History of the Bayonet Farm

Bayonet Farm

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Farm Functions

Throughout its existence, the Bayonet Farm residence has maintained its function as the homestead for a working agricultural farm while undergoing a physical evolution that transformed it from a humble farmhouse to a country estate. The main Bayonet Farm residence was built in the early 19th century when James McGee purchased the farm. Part of the house dates back to over 200 years ago and land titles go back to the original patent of 1677.

Purchasing the Farm

In 1936, Laura Harding bought the farm with approximately 60 acres of land. Miss Harding was born in Philadelphia and raised in Rumson. She had a brief career on the stage with the Berkshire Playhouse and the Theater Guild. She became close friends with Katherine Hepburn, who visited her often in Holmdel. She had a distinguished career of social service with MCOSS and served on the board of Riverview Hospital. She was active in efforts to preserve the rural aspect of Holmdel and was instrumental in Holmdel's acquisition of Cross Farm.

Selling the Farm

In 1985, Laura Harding sold a part of Bayonet Farm, which had by that time expanded through several land purchases to 140.86 acres, to the township for $1.6 million for purposes of recreation, health, horticulture, public and gardens to preserve and conserve open spaces, bird sanctuaries, arboretums, nature and equitation trails and to allow pasturing of farm animals and growing of farm crops.

State's Green Acres program

This property was purchased with funding assistance provided by the State's Green Acres program. Under the terms of the sale, Miss Harding retained life rights to the farm, where she continued to reside until her death in 1994. In addition, Laura Harding and her sister, Catherine Harding Tailer donated to the township another 90 acres of farmland across the road from Bayonet Farm with similar life rights.