Tag: Exploring Blairstown NJ

Hope Historical Society                                        323 High Street                                                Hope, NJ 07844

Hope Historical Society 323 High Street Hope, NJ 07844

Hope Historical Society

323 High Street

Hope, NJ 07844

No Phone Number-Please email via their website.

https://www.hopenjhistory.com/

Open: Sundays 1:00pm-3:00pm from June to October: Please check website for times

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46518-d23805634-r822429868-Hope_Historical_Society-Hope_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Hope Historical Society at 323 High Street

I recently went on a Lantern Tour of Hope, NJ’s downtown district for the Christmas holiday season visiting this once Moravian founded town. The evening was an interesting tour of the history of this small town near the Delaware Water Gap with visits to historical homes of the residents of the town and the manufacturing hub.

We toured the historic downtown district that was ablaze with lights and garland learning about the residential and commercial district and the role it played in the development of the town. We toured the former Grist Mill, Cannery, Distillery, homes and former barns and churches and given a short history of them.

We toured the Historical Society which had a collection of artifacts from the town including pictures of the town at various times of history, resident’s personal affects including gloves, shoes and glasses and family heirlooms. There is also a small assortment of vintage furniture from different periods. The building may have been small but it was packed with information.

The Hope Historical Society at 323 High Street at Christmas time

The displays included old photographs and local memorabilia, an 1850 map of Warren County, NJ, genealogy of the town’s residents and historic documents, primitive furniture and Moravian history (Hope Historical Society). Two of the major fundraisers that the Society has is the Christmas Craft Market and the Lantern Tour.

The Hope Lantern Tour on December 11th and 12th, 2021

This is the ‘Hope Lantern Tour’ on December 11th, 2021:

We continued the tour as the night grew darker and the town lit up with all its Christmas glory. There were supposed to be 1500 luminaries but because of the upcoming rainstorm that was supposed to arrive later that evening, they canceled them. The rest of the town was adorned with white lights and garlands. We started the tour at the Hope Community Center where food and bathrooms were available.

The Hope Community Center on Hope Blairstown Road

We moved to what was once the manufacturing center of the town and passed the former factories and manufacturing took place. We then walked down the hill to the Inn at Millstone Creek, where the Christmas tree display was located. We then moved up the hill to visit the Hope Historical Society.

High Street leading to the Inn at Millrace Pond

This is “Trout Pass” where people avoided paying the tolls on the bridge

We then walked to the home across the street from most of the buildings where the businesses were located and heard the tales of Moravian Christmases past. All that talk about Gingerbread house making and baking to get ready for the holiday feast made us all hungry.

The home on High Street across from the businesses

We made our way to former homes that are now a local bank were light with white lights along the doors and windows. The First Hope Bank was once known as the ‘Gemeinhaus’, which was the church/community center of the Village of Hope. It was built in 1781.

The walking tour showcased the town beautifully

The First Hope Bank at dusk

The former community center and Moravian Houses at night

The home on High Street where the “Live Nativity” was located

Our last part of the tour, we visited someone’s garage for a ‘Live Nativity’ of the Baby Jesus and was told the story from the Bible about the birth of Christ. The actors involved were very interesting but they could have cleaned the garage of the modern items located on the side of it.

Downtown Hope, NJ is so beautiful at Christmas

We ended up back at the Community Center as they were cleaning up and I went to visit the ‘Festival of Trees’ at the Inn at Millrace Pond that itself was closed for renovation. I was the last one on the tour to visit what was the dining room to see various Christmas trees decorated by members of the community. It was a very festive room with Christmas of various shapes and sizes each decorated with a different theme and tables set elaborately for Christmas Dinner. I really liked the one that the elementary school students had created with the handwritten artwork and letters to Santa.

After I left the Inn at Millrace Pond, everything had wrapped up for the evening and the town was really quiet. I was starved and found the only open restaurant in the area, Hope Pizzeria at 435 Hope Blairstown Road located in a small strip mall. The pizza here is excellent (see my review on TripAdvisor).

