Click on the numbers around the map below to view locations, historical information and more.
Nokia Bell Labs Showcase
NEW THIS YEAR! Bell Labs Showcase Tour (by pre-scheduled appointment only)
600 Mountain Ave., Murray Hill
Nokia Bell Labs has a great STEM history. The Bell Labs Technology Showcase is in the lobby of the main entrance. This display is open on Saturday (ONLY) October 20 by a scheduled appointment (25 per group) at 12-1pm, 1-2pm; 2-3pm; and 3-4pm, and features the first transistor (invented upstairs on the 4th floor) and an original Telstar satellite among other many fascinating things.
The showcase offers a window into a remarkable and unmatched legacy of technology advancements. Please fill out the form below to schedule your visit. You must register for this tour. When you come into the Main Building Lobby please see the representative for instructions and wait for your guide. Your tour should last no more than 45 minutes.
Deserted Village of Feltville-Glenside Park in the Watchung Reservation
This 1845 town was the creation of New York businessman David Felt. Today, it contains 10 buildings and the archaeological remains of a vibrant community populated, in part, by European immigrants. At its height, Feltville included a school, church/general store and a factory on the Blue Brook while rows of cottages housed workers and their families. “King David” sold Feltville in 1860. After several failed enterprises, it was reborn in 1882 as Glenside Park, a summer resort. Adirondack porches transformed workers’ houses into vacation cottages enjoyed by city dwellers.
Suburbanization led to the resort’s closure in 1916. Today, the Deserted Village is nestled in the Watchung Reservation, Union County’s 2,142-acre nature preserve.
• Children’s games • Freshly pressed apple cider • Walk through this historic village, with opportunities to “meet” and converse with key people from Feltville/Glenside history: John Willcocks, a member of the New Jersey militia, who is buried in the cemetery here; David Felt, owner and builder of the mill town of Feltville; Sarah Felt Toby, who taught in Feltville’s one-room schoolhouse; Warren Ackerman, who converted Feltville to a summer resort in 1882; Frank Malloy, who managed the summer resort of Glenside Park
A pastoral site that includes a 19th-century Gothic cottage, stone springhouse, summer kitchen, Osage orange trees and a pond, provides the setting for the Littell-Lord House. The charming rural complex is a rare reminder of Union County’s agricultural past. Built about 1760 by Andrew Littell, a farmer and weaver, the house was owned and lived in for more than 100 years by the Lord family, who purchased the site in 1867. The first floor features an Empire-Victorian parlor and a 19th century kitchen. A staircase leads to an enlarged second floor, once a small loft. Upstairs is a child’s room containing antique toys and a Victorian bedroom with cottage furniture.
Tour this historic house and farmstead, a reminder of the county’s agricultural past
A rare example of 17th-century architecture in New Jersey, this post-medieval English-style house was built around 1690. A medicine room reflects the profession of Dr. William Robinson, one of the few physicians in East New Jersey at the time. He practiced Physick, a popular form of healing with plants and herbs, and also performed Chirurgery, or surgery. Unusual architectural features abound, including wide floorboards and a 20-inch wide summer beam. The hall, with its large fireplace, is complete with period furnishing. A box-like winder staircase leads to the second floor, where Dr. Robinson’s last will and maps are displayed.
• Displays and demonstrations depicting the WWII era, including U.S. Army Signal Corps switchboards, an army clerk, an army jeep with crew, plus a display about the U.S. Navy and WAVE (female sailors). • Open-hearth cooking, butter-churning, candle-making and blacksmith demonstrations all weekend • Three floors of exhibits including period clothing • Outdoor exhibits, horse-drawn milk wagon, and herb garden • Gift shop
This American Civil War veteran’s cottage stands next to the Rahway River near the 18th century river crossing, “Crane’s Ford.” An outstanding example of Andrew Jackson Downing architecture, it is dressed in its original 1870s Victorian colors. The museum offers a rare glimpse of the life of a modest veteran’s family in the Victorian Era of opulence. Permanent and changing exhibits, featuring items from the Society’s costume, tool and local history collections, are displayed.
The House has been named to “Save America’s Treasures” by the White House and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is among only 27 such sites in the state of New Jersey, and it is the only “American Treasure” in Union County. Nearby, the Hanson House, Society headquarters at 38 Springfield Avenue, contains a library and archives.
