Category: Exploring Salem NJ

Dennis Township Old School House Museum                   681 Petersburg Road                                Woodbine, NJ 08270

Dennis Township Old School House Museum 681 Petersburg Road Woodbine, NJ 08270

Dennis Township Old School House Museum

681 Petersburg Road

Woodbine, NJ 08270

(609) 861-1899

http://www.dennismuseumfriends.org/

https://www.facebook.com/people/Friends-of-dennis-township-old-school-house-museum/100066513017935/

Open: Every First and Third Saturday of the Month (Please check with the website on weather conditions)

Admission: Free but donations accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

I have been wanting this charming little museum for several months. This is one of the featured historical museums in Southern New Jersey. The museum is representing the local farming and manufacturing industries as well as life in a farming community at the turn of the last century.

The museum was started in 1994 in a partnership with the town of Woodbine, NJ and houses the history of Dennis Township. It is an all-volunteer museum, and the docents were really helpful describing all the displays that surround this small former schoolhouse. Their Friends of the Dennis Township Museum group does a nice job walking you around the museum and describing the displays.

The Friends of the Dennis Township Old School House Museum

The museum tells the story of a small-town farming community with a history of different local businesses, the Dennisville School district from 1874-1948 and the Methodist colony that was a big part of the community in the early 1800’s. The shipping industry was very important to any small town that used to supply its fruits, vegetables and fish to Philadelphia.

Some of the displays were dedicated to the local family businesses with the small cranberry industry that used to be in the area with equipment and packaging. The Mason Basket Company used to make the small and large wooden baskets for fruits and vegetables used to ship these items to both New York City and Philadelphia. These baskets are a staple at any farmers marker today. The other big business in town was the shingle making business that prided itself on supplying the shingles for Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Farming equipment and small-town life display

The building had been the local one room schoolhouse for the surrounding community from 1874-1948 until the new schools were built in the 1950’s. There was a display on the school’s history as well as lots of pictures of the students at the turn of the last century with their period clothing and proper manners taking pictures with their schoolteachers. There were displays of desks, clothing and items that would have been in the school room.

The town had once been a Methodist community with a large meeting house and surrounding homes for parishioners to stay. They showed the meetings and how the group would spend their summers in the area.

The Summer Community in Dennis Township at the turn of the last century

The museum showcased live in a small-town farming community with all sorts of farm and farmhouse equipment. There were all sorts of home making items like cooking utensils to make meals from scratch, baking and serving in homes where being a housewife took a lot of strength. The farm equipment included hoes, racks and seeders that kept the farms going.

There were pictures of the renovations of the Ludlam family cemetery that had gone through a renovation by the Boy Scouts and showcased it beauty. The members did a nice job renovating the tombstones and landscaping.

In the corners of the museum, there is period clothing from the Civil War to the 1930’s with hats, gloves and dressing plus accessories. There is a small display to the local veterans of war. Near the entrance there is a working pipe organ and more information about the town from the early 1900’s.

The docents told me that they have the old town records and that people come to the museum to research their families that used to live in the area. They have had people come from all over the country to find their family roots.

For a small museum, it is chock full of small displays offering a glimpse into a community of time past and how it has grown over the future and changed.

Take time also to drive around this small town loaded with historical homes that have been beautifully maintained and labeled with the year that they were built. Some looked like they had the family names on them.

The beautiful homes of downtown Woodbine, NJ are beautifully maintained and give the town its Victorian appeal.
Day Two Hundred and Forty Visiting the Historical Sites of Southern New Jersey in Cumberland and Salem Counties-A Local Journey on Father’s Day Weekend                                                             June 18th-19th, 2022

Day Two Hundred and Forty Visiting the Historical Sites of Southern New Jersey in Cumberland and Salem Counties-A Local Journey on Father’s Day Weekend June 18th-19th, 2022

Grab your tour book and get in the car to visit all these wonderful sites. There is so much to see and do in Historical Southern New Jersey!

The Nicolas Gibbon House

mywalkinmanhattan

The one thing I refuse to do on Father’s Day is to spend the day at the cemetery. I know that is some people’s idea of honoring one’s family members but it is not mine. I went on Friday and paid my respects to my father (whom this blog is dedicated to) and spent time remembering some of the good times we had in past. I dropped some cut flowers from our gardens (some of which he planted) and said a small prayer. Then I left.

My idea of honoring my father and spending Father’s Day with him is to do something that we would have shared together. We were always running around somewhere and exploring something new and doing something fun. That is how I wanted to honor him. By being active and giving him a toast at Sunday dinner.

I had gotten a pamphlet on the historical sites…

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Salem Oak/Friends Burial Ground                      112 West Broadway (Route 49)                     Salem, NJ 08079

Salem Oak/Friends Burial Ground 112 West Broadway (Route 49) Salem, NJ 08079

Salem Oak/Friends Burial Ground

112 West Broadway (Route 49)

Salem, NJ 08079

(859) 935-3381

https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/1997710/salem-friends-burial-ground

Open: Sunday-Saturday Dawn to Dusk

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46799-d24137617-r844157468-Salem_Oak_friends_Burial_Cemetery-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Salem, NJ Friends Burial Ground Cemetery

There is a true beauty to a historical cemetery with its old tombstones, its interesting artwork on the grave sites and the history behind the famous families who are buried there whose homes we tour and roads and parks that are named after them. The cemetery is located right in Downtown Salem, which serves as the County Seat for the County of Salem.

It was also home to one of the oldest oak trees in the country which fell in 2019. The over 500 year old oak tree has been part of the original virgin forest and is said to where town founder, John Fenwick, met with the Lenape Indians for the establishment of a settlement and for peaceful negotiations.

