FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2008

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Tom Plante, 908-527-4746


Discover Union County History, Oct. 18-19:
Re-Live Four Centuries in a Weekend


On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19, you can experience the rich history of Union County as you travel back in time during “Four Centuries in a Weekend, 2008.” The annual heritage festival, sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is a free, two-day festival scheduled for 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18; and from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19.

Among the many special attractions at the 25 sites of “Four Centuries in a Weekend”:

  • Tour the historic burial grounds and see the newly installed steeple atop the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth, home of the oldest English-speaking congregation in New Jersey, whose members included a signer of the Declaration of Independence, three governors and the founder of the college that became Princeton University.

  • Tour the luscious gardens and beautiful grounds of the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit; and Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in Union, home to New Jersey’s first governor and a silent witness to 235 years of American History.

  • Listen to Alicia Washington, actress, storyteller and teacher as she returns to the Drake House Museum in Plainfield to portray the 19th century abolitionist and feminist Sojourner Truth.

  • Join the Miller-Cory House Museum staff in Westfield as they demonstrate 18th century open-hearth cooking and pay tribute to Union County Native Americans including the Lenapes, Mohawks, Micmac and others.

  • Visit the Deserted Village of Feltville-Glenside Park in Berkeley Heights for a personal tour by founder David Felt at 2 p.m. and the grand opening of the Visitor Center in the village’s restored church/store building.

  • Hear a live performance of 18th century music at the Cannon Ball House in Springfield, and view 19th century bridal fashions at the Osborn Cannonball House in Scotch Plains.

  • Hear about Abraham Lincoln at the Merchants and Drovers Tavern in Rahway; and learn about Thomas Edison’s inventions while you listen to wax recordings played on a historic phonograph at the Abraham Clark House in Roselle.

Free maps and guide booklets featuring photos and information about the 25 participating heritage sites, their historic significance, and a list of all the special weekend activities will be available at each site. To accommodate teachers, the sites have been grouped into five thematic clusters that reflect the four centuries of Union County history. Additional materials for students are available.

“Four Centuries in a Weekend” is a public history event made possible by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, with additional funding to sites awarded through the County’s HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant Program; and funded in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the New Jersey Department of State.

Free copies of the guide booklet and map can be obtained by contacting the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, 633 Pearl Street, Elizabeth NJ 07202. Telephone 908-558-2550 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays. NJ Relay Users dial 711. Or E-mail: