Posts tagged ‘vintage photos’

May 15, 2013

North End

Ocean Grove North End Pavilion, May 2013

Depending on your source, the North End Pavilion may or may not be a remnant of Ocean Grove’s 1911 North End Hotel complex.

North End Hotel, Ocean Grove

North End Hotel. Image from the Ocean Grove Historical Society.

In 1938, the hotel suffered a brutal fire, and its pier was swept away by a winter storm, but the overall structure kept standing… until it was demolished in 1978.

I don’t know whether the remaining North End Pavilion structure (such as it is, after Sandy; until now, it’s always held a variety of quaint beach shops) is a recreation of the original North End Hotel, or a façade of the original. Any shore residents want to weigh in on this?


EDIT: My dad posited that this is definitely the original structure because it looks like the original. But I’ve seen cases where replicas and homages of historic buildings are erected after the original is no longer there, and I was skeptical. I did a little extra digging, though; turns out he’s right. There are some photos of the 1978 demolition on Blogfinger that show how they carefully preserved this one little section of the complex.

According to that same link (Blogfinger is a great resource for all things Ocean Grove; it’s like NPDP but way better), after the North End Hotel was torn down, the site was slated to be turned into a retirement community. Never happened, though.


P.S. The top photo also shows off Ocean Grove’s brand-new asphalt walkway. Ooh la la.

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)


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

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.


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

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.

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.

April 25, 2013

Wick House

Wick House! Jockey Hollow, Morristown, NJ (formerly the Tempe Wick House, I think)

HISTORY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the Wick House.

It was built by Mr. Henry Wick around 1750 (possibly 1752 exactly), and is currently preserved within the Morristown National Historical Park.

That would be cool in and of itself, but during the Revolutionary War, Continental soldiers loitered around the Wick Farm from 1779-1782, chopping down 600 acres of Mr. Wick’s trees, and made themselves at home IN his home (this house) during the winter encampment of 1779-1780.

…Well, SOME soldiers (officers) hung out in his house. Most soldiers had to make do with makeshift huts.

There’s a lot of talk of Major General Arthur St. Clair using the house as a headquarters during that time. (I’d never heard of him, but maybe you have.)

…And then there’s the Legend of Tempe Wick. According to the story, Tempe (Henry Wick’s daughter) was out riding her horse when some soldiers tried to commandeer it; Tempe was like “screw you,” galloped the horse back home, and stashed her steed inside the main house. The soldiers eventually followed her back to the house, but found themselves stumped because obviously horses aren’t found in houses. And thus the horse was saved.

I must’ve read this next part on a sign board somewhere and neglected to document the sign, so I can’t verify this information—but in recent years, I believe the accuracy of the story is unverified, so they’re not promoting it as hard truth anymore. As such, the former “Tempe Wick House” is now called simply the “Wick House.” Regardless, there’s still a Tempe Wick Road in Morristown.


Aaaaaand this is what the building looked like many years ago (specifics unknown, but apparently it’s from an old Water Company brochure):

Wick House, back when it was still called the Tempe Wick House.

Oh, and because I put an “architecture” tag on this post: apparently it’s a Cape Cod. There ya go.



National Park Service. (n.d.). “Jockey Hollow.” Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey. (2008?). “Wick House: The Revolutionary War in North Jersey.”

“The Wick Farm.” Information plaque near Wick House. Morristown, NJ. Documented April 2013.

Williams, J.M. (1996). Images of America: Morristown. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752402072.

December 7, 2012

Nathaniel Smith House!

Berkeley Heights' Nathaniel Smith House on Springfield Avenue

It’s BORING HISTORY TIME! (cha cha cha)

The Nathaniel Smith House is one of the two Registered National Historic Places in Berkeley Heights (the Littel-Lord Farmstead is the other one). It was built around 1740, and it sits on Springfield Avenue, which is still a major thoroughfare through the town.


Berkeley Heights' Nathaniel Smith House, 1899
And this is what it looked like in 1899.

DONE! That wasn’t so bad, was it?


Troeger, V.B. (1996). Images of America: Berkeley Heights. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752404903.

