April 2014 Issue - Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society

The Cranbury Historical &
Preservation Society
A PRIL , 2014
Spring Potluck Supper -- Friday, April 25 at 6:30 PM
The AJ Meerwald & History of Delaware Bay
eghan Wren will discuss her passion, NJ’s own tall ship, the AJ
Meerwald, and the history of Delaware Bay. A former Peddie
student, she was inspired by a trip she took as a tall ship volunteer.
Returning to her native New Jersey, she went on to almost singlehandedly locate and restore a decrepit schooner.
That ship is the AJ Meerwald, an oyster schooner built in 1928.
Ms. Wren raised funds and found volunteer labor to create what officially became our state's designated tall ship. Today the vessel represents New Jersey in historical events and is a sailing classroom. Ms.
Wren and others went on to create The Bayshore Center at Bivalve. It
is a maritime center of national significance and home port to the AJ
Meerwald. The center features a group of restored shipping sheds where
oysters by the ton were once loaded onto trains. She also works with
environmental and commercial fishing groups to restore this once
flourishing industry.
When the weather gets warmer the AJ Meerwald will again be available for short sails and multi-day educational excursions. In fact, at this
writing, the schooner is scheduled to be in Philadelphia the weekend of
our potluck and after that, midweek, in nearby Burlington. How
convenient is that? I'm betting that hearing Ms. Wren's talk will
make some eager to take a sail.
We will meet at Fellowship Hall, Cranbury First Presbyterian
Church. Please bring your own place setting and utensils, and a dish to
share, either a main course, salad or dessert. We’ll provide beverages.
Guests are always welcome!
Gale Scott, VP & Program Chair
President’s Message
hile walking up the path to my front door a few weeks
ago, I spied the shoots of daffodils coming up in our south
facing garden and almost leapt for joy. This past winter, with its
frigid snowstorms and treacherous ice, was certainly challenging.
In February, yet another large branch of a tree came down on the
lawn and fence to the west of the Cranbury Museum. For safety
reasons, that entire tree had to be removed at a substantial and
unbudgeted cost to the Society.
In recent years, maintaining the three historical buildings under
our stewardship seems to have become a full time job. At this
time, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in preserving these structures. It is such a relief to know that the work
is being done by local tradesmen and volunteers who understand
how important historical preservation is to the future of Cranbury.
We now have a new front porch and pillars on our History
Center. At the Museum, some major electrical work was done to
the display cabinets, in order to better light the displays and insure
the safety of future exhibits in the Perrine Wing. The front porch
of the Museum also had to be repaired and repainted and some
interior woodworking was completed on a few rotting window
sashes. This spring we will begin painting the History Center and
the outhouse.
Many thanks go out to George Smith for taking on the chairmanship of the Buildings and Grounds Committee. What a daunting job that has become, and yet George seems to handle it with
ease and good humor. And what would we do without Norma
Swale and her team who have so lovingly maintained our gardens
for all these years. I also must thank high school students, Jack
Beach and Evan Pavley, for decorating our Memorial Day floats
and for helping us, along with Bill Bunting and his sons, whenever
there is heavier work to be done.
Since this year marks the 350th Anniversary of the founding of
New Jersey, I can’t think of a better way to honor our history in
this newsletter than by honoring all those who over time have
helped preserve our town. If any of you who are reading this
were, or are, one of our volunteers, please know how grateful we
are for all you have done for Cranbury, and the Historical and
Preservation Society.
Some of our volunteers, like Ginny Swanagan and Betty Lou
Ziegler, have been volunteering at our History Center on Thurs(Continued on page 2)
(Continued from page 1)
days and decorating the Museum at holiday times for many years
now. We have docents each weekend at the Museum and Acquisitions Committee members who continually update information at the
History Center. And we have Don Davidson and Richard Moody, our
interesting and informative “Good Will Ambassadors,” who give tours
and talks for children and adults. Many thanks to publicity chairs,
Gale Scott and Audrey Smith, who continue to spread the good word.
An extraordinary group of fundraisers have tirelessly helped us
through the years by working on our Historical House tours, our
Holiday Wassails and other Society events. Plus, our Membership
Committee, led by Ruth Jost and Karen Fiorentini, continues year
after year to work diligently on reaching out to our membership.
They even make “Cranberry Bread” to welcome new families into
town. Nothing could be more hometown wonderful than that!
