Thursday, February 7, 2019

NJ Weekend Historical Happenings: 2/9/19 - 2/10/19

 New Jersey Weekend Historical Happenings
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Saturday, February 9 - South Bound Brook, Somerset County
Tory Jack Day 2019

The Friends of Abraham Staats House, Inc., in conjunction with the South Bound Brook Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, and in partnership with the Women's Guild of South Bound Brook, is proud to present its 17th edition of the award winning "Tory Jack Day" program.

The annual event in honor of Black History Month celebrates the contribution and sacrifices of Afro-Americans in the foundation of our nation. This year’s presenters are Joseph Becton and Antoine Watts. Their program, “Music of the Civil War,” illustrates through words and performance the development of this American art form.

Mr. Becton, a retired National Park Service Interpretive Park Ranger, has been recognized with the Community Service award for setting a standard of excellence in interpretation and for his role in connecting Americans to our national parks through wonderful stories and varied media. Mr. Becton now directs Joe Becton Tours and Historical Services and most recently has been proclaimed a Certified Master Guide by the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.

Mr. Watts, historical interpreter, performer and musician, accompanies Mr. Becton in the presentation.

Mr. Becton and Mr. Watts will present at 11:00 am on Saturday at the historic Abraham Staats House located at 17 Von Steuben Lane, South Bound Brook, NJ. Seating begins at 10:30 am. Admission is $10 per adult and children 12 and under are free. The building will close at 1:00 pm.

For more information, call 732-469-3198, e-mail, or visit

Saturday, February 9 - Flemington, Hunterdon County
Governor Livingston at the Crossroads of the American Revolution
Family Friendly

Please join the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission as we welcome Dr. James Gigantino II to discuss his recently published biography of New Jersey’s first governor, William Livingston’s American Revolution. After working as a lawyer in New York City for over 20 years, William Livingston retired to Elizabethtown (modern day Elizabeth, NJ) to live a quiet life. There he was drawn into the growing resistance to Parliamentary involvement in colonial affairs and quickly rose to a leadership role as a delegate to the Continental Congress, where he served from 1774 to 1776, when he was elected governor. Governor Livingston exercised extraordinary power through the Council of Safety during the critical first years of the American Revolution. New Jersey’s proximity to loyalist held New York, allowed Governor Livingston to have an immediate impact on the war as he “struggled to mobilize reluctant militiamen, rein in loyalists as well as his own rambunctious legislature, and staunch the flow of intel into British-held New York City” (Woody Holton). After the war, he served in the Constitutional Convention. Livingston was re-elected governor every year from 1776 until his death in 1790.

The presenter, Dr. James Gigantino II, is Associate Professor and Chair of the History Department at the University of Arkansas. As an early American historian, he has taught courses on Colonial, Revolutionary, Early National, and Antebellum America. However, his area of interest extends beyond the borders of the United States as he also studies slavery and the Atlantic World and has taught courses on African American history, comparative slavery, the Atlantic World, and Modern Africa.

In his second book, William Livingston’s American Revolution, Dr. Gigantino turns his attention to New Jersey’s first governor and his role in a war that saw a collection of colonies take on a global empire. Although he was initially opposed to independence William Livingston went on to hold office longer than any other patriot governor. As a “lawyer, author, polemicist, and the only state governor to serve through the Revolution, William Livingston started as a reluctant Revolutionary, led New Jersey through a bitter civil war, and emerged a supporter of stronger national government” (Maxine N. Lurie). Through Livingston’s eyes Dr. Gigantino portrays the complex relationship between administrators like the book’s namesake, the nascent national government, and the American people.

The event, entitled "Governor Livingston at the Crossroads of the American Revolution," will be held on Saturday at 1:00 pm at the Hunterdon County Historic Courthouse in Flemington, NJ. Copies of William Livingston’s American Revolution will be available for purchase following the talk. Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to register by emailing Parking is available in the county lot on Court Street. The historic courthouse is an accessible location.