Tour this Victorian property, a modest 1870s home showing what life was like without plumbing and electricity
Grounds include a Victorian flower garden, outhouse and barn displaying antique tools
Demonstrations of woodworking machines — 1870s inventions
Volunteer dressed in a Civil War uniform will tell visitors about how soldiers lived during that war
1870s kitchen showcases a working sink-pump, coffee grinder, corn chucker, and an 1890s wooden washing machine (visitors may try using these), and sketches of the first Range Hood patent by homeowner and inventor Henry Phillips
Boxwood Hall State Historic House, Boudinot Mansion in Elizabeth
Prominent American statesmen of the late 18th and early 19th centuries had ties to this handsome Georgian house. In 1772, it became the home of Elias Boudinot, who served as a President of the Continental Congress. For a year during Boudinot’s residency, young Alexander Hamilton lived at Boxwood Hall while he attended school in Elizabethtown. George Washington lunched with Boudinot and a committee of Congressmen in 1789 while en route to his inauguration. In 1795, the house was sold to Jonathan Dayton, signer of the Constitution, Speaker of the US House of Representatives and member of the US Senate. In 1824, Dayton hosted the Marquis de Lafayette during his American tour.
Tour this historic home, where George Washington dined en route to his inauguration
Exhibit: “History in My Neighborhood:” — research projects including PowerPoints and podcasts, produced by AP U.S. History students from Elizabeth
Sunday, 1 pm: Guided walk: “Four Centuries of Architecture — in Two Blocks!” Explore Catherine Street with a Boxwood staff member. See what has survived the years. (Limit 15 people. Register in advance starting Oct. 1. Call 908-282-7617 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
“Old First” remains at the center of Elizabeth Town, 350 years after a small group of Associates signed a treaty for the land on October 28, 1664, establishing the first English-speaking congregation in New Jersey. The original building was the weekday meeting house for public affairs, and a house of worship on Sundays. The first Governor, Phillip Carteret, maintained his office there and the first meeting of the New Jersey legislature was held in 1668. The present sanctuary was opened in 1790 after the British burned the earlier buildings in 1780. A new steeple was installed in August 2008, replacing the spire lost to the fire in 1946.
Tour the historic campus, including the church, cemetery with gravesites spanning four centuries, and Snyder Academy — a site where Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton attended school
In 1874 the right of way to the Central Railroad of New Jersey was moved from present day Midway Avenue to its current location. This Victorian Gothic structure was built and used as a railroad station until 1965. The Station is an excellent example of frame Victorian Gothic architecture. It is the oldest remaining railroad station in Union County. The museum houses artifacts documenting the Borough’s historic ties to the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and its land development company that constructed some of the Victorian and Queen Anne homes in the Fanwood Park Historic District.
In 1976, Fanwood commemorated the nation’s bicentennial with fire hydrants hand-painted to depict patriots from the Revolution. The museum displays color photos of the uniquely painted hydrants, taken that year by a professional NBC reporter and featured on national TV.
Documentary film about the Jersey Central Railroad
When small church graveyards became too crowded, Evergreen Cemetery was created in 1853 as an interdenominational, rural burial ground. Its picturesque landscape, designed to preserve the natural terrain and existing trees, reflects the romantic, Victorian view of death. Today, the cemetery’s expansive park-like grounds double as a nature preserve. Mausoleums and more than 10,000 monuments make Evergreen a virtual museum of funerary art. Special sections, such as the plot devoted to Civil War soldiers, illustrate historical and social developments in American History. Drive by the English Tudor Chapel designed in 1932 by an Elizabeth architect, C. Godfrey Poggi, located at the Dayton Avenue entrance.
Pick up a tour booklet at Woodruff House to take a self-guided tour of this historic cemetery, replete with impressive funerary monuments
The Woodruff House was built in 1735 on land granted to John Woodruff in 1666. The first floor is furnished with circa 1800 antiques, including Woodruff memorabilia from the Earl and Lyon families. The house consists of the original 1735 side, an addition from 1790 and the 1900 Eaton Store. The restored Eaton Store illustrates a vast difference between a neighborhood store of the early 1900s and a supermarket of today. The store has the original counter, coffee grinder and gas lamp; the shelves are stocked with hundreds of products from long ago.
The property, originally an apple orchard, now has a reproduction post and beam barn with various items on display, old farm equipment, a two-seater privy, water pump, well and archival center. The Phil Rizzuto All Sports Museum houses a collection of memorabilia from Hillside resident and Baseball Hall of Famer, the late Phil Rizzuto, along with some memorabilia from other Hillside sports figures.
