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, January 30, 2015

Weekend Historical Happenings: 1/31/15 - 2/1/15

NJ 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, January 31 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Sugar Maple Tapping 
Children Friendly

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Weekend Estate Sales: 1/30/15 - 2/1/15

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!


Passaic County Historical Society Quarterly Meeting and Vietnam Program - February 4, 2015

Passaic County Historical Society Quarterly Meeting and Vietnam Program
February 4, 2015

On Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 7:00 pm at Lambert Castle (home of the Passaic County Historical Society) at 3 Valley Road, Paterson New Jersey, the Passaic County Historical Society will be hosting James Biringer who will be presenting "The Vietnam War – Revisited." James served in the Marine Corps from 1965 to 1969, spending some of his time in Vietnam. Today, he is a tour guide at the Vietnam Memorial in Holmdel, New Jersey. This program will provide an overview of the Vietnam conflict both at home and abroad, including the impact of the media, the anti-war movement, and consequences of the war. The program is free to the public and follows a business meeting of the Historical Society.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Atop "Ol' Barney"

Atop "Ol' Barney"

Barnegat Lighthouse, often referred to as "Ol' Barney"on Long Beach Island is one of the Jersey Shore's most recognizable landmarks. From travel guides to tourism ads, you often see the lighthouse standing tall, mere yards from the water. However, like many lighthouse locations (with some exceptions), the shore has eroded over time, leaving the structure perilously close to the water.


The first lighthouse at Barnegat was constructed in 1835 on land once owned by Bornt Slight and his wife Ruth, of Tuckerton, New Jersey. Approximately 40 feet high, it served as a guide to the inlet, as opposed to a seacoast light. Its first keeper, appointed August 3, 1835, was Henry V. Low. The original lighthouse was built approximately 900 feet from the water but because of strong currents and shifting sands, it was only 450 feet away from the water by 1845.

In an 1852 lighthouse report, the lighthouse was criticized for only serving the inlet and its beacon's limited sight distance, about 10 miles on a clear night, according to one skipper quoted in the report. The lighthouse was equipped with a fourth-order Fresnel lens and ships often confused it with the light of another ship. When Lt. George G. Meade examined the lighthouse in 1855, he found it poorly constructed and that the sand at the base of the lighthouse was eroding.

Meade recommended a new seacoast light be constructed at Barnegat due to the number of shipwrecks in the area. On August 18, 1856, Congress authorized $45,000 for rebuilding the Barnegat Lighthouse. Meade supervised construction of the lighthouse from plans drawn by Lt. W S. Reynolds. Construction of the present 165 foot lighthouse began in 1857 and was completed in 1858. It is the second tallest lighthouse in New Jersey, after the Absecon Lighthouse. Like the Absecon Lighthouse and the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse, it is constructed of two heavily reinforced circular brick walls, one inside the other, on top of a sunken foundation. A circular cast iron staircase with 217 steps to the watchroom, just below the lantern room, was installed. The bottom half of the red brick tower was painted white and the top half, including the lantern room, was painted red, giving this lighthouse its characteristic daymark.

At the base of Barnegat Lighthouse.
Unlike its predecessor, a first-order flashing Fresnel lens was installed. The lens, built near Paris, France, cost $15,000 and measured eight feet in diameter and fifteen feet high. It flashed white once every ten seconds. The lighthouse was first lit on January 1, 1859. James Fuller of Vermont, the last keeper of the old light, was transferred to the new light. Originally the lens burned lard oil. In 1888, it was converted to kerosene, and in 1910 it was changed from oil to incandescent oil vapor.

Erosion continued to plague the lighthouse. Nine jetties were built in an effort to slow the erosion in 1869 and 1870. In 1893, the existing keepers' dwelling at the base of the lighthouse was modified and enlarged into a triplex structure for the lightkeeper, two assistant lightkeepers, and their families. Due to continued erosion, this structure was lost to the waters of the inlet in 1920. In the early 1930s, local residents rallied to save the lighthouse once again from encroaching waters by building a makeshift jetty out of junk cars, metal, and even baby carriages! In 1934, the Federal Government funded a $12,000 project to encircle the tower’s foundation with steel rings covered by cement and pilings further out creating a semi-circle around the structure.