Saturday, February 9 - Hopewell Township, Mercer County
Maple Tree Tapping
Children Friendly Event

Sugaring season is upon us. Join Howell Living History Farm's crew working the 150-tree sugar bush operation. Enjoy the work, fun, and rewards of helping tap maple trees, hang sap buckets, and cut firewood for the use in syrup making.

The sugar maple is first choice for making maple syrup as there is more sugar in the sap compared to other species, meaning it will take less sap to produce a gallon of syrup. Those of you interested in making syrup at home can get pointers and hands-on experience during our tree tapping workshops. How to identify the sugar maple, and when to tap will be discussed. Taps and buckets needed for backyard sugaring operations will be available for sale in the farm's Visitors Center.

Tree tapping experts will demonstrate the tools and equipment used in both traditional and modern production systems in the sugarhouse where sap is made into syrup. Visitors to the sugarhouse can sample maple syrup and try their hand at making a homemade tap. A tree tapping workshop will be held at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.

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, February 9 - Franklin Township, Somerset County
Film & Discussion: Hidden Colors 4: The Religion of White Supremacy (2016)

Join us at the Franklin Township Public Library on Saturday at 2:00 pm for a film screening of Hidden Colors 4: The Religion of White Supremacy (2016) followed by an opportunity for discussion.

Hidden Colors is a documentary series about the real and untold history of people of color around the globe. In this installment, the film explores topics such as the motivation behind European global subjugation, the history of rarely discussed vast West African empires, how germ warfare was used on melanated people, and the history of slave breeding farms in America.

Light refreshments will be provided. This program is offered in partnership with Melanated Minds. Registration is requested but not required.

Interested individuals can register via the library’s website at or by calling 732-873-8700.  This program is free and open to the public. The Franklin Township Public Library is located at 485 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873 in the municipal complex.

Saturday, February 9 - Mount Laurel, Burlington County
History Under Our Feet

Join us on Saturday from 2:00 - 4:00 pm for a dynamic presentation of what Michael Burns has found while metal detecting at Paulsdale for the past 18 months. He has accumulated artifacts spanning 200 years of history! With “finds” dating back to 1776, Mike’s presentation is sure to intrigue and fascinate. Admission is $5 per person.

Mr. Burns has lived and worked in Mount Laurel the past 30 years. He is a Senior Principal and Regional Land Surveyor at Maser Consulting, an ENR Top 500 Engineering Design firm. He has over 35 years of Land Surveying experience and is a member of the West Jersey Surveyors Association (SAWJ) and the New Jersey Society of Professional Land Surveyors (NJSPLS). He is also a member of the South Jersey Metal Detecting Club (SJMDC) and the Mount Laurel Historical Society.

Paulsdale is located at 128 Hooton Road, Mount Laurel, NJ. For more information, call 856-231-1885, e-mail, or visit

Saturday, February 9 - Cape May, Cape May County
Emlen Physick Estate Tour
Family Friendly Tour

Take a guided tour of Cape May's Emlen Physick Estate, the magnificent Stick Style mansion attributed to renowned Victorian architect Frank Furness. A tour of the 15 beautifully restored rooms gives you a glimpse into the lifestyle of this Victorian-era Cape May family. Physick Estate Tours take approximately 45 minutes and end with a visit to the 1876 Carriage House where you can see the current exhibit in the Carroll Gallery. Tours will start at 1:45 pm. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children (ages 3-12). Tickets can be purchased at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information and to reserve tickets, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit

Saturday - Sunday, February 9 - 10 - Cape May, Cape May County
Physick Estate Scavenger Hunt
Family Friendly

Have an adventure the whole family will enjoy at the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate! Use our map to explore the grounds and find the answers to questions about the Physick family and life in Victorian times on this educational scavenger hunt. Turn in your answer sheet at the Carriage House Museum Shop and receive a prize!