Tour the house (dates to 1735) and store (dates to 1900)
Mini apple festival with sale of fresh apples, apple pastries, hot dogs and cider
Phil Rizzuto All Sports Museum
Sale of book “From Lost Saybrook and Lyons Farms to Hillside,” by Arnold McClow
The Nitschke House (c. 1880) is one of Kenilworth’s original clapboard, wood-frame farmhouses, and represents the architectural style typical of homes built in the area in the 1800s. The house is named for one of Kenilworth’s pioneers, Oswald J. Nitschke, who owned the home and resided there in the early 1900s. He advocated the 1907 incorporation of Kenilworth and was elected to the first Council, serving more than seven years. A three term mayor, Nitschke was responsible for development of the unique 120’ wide Boulevard and its extension through the Union County Park System. The Kenilworth Historical Society has restored the house and transformed it into a “living history” museum and cultural center.
Tours of this house (wheelchair accessible with elevator), restored to late 19th-/early 20th-century style, and teaching gardens of heirloom flowers, vegetables and herbs —now featuring a World War I Victory Garden
Garden-to-table culinary demonstration/program
Meet colorful characters from the past (circa 1918) in a “living history” program
Exhibit: “The Allure & Challenges of Life in an Early 20th-Century Suburb”
Originally constructed by Deacon Andrew Hetfield in about 1760, this house expanded in stages to meet the needs of the Hetfield family during their 186 year occupancy. By 1830, a simple colonial farmhouse had been transformed into a center-hall Georgian residence. Also known as the “Dutch Oven House”, the building has been moved twice, first to protect it from a Route 22 widening. Used briefly as a tea room and antiques shop, the house was once rented to MacKinlay Kantor, author of the Civil War novel, Andersonville. The structure was saved from demolition in 1985, when it was moved a second time to another part of the original Hetfield property.
Guided tours all weekend
Miniature reenactment of the local Battle of Spanktown as a diorama
Special exhibit of newly acquired artifacts from a Hetfield descendant
When two houses constructed at different locations during the 1840s were joined in the mid-19th century, the house, now known as the Salt Box Museum, was created. The house’s shape, with its steep, sloping rear roof, resembles the box in which salt used to be kept. In 1967, the entire house was moved across Springfield Avenue to its present site. Today, the first floor is furnished to represent a typical New Jersey farmhouse of the mid-19th century. The Mason Room at the New Providence Library, 377 Elkwood Avenue, houses the Society’s collection of rare documents, maps, photographs and oral history tapes.
Tour this historic site
WWII Volunteer Red Cross nurses’ uniforms
Liberty Pole (weather permitting), one of tho last Poles standing in New Jersey
The Nathaniel Drake House, headquarters of the Historical Society of Plainfield, was built in 1746. Nestled within the towers and slate roof is the original farmhouse once used as George Washington’s headquarters during the Battle of Short Hills, June 25, 1777.
In 1864, John S. Harberger, a New York City bank president, enlarged and embellished the house in the Victorian style, making it his summer home during Plainfield’s development as a commuter suburb.
• Tour this historic site • Saturday, all day: The New Jersey Field Music Group performs fife-and-drum music, dressed in authentic Revolutionary War-era uniforms
Today, period rooms portray both the farm life of the Drakes and the suburban life of the Harbergers. Significant American paintings, folk art, period furniture and decorative pieces make this site a museum of both history and art.
This is the New Plainfield Meetinghouse, built in 1788. The Quaker Meeting itself dates back to 1686 at Perth Amboy, with four meetinghouses built before it as Europeans moved inland from the coast. The forty years preceding this meetinghouse’s construction had been difficult for local Friends (Quakers). The Meeting had addressed the issue of slavery, requiring members to either free their slaves with the promise of continued support, or to leave the fellowship — which some did.
Originally, the meetinghouse was set on three acres. The street in front was called “Peace Street.” It was “The New Plainfield Meetinghouse,” and the town that grew up around it took the name. In 1832, a portion was lost to first the railroad, and then to 3rd Street. Later, the Friends lost the northern portion to the post office. During the racial strife of the 1970s, the Meetinghouse was a place of peace. Friends kept the meetinghouse open. When the National Guard arrived, Friends convinced soldiers not to go out on patrol, but to simply wait in case trouble arose, which it did not. The Meetinghouse is available to community groups.
