Tag: Historical Sites

Castle Williams       Governors Island               New York, NY 10004

Castle Williams Governors Island New York, NY 10004

Castle Williams

Governors Island

New York, NY 10004

(212) 825-3054

Open: Check the website. It varies by season

https://www.nps.gov/gois/learn/historyculture/castle-williams.htm

https://www.nps.gov/gois/planyourvisit/explore-castle-williams.htm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d6952984-Reviews-Castle_Williams-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My trip to Governors Island on MywalkinManhattan.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/7658

I have toured Castle Williams several times when visiting Governors Island over the last two years. The fort sits at a strategic site on the island facing Manhattan. The fort was originally built to protect New York City from the British during the War of 1812. The British knowing that the City had been fortified for battle never attacked New York.

The tour takes place twice a day for about an hour and you tour the first two levels of the fort. There are all sorts of signs around to show the history of the fort and its uses over the years. The one thing they don’t like is you touching the walls as the fort is still pretty fragile.

The nicest part of the tour is the observation deck at the top of the fort and the views of the Lower Manhattan skyline. It is a spectacular view of the harbor. You can see by the view why the fort was built where it was built and for its purpose before the War of 1812.

It really is a treat to see how fortifications mattered for cities in this time of history in this country.

The History of Castle Williams:

Castle Williams as you walk to the front

Castle Williams is a circular defensive work of red sandstone on the west point of Governors Island in New York Harbor. It was designed and erected between 1807 and 1811. It was designed by the Chief Engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lieutenant Colonial Jonathan Williams for whom the fort was named after. It was considered a prototype for new forms of coastal fortification.

The castle was one component of a larger defensive system for the inner harbor that included Fort Jay and the South Battery on Governors Island, Castle Clinton at the tip of Manhattan, Fort Gibson at Ellis Island and Fort Wood, which is now the base of the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. This system of forts came to be known as the Second American System of coastal defense and existed to protect harbors like the one in New York from British interference with American Shipping.

Castle Williams from the Harbor

Its usefulness as a fort began to end in the 1830’s, so Castle Williams subsequently served as barracks for the island’s garrison and new and transient troops. The castle was then remodeled by the U.S. Army for use as a prison in various forms during the Civil War and through the first half of the 20th Century.

The outside of Castle Williams from the lawn

In 1901, Secretary of War Elihu Root, who worked hard to modernize the Army, made a commitment to preserve the castle and overruled army leaders who wanted to demolish both it and Fort Jay. By 1903, the castle was fitted up as a model, state of art prison facility. In 1947, extensive renovations were carried out with the wooden catwalks replaced by concrete enclosed walk ways, hiding the beautiful stone arches on the third level and resulting in the industrial appearance of the courtyard today. Castle Williams ceased operations as a military prison in 1965 just before the U.S. Army left Governors Island.

The Castle again faced a demolition challenge as Coast Guard officials in Washington DC, who took control of Governors Island in 1966, wanted to demolish it. Instead, the castle was remodeled as a youth community center with a nursery, meeting rooms for Scouts and clubs, a woodworking shop, art studios, a photography laboratory and a museum. By the late 1970’s, the community center moved to another location and the fort became the grounds-keeping shop for the Coast Guard base.

The inside of Castle Williams during the tour of the Castle

Over time, the roof failed and broken windows allowed serious water damage to occur inside the castle. In the mid-1990s, the roof was replaced and new windows stopped further water damage to the structure but the interior remains closed until it can be made safe for public access. The National Park Service proposes to stabilize and restore the castle and eventually provide access to the roof, allowing the public to admire the harbor and the modern skyline of the great city (this has since opened on my last visit).

Governors Island with a view on Lower Manhattan

Castle Williams was individually listed in the National Register of Historic Placed on July 31, 1972. It was recorded by the Historical American Buildings Survey in 1983. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and the New York City Landmarks Historic District in 1996. It has been part of the Governors Island National Monument by Presidential Proclamations signed in 2001 and 2003.

(This information was provided by the National Park System Division of Cultural Affairs).

Governors Island Park (the fort is to your top right)

The Castle has since opened for tourists and touring since my last visit in the summer of 2019.