435 Hope Blairstown Road

https://www.hopepizzeria.com/

https://www.facebook.com/hopepizzeria/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46518-d19270906-r821734185-Hope_Pizzeria_Catering-Hope_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The last part of the evening was spent at the Moravian Candlelight Service at the St. John’s Methodist Church. This beautifully run service included all the traditional Christmas Carols, a very engaging talk by the former pastor and a candlelight ceremony towards the end service. You can see the whole service on the St. John’s Methodist Church’s Facebook page.

St. John Methodist Church at 354 High Street

https://www.umc.org/en/find-a-church/church/11006

https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Methodist-Church/St-Johns-United-Methodist-Church-1406394686297265/

(You can see the church service on their Facebook page)

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46518-d20377992-r821735002-St_John_United_Methodist_Church-Hope_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

This took about an hour. By the time I got to my car, it started to mist and then rain. It was pouring by the time I got on the highway. Still, it was a wonderful evening of touring and it put me in the Christmas spirit.

The History of the Hope Historical Society:

(From the Hope Historical Society website)

The Hope Historical Society & Museum are located at 323 High Street (Route 519 North) at the top of a stone bridge within the State and National Historic Register District in Hope Township, NJ. The tiny frame building was thought to be the original 1820’s toll keeper’s house. It was used as a private home until 1955, when it was restored by the Hope Historical Society and became the current museum and organizations headquarters.

Historical Society meetings with guest speakers of topics of historical interest are held April-November on the first Tuesday of the month, generally, at the Hope Community Center.

Blairstown Museum 26 Main Street/ Friday the 13th Museum  27 Main Street Blairstown, NJ 07825

Blairstown Museum 26 Main Street/ Friday the 13th Museum 27 Main Street Blairstown, NJ 07825

Blairstown Museum

26 Main Street

Friday the 13th Museum

27 Main Street

Blairstown, NJ  07825

(908) 362-1371

http://www.Blairstownmuseum.com

Open: Sunday-Thursday Closed/ Friday & Saturday 11:00am-5:00pm

Fee: Free but a donation is suggested

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46308-d11627031-Reviews-Blairstown_Museum-Blairstown_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Blairstown Museum is a facility housing the history of the town of Blairstown and the surrounding area. The interesting part of this museum is that it is not run by the town but by a local couple, Janette and Frank Iurato, who moved to the area in 2013 and took an interest in the history of the town. The museum was founded in 2015 and opened in 2016. The museum is actually two different museums.

The first one is the Blairstown Historical Museum that covers the history of the town. This museum concentrates on the history of the founding of the town and the residents in it. While I was visiting, there was an interesting exhibition on the Blair Family who had married into the Charles Scribner Publishing family and a little history behind the two families. There was another exhibition on John Insley Blair, one of the residents and a self-made businessman and entrepreneur, for whom the town and the private school are named after.

Blairstown Museum III

The Howell and Dutot exhibition

Another exhibition was on local resident, Robert Parsons Howell, who had moved to Havana, Cuba at the turn of the last century. The exhibition was on the development of the early railroads. There was an exhibition on the early resort history of the area by the Delaware Water Gap by Hotelier Antoine Dutot, who ran the Kittatinny Hotel resort in the late 1880’s. The last exhibition was on the history and creation of Victorian furniture. The exhibition discussed how it was created and how it developed.

Blairstown Museum II.jpg

The museum has changing exhibitions

The second museum is across the street at 27 Main Street and that museum is dedicated to the movie “Friday the 13th” that was shot in the town in 1979. This part of the museum is dedicated to the first film and subsequent films. The couple is collecting artifacts from the films (which there were not much since it was shot on location). On display are items signed by stars of the first film, Adrienne King and Ari Lehman, picture stills from the film and what I thought was interesting were the bar stools from the luncheonette from the second scene of the film and the original ‘Diner’ sign from the Blairstown Diner before the restaurant’s renovation.