The Barnegat Lighthouse and Keepers' Triplex, circa late 1910s. Note the eroding shoreline. Source: Library of Congress.
In 1927, LV 79, known as the Lightship Barnegat was established eight miles east of Barnegat Inlet and the lighthouse was automated. The first-order Fresnel lens was removed from the tower. The lightship remained there until the start of World War II in 1942 when it served as an examination vessel at Edgemoor, Delaware for all ships entering the Delaware River. The ship returned to service off the coast of Barnegat in 1945 and served until it was decommissioned March 3, 1967. It was replaced by a lighted buoy in 1969. Today, the Barnegat is docked at Pyne Poynt Marina in Camden, New Jersey awaiting maintenance and repair work. The ship was originally built in 1904 by the New York Shipbuilding Company in Camden, New Jersey for $89,030.

During World War II, from 1940 to 1944, the lighthouse was used as a lookout tower for enemy ships. On January 1, 1944, the lighthouse was discontinued and turned over to the State of New Jersey. The property and other outbuildings had been previously transferred to the state on May 8, 1926.

The original first-order Fresnel lens was returned in 1954 to the Borough of Barnegat Light, formerly Barnegat City borough, after being moved to Staten Island and then the Rosenwald Museum in Chicago. It is now proudly on display at the nearby Barnegat Light Museum.

View from the top of Barnegat Lighthouse, looking toward Barnegat Light State Park and the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1957, New Jersey dedicated the land surrounding the lighthouse as a state park. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. In 1988, the lighthouse was closed for repairs and the installation of a new south jetty. It reopened to the public in 1991.

In 2001 and 2009, studies were conducted on the lighthouse's tilt by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers related to beach replenishment projects. WJE Engineers determined that the lighthouse has a pre-existing tilt of one degree toward the northwest, which equates to an out-of-plumbness of approximately twenty-one inches at the top of the lighthouse. The year-long study determined that the tilt in this masonry structure changes daily from fluctuations in environmental variables, such as temperature, but is negligible.

On the lighthouse's 150th birthday, January 1, 2009, it was relit after the Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park purchased and installed a new 22-mile VRB-25 light system. The Friends also replaced all of the lantern room's window panes, ensuring that the lighthouse will shine bright for another 150 years!


Additional photos of my trip to Barnegat Lighthouse on Pinterest



Do you enjoy the articles and features that The History Girl produces each week? 
If so, consider a donation to keep the movement going!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Black Revolutionary War Hero Edward 'Ned' Hector Program And Open House - February 1, 2015

Black Revolutionary War Hero Edward 'Ned' Hector Program And Open House
Sunday, February 1, 2015

On Sunday, February 1 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm, the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House will host an open house and a presentation, beginning at 2:00 pm, about Edward 'Ned' Hector, a free African- American soldier who fought on behalf of the Patriots in the American Revolution.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Organization of the Week: Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

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 Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. Founded in 2007, the organization's mission is to "operate and to enhance interpretive, educational, recreational and research programs and events at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. This organization shall raise and receive funds or property to assist in enhancements of the natural habitat, buildings, and properties of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and to encourage protection of the barrier island ecosystem."

Since their founding, the Friends have purchased and installed a new 22-mile beacon for the Barnegat Lighthouse, replaced all of the lantern room's window panes, made numerous improvements to the visitor center, purchased ten picnic tables for the park, and continue to assist in maintaining the lighthouse. They also have hosted a number of lectures and night climbs of the lighthouse.

The Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park rely on memberships, fundraising, and countless volunteers to continue its mission. For more information on programs and special events hosted by the Friends of  Barnegat Lighthouse State Park or to become a member or volunteer, please visit www.friendsofbarnegatlighthouse.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, January 23, 2015

Weekend Historical Happenings: 1/24/15 - 1/25/15

NJ 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, January 24 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Annual Ice Harvest
Children Friendly

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Weekend Estate Sales: 1/23/15 - 1/25/15

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, January 21, 2015

An Interview with Arthur Lefkowitz, Author of "Benedict Arnold in the Company of Heroes"

An Interview with Arthur Lefkowitz, Author of Benedict Arnold in the Company of Heroes

Publisher Savas Beatie provides us with this exclusive interview with Arthur Lefkowitz, author of Benedict Arnold in the Company of Heroes: The Lives of the Extraordinary Patriots who followed Arnold to Canada at the start of the American Revolution.


Savis Beatie: Why did you decide to write your book on Benedict Arnold’s veterans?
Arthur S. Lefkowitz: I got the idea to write Benedict Arnold in the Company of Heroes when I reluctantly had to admit that my book about the 1775 Arnold Expedition (SB title Benedict Arnold's Army) had to end with the failed American attack on Quebec which took place on December 31, 1775. While researching my book about the Arnold Expedition I learned about the subsequent careers of some of the officers and enlisted men who followed Arnold to Canada in 1775. They were a fascinating group who included some of the best American combat officers to emerge as the Revolutionary War wore on.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weekend Historical Happenings: 1/17/15 - 1/18/15

NJ 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, January 17 - Trenton, Mercer County
Archaeological Society of New Jersey Meeting

Join the Archaeological Society of New Jersey for a meeting at the New Jersey State Museum on Saturday from 10:00 - 3:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the second floor Natural History Gallery in the Innovation Lab Classroom.

Schedule:
10:00am – 11:00am:  Board meeting: Open to all
11:00am – 12:00:  Lunch (on your own)
12:00 – 2:00pm: First Annual Artifact “Show and Learn” Bring your Native American, prehistoric, or historic artifacts to show noted New Jersey experts and scholars for evaluation and identification. All are welcome. Time permitting, up to five artifacts will be examined. Please note: monetary appraisals of artifacts will not be made
2:00pm – 3:00pm  Presentation: The I-95 Project, by URS archaeologists

The program is free and light refreshments will be served. Donations are appreciated! The New Jersey State Museum is located at 205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ. Parking is free on the weekend in the lot behind and adjacent to the Museum and Planetarium. For more information, visit http://www.asnj.org.

-----------------------------------
Saturday, January 17 - Hammonton, Burlington County
Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Fort Fisher and its Tie to South Jersey

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Weekend Estate Sales: 1/16/15 - 1/18/15

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, January 14, 2015

The Stories Behind the Graves at Hackensack's First Dutch Reformed Church

The Stories Behind the Graves at Hackensack's First Dutch Reformed Church

Grave markers can sometimes tell you a lot about the person who has passed away and the people who wished to remember them. At Bergen County's oldest church congregation, The First Dutch Reformed Church on the Green in Hackensack, New Jersey, the silent graveyard surrounding it tells stories of the young and old, the brave, and the obscure. This week, we will take a brief walk through the cemetery and highlight a few of the notable (and not so notable) who are buried there and how their grave markers enlighten us.


The congregation at Hackensack was organized in 1686 with thirty-three congregants and met in various locations until the original church was constructed in 1696 on the Green. The Green has served as the center of Hackensack, originally New Barbadoes, since 1696. The church was rebuilt in 1728 and the current building constructed in 1791. It was enlarged in 1847 and once again in 1869. The front walls of the building incorporate several carved stones from the original 1696 church building erected on the site, bearing the names of several founding families and dates. Family members of some of the founding church members buried in the cemetery include Zabrisky, Terhune, and Brinkerhoff.


The cemetery surrounding the church holds over 1,400 individuals using a variety of stones and markers, from simple sandstone, to Victorian-era zinc, to modern granite and marble. The cemetery is home to a number of veterans from various wars: eighteen Revolutionary War Soldiers, twenty-two from the Civil War, and one from the Mexican War.

