Sunday, July 1, 2018

4th of July NJ Historical Happenings: 7/4/18

 New Jersey Weekend Historical Happenings
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Wednesday, July 4- Bedminster, Somerset County
Field of Honor® in Bedminster's River Road Park

The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum are hosting the 3rd annual Field of Honor® at River Road Park in Bedminster to celebrate our great nation, pay tribute to the service men and women who have preserved our freedom, and honor loved ones.

Over 200 American flags will be available for dedication and displayed in the North Field of River Road Park in Bedminster beginning Sunday, July 1 through Wednesday, July 11.

The Jacobus Vanderveer House is located at 3055 River Road (in Bedminster’s River Road Park), Bedminster, NJ. For more information, visit

Wednesday, July 4 - Morristown, Morris County
Revolutionary Times 2018
Children Friendly Events

For the sixth year in a row, visitors to, and residents of, Morris County will have the opportunity to enjoy an authentically, patriotic 4th of July the way the Founding Fathers might have imagined it.

* 9:30 am - 5:00 pm: Morristown National Historical Park's Washington's Headquarters is OPEN all day. Address: 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ.
* 10:00 am: The Hanover Township Landmark Commission will offer a free tour of its 1718 Burying Yard located off of Route 10 East in Whippany. This one-hour tour will highlight people who first settled Morris County and are buried in the cemetery. Meet at the J&R Cigar parking lot at 301 Route 10 East, Whippany. Please call 973-631-5151 to register.
* 11:30 am: March from Ford Mansion to the Morristown Green
* 12:00 noon: Annual Reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Morristown Green featuring costumed reenactors. Audience participation and a musical sing-a-long with Gordon Thomas Ward. Musket salute. In the event of rain, the event will move indoors to the Methodist Church of Morristown, 50 Park Place, Morristown, NJ.
* 1:00 pm: Following the reading there will be free guided tours of the Presbyterian Church of Morristown's church and Colonial-era graveyard, which is the burial place of over 140 Revolutionary War soldiers.  The cemetery is located behind the Church at 57 East Park Place, Morristown, NJ.

For more information, contact the Morris County Tourism Bureau at or call 973-631-5151.

Wednesday, July 4 - Morristown, Morris County
Revolutionary Era Powder Mill Walking Tours

On Wednesday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, the Morris County Historical Society will offer an interpretive walking tour to the archaeological site of a Revolutionary era Powder Mill located just behind Acorn Hall, along the Whippany River. The guided walking tours follow Patriots’ Path to where the mill once stood, giving an opportunity to learn more about this important archaeological resource and its history. Fred and Isabel Bartenstein dutifully researched the history of Jacob Ford Jr.’s plight for and construction of the mill with the N.J. Legislature and Edward Lenik conducted the archaeological investigations that found artifacts and structural evidence of at least one building. Together, their findings were released in New Jersey’s Revolutionary War Powder Mill, available in the Gallery Gift Shop. The Morris County Historical Society is pleased to offer this program as part of Revolutionary Times 2018, sponsored by the Morris County Tourism Bureau and the Morristown National Historical Park. Admission to the hike is free.

For a guided tour of Acorn Hall and to see the current exhibit “1917: World War, Women's Rights, and Weaponry Sciences" and the new, limited-engagement exhibit, "Sabers, Swords, Guns, and Glory: Militaria in Morris County,” there is a separate admission of $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $3 for students. Free for children under age 12 and MCHS members. To see the exhibit, only, is one half of the price of a regular admission. Acorn Hall is located at 68 Morris Avenue, Morristown, NJ. For more information, call 973-267-3465 or visit

Wednesday, July 4 - Maywood, Bergen County
Historic Train Station Open House
Children Friendly

Celebrate this Independence Day with a parade and a Maywood Station Museum open house! After receiving numerous requests the past several years to open the Museum on July 4th, the Maywood Station Museum, located at 271 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ will be open from 10:00 am - 12:00 noon.

