Thursday, May 10, 2018

Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee invites the public to attend History Month - May 2018

Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee invites the public to attend History Month
May 2018

The volunteers of the Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee (BHPC) will be hosting three events during the month of May 2018. All events are FREE and open to the public.

Comment from Chairperson Beegle: “The Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee is looking forward to these three events in May so that we can interact with the community and speak of Blairstown’s rich history. Each event is a has a special focus and is important in conveying historic information on different topics. A highlight will be the May 12th walking tour at Footbridge Park. We are so excited to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of our landmark Footbridge. It was installed in 1893 by railroad baron and namesake of Blairstown, John I. Blair. The walking tour on May 12th will kick off a yearlong celebration. However, the other two events are just as exciting and important, we hope that the community can attend them all! In addition to the events BHPC will have four new exhibits at our headquarters in the Blairstown Municipal Building. The building is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.”

 Blairstown Footbridge, Station and Lumberyard, circa 1900.

Footbridge Tour – Celebrating 125 Years
Saturday, May 12 at 11:00
Footbridge Park, Blairstown 

John I. Blair funded the installation of the Footbridge as a gift to the people of the community in honor of his own 91st birthday. It replaced a wooden bridge that had stood at the site since soon after the Blairstown Railway came to town in 1877. The wooden bridge eventually deteriorated due to excessive exposure to the elements and became unsafe. John I. Blair saw the need to have it replaced and so a new steel bridge was ordered from Passaic Rolling Mills of Paterson, NJ. As the main artery from the village to the railway station the Footbridge was once a very important structure to aide pedestrians in traveling from the north side of town to the train station. As time passed and train travel via the New York, Susquehanna and Western was no longer needed for passenger travel, the bridge fell out of use. It was not forgotten though and in 1976 the Footbridge became the focal point of the revitalization of the area now known as Footbridge Park. Chairperson Beegle will lead a walking tour and speak regarding the history of the Footbridge. Members of the North Warren Regional Marching Band will be present to perform.  Models and images pertaining to the Footbridge history will be on exhibit. BHPC encourages attendees to please wear sturdy footwear.  Park in the parking lot at Footbridge Park. The tour will depart from the park side entrance of the Footbridge.  The event is rain or shine, however please check the BHPC Facebook page in case of severe weather.


Heritage Open House
Wednesday, May 16 from 3:00 to 7:00
6:00 Chiming Ceremony
Blairstown Municipal Building, 106 Route 94, Blairstown, NJ 07825

Blairstown's rich heritage will be on display from the archives of the Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee. Since BHPC’s founding in 2001 they have been fortunate to have been the recipients of many important donations of Blairstown memorabilia and artifacts. BHPC is thankful to have been entrusted as the stewards of these artifacts and the provenance that is connected with them. These collections were donated to the township and are the property of the people of Blairstown. BHPC is happy to have the items on display for the public to see during this Heritage Open House. The artifacts can also be viewed throughout the year in our lobby displays and our traveling exhibits.  Our latest donations will be announced.

BHPC is thrilled to have several members of the Evening Start Quilt Guild (ESQG) on hand to evaluate BHPC donations of antique quilts and present a demonstration on the art of quilt making. The ladies and gentlemen of ESQG are a tremendous source of information, so please bring your questions!

6:00 Clock Chiming Ceremony – One of BHPC’s most treasured donations are the heirlooms of the Adams - Smith - Kishpaugh - Hill - Reichert Family. This collection includes an 18th century grandfather clock, with workings made by the founder of Bixler's Jeweler - Christian Bixler III. At 6:00 pm BHPC will have a special ceremony to hear the chime of this vintage grandfather clock, a sound that was first heard over 200 years ago!


Veterans’ Tribute and Tour
Saturday, May 26th at 1:00 and 3:00
Cedar Ridge Cemetery, 117 NJ-94, Blairstown, NJ 07825
Across from Tractor Supply Company, park along Adams Road. 
Please wear sturdy footwear. There is hilly terrain. 

A tour and tribute to honor Blairstown’s Veterans who are interred at Cedar Ridge Cemetery. There are over three hundred Veterans who are buried here. As BHPC leads the tour of the cemetery they will stop at the graves of Veterans from each war starting with the Civil War. BHPC members will tell of the Veterans’ service, sacrifice and special acknowledgements. One Veteran who will be honored is Civil War survivor Hiram France, who fought in many battles including the Peninsular Campaign, Bull Run, and at South Mountain, Maryland where he lost his right arm due to sharpshooter’s gun. He returned to Blairstown and carried on work for many years before passing away at Hardwick Center on July 1, 1918. BHPC will also honor Frank R. Givens (WWI) and Robert A. Belet (WWII) the first two residents of Blairstown to die during the wars in which they served. It will be the 100th anniversary since Frank R. Givens died during WWI on September 29, 1918.

Members of the North Warren Regional Marching Band will be present to perform. Images pertaining to the Veterans will be presented. BHPC encourages attendees to please wear sturdy footwear. The tour will depart from the west entrance to the cemetery, closest to Tractor Supply Company. The event is rain or shine, however please check the BHPC Facebook page in case of severe weather.


Blairstown Municipal Building Exhibits
The public is invited to see the BHPC’s four new exhibits at their headquarters in the Blairstown Municipal Building, 106 Route 94, Blairstown, 07825.  These exhibits will be on display Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm through September 30th, 2018.

The Footbridge – Celebrating 125 Years – A synopsis of the Footbridge’s history including floods, collapse and transition to Footbridge Park.  The exhibit will include our most recent donation of a model of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad Station. Donated by Robert Mohowski and crafted by Fred Wadleigh.
The First National Bank Robbery – Items on loan from the collection of Kenneth Bertholf
Honoring our Veterans: Givens & Belet – Items on loan from the collection of Frederick W. Heilich, nephew of Robert A. Belet and also on loan from the collection of Mary Belet, sister-in-law of Robert A. Belet.
Riechert - Hill Collection – A treasure trove of history from one of our earliest farming families. Family heirlooms of the Kishpaugh family donated to the BHPC by the Riechert descendants will be on display.

The Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee
About the Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee
The Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee (BHPC) is a sub-committee of the Blairstown Township Committee. BHPC was established in 2001 thanks to the efforts of the two of Blairstown’s history advocates; the late Mayor of Blairstown, Anita Ardia, and Blairstown Historian, the late Helen Hall. BHPC members are volunteers and are appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the Township Committee. The BHPC performs advisory, educational, and informational functions that will promote historic preservation in the municipality. BHPC archives are housed and exhibited at the Blairstown Municipal Building, 106 Route 94, Blairstown, NJ 07825.

Through BHPC's FREE events, lectures, walking tours, displays, and traveling exhibits, they create awareness of local history with the community, schools, and civic organizations. BHPC also collaborates and shares information with neighboring historic societies and commissions in Warren County.

Accomplishments that have been achieved by the Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee over the last seventeen years include: the inclusion of the village of Blairstown on the State and National Registry of Historic Places (includes 177 structures in the historic district); grounds and headstone restoration at the Gravel Hill Cemetery (adjacent to Blair Academy and Main Street); and the establishment of informational plaques placed on the landmark buildings of Blairstown's historic Main Street.


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