Now closed for the season!
The Old Station Museum and Caboose
Open Sundays 2-4 pm through September 17, 2017.
*Please note* The Old Station Museum and Caboose is now CLOSED for the season. We will not be open on Sept. 23, Mahwah Day. We thank all those who visited us this season and look forward to seeing you again next year and at the Mahwah Museum this year!
**Please note: We cannot process credit cards inside the museum.***
The Mahwah Museum Society’s Old Station Museum and Caboose is now open for the 2017 season, and will be open every Sunday from 2:00-4:00 PM through September 23, 2017 (Saturday, Mahwah Day). Admission to the museum is $3.00 per person over 16, admission is free for those under the age of 16.
The exhibit at the station this season features several models built by former Mahwah resident Hollis C. Bachmann. Mr. Bachmann constructed a model of N.Y.C. #999 and several other trolleys. We were fortunate to receive a donation of this balance of Mr. Bachmann’s collection from his niece, Kay Doody. Mr. Bachmann had built our model of the North Jersey Rapid Transit interurban car (trolley) that ran from Suffern to Paterson. You may remember seeing that model in our main museum building. It was constructed of tin cans, was 2 feet in length, and included a detailed interior, having taken Mr. Bachmann 6 months to build. Please come by and see these really nicely- detailed creations that are the offspring of that trolley.
The Old Station Museum established in 1967 is located in a building that was the original station on the Erie Railroad in Mahwah. It was rescued from destruction, first by the Winters family and later by the Mahwah Historical Society. It contains many interesting artifacts given to the museum by collectors of railroad memorabilia. It also features a 1929 Erie cupola caboose which has been recently restored. There is a scale model of the Erie system and photos of the early days of railroading in Mahwah and along the rest of the mainline.
In 1848 the Paterson and Ramapo Railroad was built through Mahwah to carry passengers and freight from New York City, via Paterson, to the main line of the Erie Railroad located in Suffern, New York. From there, connections could be made to upstate New York, then Chicago, and on to the west.
In 1871 the leaders of Mahwah petitioned the Erie to allow a stop at a new station in Mahwah. The 1871 station remained in service until 1904 when the Erie expanded to four tracks and raised the roadbed from ground level. The second station remained until 1914 when it was destroyed by fire. The current station was built in 1914 and still serves commuters today.
The Mahwah Museum and Donald Cooper Model Railroad are now CLOSED for the Summer
We will reopen on September 30, 2017
**Please note: We cannot process credit or debit cards inside the museum.***
We are featuring four exhibits for the 2017-2018 season, “Mahwah’s Herstory” and “Medicine in Mahwah”, “Kilmer, The Man” and “The First World War”.
The Mahwah Museum is located at 201 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah, NJ 07430.
Admission to the museum is $5, free for museum members.
The first exhibit, “Mahwah’s Herstory: The Changing Roles of Women in Mahwah’s History”, examines the role of women in Mahwah’s history, starting with its first settler, Blandina Bayard, and continuing through to 1960. It highlights women’s activities, including pioneering and farming, changing roles in the workforce, and women’s accomplishments in the arts, in charitable organizations and in social reforms. During the Summer this exhibit will be updated.
Our second exhibit, “Medicine in Mahwah”, highlights the history of medicine in Mahwah. It examines the growth and development of the medical field with highlights on Mahwah’s practitioners, their methods, and instruments throughout various periods. During the Summer this exhibit will be updated.
Our first new exhibit “Kilmer, The Man” will focus on local Poet Joyce Kilmer. “A patriot and warrior, a poet and lecturer, a husband and a father, a sergeant in WWI.”
Our second new exhibit “The First World War” will document the role of Mahwah and Bergen county in the First World War. ” From Sarajevo to Versailles.”
When the Museum is reopened for the 2017-2018 season we will be featuring, aside from our new and continuing exhibits, our permanent exhibits:
Les Paul in Mahwah and The Donald Cooper Model Railroad, which is open weekends ONLY 1-4 pm (CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR THE SUMMER).
