The Lenni Lenape Indians are noted as the original settlers of current-day Old Bridge, until the mid-1600s when the Dutch and British began to settle in the area. In 1664 the region came under the control of the English, and by 1682 the boundaries were defined for the newly created Middlesex County.
Within the county, South Amboy Township was formed in 1684 and maintained its boundaries until 1869 when a portion was separated in order to establish Madison Township. The name Madison Township remained in use until 1975 when it was changed to the Township of Old Bridge.
Initially, the area was primarily comprised of farms. The Raritan River and Bay were heavily used for water transportation and commercial trading until the arrival of the railroad in the early- to mid-1800s. In addition to its economic draw, the area was a popular recreational destination and the host of various local outings.
These attractive features spurred a gradual growth in population, which stood at 1,662 in 1880 and slowly grew to 7,365 in 1950. It was not long after this that more and more interest in development came to Old Bridge. In just the one decade following 1950, the population surged to 22,772, and rose to well over 51,000 by 1980. Today, Old Bridge Township is recognized as the third-largest municipality in Middlesex County, one of the largest counties in the state. The town is home to nearly 66,000 residents (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008 Population Estimates) – and that growth is sure to continue.
The Madison Township Historical Society was formed in 1964 and remains dedicated to finding, preserving and interpreting the history of Old Bridge Township and the State of New Jersey. The historical society currently operates the Thomas Warne Museum & Library, which is available for group and private tours. For more information on the Madison Township Historical Society and its museum and library, visit www.thomas-warne-museum.com.