Four Centuries in a Weekend

Saturday Oct. 16 & Sunday Oct. 17

12 noon – 5 pm

Explore the historic sites of Union County

Sites, Tours, Exhibits & Special Events open
during the Weekend are listed below.

To link to a site’s location on Google Maps, click the address.

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. David Felt sold the village 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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tours led by an archaeologist
  • Arm-chair tour by “David Felt”
  • General store open
  • Apple cider pressing
  • For children: old-fashioned children’s games and an archaeology activity
  • Photo display at Masker’s Barn shows scenes from the 100-year history of the Union County Park System
  • Quill pen writing
  • Two house renovations in progress

Dr. William Robinson Plantation-Museum in Clark

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Museum tours
  • Immersive World War II program presented by B. Historical includes: a full working Signal Corps display and message center demonstrating how messages always got through during the war; presentation about WACS, WAVES and the Civil Defense; the only movable WWII Telephone Pole Trailer in the world; military vehicles; and presenters who interact with visitors and answer questions
  • Cooking demonstrations and butter churning

Crane-Phillips House Museum in Cranford

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Displays on view celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Cranford
  • Grounds include a Victorian flower garden

William Miller Sperry Observatory in Cranford

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tours of the observatory
  • Continuous slideshow about the history of Sperry Observatory
  • Children’s activities
  • Sunday: outdoor solar-observing (weather permitting)

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Guided tours of this elegant 18th-century home, where George Washington dined on the day he was first inaugurated as President. Learn about famous, infamous, and should-be-famous people connected with this site. Hear about the Revolutionary war experience in Elizabeth.
  • Exhibit about local history

Elizabeth Public Library

11 South Broad St.
908-354-6060  •  www.elizpl.org
Open Saturday 10 am–4:30 pm
CLOSED Sunday Oct 17

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Union County Parks: an exhibit of materials from the Local History Archive illustrating the creation of the Union County Parks system — including maps, photographs, 1920s publications, and various ephemera. For more information, contact the Local History & Special Collections Department at 908-354-6060 x7220.

First Presbyterian Church and Snyder Academy in Elizabeth

6

First Presbyterian Church (908) 353-2131 www.fpcenj.org
Snyder Academy (908) 353-2132 www.acadenj.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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Take a guided tour from Snyder Academy or a self-guided tour of this historic campus: the church (now Siloam-Hope First Presbyterian Church); the Snyder Academy — where Alexander Hamilton once attended school; and the historic cemetery with gravesites spanning four centuries — with an estimated 313+ free and enslaved African people buried in unmarked graves.
  • Presentations by Dr. James Amemasor (NJ Historical Society) and Michael Gregory (a historian and Elizabeth Police officer)
  • Enjoy music and games on site

Nathaniel Bonnell Homestead & Belcher-Ogden Mansion

nathaniel-bonnell-homestead-belcher-ogden-mansion

Daytime (908) 581-7555 Evening (908) 591-1893

The Nathaniel Bonnell Homestead (1682) and the Belcher-Ogden Mansion (1699-1755) anchor “the corner that history made.” Both buildings are a celebration of adaptive reuse and historical ecology.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Offering a bilingual virtual tour of the interiors of the buildings, and an outside tour at “the corner that history made”
  • Picnic tables are available for litter-free carry-in lunch in the Belcher-Ogden back yard

Historic Fanwood Train Station Museum in Fanwood

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Museum features local history, with a focus on rail service

Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside
 

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.

Self-Guided Tour

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Pick up a tour booklet at Woodruff House for a self-guided tour of this historic cemetery, replete with impressive monuments

Woodruff House/Eaton Store Museum in Hillside

9

(908) 353-8828

Saturday: 10 am–5 pm

Sunday: 12 noon–5 pm

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tours of house (dates to 1735) and store (dates to 1900)
  • The Phil Rizzuto All Sports Exhibit open to the public
  • Apple Festival — purchase apples, donuts, etc.

Oswald J. Nitschke House in Kenilworth

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Guided tours of the circa-1880 house, restored and furnished in late 19th-/early 20th-century style, and its teaching gardens with heirloom flowers, vegetables and herbs — featuring a World War I Victory Garden, “Three Sisters” Garden and 19th-century farming equipment
  • Living history program: “Persevering Through Times of Triumph and Tribulation” (1917-1921) focused on World War I, Prohibition and women’s suffrage
  • Multicultural garden-to-table culinary demonstration
  • New exhibit: “100 Years & More — Votes for Women”
  • Light refreshments

Deacon Andrew Hetfield House in Mountainside

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tours of the house all weekend
  • Special exhibits throughout this Revolutionary War-era site
  • John Sileo of Tri-State Historical Education Simulations will discuss a Revolutionary War battle fought nearby, with discussion augmented by a miniature diorama showing the battle’s actions — with hundreds of hand-painted soldiers
  • Stop next door at the recently restored Levi Cory House (circa 1818), now open for visiting and shopping at the Village Shop

Salt Box Museum in New Providence

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tours of the first floor — furnished to represent a typical mid-19th century New Jersey farmhouse
  • On display (weather permitting): a completely rebuilt farm wagon once used on a New Providence farm; period equipment used to launder clothing; vintage tools and ice plow

Drake House Museum in Plainfield

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.

