May In Montgomery – May 15, 2016

The Forgotten Village

Presentation, Panel Discussion, Vintage Photos
Memorial Hall, 424 Route 518, Blawenburg Reformed Church
May 15, 2016 from 1:00-4:00 PM

Semi-guided Tours at Skillman Park
3:30-5:00 PM

Join us for a History Tour and Conversation about the former State Village.  At the Meeting Hall will be presentations and a panel discussion from locals who lived and worked at the site. Come learn about this once-bustling, self-sustaining farm and village with its own fire company, theater, hospital, powerhouse, and more on the grounds of Somerset County’s Skillman Park.  There will be a large exhibit of photographs and memorabilia from the Van Harlingen Historical Society archives. There will be semi-guided tours around the new park path system that will feature stops with photos and stories of the buildings, people and activities from when this site was vibrant. A keepsake booklet filled with interesting articles and maps will be included.

The event is free. A keepsake booklet filled with photos and maps will be available for a donation of $15. We hope you will plan to come, and ask that you invite your neighbors and friends. So many of our new residents have no idea of the history that played out here. We now have a beautiful natural park, with only the dramatic 1901 tree-lined road layout of noted landscape architect, Charles W. Leavitt, remaining to mark this important site, once the most densely populated section of our township.


May in Montgomery is the major fundraiser of the Society and is a staple of our community. This year’s event marks our 37th as we celebrate this forgotten part of Montgomery and New Jersey. We’ve combed our archives to develop programs and exhibits to create a memorable experience for all. In addition to May 15th, there will be an exhibit at the Mary Jacobs Library throughout May.

Please consider a Friend of May in Montgomery contribution to support our educational and preservation programs, via the donate button to the right. Your name will be prominently listed in the program. You know you will be in good company there! (And in case you forgot to send us your 2016 membership, please add it to your donation. Your mailing label shows your membership status).

Thank you for your continued support! See you May 15th. Bring your family, Bring a friend!

Savage Dining: Local Wild Edibles – May 1, 2016

Sunday, May 1, 2 pm

Rock Mill Preserve, 360 Grandview Road
Leader: Debbie Naha
Adventurous eaters, this walk is for you. Debbie Naha will be leading a walk featuring local wild edible plants and ecology.  She will discuss plant I.D., safe and sustainable harvesting, and how to uacorn.jpgse wild plants in meals.

Debbie Naha is a biologist, master gardener, and dedicated forager.   As a dietitian she understands the value of the natural feast in our own backyard.

Wear fitness shoes and attire.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  Inclement weather cancels the event.

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Native Americans of Montgomery – April 3, 2016

Sunday, April  3rd @  2 pm
Stonebridge Park,
1860 House, 124 Montgomery Road

(Parking across from Stonebridge at Montgomery)
Leader: Jim Wade, Field Archaeologist
Jim Wade                                                           1st Sunday

New Jersey’s Native Americans held deeply personal relationships with the world around them, closely aligned with the local landscape and available materials.   Montgomery continues to carry their legacy through roadways and Indian names of places, rivers, etc.

On this walk, Jim Wade will describe the way of life of local Native American Indians, point out locations where they would have looked to settle, and materials they would have used for food, clothing, and shelter.

This event lasts an hour and a half and consists of two parts:  a lecture and walk.  It is jointly sponsored by Montgomery Friends of Open Space and Van Harlingen Historical Society.  We meet in front of the 1860 House.  Parking is across the street from Hollinshead Spring Rd (Stonebridge at Montgomery’s entranceway).
Jim Wade has made the study of New Jersey Native Americans his life work.  He has worked as an archaeology archivist at the N.J. State Museum researching 17th and 18th century New Jersey land deeds of the Delaware-Lenape Indians and as a field archaeologist on several Indian sites throughout Central New Jersey.
Dress warmly and wear sturdy footwear.  In the event of significant inclement weather, for updates.

Annual WINE & CHEESE PARTY – Dec 6, 2015

An Exceptional Opportunity!
Our Annual 

for Members and Their Friends 

at the
1854 James Van Zandt Mansion – 
newly restored home to 
SAVE-A Friend To Homeless Animals
December 6th  3-5 pm

$25/person includes $5 donation to SAVE


1010 Route 601, Skillman, NJ just north of Route 518

 This magnificent Italianate Villa style house, built in 1854 by lawyer and gentleman farmer, James Van Zandt, was a tribute to his stature in the community. The elegant three-story spiral staircase and domed ceiling are elaborate features. 

Abandoned in recent times, the property was purchased by the founder of Friends of Homeless Animals. The group merged with SAVE and searched for a new center, to provide larger administrative space and a state-of-the-art adoption facility for 25 dogs and 75 cats.


Please RSVP by December 1st to

VHHS, Box 23, Belle Mead, NJ 08502

609.466.0141 or


May in Montgomery’s Township Tours Celebrate VHHS 50th Anniversary – May 30, 2015 – Reserve by May 22nd!

VHHS - web mill oldVan Harlingen Historical Society’s annual May in Montgomery is famous for all sorts of “turns in the road.” No one event is the same, and this year’s May 30th event, in celebration of the society’s 50th anniversary, is no different. Indeed there are lots of turns in the road, literally.