At 9:00 am, Maywood's Annual July 4th Parade will start just south across the railroad tracks and the parade route proceeds past the station north along Maywood Avenue to Memorial Park.

The museum is home to a wide variety of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits featuring railroad and local history. Admission is free but free-will donations are welcome.

The Maywood Station Historical Committee preserved the 1872 New York, Susquehanna & Western (NYS&W) railroad station in Maywood and operates it as a museum with a mission to preserve the railroad and cultural heritage of Maywood through restoration and preservation, historical awareness, archiving and interpretation, museum open houses, meetings and special events. For more information visit

Wednesday, July 4 - Cape May, Cape May County
Dinner and Fireworks

Here's an exclusive chance to see the area's Independence Day fireworks from the ideal vantage point: atop the Cape May Lighthouse. Participants will be transported by trolley from the Washington Street Mall Information Booth to the Red Store in Cape May Point for a delicious, seasonal, five-course dinner prepared by Chef Lucas Manteca. After dinner, hop back on board the trolley for a short ride to Cape May Lighthouse, where you will climb to the top to watch the fireworks from the watch gallery. Reservations necessary - limited to 12 people. Event starts at 6:15 pm. Tickets $100. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit


Wednesday, July 4 - Perth Amboy, Middlesex County
Independence Day at the Proprietary House
Family Friendly Event

Wednesday, July 4 - Shrewsbury, Monmouth County
Annual July 4th Celebration at Allen House at Allen House
Family Friendly Event

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Join the Monmouth County Historical Association for a historic celebration in honor of Independence Day with a public reading of the Declaration of Independence on Tuesday, at Allen House, 400 Shrewsbury Avenue, Shrewsbury, NJ starting at 10:00 am. Association President Linda Bricker will act as master of ceremonies. Mayor Donald W. Burden of Shrewsbury and Reverend Lisa Mitchell from Christ Church will also join in the festivities.

TMuch like the day the Colonists first gathered to hear these stirring words, the bells at Christ Church will ring in honor of the signing. Attendees will also have the opportunity to add their own signature to an oversized replica of the Declaration. Rumson Boy Scouts, along with their Troop Leader, will serve as color guard during the Pledge of Allegiance. Merging the 21st century with the 18th, a life-size image of Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and primary author of the Declaration, will be ready for selfies and group photographs.

Costumed interpreters will welcome guests and the Allen House will remain open for tours and visitors until 12:00 noon. Cookies and water will be served following the ceremony. Attendees are welcome to bring lawn chairs. Parking is available in the Shrewsbury municipal parking lot across the street from the Allen House. This event is free.

Allen House was initially built circa 1710 as a second residence for a wealthy merchant, his wife and eight children. By 1754, Josiah Halstead had purchased the property and transformed the home into the Blue Ball Tavern, "the most noted tavern in Shrewsbury." Taverns served as community centers in the 18th century as well as places to drink and eat. Today, the house is furnished to reflect its early use as a tavern. For more information, call 732-462-1466 or visit


Wednesday, July 4 - Ringwood, Passaic County
July 4th Celebration
Family Friendly Event

The staff at Ringwood Manor is thrilled to once again announce the details for the annual Declaration of Independence celebration! Tuesday marks the event's 18th year, having become an exciting and educational tradition for many families in the northern New Jersey area. The highlight of the event is a dramatic delivery and reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Manor's porch along with colonial crafters, activities, and demonstrations. The front lawn of the Manor is transformed into a colonial town square with Revolutionary War reenactors from New Jersey Militia- Heard's Brigade, the 35th Royal Sussex Regiment, Outwater's Militia, the Friends of Long Pond Ironworks, Oakland Historical Society, the Passaic County Sheriff Mounted Patrol Unit, and individual volunteers. All help to celebrate the 242nd  anniversary of American independence and bringing the historic experience to life.

