Bernards Township Honors Fallen Soldiers and Veterans

Bernards Township Honors our local veterans - Mr Local History

Post Views: 175 This Memorial Day 2020 Bernards Township honors our military with a banner salute around the Bernards Township Municipal building and town hall. Please take a moment to remember those who have served to preserve our freedoms and our way of life. Special thanks to the Bernards Township Veteran’s Appreciation Task Force under the direction of Mayor James Baldassare who have been working on the project since early January 2020. I want to thank our Veterans Appreciation Task Force headed by Jennifer Donohoe for having our Hero’s Banners…

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Population Trends in the Somerset Hills

Everything looked consistent until Bernards Township broke the trend with an exponential growth period. Mr. Local History

Post Views: 121 One thing that I’ve learned as a township historian in this area is everyone has a point of view on what changed the area over the years. No matter who you talk to you typically hear that the area is nothing like it used to be. But what did it used to be depends on how far you look back. Looking back to the 1700’s in the Somerset Hills we’ve recognized a few things. First, the Somerset Hills townships are tucked behind the Watchung Mountains in a…

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Historic Profile: The Lost Somerset Hills Airport in Basking Ridge

Looking back at the Somerset Hills Airport in Basking Ridge, NJ

Post Views: 316 If you were driving around the small town of Basking Ridge, New Jersey and you were looking for an airport the only thing you’d find is a sign. But for residents who’ve lived here since the 1930s, the area contained a small grass runway airport called the Somerset Hills Airport. Before there was an airport, there was a 70 acre tract that had a long history in Basking Ridge. The original owner goes back to the early 1700s when James Alexander, the father to Lord Stirling aka…

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Sharing History with 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.

Post Views: 351 Researching New Jersey and our Somerset Hills Community’s History with Maps 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 1779 Washington…

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The Founding Families of Basking Ridge

Trading $50 for Basking Ridge

Post Views: 747 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.…

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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.

Post Views: 748 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…

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

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

Post Views: 527 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)…

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Retrospect: President James Monroe Had Ties to Basking Ridge

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

Post Views: 633 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…

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Looking Back – Werring Chevrolet-Olds in Basking Ridge

Werring Chevrolet Basking Ridge 1957

Post Views: 535 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…

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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

Post Views: 747 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…

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They Stayed In Basking Ridge

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

Post Views: 898 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,…

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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

Post Views: 279 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…

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Affordable Housing Development History in Bernards Township

History of Housing Developments in Bernards Township = Mr Local History

Post Views: 579 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…

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