Formally Rename Section of Town 'Hobbstown'

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We, the community of the Hobbstown Section of Bridgewater, NJ have been hoping and praying to finally have "Hobbstown" recognized and officially replacing the unfitting name "Somerville Manor" given by Bridgewater Township over a century ago.
Growing up in Hobbstown as a little girl, I was always proud to announce that I was from Hobbstown, even if the response would be "Hobbstown, where is that?" I know I'm not alone when I say I've always hated that sign in "Hobbstown Park" that reads "Somerville Manor" and I would say "we have to do something about this sign, this is NOT Somerville, this is Hobbstown! :-)
Hobbstown has always been a close, tight knit, family oriented community. Our Ancestors put their blood sweat & tears into building this small African American community. The homes, they built by hand, some of which still stand strong today.
It would be an honor to the Hobbs Family, as well as the Millers, Williams, Stackhouse, Tukes, Bryant's, and all the descendants of the great men who settled in, founded, and built Hobbstown, to officially and respectfully rename our hometown "Hobbstown" !


BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A part of Bridgewater Township may be getting a new official name in the near future.

The Bridgewater council discussed the possibility of formally renaming Somerville Manor to its more well-known appellation of Hobbstown.

The town’s governing body said it was interested in renaming the portion of Bridgewater located between Monmouth and Sussex avenues, near the post office, in honor of the Hobbs family, who will celebrate 100 years in Bridgewater in 2020.

Council president Christine Henderson Rose asked her colleagues what their thoughts were on the matter.

Council vice president Matthew Moench said that when one speaks about Hobbstown, people know what area they are talking about. 

“It makes sense to commemorate it by re-naming it (formally),” he said, but cautioned that perhaps residents in the area should be asked first.

Councilman Howard Norgalis agreed, and said he believes the township should get a “sound bite” from the residents. He also said he would like to see a map, and added that if the area had been identified by an ordinance, then that ordinance would need to be changed.

 Rose said that perhaps the measure could be put back on the council agenda, for its second meeting in July.

Norgalis suggested not surprising anyone with a potential name change. Moench wondered if people even knew, and Councilman Allen Kurdyla said he had personally always known the area as Hobbstown.

“The Hobbs family has been influential to Bridgewater in that part of town,” said Kurdyla, who said he has never heard it referred to as Somerville Manor.

Rose said there is an actual sign detailing the area as Somerville Manor, and she asked deputy township attorney Chris Corsini to handle the logistics of getting the word out to area residents of a possible name change.

The historical story of Hobbstown and its relationship to Bridgewater is actually featured in the book “Hobbstown: The Forgotten Legacy of a Unique African-American Community”, written by Cindy Williams Newsome and available at

Individuals wishing to comment on the potential re-naming of Somerville Manor can email the clerk’s office at 

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