The Museum will be open weekends and Wednesdays from 1-4 pm.; admission is $5 for non-members; members and children are free. We are currently closed for the Summer and will reopen on September 30,2017.
The Donald Cooper Model Railroad
The Museum’s Donald Cooper Railroad is an operating HO-Scale model railroad with many trains traveling between levels and on different routes. Centralized electronic switches allow the operator to control the entire layout from the DCC central control panels. The railroad yard is fully functional allowing operators to make up trains and dispatch them to their own destinations. The four-level high layout has three independent scenic modules that are constantly changing, as well as a trolley, a subway system, logging station, waterfall, roundhouse and turntable. We invite engineers of all ages to come and visit our ever-changing and growing railroad world. The Donald Cooper Model Railroad is open weekends ONLY (currently closed for the Summer) September-June from 1-4 p.m. For information about joining the train crew, please email email@example.com or call 201-512-0099.
Les Paul in Mahwah
The Mahwah Museum has a small permanent exhibit featuring some Les Paul history which allows visitors to learn the essential facts of Les Paul’s life and career. It has sections on his inventions and innovations, a display of one-of-a-kind precious guitars made especially for Les, and a re-creation of the studio in which Les did his work. Learn how this creative genius transformed rock, country and jazz music. See how he and Mary Ford performed for their weekly radio show from their home in Mahwah.
The Mahwah Museum receives operating support from the New Jersey Historical Commission in the Department of State.
Camp Merritt: Bergen County’s WWI Army Base
On Thursday October 26, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki, historians for the Village of Ridgewood will present this lecture. Part of the Mahwah Museum Lecture Series, the lecture will take place at the Ramapo Reformed Church, 100 Island Rd., Mahwah. Admission is $3, free for museum members. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations or call 201-512-0099. Refreshments will be served afterwards.
Camp Merritt was the transit camp for more than one million soldiers on their way to battlefields in Europe and returning to their homes across the United States. This temporary city leaves few traces on our landscape today, but its history can be told in maps, photos, and stories. The Camp Merritt monument in Cresskill is the most visible reminder today of the important role Bergen County played in World War I. Peggy Norris is the vice president of the Bergen County historical Society and Joe Suplicki is on Ridgewood’s Historic Preservation Commission and the board of the Ridgewood Historical Society. Peggy’s grandfather, a farm boy from Ohio, passed through Camp Merritt. Illustrations come in part from his collection of postcards, now in the Bergen County Historical Society Library.
This lecture is hosted by Mahwah Museum, located at 201 Franklin Turnpike. The Museum will reopen on September 30, 2017 featuring the new exhibits Kilmer: The Man and WWI Sarajevo to Versailles as well as the continuing exhibits Mahwahs Herstory: The Changing Roles of Women in Mahwah’s History, and Medicine in Mahwah. Permanent exhibits are Les Paul in Mahwah and The Donald Cooper Model Railroad, which is open weekends 1-4 pm. The Museum is open weekends and Wednesdays from 1-4 pm.; admission $5 for non-members, members and children are free.Visit mahwahmuseum.org or call 201-512-0099 for information on events, membership and volunteering.
Join us for a luncheon & presentation on Tuxedo Park
Wednesday, November 1 at 11:30 A.M. at the Tuxedo Club, 1 W Lake Rd Tuxedo Park, NY. $50 per person (cash bar)
Co-Sponsored by The Northwest Bergen History Coalition and, the Historical Society of Rockland County.
Tuxedo Park is a rural idyll listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is singular among historic villages for boasting over 200 historical and architecturally significant houses nested in more than 2,000 acres of an unspoiled natural environment. Forged out of the wilderness of the Ramapo Mountains in 1886 by wealthy tobacco heir Pierre Lorillard IV on the shores of Tuxedo Lake, the Park was built as a resort haven and sportsman’s paradise for blue blood society.
The gated village was soon transformed by Lorillard into an exclusive suburb synonymous with upper-class living. It was the birthplace of the tuxedo jacket, and its Autumn Ball launched the social and marital careers of generations of debutantes. Renowned Gilded-Age architects built in its bucolic landscape palaces in European historical styles for the Astor’s, Morgan’s and Vanderbilt’s.