Bergen County Survey of the Early Dutch Stone Houses of Bergen County, NJ

Bergen County Survey of the Early Dutch Stone Houses of Bergen County, NJ

Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs

Court Plaza South

21 Main Street, Room 203 W

Hackensack, N.J. 07601-7000

Survey of the Early Stone Houses of Bergen County:

One of the most important early American building types is that of the pre-1840 stone house built in areas with Dutch Cultural affiliation. Bergen County is unique in the abundance, variety and architectural quality of these early stone houses, although adjacent areas of New Jersey and New York have some of the type.

Materials and methods remained constant but the house which were built from the time of Dutch colonization in the 17th century vary in size, plan and stylistic detail. Bergen County’s surviving early stone houses many located along major thoroughfares, provide county residents with tangible links to the formation years of the County, State and Nation.

Campbell-Christi House II

The Campbell-Christi House at New Bridge Landing/Bergen County Historical Society

The Survey of Early Stone Houses of Bergen County conducted in 1978-79 identified and recorded 230 of these early houses. Of these, 208 retained sufficient architectural integrity to be placed as a thematic group on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places in 1983, 1984 and 1985. A clear recognition of the houses importance is given by inclusion on these Registers, which are the State’s and Nation’s official lists of cultural resources worthy of preservation.

For inclusion in the Stone House Survey a building has to have at least two first story walls of pre-1840 stonework. The stone used in constructing the houses varies according to what as locally available. Many of the houses have reddish-brown sandstone walls but in the north-western section of the county rougher local fieldstone was utilized. Some houses have exterior walls of various types of stone and in some brick or frame exterior walls appear with stone ones. Frequently front facades display finer masonry work than do sides and rear. Usually the houses are 1 1/2 stories in height and have gable or gambrel roofs, sometimes with sweeping overhangs. Often there are side wings.

Wortendyke Dutch Barn

Wortendyke Barn in Oakland, NJ

Examples of the house-type are commonly called “Dutch Colonial.” This name most frequently applied to gambrel-roofed houses is a misnomer. Most of the houses were erected in the early 19th century, long after New Jersey passed from Dutch control in 1664. They date to a time when Anglo-American culture was being assimilated into Bergen’s Dutch cultural base. The typical stone house of the Colonial Period in Bergen County is a simple gable-roofed building.

Because they have been continuous use since they were constructed, many early stone houses have been modified and embellished. Often these changes in themselves have architectural distinction and are important to Bergen’s 19th and 20th century architectural history. Even when altered, the basic form and fabric of the original stone dwellings are usually recognizable and the houses are part of the county’s earliest architectural heritage.

Cadmus House

Cadmus House in Fairlawn, NJ

The Stone House survey was sponsored by the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Bergen County Historic Sites Advisory Board and the Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs. It was prepared by the Office of Albin H. Rothe, A.I.A. Claire K. Tholl did the field survey. The survey was made possible by a grant-in-aid from the Office of New Jersey Heritage, Division of Parks and Forestry, N.J. Department of Environmental Protection and matched by funds from the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The report for the Survey of the Early Stone Houses, with background text and inventory forms for houses, may be consulted at the Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs between 9:00am and 4:30pm weekdays.

Hopper-Goetschius Museum

Hopper House in Upper Saddle River, NJ

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs pamphlet and I give them full credit for this information. Please contact the Department for more information on the subject.

 

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum            210 Main Street                Boonton, NJ 07005

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum 210 Main Street Boonton, NJ 07005

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum

210 Main Street

Boonton, NJ  07005

(973) 402-8840

http://www.boonton.org

https://www.boonton.org/268/Boonton-Historical-Society

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46315-d19255529-Reviews-Boonton_Historical_Society_and_Museum-Boonton_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I recently visited the Boonton Historical Society on the Main Street of downtown Boonton, NJ in a quickly changing new Arts Community. Up the hill, several galleries have found a home and the downtown is filling up with cottage industries catering to both locals and artists.

The Historical Society covers the history of Boonton and its role in New Jersey history especially with the creation of the Morris Canal and the Iron works that once dominated the area until about WWI.

Boonton Historical Society IV

The munitions of the town’s foundries

The town saw much prosperity during the Civil War, providing ammunition and supplies to the Union Army. Many of the nails used during this period came their foundries. They also supplied munitions, pails, building materials and the transportation of raw iron out of the town. When technology and the way we build changed, the businesses here started to dry up. The use of the Train system and major highways also changed the transportation, it affected the town’s businesses.

