Tag: nj museums

Fort Mott State Park                                             454 Fort Mott Road                                  Pennsville, NJ 08070

Fort Mott State Park 454 Fort Mott Road Pennsville, NJ 08070

Fort Mott State Park

454 Fort Mott Road

Pennsville, NJ 08070

(856) 935-3218

https://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/fortmottstatepark.html

https://www.facebook.com/FortMott

Open: Sunday-Saturday 8:00am-7:30pm/Please see their website for seasonal hours

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46726-d6775079-Reviews-Fort_Mott_State_Park-Pennsville_New_Jersey.html

After touring Finns Point Lighthouse in the front of the park, I drove to the back of Fort Mott State Park to tour the rest of the park and explore the old fort. Talk about a real surprise and a a real treat. Talk about views of the Delaware River. On a sunny afternoon, the sun really reflects off the water and makes the most amazing light show.

Finn’s Point Lighthouse at the front of the park

I walked up the Parapet, the massive concrete wall that used conceal the guns that protected the bay and the river. It was a impressive piece of construction and you could see where the guns had been mounted. You could climb up and down the stairs to get from one part to the other and enjoy the views.

I passed the old Western Fire Control tower that was closed for the day and open by appointment only. That must have offered some spectacular views.

I then toured the Visitors Center and saw all the artifacts from the war, a time line of the Fort and the history of the fort. Take time to look at each case and you will see how the fort developed, the types of things used at the fort and the people who were stationed here and their stories. It also offers bathrooms.

The best part of the Fort Mott State Park is just walking around the lawn and enjoying the sunshine and river breezes on a hot day. The blue skies with the sunshine gives you a sense that it was not just a place of protection but Mother Nature lending her hand to offer a spectacular location to just stop and wonder what would it been like if something happened here during the war. Would it withstood the assault?

The best part of the park is just to walk around the lawns and enjoy the river views.

Fort Mott State Park-The Gunnery Stations (NJ Parks.com)

Map of Fort Mott State Park (NJ State Parks.org)

The History of Fort Mott:

(From the Fort Mott State Park Pamphlet-New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry State Park Division)

Fort Mott, an Endicott-era fortification was built as part of the federal government’s late 19th century plan to defend the Delaware River. Today it serves as a state park where visitors can tour the remains of the historic fort. The cultural and historic features of this park and its recreational facitlities provide a unique blend of activities for the park visitors.

Fort Mott State Park is included as a point of interest on the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail. A Welcome Center for the trail accomodates displays defining Fort Mott’s place in history and the maritime environment. Fort Mott State Park is on the Delaware River at Finn’s Point in Salem County, New Jersey. This 104 acre park is six miles south of the Delaware River Memorial Bridge, off New Jersey Route 49.

The Finn’s Point Reservation was purchased by the United States Government in the late 1830’s. Originally called “The Battery At Finn’s Point”, the proposed fortification was one of a three-fort plan to protect growing industries and shipping along the Delaware River. Plans for Finn’s Pint specified eleven gun emplacements with twenty guns and a mortar battery with six complacements. With Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island in operation since the early 1820’s and the nation involved in the Civil War, the construction of the Battery at Finn’s Point was delayed until 1872. At that time, only two gun emplacements and five magazines in the mortar battery were completed before construction was halted due to budgetary constraints.

With advancements in military technology made during and after the Civil War, the United State’s defenses were dangerously inadequare. In 1885, President Grover Cleveland, at the request of Congress, appointed the Endicott Board, named after its Chairman William Endicott, the Secretary of War. The board, which consisted of both military men and private citizens, studied the existing coastal defenses and developed a coastal defense plan for the United States. This plan determined where defenses and developed a coastal defense plan for the United States. This plan detemined where defenses should be built or improved, the order in which the work would proceed, the quantity and type of guns that would be placed at each fort and other considerations.

