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!


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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reinvigorating Our Commitment to History

Reinvigorating Our Commitment to History
2013: A Year in Review
Written by NJ Historian

What a year 2013 has been! I visited over forty locations throughout New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. To commemorate this banner year, I have decided to take a moment to pause and reflect upon a few of the sites that stood out. With so many sites, it was hard to narrow it down to just a few. Every historic site is important and matters and this list does not diminish the importance and relevance of the ones that were not included.

This year, we began a movement to reinvigorate our (collective) commitment to history through this web site and various social media outlets. I am proud to announce that this attempt has been successful, as new audiences have been reached and partnerships created. The new year marks New Jersey's 350th anniversary. As we head into 2014, our theme will be to "Spread The History." Now that you have spent a year exploring and renewing your commitment to New Jersey's history, spread the word to friends and neighbors, inviting them to reinvigorate their commitment in 2014. Together, we can preserve and reflect upon our strong ties to our historical and cultural past, inspiring the next generation to follow in our footsteps.

1. Old Swack Church and Swackhammer Cemetery
When historians are faced with a task that seems unattainable, it only makes them work harder! This past year was the first year of what will most likely be a multi-year project in rehabilitating and restoring the abandoned Old Swack Church ruins and adjacent Swackhammer Cemetery in Lebanon Township, New Jersey. This long-forgotten site was abandoned around 1896. This year, a group of interested citizens from various backgrounds came together to prove to government officials that you must get your hands dirty if you want to get something done. Tom and I volunteered twice and saw first-hand the amount of work it takes to reclaim a cemetery from nature. Broken headstones have been repaired and there are still plenty of missing headstones to find, but this project proved how an unaffiliated group of people, some relatives of those buried, local residents, and others just interested in history, can come together and work collectively to achieve what others said could not be done. Hats off to the Swack Angels as they head into the new year!

Old Swack Church and Swackhammer Cemetery slowly rise from the ruins, November 2013.
2. Gettysburg & The David Wills House
This year marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North. It is often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion" and was the war's bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties. It was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln's immortal "Gettysburg Address". Visiting the battlefield was bittersweet - reflecting on the sacrifices made by soldiers on both sides and celebrating America's new-found freedom and rebirth.

The Gettysburg Battlefield, a sacred ground.
3. Bound Brook Presbyterian Church
New Jersey is home to many innovators and firsts. Among one of the more obscure firsts that I uncovered this year was the origin of graham crackers. These treats were developed by Reverend Sylvester Graham of the Bound Brook Presbyterian Church in 1829. Graham was very interested in temperance and various health regimens. He developed the graham cracker to cure the dreaded fever of lust. The original cracker was conceived as a health food and contained graham flour and considerably less sweeteners than the cookie-cracker we know today. Next time you bite into one or make s'mores with your friends, you can inform them these first appeared in Bound Brook, New Jersey over 175 years ago!

Reaching for the heavens at the 1896 Bound Brook Presbyterian Church.
4. Whippany Railway Museum
Railroading has a long and storied history in New Jersey. From the John Bull to New Jersey Transit, travelling via rails remains a vital way to connect passengers and goods across the state. If you are looking to step back in time and experience the "golden age" of railroad, a stop at the Whippany Railway Museum in Whippany, New Jersey is in order! Who knew so much history could be kept at such a small site? Multiple railcars, steam engines, and of course a number of iconic cabooses all grace the sidings around the facility. Multiple buildings and railroad artifacts complete the yard. For those with a lust to ride the rails, the site offers excursion trains on various weekends throughout the year. And if you are old enough to remember, there is a restored Blue Comet railcar - the ultimate in railroad luxury.

All aboard! Next stop, the Whippany Railway Museum!
5. Princeton Nurseries
Ever wonder where parks, shopping centers, and housing developments get their trees from? Between the 1930s and early 1990s, there was a good possibility that they came from Princeton Nurseries, which spanned South Brunswick, Plainsboro, West Windsor, and Franklin township. It was the largest commercial nursery in the United States. The site was owned by the Flemer family, which over three generations developed innovative horticultural practices and technologies still in use today. Throughout its history, almost sixty different varieties of shade trees were developed on the property, including the famed Princeton Elm. Many of the trees grown became standards by which other clones have come to be judged. In 1995, operations moved to Allentown, New Jersey. Ten years later, the core of the 1,200 acre property was acquired as open space and the site's deteriorating buildings idly await a future use.