$5 includes map and clues. Maps and clues available at the Hill House office or the Carriage House Visitors Center at the Emlen Physick Estate. The Emlem Physick Estate is located at 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information and to reserve tickets, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit

Saturday - Sunday, February 9 - 10 - Cape May, Cape May County
Cape May Historic District Trolley Tour

Enjoy a 45 minute guided tour with entertaining and enlightening stories about the nation's oldest seaside resort and how it survived. Accessible trolley available with advance notification. Tour begins at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth. Tours begin and end at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth.

Adults $12 and children (ages 3-12) $8. Tours on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information and to reserve tickets, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit

Saturday - Sunday, February 9 - 10 - Paterson, Passaic County
Valentine Craft at Lambert Castle
Children Friendly

A little history and fun for the whole family! The Passaic County Historical Society is  offering a free craft activity for children of all ages on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm at Lambert Castl, home of the Passaic County Historical Society.

Learn about early Valentine cards and the evolution of the holiday and also have a chance to make your own Victorian-style Valentine. This activity is free with regular museum admission. The activity will be ongoing throughout the museum's open hours.

Passaic County Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, was founded to cultivate interest among individuals and the community-at-large in the rich history of Passaic County. To this end our museum in Lambert Castle showcases examples of the County's cultural and artistic diversity, as well as examples of the County's natural, civil, military, and ecclesiastical history. The Society also maintains a library and archive, which houses manuscripts, books and photographs of historical and genealogical interest.
Lambert Castle is located at 3 Valley Road, Paterson NJ. For more information, call 973-247-0085 or visit

Sunday, February 10 - 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, February 10 - Chesterfield Township, Burlington County
Chesterfield Township Historical Society Annual Meeting
"The History of Fernbrook Farms"

Sunday, February 10 - Westfield, Union County
Hip, Hip Hooray! Celebrate Presidents’ Day
Children Friendly Event

Every year, the third Monday of February is set aside by the federal government to honor two of our greatest Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and their contributions to the nation. Visit the Miller-Cory House Museum on Sunday to learn about this special holiday as well as fun facts about these two presidents. The program includes a craft, storytelling, and light refreshments.

The program includes tours of the fully restored circa 1740 farmhouse museum. Admission is $4 for ages 13 and older, $3 for ages 3-12, and free age 2 and younger. The Miller-Cory House Museum is located at 614 Mountain Avenue, Westfield, NJ. For more informationcall 908-232-1776, e-mail, or visit

Sunday, February 10 and 24 - Union Township, Union County
The Unfortunate History of Slavery in New Jersey

The Union Township Historical Society will host open houses from 2:00 - 5:00 pm on Sunday, February 10, and Sunday, February 24, at the Caldwell Parsonage, 909 Caldwell Avenue, Union.

In commemoration of Black History Month, an exhibit, "The Veterans of Vauxhall," by the Vauxhall Historical Society will be on display; as well as an exhibit by the UTHS on Eulace Peacock, Union High School Class of 1933 track star, who competed against Jesse Owens and later became his business partner.

Admission is free. Refreshments will be served. For more information, please call 908-591-4377 or visit

Sunday, February 10 - Holmdel, Monmouth County
Blacksmith Demonstration
Children Friendly Site

On Sunday, visit Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel to take a step back in time to watch blacksmiths perform their craft. They will be shaping iron into everyday products. Blacksmiths were as common as an auto mechanic in towns and on farms of the 1890s. This free event runs from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. 

Historic Longstreet Farm is located at 44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ. For more information, call 732-946-3758 or visit

Sunday, February 10 - Ewing, Mercer County
Celebrating 100 Years of Architect and A History of the Ewing GM Plant

Sunday, February 10 - Bridgewater, Somerset County
Paul Robeson, A Chautauqua (Living History Performance)

Paul Robeson's father was a former slave who became a minister with a Bachelor of Sacred Theology. Reverend Robeson moved his family to Somerville in 1910, because the high school was integrated. Paul was an All-American athlete, singer, film star, lawyer, and civil rights activist and hometown celebrity. Because of his quest for equality, his life was not without controversy.