The main defense concept of the Delaware River was dispersion of armaments into three separate fortifications. The original plan for the Battery at Finn’s Point was abandoned and construction of new fortifications began in 1896 in anticipation of war with Spain, the Spanish-American War. This fortification was officially renamed Fort Mott on December 16th, 1897 to honor Major General Gershom Mott . Mott, a native of Bordentown, NJ was a decorated veteran of the Mexican-American and Civil Wars. Fort Delaware was upgraded and construction of Fort DuPont began during this same time period.

At. Fort Mott, large caliber weapons, three 10 inch and three 12 inch guns were installed on disappearing carriages. The gun emplacements were located behind a 750 foot long and 35 foot thick concrete and earthen embankment, which was sloped to form the ‘parapet’ wall. These guns had an effective range of seven to eight miles and shot projectiles that weighed 617 and 1000 pounds respectively. Beneath the six gun platforms were powder and shell magazines, ammunition hoists, a telecommunications system and an electric generating station. Two batteries each with 5 inch rapid fire guns and one battery with two 3 inch rapid fire guns were also part of the defenses, designed to counter fast moving smaller warships which might evade the large caliber guns. They also protected the fort from potential land attack. Fort Mott was a completely modern installation for its time period.

Two steel control towers were later built to improve aiming of the guns. Observers stationed in the towers, in conjunction with plotting room personnel, directed the gunfire of the 10 inch and 12 inch guns. The tower near the river on the northern end of the emplacement was built in 1902 and was used to aim the 12 inch guns of Battery Arnold. The tower near the park office was built in 1903 to help aim the 10 inch guns of Battery Harker.

Behind the main emplacement are the parados and the moat. ‘Parados’ is Spanish for rear door. These provided the rear defenses for the fort. The parados was constructed using the fill from the moat. Landscaping around the military reservation helped camouflage Fort Mott from attack by potential enemy ships.

Fort Mott was self-contained military community. The post had over 30 buildings, including two large barracks, non-commissioned and officer’s housing, a hospital, a post exchange, a library, a guard house, a stable, YMCA and a school for the soldier’s children. The Delaware River was the main transporation infrastructure for Fort Mott; munitions, supplies and construction materials arrived at the fort by barge.

WIth the construction of Fort Salisbury near Milford, Delaware shortly before WWI, Fort Mott, Fort Delaware and Fort DuPont became obsolete. The three forts remained active defense installations until after WWII, when they were phased out. Troops were regularly stationed at Fort Mott from 1897 to 1922. The federal government maintained a caretaking detrachment at the fort from 1922 to 1943. During this time, Fort Mott’s guns were dismantled and sent to various locations.

Visiting Fort Mott

Fort Mott was declared “surplus property” in 1943. Finn’s Point National Cemetery (dedicated a National Cemetery on October 3rd, 1873 because of the Confederate prisoners of war buried there) was separated from Fort Mott at that time. In 1947, the State of New Jersey purchased Fort Mott, as a historic site from the federal government. On June 24th, 1951, it was opened to the public as Fort Mott State Park.

Mauricetown Historical Society                         1229 Front Street                                Mauricetown, NJ 08329

Mauricetown Historical Society 1229 Front Street Mauricetown, NJ 08329

Mauricetown Historical Society

1229 Front Street

Mauricetown, NJ 08329

(859) 785-0457

http://mauricetownhistoricalsociety.org/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/History-Museum/Mauricetown-Historical-Society-178475328895206/

Open: The first and third Sunday’s of each month/Check their website 1:00pm-4:00pm

Admission: Free but donation suggested. See website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g46606-d24137792-r844173042-Mauricetown_Historical_Society-Mauricetown_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Mauricetown Historical Society

I visited the Mauricetown (pronounced ‘Morristown’ like its northern neighbor) on a trip to visit historical societies in southern New Jersey. Mauricetown comes from the Dutch word ‘Mauritus’ for the Mauritus River that flowed through the town. “Maurice’ is the English version of the word.

The town itself was used for shipping and trade up and down the East Coast and between 1830 and 1902, 61 ships were built in the boatyard in the village. The home that the Society is housed in is one of many ship captains homes that was built on this side of town being closer to the river for the other ship captains. Founded in 1984, the Society has taken it upon themselves to start collecting artifacts from the town.