Propagation buildings await restoration at Princeton Nurseries, South Brunswick, NJ. 
6. Truss Bridges of Somerset and Mercer Counties
We drive over bridges every day but few really take notice of the architecture and engineering behind the dozens of truss bridges in rural locations throughout Somerset and Mercer Counties. Some still handle vehicular traffic while others have been rehabilitated to serve as bridges for foot traffic. Bridges became a vital innovation for travelling over water, and the proliferation of truss bridges after the Civil War was no coincidence. As America became more mobile, a quick and affordable means of building bridges was sought. Today, they are a dying breed and advocates must work closely with the DOT and county and local governments to preserve and rehabilitate the remaining bridges for today's ever-increasing traffic needs before they are lost forever.

Detail of the Elm Street Bridge looking toward the Neshanic Station Railroad Bridge, Neshanic Station, NJ
7. Woodland Cemetery
This year, a new group of volunteers have taken the first steps to reclaim Woodland Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey from the grit of the city. After years of neglect, clean-ups have been scheduled for a site that is plagued with thousands of toppled tombstones, tall grass, litter, and large fallen branches. The iconic Gothic revival gatehouse, abandoned for over twenty years, will be assessed so that a plan to stabilize and eventually restore it can be formulated. This renewed commitment to the site, which contains over 80,000 burials, has formed partnerships with local schools and community organizations, allowing a new generation to discover the beauty of this thirty-six acre rural cemetery in a city of concrete and asphalt.

8. Vineland Historical Society
For 150 years, the Vineland Historical Society in Vineland, New Jersey has been interpreting and preserving the history of the local community and region. New Jersey's oldest local historical society is housed in a modest two-story brick building filled with cases of artifacts, furniture, and ephemera. The early founders of Vineland, forward-thinking for establishing a society during the town's formative years, have left an enduring legacy for future generations to cherish and learn from.

Filled with 150 years of history, the Vineland Historical Society, Vineland, New Jersey.
9. Lucy the Elephant
Just a few miles south of Atlantic City, in Margate, New Jersey is the world's largest elephant! Built as a tourist attraction to sell lots of land, Lucy the Elephant has served as a real estate office, tavern, private cottage, and most notably, a roadside attraction over the past 130 years. In the late 1960s, the land on which she was built was sold and the structure faced demolition. By this time, Lucy was severely deteriorated and local residents came together to raise the funds to save and move Lucy to a town-owned lot. It took a great deal of determination and willpower to overcome obstacles and save Lucy. These early preservationists saw the potential and unique qualities of Lucy, which was bestowed National Historic Landmark status in 1976.

Lucy the Elephant awaits you in Margate, New Jersey.
10. Camp Midvale / Weis Ecology Center
Deep within the woods of Ringwood and the Ramapo Mountains once existed a haven for nature lovers and outdoorsmen. Camp Midvale, later renamed the Weis Ecology Center, was established by the European-based Nature Friends in the 1920s and an iconic dormitory building was built by its local members in 1931. Small cabins, a farmhouse, and outbuildings dot this once-popular site. Later serving as an ecology center for the Audubon Society, the site is now abandoned and faces demolition. As Guest author Karin Adamietz Ahmed explains, if something is not done soon, this jewel of the woods, built as a center for connecting with and understanding nature, will soon vanish from the landscape...

Surrounded by fir trees, the Weis Ecology Center may become but a mere memory.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Antique Items of the Week: 12/29/13 - 1/5/14

eBay 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.

 Antique Meat Grinder - About 8 inches tall

Vintage Strawbridge Hat - Deep Red

Vintage Handmade Magazine Rack - About 21 inches long

Vintage Women's Canadian Zephyr Ice Skates - Size 7
See more details on the History Girl Youtube page.
Email kelly@thehistorygirl.com if interested.

Vintage Men's Roller Skates - Size 10
Email kelly@thehistorygirl.com if interested.

Vintage Hightstown, NJ Potato Sack
MD Potatoes
Email kelly@thehistorygirl.com if interested.

