New Project: #allentownnjlife
I’ve decided to take a page out of my friend Sabrina Henry’s portfolio, and start a new personal project.
I’m calling it #allentownnjlife.
For a while now, I’ve enjoyed Sabrina’s work to capture her little town of Steveston, British Columbia. She shares slices of small-town life while saying “The Village Life documents everyday life in Steveston and in doing so, reveals something truly special.”
I’d like to do the same for Allentown, NJ. We are a small community at the upper edge of Easter Monmouth County. The town was incorporated in 1889, though there is some debate about who founded it: Either a settler named Nathan Allen or for William Allen, who served as Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania and had a hunting lodge here.
Allentown has a quaint little downtown with a few small restaurants, a liquor store, a pharmacy, a dry cleaners, a bike shop/candy shop and a barbershop. It has a vape shop too. Progressive, in a way.
There are many historic homes, dating back to the 17 and 1800s, and other businesses, including those in the Old Mill like The Moth Coffeehouse, that lend character and commerce to this town.
Just off of Main Street (yes, it’s an honest-to-goodness named Main Street), you’ll find farm land: vegetables like soybean and corn, Christmas tree farms, sod farms and horse farms.
The older kids go to Allentown High School and the younger kids go to either Stonebridge Middle School or Newell Elementary. The latter is named for William Newell, former Governor of New Jersey and the one that started the U.S. Coast Guard. He was at Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. He died right there in his house, just off of Main Street and down the block from the school that bears his name. His final resting spot is across the street from the school, in the Allentown Presbyterian Churchyard.
With this new personal project, I’d like to document the day-to-day life of this little town. The people are fiercely proud of it, and many are trying to make a small-business go of it. We all stand on the backs and shoulders of the farmers in the area, though. I’m hoping to find out more about their lives and work through this project.
This is a long-term project. I don’t see an end date, but an on-going continuation to document this community.
I hope you’ll follow along this story!
(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016