Thursday, January 26, 2017

NJ Weekend Historical Happenings: 1/28/17 - 1/29/17

 New Jersey Weekend Historical Happenings
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Saturday, January 28 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Annual Ice Harvest
Children Friendly Event

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

Saturday, January 28 - Montague Township, Sussex County
Winter Festival
Family Friendly Event

Bring the whole family for a day of winter fun at High Point State Park. Activities will include winter-themed crafts, a story corner, guided winter hike, sing-along, hot cocoa and cookies by the fire, winter weather program, sled dogs, curling, snowshoeing, and ice-fishing demonstrations (conditions permitting). Please park in the gravel lot and walk up to the Interpretive Center.
Winter Festival Schedule 
12:00 - 3:00 pm: Cookies and Cocoa by the Fire, Ice Fishing/Ice Curling Demonstrations, Snowshoeing, Sled Dogs, and Bird Feeder/Winter Crafts
12:30 pm: Guided Hike
1:30 pm: Winter Weather Discussion (tentative)
2:15 pm: Story Time
2:30 pm: Sing-Along with Joe Rocco

Snow Date: Sunday, January 29, 2017. These programs will be held at the High Point State Park Interpretive Center and Lake Marcia. This event is FREE but a donation of $5 or more per family appreciated. For more information, visit

Saturday, January 28 - Trenton, Mercer County
Recent Projects in Trenton: Preserving and Re-Creating Our Urban Fabric

Join the William Trent House for an illustrated presentation titled, "Recent Projects in Trenton: Preserving and Re-Creating Our Urban Fabric," by John D. S. Hatch, FAIA, LEED AP, which will depict an overview of changes that have occurred to Trenton's urban form over the last 80 years. Hatch will then talk about recent projects that seek to re-knit the city and its neighborhoods together.

About the Presenter: In his more than 25 years with Clarke Caton Hintz, John Hatch has managed the design of an array of architecturally significant buildings. These include the restoration of Morven, the former governor's mansion in Princeton, the Roebling Complex Re-development, and the restoration of the Hunterdon County Courthouse. In addition to his historic work, he has managed a large number of civic projects and studies, and a wide variety of other projects, including a large number of College and University projects, several senior citizen housing projects, the Somerset Ballpark, and commercial and government projects. All of his projects address issues of context, civic life and sustainability. In addition to his design work, John has written and lectured about such topics as historic preservation, sustainability and urban redevelopment.

Admission is $10 non-members and $8 members. Complimentary light refreshments will be served and there will be free tours of the Trent House Museum. Ample free parking. The Trent House Museum is located at 15 Market Street in Trenton, NJ adjacent to the Hughes Justice Complex. For more information, call 609-989-0087 or visit

Sunday, January 29 - Piscataway, Middlesex County
A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone

Many people are familiar with Edison's "invention factory" in Menlo Park, where he patented the phonograph, the light bulb, and many more innovations. Yet so many other ideas have been conceived in the Garden State: New Jerseyans brought sound and music to movies and, yes, built the very first drive-in theater! The first cultivated blueberry, ice cream cones and M&M's® are also Jersey iconic aspects of American life, like Bubble Wrap®, the boardwalk, the Band-Aid®, and even professional baseball got started here. And just think what life would be like without the plastic, air-conditioning, vacuum cleaner, and the many significant advances in medicine and surgery -all developed here!

On Sunday at the Metlar Bodine House Museum, join author Linda Barth as she explores groundbreaking, useful, fun, and even silly inventions and their New Jersey roots.  After the program, A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone (plus her other published works) will be available for purchase, and Ms. Barth will be on hand for a book signing.

In case of inclement weather, a snow date of February 12, 2017 will be scheduled. The program will run from 2:00 - 5:00 pm. Admission is $12 per person. Limited seating - reservations required by Friday, January 27. The Metlar Bodine House Museum is located at 1281 River Road (museum parking and entrance via Hillcrest Drive), Piscataway, NJ. For more information and to register, call 732-463-8363, e-mail, or visit

Sunday, January 29 - Princeton, Mercer County
Historic Princeton Walking Tour
Children Friendly Tour

Enjoy a 1.9 mile, two-hour walk around downtown Princeton and the University campus as you learn about historic sites in the area, including Bainbridge House, Nassau Hall, the University Chapel, and Palmer Square. The early history of Princeton, the founding of the University, and the American Revolution are just some of the stories from Princeton’s history that you will learn on your tour.

