Exhibits at the Mahwah Museum

 

**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 now featuring for the 2017-2018 season, aside from our new and continuing exhibits, our permanent exhibits:

Les Paul in Mahwah and The Donald Cooper Model Railroad (The DCMRR 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 from 1-4 p.m. For information about joining the train crew, please email railroad@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.

Lecture: Camp Merritt, Bergen County’s WWI Army Base

 

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 programs@mahwahmuseum.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 is currently 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.

Vinyl Record Night

Vinyl Record Night

On Tuesday October 24, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. The Mahwah Museum will be hosting evening of wine and cheese followed by a vinyl record listening party, with the records played on an audiophile system. The event will take place at the Mahwah Museum, 201 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah, NJ 07430. Admission: The Mahwah Museum is asking that every attendee who is not already a Mahwah Museum member sign up for membership. The annual fee is $15 for an individual membership, $10 for senior membership, or $25 for a family (2 adults).  If you are already a member, the suggested donation for the event (including wine and cheese reception) is $10. Contact lespaul@mahwahmuseum.org for more information or call 201-512-0099. Reservations are not required for this event.

            Raymond Ullmer, founder of Cragmere Vinyl Club and hosts local vinyl listening parties, will be curating this event. The theme for the evening will be ‘music with New Jersey connections’. There will be a little something for everyone, old and new, laid-back and rocking. The evening will begin with a wine & cheese reception at 7p.m., and then move into the Les Paul in Mahwah exhibit at 8 p.m. for music.

This event is hosted by the Mahwah Museum, located at 201 Franklin Turnpike Mahwah, NJ 07430.  The Museum is currently 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 to the museum is $5 for non-members, members and children are free. Visit mahwahmuseum.org or call 201-512-0099 for information on events, membership and volunteering.

Luncheon and Presentation on Tuxedo Park

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.

 

 

RESERVATION FORM

  • Enclosed is my check for  tickets for the Tuxedo Park Luncheon on November 1 at $50 each. Total: $  

Name                                                              Email                                                 

Address                                                                                               Phone                        

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: kayyeomans@optonline.net or 201.327.2236

Send checks payable to: U.S.R. Historical Society, 245 Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458

 

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.
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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.

Inventors: Robert Armstrong Smith

Robert Armstrong Smith

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

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.

Smith's laboratory

Smith’s laboratory

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

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

Inventors: Edward Gorcyca

EdwardGorcyca-1

(www.jeffpolston.com)

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.

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.

Inventors: The Havemeyers

Theodore Havermeyer (Suzanne Meyer Stein Collection, Mahwah Museum)

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 Havermeyer's Sugar Mold Carriage patent

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. Havermeyer (On loan from the Mahwah Library)

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.

Havermeyer House (Courtesy Dater Family Archives)

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.

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