Category: Exploring Cresskill NJ

Day Forty-Three: Touring the historic homes and museums of Bergen County during ‘The Sixth Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition’ History Day                                                          May 14, 2016

Day Forty-Three: Touring the historic homes and museums of Bergen County during ‘The Sixth Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition’ History Day May 14, 2016

Exploring Historic Bergen County is very interesting.

Don’t miss this event when it comes up every two years.

mywalkinmanhattan

The Northwest Bergen History Coalition
6th Annual History Day
Theme: ‘Spreading the News: Rail, Mail & the Press in Days Gone By’

BC History Coalition

Special Exhibitions at each Museum

Come discover how we communicated when letter were left at the local inn, when postcards were our ‘twitter feed’ and the operator listened to all our calls on the party line. See how mail was delivered by train and what our local newspapers were like in 1900.

I took a day out of touring in the city to tour my own county, Bergen County, New Jersey is rich in Revolutionary, Civil and WWI &II history yet we still have a big link to our Colonial past in each town in Bergen County.

The unfortunate part of this tour is that it only covers a small portion of the county and it was hard to get to all of the sites in one day…

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Day One Hundred and Nine: Touring the historic homes and museums of Bergen County during ‘The Eighth Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition’ History Day                                                             April 28th, 2018

Day One Hundred and Nine: Touring the historic homes and museums of Bergen County during ‘The Eighth Annual Northwest Bergen History Coalition’ History Day April 28th, 2018

Bergen County has a lot of hidden gems located here and there in the County.

Don’t miss the Northwest Bergen History Coalition when it happens every two years.

mywalkinmanhattan

I put “MywalkinManhattan” on hold for a few days as the local activities in New Jersey started to take up my time. There is so much to see and do as the weather is getting warmer.

The Northwest Bergen History Coalition every year gives people the opportunity to visit almost a dozen different historical sites in the upper part of Bergen County, NJ and take the time to tour and explore all the sites with the help of trained docents and volunteers who take immense pride in showing off their site all for the low price of $10.00 ($15.00 the day of the event). Be prepared to drive though because all the sites can be a distance from one another. Also, have a a game plan because there is no way you can see everything in one day. You will only have from 10:00am-4:00pm so plan to visit the remaining…

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Camp Merritt Memorial Monument Intersection of Knickerbocker Road and Madison Avenue                                Cresskill, NJ 07626

Camp Merritt Memorial Monument Intersection of Knickerbocker Road and Madison Avenue Cresskill, NJ 07626

Camp Merritt Memorial Monument

Intersection of Knickerbocker Road and Madison Avenue

Cresskill, NJ  07626

http://www.bergen.nj.us

http://www.bergencountyhistory.org/Pages/campmerritt.html

Camp Merritt Memorial Monument marks the center of an important World War I embarkation camp, where more than one million U.S. soldiers passed through on their way to and from the battlefields of Europe.

In August 1919, the Bergen County Freeholders purchased land for the monument from what was the approximate center of the camp at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Knickerbocker Road in Cresskill. In 1922, work on the shaft commenced. Modeled on the Washington Monument, the memorial is a 65′ high granite obelisk. On the base are the names of the 578 people who died in the camp, mostly as a result of the 1918 worldwide influenza epidemic. A large Art Deco style carved relief by the sculptor Robert Ingeroll Aitkin (1878-1949) shows a striding “doughboy” with an eagle flying overhead. Set into a large boulder is a copper plaque with a relief of the Palisades, illustrating that Camp Merritt was used as an area for embarkation, designed and made by the local artist Katherine Lamb Tait. In the ground is a three dimensional stone carving of the map of Camp Merritt.

Camp Merritt Site III

The troops training

The Camp Merritt Monument was dedicated on May 30, 1924 by a number of state and federal dignitaries. General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing gave the dedicatory address to a crowd of 20,000 people. Camp Merritt, located midway between Cresskill and Dumont and 12 miles from Hoboken, received its first soldiers in October 1917. Originally called Camp Tenafly”, and covering an area that included Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, Haworth and Tenafly, it was eventually named for General Wesley Merritt, a gallant Civil War officer who was in the service of his country from 1855 to 1900. Little publicity surrounded the camp as it was deemed vitally important to keep troop movements a secret. The soldiers would march with their heavy packs and supplies to the trains or over the Palisades to the Hudson River to board boats that would take them to their European-bound ships docked in Hoboken. The last soldier passed through in the beginning of 1920.

The camp was 770 acres in size and had a capacity of 42,000 men (two thousand of them officers). It was strategically built near major rail lines, facilitating the transport of soldiers to the camp. It contained 1300 buildings of all varieties.  The base hospital alone was composed of 93 buildings. A staff of 300 nurses treated 55,000 sick men. 8000 men representing 40 different nationalities were nationalized in the Camp and made citizens of the US. Camp Merritt had its own newspaper, the Merritt Dispatch established and edited by Charles Philip Barber, which was the only printed record of the camp’s activities. The editor and staff of the Merritt Dispatch were the first to promote the idea of the monument.

Camp Merritt Site

The Stone Carving on the Obelisk

After the camp was sold, it suffered three suspicious fires while the buildings were idle, each one worse than the last. The second fire in March of 1921 destroyed a hundred buildings. The third fire was the most spectacular, destroying almost all of what was left of the camp and detonating two stores of dynamite that had been stored for demolition purposes. Eighteen fire companies (including three from New York City, which came by way of the Dyckman Street Ferry) struggled to prevent the fires from spreading to adjacent homes. Other fire companies came from Tenafly, Closter, Bergenfield, Cresskill, Demarest, Teaneck, Hackensack and Palisades.

The Monument is located on the traffic circle and can be reached by foot and is illuminated at night.

Camp Merritt Site II

The Camp Merritt Obelisk at the traffic circle

http://www.bergen.nj.us

2015 Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from a pamphlet from The Bergen County Division of Cultural Affairs & Historic Affairs in Bergen County, New Jersey. You must stop off on one of the side streets to see the monument and the information boards on the site are off to the west side of the circle. Try to walk around the monument on the circle itself to see the most detail.