The New Jersey 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 New Jersey’s history. 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 additions to this historic series.” The Mr. Local History Project plans to introduce at least seven new keepsakes in 2021. Simply sign up to receive updates when the new pieces will become available.
How do I Get One? Simple!
The New Jersey Historic Village Collection is available exclusively Online through the Mr. Local History Project secure store. Just click on the image below for availability and ordering.
No. 16 – Bernardsville Cinema – Bernardsville (Late April 2021 launch)
No. 17 – Cranford Cinema – Cranford (Late April 2021 launch)
No. 18 – Westfield Rialto – Westfield (Late April 2021 launch)
No. 19 – Mindowaskin Park – Westfield (Late April 2021 launch)
No. 20 – Cranford Hotel – Cranford (Voting Underway)
No. 21 – Westfield Presbyterian Church (Voting Underway)
No. 22 – Jersey’s Most Iconic Diner (Voting Underway)
No. 15 – c.1921 Far Hills Race Meeting Centennial
(Far Hills, New Jersey)
No. 14 – Jerolaman’s General Store
(Bernardsville, New Jersey)
No. 13 – The Historic Cranford Canoe Club
(Cranford, New Jersey)
The Cranford Canoe Club is one of the oldest canoe clubs in the United States and a community landmark known as part of Cranford’s identity for over a century. The current canoe club, while not the first, is the Rahway River’s last surviving canoe club. The Mr. Local History Project is trying to raise awareness of the facility and raise funds to nominate the property to the state and national historic registries. Sign the petition – Click Here.
No, 12- c.1930 the Lyons Veterans Administration Hospital (Bernards Township, New Jersey)
In the 1924, the sixty-eighth Congress passed an act authorizing appropriations to provide hospital and outpatient facilities for veterans under the World War Veterans Act. On November 28, 1928, after reviewing 161 potential sites across the state, President Coolidge approved the purchase of Walter A. Reynolds’ 272-acre property known as “Knollcroft,” The Lyons New Jersey hospital was New Jersey’s first VA hospital. Opened in 1930 as a veterans neuropsychiatric hospital the VA Hospital at Lyons grew to over 864 acres in the 1950s. The area called Lyons is named for the J.M Lyon farm which was once a large part of the area. Construction of the Classical Revival main structure began on July 11, 1929. Today it is still a beautiful active facility. Read more about the history of the Lyons VA. Click Here
No. 11 – c.1730 Vealtown Tavern/Old Library (Bernardsville, New Jersey)
The Vealtown Tavern’s keeper John Parker, was also a Captain in the Continental Army’s 1st Battalion of the Somerset County Militia. In 1902, the property was purchased for $12,000 by Fred Olcott from John E. Ballentine and presented to the Bernardsville Library Association and became Bernardsville’s first library. In 1978, the John Parker Tavern was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The property was donated to the borough by the Library Association in 1980. When the library moved to a new building in 2000, the Old Library was sold for $830,000 and now houses several businesses. It is regarded as the towns most favorite historic property. Today it is still a beautiful active facility.
No. 10 – 1912 Natirar Estate
(Peapack, New Jersey)
Released June 12, 2020
There are two iconic estates in Peapack and the Mr. Local History Project has them immortalized with their introduction to the Historic Somerset Hills Cat’s Meow Village collection. Natirar was not just an estate, it was one of the most well known convalescent centers in the tri-state area when it served women as the Kate Macy Ladd Center. The estate was also owned by a King; Africa’s King Hassan II of Morocco.
No. 9 – 1903 Blairsden Mansion & Estate (Peapack, New Jersey)
Released June 12, 2020
Being the 9th and 10th keepsake in the collection is a great milestone for the village,” says Brooks Betz, the founder of the Mr. Local History Project and the official Bernards Township Historian. “We are so fortunate to have such great history all around us and we’re proud to promote each keepsake with the background of the keepsakes historic significance on every collectible.
Blairsden, on the other hand, is one of the country’s best examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States.
SOLD OUT No. 8 – 1776 1761 – Lord Stirling Manor.
One of the Colonies Greatest Manors.
(Basking Ridge, New Jersey)
Most people don’t know how great William Alexander’s Basking Ridge manor was. Noted as one of the greatest manors in the colonies, the Mr. Local History Project honors who may be the most famous resident in Basking Ridge history. We introduce our addition to the Somerset Hills Historic Cat’s Meow Village – The Lord Stirling’s Manor.
