Exploring the History of New Jersey and Beyond!

Architecture, National Park Sites, Local Sites, and More!

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!

Spread the History!

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!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekend Historical Happenings: 5/31/14 - 6/1/14

WEEKEND HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS
Know about a historical event happening in your area? 
Send me an e-mail to let us know!
Be the first to find out about these events on Facebook!


Saturday, May 31 - Upper Township, Cape May County
25th Annual Strawberry Festival
Children Friendly

The 25th Annual Strawberry Festival will welcome the spring and summer season again this year on Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm at The Gandy Farmstead in Greenfield, Upper Township, NJ. Presented by The Historical Preservation Society of Upper Township (HPSUT), this event will help raise funds for the society to maintain the three historic locations around Upper Township that they restored.

The strawberries are still the highlight of this festival, along with enjoyable activities for children and adults alike. The event will feature tours of the colonial farmstead, games, live music, crafters and stands for locals to sell homemade items like honey and jam. The nostalgic backdrop for this event provides the perfect environment for an old fashioned day of fun.

The HPSUT always welcomes new members. Anyone who has an appreciation for the historical integrity of Upper Township is welcome to come by the festival and fill out an application for HPSUT membership. Parking and admission are free. There will be strawberry shortcake and a light lunch available to purchase.

The Gandy Farmstead is located at 26 Tyler Road (Route 616), Greenfield, in Upper Township, NJ. For more information visit www.uppertwphistory.org, e-mail UpperTwpHistory@yahoo.com, or call 609-390-5656 and leave a message.

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Saturday, May 31 - Caldwell, Essex County
Art on the Avenue
Children Friendly

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Weekend Estate Sales: 5/30/14 - 6/1/14

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!
Be the first to know about these sales on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tips and Advice for Photographing Historic Sites

Tips and Advice for Photographing Historic Sites
as featured on jerseycollective.tumblr.com

There are many beautiful and scenic historic locations throughout New Jersey. However, gaining access to them for photographs can be a daunting and sometimes downright scary proposition. Often, historic sites are likened to dusty, old libraries; quiet, secluded, and only easily accessible for those who are "regulars." But it does not have to be that way. In fact, many museums and historic sites are photography friendly as long as you follow a few certain rules.

Interior of the Littel-Lord Farmhouse in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House Win Award from Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission

Pluckemin Cantonment Video Earns History Award from Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission

“In Quarters Comfortable and Clever,” a video depicting Pluckemin’s Revolutionary War artillery cantonment, earned a History Award from the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission at the 2014 Historic Preservation and History Awards Ceremony held at the historic Brook Art Center in Bound Brook on May 21, 2014.

Robert Bouwman, President of the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission (SCC&HC) (far left), Patricia L. Walsh, SCC&HC Freeholder Liaison (second from right) and William Schleicher, a member of the Historic Preservation and History Awards Committee (far right), present a History Award to Sean Blinn, President of the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House Board of Trustees, at the Somerset County Historic Preservation and History Awards Ceremony at the historic Brook Arts Center in Bound Brook. Image provided by SCC&HC.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Antique Items of the Week: 5/25/14 - 5/31/14

Antique Items of the Week!
Click on each link for the eBay page!
More items always going up.
Stay updated about new items on Facebook.

Direct Sale Items
If you have any questions, need additional photos, or are interested in any of the items below, please send an e-mail to kelly@thehistorygirl.com. Payment via PayPal and all items will be shipped via regular U.S. mail.

New:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend Historical Happenings: 5/24/14 - 5/26/14

WEEKEND HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS
Know about a historical event happening in your area? 
Send me an e-mail to let us know!
Be the first to find out about these events on Facebook!


Saturday, May 24 - Princeton, Mercer County
Washington Returns!
Children Friendly

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weekend Estate Sales: 5/23/14 - 5/25/14

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!
Be the first to know about these sales on Facebook!