Admission: $7 per adult; $4 children ages 6 to 12; free for children age 5 and under. Tours begin in front of the Bainbridge House, 158 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ. Tour begins at 2:00 pm and ends at 4:00 pm. Walk up ticket sales are cash only; guides cannot provide change. Space is limited. For more information and to reserve tickets, call 609-921-6748 or visit

Sunday, January 29 - River Edge, Bergen County
Brigit’s Day, Candlemas, and Ladies Ramble Quilt Exhibit
Children Friendly Event

On Sunday, the Bergen County Historical Society celebrates Brigit’s Day and Candlemas at Historic New Bridge Landing. Welcome the lengthening days and learn more about the back-to-back mid-winter feasts. There will also be elections from BCHS quilt collection on exhibit throughout the historic site, including the George and Martha Washington American Centennial quilt, a crazy quilt, signature quilt, and log cabin quilt.

Quilts are considered both a creative and utilitarian household craft. The quilt exhibit celebrates the contributions of women artists in Bergen County. Historian Todd Braisted will lead a candlemaking demonstration in the out-Kitchen, located behind the tavern.

Children’s & adult take-away activities include sewing exercise on heart cards / pattern cards and making Brigit's Crosses.

A quilter from the Quilts of Valor Foundation will be working on a quilt in the Campbell-Christie House. A Quilt of Valor would say unequivocally, "Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor" in serving our nation in combat." The organization began in 2003. Local quilt guilds through the country participate annually in Quilts of Valor as part of their personal mission of giving back to the community. QOV are awarded throughout all branches of the military.

Brigit’s Day and Candlemas come midway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, when snowdrops, the first flower of spring, make their appearance, signaling nature’s awakening from winter’s sleep. Candlemas is named for the blessing of candles, used to protect homes and for procession through farm field and orchard. As evidenced by Groundhog’s Day, weather prognostication was commonly practiced in anticipation of spring sowing. Good weather at Candlemas is taken to indicate severe winter weather later. Hence, the saying, “If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year. Another old English proverb proclaimed, “If Candlemas be fair and bright, winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, winter will not come again.” Rush crosses, woven for Brigid’s Day, were believed to protect house and livestock from adversity.

All three Jersey-Dutch Houses will be open for tours, with refreshments available in the Campbell-Christie Tavern. Admission: $10 adult, $7 children, BCHS members free. Historic New Bridge Landing is located at 1201-1209 Main Street, River Edge, NJ. For more information, call 201-343-9492 or visit

Sunday, January 29 - Pennington, Mercer County
Additions and Alterations to Historic Homes and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation

On Sunday at 3:00 pm, Eric Holtermann, AIA, Principal at HMR Architects in Princeton, NJ will present a program called,  "Additions and Alterations to Historic Homes and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation" at the Pennington Public Library, 30 N Main Street, Pennington, NJ. The character of a historic residential neighborhood can be identified by the scale, materials, and detail of the existing buildings as they have changed over time. With care, modern additions and alterations can be designed to respect the existing historic character, while accommodating modern requirements. The Secretary of the Interior's "Standards for Rehabilitation," administered by the National Park Service, establishes guidelines for architectural changes to historic buildings. This program will look at historic patterns of residential additions, and will include images of additions which meet the Standards, as well as some that do not. This program is co-sponsored by the Hopewell Valley Historical Society. For more information, visit

Through January 29, 2017 - Morristown, Morris County
Race to the Finish: Newspaper Coverage of Presidential Elections, 1789-2008 Exhibit

In recognition of the 2016 presidential election, the Morris County Historical Society offers the thought-provoking Race to the Finish: Newspaper Coverage of Presidential Elections, 1789-2008 through January 29, 2017 at Acorn Hall in Morristown, NJ.

