Archive for ‘Westfield’

May 16, 2013

Revolutionary cemetery

Westfield Revolutionary Cemetery

The old cemetery across the street from Westfield Presbyterian has been officially noted on the National Register of Historic Places as the “Burial Ground of the Presbyterian Church in the West Fields of Elizabethtown” since 2007.

The gate shuts out casual onlookers because the headstones are soooo old and fragile that they can fall apart if you touch them. People were buried here from 1730-1958 (give or take 10 years); if you lived in Westfield, this was the only public burial ground available to you until Fairview Cemetery opened a little over a mile up the road in 1868.

The site includes ~70 Revolutionary War veterans, three War of 1812 veterans, and eight Civil War veterans, as well as a few veterans from WWI and WWII.

Headstones in the Westfield cemetery

Originally, local residents could just select whatever random spot they liked, pick up a shovel, and bury their loved ones (at no cost). Eventually the Presbyterian church got its act together and enforced some sort of organization here.

 

References:

NJ DEP – Historic Preservation Office. (2012). “New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places – Union County.” p.6. Retrieved August 31, 2012. http://www.state.nj.us/dep/hpo/1identify/nrsr_lists/union.pdf.

The Presbyterian Church in Westfield. (n.d.). “Cemetery information.” http://www.westfieldpc.org/AboutUs/CemeteryInformation/tabid/32234/Default.aspx.

Westfield Bicentennial Committee. (1976). “The Westfield Bicentennial Committee has designated the Revolutionary Cemetery…” (Plaque). Documented May 2013.

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May 12, 2013

Dogwood tree

Dogwood, wheee

“Oh no,” I hear you groan, “ANOTHER flower?”

Answer: Yes. It’s Mother’s Day. You need flowers for Mother’s Day! I’ll have something less flowery tomorrow.

May 10, 2013

Cherry pink

Pre-cherries!

The cherry trees are in bloom! I missed Newark’s Cherry Blossom Festival in April, but that’s okay ‘cos they didn’t start flowering ’til recently anyway! 🙂

May 9, 2013

Westfield Presbyterian

Westfield Presbyterian Church

Westfield Presbyterian is the oldest congregation in Westfield— they’ve been around since the Revolutionary era. This church is actually their fourth, built in 1862.

Westfield Presbyterian, c. 1908

Westfield Presbyterian, c. 1908

Of course, things change. You’ll note that the church didn’t used to have as many side windows! (Check it— 5 vs. a modern 7.) In the 1960s, they lengthened the church:

It was split just behind the third window, the steeple end was rolled forward, and a new section was inserted. This added two windows and about 30 feet, while preserving the church’s original appearance (Lipson 1996, 32).

The White Church, date unknown (probably old)

 

Reference:
Lipson, S.H. (1996). Images of America: Westfield: The Golden Age of Postcards. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752404067.

May 8, 2013

Bobble heads

Lilies of the valley make my garden walk! ...Wait, no, is it DECK my garden walk?

I like lilies of the valley! They have the most beautiful leaves, and who couldn’t love their little bobble-head blossoms?

May 7, 2013

Rock on

Everyone loves a bari.

At the Westfield Spring Fling, the Rockin’ Jazz Band provided us with some music (it was good dancing music).

May 6, 2013

Arcanum Hall

Westfield's Arcanum Hall (during the 2013 Spring Fling)

I have a bunch of piecemeal sources that I’ve tried to assemble into a linear history, but I’m not 100% sure of any of this, so please correct me if you know I’m wrong.

Arcanum Hall is a neat little copper-domed building in downtown Westfield on the corner of Elm and East Broad Street. It’s been there for at least a hundred years or so.

Arcanum Hall, c. 1906

Arcanum Hall, c. 1906. (From Lipson 1996, p.100.)

It’s called “Arcanum Hall” ‘cos it was built by “the Fireside Council #715 of Royal Arcanum,” which was the local chapter of a fraternity kind of like the Masons. Initially, apparently the original Arcanum Hall was a block away on a different corner (Prospect and East Broad), but that building burned down in 1892. And so the Royal Arcanum rebuilt the current hall in its current location shortly afterwards.

At the moment, the ground floor is home to Sole Italian shoes.

References:

Fuzy III, F.A. (2011?). “The history of Westfield; Westfield historical information; Interesting facts.” Tamaques Elementary. westfieldnjk12.org.

Lipson, S.H. (1996). Images of America: Westfield: The Golden Age of Postcards. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752404067.

Philhower, C.A. (1923). History of Town of Westfield. Lewis Historical Publishing Company: New York. http://www.westfieldnjhistory.com/scanned.books/Philhower.history.Westfield.pdf.

Ricord, F.W. (1897, reprint 2001). History of Union County, New Jersey, Volume 1. East Jersey History Co.: Newark, NJ; reprint: Heritage Books, Inc.: Bowie, MD. Google book.

May 5, 2013

Dancing queens

Dancin'!

I generally have a policy not to post pictures of children, especially not without their parents’ permission, but these kids dancing their hearts out to the “Rockin’ Jazz Band” at the Westfield Spring Fling were just too freaking cute, I’m sorry.

So much dancing!

Nobody can resist the rhythms of “At the Hop.” Yeah man, let’s GO!

April 7, 2013

Pre-daffodils

pre-daffodils

I’m running late tonight, so… just a quick daffodil bud for your enjoyment.

March 5, 2013

Mindowaskin bridge

Mawss.

I don’t know what Mindowaskin Park was before it was Mindowaskin Park. It’s pretty well established that (a) the park was established in 1918, (b) there was some debate leading up to its development, and (c) it was named after “one of the four Indian chiefs who deeded the lands now comprising northern New Jersey (Lipson 1996, 58).”

But with a fancy footbridge like this, I dunno, I thought the park was built from a leftover estate. Maybe Mindowaskin Park was simply established during a time when little community parks deserved the very best.

Mossy bridge indeed.

 

References:

Lipson, S.H. (1996). Images of America: Westfield: The Golden Age of Postcards. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752404067.

Philhower, C.A. (1923). History of Town of Westfield: Union County, New Jersey. Lewis Historical Publishing Company: New York. http://www.westfieldnjhistory.com/scanned.books/ (PDF).

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