Somerset Hills Historic Maps

This 1850 map is a recreation of an original 1850 Somerset County map. The area hasn't changed, but towns have forged their own mark on history.

As a historian, maps are one of the greatest sources of information capturing a time and place. These maps are ones we use to research history, find buildings, families, farms, or streets. We often then compare those historic maps to current maps. Then we go on a journey to find that actual location today. Once in a while, we take our research and create maps to give perspective. #readytoremember Mr Local History Google Maps We really believe that cartography is an art form and what’s typically left behind IS a…

Read More

The Founding Families of Basking Ridge

Trading $50 for Basking Ridge

History showcases some of the greatest reminders of where we came from. Many people new to the area don’t know the deep history in the area ties back to some of the originating families that chose this area back in the early 1700s. As many know, the area was purchased by John Harrison, agent of King James III of England in 1717, from Chief Nowenoik of the Lenapes, a real estate package of 3,000 acres for $50.  We honor those who founded this community on the Ridge. Six Early Settlers…

Read More

History Dig: The Army Hospital was in Basking Ridge and NOT Jockey Hollow

The Winter Encampment at Morristown has a historic twist. The army hospital was in Basking Ridge. Read the story.

NOTE: While I sit in the house under self distancing work from home for the Coronavirus, we take a look back at a hospital in Basking Ridge, New Jersey that very few people knew. And the amazing part is not that I knew there was a hospital in Basking Ridge, I was shocked to learn that there never was a hospital in Jockey Hollow. Brooks Betz, Historian – Mr. Local History Project The 1779-1780 Winter Encampment at Jockey HollowThe Story of the Hospital at Basking Ridge Weather conditions when the…

Read More

Keepsake – Stirling’s Basking Ridge Grand Manor Immortalized

tirling Manor was stated to be a English nobleman's Georgian Palladian style estate along the Dead River called "The Sycamores" with great lawns, gardens, vineyards, stables, coach houses, with a large paved court behind the mansion. The property up to 800 total acres. While the estate is gone this one in Marble Hill-Twickenham outside London is very similar to what Sycamores might have looked like.

The Mayor of the Somerset Hills Historic Village is VERY proud to announce the addition of what might be one of the most iconic historic images in the area. Let’s welcome the historic Cat’s Meow Lord Stirling Manor, noted as one of the grandest manors in the early American Colonies. The Mr. Local History Project introduces the 8th in the series voted by the community is the 1761 Lord Stirling Manor. How do I Get One? PRE-ORDER YOUR LIMITED EDITION COLLECTIBLE The easiest way to get one is to order…

Read More

Lord Stirling-Is Sir William Alexander Basking Ridge’s Most Famous Resident?

Lord Stirling - Washington's top general from Basking Ridge.

William Alexander was considered male heir to the Scottish title of Earl of Stirling through Scottish lineage (being the senior male descendant of the paternal grandfather of the 1st Earl of Stirling, who had died in 1640), and he sought the title sometime after 1756. Raised on Broad Street in Lower Manhattan, he decided to move west to the country. He chose Baskinridge (Basking Ridge) and became what many feel is the area’s most famous resident. Let’s take a look. Early Days William Alexander (1726 – 1/15/1783) was the son…

Read More

Retrospect: President James Monroe Had Ties to Basking Ridge

Young James Monroe who later became the 5th President of the United States

James Monroe was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and “Founding Father” who served as the fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825. A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Monroe was the last president of the Virginia dynasty. But did you know Monroe cut his political teeth in Basking Ridge, New Jersey in 1777 at the ripe age of 19. Let’s take a look at this great American story. The Virginia Farm Hand Dropout James Monroe was born on April 28, 1758 near what is now called Monroe…

Read More

Looking Back – Werring Chevrolet-Olds in Basking Ridge

Werring Chevrolet Basking Ridge 1957

For many the downtown village of Basking Ridge is a bucolic vision of a Rockwell American town. Dotted with small shops, churches, and eateries, you don’t have to travel back in time too far when one of the biggest businesses in the downtown area was a car dealership. The Mr. Local History project takes you back to 1957 where we introduce you to the history of Werring Chevrolet-Olds right there where the current Basking Ridge Family Dentistry offices stand in 2020. John H. Werring picked up where Ray Moffet ended…

Read More

Why is Basking Ridge Called the Red Devils and Why are They Green?