Our gratitude must also go out to the CHPS Finance Committee
that meets quarterly to insure that our Endowment Fund is carefully
managed and to our Treasurer, who keeps our fiscal records impeccably; our Recording Secretary, who makes sure to get the major points
and motions into the minutes each month; and to our Corresponding
Secretary, for sending out notices to the Board and cards to members
who are ill and to those who have moved.
You may not know it, but CHPS’ Board of Trustees and its Officers meet the first Monday of every month to make sure that we all
work together cooperatively to sustain the unique qualities of our
Society. The Society also has a beautiful website designed by Rob
Diamond, along with this terrific newsletter, designed and edited by
Lorraine Sedor. It certainly is remarkable to have such great participation on so many levels within our organization, isn’t it? We really
have been blessed throughout the years.
In closing, I commend our Museum Curator, Lisa Beach, and her
committee. These artists and historians are so gifted, I constantly
remind myself that they, too, are volunteers. Their attention to detail and historical accuracy, as well as the choices they make when it
comes to exhibits and lectures are always of the highest quality.
Cranbury Gifts
We are pleased that many of
you took advantage of purchasing items that are unique to
Cranbury at the History Center
Gift Shop in December.
Our newest item is a photo
mug featuring images by four
Cranbury photographers. The
15oz. ceramic mug is available
in black or white for $15.00.
To see it and other Cranbury
gift items, stop by the History
Center any Thursday, 10:30
AM to 1:30 PM.
Buildings & Grounds Update
During 2013, a new concrete porch and four pillars were installed
at the History Center. The Museum porch was repaired and painted;
the Carriage House at the Museum was repaired and painted; and the
exterior exhibit room door sill was repaired. Following winter storm
damage a large elm tree in the Museum backyard was removed. The
exterior of the History Center will be painted this spring.
Parsonage Barn News
There will be music at the Parsonage Barn again this summer!
Please mark your calendar for a concert by the First Presbyterian
Church Brass Band on Monday, June 9 at 7 PM. Bring a chair or blanket. Watch your email and our website, www.cranburyhistory.org,
for additional concerts. If you have never been inside the Parsonage
Barn or would like to see it again, please contact Audrey Smith at
[email protected] or 609-655-5361 to arrange for a visit.
Without your generosity and support we wouldn’t be able to continue this work. I hope to see you all out and about this spring, and
The Honorable James H. Goodwin, age 77, passed away the last
please keep checking the website and the local papers for what we
week in March. He was the organizer of the Goodwin’s Band which
have planned for the coming year. There are some great events in the he conducted for 37 years. He was a staunch Republican and a memworks, and I wouldn’t want you to miss any of them!
ber of the N. J. Assembly. The funeral will be held from his late residence on Prospect St. The Rev. Adolos Allen of the Second PresbyteBest Regards,
Jo D. Sechler Andrews rian Church will officiate, assisted by the Rev. James Van Dyke.
I.C. Hoffman has been elected leader of Goodwin’s Band which will
take on engagements to furnish music as usual.
Village Improvement Notice – Our Fire Alarm is very inadequate. It
does not arouse the sleeper and except when a personal call is made
very few know that a fire is raging. If the Improvement Society and
the Fire Company would cooperate, a fire whistle or other approved
alarm could easily be secured.
The Cranbury High School baseball team won their opening game
when they defeated Applegarth by the score of 12 to 6.
2014 Executive Board
Jo D. Andrews
Vice President/Program Chair
Gale Scott
Recording Secretary
Bonnie Wagman
Norma Swale
Corresponding Secretary
Jan Wagner
Betty Wagner
Bob Dreyling
Ruth Walsh
Museum Curator
Lisa Beach
Legal Counsel/Parliamentarian
Bill Bunting
Karen Fiorentini
Don Davidson
Brian Barry
Tim Brennan
Ruth Jost
Kathie Jani
John Hoffman
Bobbie Marlowe
Roi Taylor
Carol Lindenfeld
Jerry Pevahouse
Ginny Swanagan
Jay Taylor
Betty Lou Ziegler
Ruth Sugeno
History Center
Ginny Swanagan
Buildings & Grounds George Smith
Historic Preservation
Mark Berkowsky
Don Davidson
Karen Fiorentini, Ruth Jost
Don Davidson
Museum Inspectors
George Smith
Lisa Beach
Parsonage Barn
Audrey Smith
Andy Moutenot
Gale Scott, Audrey Smith
Lorraine Sedor
Norma Swale
Audrey Smith
Rob Diamond
Mike Kasper
At Long Last....Summer!
