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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Reflection: Basking Ridge Christmas Eve Caroling

The infamous "Whoville" Christmas gathering. It's as close as you can get when you're in the Basking Ridge village green at 7pm the night before Christmas.

Community Tradition Annual Christmas Eve Community Carolingon the Village Green in Basking Ridge. Post your photos on Social Media #realwhoville Every year on December 24th starting promptly at 7pm on what’s known as “The Green”, residents, families, friends, and guests in Basking Ridge, New Jersey gather for less than 20 minutes to sing Christmas carols, wish good tidings, then move on to their personal family traditions. It’s this 20 minute community activity that brings out the best in this community. The event for many is a ongoing family tradition that’s…

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Bishop Edmund S. Janes – His Somerset Hills Story

Book: The Life of Bishop Edmund S. James

Before we get started: The Methodist Church in the United States is 94% white, 92% third generation American, 60% married, 69% believe in God absolutely, 42% attend church weekly, and 62% believe in hell. Several attempts were made in the twentieth century to reunite the Methodist Church with its founder’s own church – the Church of England. These were rejected by the Church of England’s General Synod in 1972. However, dialogue and informal relations continued. In 2003 a Covenant between the two churches was signed. This affirms each church as…

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The Day that Altered American History

A Day that Changed the Course of American History in Basking Ridge, New Jersey Basking Ridge, New Jersey’s most famous Incident occurred at about noon time on December 13,1776. General Charles Lee (1731-1782), was “alarmed” by Major Wilkinson while he was writing a letter to General Gates about George Washington in an upstairs bedroom of the Widow White’s Tavern. Widow White’s Tavern, named after Ebenezer White’s wife Mary Brown White, became the centerpiece of Revolutionary War history on that day, because It was on this most unfortunate day for General…

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“June in December” Tree Honors June Kennedy at Festival of Trees in Basking Ridge

June In December Holiday Tree Honors former Bernards Township Historian June Kennedy

The Mr. Local History Project honors the former Bernards Township’s historian June Kennedy showcasing our “June in December” tree honoring her dedication to community and local history. The Festival of Trees is an indoor exhibit of decorated Christmas trees by various community groups and individuals and runs from December 6 thru December 30th at the Environment Education Center on Stirling Road in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. The Mr. Local History Project is proud to announce the newly created “community spirit tree” honoring all those who like to remember local history…

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Exclusive Holiday Cards – Get Yours

Holiday Greeting Cards - Available Now.

“T’was the night before Christmas in the village of Basking Ridge” – Community Holiday Cards with a purpose! In our first year of being, the Mr. Local History project presents an exclusive holiday card for our Bernards Township friends and families. We call it the “T’was the night before Christmas in Basking Ridge village” card. The card was created by our dear friend Linda Arnold, a resident of Liberty Corner. For a limited time, you can get a set of 5 cards with envelopes for only $10. Get a few…

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