Still the Boonton area is home to many historic homes, a section of the Morris Canal and the remains of the iron works that burnt to the ground decades ago. There is an interesting exhibition of the town’s Police Department in the lower level and now as part of the changing gallery space an extensive exhibition on the NJ Trolley system that once dominated the state.

Boonton Historical Society II.jpg

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum

The permanent exhibition space studies the history of the town, telling the story of the town’s beginnings as a manufacturing town, growth of the canals and shipping and agriculture to its current destination as a Arts Community. The museum is small and can be seen in about an hour to two hours if you like to read.

Don’t miss the room to the right of the museum which covers the timeline of the town and its prominent residents. It tells the story of how the growth of the iron works, the building of the dam and the coming of the railroads and the trolley system changed the town and the growth of its population. Take time to read the displays and look at the exhibitions behind the case lines.

I recently went to the Boonton Historical Society for the December 2019 Holiday open House and it was a very nice afternoon. They some local students playing the guitar, keyboards and the flute with engaging music and holiday songs. There were some light refreshments with hot and cold appetizers and Christmas cookies. They had specials in their gift shops and featured ornaments, books and stuffed animals at a reasonable price and had 1960’s and 70’s Christmas albums playing on the lower level of the museum. It was a nice afternoon treat and the society did a nice job welcoming people.

The museum is only open once a week on Sundays from 1:00pm-4:00pm and is run by volunteers. If you want to see how the State of New Jersey grew from a series of small towns to bustling industrial areas to sleepy back towns and back, visiting the Boonton Historical Society and Museum is a must visit.

 

New Exhibition:

The Boonton Historical Society in conjunction with the North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society and Liberty Historic Railway present this exhibition on the Trolley era. This display will include scale models of various types of trolley cars which operated in New Jersey, along with streetcar memorabilia and artifacts such as operator’s uniform jacket/hats, badges, books, publications, post cards, photos, videos, lithographs, signs,posters, tickets, lanterns, hardware and more (Boonton Historical Society).

 

Boonton Historical Society III.jpg

The History of Boonton, NJ

 

The Mission Statement of the Boonton Historical Society & Museum:

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum is a non-profit organization incorporation in 1959 located in the town of Boonton, New Jersey. Its mission is to:

*Preserved and protect the town of Boonton’s unique cultural, architectural and industrial history;

*Preserved and share the area’s rich history, folklore, arts and humanities of the past and present;

*Encourage preservation and restoration of historic landmarks in the town;

*Protect and display the museum’s collections;

*Provide educational programs, guided historical tours and exhibitions to a diverse population.

 

The History of Dr. John Taylor House 210 Main Street  Boonton, NJ (Home of the Museum):

The building was originally a private home built for Dr. John Taylor and his wife, Adelaide T. Kanouse. John L. Kanouse gave his daughter and her husband this lot as a Christmas present in 1897. Most likely, it was an enticement to get his family to move closer to him because they had been living in Succasunna and Mount Arlington where Dr. Taylor had practiced medicine for 15 years. The Taylor’s returned to Boonton and had the brick house built. Dr. Taylor continued his medical practice there.

In 1901, Adelaide’s parents came to live with them until her father died in 1905 and her mother in 1908. John L. Kanouse was one of Boonton’s most prominent citizens and was a successful businessman. He operated a food and supply store on Main Street, a coal yard on the Morris Canal and a modest farm between Kanouse and Roessler streets. He was elected Superintendent of Public Schools and held the office for twenty years. He served in the State Legislature and Board of Chosen Freeholder and as Associate Judge of Morris County and Tax Collector of Boonton.

Dr. Ellery Peck worked with Dr. Taylor in the building as an associate for seven years. Then in 1917, Dr. Peck went to serve in WWI and Dr. Taylor moved to Chula Vista, CA. After the war, the returning soldiers formed American Legion Post #124. Dr. Peck was one of the trustees of the Legion Post. He negotiated with the Taylor’s to purchase the building from the Post and dedicated it as a permanent memorial to veterans and a home for Post #124.

In 1922, the Town offices were moved from the Maxfield Fire House on Main Street to the John Taylor house. The Legion Post and the Town shared this building for 43 years until the present Town Hall was built in 1965. Since that time, the Boy Scouts, Civil Defense and Parking Authority have also used the building, having five floors there was enough room for everyone.