When you first enter the museum to the right, there is an extensive collection of seafaring items and military artifacts. This includes many items from the Civil War and WWI. There was even a rare pair of original sharp shoot glasses.

The Military Collection at the Mauricetown Historical Society (MHS Picture)

In the Formal Parlor, the room was designed with original molding from decor of the house and a copy of the wallpaper that had been found behind paneling that had been put up in the 1970’s. The room was furnished in period furniture that was a mixture of late 1890’s to the 1920’s.

The Mauricetown Historical Society ‘Parlor Room’ with the original molding and copy of wall paper

On the second floor, one room was dedicated to a Captain Bacon and his wife, Carolyn, another was full of pictures of the town of Mauricetown through the times, there was a collection of clothing through the ages and a quilt collection that was very impressive.

There was one quilt on display that had the names of all the sea captains and their families. Many of the decendants of the town come here to research their families and look at this quilt. There is also another quilt with items native to the area.

One of the rooms discusses the Mauricetown Shipping and Fishing industry with all sorts of photos and equipment. There was even a display of the ‘Bridge Key’ from the original bridge that lead into town. There was also an interesting display on the town’s Oyster Industry.

In the Children’s Room, there was an extensive collection of dolls, children’s playthings through the ages, clothing and school pictures of the town through the years.

On the outside grounds, there is a Cookhouse that was separate from the main house in the era of when cooking could start a house fire so the rooms were kept separate from the main house. There was a 1880’s cookstove that still works.

The Cookhouse on the grounds of the Mauricetown Historical Society

On the back of the ground is the Abraham and Ann Hoy House, a small home from 1840 that had recently been lived in by an elderly couple. The house had two small levels with the main rooms designed around the fireplace and heating unit.

The house had been stripped of the modern add ons and they Society wanted it to look like it had when it was originally built. The upstairs had two loft bedrooms and even a small loft above the downstairs fire place where the kids would sleep when it was cold outside.

It really showed how the working people of the town lived in a stark comparison to the sea captains who were running trade for the town. The Society’s members have taken great care in restoring these homes.

The Mauricetown Historical Society at 1229 Front Street

The History of the Mauricetown Historical Society:

(From the Mauricetown Historical Society website):

The Mission of the Mauricetown Historical Society:

It is the mission of the Mauricetown Historical Society to collect, preserve and exhibit artifacts and documentation significant to Mauricetown and the surrounding communities.

The Mauricetown Historical Society is housed in the former home of Captain Edward Compton, who was a local sea captain. This Italianate Victorian structure was built in 1864 by Mauricetown carpender Griffith Pritchard and Samuel Cobb.

The home was purchased in 1984 by the society. At the time, the property was in poor condition and required work inside and outside. Over the past 25 years it has been carefully restored to its present condition by volunteer efforts of society members and others. The restoration is an on-going project and there are still areas of work that are needing completion.

Situated directly across Front Street from the location of the old shipyard where sea-going vessels were built in the 19th and 20th centuries, occupants of this house were able to view the activities of the shipyard and the traffic of the river.

Atlantic County Historical Society                       907 Shore Road                                              Somers Point, NJ 08294

Atlantic County Historical Society 907 Shore Road Somers Point, NJ 08294

Atlantic County Historical Society

907 Shore Road

Somers Point, NJ 08294

(609) 927-5218

https://www.atlanticcountyhistoricalsocietynj.org/

https://www.facebook.com/AtlanticCountyHistoricalSociety/

Open: Sunday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-3:30pm

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46825-d24142996-Reviews-Atlantic_County_Historical_Society-Somers_Point_New_Jersey.html

The Atlantic County Historical Society at 907 Shore Avenue

The Atlantic County Historical Society

I recently visited the historical sites of Somers Point and took my time to tour the Atlantic County Historical Society, which tells the story of life in Atlantic County from the beginnings to today with a major concentration the early history of the County with the Native American Lenape Indians and into the late 1700’s and 1800’s with the founding of the town, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, shipbuilding, fishing and the start of the Victorian Age. Each floor has interesting displays that sometimes have been over-decorated with too many objects.

