Union County, NJ – Union County’s annual “Four Centuries in a Weekend: A Journey through Union County’s History,” is back this year on Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17 from noon to 5:00 p.m. each day. The weekend of activities features special events for all ages at more than 30 historic sites throughout Union County.
“Four Centuries in a Weekend is a Union County tradition that enables residents and visitors to travel through time and learn about the rich history of our community,” said County Commission Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “This year marks the return of Four Centuries after last year’s hiatus, and we encourage all residents to take this opportunity to explore the many historic treasures we have here in Union County.”
The annual event is sponsored by the Union County Board of County Commissioners through the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, in collaboration with the staff and volunteers at over 30 houses, museums and historic sites. The two-day free event opens the doors to more than 370 years of history throughout the county.
Visitors will be able to stop by a beautifully restored mansion and church, Revolutionary War burial grounds, the county’s oldest railroad station, unique houses and museums, special exhibitions, and more.
This year, Four Centuries welcomes several new sites including the Wallace Chapel on Broad Street in Summit. Wallace Chapel is known for its role as the home of the Reverend Florence Spearing Randolph, a 20th century activist and one of the first women in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church denomination to be ordained as a deacon and elder. Florence Spearing Randolph served on the executive board of the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association and was founder and president of the New Jersey Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs.
This year, Four Centuries will also feature the 100th anniversary of the Union County Parks system will be featured during the weekend, along with special programs including:
Deserted Village of Feltville/Glenside Park in Berkeley Heights. Visitors will be given a special tour led by none other than “David Felt” himself, founder of Feltville in the mid-1800’s. There will be apple cider pressing, games and archeological activities for children, and visits to a classic general store.
William Miller Sperry Observatory in Cranford. Visitors will get to tour the observatory and learn about its long history. On Sunday, October 17 there will be an outdoor solar observation event, weather permitting.
Boxwood Hall State Historic Site in Elizabeth. Visitors will be given guided tours of this elegant 18th-century home, where George Washington dined while en route to his inauguration as President. Learn about famous, infamous, and should-be-famous people who are connected with this historic site.
Oswald J. Nitschke House in Kenilworth. Visitors will receive guided tours of the circa-1880 house, restored and furnished in late 19th-/early 20th-century style, as well as its teaching gardens with heirloom flowers, vegetables and herbs. There will also be a Living History program, “Persevering Through Times of Triumph and Tribulation (1917-1921)” focused on World War I, Prohibition and Women’s Suffrage.
African American History & Heritage Learning Center of Rahway. Visitors to the Learning Center will take part in an oral history event and tour, presented in partnership with the Ebenezer A.M.E. Congregation and the Rahway Community. Rod’s Fish & Chips will be present with a food truck and there will be family-oriented games and prizes. The Learning Center will only be open Saturday, October 16 from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Liberty Hall Museum in Union, part of and within the campus of Kean University. Visitors to this historic mansion will be touring the home of a Founding Father of the United States of America, a place where generations of the well-known Livingston and Kean families welcomed distinguished guests such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Ulysses S. Grant and others. There will also be self-guided tours of the arboretum, gardens and grounds.
Miller-Cory House Museum in Westfield. Visitors will be able to 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. On Sunday, cooks will “fire up” the beehive oven to bake delectable colonial treats including bread, muffins and biscuits, while none other than “George Washington” himself will be present.
Four Centuries in a Weekend is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, part of the Division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State.
For free copies of the Four Centuries in a Weekend tour booklet, map and further information, call the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs at 908-558-2550 (NJ Relay users dial 711), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete details about Four Centuries in a weekend are also available online at ucnj.org/parks-recreation/cultural-heritage-affairs/historic-sites-map.
The Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs is a division of the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information about all activities and programs of the Parks Department visit ucnj.org/parks-recreation.
For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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