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 got to the Church Landing Farm in plenty of to tour the house and the grounds. What an interesting museum that is full of surprises. When they unlock the sheds to show you the displays, they are a real wonder of fascinating artifacts each with its own theme.
The house was built by Daniel Garrison between 1840-1845 and was the home for five generations of the Garrison family up to 1973 when the last living relative, Anna Locuson died and did not leave an heir. In 1991, Atlantic City Electric worked with the Pennsville Township Historical Society to open this as a museum.
As I toured the floors with the docent, I noticed all the beautiful antiques. These items are all donations to the home. The only items of the Garrison family are portraits and pictures that were donated by the family over the years. On the lower floors are the kitchen, the Living Room and the Dining Room all decorated in a Victorian style. The kitchen looked like it was from the 1920’s with all sorts of kitchen items from a period of the 1880’s to the 1920’s.
When we toured the upstairs bedrooms, one was decorated with children’s furnishings and toys. The other bedroom was decorated for adults and had once served as the Master Bedroom for the home. The house also has a complete Research Library for people to find genealogy about their families who lived in town and of Pennsville, NJ.
When you tour the outside sheds, this is when the museum really shines. When each shed on the property is opened for the tour, you get to see the whole collection of artifacts. There is a small one room schoolhouse on the property that served the community from 1837-1919, a period outhouse and a piece of art from the old electrical building that was located on the bay.
Each of the sheds has its own theme. One of them is dedicated to the high schools with all their uniforms and trophies, yearbooks and pictures of various sports teams. There is all sorts of spirit equipment and high school artifacts.
Another is a floating Fishing Cabin that was moved to the ponds and lakes when people wanted to ice fish and all the equipment you needed to perform the task. There was another shed that had all sorts of Military artifacts from various wars along with items from the local fire and police departments as well as the VFW. There was a display on the “Sunbeam”, the local paper of Pennsville and its former editor.
The most impressive, shed display was of the Pennsville Beach Park, a former amusement park that was located in the current park until 1969. The display has all sorts of artifacts that include signs, old ride cars, signs, pictures, maps and items from the games. The are all sorts of items such as prizes that were won, pamphlets and signs from the park. It really brings the old park back to life.
One of the sheds is used as Santa’s House during the holidays as well as the house will be fully decorated for the Christmas holidays. Santa and his wife make an appearance at the busy open house.
Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Pennsville Historical Society
I was able to tour the grounds though and walk through the small gardens. The grounds had the most spectacular views of the Delaware Bay and the Delaware Memorial Bridge. I am sure much of this did not exist in that time frame but still it is the most amazing view especially on a sunny day like I had. The sun has the most amazing shine on the water from this direction.
Even when the house is not open, still take time to tour the grounds and visit the outer buildings. It is a nice walk around the property.
The History of the Church Landing Farmhouse/Penn Township Historical Society:
(From the Pennsville Township Historical Society website):
The Church Landing Farmhouse was built in 1840 by Daniel Garrison. In 1991, the Atlantic City Electric Company provided structural renovations to the house and a group of dedicated volunteers from the community restored the farmhouse and grounds to their current glory.
The Church Landing Farmhouse grounds currently house a 130 year old Floating Fishing Cabin, a 100 year old Wash House owned by Pennsville Physician Dr. James, the 100 year old Perry Farm Privy (the farm is located on the Pennsville-Salem Road), the Riverview Beach Park Museum, a 1929 Art Deco Tile from the original Deepwater Generating Station building, a one room Schoolhouse, and the historic records that features PMHA, Salem and SCCS Yearbooks, local genealogy, Township Obituaries (2010-2020), Federal NJ Township Census Records and local history.
The displays at the museum feature newspaper clipping and a section on local newsman Bill Gallo Jr., police, fire and military from the area, high school yearbooks and displays, ferry and excursion ships, antique looms, sewing machines and spinning wheels, antique tools and church records.