Educational & Cultural Center
Hwy. 77 PO Box 5041
Seabrook, NJ 08302
do the J.A.C.L., Chow Mein Dinners, and the Buddhist Church
all have in common? They all were brought to this area by a
man named Charles Franklin Seabrook. Mr. Seabrook founded
and owned Seabrook Brothers and Sons, which is a frozen food
industry who needed workers to keep his industry going.
The Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor during the time of World War II in December of 1941
made the Americans fear that the Japanese-American
population would also turn against the United States.
Because of this, President Franklin Roosevelt signed
Executive Order 9006 that allowed 110,000 Japanese Americans
to be considered "enemy aliens" and to be moved
into internment camps away from their home on the West
(Pacific) Coast. These individuals were given one week to
pack and be evacuated to ten different, overcrowded
internment camps around the country.
barred in these camps, farms around the country were in need
of workers. One of these was Seabrook Farms. Because of
this, small groups were allowed to leave the camps and work
at these farms. Later the government established a seasonal
In 1945, the government
closed the ten camps and relocated anyone one who didn't
have an offer to work anywhere except the West Coast. Many
of these decided to work for Charles Seabrook.
Seabrook granted the new
coming workers some pay and a place to live. This is where
the Hoover village came in. These prefabricated homes were
constructed by Seabrook to house these employees. On the
other hand, an increase in the Buddhist religion occurred.
For this reason, Seabrook also set up a Buddhist Temple for
After years at the Seabrook
Company, many have moved on into different areas in the U.S.
For the ones who have stayed in Upper Deerfield, the
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) has formed and
sponsors community-wide events such as the annual Chow Mein
Dinner held at Woodruff School.
in 1993, a reunion was held, and people from throughout the
country flew here to reunite with each other. The Moore
School auditorium was packed for this very special occasion.
In October 1994, a big
accomplishment was completed whereby future generations can
learn the history of Upper Deerfield. This feat was the
dedication of the Seabrook Educational and Cultural
Center." This is a museum that explains the story of
Charles Seabrook and how he made this township what it is
today. It is located inside the basement of the Municipal
Building and is open for the public to enjoy. Inside, models
of the old Seabrook Factory and water tower are displayed.
Also, there is a very detailed exhibit of a three
dimensional map of Upper Deerfield. October 1998 marks the
fourth anniversary of the opening of the museum.
The Mission and
the Goals of the SECC:
- Establish a permanent
SEABROOK EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER to preserve and
present the settlement and experience of the diverse
- Create a repository of
cultural and historical materials to promote education
and research in Seabrook multi-cultural heritage
- Foster greater
understanding among people of diverse cultural
The Focus of the
Exhibits at the SECC:
exhibits depict the settlement history of Seabrook and
community life, particularly of the 1940's and 1950's, when
the community was most vibrant. The exhibits focus on three
major areas and their interaction:
- Seabrook Farms Company -
the company and its historical role in settlement and
- People - the various
ethnic groups who settled and/or worked in Seabrook.
- Community Life - the major
social and cultural organizations that fostered
community activity as well as the representative and
significant events of village life.
Types of Displays:
- Large-scale model of
Seabrook Village of the 1950's
- Exhibits of cultural
- Photograph collections of
settlement, workplace, and community life in the village
- Published and recorded
material about Seabrook from print and electronic media
- Oral histories reflecting
the settlement and the experience of Seabrook life