Railroad Memorabilia Sale

Erie Railroad Time Table
August 17, 1947
Shipping: $1.25

Erie Railroad Time Table
June 24, 1944
Shipping: $1.25

Atlantic Coast Line Time Tables
The Standard Railroad of the South
January 1922
There is a tear in the one page (see third photo).
Pages are not stapled but show no evidence of a staple ever existing.
Shipping: $1.25

Lot of Ten Railroad Train Tickets
Two tickets from Sunday, Jan. 3 / One from Friday, Jul. 26 (no year) - Philadelphia Transit Co.
Three from Cumberland Division (all January, no year) - Philadelphia Transit Co.
One from NY State Railways, dated August 25, 1934
One from Erie Railroad Co., NY to Port Jervis, November 27, 1938
One from Erie Railroad Co., NY to Port Jervis, November 25, 1952
One from Erie Railroad Co., NY to Port Jervis, January 15, 1953
Shipping: $1.00

 Erie Railroad Company
New York Division and New Jersey and New York Railroad
Superintendent's Office
Jersey City, June 10, 1906
 Numbers and Locations of Automatic Signals
Includes 10 unused "Telegraph Report of Automatic Block Signals"
Shipping: $1.80

25 Vintage Model Railroader & Model Railroad Craftsman Magazines
1963 & 1964
Pick-up only!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Weekend Historical Happenings: 12/28/13 - 12/29/13

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, December 27 Barnegat, Ocean County
The Affair at Cedar Bridge

Watch the annual reenactment of the Affair at Cedar Bridge in Barnegat, NJ on Friday afternoon, beginning with period music at 1:00 pm and ceremony at 2:00 pm. Join dignitaries, members of the public, and fellow history buffs for the celebration and 1782 reenactment of the last documented land engagement of the Revolutionary War.  This event is free. Festivities take place at 200 Old Halfway Road, Barnegat, NJ. For more information, contact the Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum at 609-296-8868 or visit www.tuckertonseaport.org.

Friday - Sunday, December 27 - 29 - West Orange, Essex County
Holidays at Glenmont
Children Friendly

The sights and sounds of the season will greet visitors when they come to Thomas Edison's home in Llewellyn Park during "Holidays at Glenmont." Glenmont will be decorated much as it was while the Edison family lived there. Greenery and red poinsettias will deck the mantles above the fireplaces. Staircases will be ringed with boughs and red ribbon bows and wreaths will hang in every window. In the den, the majestic ten foot tree will be set and the presents underneath will be waiting as if the Edison children Madeleine, Theodore, and Charles, will soon come running down the stairs from their rooms - after they've checked their stockings in the upstairs living room! Family china will be displayed on the dining room table and the scene will be completed with holiday cards that were received by the family.

The Edison home, Glenmont, is located on a fifteen-acre estate in Llewellyn Park, the country's first private residential community. Built in 1880, the twenty-nine room mansion contains the original furnishings and family items used by the Edisons. The estate grounds include gardens, a greenhouse, barn, and the poured concrete garage containing the family's automobiles. Thomas and Mina Edison are buried on the grounds of the estate.

Car passes and tour tickets must be purchased at the Laboratory Complex Visitor Center at 211 Main Street, West Orange, NJ. Admission is $7.00, and includes the Glenmont Estate and the Laboratory Complex. Children under age 16 are free. For more information, call 973-736-0550 x11 or visit www.nps.gov/edis.

Saturday, December 28 - Somerville, Somerset County
Fourth Day of Christmas
Children Friendly

Enjoy Colonial Christmas Tours at The Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage Historic Sites in Somerville on Saturday evening from on the hour from 6:00 - 9:00 pm. This is a special Christmas event featuring candlelight tours of The Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage. Guides in period clothing will explain how Christmas was celebrated in the American colonies. Enjoy the holiday atmosphere of these Colonial-era homes, decorated authentically in the 18th-century manner to celebrate the season. Tours available at 6:00, 7:00, and 8:00 pm. Invite friends, family, and others to enjoy this unique holiday event. Refreshments will be served. $10 per person. Advance reservations required. The Wallace House/Old Dutch Parsonage are located at 71 Somerset Street, Somerville, NJ. For more information and to register, call 908-725-1015 or e-mail whouse3@verizon.net.

Saturday, December 28 Cape May, Cape May County
40th Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tour

This self-guided tour, the main attraction of Cape May's festive holiday season, features homes, inns, hotels, and churches decorated for the holidays, plus caroling, strolling musicians and good old-fashioned cheer. Hospitality centers offer warm beverages and traditional treats. Your ticket includes admission to the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, and the Carriage House Gallery. Continuous shuttle service on heated trolleys. Tours from 5:30 - 8:30 pm. Adults $25, children $20 (ages 3-12). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac.org.