As a Tavern and Stagecoach stop, this early 19th-century hotel was the scene of auctions, public meetings, elections, business transactions, entertainment, horse breeding and a host of other activities. The handsome Federal style inn contains a taproom, two parlors, 12 bedrooms and a kitchen wing with a working fireplace. Originally a house and store, the 1790s structure was adapted to tavern use in 1798. A circa 1820 addition created the imposing building that stands today, its four stories making it a rare example of an early public house. The smaller, mid-18th century Terrill Tavern was moved to the property in the 1970s where it now stands as the museum shop.
• Open house at this historic site, including comprehensive exhibits on the 2nd floor • Cemetery tour highlighting World War I • Gravesite of Abraham Clark
Rahway School for Colored Children and The African American History & Learning Center
Construction began on the one-room school house in 1844, on the property of Jacob R. Shotwell, a former Vice President of RSI
Bank. The primary funding, support and oversight for the school came from the Society of Friends (Quakers), who had a history of supporting persons of color. The Friends paid the school’s expenses and the salary of Miss Martha (Matilda) Putnam, who served as both teacher and principal.
The school had an average enrollment of 35 students, and eventually received financial support from state public education funds. In 1882, the school was integrated, and by the mid 1880s, it closed. In the years that followed, Ms. Lucy H. Eddy, a local philanthropist from the neighborhood established the “Rahway School for Colored Children Trust Fund” that helped to preserve books and artifacts left from the school. These items are currently being stored at the Rahway Library, but will serve as the basis for the restoration and the holdings of the newly envisioned African-American History and Heritage Center of Rahway, NJ.
• Tour this historic house and learn about the restoration underway
This classic Vaudeville house opened as the Rahway Theater on October 16, 1928 and featured a magnificent Wurlitzer pipe organ. This organ was the catalyst for the preservation effort from which the 1,300 seat Arts Center emerged. Carefully restored to its golden age of grandeur, the Arts Center is a monument of an age gone by. The Union County Performing Arts Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation operating in the historic Rahway Theatre. Enjoying a prime location in Union County, UCPAC is dedicated to making this landmark theatre your choice for the performing arts – for education, inspiration and entertainment. This historic landmark is the cornerstone of the Rahway Arts District.
• See this beautifully restored classic Vaudeville theatre • Saturday, 10 am–2 pm: Tours of the theatre, including the “Biggest Little Wurlitzer” organ
Abraham Clark boldly demonstrated his support of the Revolution as a New Jersey signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was born in what is now Roselle on February 15, 1726, the only child of Thomas Clark. He became a surveyor and studied common law. Clark and his wife Sarah raised ten children in their farmhouse, built in 1705.
The house burned in 1900, but a replica was constructed in 1941. The original house stood a short distance from the current site on what is now Crane Street, near Wheatsheaf Road, which was known as Springfield Road in Colonial times. The design of the house was based on old photographs and existing known facts from later owners and residents. The lot on which it stands was donated to the Abraham Clark Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) by Mr. William M. Crane, once a part of the original Clark Farm in the eighteenth century.
The Office of New Jersey State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and its Archives are located at the Memorial House.
Learn about Early American life and Roselle history at this replica of the home of Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence
The Roselle Park Museum displays photographs, documents and memorabilia related to the history of Roselle Park and offers changing exhibits of topical interest. Our borough was shaped by the railroad, and by the 1860’s, the station along Central Railroad of New Jersey had become the nucleus of a small village. Farming remained prominent in the 1880’s. By 1883 the Charles Stone Store on Westfield Avenue became the first store in the world lighted by Edison’s incandescent lamp. Industrial development along the railroad corridor included the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, established in 1912, which manufactured much of the wireless equipment used in WWI. David Sarnoff worked at this facility as Commercial Manager and later became Chairman of RCA. RCA’s radio station WDY, housed in Roselle Park’s Marconi facility, became one of the earliest licensed broadcasting stations in the United States.
Current exhibit: From Science to Technology & Invention: Edison, Keurig, Marconi and a touch of Tesla… Inventions and Inventors in Roselle Park
The white clapboard Osborn Cannonball House is a small jewel in the center of Scotch Plains. Brick walks, an arbor and formal gardens surrounded by a white board fence give this property a “Williamsburg” feel. Its location, adjacent to the town green and across from the Stage House Inn, adds to its interest. Inside, four furnished rooms appointed with colonial and early 19th century furnishings will delight the visitor. A parlor reflects Victorian tastes. Built in the 1700s by Jonathan and Abigail Osborn, the house takes its name from the cannonball that struck it during a Revolutionary War skirmish.
