Meeting – May 24, 2016 – The deserted village of Feltville

16 May 2016

Deserted HouseAbout 1736, Peter Willcocks built a sawmill along the Blue Brook to produce lumber needed by farmers as they settled this frontier area.  Hundreds of acres of forest were cleared by this sawmill operation.

In 1845 David Felt bought 760 acres of land and built a printing factory along the brook.  To support the mill operation, he built an entire town on the bluff above the brook.  He named it Feltville.  By 1850, 175 people were living here.  In 1860, Felt retired.  Other business ventures were tried but failed.  The town became deserted for a short time.

Warren Ackerman bought the property in 1882.  He converted the former mill town into a summer resort called Glenside Park.  Eventually the Jersey Short displaced the popularity of this mountain resort.  Glenside Park closed in 1916.

In 1921 the Union County Park System was formed and this area was incorporated into the Watchung Reservation.  Today ten historic building still remain on the grounds.  Some are still inhabited.

The Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood is thrilled to hold its monthly meeting at the Masker’s Barn of the Deserted Village.  Daniel Bernier, the resident caretaker of the Deserted Village since 1992, will tell us about the interesting history of Feltville.  For 30 years, Dan has supervised the restoration of the Deserted Village in Feltville.  He garnered 4 NJ historic preservation grants totaling $1.1 million that have helped the Board of Chosen Freeholders stabilize the 10 building in this historic mill town and summer resort.  Its Church/General Store Building and an 1885 carriage house known as Masker’s Barn have been restored.

Dan graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in Anthropology.  He did graduate work in Anthropology at New York University and earned a Certificate in Public Administration from Kean College.  Since 1982, Dan has been employed by the County of Union in its Parks Department.  For 3 years he was a Park Naturalist and Museum Curator at the Trailside Nature & Science Center.  He then became the County’s park planner.

Everyone is invited to this road trip meeting.  The meeting starts at 7:00 PM on Tuesday May 24th.  The GPS address is 13 Cataract Hollow Road, Berkeley Heights.  Drive past the Road Closed signs and continue slowly about ½ mile to Masker’s Barn at the end where there is parking. You can also try this link for a closer address to the site.

If you want to carpool or fallow in a caravan, be at the Scotch Plains Municipal Building parking lot by 6:45pm.  Refreshments and fellowship follow the meeting.

Meeting – April 26, 2016 – Where in the World is Harriet Osborn?

24 April 2016

HarrietOsbornWaldo2bcOur meeting this month is a contest run by our own George Pierson. George has put together old photos, pictures and recent digital images of our historic homes and people that date back to the 1700s and 1800s. You will be asked to make believe that the ghost of Harriet Osborn has revisited us. It will be up to you and your team mate to tell us where she is or who she is visiting. There will be prizes.
Feel free to bring along guests for this historical contest!

This fun meeting is free and open to everyone. Refreshments and fellowship will follow the program. The meeting starts at 8:00PM on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. The meeting is held at the Scotch Hills Country Club located at Plainfield Avenue and Jerusalem Road in Scotch Plains.

For more information about this meeting, contact Connie Klock at 908-232-9489 or write to us.

Meeting – March 22, 2016 – Nineteenth century New Jersey Photographers

20 March 2016

Guillermo Thorn NJ Photographer

Before 1900 approximately 3,000 different photographers were active in New Jersey. A substantial number worked in Union County. One of them, Guillermo Thorn, took many photographs of Plainfield and Scotch Plains.  His photographs captured Victorian New Jersey.  At the monthly meeting of the Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood on Tuesday evening March 22nd, Gary D. Saretzky will profile Guillermo Thorn, Alfred S. Campbell and other Union County pioneers. He will discuss them within the larger context of New Jersey photography in the Nineteenth Century.

Gary D. Saretzky is a professional photographer who is also the Monmouth County Archivist since 1994. Saretzky has taught the history of photography at Mercer County Community College from 1977 through 2012.  He has served as coordinator of the Public History Internship Program for the Rutgers University History Department since 1994.  Under the auspices of the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, he lectures around the state on topics related to the history of photography. Additionally, Saretzky has published more than 100 articles and reviews on the history of photography and photographic conservation. In the Macmillan Biographical Encyclopedia of Photographic Artists and Innovators he is profiled.

Everyone is invited to this special meeting on Nineteenth century photographers. The Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood is pleased to have one of the Guillermo Thorn experts, Gary Saretzky as our presenter due to the funding by the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The meeting is free and open to everyone. Refreshments and fellowship will follow the program. The meeting starts at 8:00PM on Tuesday, March 22rd, 2016. The meeting is held at the Scotch Hills Country Club located at Plainfield Avenue and Jerusalem Road in Scotch Plains.

For more information about this meeting, contact Connie Klock at 908-232-9489 or write to us.

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