Antique Furniture & Items Galore
Roselle, NJ 07203

Vintage Purses, Musical Instruments

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Preserving the Doo Wop "Wildwood Days"

Preserving the Doo Wop "Wildwood Days"
Written by NJ Historian

Just north of America's first seaside resort in Cape May, New Jersey is another seaside resort which boasts the largest collection of Doo Wop architecture in the nation, taking the form of resort motels, diners, restaurants, and vintage neon signs. However, their numbers have been quickly shrinking over the past twenty years due to a variety of reasons, but mostly real estate values and new construction. Will the Wildwoods be able to hold onto their unique distinction or will those memorable "Wildwood Days" fade away, much like the memory of Bobby Reidel has with the recent generation?

The Doo Wop Experience Museum and "neon garden" in Wildwood, NJ.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

“Sharp Edges, Brilliant Cut Glass through the Centuries” at Acorn Hall

"Sharp Edges, Brilliant Cut Glass through the Centuries"
On Display through June 8, 2014 at Acorn Hall

Experience firsthand the timeless beauty and elegance of American Brilliant Cut Glass at the Morris County Historical Society at Acorn Hall in its new exhibit "Sharp Edges, Brilliant Cut Glass through the Centuries" now on view through June 8, 2014. The Morris County Historical Society is pleased to have Patricia Sanftner as the exhibit’s guest curator. An avid collector of the antique American glassware, Ms. Sanftner is the director of the Schuyler-Hamilton House in Morristown, and an adjunct, Tech Theater Department-Costume Construction/Wardrobe Mistress at Marymont Manhattan College. 

The Sharp Edges exhibit sparkles with cut glassware from the Brilliant period (1880 - 1915) when American glass cutters produced the best pieces in the world. American Brilliant is known for its clarity, size, weight, and the artistry that shaped its sharp prismatic cuts. Some of these exceptional glass-making companies were located in New Jersey; once considered a glass-making center because of its sandy shores. The items currently on display in the exhibit are from numerous personal collections, the Morris County Historical Society, as well as from the American Brilliant Cut Glass Association.  The admission fee to tour Acorn Hall and see the exhibit is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for students, and children under 12 are free. The fee to tour the exhibit, only, is half of the regular admission price.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Organization of the Week: Doo Wop Preservation League

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 Doo Wop Preservation League. Founded in 1997, the Doo Wop Preservation League was formed by a group of Wildwood business owners, town devotees, architecture buffs, and kitsch lovers with a serious commitment to the Wildwoods' past and future. The league's efforts come in response to studies conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and Kent State University, validating and crediting the Wildwoods with having the largest collection of mid-century commercial (or "Doo Wop") architecture in the nation, taking the form of 1950s-era resort motels, diners, restaurants, and vintage neon signs.

The Doo Wop Preservation League's mission is to foster awareness and appreciation of the popular culture of the 1950s and 1960s and to promote the preservation of the largest collection of mid-century or "Doo Wop" architecture found in the United States. In 2007, the League opened a museum in a former Doo Wop style restaurant and rescued old neon signs which were re-erected in a "neon garden" around the building. The League also sponsors exhibits, walking tours, and more throughout the tourist season.

The Doo Wop Preservation League relies on memberships, fundraising, and countless volunteers to continue its mission. For more information on programs, special events, and exhibits hosted by Doo Wop Preservation League or to become a member or volunteer, please call 609-729-4000 or visit www.doowopusa.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.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Antique Items of the Week: 5/18/14 - 5/25/14

Antique Items of the Week!
Click on each link for the eBay page!
More items always going up.
Stay updated about new items on Facebook.

Direct Sale Items
If you have any questions, need additional photos, or are interested in any of the items below, please send an e-mail to kelly@thehistorygirl.com. Payment via PayPal and all items will be shipped via regular U.S. mail.

New:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekend Historical Happenings: 5/17/14 - 5/18/14

WEEKEND HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS
Know about a historical event happening in your area? 
Send me an e-mail to let us know!
Be the first to find out about these events on Facebook!


Friday, May 16 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Portrait of a Hometown Team: The Pleasant Valley Quails

On Friday evening at 7:30 pm, Historian Larry Kidder will present an illustrated talk about the long history of teamwork and community building in Pleasant Valley exemplified by the formation of a community baseball team in the 1930s and 40s. From its earliest European settlement, Pleasant Valley farmers helped each other in informal ways, especially during times of hardship. The community developed its identity first around the Phillips family grist mill and blacksmith shop that provided services to the farmers. During the American Revolution the men of the Valley formed a militia company first commanded by Captain Henry Phillips, the grist mill owner, and worked together in the fight for independence. During the 19th century, changing conditions caused the mill to close, but the local schoolhouse, built on Philips family land, became the center of community activities for all ages. Between 1888 and 1908 Valley resident Rachel Williamson chronicled in the local newspaper the many ways the community came together. The high point of community spirit was expressed in the twentieth century when the entire community came together to put on annual agricultural fairs in the summer and when the men and boys came together to form the baseball team known as the Pleasant Valley Quails. The fairs and baseball team came at a time when transportation improvements and expanding opportunities enticed children to leave the rural community and community identity was increasingly difficult to maintain.

This lecture is one of the programs associated with the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit "Hometown Teams" on display at the Charles Fish Barn and Visitor Center at Howell Living History Farm between May 10 and June 22, 2014.

There is a suggested donation of $3.00 to attend the talk. Farming Pleasant Valley, a new book by historian Larry Kidder that tells the story of the Pleasant Valley agricultural community, including the story of the Quails, will be available for purchase and the author will sign copies.

The program will be held at Howell Living Farm, located at 70 Wooden's Lane, Lambertville, NJ. For more information. call 609-737-3299 or visit www.howellfarm.org.

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Saturday, May 17 - Kingston, Somerset County
Annual Children's Day
Children Friendly

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Weekend Estate Sales: 5/6/14 - 5/18/14

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!
Be the first to know about these sales on Facebook!


Artwork and Porcelain

“Bog Iron Boys Pitching the Past” 19th Century Baseball Reenactment

“Bog Iron Boys Pitching the Past” 19th Century Baseball Reenactment
The Historic Village at Allaire

The Historic Village at Allaire is presenting a new event for the 2014 season! Celebrate the rich history of baseball at their “Bog Iron Boys Pitching the Past” 19th Century Baseball Reenactment! On Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm, the Howell Works’ Bog Iron Boys will play the historic Hoboken 9 who have been kind enough to travel to Allaire’s industrial Village for an afternoon game! The game will be played by 1864 rules, with 1800’s vintage costumes and fun! The winner of the first game will play the Elizabeth Resolutes in a second vintage game! The area surrounding Allaire is filled with baseball history, learn more at this event filled with family fun!

Join the Villagers and come cheer on your home team! The events begin at 12:00 noon when the Villagers will call out the players from the Historic Village. The team will lead Villagers to the Show Field, where the games will take place! In addition to the games, activities throughout the day include exhibits of baseball history, craft demonstrations of how bats and baseballs were made, townball and 19th century games for the kids, and more! After the games, walk down to the Historic Village to meet the players! Snacks and refreshments will be available for purchase. Bring lawn chairs and blankets and plan to spend the whole day at Allaire!

