Stories

Bernards Township Appoints Mr. Local History as Official Historian

As we’ve been focusing on preserving and promoting local history, out of left field comes one of my most humbling honors when the Bernards Township Committee on October 29, 2019 passed a resolution appointing me as the official historian for Bernards Township. The official historian position has had only one person, June Kennedy, as the previous appointee. June had worked tirelessly in that capacity and I got to be very good friends with her over the years. We partnered on a number of stories. She would drive for the facts…

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Reflection: Basking Ridge Christmas Eve Carolling

Community Tradition Annual Christmas Eve Community Carolingon the Village Green in Basking Ridge Each 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 been run each year for over 92 years…

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Family Fun and Tree Lighting Dec. 7

2019 Basking Ridge Pre Tree Lighting Meetup and Kids Craft Event

Join friends and family with the Mr. Local History families for an afternoon that will put you in the holiday spirit. It’s the 6th Annual Winter Market and Tree Lighting in the Basking Ridge village. The entire event runs from 12-7pm but our fun runs from 3-5pm on the heated patio at the Washington House. Bring the kids. Call it a pre-tree light-up festive friends gathering. We have crafts and gifts too! Saturday, December 7, 2019 3-5pmWashington House Heated Outdoor Patio The Washington House is glad to partner with Mr.…

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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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Widow White’s Tavern To Be 7th Wooden Historic Village Keepsake

The infamous Widow Whites Tavern of Basking Ridge keepsake is the first of its kind.

Be part of the Widow White’s Tavern inaugural run. Mr Local History is proud to announce the upcoming release of the 7th in the collectible series, the infamous 1776 Widow White’s Tavern in the village of Basking Ridge. Orders for this inaugural run are now being taken online. Only a limited number will be produced. The Historic Somerset Hills Village keepsake collection is a collectible series honoring historic iconic buildings, properties, and fixtures that are part of the historic fabric of our community. Keepsakes are selected based on community feedback…

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Tour – The NYC Subway Underground – January 2020

Join the Mr. Local History gang as we venture out on our fist tour, the NYC Subway Underground Tour. Will be going in January 2020. Sign up and we’ll email you the date and time. Subscribe * indicates required Email Address * First Name Last Name TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Explore City Hall Park as the birthplace of the NYC subway system, including elements of the famed, decommissioned City Hall Station you can see right in the park Learn about the comically short route of the mythical “Subway before the Subway,” Alfred…

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Somerset History – Two Historic Books

While searching the internet we found a few great books that showcases the history of the Somerset Hills and Somerset County, New Jersey from the early 1800’s. If you like local history, these two books really bring the detail to some of the great history tales of the Somerset Hills area. The Somerset Hills The first book is simply called “The Somerset Hills” by Ludwig Schumacher. The full title is The Somerset hills; Being a brief record of significant facts in the early history of the hill country of Somerset…

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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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Mr. Local History Registers as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit

The originating founders of the non-profit Mr. Local History Project

With great fanfare, the Mr. Local History announces that the Mr. Local History Project registered as a formal organization with 501(c)(3) non-profit status. While our mission hasn’t changed, the founding organizers have a few specific goals to share as we grow and increase our community involvement. First and foremost, the Mr. Local History (MLH) project will continue to preserve and promote local history. That goes without say. But now with non-profit status, we can venture into new frontiers including a new social society, a high school historian program, and partnerships…

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Horror in the Somerset Hills

Ghost Tales from the Somerset Hills

Ghosts, Murder, Nuns gone insane, the Devil and other horror stories from the Somerset Hills When the leaves start turning and the nights get cooler, ghost tales and horror stories take over the autumn camp fires. Volunteering with some friends, a list was gathered and presented during a few walking tours that were put together in Basking Ridge and for a haunted fright night at the local Ross Farm. ,There are great ghost stories all around the towns that make up the Somerset Hills. Are they true? Well, history has…

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History of the Basking Ridge Fire Company and the Town Christmas Tree

s greatest tradition. Town residents join each other for caroling the night before Christmas.

Every year the Basking Ridge Fire Company accepts a large evergreen tree donated by a local resident or business. The all volunteer Basking Ridge Fire Company members take responsibility for cutting the tree down and placing it on the village green in Basking Ridge center. Firefighters and volunteers also decorate the tree for the holidays, relying on fire equipment to reach the top. The Fire Company will arrive to down the tree, clean up afterward, and transport the tree away in a couple of hours. The traditional date for the…

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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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Wooden Collectible Series

The Cat's Meow is one of the worlds most iconic collectible series. Mr. Local History started creating the Somerset Hills Historic Village back in 2018. Each year we launch new additions based on community input.

The Somerset Hills Historic Village is part of the World Famous Cat’s Meow Wooden Collectibles The Somerset Hills Historic Village keepsake collection is a wood painted collectible series honoring historic iconic buildings, properties, and fixtures that are part of the historic fabric of the Somerset Hills community. Each keepsake was selected based on community feedback and a voting process. Brooks Betz stated, “we’re really excited to see how the public reacts to the next potential addition to this historic series. Additional keepsakes will be added to the Somerset Hills collection…

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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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