H olmdel H istorical S ociety

PO Box 282, Holmdel Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey 07733

Monmouth County's
Newest Historical Attraction Now Open!

Society members Peter Manieri, former president Gerry Ceres and his wife Rita, President George
Joynson, Community Relations Director Art Heath and former secretary Peg McEowen. Photo by Jim McEowen.

Dr. Robert W. Cooke's Medical Office

April 11, 2012
Dr. Cooke's Medical Office will be open to the public Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, and Sunday, May 6 from 12:00 - 5:00 pm, as part of Weekend in Old Monmouth Tour, part of Monmouth County Historical Commission. Free admission, free parking. Come and visit one of Monmouth's unique historical properties!

Dr. Cooke's Medical Office will be open to the public Saturday, April 30, 2011 from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, and Sunday, May 1 from 12:00 - 5:00 pm. Members will be on hand to lead tours and answer questions and show the medical instruments collection. Free of charge, part of Monmouth County Historical Commission's Weekend in Old Monmouth.

On January 18, 2011, the US Department of Parks approved Dr. Cooke's Medical Office Building to the National Registry of Historic Places!

September 30, 2010
The State Review Board voted all in favor. Dr. Cooke's Medical Office is now on the NJ State List of Historic Places. The nomination automatically gets forwarded to the National Parks Dept., for review on the National Register of Historic Places. Once they receive it, a decision will be made in 45 days.

July 26, 2010:
The Historic Preservation Office of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection notified us that the Nomination Packet application the society prepared for Dr. Cooke's Medical Office Building is scheduled for the State Review Board for Historic Sites at 10:00 am on Thursday, September 30, 2010.
The meeting is open to the public and held in the public hearing room on the first floor of the NJDEP Building at 401 East State Street in Trenton. Dr. Cooke's Medical Office was built ca. 1823, in Federal style architecture, and is unique as the oldest existing building built as a professional doctor's office.
Staff members of the NJ Historic Preservation Office have already reviewed and evaluated the information, maps, drawings, sketches, photographs and sources submitted by the Holmdel Historical Society for eligibility, technical completeness and substantive sufficiency.
The NJ State Review Board for Historic Sites consists of professionals in the fields of architecture, history, architectural history, archaeology and landscape architecture. If the application is passed by the State Review Board, the application is prepared for the signature by the State Historic Preservation Office. Then property is then listed in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, and is simultaneously recommended and sent to the National Park Service in Washington DC for consideration to the National Register of Historic Places. Established by Congress in 1935, the National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation's historic resources worthy of preservation.
Currently there are six Holmdel properties listed on the New Jersey Register and the National Register of Historic Properties. Dr. Cooke's would be unique as the oldest and only medical office in Monmouth County and New Jersey, and maybe the nation. Offered for more than a year with no applicants, the society has a standing $25 reward to disprove this claim.
Created in 1970, the New Jersey Register of Historic Places is the official list of New Jersey's historic resources of local, state and national interest. Inclusion on the list allows controlling organizations the opportunity to apply for matching grants and low-interest loans for rehabilitation and restoration through the New Jersey Historic Trust. Listing also provides a degree of review and protection from public encroachment, designed to prevent destruction or damage of historic resources.

February 2010:
The Holmdel Historical Society recently received a Certificate of Eligibility letter from the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, indicating that Dr. Cooke's Medical Office is eligible to be listed on the State and National Registry of Historic Places. On December 31, 2009, we submitted a completed Nomination Packet, including narratives, maps, and images.

Holmdel Historical Society is proud to present Dr. Robert W. Cooke's Medical Office open to the public for guided tours by appointment. Dr. Cooke (1797-1867) built his medical office in 1823, when Holmdel was still known as Baptisttown. His unique medical office was the first building to be used exclusively as a medical clinic.
It may be the oldest medical office in New Jersey. Dr. Cooke was also appointed the first postmaster of the first post office in Holmdel, a position he held for 19 years.

Members of the Society have been busy preparing the presentation. We have collected pictures and information on the construction of the building, researched the lives of Dr. Robert Cooke and his son Dr. Henry Cooke, the Cooke family tree, and located some of Dr. Cooke's medical and surgical instruments. Through an agreement with Monmouth County Historical Association, his instruments will be on display during the tours. Several of Dr. Cooke's direct descendants have also contributed to this project. The Society has mailed a preliminary application to the Department of the Environment, Historic Places Office, to include Dr. Cooke's on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Tours can be scheduled by emailing George Joynson or call 732-946-2743. The office is located at Village School, 67 McCampbell Road, Holmdel, New Jersey.

There is no charge for the tour but donations are greatly appreciated, as the Society is raising funds to restore another historic property in Holmdel. Members of Holmdel Historical Society volunteer their time and effort to make this available and the costs to maintain this project are paid for through your donations.
The Society will also have on display items available for purchase.

NOTE: there is no bathroom or other facilities in this building.
This building is in need of some repair. If you are willing to help out, please contact Holmdel Historical Society.
We are very excited to make this opportunity available!

Historical Background:
Doctor Robert Woodruff Cooke (1797-1867)
Dr. Robert Cooke Robert Woodruff Cooke was born in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey, on January 21, 1797. He was the son of Doctor Ambrose Ellis Cooke, a prominent physician of Somerset County, New Jersey. Robert studied medicine under his father's instruction. Robert W. Cooke went to New York City where he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons, then practiced under the guidance of Dr. Valentine Mott.
In 1823, Doctor R. W. Cooke bought 14 acres of land in Holmdel. The tract is now occupied by Village School on McCampbell Road. Dr. Cooke's medical office is unique because it was the first building constructed exclusively as a medical clinic.
In 1830, Doctor Cooke married Susan Gansevoort of Albany, New York. Their children were Henry G., Ambrose W., Susan and Robert W. Cooke, Jr. As his family grew, Dr. Cooke had the large house constructed adjacent to his office.
Dr. Cooke died December 27, 1867, at his home on McCampbell Road. His son, Dr. Henry G. Cooke, continued his practice. Dr. Cooke died without leaving a Last Will and Testament, but before he died, he gave 120 acres to his son Henry G., 183 acres to son Ambrose W., and 200 acres to son Robert W. Cooke, Jr.

Doctor Henry Gansevoort Cooke (1833-1919)
Dr. Henry Cooke Dr. Cooke's son, Henry G. Cooke was born February 3, 1833, at the Cooke residence in Holmdel, New Jersey. He entered Rutgers College in 1850 and graduated in 1853. He became a student of Doctor Willard Parker in New York City, and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1857. Dr. Henry Cooke practiced with his father in Holmdel until 1862, when he joined the Union Army, 29th Regiment, New Jersey Infantry Volunteers. He served as physician for nine months and was at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. As a volunteer surgeon, Dr. Henry Cooke also served at the conflicts at Wilderness and Cold Harbor. After the Civil War, Dr. Henry Cooke married Maria Cowdrey, daughter of lawyer Peter A. Cowdrey of New York. Their children were Sara, Maria, Robert, Henry, Edward and Susan Cooke. Dr. Henry Cooke continued his practice in the village of Holmdel until 1905 when he sold the village property. He died December 2, 1919.

* Photos of Dr. Robert Cooke and Dr. Henry Cooke are courtesy of descendant Greg Cooke. For more on Cooke ancestry, see Cookie Crumbs Ancestry.