Following its creation, news of the Declaration spread to the colonists through public readings, which took place in large centralized spaces such as town squares, churches, and taverns. The Declaration was formally adopted on July 4th, 1776. The first public readings of the document took place four days after its creation in front of large crowds in Philadelphia, PA, Trenton, NJ, and Easton, PA. A day later, on July 9th, 1776, it was read aloud to Washington's Continental troops in New York City. Readings of the document continued throughout the colonies during the months of July and August of 1776, with readings taking place from Watertown, MA and Portsmouth, NH to Halifax, NC and Savannah, GA. The celebration at Ringwood Manor attempts to recreate the same excitement felt by colonists when they first heard those famous words 242 years ago.

The public is encouraged to arrive early to avoid traffic and potentially missing the event. You can start the day by visiting 30 of the 51-rooms in historic Ringwood Manor, which will be open to the public in a self-guided format between 10:00 am - 1:30 pm. The Manor will close at that point to allow the ceremony and celebration to proceed as scheduled. The fee to enter Ringwood Manor is $3 for adults, $1 for children ages 6-12, with children 5 and under free.

The festivities will begin in front of Ringwood Manor at 1:00 pm, when colonial era toys and games will be available for visitors to play with. Visitors young and old can try to sign their "John Hancock" on a copy of the Declaration using a traditional quill pen and ink. Colonial crafters, demonstrations, and displays will turn the front lawn of Ringwood Manor into an 18th century town square. An exhibit on Ringwood's own Surveyor General Robert Erskine and his role in the American Revolution will also be on display.

The ceremony itself will begin at 2:00 pm with a short introduction about the history of the event, noting that the afternoon recreates events that happened in the area spanning a three-year period, from 1775 to 1777.  A lively debate among members of the crowd will break out, involving British soldiers, area Loyalists, and the supporters of the cause for independence, the colonial rebels. After the debate concludes, the local militia unit will form and muster up as it did original in 1775. Soon after, the Declaration will be delivered to the front steps of Ringwood Manor by a horse and rider. The document will then be read to the crowd by local reenactor, Larry Stephan, at 2:30 pm. Visitors are encouraged to listen closely and cheer and jeer during the reading. Following the reading, the British "Grand Union" flag will be replaced with the first version of the new country's flag, known as the "Hopkinson" flag. It was designed in 1777 by Francis Hopkinson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence representing New Jersey. After the flag is raised, the militia will perform a ceremonial musket volley. The bell atop Ringwood Manor will then be rung thirteen times, concluding the ceremony.

But the fun does not stop there! The public is encouraged to stay after the ceremony as the celebration continues, with children able to join the Continental Army and learn military drills with the reenactors. The North River Historical Dancers will perform 18th century dances in the back gardens with members of the public who wish to join in!  Along with the activities, the Georgian Kitchen will be back again, selling delicious 18th century baked goods to the crowd. New to the event this year is Rich Wagoner, who will be demonstrating colonial beer brewing. All are welcome to join the fun!

There is no charge for the Independence Day celebration, there is, however, a parking fee of $5 per car for in-state residents and $7 per car for out-of-state residents to enter Ringwood State Park. The event will take place rain or shine. Ringwood Manor is located at 1304 Sloatsburg Road, Ringwood, NJ, within Ringwood State Park.

Independence Day at Ringwood Manor is sponsored by the North Jersey Highlands Historical Society and the Ringwood State Park staff. For information, call 973-962-7031 ext. 0 or visit


Wednesday, July 4- Piscataway, Middlesex County
Guided Tours of the Metlar-Bodine House Museum

Peter Bodine, merchant and major developer, built his one room house with sleeping loft and root cellar in 1728. It is the eldest of two buildings remaining from Raritan Landing, one of the nation’s first river port communities, settled in 1666.