Be the first to order your keepsake of this heavily researched project that showcases one of the great lost estates. While the only remainder of the manor is a few out-buildings and the Lord Stirling Stables, this is your chance to remember one of Basking Ridge’s most noble residents. Pre-Orders are now available online only. Click Here for details.
No. 7 – 1776 Widow White’s Tavern
“A real American historic legend“
(Basking Ridge, New Jersey)
Released Nov. 1, 2019
“We plan on adding additional historic keepsakes,” stated Betz. “The project hopes continue the tradition where the public gets to vote for future keepsakes.” The keepsake is meant to display on a bookshelf or thin ledge (like a door or window sill). It is made of a sturdy 3/4″ handmade wood block and then painted.
No. 6 – 1912 Astor Estate
(Bernards Township Town Hall)
Bernards Township, New Jersey
Released March 22, 2019
Mr Local History is proud to announce the release of the 6th in the collectible series, the 1912 Samuel Owen home now known as the Astor Estate is the new Somerset Hills Historic Cat’s Meow collectible. Bernards Township acquired the Astor Estate in 1968 saving it from demolition. Read the entire story of the property as Mr. Local History profiled the Historic Astor Estate.
No. 5 – 1871 Washington House
(Basking Ridge Village)
Released January 11, 2019
Congratulations – the community has voted and the winner is the 1871 Washington House in the Basking Ridge Village of Bernards Township. The voting was close but this is truly a worthy winner. The first release for 2019 is the historic 1871 Washington House in the Basking Ridge Village of Bernards Township. Congratulations – the community has voted and the winner is the 1871 Washington House in the Basking Ridge Village of Bernards Township. The voting was close but this is truly a worthy winner. The iconic Washington House in Basking Ridge Village has a rich history going back to 1871. At almost 150 years of age, the grand hotel still serves the public today as a grand local restaurant. The painting shown will be painted on wood and made available now at the Mr. Local History Gift Shop.
No.4 – The 1777 – Elias Boudinout House
Released May 25, 2019
Mr. Local History is proud to announce along with a partnership with The Ross Farm the release of the 4th in the collectible series, the Somerset County 1777 Boudinout Southard Ross House. The collectible is part of the Somerset Hills Historic Cat’s Meow Historic collection. Orders for this limited run are now being taken online. Less than 50 will be produced. The keepsake is made of wood and then painted. Learn More
No. 3 – 619 Year Old Historic White Oak(Basking Ridge, New Jersey)
Released April 20, 2018
No 2. – 1718 Presbyterian Church and Oak Tree
Released February 16, 2018
Mr Local History is proud to announce the release of the second in the collectible series, the 1718 Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church and the 619 year old Basking Ridge Historic White Oak Cat’s Meow collectible. This has been our #1 best seller. Available now in our gift shop.
No. 1 – 1809 Brick Academy Town Hall & Schoolhouse
(Basking Ridge, New Jersey)
Released January 3, 2018
Mr. Local History, in conjunction with T3 Consortium and the Cat’s Meow Village introduce the Inaugural Keepsake of the Historic Somerset Hills Village Collection, the 1809 Brick Academy in the Basking Ridge Village of Bernards Township, New Jersey. The collection is a way to promote local history and provide people the opportunity to share their love for iconic local historic properties.
Many people collect other village pieces and build a village collection. The creations are part of the historic Cat’s Meow Village Collection, which has been producing iconic wood ornaments for over 35 years.
Local organizations and businesses will be producing limited batches of selected Somerset Hills Keepsake Village collectibles. All collectibles will be available online via the Mr. Local History Gift Shop.
How do I Get One of These Historic Limited Edition Keepsakes?
The easiest way to get one is to order online via our Etsy Store.
Our online store accepts multiple forms of payment including credit/debit cards and Paypal. Orders are now being taken online. The collection is the ultimate local personal gift. Great for those moving into the area, or for those who’ve left the area. They also make great gifts for those who just like to remember the fond memories of the area.
The Somerset Hills Historic Village is designed by Mr. Local History, produced by The Cat’s Meow Village and funded entirely by T3 Consortium, who offers licenses to various organizations for fundraising and promotional activities.
The Cat’s Meow Village Company of Wooster, Ohio
The Cat’s Meow Village is a small company founded in Wooster, Ohio in 1982 from one simple wooden house Faline cutout on her grandfather’s saw in the loft of the hog barn. 35 years later, Jones with her crew continues to craft “little wooden buildings” of local, national, and international landmarks that spark memories and kindle smiles on the faces of “real life adventurers” like you.