Saturday, December 28 - Trenton, Mercer County
Saturday's Patriots Week Events

In 1776, the tide turning Battles of the American Revolution were waged on the streets and in the fields of downtown Trenton. Join the salute to Trenton’s past, commemorate the passion of the patriots who fought for American Independence, and honor the spirit of revolution and patriotism that flourishes today. Concerts, tours, performances, presentations, exhibits, hands-on activities, and book signings bring Colonial history into the modern age and draw a dynamic mix of families, history buffs, reenactors and culture seekers to New Jersey’s Capital.

Patriots’ Week is produced by the Trenton Downtown Association, in partnership with the Old Barracks Museum, which has been staging the Battle of Trenton Reenactments for more than 20 years. A collaboration of both city and state cultural and history organizations, Patriots’ Week programming reflects the quality of the Capital’s resources and provides a public showcase and interactive opportunities to experience its many treasures. For information and additional details for all events, visit www.patriotsweektrenton.com.

1st Battle of Trenton - 11:00 am
N. Warren St. Battle Monument Park to Mill Hill Park
After the crossing of the Delaware River and marching to Trenton, the American rebel forces-exhausted, dressed in rags, ill from the cold and lack of sleep and decent food had accomplished the impossible by inflicting a crippling blow to the world's greatest British army. Follow the action from the symbolic first cannon shot fired at the Battle Monument to Mill Hill Park. No admission fee.

Battle of Trenton Puppet Show - 12:30 and 1:30 pm
Corner of East Hanover and Warren Streets
Tucker Tales take a “mini” historical look at an amazing piece of our history presented with marionettes and rod puppets (and lots of help from the audience). Watch the battle unfold before your eyes, and see the action as it has never been seen before. Performed on the Battle of Trenton Map , this show includes live music, large puppets and props, and plenty of “revolting” action. No admission fee.

The Local Trenton Area Militia and the Campaign of 1776 - 2:00 pm
Masonic Temple, 100 Barrack Street.
Today’s City of Trenton and townships of Hopewell, Ewing, and Lawrence were part of Hunterdon County in 1776 and supplied men for the First Hunterdon County militia regiment. This illustrated lecture by Larry Kidder tells the story of these men and their families as they experienced the events of 1776 and defended New Jersey from the British army on Staten Island, fought alongside the Continental Army against the British on Long Island, Manhattan Island, and White Plains before joining in the retreat across New Jersey. These men then participated in the December 1776 campaign and the battles of Trenton and Princeton. The individual experiences and contributions of these militiamen are a little known aspect of these well-known events. The lecture tells a story that climaxes with the Ten Crucial Days and is a great complement to the walking tour of Trenton, the bus tours, and the reenactment of the battles. No admission fee.

Colonial People: Ned Hector, Black Patriot of the Revolution - 2:00 pm
New Jersey State Museum Auditorium, 205 West State Street
This program introduces audiences to “Ned” Hector, an African American and patriot who lived during the American Revolution. Dressed in full uniform and carrying a replica Pennsylvania long rifle, Noah Lewis brings to life the role of African Americans during this vital time in our history. No admission fee.

Colonial Culture: Reading of the Minute to the Quakers - 12:00 noon - 3:00 pm
Trenton Friends Meetinghouse, 142 East Hanover Street
Learn about the Quaker tradition of shape note singing and hear the minute to the Quakers on the official position of the church as the Revolution dawned on Trenton. No admission fee.

2nd Battle of Trenton - 3:00 pm
East State Street to North Warren Street to Mill Hill Park
After a commemorative ceremony at First Presbyterian Church, the action commences at 3:00 pm at East State St. and heads to Mill Hill Park for the second Battle, which pits the American forces against General Cornwallis and his numerous attempts to take the Assunpink Creek Bridge. After slipping away, Washington’s troops were able to head north to Princeton, sealing the fate of the 10 Crucial Days. No admission fee.    

Meet British, Hessian, and American Troops - 10:00  am - 5:00 pm
Old Barracks Museum, 101 Barrack Street
Visit the historic Old Barracks Museum, the home of the Continental Army following the Battles of Trenton. At the top of every hour the film, "Ten Crucial Days," will be shown. Guided tours of the Barracks begin hourly. Explore the Old Barracks exhibits: "All is Threatened and Endangered: New Jersey in the French & Indian War," "The Hessians and the Battles of Trenton," and "Words, Deeds & Wills of Iron: The Women Who Saved the Barracks, 1902." Admission: $5/adult, children free, Old Barracks Association members free.