The Legion also offered space to the Boonton Historical Society. On November 11, 1980, the Society opened its museum on the second floor. This arrangement continued for ten years until Town Fathers deemed the building unsafe and it was closed to the public.

The building sat idle until the Committee to Save the John Taylor Building sought funding to renovate the building. That funding came from several sources. The largest portion came form a state grant but there were also sizable donations from the American Legion Post #124 and the Boonton Historical Society. More money came from individuals who were interested in seeing this portion of Boonton’s history kept alive and retained by the Town. The renovations were completed by professional tradesman and a few tireless volunteers. The building reopened in May 1997.

The original building had two triangler dormers on the top floor and a porch at the back of the main floor. They were removed sometime during the 1960’s. That work did solve the problem of a leaking roof but unfortunately, it made the building ineligible for designation to the historic register. Another mistake was made when the building was painted to solve the problem of leaking bricks. That mistake was undone when a civic group, Boonton’s United Community Effort, held a raffle to earn money to have the paint chemically removed and the bricks repointed.

Boonton Historical Society

The John Taylor House

Today, the building is shared by the American Legion and the Historical Society and Museum. The Town Fathers generously pay the expenses of the building and for that were are grateful (Boonton Historical Society).

Disclaimer: This information was taken from the Boonton Historical Society pamphlet and I give them full credit for the information.

 

 

 

New York Historical Society Museum & Library  170 Central Park West  New York, NY 10024

New York Historical Society Museum & Library 170 Central Park West New York, NY 10024

New York Historical Society Museum & Library

170 Central Park West

New York, NY   10024

(212) 873-3400

http://www.nyhistory.org

@nyhistory

https://www.nyhistory.org/

Open: Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Thursday 10:00am-6:00pm/Friday 10:00am-8:00pm/Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm

Fee: Adults $21.00/Seniors & Educators $16.00/Students $13.00/Children (5-13) $6.00/Children (4 and under) Free

On Fridays from 6:00pm-8:00pm are pay as you wish for Museum Admission

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d136143-Reviews-New_York_Historical_Society_Museum_Library-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I have visited the New York Historical Society several times over the years and I have to say that make quite a statement on the history of New York City and the State of New York City. It has a interesting permanent collection of paintings and statuary. There are a lot of things that First Families of New York City have donated to the museum that tell the story of families born and raised here.

I was honored here years ago when a picture I took for the 9/11 Photo Album Book came out in 2002. All the photographers that contributed to it were in attendance. Another time I was here for a private event on John Adams back in the early 2000’s that was injunction with the American Museum of Natural History. Over the years, the Historical Society has brought in more interesting exhibitions. The current exhibition “Hudson Rising” on the history and ecological changes due to humans along the Hudson River. It was an interesting look of the natural changes to the river from manufacturing times today as the river is being reclaimed for recreational uses.

Hudson Rising Exhibition

‘Hudson Rising’ Exhibition

The whole museum is a retrospect on the timeline of the New York City with an array of art out any one time. There are Masters from the Hudson River School, statues from all eras and special exhibitions that tell an interesting story of some part of the City’s past.

NY Historical Society

Hudson River School Paintings for ‘Hudson Rising’

History of the NY Historical Society:

The Historical Society was founded on November 20, 1804 largely through the efforts of John Pintard. He was for some years secretary of the American Academy of Fine Arts as well as the founder of New York’s First Savings Bank. With a group of prominent group of New Yorkers on the founding board including then Mayor DeWitt Clinton, the organization was established on December 10, 1804 (Wiki).

New York Historical Society II

The Collections of the NY Historical Society

The NY Historical Society had its share of growing pains over the years in that it had been in heavy debt during its first couple of decades. It also moved several times over the years as well. It moved from the Government House, which it had been housed in since 1809 to the New York Institution, the formerly the city almshouse on City Hall Park in 1816. In 1857, it moved into the first building constructed specifically for its collection at Second Avenue and 11th Street. The collection moved to its final home to Central Park West in 1908 (Wiki).

The current Society building was designed by architects York & Sawyer, who were known for bank designs. The second part of the building was designed by architects Walker and Gillette. The building has just finished a $65 million dollar renovation in 2011 and all the galleries have been refreshed. The new director of the Society, Louise Mirrer is leading the establishment into the 21st Century.

New York Historical Society

On Friday night’s from 6:00pm-8:00pm it is ‘pay as you wish’ to enter the museum.