In the late 1950’s, the town of New Egypt lost their local farmers market. Esler (Les) Heller had just returned from serving in the Navy and noticed that the vendors were looking for a new market. It was then that Mr. Heller decided to use the land near his home as a new venue for livestock auctions and produce sales. Soon after opening his new market in 1959, Mr. Heller added tables for second hand and antique sales and The New Egypt Flea Market Village was alive and thriving.
In the late sixties, Mr. Heller began bringing in buildings. One by one they arrived from towns throughout central and southern New Jersey. Many of the buildings were destined for demolition, but he preserved them by bringing them into the market and giving them a new purpose. He laid them out in a village setting with dirt roads. The last of the buildings arrived in the mid 1970’s and nearly all the buildings are still standing today.
Next door to building 39, you’ll find the oldest school house from a nearby town. A century ago, its one room taught reading, writing and arithmetic. Now, as Glen’s Hut, it’s spent nearly two decades housing Southwestern American treasures and other historical items.
Unusual colors are typical here at the market. Towards the end of the front road stand three old officer’s quarters, also purchased from Fort Dix. One, a baby blue with cedar shakes, is home to Everything Under the Sun and Moon. It’s neighbor, a pastel pink, is the home of the Poetry & Arts Barn, which hosts poetry readings and writing groups.
In total, there’s more than forty historical buildings in the New Egypt Flea Market Village and even more unique shops. The next time you’re driving down RT 537 Monmouth Rd., stop in and take a walk through history. The market is open every Wednesday and Sunday, year-round from 8 am to 2 pm.
The New Egypt Flea Market Village is open every Wednesday and Sunday from 8 am to 2pm, year-round, rain or shine. We’re one of the last of the old-time markets featuring 40+ buildings each an independently run shop, plus plenty of table vendors with everything from antiques, vintage toys, furniture, handcrafted goods, homemade jams and jellies, great bargains on new items, and thrifty second-hand finds. - Written by Ann Kestner.