• Join in celebrating “A Very Victorian Christmas.” Learn why people decorate trees, sing carols, send cards and exchange gifts. How and when did these activities become part of American culture? Many of these customs developed during the Victorian Age. • Victorian feather tree surrounded by antique toys • Mannequins dressed in their holiday best • Enjoy carols played by Dave Bierman on an antique Victorian organ
On June 26, 1777, on the plains below the Watchungs, General Washington’s Continental Forces of under 6,000 men fought a running battle with combined British and Hessian Troops numbering nearly 12,000. Gen. William Howe, feigning a retreat, sought to lure the colonial forces to the lowlands and crush them.
What started in Metuchen would soon make its way to the Ash Swamp, where delaying tactics gave Washington’s troops and local militia enough time to return to the safety of the Watchungs. Ash Brook is now one of the stops along the new Battle of the Short Hills Historic Trail.
• Visit the tent on the UCVTS campus to learn about the pivotal Revolutionary War battle fought in nearby locations • Guided nature hike of the swampy trail (dress for potentially wet conditions) — last departure at 2:30 pm; to pre-schedule a hike for a group, call 908-444-1065
The Frazee House is a Revolutionary War period farmstead built in the typical and rare style of eighteenth-century Anglo-Dutch architecture. It sits in Scotch Plains at Two Bridges, near the intersection of Raritan and Terrill Roads, west of Ash Swamp. It is a Union County landmark due to its sheer survival for more than 230 years, and due to the tale of Elizabeth “Aunt Betty” Frazee’s legendary confrontation with British General Cornwallis during the Battle of the Short Hills in June of 1777.
“Aunt Betty” was baking bread for the Continental Army when the British approached from Ash Swamp, smelled the delicious aroma of baking bread and demanded the loaves. “Aunt Betty” refused, stating she would only give the bread in fear, not love. The British general and his troops marched on, leaving the bread behind. The most modern use of the house was as the business operation of the Terry-Lou Zoo on the 6-acre property from the 1970s through 1996. The Fanwood-Scotch Plains Rotary Club committed to the restoration of the Historic Frazee House in 2004. The Rotary Club, along with the Township of Scotch Plains, hopes to turn the house and adjoining acres into a resource for the community, further distinguishing New Jersey as a key site in the American Revolution.
Saturday, 12 noon–4:30: Harvest Festival with live music, pony rides, food vendors, petting zoo, costume party, haunted trails, games, activities and more. • The exterior of Frazee House is under construction— visitors can learn about construction plans, fundraising and next steps for this site.
In the mid 1700s, Ephraim Tucker Farmhouse was built on a thirty one-acre plot of rural landscape just outside of Westfield. In the early 1800s, John Locey purchased this property. It later become the George B. Osborn Tavern. In the late 1800s, the property was sold to the Westfield Golf Club and was converted into a 9-hole golf course, with the main farmhouse serving as the clubhouse. .
During this time, a close-knit community of African Americans lived on both sides of the golf course. These residents created a path across the golf course to visit friends and relatives living in the area. During this time of segregation, African Americans were not allowed membership at this white country club
In September 1921, a group of prominent African-American investors known as the Progressive Reality Company, Inc., purchased the former Westfield Golf Club and created the Shady Rest Golf and Country Club. This club was established to provide recreation and entertainment for all ages. Activities included golf, tennis, horseback riding, skeet shooting, and a dining room, where club members hosted famous people such as W.E.B. DuBois, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Althea Gibson and others.
The Shady Rest was the first African-American-owned golf and country club in the United States. It was the home course to the first African-American golfer professional ever to play the U.S. Open, John Matthew Shippen (1879-1968).
• Saturday: Grand opening featuring a timeline of African American soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World Wars I & II — presented by the 6th Regiment United States Colored Troops Reenactors, Inc. • Screenings of “A Place For Us,” a 30-minute documentary produced and directed by Lawrence Londino about historic Shady Rest—the first golf and country club in the U.S. run by and for African Americans, where top athletes competed and renowned musicians performed
This mid-18th-century house is one of four buildings in Springfield to survive being burned by the retreating British Army after the Battle of Springfield in June 1780. This was the final major battle of the American Revolution in this area. Seven of the eight rooms in this house are open to the public. Exhibits feature furniture and artifacts including 18th- and 19th-century household items. Relics from the Battle of Springfield include the cannonball that lodged in the wall of the house.