Wikipedia. (2012). “Nathaniel Smith House.”

October 23, 2012

Summit Playhouse 2

The Summit Playhouse!

I gave a brief history of the Summit Playhouse nearly two years ago, and I mentioned its role in Summit’s Library shortly thereafter… but now, as part of Union County’s Four Centuries weekend, I’ve been given an enthusiastic tour of the interior by John Bauer (who, with his sister Nancy Boucher, is integral to the restoration and upkeep of the historical aspects of the playhouse).

Do I have a lot to add to the original writeups? Well, no, not really. But what the heck, I’m excited.

Here’s a timeline for ya:

  • 1874: Summit Library Association formed. Books were kept in the back of a store, in a private home, and in a school. Classy.
  • 1889: George Manley (a big historical name around here, pronounced “manly”) offered the library association a funny little triangular plot of land…George Manley's land contribution to the Summit Library

    …if they could raise the funds to build a building on it.

    They raised $3,720, which was enough for Mr. Manley!

    The proposed building was designed by Arthur Jennings in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

  • 1891: The first Summit Library building opens, but it’s corporate-owned: neither free nor public.The Summit Playhouse... as the Summit Library.
  • 1901: After nearly a decade of mamby-pamby discussion, the corporate stockholders gave the library to Summit, and the city put $150/year in public funds towards supporting it as a public library.
  • 1911: The new Carnegie Library was opened a few blocks away, rendering the tiny old library obsolete.
  • 1918: After seven years of vacancy, the Summit Dramatic Club leased the old library from the library association for $1/year. (Yes, ten dimes, I didn’t leave off a zero.)Summit Playhouse... as a playhouse. And with real stairs.

    (Note the original stone steps. I don’t know when that changed, but there is talk of replacing the playhouse’s current tacky wooden stairs with something more architecturally appropriate.)

    The playhouse association blacked out most of the building’s windows with brick and concrete, to prevent light leakage during performances; many of those original blackouts remain today (and some were just added within the past few years).

  • 1960: The Marjorie Jefferson Auditorium addition was built, which tripled the size of the stage (and gave the building all kinds of weird leaks forever after).Blue = now; red = before. See how much bigger the stage is now?
  • 1961: Joan Rosé Thomas painted murals in the back of the auditorium.Summit Playhouse auditorium (1960), and murals by Joan Rosé Thomas (1961)

    (When Mr. Bauer gave me a tour of the playhouse, he emphasized— repeatedly— that “Joan Rosé Thomas” was not “Joan Rose Thomas”; there is an accent aigu over the E. And now you know.)

  • 1967: After 49 years of accepting $1/year from the playhouse association, the library association rolled its eyes and said, “this is ridiculous. Take the darn place, it’s yours, have fun.”(Actually, Roig 2005 says this happened in 1938; the 1967 story comes from Hageman 2004. I don’t know who’s right.)
  • 2005: An elevator and restroom were installed for accessibility.

And THAT is pretty much all I know about the Summit Playhouse’s history.



Hageman, Robert A. (2004). “Summit Playhouse: A cultural heritage.” The Summit Historical Society.

Meola, P.E. (1998). Images of America: Summit. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738563307.

Roig, Magaly. (2005). “Playhouse puts accessibility first.” Cultural Access News. pp. 6-7.

Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs. (2012). “21. Summit Playhouse, 10 New England Avenue.” Four Centuries in a Weekend: Historic Sites Tour. p. 36. [pamphlet.]

August 20, 2012

Morristown Train Station

that sure is the front of the Morristown train station

You know how I’m always talking about the Morris and Essex trains? This is the Morristown station, which is basically the entire reason my rail line exists at all.

NJ Transit, Morris-Essex Line + Gladstone Branch.

The Morris and Essex Railroad (now a current line in the NJTransit system) was chartered in 1835 to connect Morristown to Newark (and from Newark, to New York City); the connection between the cities was officially established by 1838 (Treese 2006, 112).

Original Morristown station, c.1840, at Maple and DeHart Streets, a few blocks southwest of the current location. From Williams 1996, 101.

