Retrospective: The Lyons VA Medical Center

The Lyons VA Hospital was the first VA hospital in New Jersey - Mr Local History

Post Views: 128 NOTE: As with all Mr. Local History retrospectives, we often update the post when we learn stories and are sent photos from our community. We will continue to grow this piece as information becomes available. Mr. Local History Project The Lyons Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital Historic District, currently known as the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System, Lyons Campus, is located at 151 Knollcroft Road, approximately 2.5 miles southwest of the village of Basking Ridge in Bernards Township, New Jersey. Located in a campus setting, the Lyons…

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Independence Day – New Jersey History

Five NJ Signers of the Declaration of Independence - Mr Local History

Post Views: 103 Here are the Jersey five of the fifty-five signers of the Declaration of Independence. Early in 1776, while the state believed in separation, there was heated discussions between the Patriots and the Loyalists. As the issue heated up, the New Jersey state convention replaced all their delegates with those favoring the separation.The Provincial Congress arrested Royal Governor William Franklin (Ben’s son) at his Propriarity House in Perth Amboy and voted to replace the New Jersey delegation. Abraham Clark was highly vocal on his opinion that the colonies…

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Congratulations to Annie Kleinle, the 2020 MLH Project High School Student of the Year.

Write Annie a message of good luck.

Post Views: 127 Congratulations to our 2020 Ridge High School senior and MLH History Student of the Year – Annie Kleinle. A history volunteer since the MLH was founded, Annie Kleinle has been involved with local history. In addition to her school work and being in the History Maker program, Annie also was an avid athlete participating in soccer, field hockey – North Jersey Section 1 Group 4 championships, and the track and field team on the 100, 200, and 4×400 relay teams. “I really enjoy working with Annie,” said…

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UPDATE: Wooden Collectible Series Grows

Natirar and Blairsden Mr Local History Keepsakes header

Post Views: 1,702 The Somerset Hills Historic Village is part of the World Famous Cat’s Meow Wooden Keepsake 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…

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June is Mr. Local History Scholarship Program Giving Month

Mr Local History Scholarship Fund

Post Views: 610 June is our Scholarship Community Giving Month and we need your help! HELP MAKE OUR $1200 GOAL Mr. Local History, a local non-profit organization which celebrates the history of the Somerset Hills, encourages everyone who supports our mission to take part in our scholarship program that is given annually to a worthy Somerset Hills student that’s passionate about preserving and promoting OUR local history. This year has been a particularly tough year with the Covid-19 virus and our non-profit has not had the chance to hold fundraising…

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Bernards Township Honors Fallen Soldiers and Veterans

Bernards Township Honors our local veterans - Mr Local History

Post Views: 378 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: 241 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: 517 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: 543 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: 1,045 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: 976 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 William Alexander Basking Ridge’s Most Famous Resident?

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

Post Views: 741 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: 760 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: 711 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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