portion of the land on which to establish their home and farm. Consequently, there were several Woolley homesteads.1
The Eden Woolley House is the only remaining "Woolley House" in the Township. The house was originally located at the corner of Deal Road and Route 35. The property remained in the Woolley family until 1926. In the 1700's, a one and a half story structure (the east end of the current house) was built by Thomas Woolley. In 1835 the property passed to Eden Woolley. He enlarged the house to its current size in the Greek Revival style to accommodate his family and to enhance his standing in the community.
In 1849, with the creation of Ocean Township, Eden Woolley became the first elected Councilman.
Reflecting the rural nature of the area, the house was part of a working farm for about 150 years. In 1939 the house became the estate home of the William Henderson family with manicured landscaping and tennis courts. It was during the Henderson era that the kitchen on the east end of the house was added and the restoration of the house was accomplished.
Today, the Eden Woolley House has been moved to the Ocean Township Library property, approximately 1100 feet from its original site and houses the Township of Ocean Historical Museum.
The Eden Woolley House is historically significant to the Township because:
- It was one of the first properties sold in the Township, 1697. It was built by original settlers.
- Its Greek Revival style dates to the 1830's.
- Eden Woolley was the first elected official from the newly formed Township in 1849.
- It represents the evolution of Monmouth County farms of the 18th and 19th century into gentleman farms of the 20th century.