Located in one of the nation’s busiest transportation corridors, the National and State Registered Historic Site and its remarkable collection of Central NJ artifacts are interpreted with the theme From Indian Trail to Interstate - explaining how modes of travel (the Raritan River, the Minisink Trail, the “Great Road Up Raritan,” the D&R Canal, trolley routes, area highways) have impacted the social and economic growth of Piscataway.

The most compelling of these impacts happened in July 1778. After the Battle of Monmouth, George Washington and 11,000 patriots rested along the Raritan on their way to New York. Headquartered at Ross Hall in Piscataway, Washington ordered what may be considered the first organized national expression of July 4th as Independence Day – a national tradition continued today! It’s New Jersey's "best kept secret!"

Guided tours are on the quarter hour. Admission is free. The Dutch Door Gift Shop will be open. The museum is handicap accessible. Handicap parking is located in the lower parking lot. All parking is free. The Metlar-Bodine House Museum is located at 1281 River Road, Piscataway, NJ. For more information call 732-463-8363 or visit

Wednesday, July 4 - Caldwell, Essex County
Ice Cream Social
Family Friendly Event

Come one, come all to the Ice Cream Social at the Grover Cleveland Birthplace in historic Caldwell, New Jersey for a fun-filled celebration with free ice cream, good food, a street magician, Fideaux Flea Circus, free lemonade, popcorn, a DJ, house tours, and the traveling trunks displays. Even free balloons and a balloon lady to make animals for the kids. The opening ceremony and the reading of the Declaration of Independence begin at 1:00 pm. Bring chairs and blankets and enjoy being outdoors from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Sponsored by the Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association. Ice cream is provided by Gelotti's Ice Cream; food is available from the Cloverleaf Tavern. Rain site, Saint Aloysius gym next door.

For bakers, there is a cookie bakeoff with prizes. This year's cookie is the chocolate cookie--soft, hard or dropped but not brownies. The rules are simple - each entry must be made using a recipe from the 19th century using ingredients available in that period and must be accompanied by two copies of the recipe. The recipes are being gathered and will be published with the past winners recipes in a special Grover Cleveland Cookie Book. Two dozen cookies are necessary for the judges to sample. Cookies and entry forms must be presented before 1:30 on July 4th at the Birthplace. Forms can be found at the Grover Cleveland Birthplace website or at the Birthplace during open hours.

The Grover Cleveland Birthplace is located at 207 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ. Free parking is in the adjoining Saint Aloysius Church lot. While there are no admission charges and many events are free, donations are accepted. For more information, call 973-226-0001 or visit

Wednesday, July 4 - Haddonfield, Camden County
Independence Day Celebration
Children Friendly Event

On July 4th, before Haddonfield's annual parade on Kings Highway, an interpreter will read the Declaration of Independence at 9:30 am on the steps of the Indian King Tavern. At 10:00 am the parade through Haddonfield begins! An open house will follow the parade until 2:00 pm. Admission is free. Revolutionary War reenactors from the Second Pennsylvania Regiment will be encamped at the Indian King hanging out to celebrate, so be sure to join them! The Indian King Tavern is located at 233 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ. For more information, visit


Wednesday, July 4  - Holmdel, Monmouth County
Independence Day Celebration
Family Friendly Event & Site

Independence Day was a festive time in the 1890s at Longstreet Farm. Patriotism was celebrated with music, games and good picnic food. Join the staff at Longstreet Farm on July 4th as they celebrate the holiday with games and contests from 12:00 noon - 3:00 pm. Historic Longstreet Farm is located at 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ. For more information, call 732-946-3758 or visit


Wednesday, July 4 - Bridgeton, Cumberland County
Historic Potter's Tavern Open House
Family Friendly Site

Celebrate the Fourth of July by visiting the historic Potter’s Tavern on Saturday. You are invited to stop in and tour the tavern between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00 pm. The tavern is located at 51 West Broad Street in Bridgeton, NJ (opposite the Cumberland County Court House). The tavern will also be open for tours on Sunday, July 8.

