June 10th Concert-A Tribute To Lou Pallo

A Tribute to Lou Pallo

On Saturday June 10, 2017 from 2-4 p.m. the Mahwah Museum will host a tribute to Lou Pallo.  This will be an outdoor concert with performances by Lou Pallo, Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Laub. Admission is free for all. There will be a 10$ suggested donation for this event. Please feel free to come early to this event, the museum will be open for our regular hours, 1-4pm. Visitors can see the permanent “Les Paul in Mahwah” exhibit as well as our other exhibits “Mahwah’s Herstory, The Changing Roles of Women in Mahwah’s History” and “Medicine in Mahwah”. Admission to the museum will be free during this event and throughout the day on June 10, 2017. On all other days admission is $5 for non-members, members and children are free. Contact info@mahwahmuseum.org or call 201-512-0099 for more information.

Lou Pallo has been a supporter and promoter of the museum for many years. He has given his time and energy to further our programs and exhibits. Lou has always been available to help us when needed.  When the Les Paul Foundation agreed to loan the museum important items from Les Paul’s estate Lou agreed to visit the museum and tell stories documenting the history of the Les Paul Trio.  As the longest serving member of the trio, he was in a unique position to tell this story.  In addition, he has given lectures and gallery talks for our members and visitors. This day is our opportunity to thank him for all that he has done for us. During this concert Lou will be joined by Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Laub on the lawn of the museum. Please bring your lawn chairs or something comfortable to sit on and enjoy some excellent music!

This event is hosted by Mahwah Museum, located at 201 Franklin Turnpike.  The Museum is currently featuring the new 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.; regular admission $5 for non-members, members and children are free.

This event was made possible through a grant from the Les Paul Foundation.



Digitizing Fundraiser – Hosted by Digital Memory Media

Digitizing Fundraiser

Hosted by Digital Memory Media

Digital Memory Media will be offering a fundraising program that will provide the Mahwah Museum with an innovative and effective means to raise money, while also helping individuals preserve their personal memories. DMM will host this event on June 10, 2017 from 10-12 pm at the Museum, 201 Franklin Turnpike Mahwah, NJ. They will convert your personal  collections of old photographs, 8mm and 16mm films, slides, video tapes and every other media type into digital formats that will last forever.

 At the event, Digital Memory Media’s trained staff will accept new orders and answer questions. Orders can be tracked on DMM’s order tracking system. Original items are returned by courier directly to the patron along with DVD copies of their memories. All digital conversions are performed (in-house) at the safe and secure East Brunswick facility. The details on how this is all operates can be found on Digital Media Memory’s website, www.dmmem.com.  If you would like to attend this event please bring your media to be converted with you to the museum on the day of the event. DMM will donate 20 percent of the revenue to the Mahwah Museum. Reservations are not required.  Questions can be sent via the contact form on the Digital Memory media website, or by calling toll-free 800-380-9058 or 732-613-7170.

This event is hosted by Mahwah Museum, located at 201 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah NJ 07430.  The Museum is currently featuring the new 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.

For additional information about this event please click here.

Preserve Your Old Films, Videos, and Photos!

Old media like this set of Birch family home movies are inaccessible in their current form.

Digitization is an amazing way of sharing historical resources, but did you know that it also serves as a means of preservation? Old photographs and newspapers deteriorate every year just from exposure to light, acids in the atmosphere, and handling. Audio-visual materials, like old 16mm film and videotapes are even more fragile and in some cases are unusable if you don’t have the proper playback equipment.

The Mahwah Museum is hosting an event on June 10, from 10am to 12 noon and invites you to bring you personal collection of photographs, 8mm and 16mm films, slides, videotapes and any other media that you may have. Consultants from Digital Memory Media will evaluate them and provide price quotes for digitizing them.  Details on the process can be found at http://www.dmmem.com.

A screen shot from one of the Birch family films, ca. 1920.

For a sample of what Digital Memory Media can do, we had them digitize some 16mm films made by the Birch family around 1920. These films are in rough shape, they have a vinegary smell and we did not even know if the film could be played. We also asked them to digitize a 16mm film from a 1961 Mahwah-Ramsey high school football film which had been kept in tin cases. The results were impressive! The 90-year old Birch films show family vacations and tantalizing images of bygone days. The 56-year old football films show the high school marching band and extremely clear game footage. Imagine what they can do with your baby videos from the 1990s, or photographic slide collections from your childhood.  You can view the digitized films at http://www.digifind-it.com/mahwah/videos.php

A screen shot from the 1961 Mahwah-Ramsey football game.

There are no reservations needed for this event and there is no commitment. If you do decide to have your family history materials digitized, Digital Memory Media will be taking orders at the event, and can take your films, photos and videos to their specialized facility in East Brunswick and deliver them back to  you by courier.