Commemorating the 225th anniversary of the Township of Springfield, an exhibit “Celebrating Springfield” highlights events in local history
Summit’s oldest house, built by Benjamin Carter in the 1740’s, was moved in 1986 from its original location near the Passaic River to its present site, part of the original Carter farm. An East Jersey cottage, it shows a Dutch influence that is unusual in this part of the state. A 1740-1820 kitchen, 1820-1860 dining room and late Victorian library are interpreted with antique furnishings. The house is also the archival center of the Summit Historical Society. Collections document Summit’s early development as a resort and commuter suburb as well as the town’s more recent history.
Tour this historic house—a museum of local history, displaying exhibits and artifacts
Celebrating 40 years as a historic public garden and education resource, Reeves-Reed Arboretum (RRA) is a living history museum which features the Wisner House and several outbuildings on 13.5 acres of pastoral lawns, woodland trails, a glacial bowl and historic gardens. The buildings include galleries for cultural exhibits, classroom/workshop space for children and adult education programs in a historic carriage house, and a library which houses an extensive collection of historic documents, photos and books which are available for public access.
Visitors Center offers interactive touch screen panels with information about the property, history, maps, and what’s in bloom at the arboretum
Wisner House Library features historic photos, maps, drawings, artifacts, letters and original materials from noted architects Calvert Vaux, Ellen Biddle Shipman, and Carl Pilat
Art exhibition in Wisner House, “The Wild Horses of Sable Island,” features works by renowned photographer, artist, author and conservationist Roberto Dutesco
13.5 acres of grounds offer pastoral lawns, woodland trails, a glacial bowl and historic gardens. The current Wildflower Trail is slated to be designated the History Trail.
A memorial rock signifies the famous Beacon Hill Signal from the Revolutionary War.
Each visitor will receive a copy of “The Clearing,” a book detailing the history of the arboretum
Summit, a desirable commuter city, grew as new residents built lavish homes after the Civil War. The Summit Library Association, incorporated in 1874, kept its books in various locations, including a doctor’s office and a store, until George Manley offered a site for the library. Residents donated $3,720 to build the Richardsonian Romanesque structure designed by Arthur Jennings. The library opened on June 10, 1891 and moved to a more spacious building in 1911. In 1918, the empty library building was leased for $1/year to the Dramatic Club (later incorporated as The Playhouse Association), which was formed as a relief organization during WWI. In 1960, Playhouse co-founder and benefactor, Marjorie Cranstoun Jefferson (1887-1988), donated funds that added a 120-seat auditorium to the original building. What had been the library is now the stage. Mrs. Jefferson directed over 130 plays during her career at the Playhouse.
Twin Maples is an example of a suburban estate typical of those built in the Summit area between 1880 and 1920. This colonial revival style structure was built in 1908. The house was designed by Alfred F. Norris, a well-known New York and Montclair architect. It was erected with the finest materials and details of its time. It has an appearance similar to the “White House” in Washington. D.C. The house remained privately owned until 1949 when it was purchased by a women’s club founded in 1893, the Fortnightly Club of Summit.
During 2007-2008, the house underwent significant renovation to restore, modernize and beautify the property. Eco-Friendly, energy efficient and sustainable materials and systems were utilized throughout the process.
Tour this historic, neoclassical estate home, built in 1908
On June 7, 1780, after the battle of Connecticut Farms, retreating British and Hessian Troops passed the parsonage. A shot was fired through a bedroom window and Hannah Caldwell, the wife of James Caldwell, fell dead. Was it a mistake, or was it murder — an attempt to punish “the Fighting Parson” of the NJ militia and the Continental Army?
The British burned the Parsonage, the Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church and other buildings in the area. The Parsonage was rebuilt two years later on its original foundation. An artist’s interpretation of Mrs. Caldwell’s death appears on the official Seal of Union County.
Today, the Parsonage contains furniture, clothing, personal belongings and other items relating to the families who established Connecticut Farms (which was incorporated as the Township of Union in 1808). Artifacts on display date from the 18th century to the early 20th century.
