Friday, January 29, 2016

NJ Historical Happenings: 1/30/16 - 1/31/16

New Jersey Weekend Historical Happenings
A Weekly Feature on www.thehistorygirl.com
Want to submit an event? Use our event submission form.


Saturday, January 30 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Annual Ice Harvest
Children Friendly


Each year at Howell Farm the program season opens with the annual ice harvesting event. This event recreates a slice of Pleasant Valley life that was an important winter job each year. The ice cut in January or February would typically supply the farmers throughout the year when stored in an efficient ice house such as ours.

During the program, visitors help farmers cut, chop and shave ice, fill an ice house, and make ice cream. Conditions permitting, visitors can also join the harvest crew on the frozen pond and take a turn using an "ice saw." Ice ponds were important to the farmers of New Jersey in the 1890s and a state law prohibited ice skating on ponds from which ice was gathered.

What if, against the prediction of "The Old Farmer's Almanac," there is no ice on the pond? The work still goes on, as it probably would have a century ago when farmers faced with warmer winters filled their ice houses with commercial ice. This may have happened in the winter of 1899 when the Hopewell Herald noted in late February that in the Titusville area, which includes Pleasant Valley, not a pound of ice had been gathered so far that winter, even though the Delaware River had been lightly frozen for more than a week.

Often in the 1890s ice harvesting began in late December or early January. On January 4, 1893 the Hopewell Herald reported that Pleasant Valley resident Hart Lewis had nearly filled his ice house the previous week with ice about six inches thick. He had cut the ice on "Parkhill's creek", really on Moore's Creek on the Parkhill farm, only a hundred yards or so from today's Howell Farm. A warming trend could ruin the ice harvest, though, and Mr. Lewis lost several loads of ice due to rains on Sunday when he failed to haul away the ice he cut on Saturday. Apparently Mr. Parkhill was letting him cut ice where the creek flowed through his property. Farmers without a creek or pond on their property often made this kind of arrangement. Two years later it was noted that Pleasant Valley resident Hart Larue began his New Year by beginning to fill his ice house on January 2. Like Mr. Lewis, though, he cut more ice than he could haul to the ice house and left it on the creek. The next day saw a thaw and rain and he had to work quickly to save his blocks of ice before the creek rose and washed them away.

Howell Living Farm represents typical farm life between 1890 and 1910. The farm is operated by the Mercer County Parks Commission. It is 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, January 30 - Harrison Township, Gloucester County
Annual Groundhog Day Dinner
Children Friendly

The Harrison Township Historical Society’s Annual Groundhog Day Dinner and Silent Auction is set for Saturday at 6:00 pm at Ewan Fire Hall, 312 Ewan Road, in the village of Ewan near Mullica Hill, NJ. This annual event features “Down Jersey” sausage, sausage gravy and biscuits, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, candied yams, fried apples, green beans, and a dessert buffet. Now in its twelfth year, the supper is a revival of a century-old Richwood tradition.

The first local groundhog day dinners took place in the early 1900s. Farmers belonging to the Richwood Men’s Bible Class made the sausage and prepared supper for the entire congregation of Richwood Methodist Church.

The event is a fun-filled evening for the entire family. In addition to the home-cooked menu, the program includes a popular silent auction and perhaps the only opportunity in South Jersey to sing Groundhog Day songs. Tickets for the event are $15 and available at the Amazing Grace Resource Center, 33 South Main Street, Mullica Hill, NJ (856-478-9800), or online. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Advance purchase is recommended since seating is limited.

All proceeds benefit the Society’s exhibitions and educational programs at the Society's Old Town Hall Museum, located at the intersection of South Main Street and Woodstown Road. For more information, visit www.harrisonhistorical.com.

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Sunday, January 31 - Princeton, Mercer County
Virtual Albert E. Hinds Memorial Walking Tour

Shirley Satterfield will offer a slide presentation of her popular walking tour of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood. Participants can enjoy refreshments while learning about the “Princeton Plan” that desegregated schools, the life of Paul Robeson, and the establishment of Palmer Square that demolished much of the historic Black neighborhood across from the University. Included with $4 museum admission to the Updike Farmstead. Regular walking tours resume March 6.

Updike Farmstead is located at 354 Quaker Road, Princeton, NJ. The virtual tour begins at 2:00 pm and ends at 3:00 pm. For more information, call 609-921-6748 or visit www.princetonhistory.org.

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Sunday, January 31 - Montclair, Essex County
Historic House Tour: Crane House/YWCA
Family Friendly

Step back through over 200 years of American history at Montclair's historic properties at 108 Orange Road. Visit the reinterpreted Crane House to reflect the YWCA period from 1920 - 1965, check out the farm, and meet the chickens. The site is open from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Admission is $6 per adult; $5 per senior and student with valid ID; $4 per child; children under 2 free.

For more information, call 973-744-1796, e-mail mail@montclairhistorical.org, or visit www.montclairhistorical.org.

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Sunday, January 31 - Morristown, Morris County
Impact of War
Children Friendly

The American Revolution impacted the lives of both soldiers and civilians. Learn how the war impacted the lives of the various people staying in the Ford Mansion during the winter of 1779-1780 on a guided tour of the house.

This special tour of the Ford Mansion is at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Tickets can be picked up at the Washington's Headquarters Museum as part of the $7 admission fee. The Ford Mansion and Washington's Headquarters Museum is located at 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ. Cost: $7 per person 16 and older. For more information, call 973-539-2016 ext. 210 or visit www.nps.gov/morr.

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Through March 4, 2016 - Toms River, Ocean County
All Aboard, Ocean County!

Don't miss the newest exhibition at the Ocean County Historical Society, 26 Hadley Avenue, Toms River, NJ. "All Aboard! A Brief History of Ocean County Railroads and Stations" will be on display through March 4, 2016, 10:00 am - 3:30 pm, Tuesday through Friday and the first Saturday of each month, 1:00 - 4:00 pm.

Learn about the golden years from the 1880s to the 1920s, when six railroads were established and thrived, dotting Ocean County towns with stations, turntables, wyes, and roundhouses. View replicas of trains of the Central RR of NJ, Pennsylvania RR, The Blue Comet, the Tuckerton RR, and the Doodle Bug Car on the New Egypt line. Authentic artifacts and historic photographs of stations that were centers for community activities, as well as transportation of passengers and freight, make this exhibit a must-see! For more information, visit www.oceancountyhistory.org.

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Through June 10, 2016 - Woodbury, Gloucester County
Gloucester Abbey: Downton Style Fashions Exhibit

Gloucester Abbey: Downton Style Fashions is currently on display at the exhibit at the Gloucester County Historical Society Museum in Woodbury, New Jersey. The exhibit will conclude on January 6, 2016. This remarkable exhibit features ladies’ fashions from the society's collection from the time period covered by the popular PBS Masterpiece Theater series Downton Abbey. Over 100 vintage dresses/ensembles from the museum’s collection dating from 1910 through the 1930s are showcased, including period wedding gowns. Also on display are ladies accessories, including hats, shoes, purses, jewelry, and lingerie. Don’t miss this fantastic exhibit!

The Gloucester County Historical Society Museum hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00 - 4:00 pm, and the last Sunday of the month from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Private tours may be booked for days/times other than our regular public hours. Adult admission $5; children 6-18 years $1; children under 6 free. The Gloucester County Historical Society Museum is located at 58 N. Broad Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096. For more information, call 856-848-8531 or visit www.rootsweb.com/~njgchs.

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Through June 26, 2016 - Piscataway, Middlesex County
The Icons of American Culture: History of New Jersey Diners Exhibit
Children Friendly

When was the last time you ate at a diner? If you are like millions of New Jerseyans, the answer is not too long ago. Dubbed “the land of diners,” New Jersey has forged a unique relationship with these casual eateries. Stainless steel, neon, and menus that go on for days are part of the Garden State landscape. Come explore their rich history with us! This seven-room exhibit tells the story of some of the of the Garden State’s most iconic eateries. This exhibit runs from April 12, 2015 - June 26, 2016 and is free of charge.

The exhibit is open Tuesday – Friday from 1:00 – 4:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays, Saturdays, and Holidays. The Cornelius Low House Museum is located at 1225 River Road, Piscataway, NJ. For more information, call 732-745-4177 or visit www.co.middlesex.nj.us.

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Through July 9, 2016 - Freehold, Monmouth County
19th Century New Jersey Chairmaking Exhibit

Monmouth County Historical Association's newest exhibition Of the Best Materials and Good Workmanship: 19th Century New Jersey Chairmaking at the Museum at 70 Court Street will remain open through July 9, 2016.

This exhibition explores the diversity of products made by chairmakers in New Jersey from the late 18th century through 1900 and explores four different galleries: the craft of chairmaking, Windsor chairs, common chairs, and factory made chairs. It draws from chairmakers from throughout the Garden State, including a large collection of chairmaking tools, equipment, benches, patterns and stencils collected by William H. MacDonald of Trenton. MacDonald, who had one time worked in Freehold, donated the collection to the Association in the mid and late 20th century. The exhibition represents the first time the entire collection of tools, equipment and patterns have ever been displayed together.

Hammond explained that the name for the exhibition is taken from the language commonly used by New Jersey manufacturers in their newspaper advertisements promoting themselves against craftsmen from New York and Philadelphia.

Many of the items in the exhibition come from throughout the Garden State, from Bergen to Cumberland and Salem counties, and span the era from 1780 to 1900. Some of the items on display are on loan from several different historical societies as well as the Rutgers archives’ special collection and are representative of both local and regional chairmakers.

Of particular interest is one section devoted to the Ware family of Cumberland County, a family that represents a unique chapter in the history of American furniture production. Nineteen members of the family spanning four generations made traditional slat back, rush-seated chairs in the Delaware Valley tradition from the late 18th century to about 1940.

The gallery portraying factory made chairs includes perforated furniture made by Gardener and Company in 1872, a business in Glen Gardner, folding chairs popular on ocean liners dating back as far as 1868 and made by the Collignon Brothers in Closter, in Bergen County, using wood from the sawmill across the Hackensack River from the plant, and the Cooper Chair factory of Bergen, noted for its delicate chairmaking styles.

The Gallery devoted to Windsor chairs includes the earliest known marked Windsor chair, one made by Ezekiah Hughes in Salem County in the 1780s. The exhibition at the Museum displays one of the largest collections of Windsor chairs ever shown.

Monmouth County Historical Association is a private non-profit organization that has been working to preserve history and provide educational opportunities since its founding in 1898. The Historical Association’s Museum and Library is located at 70 Court Street in Freehold, NJ. Museum hours are: Tuesdays - Saturdays 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. The Library is open Wednesdays through Saturdays. For more information about the Association, call 732-462-1466 or visit www.monmouthhistory.org.

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Some event listings courtesy of the League of Historical Societies of New Jersey

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