Marvin Jefferson has portrayed Paul Robeson since the 1990s and is an instructor at Bloomfield College. Mr. Jefferson studied acting at the Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers.

This program will be held on Sunday from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. Seating is limited and registration is required. This FREE event is co-sponsored by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH). Register here.

This program will take place at the Historic Phillip Van Horne House, 941 E. Main Street, Bridgewater, NJ. The Van Horne House is getting a facelift, so please keep the small parking lot for handicapped access only. General parking is available in the back of the Target store in the Bridgewater Promenade shopping center (200 Promenade Way). For more information, visit

Through Friday, February 15 - East Amwell, Hunterdon County
Jim Amon Wildlife Photo Exhibit
Family Friendly

Camera in hand, Jim Amon heads to the Sourlands whenever he can. Amon, a resident of Lambertville, has a deep and long connection with the Sourlands. In the 1980’s he and three others founded the D&R Greenway Land Trust, who now have nature preserves extending over several hundred acres in the Sourland Region. Then, in 2005, upon retiring after thirty years as Executive Director of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, he became the Director of Stewardship for the D&R Greenway. In that capacity, he did ecological restoration on the Greenway’s nature preserves and built about twenty miles of recreational trails. Upon retiring from the Greenway he served on the Board of Directors for the Sourland Conservancy. For the last five years, the Conservancy has been publishing “Seeing the Sourlands,” Amon’s monthly photo/essays on the plants and animals that can be found in the Sourlands, as an eNewsletter feature. This series, which can also be found on the Sourland Conservancy’s web site, has been widely praised. The photos and essays will soon be published as a book.

Amon says that he began his photographic career by taking pictures of his growing family. Gradually, however, his interest in photography as an art form grew. He studied at the Maine Media Workshop and took several classes elsewhere. His work has been published in many local newspapers, magazines and planning books. He has exhibited at the Perkins Art Center, the Phillips Mill Photography Exhibit, Gallery 14, and other venues in central New Jersey.

“The East Amwell Historical Society show brings two of my great passions together,” Amon said. “I think that it is important for people to realize the ecological value of native plants, but also to realize that they are every bit as beautiful as exotics from foreign lands that are promoted for your home landscape. Stalking butterflies with my camera, posing native wildflowers with formal black backgrounds, and always being alert for the special beauty of the natural world brings me great pleasure.”

The East Amwell Historical Society and the Sourland Conservancy will present An Exhibition of Photographs of Plants and Animals Native to the Sourlands by Jim Amon at the East Amwell Museum 1053 Old York Road, Ringoes, NJ. The opening reception will be held on January 11th at 7:00 pm. Admission to the East Amwell Museum and exhibit will be free and open to the public on weekends from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. The exhibit will be on display from January 5 through February 15, 2019. For more information, visit and

Through Sunday, April 14 - Cape May, Cape May County
Collecting History: Personal Collections of Cape May's African American Community
Family Friendly

Collecting is a lifelong passion for many individuals who hunt, preserve, and curate items of importance and interest. It's not just the object that holds curiosity, but the story it has to tell. Never before seen personal collections of dolls, stamps, postcards, hats, books, art, and pocket watches will be exhibited along with John Nash's collection. Mr. Nash was a beloved community historian whose dedication to collecting Cape May's African American history formed the basis for Center for Community Arts' Nash African American History Archives.

This exhibit will be held at the Carroll Gallery on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate. Admission to the exhibit is free. Visit for exhibit hours. The Emlem Physick Estate is located at 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visit

Through June 2019 - Ocean Township, Monmouth County
"Wet as the Atlantic Ocean: Prohibition in New Jersey”

The 18th Amendment—the measure that made the manufacture, sale, or transport of alcoholic beverages a federal offense for the 13 years, 10 months, 19 days, and 17 hours of Prohibition—was repealed in 1933. It is the only Constitution Amendment ever to be undone. And its doing and undoing were the results of a tug-of-war between the “Wets” and the “Drys” that played out across the country.