When you walk in the door, you enter the library where people study the history of the town and their geneology. There are stacks of books, periodicals and town records with people to help you research your work.

As you head downstairs, you will see the various displays that have been set up on life in Atlantic County through the ages. Most of the artifacts in the displays are from the late 1800’s to the early 1930’s. The displays represent the home life of middle to upper middle class Americans at the time. There are parlor sets with musical intruments for entertainment, family portraits, writing sets and living and dining room bric-a-brac. The museum portrays the life of properious residents of the area.

The Middle to Upper Middle Class parlor of Americans in the late 1800’s

The Dining Room set and dishes of a 1920’s Atlantic County family with all sorts of kitchen and play items for engagement for the family through the years.

The display really shows that entertaining since those times has not changed over the years except that today that things are less formal. China, crystal and silver were your way of showing your status in the community. Today’s generation is not so apt to do this.

Early phonographs, lightbulbs and inkwells for writing

Lifestyle was a big part of people’s lives during these time periods so the way you dressed and presented yourself was a big part of who you were. With the advent of ocean swimming, outdoor recreation and weekend activities that came with the push of the unions. You can see that leisure became a big part of the Victorian’s lifestyle.

One thing that emphisis was put on was children and their well-being. We see the start of children’s education, their health and livelihoods and their playthings. The Victorians especially worked hard to give children a better life than the workhouses and factories that children had been subjected to in the previous century. There was a push to make children well-behaved ‘little adults’.

Children’s playthings and clothes were a big part of Victorian children’s lives

Children’s Playthings

Children’s dolls and playthings represented the house and to prepare for household responsibilities

The Somers Family dollhouse that was built for the Somers family’s daughters
The Somers Dollhouse was a special gift to two young girls of the noted family who played with this their entire childhoods. Notice the detail to the this wonderful dollhouse.

People were expected to do their chores at home such as cooking, washing, dressmaking and taking care of the house. Before electricity this was not an easy task made even more difficult by the Victorian expectations of propriety and cleanliness.

The spinning wheels represented cloth and clothes making of the late 1700’s and the loom of rug making for home decoration before the advent of the department stores. Butter churning and ice cream making were all day chores.

Home decoration was a big part of home life. The house was where the family spent their time and Victorians especially liked to room for everything including the bedrooms. This is where privacy was king if you could afford it. In the era of ‘children were seen and not heard’, if family members could have their own rooms that was paramount.

The kitchen was king and entertainment was taken seriously. Things had to look and seem a certain way.

The Victorian Bedroom was a place of rest and leisure for the married couple
Victorians believed in grooming and good manners

There was also a large collection of vintage clothing, quilts and bedding, hats and gloves and walking sticks to show the dressing the middle and upper middle class citizens.

Manufacturing was also a big part of the community and shipbuilding was one of the businesses by any waterfront community that was important.

The shipbuilding and fishing displays on the third floor

The Third floor is dedicated to industry of the area with fishing and shipbuilding a very important part of any waterfront community. Tourism which was a new thing in the industrial age and people having weekends off to enjoy themselves discovered these new shore communities for swimming, sunning, staying at hotels and ocean dining.

Resort ware and a rolling chair from Atlantic City’s boardwalk

The last display on the third floor was the office set up of Senator Frank “Hap” Farley, whose innovations and protections of the shore and transportation to various parts of the state opened it up for development and tourism.

Senator Frank “Hap” Farley

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_S._Farley

The office of Frank S. “Hap” Farley was a testiment to a well spent time in government

The upstairs galleries is also a place where groups meet and discussions and lectures are held. There really is something for everyone at the Society.

There is more to see and do here and take your time to visit all the displays and take a tour of everything. It is also an enjoyable rainy or hot sunny day alternative to the beach. You will learn a lot about Atlantic County and the history of New Jersey here.

The History and Mission Statement of the Atlantic County Historical Society:

(From the Society website)

Mission:

The mission of the Atlantic County Historical Society is to encourage the study of local history and genealogy and to disseminate this information to our members and the general public.

