KEYPORT — The placard on the front of 34 Main Street declares that the wooden A-frame cottage was built in 1836, which counts it among some of the first homes built in Keyport after the Key Grove plantation was divided and sold at auction in 1829 and one of the oldest standing homes in the borough.
So, it’s fitting small cottage on Main Street, less that a block from downtown, is now the home of the Keyport Historical Society, and members are meeting for the first time in their new headquarters tonight.
“We just want to let people see, feel and touch the new home,” said Tom Gallo, a society member and past president.
The society had managed the Steamboat Dock Museum, once a ticket office at the foot of Broad Street. But the building was destroyed by the powerful storm surge of Hurricane Sandy. Many items in the society’s collection were lost in the storm. A lot of the collection was saved and it has been stored for three years in member homes, storage units and a large barn the society has rented behind 34 Main Street from the previous owner.
The meeting tonight will be a chance for members, and prospective members, to take a look around and start to brainstorm about what the currently barren rooms could display.
The home was purchased with a $323,000 grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Besides moving in the collection and getting exhibits ready for display, the society must frist make the home more accessible. There are plans to build a ramp into the home from the backyard and to expand the first floor bathroom.