Sunday December 29 - Trenton, Mercer County
Sunday's Patriots Week Events

In 1776, the tide turning Battles of the American Revolution were waged on the streets and in the fields of downtown Trenton. Join the salute to Trenton’s past, commemorate the passion of the patriots who fought for American Independence, and honor the spirit of revolution and patriotism that flourishes today. Concerts, tours, performances, presentations, exhibits, hands-on activities, and book signings bring Colonial history into the modern age and draw a dynamic mix of families, history buffs, reenactors and culture seekers to New Jersey’s Capital.Patriots’ Week is produced by the Trenton Downtown Association, in partnership with the Old Barracks Museum, which has been staging the Battle of Trenton Reenactments for more than 20 years. A collaboration of both city and state cultural and history organizations, Patriots’ Week programming reflects the quality of the Capital’s resources and provides a public showcase and interactive opportunities to experience its many treasures. For information and additional details for all events, visit www.patriotsweektrenton.com.

Bus Tour: Princeton Battlefield - 9:00 am - 12:00 noon and 1:00 - 4:00  pm
Lafayette Street
Tour guide Ralph Siegel leads the way from the site of Trenton’s Second Battle in Mill Hill Park up North to the Princeton Battlefield.  After setting the stage for the final leg of the 10 Crucial Days, he paints the picture of the soldiers march, coming after an exhaustive week of fighting, to their victory at Princeton.  Visitors will disembark at the Princeton Battlefield, where they will learn the story of the battle that reinforced the tide shift that occurred in early 1776. Dress appropriately for walking and weather. $20.00 per person -  purchase tickets at www.patriotsweek.com.

18th Century Worship: Colonial Church Service - 11:00 am
First Presbyterian Church, 120 East State Street
Reverend John Allen will portray Elihu Spencer, who was the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church during the Revolution. Pastor Spencer will give a sermon from the period and lead the congregation in worship reflective of the colonial era. No admission fee.

Historic Perspective: Mary Stumpf at Princeton Battlefield - 12:00 noon
Masonic Temple, 100 Barrack Street
Imagine seeing the Battle of Princeton from a high place. Picture in your mind just how much you could see. Why, just about everything that took place on Thomas Clarke’s farm on the frigid morning of January 3, 1777. Look through the eyes of 12 year old Mary Stumpf, along with your fifteen year old brother, the both of you caught up in the danger and excitement of the day.  Join Laura Crockett, author of the play, Ghosts of Princeton Battlefield and the novel, Mary Stumpf at the Battle of Princeton, as she tells the intense story of that glorious day. There will be a book signing after the presentation. No admission fee.

New Jersey’s Uhlan: Brevet Brigadier General Joseph Karge - 2:00 pm
Masonic Temple, 100 Barrack Street
Dr. Joseph Wroblewski presents the story of the three volunteer cavalry regiments fielded by the State of New Jersey during the Civil War, Brevet Brigadier General Joseph KargĂ© recruited, trained and commanded two: First New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry (Halstead’s Horse) in which he fought in the Virginia Campaigns of 1862 and Second New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry (1863-1865) which he led against the Confederate forces in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. Considered one of the most skillful cavalrymen in the war, General KargĂ© represents the spirit of untold numbers of immigrants who came to the United States seeking a better life for themselves and their families and in doing so helped create and maintain a great nation. After the war, his life took a great change, when on furlough in New Jersey in 1870, he was offered a professorship of Continental Languages at Princeton University, which he accepted and where he remained until his death in 1892. No admission fee.

Colonial People: Phyllis Wheatley Voice of Freedom - 3:00 pm
Trenton Friends Meetinghouse, 142 East Hanover Street
This multimedia program mixes film, spirituals performed by violin virtuoso Michael Jamanis, and original narration by Dr. Amanda Kemp drawn from the letters and poetry of Phillis Wheatley, the first African American woman to publish a book. Kemp imagines Wheatley, as a child and captures her extraordinary life, through adulthood. Both a lauded poet who was invited by George Washington to his home as thanks for her poem, "To His Excellency, George Washington", and a slave who served a wealthy Boston family, she was a trailblazer whose writings range from tributes to elegies and even capture the spirit of rebellion running through the colonies in the 1770s and 1780s. No admission fee.