A man of many talents, Lorillard also managed a successful tobacco company. He raced horses. He raced sailing yachts. His scholarly interest propelled him to fund archaeological expeditions in South America. His wife wouldn’t come to his death bed, but chose to be buried next to him.
The story of this fascinating man will be presented by Chiu Yin Hempel, author of an award-winning trilogy of full-color illustrated books on Tuxedo Park, covering its architecture, history and landscape. A senior publishing executive and a Trustee of the Preservation League of New York State, she has lived in Tuxedo Park for 20 years.
The Club will be open at 11:30 for guests to enjoy the patio. Lunch will be served at noon.
- Enclosed is my check for tickets for the Tuxedo Park Luncheon on November 1 at $50 each. Total: $
I wish to be seated with
RESERVATION DEADLINE: TUESDAY OCTOBER 18, 2017
Proceeds benefit members of the NW Bergen History Coalition and the Historical Society of Rockland County. Please Credit the historical society of:
Allendale Franklin Lakes Glen Rock The Hermitage Mahwah Museum Ramsey Ridgewood Oakland Upper Saddle River Waldwick Museum of Local History Waldwick Signal Tower Wyckoff Historical Society of Rockland County
Your name will be on a list at the door. Directions will be emailed to you. Information: email@example.com or 201.327.2236
Send checks payable to: U.S.R. Historical Society, 245 Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
After over a year of work, the Museum’s archive volunteers have completed processing the John W. Bristow Papers. Archivist Cathy Moran Hajo worked with a team of college students to organize, re-house, and describe one of the Museum’s largest and richest archival collections. A guide to his papers has been posted on the Museum website.
John W. Bristow (1924-2010) was a high school teacher with an abiding interest in history. He moved to Mahwah in 1973 and became involved with the work of the Mahwah Historical Society and the Mahwah Historic Sites Commission. He became Mahwah Town Historian in 1993 and is best-known for his newspaper column “This Month In Mahwah History” which ran in the Home and Store News from 1985-1992.
The Bristow Papers was a large and unorganized collection when it arrived at the Museum. After separating materials like newspaper clippings, Mahwah Historical Society and Mahwah Historical Sites Commission records, and duplicates, the collection still spans 24 boxes! Among its highlights are John Bristow’s many presentations on local history, a rich collection of photographs and the photographic slides that accompanied his lectures, and ephemera he gathered while conducting research.
We could not have completed this major reorganization without the help of a dedicated team of students who volunteered on Saturday mornings. We want to thank Kevin Cosenza, Jeffrey Fischer, Meg Hajo, Matthew Hazell, Lee Herman, Nicholas Incorvaia, Cristina Macari, and Jennifer Zgola for all their efforts to make this collection available to researchers. I would also like to thank Ruth Bristow Portela, John Bristow’s daughter, for sharing photographs and biographical information that we used to write up the guide to his papers.
To view the papers, please arrange an appointment by either calling the Museum or e-mailing the archives directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Ellis began his career in 1926, at the age of 19, at Norton-Blair-Douglas in New York. He was recommended for an internship by Bassett Jones, a renowned electrical engineer, who was one of the prominent residents of Cragmere and who also holds at least one patent. He applied for his first patent in 1929 at the age of 22 when he was working for Norton Blair Douglas and it was awarded in 1934 after Norton Blair Douglas had been bought out by Westinghouse. This patent was for a safety device for vehicle doors, particularly those of elevators, that involved the use of beam of light which, when interrupted by a person’s foot for example, would not let the elevator door close. Like the electric eye on your elevator door. He was chagrined that the builders of the Chrysler Building did not use it on their elevators, but was glad that Rockefeller Center did.
