The Chester Historical Society/Chester Rockefeller Center has just been moved to Downtown Chester and is currently being renovated. Their collection is in storage right now while the building is being renovated. When I went to visit the museum, they were displaying their plans for the museum in the future outside the building.
The Chester Historical Society is currently open only at certain times and the collection is in storage while renovating. They are telling the town’s story on both a story board outside and on tables outside the building while it is being set up. Please check out their website for upcoming events and openings.
The new building
The game plan for the museum.
The History of the Building of the Chester Historical Society:
(From the Chester Historical Society’s website)
Chester’s Little “Rockefeller Center” building has seen many unique tenants in its day! In 1897, Mr. W. J. Litzenberger was reported to be doing a located behind the building. This is where he carved gravestones for the locals and used the building as his sales office and display area.
Also in the late 1800’s, the Post Office was located in Alonzo P. Green’s Pharmacy across from the firehouse. “Lawyer” Smith (postmaster), who was the son in law of General Cooper, was soon to move the Post Office across the road to Yawger’s store and later to the “Rockefeller Center” building, which was just east of the firehouse.
When Chester’s Iron “Hey-Day” waned out, fortunate were those who could return to farming. They could put their efforts into raising peaches, apples and garden produce and often used it as barter for “store-bought necessities” to provide for their families. Horses and cattle were important to the farmer and also to the townsmen. From earliest days drovers had driven horses and other livestock through Chester on their way to and from Susses County. From the mid-1800’s horses and mules were brought from as far as the Midwest to be sold.
During the late 1920’s and into the 30’s and 40’s, Abraham Meyer, who boarded with Austin Thompson, bought and sold cattle and had them located at the present Lowensteiner farm on North Road. During that time, he had an office for his cattle dealer’s business in the “Rockefeller Center” building.
After that, the Rockefeller family rented not only the cottage for them to live in but also the little building next to it from George E. Conover. The cottage was ordered and built from the Sears & Roebuck Company and was located to the left of the “Rockefeller Center” building. At this time, Carlos “Rocky” Rockefeller used the building for a bicycle shop where you could not only purchase a bike but also get one fixed! He would also sharpen the local children’s ice skates there.
I love coming to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Private Members Nights. It is one of the perks that I enjoy of being a member for the last thirty years. The museum closes at 5:30pm to the general public and we as members get to roam certain parts of the hall on our own for almost three hours. It gives us a chance to visit halls that we have not seen or have not visited in a while and have special discounts in the restaurants and gift shops. There are also special lectures and talks in all the galleries and it is nice to talk to the curators and docents.
I just like the time that I can stroll around the museum at my own pace. We have the same thing when it is open to the public but here you are with other members who really are…
It is amazing to be in a building a record number of times and miss a small gallery that makes an impact on a visitor. This is how I felt when I entered Grand Central Station recently and discovered the New York Transit Museum Gallery. This little gem is tucked into a corner away from the ticket booths and Grand Hall and is free to the public.
The Gallery is a branch of the larger New York Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn. This smaller space can be toured in about an hour which is perfect in case you need to spend some time in the terminal before your train.
The Gallery was showing an exhibition entitled “Transit Sketches” by six artists who were based in New York City over the last 100 years. It was nice to see different perspectives of the artist though the overall theme was still the same.
“Transit Sketches” at the New York Transit Gallery
Video by Burning Hammer Productions
Tired people going to and from work. Works featured were from artists Ebony Bolt, Marvin Franklin, Naomi Grossman, Joseph Solman, Amy Tenenouser and Hank Virgona. Each artist represented a different time in the subway system, and it was nice to see that nothing really has changed over the years with the exception of the iPhone has replaced the newspaper as a place to do your work on the subway.
Each artist had their own mini gallery show in each section of the museum gallery and all the works showed people after either getting to work in the morning or after a long day at work. It showed the human side of riding the subway and just wanting to get to our destination.
Artist Ebony Bolt created a series entitled “The Bolt Dairies”, where she drew sketches of people either reading or sleeping on the subways and most of the faces were looking down. I took this that she was secretly drawing them while they were content being distracted by whatever means possible from the other riders and the books were full of overlapping faces.
Artist Ebony Bolt on her work on the inspiration of the people on the subway
Artist Naomi Grossman show her works with an interesting approach of capturing the moods of the passengers as they spent their time on the train almost wishing to get off at the next stop. It was a way of looking at the patrons and capturing them after a long day at work.
Artist Marvin Franklin was an MTA worker who worked the lines as a track worker who died on the job in 2007. He was on the job with another worker picking up a non-working dolly on the track whose lights were out and the train operator who hit them did not see them (NY Times.com). His vision to see the people who disappeared after work and became part of the fabric of the City. He showed their stories in his art.
Artist Amy Tenenouser’s work also gives the patron a Birdseye view of average people living their lives and capturing them in a moment in time. She has a good view of the riders on the subway and a whimsical approach.
Hank Virgona’s work shows people in a state of mind
Hank Virgona’s career goes back to the Great Depression, and he captures like many of the artists in the exhibition the everyday person on the subway. Being a native New Yorker, he looks at the riders keeping an uncomfortable position keeping their space. I liked his work on the written word.
In the corner of the gallery there is a very extensive gift shop that features hats with subway numbers and letters representing the routes they take, games, puzzles and books that are all railroad themed catering to both children and adults. It has a nice selection of products to choose from.
The best part of the New York Transit Gallery is that it is free and a nice way to spend the afternoon while waiting to get on your train.
The History of the Transit Museum:
(From the museum’s website)
Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation-extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels over 100 years ago, communities that were drastically transformed and the ever-evolving technology, design and ridership of a system that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Housed underground in a authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907.
Visitors can board the vintage cars, sit at the wheel of a city bus, step through a time tunnel of turnstiles and explore changing exhibits that highlight the cultural, social and technology history and future of mass transit.
The New York Transit Museum is a self-supporting division of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Friends of the New York Transit Museum, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization was established in 1995 to promote and raise funds for the Museum’s operations and programs.