• Saturday: Extreme Party Racing provides a chance to enjoy remote-control car racing— reflecting local history, because Union was once home to two race tracks: Tri-City Stadium (motorcycles & midget cars) and Union Speedway (motorcycles & auto racing)
• Exhibit of panels about the history of Union schools, created by the Union High School History Club • Artifacts and photos relating to Thomas Edison • Exhibit of artifacts from the Selfmaster Colony (built where Town Hall now stands), which produced rugs, books and cinder blocks • Tool Museum in the carriage house displays farm implements, and old TVs and radios • “Rev. Caldwell” greets and converses with visitors
Built in 1772 on the eve of the American Revolution, Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University chronicles more than 240 years of American history. The former residence of William Livingston, New Jersey’s first elected governor and signer of the Constitution, Liberty Hall was originally constructed as a14-room home in the Georgian style, eventually expanding into the exquisite 50-room Victorian mansion you see today. The museum houses extensive collections of furniture, ceramics, textiles, toys and tools owned by seven generations of the Livingston and Kean families. Descendants resided at Liberty Hall until 1995.
• Tour the grounds and buildings of Liberty Hall, including the mansion that welcomed distinguished guests such as George and Martha Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft and others • “Brothers in Arms: Memories of the Great War” — Commemorating the centennial of World War I, this exhibit explores the service of Capt. John Kean and his brother Congressman Robert W. Kean. Items including photos, maps, and their letters, postcards and uniforms tell of their experiences fighting in the war. • Gift shop on site
Eighteenth-Century outbuildings, herb and kitchen gardens help create a colonial atmosphere at the Miller-Cory House, where interactive tours engage the imagination of children and adults. Built about 1740, the small, neat and authentically furnished farmhouse stands on its original site along the “road to the mountains.” Visitors are introduced to colonial skills and practices as costumed interpreters recreate the daily chores and seasonal farm work of rural life in the Westfields circa 1740 – 1820. An education complex houses special exhibits
• Display of antique 18th-century finery and accessories — from aprons to wigs! • Open-hearth cooking demonstrations • Gift shop on site
Reeve History & Cultural Resource Center in Westfield
The Reeve History & Cultural Resource Center is located at the Westfield Historical Society headquarters. The Westfield Historical Society consists of the Reeve History & Cultural Resource Center (Reeve House) and the Miller Cory House Museum, located at 614 Mountain Ave, Westfield, NJ. The Reeve House is fully restored Victorian Italianate home, resplendent with many Victorian Antiques and artifacts from Westfield’s history. The house originally built in 1872, was lived in until 1898 by the Stitt Family who owned the Westfield Hotel, and later by the Reeve Family from 1906 – 2001. William Reeve served Westfield through a variety of local projects including the establishment of the YMCA and the creation of Mindowaskin Park in 1918. The Victorian home now serves the community as a historical resource center for Westfield as well as an exhibit center for special events throughout the year. A future educational facility which will also house the Westfield Historical Society archives, is in the funding stage and will provide for a museum and educational facility for the community to learn more about Westfield’s rich historical legacy.
• Tour this historic home
• Exhibit of items on loan from Belcher-Ogden Mansion includes 17th- and 18th-century china (including Delft), serving pieces, tea/coffee service, a Noah’s Ark toy set and shoe buckles • Virginia Apgar Exhibit: Once a Westfield resident, physician Virginia Apgar developed a system to assess the health of newborn babies, known as the Apgar score
Visit Union County’s Historic Sites via Mass Transit
In the mood for a walk or bike ride on a beautiful day? Some of Union County’s historic sites are within easy walking distance of NJ Transit rail stations. The (#) below refers to site numbers in this book. For those wishing to cycle from a train station, be sure to check with NJ Transit’s guidelines for bringing bikes aboard the trains. Union County Parks (ucnj.org/parks) is also rolling out routes for cyclists to visit several historic sites along a 10–12 mile ride.
Raritan Valley Line
Plainfield to Elizabeth, it was possible to board a train to Chicago, or from Jersey City, to board a ferry to New York City. The CNJ is long gone, however some of the historic sites along the route remain, and you can ride the train to visit some of them.
Details about these sites are found in the front of this book, and at ucnj.org/4C. Most sites are staffed by volunteers, so it may help to call in advance to confirm that the site will be open for your visit.
From the Raritan Valley Line, train stops near sites include these:
Plainfield: (14) Drake House Museum, 602 W Front St. From the station, walk west to Park Avenue and turn north towards downtown. Walk several blocks to Front Street and turn left. The walk to Drake House is 7/10 mile.
Fanwood: (8) Historic Fanwood Train Station, 230 North Ave. The Victorian Gothic train station is on the westbound side.