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Outdoor exhibit (weather permitting) of then-and-now photographs from of a 1926 Plainfield and Vicinity book, plus artworks by local artists depicting Drake House
  • Exterior tours available
  • Herb garden, butterfly garden and COVID Memorial garden
  • If museum interior (limited capacity) is closed due to COVID risk level, there will be more outdoor displays, weather permitting

Merchants and Drovers Tavern in Rahway

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tours of the museum
  • Tours of selected gravesites in Rahway Cemetery, including: Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; the “Unknown Woman;” and Ambo, an enslaved woman
  • Handouts showing locations of commemorative trees standing in the County Park on St. Georges Ave. (near the museum)

Rahway School for Colored Children and The African American History & Learning Center

rahway-school

253 Central Ave in Rahway
(732) 382-0541

ebenezeramechurch.com/aahhlc.html

Open Saturday 12 noon–3 pm

CLOSED Sunday Oct 17

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Oral history event and tour, presented in partnership with the Ebenezer A.M.E. Congregation and the Rahway Community
  • Food truck: Rod’s Fish & Chips
  • Family-oriented games and prizes

Roselle Park Museum in Roselle Park

17

(908) 245-1776

Note: Visitor table inside The Casano Center at 314 Chestnut St.

(around the corner from the museum on West Grant Ave.)

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Photos and discussion about the history of Roselle Park’s downtown businesses, post-World War II through the 1980s — learn about the changes throughout these years
  • Volunteers from Roselle Park Historical Society take questions

Osborn Cannonball House in Scotch Plains

18

Weekends: 908-322-6700, extension 230
Weekdays: 908-757-1885

The 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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Costumed docents giving guided tours of this 18th-century home — hear the story of how it was struck by Revolutionary War cannonball fire, and learn about Mary Darby, a Scotch Plains woman who selflessly aided the Revolutionary cause.
  • “Strength in Women through the Ages” display features the history and clothing of the women’s suffrage movement in NJ

Elizabeth and Gershom Frazee House

elizabeth-and-gershom-frazee-house

1451 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains
www.frazeehouse.org

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Saturday: the annual Harvest Festival
  • Frazee House progress: photos and conversation about the completed Phase 1 exterior construction and the upcoming Phase 2 interior construction
  • Pumpkin Patch all weekend
Shady Rest and Country Club

shady-rest

820 Jerusalem Road, Scotch Plains
908-490-1577

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).

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tour this historic site, which was the first black-owned country club in the United States
  • Sunday: Display from The Nubian Heritage Quilters

Carter House in Summit

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Informal tours of the 1741 Carter House, with docents on hand (photography is encouraged)
  • House museum features period furniture and decorative items; local history library; a painting by the Hudson River School’s Worthington Whittredge; gift shop; and Colonial Kitchen complete with hearth; archives that include photos, building histories, genealogy records, thousands of local obituaries, maps, postcards, and more.
  • Retail shop offers handmade items and gifts with local themes
  • Garage houses a 1920s Summit Fire Dept. Chemical Engine and serves as a mini history museum for the Summit Fire Dept.

Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit

21

(908) 273-8787

Open Saturday 10 am–4 pm

CLOSED Sunday Oct 17

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Saturday: Free Garden Tours at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm (depart from Visitors Center)
  • Historic public garden, education resource center, and living history museum featuring Wisner House and other outbuildings on 13.5 acres of pastoral lawns, woodland trails, a glacial bowl and historic gardens. Buildings include galleries, classroom/workshop space in the historic carriage house, and a library housing a collection of historic documents, photos and books.

Wallace Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Summit

138-142 Broad St.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tour of the church, other buildings and the grounds – where plaques recognize Rev. Dr. Florence S. Randolph for her contributions as a social and political activist and spiritual leader in the movement for women’s suffrage

Caldwell Parsonage in Union Township

24

(908) 687-7977
 
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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Interactive Lenape exhibit includes: “stones” game, matching Lenape words with English words, locating Lenape place names on NJ map and learn their meanings, fry bread recipe
  • Interpreter Doc Burkhardt “appears” as Rev. James Caldwell
  • For children: play colonial games and make souvenir tricorn hats, colonial bonnets, and church dolls
  • Student interpreters (docents) on hand
  • Photo-ops with colonial children’s “clothing” and an Instagram selfie frame
  • New exhibit of everyday dress of Hannah Caldwell

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.

Connecticut Farms Church in Union Twp.

888 Stuyvesant Ave. 
908-688-3164  •  ctfarms.org

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Church and cemetery open both days
  • Craft Fair (tentative)

Donald M. Payne Vauxhall Meeting Center in Union Twp.

The Vauxhall Historical Society presentation will now be on display at the Jefferson School Cafeteria at 166 Hilton Ave in Vauxhall/Union

908-688-2797  •  email vhs1860@yahoo.com

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Displays and informational materials about the Vauxhall area

Liberty Hall Museum in Union Township

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tours of Liberty Hall mansion (first floor), the home of a founding father of the United States of America, and a home that welcomed distinguished guests such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Ulysses S. Grant and others
  • Self-guided tours of the arboretum, gardens and grounds
  • Gift shop on site

Miller-Cory House in Westfield

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Step back into Colonial times and witness open-hearth cooking demonstrations, as cooks work in the kitchen, using herbs and seasonal vegetables to make authentic 18th-century recipes
  • Sunday: cooks will “fire up” the beehive oven to bake delectable colonial treats including bread, muffins and biscuits
  • “George Washington” will be present

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.

Four Centuries Weekend Oct 16-17:

  • Tour this circa-1875 Italianate Victorian-era residence
  • Special exhibits available
  • Saturday: Annual Westfield Historical Society AppleFest celebration, held on the lawn