Featured in the exhibit are rare, original, historic presidential newspapers from the personal collection of local historian, author, and MCHS Board of Trustees member Peter J. Tamburro, Jr. Newspaper headlines and articles illustrate the campaign promises, electoral obstacles, and political gaffes of more than 20 U.S. presidents and their rivals. See early newspaper coverage of George Washington's election through Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, and an authentic copy of the 1948 "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline of the Chicago Daily Tribune.

Complementing the newspapers are period clothing such as an 1876 dress worn to an inauguration party for President Rutherford B. Hayes, political paraphernalia including campaign buttons for Adlai Stevenson and Franklin Roosevelt, and a 1917 telegram sent by President Woodrow Wilson and other cultural artifacts - all from the extensive collections of the MCHS. The exhibit closes on January 29, 2017.

The Morris County Historical Society, founded in 1946, is a member-supported, 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Its headquarters, Acorn Hall, is an Italianate Villa mansion open to the public on Wednesdays and Thursdays (11:00 am - 4:00 pm) and Sundays (1:00 - 4:00 pm). Acorn Hall is located at 68 Morris Avenue, Morristown, NJ. For more information, call 973-267-3465 or visit

Through Sunday, February 5 - Morristown, Morris County
Fashion for the Far East: Collecting Chinoiserie at Macculloch Hall

Like many collectors at the time, W. Parsons Todd (1877 - 1976) delighted in objects made in China and Japan and those created in Europe inspired by Asian design during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This exhibition traces the popularity among early twentieth century collectors for decorative objects made in or inspired by the East through a selection of carpets and porcelain in the Museum's collection. Objects on display will include the fine antique carpets woven in China, the Rose Medallion china made in China for export to the West, a pair of monumental Satsuma Vases urns made in Japan, and a pair of monumental vases created in an Asian style in Dresden, Germany.

Admission is $8, Adults; $6, Seniors and Students; $4, Children 6-12; and free for Members and children under 5. Macullouch Hall is located at 45 MacCulloch Avenue, Morristown, NJ. For more information, call 973-538-2404 or visit

Through March 12, 2017- Trenton, Mercer County
Furniture as Art at Ellarslie, the Trenton City Museum

The Trenton City Museum hosts "Furniture as Art," four exhibits-in-one that highlight the items that bring comfort and beauty to our lives - furniture. How many of us take our daily surroundings for granted? This exhibit helps us to see the everyday with fresh eyes.

On the museum's second floor, Furniture from the Permanent Collection features furniture from the collection of the Trenton Museum Society - antique furniture made in and associated with Trenton. Many of these reminders of Trenton's past manufacturing heyday have never before been seen by the public. Rustic Regional Windsor Chairs includes a collection of early Windsor chairs loaned by private collectors. According to TMS trustee and curator of the exhibit David Bosted, "The first American Windsor chair is believed to have been made here in the Delaware Valley in 1730. About a dozen pre-1850 Windsor Chairs will be on view along with a half-dozen colonial-revival reproductions, to illustrate the various forms and artistic features of rustic regional Windsor chairs."

On Sunday, February 26, 2017, Robert Whitley talks about furniture restoration during his 50+ year career. 

The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie is located in the middle of the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Cadwalader Park, with an entrance on Parkside Avenue, in Trenton, New Jersey. There is no fee for admission although donations are accepted. There is abundant free parking including handicap accessible parking.  The museum is handicapped accessible. 
For more information, call 609-989-3632 or visit

Through Sunday, April 9 - Cape May, Cape May County
Moore History: The Story of William J. Moore of Cape May

The Center for Community Arts (CCA) once again presents an exhibit in association with the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) that highlights and illuminates African-American life and history in Cape May and the surrounding region. This year's exhibit, in the Carroll Gallery of the Emlen Physick Estate, is entitled "Moore History: The Life and Works of William J. Moore."