Westfield: From the train station, walk north through downtown. Then, walk along Mountain Ave., past the iconic white Presbyterian Church to (34) Reeve House, home of the Westfield Historical Society, located at 314 Mountain Ave. Continue to (33) the Miller-Cory House Museum, at 614 Mountain Ave.
Cranford: (4) Crane-Phillips Hous e Museum,124 North Union Ave. This American Civil War veteran’s cottage stands next to the Rahway River, a short walk northeast from the train station.
Roselle Park: (20) Roselle Park Museum, 9 West Grant Ave. Walk south on Chestnut St. to the borough’s downtown, to find the Roselle Park Museum. A little further, on Westfield Ave., was the Charles E. Stone store, the first store in the world illuminated by Edison’s incandescent lamp.
Union: (32) Liberty Hall Museum, 1003 Morris Ave. The train stops at Kean University. Walk across Morris Ave. to Liberty Hall, built on the eve of the American Revolution and home to William Livingston, a signer of the Constitution. (This site is also a 1-mile walk from North Elizabeth station on the Northeast Corridor Line. See details below.)
Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch
The Morristown Line, formerly part of the old Erie Lackawanna Railroad, intersects with NJ Transit’s Gladstone Branch in Summit, where there are two sites within a half-mile of the downtown station:
Summit: (28) Summit Playhouse, 10 New England Ave. Just west of the station, the Summit Library Association kept its books in various locations until residents donated $3,720 to build the Richardsonian, a Romanesque structure designed by Arthur Jennings.
Summit: (29) Twin Maples, 214 Springfield Ave. Just east of the station is Twin Maples, with a style evoking the White house. This suburban estate typifies the grand homes built in the Summit area from 1880 to 1920.
Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line
The Northeast Corridor, once the domain of the Pennsylvania Railroad, is now the main line between New York City and Trenton, while the Coast Line takes travelers to the Jersey Shore. While many trains stop in Elizabeth and Rahway, far fewer stop in North Elizabeth, so be sure to check before boarding.
Elizabeth – From the Elizabeth station, in the heart of the downtown, there are three sites within a half-mile of the station:
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth & Snyder Academy, 42 Broad St. Exit the station onto Broad St., and walk east to 42 Broad.
Boxwood Hall State Historic Site, 1073 East Jersey St. & Nathaniel Bonnell Homestead & Belcher-Ogden Mansion, 1045 & 1046 East Jersey St. Exit First Presbyterian to left. Turn right onto E. Jersey St., and follow it to 1073 E. Jersey, then 1045 & 1046 East Jersey St. 57
North Elizabeth – These two significant sites are a mile-plus walk from North Elizabeth station. Be sure to check the train schedule at njtransit.com, because not all trains stop at North Elizabeth:
Evergreen Cemetery, 1137 N. Broad St., Hillside (1853 interdenominational burial ground with mausoleums and more than 10,000 monuments — a virtual museum of funerary art). From the No. Elizabeth station, head west on North Ave. for 3/10 mile, then turn right onto Cross Ave. Head north for a half-mile, then bear left onto Lower Rd. Turn left onto North Broad St. The cemetery entrance is on your right.
Woodruff House-Eaton Store Museum, 111 Conant St., Hillside. The Woodruff House was built in 1735 while Eaton Store dates back to 1900. From the station, head west on North Ave. for 6/10-mile and turn right onto Salem Avenue. Go 4/10-mile and turn left onto Conant Street. House is 200- feet on your right.. If you are so inclined, the Liberty Hall Museum is a mile-walk from here. As you exit, turn right onto Conant Street and take the next left onto Westminster Avenue. Walk four blocks to Wilder Street and go right. This will take you through the rear entrance of Kean University’s graduate school campus, and across the bridge to Liberty Hall. From Rahway station, there are three historic sites of note:
Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving St. Turn right onto Broad St., then walk along Irving St.
Rahway School For Colored Children / the African American History & Heritage Center, 261 Central Ave. Head west on West Milton Ave. Turn right on Esterbrook Ave, go 2/10- mile and turn right onto Central. Site is across the street on your left.
Merchants & Drovers Tavern, 1632 St. Georges Ave., one mile from the station. Head west on West Milton to Broad St., and turn right. Then turn left onto Campbell St., and go to Central Ave. Turn right, then and go left onto Hamilton St., passing the Arts Center. Stay on Hamilton for a ½-mile, and then turn right onto St. Georges. The Tavern is two blocks ahead on your left.