Dig yourself out from under the covers, wipe
off the last bit of snow. Summer is on its way!
And what better way to greet the warm weather
than with a visit to the Cranbury Museum where
it is, indeed, at long last summer -- beginning
April 27!
Immerse yourself in sea glass, vintage toys and
souvenirs. Sand pails, bathing costumes, the sights
and sounds of the sea, the lake, the fishing hole!
Where did you spend your summers? Compare your memories with those on display. Those
lazy, hazy days at long last!
Photo from the collection of David Cook, taken from NJ.com
article 2/14/13/on Brainerd Lake dam reconstruction
Archie Rue (l) and Symmes Perrine in a photo taken
October 3, 1892. The image was printed from a glass
plate negative donated to the Society.
Glass plate negatives preceded photographic film and were
still being used in the early 20th century. Actually, glass
plate photography was still in use by professionals as late as
the 1990s.
It is still possible to get glass plate negatives printed, as our
image of Archie and Symmes attests. Thank you Ginny
Swanagan for helping preserve this bit of Cranbury history.
Now, does anyone know the building behind them?
A New Walking Tour Booklet
CHPS was fortunate to receive a grant from the Middlesex County
Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Middlesex County Cultural and
Heritage Commission with funding in part from the NJ Historical
Commission, a Division of the Department of State. The grant was
used for the printing of revised and updated copies of our Historic
Cranbury Walking Tour booklet. Gale Scott prepared and submitted
the grant application and Jo D. Andrews, John Chambers, Richard
Moody, Roi Taylor, Audrey Smith, Ginny Swanagan and Bonnie
Wagman worked on revisions and edits to the booklet. The new
Walking Tour booklet is now available in the pocket next to the front
door of the History Center at 6 South Main St.
Celebrating New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary
New Jersey began in 1664 as a royal gift of land from Charles II of
England to his brother, James, Duke of York. James gave a piece of
this land to Sir George Carteret and John Lord Berkeley. The document that records this transaction is housed at the New Jersey State
Archives in Trenton and proclaims that “said Tract of Land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Cesarea or New Jersey.” The theme of this year’s celebration is Innovation, Diversity and
Liberty. Communities, schools, businesses, organizations and individuals are celebrating New Jersey as the best place to live, work,
visit, vacation and do business. CHPS is celebrating the 350th anniversary with the programs at our two potluck supper meetings, as
well as a few special events. A large celebration event is being considered for early in the fall. Please watch your email and our website
for more information.
Enjoy a Walking Tour of Historic Cranbury
Join guide, Richard Moody, on a tour of our historic town! Tours
will leave from the Cranbury Museum, on Park Place East, at 2 PM
on the following dates: April 20, May 18, June 15, June 22 and July
6. Tours will resume again in the fall. A reminder of the dates will be
emailed and will be available on the Society’s website,
www.cranburyhistory.org. As always, a list of dates will be available
on the History Center door and in the Cranbury Press. A trip to Monmouth Battlefield State Park will also be offered on Saturday, July 12,
2014. Details to follow.
Acquisitions Committee
The Acquisitions Committee is grateful to those who recently have
contributed the listed materials to the Society:
Glass hair receiver with metal cover
Jane Papszycki
Five school books that belonged to
Charles H. Brown
Ed Durner
Collection of Eiker family photographs and documents related to
Joan Eiker
Silver tea set, trays, antique forks,
pressed glass doll tea cups
Betty Wagner
Nine milk bottles from local dairies,
all with caps, plus metal carrier
Leo Fenity
17 postcards c. 1910-18, addressed to
Cranbury residents
Ed and Betty Conover
Sewing box with contents, owned
by Enid Walker
Sonnichsen family
Cranbury Wassail Committee
This is the year for our Cranbury Wassail, a tour of homes decorated for the holidays that feature delicious refreshments, and historic characters. It was successful in 2010 and 2012, and we are happy to be able to have it again! A planning committee is forming
now and will have its first planning meeting in May. We need your input and help. If you would like to be involved in the planning of
this important fundraiser for the Society, please contact Audrey Smith at 609-655-5361.
Accolades for Dr. Chambers’ recent work...
