I had been sent the notice that the County of Morris, New Jersey was having a two-day Open House of many of their historical sites for touring and for special events for a program entitled “The Pathways of History: Museum and Site Tours of Morris County, NJ”.
The “Pathways to History” event takes place every May
The weekend event spread to small museums, historical homes and cemeteries all over the County with walking tours and lectures at various sites. Having never been or even heard of many of these sites, I was interested in visiting as many as I could for my blog, “VisitingaMuseum.com” which is here on WordPress.com as well.
I plotted my two days of the event and tried to organize the trip so that we could see as many sites as we could. The event asked the sites to open one of the two days as…
The Chester Historical Society/Chester Rockefeller Center has just been moved to Downtown Chester and is currently being renovated. Their collection is in storage right now while the building is being renovated. When I went to visit the museum, they were displaying their plans for the museum in the future outside the building.
The Chester Historical Society is currently open only at certain times and the collection is in storage while renovating. They are telling the town’s story on both a story board outside and on tables outside the building while it is being set up. Please check out their website for upcoming events and openings.
The new building
The game plan for the museum.
The History of the Building of the Chester Historical Society:
(From the Chester Historical Society’s website)
Chester’s Little “Rockefeller Center” building has seen many unique tenants in its day! In 1897, Mr. W. J. Litzenberger was reported to be doing a located behind the building. This is where he carved gravestones for the locals and used the building as his sales office and display area.
Also in the late 1800’s, the Post Office was located in Alonzo P. Green’s Pharmacy across from the firehouse. “Lawyer” Smith (postmaster), who was the son in law of General Cooper, was soon to move the Post Office across the road to Yawger’s store and later to the “Rockefeller Center” building, which was just east of the firehouse.
When Chester’s Iron “Hey-Day” waned out, fortunate were those who could return to farming. They could put their efforts into raising peaches, apples and garden produce and often used it as barter for “store-bought necessities” to provide for their families. Horses and cattle were important to the farmer and also to the townsmen. From earliest days drovers had driven horses and other livestock through Chester on their way to and from Susses County. From the mid-1800’s horses and mules were brought from as far as the Midwest to be sold.
During the late 1920’s and into the 30’s and 40’s, Abraham Meyer, who boarded with Austin Thompson, bought and sold cattle and had them located at the present Lowensteiner farm on North Road. During that time, he had an office for his cattle dealer’s business in the “Rockefeller Center” building.
After that, the Rockefeller family rented not only the cottage for them to live in but also the little building next to it from George E. Conover. The cottage was ordered and built from the Sears & Roebuck Company and was located to the left of the “Rockefeller Center” building. At this time, Carlos “Rocky” Rockefeller used the building for a bicycle shop where you could not only purchase a bike but also get one fixed! He would also sharpen the local children’s ice skates there.