When Norton-Blair-Douglas was bought out by Westinghouse Electric Elevator Co, Mr. Ellis and the partners moved to Chicago where they worked for Westinghouse. During this period he was awarded a number of patents for elevator related controls and systems. In 1933, he left Westinghouse and got a $10,000 severance which he used, in part, for a trip around the world, in the depth of the depression, on a Japanese steamer. When in London, he heard that the U.S. was likely to go off the gold standard so he converted his Travelers Checks into gold coins and weathered the devaluation that occurred in U.S. money when it went off gold. His nephew John Edwards, who now owns the house is still looking for 2 gold coins that Charlie told an interviewer in 1981 that he still had in the house.
After returning he worked in a company making packaging machinery and claims he was the first to seal plastics with a radio frequency rather than heat. He did not patent this invention. Through World War II he worked for Sedgewick Machine Works, where one of his inventions was large elevators for aircraft carriers, resulting in multimillion dollar sales for that item.
After a period of self employment, between 1948 and 1951, when he continued to invent, specializing in adjustable speed motors, he joined Sperry Rand Corporation where he worked from 1959 as the director of quality control. From 1959 on, he continued to invent and refine adjustable speed and supersynchronous motors.
In his later years, he became very interested in Mahwah history and the environment. He warned of the dangers of earthquakes along the Ramapo Fault, west of the Ramapo River, as subject that was also addressed by Howard Avery. When Mahwah put sewers into Cragmere, he did a drawing and analysis of the water system on Armour Road that formerly served Ezra Miller’s mansion, and became incorporated into the Mahwah water system. He was invited to become a member of the first Environmental Commission, but declined to serve because, he said, the Township refused to provide a personal indemnity and insurance.
Photos courtesy of John Edwards.
He did much of his creative work from a basement laboratory in his house on Beveridge Road.. Early in his career he obtained patents for better machinery couplings and bushings for his business known as Smith & Serrell. He also held patents on a better snow shovel and a coin holder.
But the most interesting stories come from his work in polarized light. He was an associate of Lewis Warrington Chubb of Westinghouse. They were working on polarizing the lights from headlamps in a car. Polarization, as you probably know from figuring out how your sunglasses work, is the process of taking light waves which are in a random pattern and changing them into a more concentrated stream.
Before the work of Chubb and Smith and of Edwin Land, headlights were dangerous because they were not polarized. Chubb and Smith were working on mechanical means of polarizing light which polarized it at is source. Edwin Land had dropped out of Harvard and was working on a chemical solution that polarized the light using a film on a windshield, or on the headlight lens. They were engaged in a patent battle that resulted ultimately in Chubb and Smith selling their patents to Polaroid Corporation for stock in that company and a job for Chubb.
In 1933, in the midst of the patent negotiations, Land came to Mahwah and they did some testing. Here, thanks to Audrey Artusio, the current owner of the Smith house, Margaret Smith Pryde (1910-2008), Robert’s daughter, Mary Ellen Pryde Abrams, and Tara Van Brederode, Robert’s granddaughters, is a description of that test by Robert’s daughter Molly:
Dr. Edwin Land …..came to Mahwah in 1933 to witness a test run. Our cars were equipped with polarized headlights and windshields.
I was to be the guinea pig. It was a dark, rainy night. Dad gave me instructions. “I don’t want to know where you’re standing,” he said. “That yellow slicker is too light. Go borrow your mother’s black raincoat.”
I did as he said and then stationed myself on the road. Dad and Lew [Lewis Chubb] got in the car at one end of the road and Dr. Land rode with Mother in the second car which began at the other end of the road. Both drivers were supposed to see me. I was scared.
Dad had said, “Don’t move, no matter what. I’ll honk the horn when I see you.”
I was beginning to panic. “But what if you don’t see me?
He calmly replied, “I will.”
I stood, mesmerized, as the headlights of the approaching cars moved closer. I felt rooted to the ground. I muttered to myself, “Please dear God let them see me in time.” My fists were clenched in the pockets of the raincoat. I heard the swish of tires on the wet road as the cars came closer and I closed my eyes.
No sound was ever sweeter than the “beep, beep” of the Essex horn and the answering beep of the Hupmobile.
Smith did not live to see Edwin Land’s most famous use of Polaroid light, the Polaroid Camera.
All images from the Mahwah Museum