The following article was published in “History Alive” Winter 2014, a publication of The Rutgers Living History Society.
Dr. John Chambers’ latest work, Cranbury: A New Jersey Town from the Colonial Era to the Present, recently earned accolades from the American Association for State and Local History and the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance. In the summer of 2013, Dr. Chambers received
an Award of Merit from the AASLH Leadership in History Awards. These are considered the most prestigious form of recognition for outstanding achievement in state and local history. In December, he received the NJSAA’s NJ Author Award for Non-Fiction, Popular, during a
special ceremony on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus. A resident of Cranbury, NJ, Dr. Chambers wrote the book for Cranbury Landmarks, Inc. In it, he chronicles in-depth the history of the town since 1697. Dr. Chambers is a Professor of History and has been at Rutgers
since 1982.
In Memoriam
The Society notes with sadness the passing of these long-time members
Howard J. Hannay, January 3, 2013
Jim Manley, June 27, 2013
Mail checks to: Cranbury Historical & Preservation Society. 6 South Main Street, Cranbury, NJ 08512
Membership Status (check one): ___New ___Renewal
Membership Category (check one): __Individual, $15.00 __Family, $25.00 __Sponsor, $35.00
__Patron, $50.00 or more
__Corporate, $150.00 or more
I would like to receive the Society via email. Please use the address above.
 I would like to receive news and updates via email.
Matching gifts are a significant source of support for the Society. If you work (or have retired from) one of the hundreds of
companies that generously match employee donations, please don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Just ask your Personnel Office for a Matching Gift form, fill it in and send it to us. We’ll do the rest. Together we can continue to preserve our
unique heritage.
Please consider one or more of the following volunteer opportunities:
Museum docent:___
Social functions:___
House tour:__
Educational programs:___ Fundraising:___
There is no more pressing question for the Improvement Society to
consider than the laying of the dust. This should be attended to at
There will be no service on Sunday evening at the Methodist Church. once and arrangements made to have our streets kept in proper conA rally temperance service will be held in the First Presbyterian
dition during the next six months. Main street is now in a dusty conChurch to which every one in the community is invited. This meet- dition and in order to be at all livable it should be given the most aping is under the auspices of the W.C.T.U.
proved treatment. Besides the comfort this is necessary to preserve
the beauty of our town.
For Sale – Two seat surrey, pole and shaft, rubber tire speed wagon,
track sulky, and two buggies all in first class condition. Inquire of
Elias Perrine of Cranbury Station can’t be beat on raising big hogs.
Mrs. J. H. Goodwin.
Last week he killed two, tipping the scales at eleven hundred.
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There will be a moving picture show every Wednesday evening in
Odd Fellows Hall. Special features, you will enjoy them. Price 10
cts and 15 cts. Three reels of the beautiful photo play “Leslie” were
shown in the Hall recently.
Percy Wilson has purchased a new bicycle of Albert Wade who is
carrying on a bicycle business and repair shop at his home on Park
A fire was discovered in the large barn of Harvey Hutchinson in South
Cranbury. He had two horses and their stamping awoke him. He
rushed out and took them to a place of safety and then got his wagons
and carriages out. An alarm was turned in and the firemen and others
did what they could to put the fire out but the building could not be
saved. There were a lot of harness, hay, straw and implements destroyed. The loss was about $1,000, partly covered by insurance.
George B. Mershon has purchased one of the First Presbyterian
Miss Jennie Hagerty, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Hagerty of
Church lots in South Cranbury, adjoining the lot of S.H. Perrine upon
Cranbury, and James Diblin of Hightstown were married on April 16 which he will erect a handsome residence in the near future.
by Father Conway of Hightstown. The bride wore a London smoke
tailor made gown with hat to match.
Cranbury -- 100 Years Ago was compiled from April 1914 issues of
W. H. Johnson purchased the property of the late Mrs. Cornelia
The Cranbury Press, by Peggy and Frank J. Brennan, Jr.
Hutchinson on Park Place at a sale.
Cranbury Historical & Preservation Society
6 South Main St.
Cranbury, NJ 08512
Cranbury Museum
4 Park Place East
Open Sundays 1 to 4 and by appt.
Ph: 609/655-2611
Cranbury History Center
6 South Main Street
Open Thursdays 10:30 to 1:30 & by appt.
Ph: 609/860-1889
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.cranburyhistory.org