PHOTOS

Feb and March 2020 Talks

Seeing the Sourlands with Jim Amon – Feb 27th

Seeing with a keen and knowing eye lets us discover a wonderland of nature according to Jim Amon. Those who go on his popular nature walks and follow his blog, Seeing the Sourlands (https://www.sourland.org/seeing-the-sourlands) , agree.

So, Van Harlingen Historical Society has invited him to expand on that theme for us at Mary Jacobs Library, Thursday, February 27, 7 pm. in a talk about his new book, Seeing the Sourlands, published just last year by the Sourland Conservancy.
A self taught naturalist, Jim Amon spent 29 years cultivating that interest while he was the executive director of Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, developing an abandoned waterway into our state’s most visited park, and after that 10 years as director of stewardship for D&R Greenway Land Trust working to restore nature preserves.
To be sure of a seat, sign up in advance with Van Harlingen Historical Society at info@vanharlingen.org or 908 359 8304.

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Enjoy an afternoon of Local History at Blawenburg Church – with Dave Cochran

On Saturday, March 7, Van Harlingen Historical Society and Blawenburg Church will present a free afternoon of history for the community at Blawenburg Church. The program, entitled Tales of Blawenburg, will begin at 2:00pm with a multimedia presentation by local educator and author David Cochran. The presentation will chronical several periods of time in the history of Blawenburg.

Some of the questions that will be answered in the presentation include:

  • Who were the indigenous people in this area?  When were they here and why did they leave?
  • When did the Dutch arrive and why did they come to Montgomery Township?
  • How did Blawenburg get its name?
  • When did the historic village develop and what led to its development?
  • Which were the first houses and businesses built in the young village?
  • When/how was Blawenburg Church built and how did it serve the village and farm residents?
  • What are some unique events that drew thousands of people to Blawenburg over the years?

The program will also tell the tales of some famous people who were connected with Blawenburg—a famous business family, a long-serving postmaster, entertainers including a child star and two Hollywood actors, one of New Jersey’s oldest bands, and a world-famous scientist.

Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity for self-guided tours of the 1830 sanctuary.  Guides will be on hand to provide information about the history of Blawenburg Church and to answer questions.

The program will continue in Cook Hall, where exhibits about the history of Blawenburg prepared by Van Harlingen Historical Society will be displayed.  Photos and artifacts from the Society’s archives will relate to the Dutch beginnings, Blawenburg Church and Cemetery, the general store and post office, the Blawenburg Band, and more.  Refreshments will be served.

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VHHS ANNUAL MEETING – Dec 15 2019

VHHS Members met on 12/15 for our annual meeting and end of year party.  The event was well attended with a mix of long time and new members.  The meeting was held at the beautifully restored and  historic 1860 James Van Zandt Mansion (currently home of SAVE-a-friend to Homeless Animals).
During the business portion of the meeting, members heard progress on the organization’s progress in assuming ownership of the 1752 Dirck Gulick house, approved updates to the by-laws (the newly approved version can be viewed here) and also voted in the 2020 board.
If you missed the meeting, it’s not too late to join.  Memberships are available as an individual, family or business.  Click here to access the membership form.

2019 Annual Meeting

An Exceptional Opportunity!
Our Annual
WINE & CHEESE PARTY

for Members and Their Friends at the

1860 James Van Zandt Mansion –
 home of
SAVE-A Friend To Homeless Animals
December 15th,  3-5 pm

Free to members (membership can be paid at the door)

We are also asking everyone to make a $10 donation to SAVE at the door

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

This magnificent Italianate Villa style house, built in 1860 by 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.

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Please RSVP by December 9th to

VHHS, Box 23, Belle Mead, NJ 08502

908-359-8304 or info@vanharlingen.org

Discover Montgomery’s Past

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

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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.

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

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.

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The Mercer & Somerset Railway Company and a Frog War

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

Visit the Van Harlingen Historical Societies Farm Museum during Montgomery Trails Day – June 1, 2019 

 

Join us for Montgomery Trail Day on the trails at Stonebridge! The event is scheduled for Saturday June 1st from noon to 3PM. The VHHS Farm Museum will be open at the Voorhees-Opie Barn (red barn behind 124 Club) so hikers can explore! Girl Scout Troop 62218 is creating a scavenger hunt; anyone who completes the scavenger hunt will be entered into a raffle to win a prize!

The guided hike is about 2.5 miles along natural trails through the forest, along the high bank of Bedens Brook and Millstone River and along agricultural fields. The width and surfacing of the trail is not suitable for strollers or assisted walking devices. Paved walking paths around the Stonebridge community can be used by those who prefer a more stable surface. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leash.
Parking is behind 124 Club (aka 1860 House) at 124 Montgomery Road (note: this is an update, 5-29-19). The event is planned for rain or shine. Heavy rain the day before, or day of the event cancels the event because trail conditions will be too muddy.
Any questions, contact Lauren Wasilauski at (908) 359-8211 ext. 343 or LWasilauski@twp.montgomery.nj.us

 

May in Montgomery 2019

 

Our 40th May in Montgomery has been a huge success. This year’s event focused on our areas rich history of farming and the current farm to table movement. Attendees were blessed with beautiful weather,historical tidbits, tasty food and good company.

Thanks to the three local farms we visited, Bridgepoint Run Farm, Greenflash Farm and Cherry Valley Cooperative, for opening their farms to us in the middle of their busy spring planting season.

A farm to table lunch was also served in a restored barn at Greenflash Farm where the film “Farming in the Millstone Valley: Past & Present” was also shown. https://cinecosmos.vhx.tv/…/farming-in-the-millstone-valley…

One of our attendees summed it up: “Great experience, good information about local farming as well as history of the Millstone. Lunch was delicious, all farm hosts friendly and knowledgeable.

Thanks to one and all for coming out to support our special day! Special 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.