Joyce Kilmer: The War Years
On Sunday April 9, 2017 at 1:15 p.m. Tetsu and Linda Amagasu, Trustees of the Mahwah Museum, will present a gallery talk about the local author Joyce Kilmer’s time spent fighting in World War I with the “Fighting 69th”. This Talk will take place in the upstairs gallery of the Mahwah Museum. Seating is limited; advanced reservations are recommended. To reserve, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201.512.0099. Gallery talks are free with museum admission.
Although he was not obligated for service in WWI Joyce Kilmer nonetheless enlisted. Though eligible for commission as an office and often recommended for such posts, he refused any rank above sergeant. Tetsu and Linda will cover these questions as well as his regiment and dedication, his duties and life on the war front, his last mission and death in France on July 30, 1918 as well as some poems he wrote during the war such as “Rouge Bouquet.”
“There is on earth no worthier grave To hold the bodies of the brave Than this place of pain and pride Where they nobly fought and nobly died.”- Joyce Kilmer. Rouge Bouquet.
The Mahwah Museum is located at 201 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah NJ 07430. Museum hours are weekends and Wednesdays from 1-4 pm. Current exhibits at the Mahwah Museum include” Medicine in Mahwah and Mahwah’s Herstory: The Changing Roles of Women in Mahwah’s History. Permanent exhibits are: Les Paul in Mahwah and The Donald Cooper Model Railroad, which is open weekends only from 1-4 pm. Admission to the Museum, is $5 for non-members, members and children are free. Visit www.mahwahmuseum.org or call 201.512.0099 for information on events, membership and volunteering.
Lecture: Cragmere in the Ramapos
On Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Tom Dunn, will present a lecture detailing the History of the Cragmere section of Mahwah. 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 email@example.com for reservations or call 201-512-0099. Refreshments will be served afterwards.
Tom Dunn has been chronicling the history of the Cragmere section of Mahwah since 1974. Wonderful houses, interesting people and community spirit are all parts of the story of Cragmere. It all began in 1909, when George Dunlop began a unique, suburban community on a hillside near the railroad station in Mahwah. This lecture has been popular in the past, but there is always something new to learn.
This lecture 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.; admission $5 for non-members, members and children are free.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
World War I Centennial Bazaar
Sponsored by the NW Bergen History Coalition
*Please note the Mahwah Museum and the DCMRR will be closed on this day so that we can assist with the Bazaar*
On The Grounds of The Hermitage, 11am to 5 pm
Plan to join us as we step back to a momentous time in our history – the entrance of America into World War I- at our Centennial Bazaar on the beautiful grounds of The Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus. It will be an event you don’t want to miss!
Highlights of the Day Include:
Woodrow Wilson from the American History Theater-Joyce Kilmer Society of Mahwah-Waldwick Band-Centennial Flag folding ceremony by Saving Hallowed Ground- Ramapo College Canta Nova Chorale-Suffragist Harriet Stanton Blatch- World War I Color Guard stopping by on their way to Camp Merritt
ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG AND OLD:
Games- Clowns-a Fortune Teller-WWI Era Food- Vintage Cars-Vintage Music-WWI Uniform Displays-Afternoon Tea on the Porch of The Hermitage-Clothing from the Early 20th Century-Local Musical Groups
BOOTHS & DEMONSTRATIONS:
National Guard Military Museum of NJ-War Gardens, Hermitage Gardeners-Lace Making-World War I Knitting-Suffrage Movement-Ridgewood League of Women Voters-Rutherford World War I Centennial Committee
IN THE HERMITAGE’S JACQUA HALL:
Displays by Coalition members of World War I artifacts from their collections as well as by organizations that were part of the WWI effort, such as the American Red Cross, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, the VFW and more.
Corporate Sponsors & Volunteers for the Day are Welcome:
We are soliciting Corporate Sponsors. Your names will be in a brochure to be handed out and on signage that day. Volunteers are also needed. To become a sponsor or a volunteer, please contact Sheila Brogan at 201-652-7354.
Sponsoring NE Bergen Coalition Museums:
The Hermitage, Ho-Ho-Kus; The Mahwah Museum, Mahwah; The John Fell House, Allendale; The Schoolhouse Museum, Ridgewood; Waldwick Signal Tower, Waldwick; Hopper-Goetschius House Museum, Upper Saddle River; The Museum at the Station, Glen Rock; The Zabriskie House, Wyckoff; Van Allen House, Oakland; Waldwick Museum of Local History, Waldwick; The Old Stone House, Ramsey.
**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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-512-0099
Les Paul in Mahwah
The Mahwah Museum has a small permanent exhibit featuring Les Paul 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 recreation 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.
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.
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.
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.
Ellis’s house in Cragmere
Photos courtesy of John Edwards.
Robert Armstrong Smith
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.
Patent for light polarizer
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.
Smith’s home on Beveridge Place
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
Edward Gorcyca, of West Mahwah, was another one of those inventors from American Brakeshoe. He was born in 1923 and served in the Navy from 1943-1945. He died in 1996 in San Diego, California.
I don’t know too much about Ed’s life or background. He was the second son of Myron (or Marion) and Anna Gorcyca who came to the U.S. from Poland in 1906. In 1940 Myron was a coremaker at American Brakeshoe and, according to an oral history taken in 1975 with his daughter, Jenny (who married Larry Nyland, one of our Mayors) the family also had a subsistence farm on Church Street. His brothers Ben and John were proteges of John Warhol and John was influential in persuading John to attend the University of Maryland. Ben was the long time chairman of the Board of Adjustment and John ran for the office of tax collector.
One of Gorcyca’s patents.
Between 1954 and 1965, Ed’s name appeared on five patents that were assigned to American Brakeshoe. They all related to improvement of journal boxes, which contained oiled packing materials to lubricate the bearings of railroad wheels. The picture shows a railroad employee inspecting the journal box on a wheel to make sure the packing was properly in place, because if it failed, the wheel bearings would burn out causing a “hotbox.” Until 1961, the primary inventor was a man named Llewellyn Hoyer, with Ed as a co-inventor. But the last two were in Ed’s name alone: for a clip to make keep the packing in place and a new dust guard that was easier to remove without disconnecting the entire journal box.
Theodore Havemeyer (Suzanne Meyer Stein Collection, Mahwah Museum)
Three generations of Havemeyers were inventors. As you know, Theodore A. Havemeyer came to Mahwah in 1879 and established Mountain Side Farm, much of which is Ramapo College. He died in 1897. Although Theodore had nine children only his sons, Henry O. Havemeyer and Frederick C. Havemeyer, continued a presence in Mahwah. Henry O. Havemeyer died in 1965 but his son, Henry O. Havemeyer, Jr. continued to live here until his death in 1992. The house in which Henry Jr. lived became the home of the President of Ramapo College. Theodore, Henry O., and Henry O., Jr. were all inventors.
Theodore Havemeyer’s Sugar Mold Carriage patent
Theodore A. Havemeyer, born in 1839, had only a grammar school education but joined the family sugar business as a partner in 1861. He was the technological expert in the family and an early age had spent a year in Europe studying the sugar refining process. In 1862 he and a man named Schnitzpan patented a new and improved carriage for sugar molds. He was a partner in Havemeyers & Elder, which was an integral part of the Sugar Trust. In his later years in Mahwah he was a patron of many agricultural and scientific societies that were advancing the technology of agriculture. He was on the forefront of ensilage– to generate feed for his cows—the breeding of cows to improve milk production, and the breeding of fantail pigeons for show.
Henry O. Havemeyer (On loan from the Mahwah Library)
Theodore Havemeyer’s son, Henry O. Havemeyer, dropped out of Yale in 1897 after the death of his father and became an apprentice at the family sugar business. He returned to Yale and graduated as a proud member of the Class of 1900. The Ramsey Journal reported in 1906 that he had gotten a speeding ticket in his newfangled automobile. So it is appropriate that he was the inventor of a license plate holder that could be flipped over so that it had the plate of one state on one side and the plate of another state on the reverse. Henry O. Havemeyer was not merely a playboy, however. He was the president of the Eastern District Terminal in Brooklyn which had been spun off from the family’s sugar business. He became an officer and later the long time president of the Eastern District Terminal. The Eastern District Terminal was the gateway for all railroads coming from the west and seeking to be in Brooklyn or Long Island. It was also the only way in which refined and packaged sugar could get from the Domino refinery in Brooklyn to the west. They had to come through these yards and be moved by small locomotives like these. It would be up to Henry O. Havemeyer, Jr. – who also worked for the company – to make some important advances.
Havemeyer House (Courtesy Dater Family Archives)
There were no tunnels under the Hudson River so railroad cars were barged or lightered over from the yards of Jersey City, Bayonne or Hoboken, to the Eastern District Terminal and then transferred to the industries or railroads in Brooklyn. To get one or more railroad cars across the river, there was a floating bridge connected to the tracks on the shore. The barge connected to the water side of the bridge. There were tracks on the barge to accept the car being transported. You can imagine how difficult it must have been to transfer a fully loaded railroad car from tracks on the bridge to the tracks on the rolling barge. There were constant mishaps and derailments. The invention of Henry O. Havemeyer, Jr., filed in 1925 when he was 22 years old, improves on the way that the rails on the bridge and barge could be aligned to make derailments rare. Henry O. Havemeyer, Jr. lived in the house we today call the Havemeyer House and had a number of other inventions to improve railroad transportation.
Henry O. Havemeyer’s License plate design
(Thomas Dunn Collection)
Henry O. Havemeyer Jr.’s patent design
Fitzwilliam Sargent was called the “father of brake-shoe engineering” and he obtained multiple patents for improvement of railroad brake shoes. He was born in 1859 in Philadelphia and attended Lehigh University where he graduated in 1879 with a Civil Engineering degree. He came to Mahwah (then Hohokus Township) in 1902 as the chief engineer of the American Brake Shoe and Foundry Company.
After joining American Brake Shoe, he built a large home on 5 acres off Olney Road. The house had all the latest improvements of the day, including electric lights and steam heat.
In 1935 the Board of Directors of American Brakeshoe built an up-to-date testing facility to keep up with the progress of the railroad industry. The building was named the F.W. Sargent Laboratory Building and from the opening of the building to the date of his death at the age of 80 he went to work as often as possible. The picture below shows his first invention, which he had done before he came to Brakeshoe, of a machine for testing brakeshoes. During his career, he had many patents relating to the improvement of brakeshoes. His last patent was issued to him in 1934 at age 75. The invention created a system of reinforcing a brake shoe so that, if the body of the shoe broke, it could continue in service and not need to be replaced as quickly.
- Oweno Road home of Fitzwilliam Sargent.
- Sargent’s first invention
- F.W. Sargent Building
Photos from Fitzwilliam Sargent Greene, `A Tribute to the Life of Fitzwilliam Sargent” (Mahwah Museum Library, 2013.17.072)