Like some adventure?

So do I! From discovering strange antiques to visiting historic sites - I love it all!

Where to?

Somerset County, Morris County... even Cape May County!

No Place is too Small...

What may seem minute and insignificant is what makes history!

Redcoats!

Not only do I like to write about history - I love covering events too!

This Place Matters

Help bring awareness to the historic sites in your area.

From historic figures to historic places...

I want to teach America just how significant New Jersey is!

Monday, September 15, 2014

“Sojourner Truth” Travels Our Way - September 18, 2014

“Sojourner Truth” Travels Our Way
September 18, 2014

Van Harlingen Historical Society presents Dr. Daisy Century, in first-person interpretation, as the former slave Isabella Baumfree, better known as Sojourner Truth. The program, free and open to the public, will be held Thursday, September 18, 2014 at Mary Jacobs Library, 64 Washington Street, Rocky Hill, New Jersey at 7:00 pm. Registration is required. Visit http://somerset.lib.nj.us/maryjacobs.htm or call 609-924-7073. School-age children are welcome. Space is limited.

Dr. Daisy Century as Sojourner Truth. Photo credit: American Historical Theatre

Organization of the Week: Battleship New Jersey

Every Monday, I highlight a non-profit related to history or the arts, a historical society, preservation group or friends group whose main objective is to promote the historical and artistic history of New Jersey.

This week, I am featuring the Battleship New Jersey. Berthed on the Camden Waterfront across the Delaware River from Center City Philadelphia, the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial is a non-profit historic ship museum that offers guided and self-guided tours daily. Opened in 2001, the Battleship New Jersey allows visitors a variety of ways to experience the ship, including overnight encampments for youth groups and families, special group and student tours, and event rentals.

The ship features museum exhibits, various tours, and programming. But it takes many volunteers to operate and maintain the Battleship New Jersey. Volunteers participate in memorial events onboard the ship, conduct exclusive behind the scenes tours, work with veterans and youth groups, attend specialized lectures and tours, and work with men and women who share a common interest in learning about, studying, and teaching our nation’s naval history. Volunteers can also help maintain the ship's interior and exterior.

The Battleship New Jersey relies on memberships, fundraising, and countless volunteers to continue its mission. For more information on programs, special events, and exhibits hosted by Battleship New Jersey or to become a member or volunteer, please call 866-877-6262 or visit www.battleshipnewjersey.org.

If you are a member of a non-profit organization or know of one that you would like to see featured on this site, please let us know in the comments or send an e-mail to kelly@thehistorygirl.com.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekend Historical Happenings: 9/13/14 - 9/14/14

WEEKEND HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS
Know about a historical event happening in your area? 
Send me an e-mail to let us know!
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Saturday, September 13 - Byram Township, Sussex County
Waterloo Canal Heritage Day
Children Friendly

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Weekend Estate Sales: 9/12/14 - 9/14/14

WEEKEND ESTATE SALES
Click on each link for more information on the estate sale!
Find something neat at an estate sale? Let us know!
Hosting an estate sale? Send me an e-mail to be featured in our weekly post!
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The Architecture and Gardens of Mount Vernon

The Architecture and Gardens of Mount Vernon
Written by NJ Historian

Along the banks of the Potomac River, not far from Alexandria, Virginia is a stately home set on a rise. This home, with a commanding view of the Potomac and the shores of Maryland on the opposite bank, is one of our nation's most sacred historic sites, the home of our nation's first President, George Washington. Since becoming President in 1789, visiting Mount Vernon has become a rite of passage for Americans who idolize and respect this beloved leader.


The Washington family had owned land in the area of what is now Mount Vernon since 1674, and in 1739 embarked on an expansion of the estate that continued under George Washington, who came into possession of the property in 1754. He became sole owner in 1761 after the death of Anne Fairfax, his sister-in-law, who owned a life estate after her husband Lawrence Washington's death in 1752.

The estate was originally known as Little Hunting Creek Plantation, after the nearby Little Hunting Creek. Lawrence Washington, George Washington's older half-brother, changed its name to Mount Vernon in honor of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon. Vernon had been Lawrence's commanding officer in the British Royal Navy. When George Washington inherited the property in 1761, he retained the name.

Mount Vernon with the Washington family on the terrace, by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1796,
Designed by an unknown architect, the mansion is built of wood in what can be called a loose Palladian style, and was constructed in stages between 1735 and 1787. The first section of the house, one and one-half stories high with a central hall and four small rooms on the first floor, was built by George Washington's father, Augustine Washington, about 1735. In the 1758s, the house was raised to two and one-half stories and was extensively redecorated. In 1774/1775, Washington added his first major wing to the house, which included a study on the first floor and bedroom suite above it.

Between 1776 and 1778, the north wing, containing a large one-and-a-half story room on the first floor, was built. Washington called this his "New Room" and was to serve as entertaining space. At the same time, multiple exterior improvement occurred, which include the addition of the piazza in 1777. About 1783/1784, the cupola was added. The final embellishment of the house, a weathervane for the cupola, was not added until the autumn of 1787.

One of two quadrant colonnades at Mount Vernon, built in 1778.
The main block of the house, which is two-stories in height is known as a corps de logis. A corps de logis is an architectural term referring to the main block of a large, usually classical, mansion or palace and would contain the principal rooms, state apartments, and an entry. The corps de logis is flanked by two single-story secondary wings, built in 1775. The secondary wings, which house the servants hall on the northern side and the kitchen on the southern side, are connected to the main block by symmetrical, quadrant colonnades, built in 1778. The addition of the colonnades created a classical Palladian arrangement and formed a distinct three-sided courtyard, known as a cour d'honneur. The courtyard at Mount Vernon is known as Mansion Circle and gives the house its imposing perspective from the bowling green.