A new exhibit opening to the public Sunday, in the Richmond Gallery of the Eden Woolley House reveals where New Jersey stood in that tug-of-war. “Wet as the Atlantic Ocean: Prohibition in NJ” brings the debates, glamour, and violence of the Roaring Twenties home.

How did it happen?
The prohibition debate had been argued across the country for nearly a century before the 18th Amendment outlawed alcohol nationwide. Maine passed the first state prohibition law in 1846 and by the Civil War, several other states had followed suit.

So what happened in the first decades of the next century to elevate debate into a campaign for a Constitutional Amendment—that took the fight national?

• Drunkenness was a real problem. The proliferation of saloons fueled a drinking culture, and between 1900 and 1913, beer and alcohol consumption soared. Women and families suffered.
• Women had been campaigning for abstinence since the early 1800s, By the turn of the century they were finding their voice, stridently advocating for the vote-— and increasingly for prohibition. Organizations like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union were gaining ground.
• Many Americans felt threatened by the influx of immigrants whose cultural norms around alcohol threatened prevailing white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant values.
• On the global scene, the unthinkable carnage of the First World War and the alarming success of the Russian Revolution fueled a nostalgic longing for control and order.

Under these conditions, pro-prohibition sentiment grew. By 1919 more than half the country lived in dry states, counties, or towns. If the 18th Amendment were to be passed, it needed to happen before the 1920 census, the results of which would give greater power to the anti-prohibition cities.

The last state to Ratify
Ours was the last state to ratify the 18th amendment and it did so in 1922, two years after the measure was in effect. (Rhode Island and Connecticut never ratified.) We fought Prohibition in court. New Jersey joined Rhode Island in a losing challenge before the Supreme Court (1920). And we were back in 1931, when the Supreme Court overruled a New Jersey federal judge’s decision invalidating the 18th Amendment.

New Jersey’s Resistance
It’s no surprise, then, that Prohibition enforcement in New Jersey was lax. Local fishermen and boaters shuttled bootlegged liquor to shore from rum-running ships lined up just outside the legal limit. Speakeasies thrived with little risk of raid. The state underfunded enforcement. Corruption was rampant. Local police turned a blind eye. Even the teetotaling and incorruptible Ira Reeves, the man put in charge of federal enforcement in New Jersey, resigned after eight months and took up the anti-Prohibition cause!

This exhibit runs through June 2019. 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

Through June 2019 - Morristown, Morris County
Iconic Culture: From Little Black Dress to Bell Bottoms

Morris County Historical Society’s upcoming exhibit, Iconic Culture: From Little Black Dress to Bell Bottoms, promises to be a one-stop spot for a stroll down memory lane.

From the timeless designs of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel to the trend-setting bell bottoms of Sonny and Cher, MCHS explores more than 50 years of cultural history through a retrospective featuring nearly 100 pieces from its historic textile collection. Iconic Culture will examine how changes in clothing styles mirrored the social climate of their time and the seminal moments and people who defined their decade – with a focus on New Jersey history.

In addition to the fashions, Iconic Culture will highlight cultural milestones in local, state, and national history that coincided with the Roaring 20s, Great Depression, World War II, Civil Rights Movement, and Vietnam Era.

This multimedia exhibit features music, television shows, and radio broadcasts. Visitors will also have an opportunity to share personal recollections about significant events, such as the assassination of President Kennedy.

The exhibit is available through Sunday, June 16, 2019. Morris County Historical Society is located at Acorn Hall, 68 Morris Avenue, Morristown, NJ and is open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11:000 am - 4:00 pm and Sundays, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Admission, which includes the exhibits and landscaped grounds, is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for students, and is free for children under 12 and MCHS members. For more information, call 973-267-3465 or visit

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


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