The CCA History Committee has selected important original documents, objects, and photographs of Mr. Moore's long and honored life. William J. Moore was principal of the segregated West Cape May Elementary Annex school for 52 years, inspiring many of his students to go on to college and careers. He served as the executive of Cape May Golf Club and then the pro at Cape May Tennis Club, which was named in his honor at his 100th birthday. He raised nine children with his wife, Susie (Smothers) Moore, and founded the William J. Moore Scholarship Fund.

Many of his students and friends remember him to this day. Their testimonies and recollections accompany Mr. Moore's own words and those of his children. The exhibit will be open to the public on Saturday, January 14 with an official opening ceremony on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 16 at 4:00 pm at the Carroll Gallery in the Carriage House at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street. The exhibit opening is free and open to the public; light refreshments will be served.

The exhibit is open to the public as follows: Saturdays, January 14 - February 4, 12:00 noon - 3:00 pm; Saturday, February 18, 11:00 am - 3:30 pm, Sunday, Feb. 19, 11:00 am - 2:30 pm, Monday, February 20, 1:00 - 3:00 pm, Saturday, February 25, 12:00 noon - 3:00 pm, Saturday, March 4, 11:00 am - 2:30 pm, Saturday, March 11, 11:00 am - 2:30 pm. The exhibit is open daily, March 18 - April 19. Hours vary.

The Emlen Physick Estate is located at 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Admission is free. Sponsored by the Center for Community Arts (CCA) in association with the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For information on the exhibit, call 609-884-7525 or see For gallery hours call 609-884-5404 or visit

Through Friday, April 28, 2017 - Trenton, Mercer County
Toy World Exhibit
Children Friendly

Bring the whole family to enjoy this fun new exhibition spotlighting the little-known history of toy manufacturing in New Jersey. Step back to another era and enjoy a bit of nostalgia with more than 100 toys made in New Jersey between 1880 and the late 1960s, during New Jersey's golden era of manufacturing. See how world events helped shape the toys produced here, from tin toys, porcelain dolls, and model trains, through the development of plastics, which ushered in little green army men, Colorforms, Suzy Homemaker ovens and more. Innovations such as the first "talking" doll, created by Thomas Edison, will also be featured.

The exhibition features a play area for children and a spot to share your favorite childhood toy memories. Randomly selected memories will be featured on the Museum's Facebook page throughout the exhibition. "Toy World" will be on view from through April 28, 2017. 

“Toy World” will be on view in the Riverside Gallery on the New Jersey State Museum's second floor. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 am to 4:45 pm and closed on all State holidays. The Museum is located at 205 W State St, Trenton, NJ. For more information, visit

Through Sunday, May 21, 2017 - Princeton, Mercer County
Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey

Like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan before him, Bruce Springsteen is a pillar of American music. Springsteen has turned his guitar into an instrument of change, using it to tap into the American psyche and connect with the blue-collar man and woman through his melodies and lyrics. From his humble beginnings of rehearsing in New Jersey garages to selling out arenas around the world, Springsteen's career has spanned decades and crossed genres-and has never wavered from its upward trajectory.

This fall, Morven Museum & Garden presents Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey. Traveling from the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, this exhibition features forty photographs of the rock legend and video interviews with five of the six noted photographers: Danny Clinch, Ed Gallucci, Eric Meola, Barry Schneier, Pamela Springsteen, and Frank Stefanko. Together they revisit Springsteen's career as a frontman and songwriter, capturing his charisma and off-stage vulnerability.

The exhibition is on view from November 18, 2016 through May 21, 2017 at Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ. Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. For more information, call 609-924-8144 or visit

Through June 2017 - Ocean Township, Monmouth County
Presidents at the Monmouth County Shore Exhibit

One hundred years ago this September, 25,000 people gathered on the grounds of what is today Monmouth University—then a private estate called Shadow Lawn—to see Woodrow Wilson officially accept the nomination of the Democratic Party for a second Presidential run. Wilson was following a popular tradition among American Presidents to retreat to our slice of the Jersey Shore to escape the heat and hubbub of Washington. At the Eden Woolley House, this major exhibit tells the wide-ranging stories of eleven Presidents who spent time here, at the Monmouth County shore.