Original Morristown station, c.1840, at Maple and DeHart Streets, a few blocks southwest of the current location. From Williams 1996, 101.

The wooden shelter was succeeded by a red brick building with a slate roof. I’m not sure when exactly it was built, or anything else about it, really.

Morristown railroad station, 1895. From Williams 1996, 102

Morristown railroad station, 1895. From Williams 1996, 102.

The current Italian-Villa-style station was built in 1913 by Frank J. Nies, after the Morris and Essex Railroad had been leased by the DL&W (NJ Hills 2012, para. 5; Wikipedia 2012, para. 1).

Current Morristown station, c.1920. From Williams 1996, 107.

Current Morristown station, c.1920. From Williams 1996, 107.

And for some more context of how the station appears today… here it is from the outside (I’m not sure whether this qualifies as the front or back; both sides of the building are lovely):
Current Morristown station, 2012.

…and from the interior. Apparently I wasn’t supposed to be inside, and some construction guys shooed me out immediately after I took this photo.
Inside the Morristown train station, 2012

For schedules, parking information, and more, check the New Jersey Transit website.



National Register of Historic Places. (n.d.). “Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad Station (added 1980 – – #80002514) Also known as Morristown Railroad Station.” New Jersey: Morris County.

New Jersey Hills Newspaper: Morris NewsBee. (January 20, 2012). “Morristown train station renovation almost complete.”

Wikipedia. (August 2012, last ed.). “Morristown (NJT station).”

Treese, L. (2006). Railroads of New Jersey: Fragments of the Past in the Garden State Landscape. Stackpole Books: Mechanicsburg, PA. ISBN 0811732606.

Williams, J.M. (1996). Images of America: Morristown. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0752402072.

June 6, 2012

Netherwood Station

Netherwood Station, yo.

The city of Plainfield is served by not one, but two train stations! I’ve shown you one (Plainfield Station), so here’s the other one: Netherwood Station. It’s another station on the Raritan Valley Line (which is the present incarnation of the Central Railroad of New Jersey.)

According to a plaque on the side of the station, “the station takes its name from a once fashionable area of Plainfield so named by the longtime C.N.J. [Central Railroad of New Jersey] president, John Taylor Johnston, after his mansion ‘Netherwood’ located nearby” (which to me translates as “Netherwood The Neighborhood was named after this dude’s private mansion”), but online resources ([1], [2]) suggest that the Netherwood neighborhood was in fact named for the Netherwood Hotel (built 1878, demolished 1918).

Regarding the history of the station itself, nobody seems to know any specifics. The aforementioned plaque, for example, attributes the station design to “possibly… Bruce Price or Frank B. Bodine… based on stylistic analysis.” Its construction was probably “after the year 1887.”

Apparently, Netherwood Station was originally a Victorian monsterpiece…
Netherwood Station, original Victorian splendor, date unknown

…but it was destroyed by a fire and replaced by its current “stone structure of more modest proportions.” (I don’t have the dates for any of this.)
Netherwood Station, date unknown

It’s been called a blend of Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne styles, but if you know what that means, you probably already knew that from lookin’ at the pictures.

Apparently, the fate of the station was briefly threatened in 1962 when the CNJ proposed closing both Plainfield and Netherwood stations, and building a new station with more parking in between the two. But the City of Plainfield was like “f*ck that” and so it never happened.

To continue ensuring the existence of these stations, they were both added to BOTH the National and NJ Registers of Historic Places in 1984.

This concludes everything I know about Netherwood Station.



Grady, J. and Pollard, D. (2008). Plainfield New Jersey’s History and Architecture. Schiffer Publishing Ltd.: Atglen, PA. ISBN 0764329154.

National Registers of Historic Places. (n.d.) “Netherwood Station.” Sponsored by NJ Transit. (Sign marker.) Documented May 2012.

May 9, 2012

New Jersey West Line

Stone abutment on Brookside Avenue, one of the last remnants of the NJWL in Millburn

This wall of rocks, near the first sharp curve of Brookside Drive in Millburn’s South Mountain Reservation, is a stone abutment. It’s one of the last remnants of the New Jersey West Line Railroad east of Summit.