Beer Tasting - 3:00 pm
First Presbyterian Church, 120 East State Street
Returning for a second year, noted Brewmaster Richard Wagner will speak about the origins and use of fermented beverages in the colonial period.  Along with his talk, beers that reflect the flavor of the era will be paired with a selection of cheeses from DiBruno Brothers. $35.00, ages 21 and over. For reservations, call 609-396-1712.

Sunday, December 29 - Trenton, Mercer County
18th Century Tea

Susan McLellan Plaisted, proprietress of Heart to Hearth Cookery, will offer her 18th-century tea program at the Trent House at 2:00 pm, which explores the etiquette and meaning of taking tea in colonial times. Using reproductions and artifacts, each piece of equipage will be demonstrated as guests sample three types of tea and enjoy homemade gourmet desserts, all authentic to the period.

The tearoom will be set with linens and the famous pink china that was custom-made for the Trent House. Your period dress is welcome (but not required).

Tickets are $15; $10 for Friends. Reservations required and prepayment appreciated. Seating is limited. For reservations, call 609-989-0087 or e-mail trenthouseassociation@verizon.net. Tickets will be held at the door. Event proceeds benefit the curatorial work and educational programming of the non-profit Trent House Association.

Sunday, December 29 - Cape May, Cape May County
Cape May Church Tour

Come and visit some of the oldest churches in the City of Cape May on Sunday from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. Four churches and the Colonial House of Cape May are included in this free tour.

Churches include: Star of the Sea Catholic Church, United Methodist Church, Church of the Advent, and Macedonia Baptist Church. Cape May's Colonial House is also included. A free walking tour map will be available at the Colonial House, 653 1/2 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Refreshments will be available at the Cape May Church of the Advent. For more information, visit www.capemayhistory.org.

Sunday, December 29 - Morristown, Morris County
Victorian Christmas at Acorn Hall

Renowned local interior designer, Kevin Fitzpatrick, joins the Morris County Historical Society in ‘Decking the Halls’ for this year’s Victorian Christmas celebration at Acorn Hall. Mr. Fitzpatrick has worked professionally with Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, and has designed for a wide variety of celebrities. Come celebrate the splendor of the holiday season with the Society, and enjoy generous Victorian decorations throughout its period rooms and hallways.

Special features this year include a custom feather tree decorated in authentic mid-19th century ornaments, mantels decorated in lavish period silk fabrics, and, of course, our ornately decorated upside-down Christmas tree. Colorful evergreen garlands highlighted by shining ornaments and numerous themed-decorations on bright Christmas trees and arrangements are certain to place guests in the holiday spirit.  

The Oakleaf Gallery Gift Shop at Acorn Hall offers many unique and perfect solutions to fulfill all of your holiday gift-giving needs. Vintage clothing and jewelry, one-of-a-kind hand-crafted accessories, refurbished Victorian-era hooks and hardware, distinctive books on Morris County history, and adorable items sure to make any child smile, await visitors stopping by the shop. 

Acorn Hall was built in 1853 and remodeled in the Italianate Villa-style in 1860. It is open for tours on Sundays, 1:00 - 4:00 pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, and by appointment. 

The gift shop is open Monday - Friday, from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, and by appointment. We are scheduling special wine and cheese shopping-nights-out, please make your appointment soon. 

Tours of the house and exhibit are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $3 for students. Children under 12 and members are free. There is no admission fee for those who are only visiting the gift shop. Acorn Hall is located at 68 Morris Avenue, Morristown, NJ. For more information, call 973-267-3465 or visit www.acornhall.org.

Through Tuesday, January 5, 2014 - Princeton, Mercer County
Festival of Trees

Morven Museum and Garden's annual Festival of Trees has become a must-see Princeton holiday tradition. Enjoy the museum’s elegant galleries decorated for the holidays and adorned with trees artfully decorated by local businesses, garden clubs, and non-profit organizations.

This year’s Festival of Trees exhibitors include: Arts Council of Princeton, Stony Brook Garden Club of Princeton, Dogwood Garden Club, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton Doll & Toy Museum, Vicki Trainer, Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County, McCarter Theatre, Keris Tree Farm & Christmas Shop, Barbara L. Mulea, Landau of Princeton, Hulit’s Shoes, One Simple Wish, D & R Greenway Land Trust, Garden Club of Princeton, and West Elm by Gordon Goode.

No reservations necessary. Morven is open to the public on Wednesdays through Fridays from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm and Saturdays through Sundays from 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm.

