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

The Mr. Local History Project honors Bernards Township’s local historian June Kennedy showcasing their “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 1 thru December 30th at the Environment Education Center on Stirling Road in Basking Ridge. The Mr. Local History Project is proud to announce the newly created “community spirit tree” honoring all those who like to remember local history and their former…

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A Unique Bedminster Cemetery-“God’s Acre”

Mr Local History takes a look at a unique burial ground in Bedminster, New Jersey

So we’re over at the Bedminster Farmers Market and while meeting a few of the locals, one of the patrons mentioned “why don’t you research what’s going on over at the slave burial grounds in Bedminster. Here we are. We love a good local history lesson, so let’s do this. Tucked behind the second Watchung Mountain off Lamington Road in Bedminster lies what had been identified as a slave burial ground. Back in the early 18th century the area was quietly farmed mostly by Dutch families who left what is…

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Mr. Local History’s #growlocalhistory Project

Mr Local History Grow Local History project

Trying to Make Somerset County Grow with Free Sunflowers and Some Local History Who doesn’t love a good challenge and some free stuff. This one is a fun one to see if we can promote growing in the Somerset Hills. Let us introduce the inaugural “Mr. Local History Grow Local History” project. Locals come get your pack of locally grown sunflower seeds and lets see how many new gardens we can create. The #growlocalhistory project is simple. Come find the yellow bucket and get a pack of sunflower seeds. As…

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Genealogy Help and References

Mr Local History and Ancestry.com support

Looking to Research Your Family History in the Somerset Hills? Genealogy is one of the local historical society’s most requested interest areas. While the Society has limited space to store family historical information, we do have the ability to help you get started on your search. However, in partnership with the Bernards Township Library, there is a dedicated group there that might be able to assist with your research requests. There is also a tremendous amount of information at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church records in Basking Ridge as well…

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History of the US Golf Association Headquarters and Museum

Mr. Local History shares a profile of the USGA Museum in Bernards Township, New Jersey

A historic gem right in Bernards Township, New Jersey The USGA Museum, currently located adjacent to the USGA Headquarters, has long been a mecca for those passionate about the game. Some 20,000 avid golfers make the pilgrimage to the Somerset Hills each year to visit the museum. This elegant brick three story Georgian colonial mansion, designed in 1919 by John Russell Pope, has been home to the USGA Headquarters & Museum since 1972. In 1919, Thomas H. Frothingham (1891-1971), a stockbroker and partner at Potter Brothers & Company, commissioned architect…

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“Janice Meredith” – 1924 Silent Film Showcases American Revolution

Janice Meredith a silent film found by Mr Local History

Back in 1924 silent films were all the rage. Bernardsville was just becoming a boro and separating from Bernards Township but there was still only one movie theater, The Liberty . How fortunate was the theater to feature the film “Janice Meredith”, a film about the American Revolution featuring the infamous General Charles Lee. The question is? Will they show the infamous Lee capture at Widow White’s in Basking Ridge? We have the complete film at the end of the story. Film It is 1774, the eve of the American…

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The History of the 1912 Bernards Township Town Hall – The Astor Estate in Basking Ridge

Mr. Local History Archives - Astor Estate

One of the most iconic historic properties in the Somerset Hills is an English Tudor style estate that sits atop a high ridge in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township. Built in 1912, this Basking Ridge landmark was the home to four wealthy families; Owen, Lee, Bissell and Astor, before being acquired by Bernards Township in 1968. The property is known by locals as the Astor Estate since the Astor’s were the last private owners. However, the resident that had the most impact on the town belonged to George…

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The Washington House

Mr. Local History Archives - #catsmeowvillage

Somerset Historic Village Collection Welcomes #4 – the 1871 Washington House. Inaugural Run is Available Now (Online ONLY) Amazing that it’s been two years since we launched the Historic Somerset Hills Village collection in partnership with the Cat’s Meow Village Company. Mr. Local History is proud to announce that the village is going to grow again with at least two new additions for 2019. The first release for 2019 is the historic 1871 Washington House in the Basking Ridge Village of Bernards Township. If you’d like to participate and be…

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The Great Historic Tavern Pub Crawl & Tours

We like touring Morris and Somerset County since this is the “cockpit of the revolution” and most of the old taverns were meeting places of the resistance. Want to grab a pint where  General Washington drank (and maybe slept)? How about a cold one where Ben Franklin gathered his thoughts? Here’s where history meets the road….literally. In addition to churches, pubs and taverns served as the meeting places of the revolution. How fun now would it be to create a trip, learn some great stories, and maybe even sit and…

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Somerset Hills Most Famous Residents

The New Jersey towns that make up the Somerset Hills include Bernards Twp (Basking Ridge), Bernardsville, Bedminster, Far Hills, Peapack/Gladstone). Starting back in the late 1800’s many of the richest and most famous people lived in the Somerset Hills. Remembering who they are is one thing.Remembering what they did is another.Remembering where they live(d) is tougher still. The Somerset Hills in New Jersey is one of the most affluent areas in the history of the United States. From the Bernardsville Mountain in the Gilded Age, to the Bedminster fox country,…

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Best Crumb Cake in New Jersey – Discuss Now

Maybe we’re taking this way to seriously, but I’ve been searching for bakeries that serve New Jersey’s best crumb cake. If you’re NOT a fan of the cake, you might want to leave now because we’re really going to get into the discussion. Now for those of you who ARE fans, read on. New Jersey fans of crumb cake have been treated for years with the delectable breakfast offering. As we’ve found, this treat is not available all over the country. While companies such as Entenmanns have tried to fill the…

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Taking Jacobs Ladder to the Devils Tomb (Grave)

Mr. Local History Archives - Jacobs Ladder

Devils Tomb & Jacobs Ladder – Look what happened when Weird NJ Issue #12 came out. A place that sits quietly in obscurity for hundreds of years comes to an abrupt end when overzealous devil seekers search to find the devil himself. Thanks to Weird NJ issue 12, I’ve always found it interesting how gore and ghosts have always lured people into learning history. The problem when you link history to ghosts, the history sometimes gets stretched, or even down right exploited. For fun, since the article is now out…

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Titanic Survivor Astor and Basking Ridge

Noted High Society Playboy and Titanic Survivor Brings Notoriety to  Bernards Township. It’s a fun story, but you’ve gotta hang in there. First we need a little background about John’s father, the one who didn’t survive the Titanic disaster. In 1909 John Jacob Astor IV divorced his wife Ava and, two years later, married his eighteen-year-old mistress Madeleine Talmadge Force, which scandalized New York society . Mr and Mrs Astor travelled to Egypt and Paris and, in the spring of 1912, decided to return to America as First Class passengers…

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