On Saturday, May 30th, two separate bus tours for the east and west sides of the township will see the development and change in Montgomery through lively narration and visits to preserved villages, buildings and landscapes, including stops at historic sites. Each bus will take a maximum of 30 passengers with a narrator on board to provide all the tidbits of lore and legend.

The buses leave from Harlingen Reformed Church, Route 206, Belle Mead, NJ. The western section tour will depart at 10:00 a.m. and the eastern section will depart at 2:00 p.m. Each tour costs $20 for VHHS members and $25 for non-members. Tours are approximately two hours long. Lunch is not provided but may be purchased locally. Restrooms will be available at the church.

Along the east side tourists will be driven by the lovely Victorian homes of Rocky Hill, once part of the township and, walk through Opie’s Mill converted into a charming home and visit the antiques-filled miller’s cottage across the way. Learn when and why Rocky Hill seceded from Montgomery and what Rev. War patriot was abducted from his dinner table and marched up River Road by the British. Another stop will be the Montgomery Farm Museum to see the antique tool and implement collection of our by-gone agrarian era with demonstrators on hand.

Eastern Tour Non-Members:$25

Eastern Tour Members:$20

On the west side, tourists will step inside the delightful living-history, one-room 1853 Bedensville schoolhouse, visit the historic 18th century Jochem Gulick farm house, and travel through pastoral country side and rolling hills of the Sourlands, into the charming village of Blawenburg, to the site of the original Skillman Village, to the forgotten Stoutsburg, to the Van Zandt Mansion, and of course Harlingen village.

Western Tour Non-Members:$25

Western Tour Members:$20

Reservations must be received/paid in advance by May 22nd, either online by Shopping Cart using PayPal or by mail sending a check together with a completed reservation form: VHHS reservation form

Fares are not refundable unless replacement tourists are drawn from a waiting list. 

Purchasers will be notified if seats are unavailable. No paper tickets will be issued. For further information call 908-359-2642.


Montgomery As It Was – May 7, 2015 at 7:00 p.m at Mary Jacobs Library

Presented by VHHS Historians

Judy Peters and Jessie Havens

Mill Pond

Many factors combined through time to make this area what it is today. Villages, churches, farming, mills, schools, railroads, local organizations, politics businesses, landscapes and architecture. A fascinating collage illustrated by the VHHS image collection.
Free and open to all. Registration is suggested. Call 609-924-7073 ext 4.

“Governor Livingston, I Presume”; a Visit from New Jersey’s First Governor! – 10/15/14

Celebrate 350 Years of History in
Our Great State
with a Visit from
New Jersey’s First Governor!

 Governor Livingston

“Governor Livingston, I Presume” 
Wednesday, October 15th at 7:00 pm
Historic Harlingen Church
Route 206, Belle Mead, NJ 08502
Born in 1723 Livingston was a member of the first and second Continental Congresses. In 1776, he left Congress to command the New Jersey militia, and later that year he was elected the first governor of our state.


Brought to life by Bob Gleason, also of the American History Theater. Since 1980, Bob Gleason has presented programs featuring nearly 150 historical figures, stretching over 2000 years of history. 

School-age children welcome! Free and open to all! 
Funded through a grant from the NJ Council for the Humanities, a state partner of National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Sojourner Truth” Will Arrive at Mary Jacobs Library – 9/18/14


Dr. Daisy Century as Sojourner Truth

On Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm, presenting in first person interpretation, Dr. Daisy Century of American History Theatre brings former slave, abolitionist, suffragette Sojourner Truth to life. The program will presented September 18, 2014 at Mary Jacobs Library, 64 Washington St., Rocky Hill at 7:00 pm.

Born Isabella Baumfree, the slave from a small town north of New York City changed hands several times, sold by one brutal owner to another just as harsh. In 1826 she escaped her cruel owners, only to have an epiphany and became a devout Christian, renaming herself Sojourner Trtuth and becoming a traveling preacher. In 1850, Sojourner began speaking on women’s suffrage, believing the causes of abolition and women’s rights to be intertwined and equally important.

Dr. Daisy Century has had acting in her blood a long time. However, trained as a teacher, Dr. Century’s undergraduate work is in science and she holds a PhD from Temple University, also in Science Education. This naturally talented teacher and actor has continued to inspire through her thoroughly-researched, dramatically intense portrayals.

This event is funded through a grant from the NJ Council for the Humanities. Pre-registration required. Call the Mary Jacobs Library at 609-924-7073 or visit:

Back By Popular Demand! Sourlands: Special Place and People – 6/23/14

Sourland Mountain: Special Place/Special People
VHHS President and Archivist Judy Peters will host her really fun program with photos and stories of the many famous people (Including Gen. Washington, Lindbergh, Dylan and many more famous and infamous characters) who once spent time in the hidden hills. Did you know Nobel prize-winner O’Neil escaped to the Sourlands when expelled from Princeton as a freshman?

VHHS - MiM 2014 old photo ladies rocks

This program will be presented Monday June 23rd, 7PM

At the Hillsborough Public Library (908) 369-2200