The Thomas Edison National Historical Park
211 Main Street
West Orange, NJ 07052
Open: Sunday 10:00am-4:00pm/Closed Monday-Tuesday/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm
Note: There are renovations going on at the site so please call ahead to check on hours and fees.
The Thomas Edison National Historical Park, Laboratory Complex and Glenmont home are a step back in time when machines were run by belts and pulleys and music was played on phonographs. Where to the passerby, the buildings betray little evidence of the industries they once started. Discover where America’s greatest inventor changed our world forever.
The Laboratory site Complex contains:
- Visitor Center (Restrooms & Gift shop)
- Chemistry Laboratory
- Chemical Storage and Pattern Shop
- Metallurgical Laboratory
- Main Laboratory
- Blacksmith Shop
- Building 11
- Vault 12
- Black Maria
- Water Tower
- Vault 32
- Vault 33
- Building 35 (Maintenance Facility)
The Laboratory Complex is open Wednesday through Sunday. The Glenmont Estate is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Glenmont tickers are limited and are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis from the Laboratory Visitor Center. Please call for specific hours.
Entrance Fee-$10 (Under 16 years old free)
Optional Laboratory Audio Tour-$5
Park Annual Pass-$40
Inter-agency Passes Accepted
Group Reservations: Call 973-736-0550 ext. 33
Filming and Photography: Call 973-736-0550 ext. 50
Corporate Events: Call 973-736-0550 ext. 50
For more Information: http://www.nps.gov/edis (973) 736-0550 ext. 11
Calendar of Events: http://www.nps.gov/edis/planyourvisit/events/htm
*Thomas Edison National Historical Park Facebook.
Directions to Glenmont:
*Please respect the privacy of our neighbors by driving directly to and from Glenmont.
Directions to Glenmont:
*Put your pass on the dashboard of your car
*Right out of the parking lot
*Right at the first light and stop at the gatehouse
*Go up Park Way
*Right onto Glen Avenue
*Left onto Honeysuckle Road
*Right into paved parking lot
*Tour begins in front of the home
*Restrooms located in Potting Shed/Visitor Center
*Information is taken from National Park Service, US Department of the Interior, Thomas Edison National Historical Park, West Orange, New Jersey.
My review on TripAdvisor:
I had visited the Laboratories of Thomas Edison and it is very interesting to tour the floors of inventions. There are very innovative items that I never knew he invented, things like talking dolls and many household items for the kitchen and home.
Another room they showed was his private office where he did most of his personal work and spent his sleeping hours when working at the laboratory. Each of the rooms show how and at what stages of the invention process that each object.
Glenmont, the family home, can be a musty place in the colder months. The house smells like it is old. It needed a good airing out. The period furniture are very interesting. The house is full of Victorian elegance but it needs a good renovation. The walls and ceilings need some plastering and the home needs a good deep cleaning. Still it is interesting that for all their prestige, they still lived more like an upper middle class family.
The history Edison National Historical Park:
Thomas Edison National Historical Park preserves Thomas Edison’s laboratory and residence, Glenmont, in Llewellyn Park in West Orange in Essex County, NJ. These were designed, in 1887, by Henry Hudson Holly. For more than 40 years, the laboratory had a major impact on the lives of people worldwide. Out of the West Orange laboratories came the motion picture camera, improved phonographs, sound recordings, silent and sound movies and the nickel-iron alkaline electric storage battery (Wiki).
Edison’s home was designated as the Edison Home National Historic Site on December 6, 1955. The laboratory was designated as Edison Laboratory National Monument on July 14, 1956. On September 5, 1962, the 21 acre site containing the home and the laboratory were designated the Edison National Historic Site and overseen by the National Park Service. On March 30, 2009, it was renamed Thomas Edison National Historical Park, adding “Thomas” to the title in hopes to relieve confusion between the Edison sites in West Orange and Edison, NJ. Following extensive renovations of the laboratory complex, there was a grand reopening on October 10, 2009 (Wiki).
Historic Glenmont Mansion:
Thomas Edison resided at Glenmont, his 29 room Victorian mansion, for over half his lifetime. Its architect, Henry Hudson Holly, is considered to be the father of the Queen-Anne style architectural movement in the United States. Holly’s crowning achievement, Glenmont, was part of a working estate which presently contains six outbuildings including a barn and a greenhouse. Examples of Thomas Edison’s poured concrete structures, the auto garage and the potting shed are also still in existence. (Wiki).
The interior of the fully furnished Victorian home is a rare example of Pottier & Stymus interiors, a New York decorating firm that lost the majority of its records in a catastrophic warehouse fire in the year 1888. Glenmont’s interiors display rare examples of the firm’s modern Gothic style furniture suites and also include decorative arts objects chosen by the company to outfit this home in Victorian style. The Edison family appreciated the original interiors, consequently making only minimal changes to the home’s decoration during their residency (Wiki).
Glenmont’s period rooms reflect examples of the era’s Eastlake style and Aesthetic Movement style interiors. The first floor library boasts hand stenciled walls in flat, stylized floral patterns with a ceiling of distemperment. Tall case cabinets store leather bound volumes. The decorative arts collection at Glenmont ranges from major works of art and sculpture to everyday objects. The collection, consisting of 40,000 items, includes remarkable examples of Hudson River School artists and antiques (Wiki).
Examples of more utilitarian items include the Edison china collection, still housed in the historic Butler’s Pantry, the household linen collection, family toiletry items, books and household receipts that detail purchases made by the Edison family. These vouchers reveal to us the Edison’s choice of household products and their spending habits (Wiki).
Disclaimer: The above information on the history of the house and labs came from Wiki and I give the format full credit for the information. The above information also comes from the National Parks Services pamphlet and I give them full credit for the Visitor’s information.