To fulfill our mission, the Society publishers an annual journal of local history and genealogy as well as a quarterly newsletter. Other means include programs, lectures, field trips, partnerships with local libraries and school districts, library and museum interpretative exhibitis and guided tours of the circa 1790 oysterman’s farmhouse, the Risley Homestead, in Northfield, New Jersey.

History of the organization:

The Atlantic County Historical Society is an independent, non-profit, tax-exempt membership organization. Originally founded in 1913 to collect and preserve the history of Atlantic County and southern New Jersey, the organization was incorporated as the Atlantic County Historical Society in 1915. In 2006, the Society was briefly renamed the Atlantic Heritage Center, but the original name was restored in 2011.

The Society opened its library and museum at the current location in 1968. In 2017, an extensive renovation project added additional space for the museum and to provide handicapped accessibility. The Risley Homestead site was bequeathed to the Society in 1989 by Virginia Risley Stout. She and her husband were the last to live in this historic building, of which portions date back to 1790. The building is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Atlantic County Historical Society and Risley Homestead are registered trade names of Atlantic County Historical Society.

Barnegat Light Museum/The Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens                                                                   501 Central Avenue                                    Barnegat Light, NJ 08006

Barnegat Light Museum/The Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens 501 Central Avenue Barnegat Light, NJ 08006

Barnegat Light Museum/The Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens

501 Central Avenue

Barnegat Light, NJ 08006

(609) 494-8578

http://www.bl-hs.org/

Open: July and August Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm/June-October 10:00am-4:00pm

Fee: Donation to the museum

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46285-d8548161-Reviews-Barnegat_Light_Museum-Barnegat_Light_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I was on Long Beach Island for the afternoon and had wanted to visit the Barnegat Light Museum on my last trip to the island but it was closed for the afternoon. When I checked the site to see if it was open this weekend, I found that it was and since I had to be in Beach Haven that afternoon I made it my first trip.

The museum is now open ‘by appointment only’ in the off season, so I called the number provided and the President of the Museum Board opened the museum up for me and gave me a personal tour. What an interesting little museum packed with information and artifacts.

The Barnegat Light Museum at 501 Central Avenue

The museum is a former one room school house that was built in 1903 and used by island school children until 1954. The building still houses the original heating unit, a coal burning furnace and books of the children’s notes from school that had been handwritten (now typed) of current events and school notes.

The main attraction is the original light, a 1052 prism lens, for the Barnegat Lighthouse on display since 1927. The glass panels and sheer size and beauty of light shows how it was once the beacon for ships along the New Jersey coast. It had been brought to museum after moving around to various places over the years.

The original Barnegat Light for the Lighthouse

Along the walls are all sorts of local artifacts such as dinosaur bones that had been found in the bay and donated to the museum (the president of the museum said today there are certain laws on this), local housewares from families that lived on the island and various types of fishing equipment.

Display cases filled with local artifacts

There is even a mini display of ‘Pound Fishing”, which is a series of poles and nets are used to catch the fisherman’s prey. This small display shows how it is constructed and used to catch the fish.

There is an extensive display of Duck decoys, showing the island’s past and present as a hunting ground for water fowl. The displays come in all colors and types of ducks.

There is an extensive history of the resort hotels that used to be on this part of the island that had been effected by the changing tides of the island. Like the old lighthouse and lighthouse keepers home, one of the hotels just gave way to erosion. This part of the island just keeps shifting.

Hotels disappeared because of shifting tides

There is a picture display of “Sinbad”, stowaway dog during WWII that became famous from stories written about him.

One beautiful benefit of the museum is the beautiful gardens that surround the museum, The Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens. The pathways of flowers and decorative bushes are maintained by the Long Beach Island Garden Club. These wondering paths surround the property and especially elegant looking in the back of the building.

The Edith Duff Gwinn Gardens that surround the museum are maintained by the Long Beach Island Garden Club.

In the off season, you can visit the museum by calling ahead and you can schedule an appointment with the staff of volunteers that work at the museum.

I arranged a trip at the last minute and the president of the museum gave me a personal tour and history of the museum that was so interesting. It was nice to see the museum on a one on one basis.

It is such an interesting piece of Jersey Shore history.