The Baseball Reenactment is $5 per person and children under age 6 admitted free! Admission opens at 11:30 am and game kicks off shortly after 12:00 noon! Pre-registration is recommended. To register, call 732-919-3500 or visit www.allairevillage.org. The Historic Village at Allaire is located at 4263 Atlantic Ave, in Farmingdale, NJ off Exit 98 of the Garden State Parkway and off Exit 31-B of Interstate 195.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Roebling: The Story of the Brooklyn Bridge at the NJ State Museum

Roebling: The Story of the Brooklyn Bridge at the NJ State Museum

Roebling is a well-known name in the Trenton, New Jersey area but few people beyond that know how significant the Roebling name is to some of the most outstanding structures in our modern world. The Brooklyn Bridge is a beloved New York City and American icon but few people know of its origin. John Roebling was the driving force behind the construction, engineering and architectural innovations of the Brooklyn Bridge, which in themselves were groundbreaking, but the steel cables, which Roebling revolutionized, support many suspension bridges in the United States, notably the George Washington Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge.


The Promise of Amazing’s Jersey Roots

The Promise of Amazing’s Jersey Roots
Written by Robin Constantine

One of the earliest lessons you learn in any writing class is “write what you know”. When I first started out this confused me a bit because if you only write what you know, how can you create something new? The more I wrote, the more I understood that “writing what you know” refers to the details you alone can bring to a piece, as opposed to simply writing about your own experiences. Specificity is what makes a story unique. Whether in setting, or character quirks or dialect - specific details make the story live and breathe off the page. This is what every writer strives for - that special something that will set their novel apart - first to get it out of the slush pile and then, ultimately, off the shelves and into the hands of readers. So what does any of this have to do with New Jersey?

In my case, A LOT.

My editor told me one of the reasons she fell in love with The Promise of Amazing was that it had such a Jersey feel to it. I’m not sure I intentionally made the story “Jersey” but there was never a question in my mind that I would set it anywhere else. My experiences growing up in the small community of Bayonne became my filter. This urban setting shaped the characters and how they interacted with each other and helped me flavor it with details that were my own - and uniquely Jersey.

Here are just a few of the places that inspired scenes in my novel, The Promise of Amazing:

Stephen R. Gregg/Hudson County Park
Early on, there’s a confrontation between Wren and Grayson that takes place in Stephen R. Gregg/Hudson County Park - actually, the cover of the book seems inspired by this setting. While I don’t mention it by name, this is the park I envisioned as I wrote. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Antique Items of the Week: 5/11/14 - 5/18/14

Antique Items of the Week!
Click on each link for the eBay page!
More items always going up.
Stay updated about new items on Facebook.

Direct Sale Items
If you have any questions, need additional photos, or are interested in any of the items below, please send an e-mail to kelly@thehistorygirl.com. Payment via PayPal and all items will be shipped via regular U.S. mail.

New:

"The Promise of Amazing" May Book Giveaway



Thanks to author Robin Constantine, The History Girl is offering one copy of The Promise of Amazing. In order to be in the running, submit your name and e-mail address below!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc. Announces Summer 2014 Events

Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc. Announces Summer 2014 Events

To celebrate the 350th anniversary of the State of New Jersey, the Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc. is pleased to announce three events to acknowledge the state’s contributions to the nation and the world.

On June 9, July 12, and August 9, 2014 historic Batsto Village in Wharton State Forest will be alive with activities that highlight the innovation, diversity and liberty associated with New Jersey.

June brings the Wheaton Glass Blowers to Batsto Village to demonstrate the art of glass blowing. Glass was an important industry for New Jersey in the nineteenth century. Famous for its “Batsto Lights” sold throughout the region, the noted salt water taffy pioneer Joseph Fralinger worked as a glass blower in the village. Students from the Carlisle School of Glass Art in Millville, New Jersey will also be on-hand to provide demonstrations and share the history of glass making.

Batsto Post Office

Weekend Historical Happenings: 5/10/14 - 5/11/14

WEEKEND HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS
Know about a historical event happening in your area? 
Send me an e-mail to let us know!
Be the first to find out about these events on Facebook!