Mrs. Lincoln got the ball rolling
There’s a case to be made that it all started with Mary Todd Lincoln. Mrs. Lincoln travelled to Long Branch in the summer of 1861, probably at the invitation of William Newell, family friend and then supervisor of the life-saving services in New Jersey. Long Branch was already a popular resort, and national coverage of the First Lady’s visit added immeasurably to its fame and appeal.

That fame and appeal continued to draw the wealthy and influential—including the seven presidents who vacationed in resort city, starting with Ulysses Grant.

Seven Presidents in Long Branch
In 1870, a group of wealthy businessmen who summered in the Elberon section of Long Branch presented President Grant with an oceanfront cottage where he vacationed for the next 15 years. When Grant died in 1885, city officials feared the resort might lose its cachet. They needn’t have worried. Six of the next ten Presidents--Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Harrison, McKinley, and Wilson--chose to spend time in Long Branch.

The most tragic of these Presidential visits was James Garfield’s last. Mrs. Garfield was in Long Branch recuperating from illness, when, on July 2, 1881, Garfield was shot by an assassin in the Washington train station. He was taken to the White House, where his condition worsened. In hope the sea air might help, Garfield was taken to Elberon. Famously, locals worked through the night to build the spur to carry the President’s railroad car from Elberon Station to the ocean side cottage. He died there 12 days later, September 19.

Beyond Long Branch
Long Branch was not the only Monmouth County destination of Presidents. Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and Richard Nixon visited our area, if only, in some cases, for a political rally. And then, of course, there’s Warren Harding, whose local connection was a bit less public and a good deal more scandalous. Join us June 26 to learn the full story. The new exhibit is on view through June 2017.

The Township of Ocean Historical Museum offers exhibits on the history of coastal Monmouth County and a full calendar of events. The Museum also houses a library and archive of local history. It is open, free of charge, 1:00 - 4:00 pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, 7:00 - 9:00 pm Thursday evenings, and 1:00 - 4:00 pm the first and second Sundays of each month. The Township of Ocean Historical Museum is located at 703 Deal Road, Ocean, NJ. For more information, visit

Sundays through June 30, 2017 - Piscataway, Middlesex County
A Revolutionary Legacy: the Cornelius Low House 275 Exhibit

The newest exhibit to open at the Middlesex County Museum exhibit delves into the history of the Low family and the role they played in the shaping of the United States. A Revolutionary Legacy: the Cornelius Low House 275 exhibit is housed inside the County’s Historic Cornelius Low House/Middlesex County Museum. 

This seven-room exhibit contains artifacts that date to the 1700s and includes handcrafted furniture from New Brunswick, paintings by artist Micah Williams, a document signed by Cornelius Low and his wife Johanna, portrait miniatures of several Low family members, and a chair that George Washington used on a visit to the New Brunswick area. These items are on loan from the DAR Jersey Blue Chapter Buccleuch Mansion, the Suffolk County Historical Society and private collections.

The Cornelius Low House/Middlesex County Museum is open on Sundays from 1:00 - 4:00 pm and is located at 1225 River Road, Piscataway, NJ. For more information, call 732-745-4177 or visit

Last Sunday of the month through Fall 2017 - Woodbury, Gloucester County
White Lace and Promises: Two Centuries of Weddings Exhibit

White Lace and Promises: Two Centuries of Weddings, is the Gloucester County Historical Society Museum's most comprehensive wedding exhibit to date! This gorgeous exhibit features over 50 wedding gowns from the museum’s collection, representing the time period from the 1810’s through most of the 20th century. From the hooped dresses and bustles of the 19th century, to the many variations of gowns during the 20th century, nearly every popular wedding gown style is represented. Also showcased are bridal accessories including headpieces, veils, shoes, fans, lingerie, and jewelry. Documentation such as invitations and wedding certificates, along with beautiful photographs from many of these weddings, are also on display. This extensive exhibit will be up until fall of 2017 – do not miss it!

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. If interested in scheduling a private tour during non-public hours to see this exhibit, this may be organized for you and/or your group with advance. 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

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


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