(Below is what this stone wall looks like from the road, if you’re NOT the type to go climbing up steep poison-ivy filled hills to get better photos of historical ruins [cough]. See it peeking through, there on the left?)

See the stones on the left?

This stone abutment originally supported a wooden trestle locally known as the Ghost Bridge, so-called because there was never actually a railroad built on top of it.

Ghost Bridge railroad trestle for the New Jersey West Line, sometime after 1870

There was never a railroad on it because east of Summit, the New Jersey West Line was never fully constructed.

Construction started in 1870. They bought the land for the right-of-way, and they graded the land, and they even laid tracks in some places… but construction was stopped by 1873, in part due to corporate politics, in part due to lack of finances (Panic of 1873, anyone?).

Before 1873, everyone was so certain it would be built that the railroad started appearing on several maps. Here’s an 1872 map with the Morris & Essex line highlighted in blue, and the proposed New Jersey West Line highlighted in red (hint: not the county boundaries). (Click to see it larger.)

Railroads, 1872


If part of the NJWL on that map looks familiar… that’s because WEST of Summit, the New Jersey West Line became the modern-day Gladstone branch of the Morris & Essex line!

Railroads, 2012


(As a New Providence resident, I use the Gladstone branch every day! Hooray for partial construction of the NJ West Line!)

This isn’t to say that NOTHING east of Summit was ever built on the NJWL. There was a quarry in the South Mountain Reservation that needed to export its rocks to the rest of the world. The solution? Reclaim an unused bit of the NJWL that conveniently connected to the Morris & Essex Millburn station! Here’s a map from 1906, showing the railroad spur in use long after construction had otherwise ceased on the line:

Millburn railroad spur, 1906


And that’s all I know. Abandoned railroads are fun!


Beers, F.W. (1872). “Topographical map of Hudson, Union, and Essex Cos, New Jersey.” State atlas of New Jersey based on State Geological Survey and from additional surveys by and under the direction of F.W. Beers. Beers, Comstock & Cline: New York, NY. From the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

Lampe, O.W. (1999, 2000). Images of America: Millburn. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738504130.

The Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society. (n.d.). The Map Room. “1906 Atlas Map of Millburn, Plate 32.”

Wikipedia. (2010, last edit). “New Jersey West Line Railroad.”



(P.S. Hey, speaking of railroads and history, Amtrak is sponsoring National Train Day this weekend, in honor of the completion of the country’s first transcontinental railroad in 1869. If you live near a city, and you’re into trains, why not check it out?)

April 12, 2012


The Cannon Ball House in Springfield, NJ!

The Cannon Ball House in Springfield was:

  • Built in either 1741 or 1761 (the second date is currently favored) by Dr. Jonathan Dayton
  • Originally a farmstead
  • Used as a hospital by the British during the Battle of Springfield in 1780
  • Pierced by a cannonball in its west wall during the Battle of Springfield (hence the name “Cannon Ball House”)
  • Operated as a tavern, briefly
  • A residence again, for many many years
  • The home of the Springfield Historical Society (and still is, ever since 1953)
  • Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 (as the Hutchings Homestead)

Here’s what it looked like in the early 1900s:
Springfield NJ Cannon Ball House, circa 1900


In case you’re wondering why I keep misspelling “cannonball,” it’s because I’m using the spelling on the sign out front.

Cannon Ball House, see, it says so right there.


Also in case you’re wondering, two of my references were bronze plaques nailed near the front door:


Just to confuse things, there’s another historical Osborne Cannonball House in nearby Scotch Plains (also Union County), which was ALSO built c.1760, and ALSO pierced by a cannonball during the Revolutionary War. This is NOT that house.



New Jersey State Chapter: Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America. (1957). “The Cannonball House.” (Sign marker). Documented April 2012.

Sanfranman59. (Last edit April 3, 2012). “National Register of Historic Places listings in Union County, New Jersey.” Wikipedia.,_New_Jersey.

Turner, J. and Koles, R.T. (2004). Images of America: Springfield. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738536180.

United States Department of the Interior (n.d.). “National Register of Historic Places.” (Sign marker). Documented April 2012.

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