Saturday, May 10 - Titusville, Mercer County
10th Anniversary Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair
Children Friendly

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Weekend Estate Sales: 5/9/14 - 5/11/14

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!
Be the first to know about these sales on Facebook!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Very Last Patient to be Discharged - Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital

The Very Last Patient to be Discharged - Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital

Much controversy surrounds the impending demolition of Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital on the border of Parsippany and Morris Plains, New Jersey. Once the largest poured-concrete structure in the United States, it may soon be time for this massive hospital building to be relieved of its duties and return from whence it came - but not without a fight.


In the 1870s, New Jersey had only one mental hospital, then called "lunatic asylums." The first, The New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum, as it was called, was established in 1848 by Dorothea Dix, who advocated for new treatment. By the mid-1870s, the facility, designed to house no more than 500 had reached a population of over 700. In order to address the overcrowding issue, the State began surveying properties throughout New Jersey and settled on a 400 acre property in Hanover Township (now Morris Plains), near Morristown on August 29, 1871. The State Lunatic Asylum for the Insane at Morristown opened its doors to receive its first 342 patients in 1877.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Historic Upper Montclair Walking Tour With a 21st-Century Twist

Historic Walking Tour With a 21st-Century Twist
Town-Gown Collaboration Tells Upper Montclair History in a New Way

It’s now possible to time travel in Upper Montclair if you’ve got a smartphone in your pocket. You can, for instance, hold your phone in front of the Bellevue Theater to see a photograph of what stood on that spot a century ago (a building that resembled a giant trunk). Or hold your phone toward St. James Episcopal Church (you’ll see what it looked like before the bell tower).

Dozens of sites in the Upper Montclair Historic Business District can now be viewed in this “then and now” fashion, thanks to a collaboration among Montclair State University communications students, the Montclair Historical Society, and Friends of Anderson Park. The students used a website called Historypin.com to build a map of numerous Upper Montclair historic spots, charting the district’s evolution from a rural community in the 1880s to a burgeoning suburban town in the 1930s.


Organization of the Week: Preserve Greystone

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 Preserve Greystone. Founded in 2008, Preserve Greystone is a New Jersey-based organization dedicated to protecting the open space and historic buildings on the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital property in Morris County, New Jersey. Made up of preservationists, environmentalists, and concerned citizens, Preserve Greystone’s mission is to ensure the survival of the historic Kirkbride Building and the surrounding land as valuable open space.

The group has organized forums and lectures, generated news articles in major New Jersey media, participated in local events, and coordinated a petition drive that has amassed thousands of signatures. Preserve Greystone continues to unify the effort and work with our public officials to preserve the historic Kirkbride Building and the priceless open space around it.

Preserve Greystone relies on memberships, fundraising, and countless volunteers to continue its mission. For more information on meetings and programs sponsored by Preserve Greystone or to become a member or volunteer, visit www.preservegreystone.org or e-mail preservegstone@gmail.com.

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.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

The History Girl Survey and Giveaway!

In an effort to assess our visitors' interests for future articles and features, we have developed a short survey.

The survey period has ended! 
Thanks to all who gave their opinions to help improve The History Girl's offerings and content!


Once you complete the survey, please provide your name and e-mail address if you would like to be entered into a contest to win one of two prizes:

  1. One winner will be chosen at the end of the survey period, Sunday, May 11, 2014 to receive a copy of New Jersey: A Book of 21 Postcards and a signed photo of The History Girl at a New Jersey historic site.
  2. A second winner will be chosen at the end of the survey period, Sunday, May 11, 2014 to receive a signed photo of The History Girl at a New Jersey historic site.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Weekend Historical Happenings: 5/3/14 - 5/4/14

WEEKEND HISTORICAL HAPPENINGS
Know about a historical event happening in your area? 
Send me an e-mail to let us know!
Be the first to find out about these events on Facebook!


Friday - Sunday, May 3 - 5 - Princeton, Mercer County
Morven in May

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Weekend Estate Sales: 5/2/14 - 5/4/14

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!
Be the first to know about these sales on Facebook!