Tavern keeper, Matthew Potter, Jr. came to Bridgeton from Philadelphia and opened the tavern in 1773. It became a favorite meeting place for the local young men just before the Revolutionary War. Today, it is one of New Jersey’s most significant historical shrines and is an excellent example of the type of frame houses built in New Jersey during the 17th and 18th century. It was here that the Plain Dealer, Cumberland County’s pioneer newspaper, was published for the purpose of supporting the drive for American liberty from the Crown rule. The fact that Matthew Potter gave a home to the Plain Dealer placed him in personal danger, risking a charge of treason during this time. The distinguished historian, John T. Cunningham, said that the fact the Plain Dealer appeared every Tuesday morning probably made it New Jersey’s first regular “newspaper.” For more information, call the Cumberland County Historical Society at 856-455-8580.


Wednesday, July 4 - Princeton, Mercer County
July 4th Jubilee
Children Friendly Event

Celebrate July 4th at Morven, the former home of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence! This FREE family event will take place on the front lawn from 12:00 noon - 3:00 pm! The Ocean Country Band will be performing live Bluegrass music on the front porch and various activities including a "Meet and Greet with George Washington & Annis Boudinot Stockton" by reenactors William Agress and Alisa Dupuy, an opportunity for children of all ages to “sign” the Declaration of Independence, demonstrations of early American domestic arts, games, and MORE! 

This event is SHINE only (due to the outdoor activities, it will be cancelled if there is prolonged rain). Guests are invited to use the Princeton Theological Seminary or Monument Hall parking lots, or can park on the street. There will be no parking at Morven since so many children will be on the grounds. Morven Museum & Gardens is located at 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ. For more information, call 609-924-8144 or visit

Wednesday, July 4 - New Brunswick, Middlesex County
Declaration of Independence Reading
Family Friendly Event

In 1776, the third reading of the Declaration of Independence took place in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Come celebrate the 4th of July with a reenactment of that historic event at historic Christ Church, 5 Paterson Street, New Brunswick, NJ. Several  activities are planned as part of our commemoration of this historical event. Paul Ambos will play the role of Colonel John Neilson, who gave the third reading in New Brunswick on July 9, 1776, following readings in Philadelphia and Trenton. Patriotic music will be performed by Director of Music John Sheridan on the church’s Richards Fowkes tracker organ. Prayers will be offered at the grave of Brigadier General Anthony White, who was an aide-decamp to General George Washington. Tours of the graveyard will also be available.

The event begins at 10:00 am. Free admission. Free parking in the Church Street Parking Deck is available via a voucher system. Please see an usher for a voucher card and instruction sheet. For more information, visit


Wednesday, July 4 - Tuckerton, Ocean County
4th of July in Tuckerton
Family Friendly Event & Site

The Pinelands 4th of July Committee presents Fireworks and Family Fun at Tuckerton Seaport! Celebrate the 4th of July in Tuckerton! A parade down Main Street starts at 10:00 am. From 4:00 - 9:00 pm there will be food vendors and family fun at Tuckerton Seaport, including live music and jugglers. Enjoy complimentary Seaport admission all day! End the day with fireworks over the lake at dusk. Enjoy a family-friendly day of fun free of charge! Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum is located at 120 West Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ. For more information, call 609-296-8868 or visit


Wednesday, July 4 - Farmingdale, Monmouth County
Historic Buildings Open for the 4th of July
Children Friendly Site

The Historic Village at Allaire is open for Independence Day. The historic buildings will be open from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. Admission to the Village is free but there is a parking fee of $5.00 collected at the park entrance.

The Historic Village at Allaire is located at 4263 Atlantic Avenue, Farmingdale, NJ. For more information, contact the Allaire Village office during business hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, at 732-919-3500 or visit

Wednesday, July 4 - Blairstown, Warren County
July 4th at the Annual Blairstown Fourth Celebration

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


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