One of the most notable stones is that of Revolutionary War General Enoch Poor. Poor, born in Massachusetts and later lived in New Hampshire, was commissioned a Brigadier General in 1777. He fought in the Saratoga Campaign, the Battle of Monmouth, and the Western Expedition of 1779. In May 1780, the Continental Congress selected Poor to train a brigade of light infantry. Poor died September 8, 1780 near Hackensack at the age of forty-four from typhus. There is some speculation that it resulted from him being wounded in a duel. His burial was attended by Generals Washington, Lafayette, and other senior military leaders. The raised slab tombstone indicates that Lafayette returned to the gravesite in 1824 and "...turning away much affected, exclaimed, Ah, that was one of my Generals."

Other notable officials include Richard Varick (b. 1753 - d. 1831), a Revolutionary War Continental Army Officer and New York City Mayor and Adam Boyd (b. 1746 - d. 1835), a U.S. Congressman, who had previously served a number of roles in Bergen County including Freeholder, Judge, and Sheriff.

Grave marker for Brigadier General Enoch Poor.
In stark contrast to Poor's stone is that of H.B., which is the cemetery's oldest stone, dated 1713. Tradition and legend says that H.B. was a female Indian slave, although that cannot be fully substantiated. However, this roughly cut sandstone marker features crude lettering and a number of Native American symbols, including a canoe carved below the date, a tobacco pipe above the initials, and an arrow through the initials. Although we will most likely never discover who H.B. really was, we must not forget the Native Americans who inhabited and lived in the Hackensack Valley during the Colonial era.

Other early, small, and roughly cut sandstone markers, some written exclusively in Dutch, dot the cemetery, surrounded by larger, more formal sandstone markers with full inscriptions, dates, and names.

Grave marker for H.B., a female Indian slave.
Graves also represent how individuals are to be remembered. One fine example of that is the grave marker of Albert "Bertie" Romeyn Harris, son of Charles (a Wall Street broker) and Lizzie, who died May 13, 1879 at the age of 4 years, 9 months, and 27 days. Bertie's parents must have been devastated by the loss of their son at such a young age and in his memory erected a zinc marker in 1880 which features a delicately carved granite toy horse and wheelbarrow filled with blocks atop it. Below the toys the marker says "Bertie's Jim Horse." This monument was so unique that it was featured in a small article in the January 1906 issue of The Reporter, a journal devoted exclusively to the granite and marble monument trade.

Grave marker for Albert "Bertie" Romeyn Harris.
Toward the rear of the cemetery along the back fence is the tall obelisk dedicated to the Van Beuren family. One side of the stone is dedicated to Edward B. Van Beuren's memory, which indicates that he died January 16, 1862 at the age of twenty-three as a member of the 55th N.Y. Volunteers. He was killed at the battle of Seven Pines in Henrico County, Virginia during the Civil War. However, while researching, I found that the Battle of Seven Pines occurred May 31 – June 1, 1862. So how could Edward die before the battle in January 1862? Well, sometimes mistakes do happen and go unnoticed. According to my research, Edward enlisted at New York City to serve three years in the Civil War and mustered in as private, Co. B, October 14, 1861. He was killed in action on the first day of the battle, May 31, 1862. The top of the stone features a carving of two crossed swords and the words "N.Y. Vol." carved at their intersection. Above that is a scarab, indicating that this is an Egyptian Revival stone. Along with Edward, his mother Ann and father Joseph are buried in the family plot, in addition to five other family members.

Grave marker for Edward B. Van Beuren.
Walking through a cemetery can tell us a great deal about the people who once lived among us, and inspire us to learn more about them. The stones, as we saw, can represent through symbols and images, what was important to them. The symbols may also represent their bravery as a soldier or their cultural identity, For many, grave markers are the one object in which you identify with a person after they have passed. Thus, placing items and symbols on them that remind you of them is an important part of the healing process. Other times, grieving relatives are swayed by trends, such as zinc markers or Egyptian Revival styling. But whatever the reasons or influences may be, they tell an important part of American history, one that cannot always be found in history books - the emotional and human side of history, our social history.



