Address:10 East Lacey Rd., Forked River, 08731
Phone:(609) 693-8566
Fax:(609) 971-8973
Local History

The first settlers to Lacey were the Lenape Indians, who foraged along the bay for fish and shellfish. No white settlers arrived until the early eighteenth century. In the 1760s, the first house of worship, constructed by Thomas Potter, was established at Good Luck, and later became the birthplace of the Universalist Church of America. In 1809, John Lacey, a Revolutionary War general, built Ferrago Forge. For his contribution to the growth and importance of the area, the township was named for him when it was incorporated in 1871.

The beginning of the 19th century saw the decline of the lumber and bog ore industries, as resources were depleted. Fishing, oystering, and the pleasure resort trade became the major industries. Although less than 500 people lived in Lacey, the town had a number of large hotels: the Lafayette House, the Carman House (which later became Eno’s Riverside Hotel), the Blodgett House, and Parker House (which became the Greyhound Inn). All these hostelries are gone, except for the casino of Eno’s Hotel, which today is the Captain’s Inn. These hotels catered to tourists who came for boating, fishing, and hunting. Some local residents found jobs in these tourist-related occupations, but a number of employees were recruited elsewhere. Other areas of employment for residents centered around cutting ice on the Mill Pond, cutting salt hay in the meadows, farming, a bottling works, and boat building.

The township is still comprised of three areas: Forked River, Lanoka Harbor, and Bamber; but they no longer function as separate entities. Until the 1930s, each community had its own post office, school, school board, and railroad station isolated from each other by poor roads and distance. Bamber, located to the west of the Parkway, was served by the Tuckerton Railroad, while Forked River and Lanoka Harbor were serviced by the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

A group of Newark businessmen began the Barnegat Pines development, which subsequently brought new residents from central and north New Jersey, as well as Pennsylvania.

Lacey operates in the Township Form of government, one of the oldest forms in New Jersey. Laws governing the Township Form of government were last rewritten in 1989. Under the Township format, we have a five member Township Committee, where committee-people are elected in three year staggered terms. The Committee selects one of their own to be mayor for a one-year term.

Branch History

Library services in Lacey Township began in 1925, in the home of Julia B. Fouche. The location of this service changed many times in the next few years. Lillian Taylor was in charge in 1932 when the library was moved to a room in the original Forked River House Restaurant on Rte. 9 (which burned down in 1992). During 1934, Elsie Cornelius moved the collection to her home. Community Hall, on the corner of Rte. 9 and Lacey Rd., provided a room for the collection in 1936, with shelving built by WPA workers. When the library was moved to the Fire House on Station Drive in 1938, new shelving was purchased by the Neighborhood Club. May Baillie volunteered her services until January 1939, when the Township Committee agreed to put $75.00 in the budget to pay for the services of a librarian. Mrs. Cornelius was hired for that position in the early 1940s, and served in it until 1955.

 During the next twelve years, the collection continued to move many times. It went back to the Community Hall, moved into a room in the Post Office Building on Rte. 9 (across from the Forked River House), and then into a room in the Old Schoolhouse Museum around 1967. On September 1976, the Post Office was relocated to a new site on Lacey Rd, and the library occupied its former building on Rte. 9.

The Friends of the Lacey Library were organized in 1974. This group rapidly became an active advocate for the development of library service in the community. In December 1976, a contract was signed by the Lacey Township Committee, the Friends of the Lacey Library, and the Ocean County Library Commission, making the Lacey Library a branch of the Ocean County Library system.

In January 1977, hours were increased to 35 per week, and the staff included a branch librarian and two full-time library assistants. The library soon became overcrowded, and in 1982 the Township Committee (who owned the building) appropriated $120,000 for the expansion of the building. This addition doubled the size of the building, and included a complete renovation inside and out. Hours of service were increased to 44 per week.

 Demands for library service matched the growth in the area. By 1986, the library was open 50 hours per week. A Children’s Librarian was added to the staff in 1988, and hours of service were increased to 54 per week in 1990.

The Ocean County Library’s Master Plan, which was adopted in 1986, recommended a larger facility for Lacey Township. Insufficient parking space made an addition to the existing facility impractical. A new site was selected on East Lacey Road, near the intersection with Rte 9. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on May 1, 1991, and construction on a 9,942 square foot building began. The cost for the construction project was shared equally with the Ocean County Library and the Township of Lacey – once the building was complete, the Ocean County Library became totally responsible for the staffing, materials, and maintenance of the building and grounds. The grand opening of the new building was held on Sunday, October 18, 1992, and the public began checking out materials the next day. The hours were expanded to 58 per week.

In 2016, the Lacey Branch of the Ocean County Library celebrated its 40th anniversary as part of the Ocean County Library with an Alice in Wonderland theme: 40 years of Wonder. The branch is currently open 64 hours per week, and is served by 21 staff members.


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