Over the years I have seen and studied many maps and plans depicting the proposed route(s) of the Somerset Freeway - the missing link of Interstate 95 through central New Jersey. None are as peculiar as the map I presented in yesterday's blog.
Peculiar because of the way the route of the proposed highway narrowly skirts the border of Montgomery Township, careful to stay completely within Hillsborough and Franklin townships as it bisects Somerset County.
The map appears on the back cover of "Living in Somerset County", a thirty-two page booklet published in 1974. The book contains descriptions of everything that makes living here great - today and thirty-five years ago - including profiles of all the municipalities. There is extensive information about all of the school districts. For example, Hillsborough's per pupil expenditure in 1974 was $824.99, and a teacher's starting salary was $8400!
Today, the book reads like a fascinating encyclopedia of an often overlooked period in Somerset County's history. In 1974 it probably read like what it really was - a sales pitch.
"Living in Somerset County" was published by Claudia Condo Pascale, Realtor - with research by Beverly L. Perkins, her Director of Public Relations.
Born in Raritan and living in Bridgewater since 1963, Ms. Pascale was one of Somerset County's most notable Realtors of the last fifty years. She was the first woman to be president of the Somerset County Board of Realtors, the chairman of the Arbitration Committee of the Hunterdon-Somerset Association of Realtors, and the first Realtor in New Jersey to receive a designation as a Certified Residential Realtor from the National Association of Realtors.
So what about the map? Is there a sales advantage to showing the proposed Interstate 95 as traversing only Hillsborough and Franklin - and avoiding Montgomery? And is this supposed to help sales in Hillsborough? Montgomery?
Sadly, Ms. Pascale passed away on December 3, 2008 at the age of 92, so we may never know the answer for sure.