Admission $6, $5 for Seniors, and special pricing for families during Festival of Trees, $15 per group. Friends of Morven, free. Please note that during the Festival of Trees in December and early January, no formal tours are given, but docents are available to answer any questions. No reservations necessary. Morven Museum and Garden is located at 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ. For more information, call 609-924-8144 or visit www.morven.org.

Through Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - Tuckerton, Ocean County
Festival of Trees
Children Friendly Site

Roll out the holly and sharing in some holiday cheer at Tuckerton Seaport's Festival of Trees. The Festival of Trees will feature dozens of trees, each one decorated for a local nonprofit organization with a unique theme. Open 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. General admission: adults $8, seniors $6, ages 5-12 $5, under five free and Seaport members free. The Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum is located at 120 West Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ. For more information, call 609-296-8868 or visit www.tuckertonseaport.org.

Through January 1, 2014 - Cape May, Cape May County
Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit
Children Friendly

Through January 1, 2014, the Emlen Physick Estate will have an exhibit of holiday traditions through the years complete with a Dickens Village, a giant Christmas tree, model trains, toys, and much more! The exhibit is located in the Carriage House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. The Gallery is open daily (except Christmas); hours vary. Free admission. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information or gallery hours, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit www.capemaymac.org.

Through June 30, 2014 - Piscataway, Middlesex County
Got Work? Exhibit

View the exhibit "Got Work? New Deal/WPA in New Jersey" at the 1741 Cornelius Low House Museum in Piscataway. The museum is open Tuesday - Friday, 8:30 - 4:00 pm and Sunday afternoons from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The exhibit will run through June 30, 2014.

The Cornelius Low House, built in 1741, was the home to its namesake and is only one of two remaining buildings from historic Raritan Landing. This high-style Georgian mansion is listed on the National Register and operated by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission. Admission to the museum is FREE. The museum is located at 1225 River Road, Piscataway, NJ . For more information, visit http://www.co.middlesex.nj.us/culturalheritage.

Through February 2014 - Madison, Morris County
Ghosts, Ghouls, & Gravestones Exhibit
Children Friendly Site

The Museum of Early Trades and Crafts presents "Ghosts, Ghouls, & Gravestones: The Trades of Burial," which will examine the progression of the burial trade. Passing away from this world was once a family affair, but over time, the process spread through the social and economic ties of the community. By 1900, a robust funeral industry had developed that saw to a family's every need. The exhibit will also explore the strict protocols that dictated mourning and the artistry in gravestones.

Regular Museum admission is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors, students & children (ages 6 and older), and free for members and children under 6. Family maximum admission $13.00. The Museum is open Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 noon - 5:00 pm. The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts is located at 9 Main Street in Madison, NJ just two blocks from the Madison train station. For information, please call 973-377-2982 x10 or visit www.metc.org.

Through February 14, 2014 - Woodbury, Gloucester County
The Civil War: Echoes of New Jersey’s Finest 

As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is being observed across America, the Gloucester County Historical Society Museum is featuring an exhibit of artifacts that tell unique stories about local soldiers during this traumatic time in our nation’s history.  Along with military equipment, there are also photographs, Civil War letters, the first Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to a NJ soldier, a thirty-three foot long flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Civil War, personal items that belonged to local union soldiers, and much more.

Gloucester County Historical Society Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:00 - 4:00 pm and the last Sunday of the month from 2:00 - 5:00 pm. Adult admission $5; children 6-18 years $1; children under 6 free. The museum is located at 58 North Broad Street, Woodbury, NJ. For more information, call 856-848-8531 or visit www.rootsweb.com/~njgchs.

Through Sunday, February 23, 2014 - Trenton, Mercer County
Historic Maps of the Garden State Exhibit
Children Friendly Activities

Often overlooked as a decorative art form, maps are ideal artifacts for exploring New Jersey history. Stories of New Jersey’s social, economic, military, environmental and political history – as well as the state’s role in the history of American transportation – can be told through the visual splendor of the Garden State’s historic maps.

Opening on September 7 and running through February 23, 2014, “Where in the World is New Jersey? Historical Maps of the Garden State” is comprised of nearly 100 maps depicting the colony and state of New Jersey from 1635 through 1950 on display at the New Jersey State Museum.