Friday the 13th VI

“Friday the 13th” from 1980

What is also nice is that the Iurato’s have a small gift shop with items made by local artists that the have the iconic logo with the ‘Jason Mask’. This part of the museum opened on September 13th of 2019 and the ribbon cutting was done by various members of the cast and crew of the film.

Blairstown Museum IV.jpg

The ‘Friday the 13th’ exhibition

Both of the museum’s are still collecting artifacts so support their collections but the Iurato family has done a nice job preserving the history of the town and dedicating a whole new branch of the museum to the “Friday the 13th” franchise.

Friday the 13th V

The cast of the original 1980 film “Friday the 13th”

It is interesting as well to just walk around the town and recognize where the opening scenes of the film were shot. The museum is in the second scene of the film when ‘Annie’ does her walk around the town.

If you are a fan of the film, it is a fun place to stop by when visiting Blairstown, NJ.

 

The History of the Blairstown Museum:

(This information was taken from the museum’s website and I give them full credit for it)

When the Iurato family moved to Blairstown in 2013, they were surprised to find that the township did not have a museum honoring its founders. New residents did not have a central place where they could learn about the people and businesses that shaped the town’s past, how to be good stewards of Blairstown’s Historic District and the rural beauty left in their care.

Originally, the family’s intention for the property at 26 Main Street was to rent the first floor space to a business that would complement the Historic District’s businesses, add to the tourism appeal and increase the overall foot traffic of the area. They were overwhelmed by the amount of people that enthusiastically suggested they establish a museum.

Following eighteen-months of renovations, artifact collecting, historic research, networking with local historians and establishing a non-profit organization, the Blairstown Museum, located at 26 Main Street, opened to rave reviews. On October 1, 2016, nearly 600 people attended the Grand Opening Celebration. Since then, the Museum has offered hundreds of exhibitions, events, programs and tours and has received local, state and federal recognition.

Supported by “Friday the 13th” Franchise Fans, on September 13, 2019, the Museum opened a second location at 27 Main Street to house a year round Friday the 13th exhibition. The Grand Opening Ceremony was attended by Ari Lehman, Tom McLoughlin, Jason Brooks, Vincent DiSanti, Dave Brown and hundreds of fans.

The Museum’s Vision Statement:

In fulfillment of our mission, we have adopted the following Vision Statement: “The Blairstown Museum will be a vibrant social, cultural and economic centerpiece of the town and will be regarded as an entertaining and worthwhile tourist destination. The Museum will be a resource for residents, visitors, historians and educators. The Museum will preserve and catalog important objects and documents and will use those items to provide educational and cultural programs for the public.”

Blairstown Museum.jpg

The Blairstown Museum

The Museum’s Mission Statement:

The Blairstown Museum’s mission is to acquire and collect; research and document; protect and preserve and exhibit and promote the unique history and heritage of the Township of Blairstown for the benefit of residents and visitors. Founded by the Iurato family and managed by a group of dedicated individuals, the Museum is house in a 19th Century building, known as the last remaining structure of “Roy’s Row”.

As the only independent public museum in the Township of Blairstown, the Blairstown Museum is an IRS Certified 501(c)(3), all volunteer, non-profit charitable organization tasked with the responsibility of caring for thousands of items which illustrate the history of the township and its inhabitants, including former resident and founder John Insley Blair. In an effort to help foster heritage tourism throughout the region, our collections are used to interpret the area’s history through permanent and changing exhibits and to educate the public about our history through programs, resource materials and events.

Blairstown Museum staff are charged with providing professional care to the collection, employing standards established by the American Alliance of Museums for the storage, care and exhibit of artifacts in its custody. Historic exhibits are on display on a rotating basis throughout the year. We are committed to expanding the digital display of our collection, in a manner that makes it available as a teaching tool for students, teachers and historians.

Disclaimer: This information on the Blairstown Museum was taken from their website and I give them full credit for the information.

 

The Introduction of the film from 1980 “Friday the 13th”: