Tag: NJ Historical Societies

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.

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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 Historical Society also has some interesting walking tours of Boonton. In May 2021, I visited Boonton for a walking tour in conjunction with the Boonton Trail  Committee of the Boonton Iron Works and the Morris Canal starting with a tour of Grace Lord Park and the falls. It was interesting how the town developed around the Iron Works and why they were created there.

Boonton Iron Works Site

Boonton Iron Works Site in Boonton,NJ

We toured the back trails of the park along the Rockaway River to the site of the former Iron Works which are in the process of being torn down for development. The tour guide gave us the history of the Iron Works and their role in pig iron development and how the canal played a role in the transport of the finished product to markets all over the country. These famous ruins are under threat of being torn down for development which would be a shame.

Grace Lord Park

The Grace Lord Park Falls

The Grace Lord Park where the tour took place at the very edge of Downtown Boonton, NJ is an amazing little park at Essex Avenue and Main Street is an amazing little park.

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).

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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.

The Greater Cape May Historical Society       6531/2 Washington Street                                Cape May, NJ 08204

The Greater Cape May Historical Society 6531/2 Washington Street Cape May, NJ 08204

The Greater Cape May Historical Society

6531/2 Washington Street

Cape May, NJ  08204

(609) 884-9100

http://www.capemayhistory.org/

http://www.capemayhistory.org/about-us.html

Open: Colonial House Museum hours:

Wednesday-Saturday, 1:00pm-4:00pm June 15th-September 15th

Open during Victorian Weekend in October. Special exhibits at Halloween and Christmas.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46341-d286395-Reviews-The_Colonial_House-Cape_May_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

What an interesting visit I had to the Cape May Historical Society’s Memucan Hughes Colonial House. This tiny museum is only open between June 15th-September 15th and after that only for special events. It is an fascinating little home that was built somewhere between 1730 to 1760. The original house no one is too sure if it had been built for the original owner or had been there and added on to as the records for the age of the house are unclear.

The home consists of two small downstairs room filled with period furniture and decorations and there is an upstairs with three small rooms that is closed to the public. The front room Mr. Hughes used as a tavern that he kept open until almost the 1800’s. He had catered to a growing whaling industry that needed some form of entertainment in this quiet town that was isolated from the rest of the state.

The front of the house is decorated as tavern to greet guests. There were tables filled with games and items that would have catered to the trade but still you knew you were in someone’s home. There are vintage card tables, board games and some household items.

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The Cape May Historical Society

The back room is a closed off kitchen with a fireplace and spinning wheels and wash tubs, all the things to run a household. There were also children’s toys, kitchen and garden gadgets and family items to personalize the house. The Hughes family lived in the house until the Victorian age and then they built the house on the front of the property and moved the smaller house to the back of the grounds. The house had been moved three times since its original location on the main road a few blocks away.

The tour itself is only about a half hour long and the guides do a nice job explaining the history of the house. On the gloomy day I visited, the museum was very busy with people visiting the house and with its connection to colonial history and the popularity of the musical, “Hamilton”, it is making it a popular destination when visiting Cape May.

 

History of the Museum:

The mission of the Greater Cape May Historical Society is to collect, preserve, document, interpret and share the history of Greater Cape May and to enhance the appreciation of that history through the Society’s historic site, The Colonial House Museum, collections, research, exhibitions, educational programs and publications.

All are invited to visit the Colonial House Museum, a 1700’s era house. The house was moved to its present site next to City Hall when the Hughes Family built the grand Victorian that is now a Bed & Breakfast. Come visit us and see the House as it was with a Tavern Room and a Common Room when it was owned by Memucan Hughes. On display are period furnishings and other period household items.

The Society presents an annual exhibit dedicated to an unique chapter of Greater Cape May History along with special events for Halloween and Christmas.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Greater Cape May Historical Society’s pamphlet and I give them full credit for it. Please call the above number for more information and selected openings.

The Paterson Museum                                     2 Market Street   Paterson, NJ 07501

The Paterson Museum 2 Market Street Paterson, NJ 07501

The Paterson Museum

2 Market Street

Paterson, NJ  07501

(973) 321-1260

Open: Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Sunday-Sunday 12:30pm-4:30pm

Fee: Free

http://www.thepatersonmuseum.com/

http://www.patersonmuseum.com

https://www.patersonnj.gov/department/?structureid=16

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46718-d2704664-Reviews-Paterson_Museum-Paterson_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Paterson Museum is an interesting museum of the history of the City of Paterson, NJ. The museum is broken into different sections of the City’s history. The museum discusses from the time that the Lenape Indians lived in the area to the rise of colonization and then to how it developed into the Silk City  through city planning and placement. The museum covers the history of the City of Paterson in the industrial Age as well with the rise of the Silk Industry, the Wright Airplane Factory, the Colt Revolver and the growth of the hospital industry in the City.

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Paterson Fire Department

Take time to look at the live displays of minerals, Native American artifacts, old fire department equipment and the life and times of its native son, Lou Costello.

The nice part of this museum is that the parking is free, it can be toured in about two to three hours and it is walking distance to the Paterson Falls and to Little Peru restaurants. It is also free.

The Introduction:

The Paterson Museum offers a ‘History within History’ experience. Located inside the former erecting shop if the Rogers Locomotive & Machine Works, the museum, presents a glimpse of the rich history and the many factors that gave rise to Paterson, New Jersey: “America’s First Planned Industrial City.”

From the natural wonders and the first inhabitants of the land that lay below and above the ground to the vital role Paterson played in setting of our nation’s industrial course. Through the museum’s exhibits. you’ll find out why Paterson was known for more than a century as the “Silk City.” You’ll discover that Paterson was at the forefront of locomotive, submarine and airplane engine development. And that’s just the beginning of our story. By the time you finish your visit, you will want to learn more about this city that surrounds the Great Falls.

The Exhibitions:

Paterson Residents: There are exhibitions on such celebrity natives as Lou Costello and his life after living in Paterson are shown in detail. Baseball players, football players and actors have shown against all odds and color barriers they found success in the world with Paterson being their roots.

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The Silk Industry

Silk City: The history of Paterson as ‘Silk City’ features winders, warpers and power-looms that produced beautiful fabrics. How the Falls and the location of the City of Paterson played its part in the garment industry at the turn of the last century. Not just in the silk industry but also in other companies like the Wright Aeronautical Corporation and the their time as a manufacturer in Paterson.

Paterson Museum III

The Paterson Fire Department

The Paterson Fire and Police Departments: The history and development of both the Paterson Police and Fire Departments are told through pictures, stories, uniforms and equipment through the ages. There are many turn of the last century fire trucks in the museum.

World War Exhibition: The museum has a wonderful exhibition on the history of Paterson and the role it played in the World Wars. There are all sorts of uniforms, munitions and stories to tell.

Geographical: There is a whole side exhibition of gems and minerals both native and from all over the country at the museum and a full display of native New Jersey stone formations. There is also a discussion of how the Falls played such an important role inf the development not just of the City of Paterson but of New Jersey as well.

Alexander Hamilton Exhibit: The history and life of Alexander Hamilton is told from the time he was born in the Caribbean to his coming to the United States, his marriage and his rise through the ranks of the government. There is how he helped develop the banking industry and paying of the government debts to his fall from grace and his eventual fatal duel with Aaron Burr.

Lenape Indian Culture: The Lenape Native American culture is shown how the tribes developed, lived, worked and hunted and gathered to create the society that was in place before colonization. There are all sorts of tools, displays on their regions of living, language, housing (there is a recreation of a Tee Pee here), that native wardrobe and a complete display of tools and arrow heads. It is a very detailed account of life as a Lenape Indian.

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Lenape Exhibition at the Paterson Art Museum

The museum shows the history not just of Paterson but of the surrounding areas and how growth of the City of Paterson made an impact on the region.

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden  5 Morris Road  Ringwood, NJ 07456

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden 5 Morris Road Ringwood, NJ 07456

Skylands Manor-New Jersey Botanical Garden

5 Morris Road

Ringwood, NJ  07456

(973) 962-9370

http://www.ringwoodmanor.org/Victorian-Christmas.html

Open: Check website for details

Fee: Check the website for details

Note: The Skylands Manor is decorated for the holidays during the first week of December and only for one weekend as it used for a banquet facility the rest of the time and as a hotel. The first weekend of December is when local Gardening groups are assigned one room to decorate and they have one week to put it together, display their ideas and explain how they did it to the public. The best day to go is the Thursday afternoon opening as it is the quietest day of the four day event with Saturday being the busiest.

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g46774-d1140628-Reviews-The_Castle_at_Skylands_Manor-Ringwood_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

In 2018:

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Each of the eleven rooms that were decorated for the event were amazing each with their own decor, docents and gardeners and theme to the room. The Entrance Hall was elegant with its garland and potted plants, the Octagon Hall used its space wisely with a series of trees and hot house flowers. The women who decorated it had a phenomenal sense of space.

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The Teaneck Garden Club did a great job decorating the Library with an elegant Christmas Tree and vintage ornaments. Some of the gardeners also came in vintage clothing of the area.

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Each room had its own personality and was a combination of Christmas decorations and holiday plants.

In 2019:

In 2019, the decorations were not as elaborate as the previous two years. The snow storm before the event may have put a damper on a few of the groups decorating. Still the best day to visit the manor is Thursday afternoon as it is the quietest time and you can take the best pictures.

The two best rooms in the manor in 2019 were the Entrance Hall and Grand Staircase decorated by the Magnificent Seven, a group of volunteers whose theme was ‘The Secret Life of Gnomes’ and the trees and staircases were studded with gnomes, large and small, on the trees and wreathes surrounding the stairs.

The other room that was very impressive was the Center Hall whose theme was the “Enchanted Forest, full of little fairies and painted rocks and jeweled winged ornaments. When you looked at the detail work of the trees and table displays you could see the work that went into the decor. Each little fairy on the stands and trees had immense detail and took a lot of time. This display was done by the Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne, NJ.

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Skylands Manor in 2019

The rest of the rooms in the manor were really pared down from 2018 and did not have the same elaborate details to them. The Library and Study did not have half of the display items that they did in the past.

The fee to enter the home is still $10.00. The carriage house is being used for a cafe with Chicken Salad sandwiches and hot dogs with toppings. There are all sorts of crafts for sale.

Watch the calendar for 2020 in early December for the next display.

 

History of the Skylands Manor & People:

Clarence McKenzie Lewis bought Skylands in 1922 from the estate of Francis Lynde Stetson, who founded Skylands in 1891. Mr. Lewis was educated in England and Germany. While he was there, his widowed mother, Helen Forbes Lewis married William Salomon, founder of the New York banking house. Upon his return, Lewis attended Columbia University, where he received a Civil Engineering degree in 1898. In 1908, he married and bought a country place in Mahwah; it was there that Lewis became interested in horticulture.

Helen Lewis Salomon, the mother of Clarence Lewis, was widowed in 1919. Not only thereafter, she and her bereaved son agreed to a joint project; she wanted a Tudor-style showplace; he wanted plants and gardens. Mrs. Salomon worked closely with the architect on Skylands Manor but she died in 1927 before its completion.

John Russell Pope (1874-1937) “an architect born to work, in the grand style” was educated at City College, Columbia University, the American Academy in Rome and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He trained under Bruce Price, the master builder of Tuxedo Park. Pope designed many outstanding public buildings, such as the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art.

Tutor Architecture originated in England in the late Gothic period and continued to be popular into the Renaissance. It features half-timbering on the exterior, crenelated walls, large groups of rectangular windows, oriel or bay windows and intricate chimney complexes The interiors usually had large central halls, wood paneling, molded plaster ceilings and elaborately carved staircases. Tudor Revival became a popular style for the elegant country houses of wealthy Americans.

The builder of Skylands was the Elliot C. Brown Co., of New York City, which also built the country homes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Hyde Park and E. Roland Harriman (Arden House).

Samuel Yellin (1885-1940) decorative metal designer and craftsman, who performed to call himself “the blacksmith”, fashioned the lanterns. electrical fixtures, lamps, gate, and spiral staircase rail for Skylands Manor.

Native Granite for the exterior walls of Skylands was quarried at Pierson Ridge above Emerald Pond in the eastern part of the property in Bergen County.

Mrs. Salomon purchased a collection of antique Stained Glass Medallions from an English collector. The 16th century German, Bavarian and Swiss panes were set in leaded windows by Heinegke & Smith of New York City.

Disclaimer: This information on the details of the history of Skylands Manor was taken directly from their pamphlet and I give them full credit for it. Please call the manor for times that it is open as it is used a banquet/catering facility and a B & B.