This unprecedented exhibition provides the visitor with an introductory survey of historical maps depicting the colony and state of New Jersey from 1635 until 1950. The nearly 100 maps on display – most of which are original hand-colored copperplate engravings or chromolithographs – come from the collections of four public institutions – the New Jersey State Museum, State Archives, State Library, and Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. They were selected for their rarity, their ability to convey aspects of New Jersey history, and their artistic merit – underscoring the dual role of maps as both works of art and utilitarian tools essential to the human experience. 

The New Jersey State Museum, located at 205 West State Street in Trenton, NJ is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am - 4:45 pm. The Museum is closed Mondays and all state holidays. The NJ State Museum has a “suggested” admission fee. For more information, visit www.statemuseum.nj.gov or call the recorded information line at 609-292-6464. On weekends, free parking is available in lots adjacent to and behind the Museum. Please visit www.trentonparking.com for a number of options for parking in downtown Trenton during the week.

Through June 2014 - Morristown, Morris County
"Controversies: The More Things Change..." Exhibit

Currently on display at Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is an exhibition about topics that helped shape our world. "Controversies: The More Things Change..." opens new territory for the Museum, presenting challenging subject matter that may not be suitable for casual dinner conversation. This new exhibit explores topics that helped shape our world through local history events which had national significance: medical experimentation, immigration, and the right to die.

"Controversies: The More Things Change..." inspires people to consider, even reconsider, the ways in which they think about these important, frequently debated issues. The exhibit explores local history events which had national significance: the 1833 Antoine LeBlanc murder trial and public execution; the immigration issues of the late nineteenth century as depicted by political cartoonist Thomas Nast, a Morristown resident, and the 1976 Karen Ann Quinlan "right to die" case.

The museum is making a major departure in exhibit presentations with "Controversies."  Where most exhibits typically provide detailed information about the objects on view, "Controversies" offers limited information about the objects, essentially forcing personal thought, and inspiring discussion, about the areas represented.  Each object and concept in the exhibit represents a part of New Jersey's history - specifically Morris County's history. The ideas expressed through the historical objects in the exhibit, however, are not confined to New Jersey boundaries- the significant concerns raised by the important and controversial issues showcased in this exhibit continue to be debated throughout the United States and the world.

"We wanted to give our visitors a chance to participate in an exhibit in a new way - to have a reaction without being guided by the institution's interpretation of what the objects represent, which labels typically provide," said Executive Director Carrie Fellows. Instead, curator's books of supplementary information will be available within the exhibit, should the visitor want to learn more, drawn from primary sources like news articles, contemporary commentary, and images. Visitors are encouraged to leave comments about the themes presented.

The exhibition was inspired when Fellows and Ryan C. Hyman, the Museum's curator, heard Burt Logan, Executive Director of the Ohio Historical Society speak at a conference about the organization's groundbreaking "Controversy: Pieces You Don't Normally See" exhibit, and its sequel, "Controversy 2: Pieces We Don't Normally Talk About". During his talk, Mr. Logan strongly encouraged other museums to adapt the concept and develop similar exhibits. Inspired by the presentation, Hyman and Fellows began discussing how they might create an exhibit using themes from the Morris area's rich history.

"Controversies: The More Things Change..." will be on view during Museum touring hours through June 2014. Please note the subject matter may not be suitable for all audiences. Visitor discretion advised. Recommended for visitors 12 years of age and older.

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum preserves the history of the Macculloch-Miller families, the Morris area community, and the legacy of its founder W. Parsons Todd through its historic site, collections, exhibits, and educational and cultural programs. The Museum is open for house and exhibit tours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The last tour leaves at 3:00 pm. Adults $8; Seniors & Students $6; Children 6 - 12 $4. Members and children under 5 are free.  For more information, call 973-538-2404 ext. 10 or visit www.maccullochhall.org. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is located at 45 Macculloch Avenue, Morristown, NJ.

Through August, 2014 - Lyndhurst, Bergen County
Let's Play! An Exhibit of Beloved Toys
Children Friendly

From a china-head doll to a Lionel train, several toys are on display at the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum as the Lyndhurst Historical Society recalls fun times with favorite toys. The new exhibit, "Let's Play! An Exhibit of Beloved Toys," is open now through August 2014.

The exhibit is free and open to the public, though a small donation to the Society would be appreciated. The Little Red Schoolhouse Museum is open on the second and fourth Sundays of  every month from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. The Lyndhurst Historical Society was established in 1984 in an effort to preserve the 1893 schoolhouse, located at 400 Riverside Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ. For more information, call 201-804-2513 (leave a message) or visit www.lyndhursthistoricalsociety.org.

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