Little Silver was established with a King’s Land Grant In 1663 and settled in 1667. The Town was incorporated as a Borough by an act of the New Jersey legislature On March 19, 1923, from portions of Shrewsbury Township, based on the results of a referendum held on April 28, 1923.
For thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans, native people, the Linni Lenape, used this land. In 1665, Peter Parker, of British descent, sailed from Rhode Island and built a small cabin along the Native American trail that passed from the sea to the back country now knows as Rumson Road.
Peter and his wife Sarah grew their own food to feed their three children. On cold winter nights, it is likely that their farm animals slept inside the cabin with them. Peter names his holdings ‘Little Silver’ after his father’s estate in Portsmouth, RI (which in turn was named after a farm near their original home in Devonshire, England). But, for many years, the area was known as Parkerville. The descendants of Peter lived in this home for eight generations (330 years). Their farm sustained them as they expanded their business into a successful apple and peach orchard.
In the 1800s Little Silver consisted mostly of farms, woods, and saltwater marshes. By 1878 much of our town was owned by John’s Lovett’s nursery business, the largest on the East Coast and resort hotels began to spring up on the scenic Little Silver Point peninsula. The iconic Little Silver train station was built in 1890. Horse-drawn carriages waited at the station to take passengers to their destinations. In the late 1890s, the construction of a dock for Patten Line steamboats at the end of the Point increased the volume of summer visitors.
In 1904 Little Silver was a community of approximately 825 people. Branch Avenue was a quiet dirt road dotted with farms and windmills. There were few commuters since practically everyone was self-employed or worked within the town. Many worked for Lovett’s Nursery. Residents owned pig farms, horse farms and vegetable farms. Other businesses included a restaurant, grocery store, blacksmith and print shop
After separating from Shrewsbury Township in 1923, Little Silver has remained a prosperous and vibrant community over the years. The farms and nurseries have almost all been replaced by housing today, but residents find that their shrubs and backyard garden grow beautifully on the fertile land. Over the years, many New York and northern New Jersey commuters have decided to make Little Silver their home, traveling by rail or auto to their jobs.
Today, Prospect Avenue is a true “Main Street” and it intersects with the charming shops in historic old houses that line Church Street. Specialty restaurants are also abundant in the downtown area. The location on the river makes Little Silver a popular destination for boaters and water sports enthusiasts with a public boat ramp at the Dominick F. Santelle Park off Riverview Avenue. 8% of the homes are on the Shrewsbury River, and another 35 % are along its stream corridors. Little Silver is known for its outstanding school system, and the beautifully restored railroad station is a national landmark.
At the time of our 100 th celebration in 2023 the population of Little Silver was just under 6000.