On the Market: Bruce Springsteen’s Childhood Home in Freehold


An image from the “Born in the U.S.A.” lyric sheet. Springsteen is leaning against a tree outside 39 Institute Street. (Photo via realtor.com)


“No hot water, four tiny rooms, four blocks away from my grandparents. … I was roaring with anger and loss and every chance I got, I returned to stay with my grandparents. It was my true home.” – Bruce Springsteen, from his memoir “Born to Run”

From age 5 until he began his high school years (1955-1962), Bruce Springsteen lived with his family at 39 1/2 Institute Street in Freehold. If a pending deal goes through, that storied home built in 1905 will have a new owner.

The 736-square-foot home was originally listed in November 2017 for $269,900. “It’s getting a lot of activity,” realtor Barbara Conti told Asbury Park Press soon after the house went on the market. “It’s more investors who are interested because it’s a two-family home.”

39 Institute Street in Freehold (Photo via realtor.com)

In his autobiography “Born to Run,” Springsteen recalled his frustrations with the cramped living conditions. “No hot water, four tiny rooms, four blocks away from my grandparents,” he wrote. “… I was roaring with anger and loss and every chance I got, I returned to stay with my grandparents. It was my true home.”

Springsteen devotees may recall the photo of the Boss standing next to the tree at 39 Institute that appeared in the lyric sheet of his 1984 album “Born in the U.S.A.”

“It’s been upgraded over the years, as far as the mechanics and the siding, but inside it’s still little rooms, little closets — different times, when a woman had a couple dresses and a man had maybe one suit,” Conti described. “It’s adequate. It’s functionally obsolete, though.”

In addition to the Institute Street home, the Springsteens also lived in two other Freehold homes: 68 South Street as well as 87 Randolph Street (near St. Rose of Lima Church), which is no longer standing.

The town of Freehold has played a vital role in Springsteen’s writing.

“I would come back and visit these streets many, many times, rolling through them on sunny fall afternoons, on winter nights and in the deserted after-hours of summer evenings, out for a drive in my car,” Springsteen wrote in his memoir. “I would roll down Main Street after midnight watching, waiting, for something to change. I would stare into the warmly lit rooms of the homes I passed, wondering which one was mine.”