Ridge High School and the Red Devil Tool Company - Mr. Local History

The Mr. Local History project got a request the other day asking why is the Ridge High School sports program called the Red Devils and why are they using the color green? It’s a history thing. Lets take a look. The story starts back in 1940 when the famed “Astor Estate” (the Bernards Township town hall) was sold to Mr. and Mrs. George Ludlow Lee, Sr. in 1940. The estate was actually called “Cedar Hill Farm” at the time. Mr. Lee was the owner/treasurer of the Red Devil Tool Company of Irvington from…

Read More

They Stayed In Basking Ridge

The famous people who came to Basking Ridge - Mr Local History Project

In a sleepy little section in the northern end of Bernards Township lies the Olde Mill Inn. Once just a small restaurant and former grain house barn, it has become a quiet getaway for Hollywood elite and social royalty. As you walk into the Olde Mill Inn lobby, take a quick turn to the left for a glimpse of history mounted on the wall. The statement is simple: these people chose to visit where you live for any number of reasons. From Martin Sheen to Howard Stern, let’s take a…

Read More

Timeline Highlights Bernards Township History

Mr Local History showcases Bernards Township Historic Timeline

Take a visual tour of a great document that showcases key historic activities that occured in Bernards Township. The timeline was prepared by former historian June Kennedy honoring the 250th anniversary and history of Bernards Township.

Read More

Films Document Basking Ridge History

Historic Basking Ridge Documentary Films - Mr. Local History

If you’re a fan of local history, two area film makers have created documentary films showcasing two of the most regarded historic stories in Bernards Township. While many people don’t know about the great fight against the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey and what almost happened to the town, Saving The Great Swamp – The Battle to Defeat the Jetport is a reminder on how delicate communities can be. The second film, Under the Great Oak is a film about the iconic village oak tree that the township lost…

Read More

Affordable Housing Development History in Bernards Township

History of Housing Developments in Bernards Township = Mr Local History

Bernards Township has had a long history of being a sleepy rural town. Then AT&T came to town in the 70’s and everything started to change. Demand for housing increased as people from around the world started to choose Bernards Township as a place to raise their children. Starting in the 50’s the concept of cluster housing neighborhoods started in the famed Levittown, NY development which later led to our area’s infamous “The Hills” development complex. Let’s take a look back at the growth of housing complexes in Bernards Township…

Read More

Bernards Township Origins

Bernards Township Asian Community Research - Mr. Local History Project

Bernards Township has been a charted township going all the way back to 1760. With the early Dutch and Scottish settlers, the origin of the area belongs to the famed Lenni-Lenape Native American tribe.But what about the other cultures in the area. We’re on a mission to find out and would love to engage the community. Demographic Highlights Researching Diversity We are honoring those in our neighborhood who have identified themselves as Asian according to the census. Statistics have shown that the Asian American community (including India and Chinese) has…

Read More

Lord Stirling’s Rev War Beacon Signal Towers

Signal beacons of the Continental Army -Created by Major General Stirling of Basking Ridge

The Continental Army and General Lord Stirling of Basking Ridge took a page out of the history books creating a sophisticated communications network to highlight British movement You never know what you’re going to find regarding history in the Somerset Hills area of northern Somerset County, New Jersey, but we have another great story of the American revolution and its ties to Basking Ridge, New Jersey. For those who don’t know General William Alexander, also known as Lord Stirling of Basking Ridge, New Jersey he is the one credited with…

Read More

Bernards BaseBall Club of 1867

The history of Basking Ridge (Bernards Township) sometimes comes in unique ways. While researching the internet for another story we came across this auction selling an original score book from the Bernards Baseball Club. Today, there are a large number of men who love to play club ball. While mostly softball, there is a core group of club based ball players across New Jersey. Formed in 1867, while the Bernards Baseball Club is an interesting story, it’s all the letters, signatures and additional tidbits that came with the piece that…

Read More