Additional photos of my trip to the First Reformed Dutch Church on Pinterest


For More Information
First Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery - Find A Grave


Do you enjoy the articles and features that The History Girl produces each week? 
If so, consider a donation to keep the movement going!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Valentine’s Day Masquerade Ball at Lambert Castle - February 13, 2015

Valentine’s Day Masquerade Ball at Lambert Castle
February 13, 2015

On Friday February 13, 2015 from 7:00 - 10:00 pm at Lambert Castle (home of the Passaic County Historical Society) at 3 Valley Road, Paterson NJ, the Passaic County Historical Society will be hosting a Valentine’s Day Masquerade ball. Don a mask and join us at Lambert Castle for some dancing and fun. Desserts will be served and a cash bar will be available. Semi-formal attire requested, and mask required. Tickets are $25 per person. No one under twenty-one years will be admitted. Reservations required by February 3rd. To make reservations please call 973-247-0085 ext. 201.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Weekend Historical Happenings: 1/10/15 - 1/11/15

NJ 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, January 10 - Atlantic City, Atlantic County
January Program - History of Atlantic City Hotels

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Weekend Estate Sales: 1/9/15 - 1/11/15

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, January 7, 2015

Searching for History in the Catskills

Searching for History in the Catskills

During August of 2014, I had the opportunity to visit Greene County in the Catskills of New York State. This area, a very popular tourist destination from approximately the early nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, has been in a steady decline since the 1970s. Once grand hotels now sit abandoned. Even smaller establishments, filled with families enjoying a weekend jaunt to the pristine wilderness of the mountains, now sit vacant and overgrown. As demolition becomes necessary and nature slowly retakes locations that are still standing, there are still traces of infrastructure dating to the early 1900s and can be found in various states of preservation, use, and reuse. At the Mountain Top Historical Society in Haines Falls, a restored train station is used for community events connected by a newly opened rail trail, and remnants of the railroad's infrastructure can be found throughout the area.

Ulster and Delaware Railroad Station, Haines Falls, New York, circa 1920.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Exhibit Reception - A Closer Look at our Community: The Fine Art of Mark Oberndorf - January 14, 2015

Exhibit Reception: A Closer Look at our Community: The Fine Art of Mark Oberndorf
January 14, 2015

On Wednesday, January 14, 2015 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Lambert Castle (home of the Passaic County Historical Society) at 3 Valley Road, Paterson NJ, the Passaic County Historical Society will be hosting a reception for our current art exhibit, "A Closer Look at our Community: The Fine Art of Mark Oberndorf." Meet Bergen County resident Mark Oberndorf and enjoy light refreshment as you view the paintings on exhibit. Admission to this event is free and open to the public.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Organization of the Week: Mountain Top Historical Society

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 Mountain Top Historical Society in Haines Falls, New York. Founded in 1974, the Society is dedicated to discovering , preserving, interpreting, and sharing the unique and rich history of the Mountain Top region in Greene County, New York. The Society's 20-acre campus is situated at the top of Kaaterskill Clove, the site of New York State’s second-highest waterfall on the site of the former Loxhurst Hotel. A building that once served as a laundry was moved to the front of the property and restored in 2005 to serve as a visitor and art trail center. The campus also includes the 1913 Ulster and Delaware Train Station, a red barn, and the adjacent Haines Family cemetery dating to the 1860s.

The Mountain Top Historical Society relies on memberships, fundraising, and countless volunteers to continue its mission. For more information on exhibits, programs, special events, and hikes hosted by the Mountain Top Historical Society or to become a member or volunteer, please visit www.mths.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, January 2, 2015

Weekend Historical Happenings: 1/3/15 - 1/4/15

NJ 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!


Every Friday - Sunday through January 4, 2015 - West Orange, Essex County
Holidays at Glenmont - LAST WEEKEND
Children Friendly

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Weekend Estate Sales: 1/2/15 - 1/4/15

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!


Battle of Princeton Tour and Living History Event - January 3, 2014

Battle of Princeton Tour and Living History Event
January 3, 2014

The New Jersey State Park Service invites the public this Saturday, Jan. 3, to commemorate the Battle of Princeton, a key struggle in the Revolutionary War that helped establish the Continental Army as a viable fighting force at a time when the nation’s prospects for independence appeared bleak.