All that is left of the tree now is the rotting stump but three of its saplings still exist on the grounds and they look about two hundred years old. They grow majestically amongst the gravesites.

The entrance to the Salem Friends Burial Ground Cemetery

Inside the cemetery, the graves bear the names of founding fathers of the Town of Salem and prominent families who once made up the population with names such as Thompson, Reeves, Abbott, Wister, Bacon, Griscom, Waddington, Sickler, Lippencott, Goodwin, Bullock, Woodnutt and Bassett.

You will see these names on artifacts in the Salem Historical Society such as clothes, business document and household items. There names and influence still hold a position in the community.

The Salem Oak in the Friends Burial Ground before it fell in 2019 (Salem County Historical Society)

This is the spot where founder John Fenwick met with the Lenape Indians in 1675.

Take time to walk amongst the family plots and pay your respects to these important families who were once the founding members of both the community and of the great State of New Jersey.

Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church & Cemetery                                                                 54 West Avenue                                                South Bridgeton, NJ 08302

Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church & Cemetery 54 West Avenue South Bridgeton, NJ 08302

Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church & Cemetery

54 West Avenue

South Bridgeton, NJ 08302

Check website

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Broad_Street_Presbyterian_Church_and_Cemetery

Broad Street Presbyterian Church

Open: From Dawn to Dusk every day

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46324-d24140698-r844174571-Old_Broad_Street_Presbyterian_Church_Cemetery-Bridgeton_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church at 54 West Avenue

When I was traveling to Salem and Cumberland Counties to visit historical sites, this was the last one on my list the first day of exploring. The Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church sits in the middle of a declining downtown in Bridgeton, NJ like a ghost of its former self. This graceful and elegant church is not used much anymore and sits like a majestic building overlooking a city that has passed it by.

The church was built in 1792 for the growing Presbyterian congregation who was living in Bridgetown as it was called at the time. The brick walls and roof were completed but it would take another three years for the interior to be finished (Cumberland History.org).

The cemetery is extremely interesting as you visit the historic tombstones and the family plots and try to figure out the connections. The biggest problem with the cemetery is that is has gotten very overgrown in parts of it. It needs a good mowing and the gravestones need to be cleaned as they are wearing away with the elements. It was hard to follow the historical listing but many famous residents and leaders of the community are buried here as well as members of the armed forces from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and earlier.

In some cases, when the families were buried together, it almost told the story of what happened within the family. I saw grave sites where the son or daughter either died in child birth or a disease or in battle and then the devastated parents followed a few years later which was a sad narrative. I saw this many times in the family plots. How many children died of diseases that today are solved by a pill.

Some of the notable people buried in the cemetery are Ebenezer Elmer, who represented New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives from 1801-1807 and Jonathan Elmer, who represented New Jersey in the United States Senate from 1789-1791. Lucius Elmer, who represented New Jersey’s First congressional district from 1843-1845. Eilas Seeley, who was the Eleventh Governor of New Jersey serving in 1833. William G. Whiteley, who represented Delaware in the United States House of Representative from 1857 to 1861. Joseph Archibald Clark and Clement Waters Shoemaker, who were two of the founders of Cumberland Glass Manufacturing Company (Wiki).

The Broad Street Church Cemetery

The history of the Broad Street Presbyterian Church and its cemetery:

(From Cumberland NJ Art.org)

For much of the 18th century in Bridgetown, which will eventually change its name to Bridgeton, there existed no church for Presbyterians, who were a large and growing segment of the local population. For church services, they were forced to conduct services in the Courthouse or travel to churches in Greenwich, Fairfield or Deerfield several miles away.

In 1792, about two acres of land were donated along King’s Highway, which was the main road from Bridgeton to Greenwich and ran along the south end of the church constuction site. In 1800, this main route was relocated to the north and is today Broad Street (Route 49).

The basic design of the Broad Street Presbyterian Church was set by it congregation and organizers who requested a masonry building with dimensions of at least forty by fifty feet. By December 1792, the brick walls and roof has been completed but it would take another three years for the interior to be finished.

The design of the Broad Street Presbyterian Church is that of a meeting house, almost square in proportion. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, many American houses of worship were built in the meeting house form. This design was in contrast to the more formal churches of the period, which were more rectangular than square with an alter and/or communion table and pulpit approached by a long nave and often divided from the congregation by a railing. Broad Street Presbyterian Church has a tall pulpit, accessed by a winding stair and surrounded on three sides by pews so as many congregations as possible could attend and sit as close as possible to the preacher.

Above the pulpit is one of the most significant architectural features of the church, the Palladian window with its central window and semicircular arch flanked on each side by smaller windows and all unified by an entablature supported by columns. The name “Palladian” comes from the Venetian architect who originated the design, Andrea Palladio, who worked in 16th century.

Architects in the 17th and 18th centuries would travel from other parts of Europe to Italy to study architecture and they brought the Palladian style back to England and the American Colonies. Thomas Jefferson acquired an intense appreciation of Palladian architecture and used it extensively in his desing for Monticello.

By 1835, the congregation had erected a new church but because the Broad Street church was surrounded by the cemetery, the congregation did not abandon or sell it but rather maintained it exactly as they left it, which is why today it is identified as one of the most pristine and unaltered examples of 18th century church architecture in the United States.

Today the Broad Street Presbyterian Church is used for special services and opened to the pubic by appointment. It is carefully maintained by the Presbyterian congregation of First Presbyterian Church located on Commerce Street in Bridgeton, NJ.