FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 31, 2009

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

 

Plan Now for “Four Centuries in a Weekend,” Oct. 17-18:
Free Booklets Available for Union County Historic Sites Tour

At the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth on Sunday, Oct. 18, Steve DePass (“America’s Singing Poet”) and Jacqueline Kroschell will re-enact a 1909 celebration honoring the late President Abraham Lincoln. Their performance will be one of many events and exhibits taking place throughout Union County during the 12th annual “Four Centuries in a Weekend” – a free time-travel opportunity to tour 25 historic sites on the weekend of Oct. 17-18
At the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth on Sunday, Oct. 18, Steve DePass (“America’s Singing Poet”) and Jacqueline Kroschell will re-enact a 1909 celebration honoring the late President Abraham Lincoln. Their performance will be one of many events and exhibits taking place throughout Union County during the 12th annual “Four Centuries in a Weekend” – a free time-travel opportunity to tour 25 historic sites on the weekend of Oct. 17-18. For a free booklet describing each of the 25 sites, call the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs at 908-558-2550 or email: culturalinfo@ucnj.org
(Photo by Jim Lowney / County of Union)

What do Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and the smallest state park in New Jersey have in common? They all play a role in Union County’s 12th annual “Four Centuries in a Weekend: A Journey through Union County History.” Start packing your bags for this trip back in time as 25 historic sites offer a free weekend time-travel opportunity on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 18, from noon to 5:00 p.m.

“Union County proudly sponsors this unique tourism event that enables visitors to enjoy these historically significant house museums and sites,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Schools and other groups interested in advance program materials should contact the county’s Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs now.”

The 25 sites open to the public free of charge during “Four Centuries in a Weekend” are grouped into five historic themes that describe periods of major changes from colonial times until the early 1920s. Visitors can select a cluster of sites to tour, or mix and match from all 25 locations that include the grand homes of the Early Aristocracy; the settings for the dangerous Revolutionary War years; modest examples of hard Farm Life; the successful undertakings of Commerce and Industry; and the grandeur and comfort of the Victorian Resorts and Suburbs.

Among the special events and exhibits planned at the historic sites around Union County on the weekend of Oct. 17-18 are the following activities:

  • The First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth on Oct. 18 will honor President Abraham Lincoln with a re-enactment of the 100th birthday celebration that was held at the church and sponsored by the Lincoln Association of Union County in 1909;
  • The Osborn Cannonball House in Scotch Plains will host “The Civil War Marches through Union County” with a re-enactment of memorial services for artist Julian Scott of Plainfield, recipient of the Army Medal of Honor, and William Perrine, the last Civil War veteran who is buried in Hillside Cemetery;
  • Liberty Hall Museum in Union will feature an exhibit, “Once Upon a Time: The Story of the Children of Liberty Hall,” that includes photos, clothes, toys and furniture circa 1899 and hands-on activities for children;
  • The Springfield First Presbyterian Church will exhibit artifacts from the nearby Cannon Ball House, including relics from the Battle of Springfield and an original Watts Hymnal. The statue of a Continental Soldier out front is the smallest state park in New Jersey;
  • The Oswald J. Nitschke House in Kenilworth will feature an historic interpreter who will appear as Eleanor Roosevelt of 1933 visiting Mayor Nitschke. The First Lady will deliver a message of goodwill and encouragement to residents living through the challenging times of the Great Depression.
     

Participating “Four Centuries in a Weekend” sites, alphabetized by municipality:

BERKELEY HEIGHTS
Deserted Village of Feltville-Glenside Park
Littell-Lord Farmstead

CLARK
Dr. William Robinson Plantation-Museum

CRANFORD
Crane-Phillips House Museum

ELIZABETH
Boxwood Hall State Historic Site
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth

HILLSIDE
Evergreen Cemetery
Woodruff House/Eaton Store Museum

KENILWORTH
Oswald J. Nitschke House

MOUNTAINSIDE
Deacon Andrew Hetfield House

NEW PROVIDENCE
Salt Box Museum

PLAINFIELD
Drake House Museum

RAHWAY
Merchants and Drovers Tavern
Union County Performing Arts Center

ROSELLE
Abraham Clark House

ROSELLE PARK
Roselle Park Museum

SCOTCH PLAINS
Osborn Cannonball House

SPRINGFIELD
Springfield First Presbyterian Church
(Cannon Ball House is closed for repairs)

SUMMIT
Carter House
Reeves-Reed Arboretum
Summit Playhouse
Twin Maples

UNION
Caldwell Parsonage
Liberty Hall Museum

WESTFIELD
Miller-Cory House Museum

 

Four Centuries in a Weekend” is a recipient of the New Jersey Governor’s Heritage Tourism Award. The two-day event is made possible by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State.

For this self-guided journey, free copies of the Historic Sites Tour booklets containing brief descriptions of the sites and illustrated maps 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 can call 711. Or E-mail: Culturalinfo@ucnj.org. The contact information is the same for schools and other groups requesting lesson plans and activity kits.