For more information about this event please click here.

Digital Memory Media will donate 20% of all orders made at the event to the Mahwah Museum.

June 21, 2017 Mahwah Museum Last Day for the 2016-2017 Season

June 21, 2017 Mahwah Museum Last Day for the 2016-2017 Season
The Mahwah Museum and Donald Cooper Model Railroad will be closed for the Summer after  Wednesday June 21, 2017. We will reopen in September, 2017.
The Old Station Museum and Caboose will be open June 25, 2017- September 2017 Sundays 2-4 pm.
June 21, 2017 will be the last day to see our current exhibits Medicine in Mahwah and Mahwah’s Herstory as they are now.
We will be updating these exhibits and adding some new exhibits over the Summer.
For more information about our exhibits please click here.
We thank all who visited this past year and look forward to seeing you at the Old Station Museum and Caboose and when we reopen in September.

Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce Community Showcase

Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce Community Showcase

On April 25, 2017 Mahwah Museum President John Edwards, Vice President Diane Adler, and Les Paul in Mahwah exhibit chairperson Charlie Carreras took part in the Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce Community Showcase.

This event was a wonderful evening of networking as the MRCC celebrated all of the valuable work that the region’s non-profit groups provide to local communities.  The Community Spirit Showcase spotlights over 40 regional non-profit organizations along with other businesses in our community.

We thank the Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce for this wonderful event and look forward to working with all of the great non-profits we networked with that night.

For more information about next year’s event and other upcoming MRCC events, please click here.

Photo Credit: Tom Grissom, Mahwah Museum Trustee.


Lauren Paolillo, Winner of 2017 Bergen County Historic Preservation Award

The Mahwah Museum would like to extend a special congratulations to Mahwah resident Lauren Paolillo. Lauren is a recipient of the 2017 Bergen County Historic Preservation Award for her wonderful book “Mahwah Military Memories”.

Lauren was awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award last year, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. For her gold award project Lauren completed a two-hundred page book that compiled the stories and interviews of local veterans. Lauren completed all the research and interviews by herself.

After winning her award Lauren kindly donated copies of her book, Mahwah Military Memories, to the Township, the Mahwah Library and the Mahwah Museum.

Mahwah Military Memories is written in memory of Laurens grandfather.

The Mahwah Museum was delighted with the hard work, dedication and historical value of Laurens work. In January 2017 the Mahwah Museum nominated Lauren for the 2017 Bergen County Historic Preservation Award.

We are pleased to announce that Lauren has won this award, and will be presented with this award on May 4, 2017.

Again we offer our congratulations to Lauren, and wish her the best in this and all the other great things that she will accomplish in her life time.

Exhibits at the Mahwah Museum

**Please note: We cannot process credit or debit cards inside the museum.***

We are featuring two exhibits for the 2016-2017 season, “Mahwah’s Herstory” and “Medicine in Mahwah”.

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.

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.

The Museum is open for the 2016-2017 season featuring, aside from our new exhibits, our permanent exhibits:

Les Paul in Mahwah and The Donald Cooper Model Railroad, which is open weekends ONLY 1-4 pm.

The Museum is open weekends and Wednesdays from 1-4 pm.; admission is $5 for non-members; members and children are free.

Permanent exhibits:

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 October-June from 1-4 p.m. For information about joining the train crew, please email director@mahwahmuseum.org 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.

John W. Bristow Papers Open for Research

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.

John W. Bristow, taken in 2008 (Courtesty of Ruth Bristow Portela).

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 archives@mahwahmuseum.org.


Any Youngs, Hagermans, Bodines out there?

Any Youngs, Hagermans, Bodines out there?
The Mahwah Museum archives are processing a large collection of photographs from the Martha Young Kuklinski Collection which document the lives of J. Frank Young (1905-1960) and Henrietta Morriss Young (1909-1984) and their families, ranging 1910-1940s. There are also some older historical family photographs. Henrietta Morriss’ mother was Bessie Hagerman and she lived with Andrew Hagerman. The photos from this branch of the family are fairly well labeled. The photographs of the Youngs, who came from Tallman, often have no labels at all. J. Frank Young’s mother was Anne Jane Bodine and his father was John Franklin Young. His siblings were Alta, Freda, and John Young. If you can help up put names to faces, it would make this collection much more useful to researchers.

Inventors: Charles E. Ellis

Charles E. Ellis

Charles E. Ellis

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.

Patent drawing

Patent drawing

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.


Ellis's invention

Ellis’s invention

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.

Ellis's house in Cragmere

Ellis’s house in Cragmere

Photos courtesy of John Edwards.