VHHS Fall 2019 Events


The Mercer & Somerset Railway Company and a Frog War 

 September 26, Thursday, at 7 pm at Mary Jacobs Library

 The New Jersey State Legislature incorporated the Mercer and Somerset Railway Company in 1870 and granted them a charter to build a railroad between Trenton and Millstone.  In 1873, the New Jersey State Legislature granted a charter to a competing railroad company along the very same pathway (an act of political revenge?)  By 1874, the Mercer and Somerset Railway Company had laid 22 ½ miles of tracks and begun operation – cutting diagonally through Montgomery. A scant two years later, on a fateful day in January, the competing railroads had a showdown as their tracks crossed in Hopewell for what became to be known as the Frog War.  The Mercer & Somerset went bankrupt in 1879.

This intriguing story will be told by John Kilbride.  The program is co-sponsored by the Van Harlingen Historical Society and the Mary Jacobs Library.  Please pre-register by phone 908-458-8433 or email maryjacobs@sclibnj.org


Saturday Afternoon Local History Movies at the Gulick House:

  • September 28 at 1pm   Frog War! The Mercer & Somerset Railroad Story
  • October 26 at 1 pm        Then & Now: Montgomery & Rocky Hill                
  • November 30 at 1 pm   The Delaware and Raritan Canal                              
  • December 28 at 1 pm    We Remember Montgomery – 1988 panel discussion

Each movie showing is limited to the first 20 Society members who sign up.

To register, email info@vanharlingen.org

If you’d like to attend one of the movies and are not a member, click here for membership form.


The Story of Montgomery Volunteer Fire Company #1

October 10, Thursday, at 7 pm at Montgomery Volunteer Fire Building
page1image4856Two devastating fires in quick succession back in 1939 energized the determination of a handful who had stood helpless in the face of calamity and out of the ashes was born Montgomery Volunteer Fire Company, No. 1. Meager beginnings became major  accomplishments in the years that followed. Both their firefighting and their firemen’s fairs were some real humdingers. VHHS is planning to mark their 80thAnniversary in October by inviting everyone to come hear all about it, as told in picture and personal recollection by none other than Dan Pullen, yarn spinner with the best of them.  We will be in the Belle Mead Firehouse on Griggstown Road, and firemen will roll their engines out to make room for chairs aplenty.  To register, email info@vanharlingen.org


Discover Montgomery’s Past 

Open House – Saturday, October 12, 1:00-4:00 pm 


Self-guided tour Locations:
  • 1752 Dirk Gulick House (506 County Road 601)
  • Farm Museum (124 Montgomery Rd) Parking available at the 124 Club at the 1860 House
  • 1853 Bedensville Schoolhouse (Burnt Hill Rd, Skillman)

Drop in for a look and to learn more about Montgomery’s local historical society. __________________________________________

Restoring Antique Clocks Saturday

November 2, 1:00 pm, with Ashley King 
at The 124 Club at the 1860 House 124 Montgomery Rd, Skillman



Bring your old clocks and watches to share. Photos of larger clocks are welcome too.


Mark your calendars. We look forward to seeing you at these free events!  As always, thanks to our business members:

While you are here we hope you might consider becoming a member, visiting our store or making a donation to help support our historical societies,many projects including the Gulick House, farm museum and the Schoolhouse.

Like us on our Facebook page to be among the first to know about future events.

 Show your civic pride – get your Montgomery flag

Montgomery Township proudly flies the official Montgomery flag at Veterans Memorial Park.   A 2.5 x 4 foot “ home” size version of the flag is now available to the citizenry of the Township.   The Van Harlingen Historical Society is selling a limited quantity of flags, made in the USA, for $40.

To order, contact info@vanharlingen.org for more information.   A 2” x 4” stick flag is also available for $5.


The Gulick House library, located at 506 Route 601 in Belle Mead, is opened the last Saturday of the month from 10 – 12. Drop by for a visit.  We’re having a pop-up book sale and you can obtain gently used local history books for ½ price.

The Van Harlingen Historical Society

was founded in 1965 to help preserve the heritage of the Montgomery Township area and to interpret the area’s history through educational programs, publications, and exhibits.   VHHS believes that by educating people about our rich history, we create a stronger sense of community.