2019 – Local History in Pictures

The Mr. Local History 2019 Year in Pictures. Join us for a look back at our inaugural year!

As 2019 comes to a close here in the Somerset Hills, now’s the best time to take a look back at all the fun events, activities, posts, and images for 2019. While not in images, our biggest event was when we expanded, incorporated, and formally became a 501c3 non-profit community organization. Now we get to do what we do and do it with non-profit status. So now you can give tax deductible donations towards our programs and scholarship fund. Please also let me take a moment to thank my wife…

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Before the West Point Academy, There was Pluckamin

Pluckemin Encampment and America’s First Military Academy “One of the greatest untold stories of the American Revolution” Mr. Local History Project One of the most interesting untold stories of the American revolution is the one about the Pluckemin Encampment, also known as the Pluckemin Cantonment. You see, a cantonment is different than an Encampment because a cantonment has actual buildings verses temporary tents. Back in 2005, we started on a quest to expose this story. While the notes below are raw, we’ve left them in their original state so you…

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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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Mr. Local History Releases its Latest Online Magazine – Vol 1 Issue 4

Our Holiday Issue Happy holidays. Tiz the Season! The Mr. Local History Project has been working hard to produce the next issue of our magazine that combines news, stories, and feature posts about the area’s local history in the Somerset Hills area of New Jersey. This month’s cover showcases the iconic Christmas Eve caroling on the green in the village of Basking Ridge. Volume 1 Issue 4 – Holiday Edition. Another word for history is “tradition” and this issue is full of holiday traditions in the Somerset Hills. Fill your…

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Founding Trustees – Mr. Local History

"The Founding Four" signers of the 501c3 non-profit founding Mr. Local History Project. In our signature caricature fashion we introduce Paula Axt, Brooks Betz, Jill Betz, and Meg Wastie. All residents of the Somerset Hills and on the mission to develop programs focused on education and local history.

The Mr. Local History project’s mission is to preserve and promote the local history in Somerset Hills, a area in northern Somerset County, New Jersey. An all volunteer organization, social and educational activities are paramount to engaging in fun new ways. Mr. Local History announced the incorporation of Mr. Local History as a formal non-profit organization. By incorporating, the effort is now recognized as a legal entity to conduct business, organize, and develop fundraising efforts to support programs geared specifically for the local communities of the Somerset Hills in the…

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Colonial Christmas Returns to Bedminster

Colonial Christmas at the Jacobus Vanderveer House

The historic Vanderveer House in Bedminster celebrates the holiday season with Colonial Christmas Nov 29 thru December 8, 2019. Who likes history? Who likes Christmas? There’s an event that’s been going on just after Thanksgiving for 16 years at a beautifully restored colonial home in Bedminster, New Jersey. The event is called Colonial Christmas and it’s time to recognize what a great event it is. Called the Jacobus Vanderveer House (pronounced  Jake-O- Bus Vander Veer – it’s a Dutch thing), has transformed into one of the most beautifully restored revolutionary war era federal homes in America. But…

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The Lost Charters of Bernards Township & Bedminster

UPDATE: While we wrote this piece years ago, the Bedminster Charter came back in the news on October 21, 2019 when it was announced that the Forbes family was donating the charter back to Bedminster Township. The story continues! This is a tale of three Charters in New Jersey that make for a great “what happened” story. Let’s first talk about what a Charter is. A Charter is a document, typically signed by the King of England granting rights to a particular area of land to a prospective Governor (or overseer).…

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History of the Far Hills Race Meeting

The Far Hills Race meeting is one of the most historic well attended event in New Jersey. Let's look at its history.

The Mr. Local History Project builds on the 2006 research to bring you a great look at an event that’s nearing a Century mark. What’s in a name? Some call it the Steeplechase, some the Far Hills Race Meeting, and some prefer to call it simply ‘The Hunt‘. Whichever name you choose, you’re all partially correct. While the name is officially called the Far Hills Race Meeting, hosted by the Far Hills Race Meeting Association (FHRMA), every year, on the last Saturday of October, the horses come back to Far…

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Top 10 Historic Businesses in the Somerset Hills, New Jersey

In 2009 - The Grain House was listed as one of the top 10 historic businesses in the Somerset Hills

Whether you’re a banker or a national political figure, a CEO or a farmer, the Somerset Hills has provided commercial opportunities for centuries. From C. Ledyard Blair and Jackie Kennedy, to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Charles Pfizer, the Somerset Hills business community has served up commerce in a classic fashion. (See the list of Somerset Hills Rich & Famous post). There’s no mistake that the Somerset Hills area is rich in long lasting commerce history. The Somerset Hills region of Bedminster, Bernards Twp, Bernardsville, Far Hills, Peapack &…

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Day Trip – Mohonk Mountain Resort, New Paltz, New York

This piece was originally written back in December 2007. Thought we’d refresh because we’re looking to go back for another visit to help celebrate 150 years of the wonderful history of the Mohonk Mountain Resort. Here’s your first tip. Once you walk into the Mountain House, nobody knows whether you’re a Day Guest or an overnight resident, so don’t feel out of place. Walk around the Hotel. Sit in the sitting rooms, read the papers, and begin to take in the historic beauty of the resort. But here’s the real…

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Weddings @ Historic Venues in the Bucolic Somerset Hills, New Jersey

Historic Wedding Venues - Mr Local History

Many people have written over the years looking for places to hold a wedding on a historic property in the Somerset Hills. The area includes Bedminster, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Far Hills, Peapack & Gladstone. So we’ve been given our mission and started our research. If you know of a historic property that offers the availability to rent out their venue, we’d love to hear from you. Historic Properties you can rent for a wedding: The Old Mill Inn – Bernards Township (Basking Ridge), New Jersey – Click Here Old Mill…

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