The guitar-shaped bowling green with serpentine paths at Mount Vernon evokes the naturalistic style of English landscapes. Its symmetrical appearance, however shows Washington's interest in formal landscaping. The grass on the green was regularly cut with scythes and smoothed with a roller.Washington also designed an upper and lower garden, kitchen garden, and a small botanical garden, Adjacent to the upper garden he built a greenhouse (the second largest building at the estate) for exotic plants.

The Upper Garden and Greenhouse at Mount Vernon.
The wood exterior at Mount Vernon appears to look like cut stone through a process called rustication. Rustication is achieved by cutting and beveling the wooden siding boards at regular intervals to simulate stone blocks, and by applying sand to the surface to imitate the rough texture of stone. In 1796, Washington wrote specific directions for rusticating the mansion, which survive today and have been used during restoration. The sand is applied by tossing it onto wet paint until the paint cannot absorb anymore. The sand used comes from the same locally-sourced limestone that Washington used in 1796.

The weathervane on the cupola at Mount Vernon was commissioned by George Washington when he was at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Based upon directives from George Washington, Philadelphia architect Joseph Rakestraw designed the weathervane as a dove of peace with an olive branch in its mouth. It was constructed from copper with an iron frame and lead head. The original was removed from the mansion in 1993 due to environmental concerns and is now on display in the Museum and Education Center.


After his presidency, Mount Vernon remained Washington's country home for the rest of his life. Following his death in 1799, under the ownership of several successive generations of the family, the estate progressively declined.

During John Augustine Washington III's ownership of the property, the house continued to fall into disrepair. In 1858, Louisa Bird Cunningham was traveling on the Potomac River and passed by Mount Vernon. She was struck by its dilapidated appearance, and fearing that it would soon be lost due to lack of upkeep, Cunningham wrote a letter to her daughter Ann Pamela Cunningham. In the letter, Cunningham commented that if the men of the United States would not save the home of its greatest citizen, perhaps it should be the responsibility of the women. After convincing John Augustine Washington III to sell the property, Cunningham and the newly established Mount Vernon Ladies' Association raised $200,000 to purchase the mansion and two hundred acres. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association took over operation of the estate in 1860. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association was the first national historic preservation organization and is the oldest women's patriotic society in the United States.

During the Civil War, the estate served as neutral ground for both sides and escaped the damage suffered by many plantation houses in the area.

Today, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association maintains a headquarters on the Mount Vernon property and open it to the public 365 days per year. Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The property contains many original, reconstructed, and replica outbuildings including a smoke house, wash house, stable, gardener's house, and slave quarters. Two vaults, one of which contain George Washington's remains, can also be found on the property, ensuring that Washington retains a watch over his property that he so lovingly cared for. And just three miles away are Washington's reconstructed grist mill and distillery, providing insight into additional agricultural and entrepreneurial pursuits that Washington  delved into at his Mount Vernon estate.


Additional photos of my trip to Mount Vernon on Pinterest

For More Information
Mount Vernon


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

East Amwell Historical Society to Offer Walking Tour of Ringoes

East Amwell Historical Society to Offer Walking Tour of Ringoes
September 20, 2014

The East Amwell Historical Society invites you to take a guided tour through downtown Ringoes and learn all about its history on Saturday, September 20, 2014.

The tour will cover more than 200 years of Ringoes history from the arrival of the area’s first settlers to the 1930s. Learn about the town’s rich colonial history and walk in the footsteps of the Sons of Liberty who gathered at Ringo’s Tavern to debate independence and the Marquis de Lafayette who visited here on multiple occasions during the American Revolution. You’ll also learn about the impact of the railroad on the community and what the village looked like a century ago.

The tour will include stops at the Joseph Inslee Tavern, the home of Dr. Cornelius Larison and the Kirkpatrick Memorial Presbyterian Church.

The Henry Landis House where the Marquis de Lafayette convalesced during the American Revolution. The home was built in 1750.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Organization of the Week: Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

Every Monday, I highlight a non-profit related to history or the arts, a historical society, preservation group or friends group whose main objective is to promote the historical and artistic history of New Jersey and beyond.

This week, I am featuring the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Founded in the late 1850s, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association was the first national historic preservation organization and is the oldest women's patriotic society in the United States. The organization was founded when Louisa Bird Cunningham was traveling on the Potomac River and passed by Mount Vernon, the former home of George Washington. She was struck by its dilapidated appearance, and fearing that it would soon be lost due to lack of upkeep, Cunningham wrote a letter to her daughter Ann Pamela Cunningham. In the letter, Cunningham commented that if the men of the United States would not save the home of its greatest citizen, perhaps it should be the responsibility of the women. After convincing John Augustine Washington III to sell the property, Cunningham and the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association raised $200,000 to purchase the mansion and two hundred acres. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association took over operation of the estate in 1860.

Today, the Association maintains a headquarters on the Mount Vernon property, and consists of a Regent, or chairman, and thirty trustees, or Vice Regents, who represent their home states. Mount Vernon is open to the public 365 days per year.

The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association receives no federal or state financial aid and relies solely on admission fees, revenues from food and gift sales, and donations from foundations, businesses, and individuals to continue its mission. For more information on programs, special events, and exhibits hosted by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association or to become a member of Mount Vernon, please call 703-780-2000 or visit www.mountvernon.org/become-a-member.

If you are a member of a non-profit organization or know of one that you would like to see featured on this site, please let us know in the comments or send an e-mail to kelly@thehistorygirl.com.