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Toms River saw a huge population growth following the GSP opening in 1954

It’s a year long celebration. The 250th anniversary of Toms River. On Saturday April 29 at the Ocean County Library in Toms River will be another opportunity for you to learn more about the township’s rich history.

‘Toms River Talks’ is the name of the forum where you’ll hear from several long time township residents including Manny Hirshblond and Dave Johnson who will take us through a time portal to the 20th century.

Current township clerk and historian Mark Mutter says they’ll dive specifically into the Post-World War II Era.

“From the depression era to the World War II era to the post World War II era,” said Mutter. “Particularly from the perspective from the tremendous population boom that came to Toms River when the parkway opened in 1954.”

Mutter says if you break down the township’s history into two parts, it went from being a quiet little town to one filled with a growing population coinciding with the opening of the Garden State Parkway in 1954.

“In 1950 the census was 7,700 people,” said Mutter. “In 1960, it was 17,000 people…in 1970, it was 43,000 people.”

He says it’s amazing how the building of a roadway could have such a significant impact, “because of the automobile in our society, it really changed the nature of Toms River from that little village to one of the largest suburban communities in New Jersey,” said Mutter.

He says the opening of the Garden State Parkway, “really changed what Toms River was all about.”

250 students from the school district helped decorate the Christmas Tree downtown

The event on Saturday the 29 runs from 2-4 pm at the Ocean County Library Toms River branch and officials encourage you to RSVP ahead of time to reserve a seat.

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