Northwest Bergen History Coalition History Day 2019

NW Bergen History Day 2019


Unlock the Door to Local History

Tickets for History Day are now available for purchase at Mahwah Museum

History Day 2019, sponsored by the Northwest Bergen History Coalition, will be held on Saturday, May 4th from 11 AM to 4 PM.  For the price of $10, you can visit as many of the twelve NW Bergen museums and historic homes as you choose.

Each historic site will feature unique textiles, artifacts and ephemera and share information that will enhance your knowledge of Northwest Bergen County’s history. The museums and historic homes on the tour include:

       John Fell House 475 Franklin Turnpike in Allendale presenting a display of historic local maps, artifacts, and memorabilia in their new exhibit, “Maps and Memorabilia of Allendale and Surrounding Areas.”

      The Hermitage 335 N. Franklin Turnpike in HoHoKus showcasing their new exhibit on the life of Theodosia Prevost, who owned the Hermitage at the time of the Revolutionary War and later, married Aaron Burr.

      Mahwah Museum 201 Franklin Turnpike in Mahwah presenting an exhibit featuring citizens of Mahwah who served in the Great War including poet and soldier Joyce Kilmer who made the ultimate sacrifice.

      Van Allen House 3 Franklin Ave. in Oakland featuring a display of herbs and garden plants with a discussion of their traditional, medicinal, and historic uses.

      Old Stone House 538 Island Rd. in Ramsey opening with a special display of artifacts from a century of education in Ramsey in addition to their existing exhibits.

      Schoolhouse Museum 650 E. Glen Ave. in Ridgewood presenting an exhibit, “Here Comes the Bride,” with an exquisite collection of wedding dresses and accessories from 1780 through 1990.

      Hopper-Goetschius Museum 363 E. Saddle River Rd. in Upper Saddle River examining the earliest days in the Saddle River Valley and the lives of the Lenape Indians, the Europeans and African Americans.

     Waldwick Museum of Local History 4 Hewson Ave. in Waldwick will have as its main theme, the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the Borough of Waldwick.   During the anniversary year a number of different exhibits will be on display celebrating the Borough’s history.

     Harvey Springstead Memorial Museum, 1 Bohnert Place in Waldwick featuring a display and discussion of the role of the railroad in the growth and development of Waldwick as the borough celebrates its 100th anniversary.

     Wyckoff Historical Society at Zabriskie Pond on Franklin Ave in Wyckoff welcoming visitors to a photographic exhibition, Faces and Places of Wyckoff, displayed in their newly renovated building that was once a barbershop.

     Zabriskie House 421 Franklin Ave. in Wyckoff will open the doors of this lovely historic home dating back to 1720 with its collection of historic and rare furnishings from the 17th to the 20th century.  The day will include demonstrations on spinning and weaving and children’s games.

 Tickets at $10 for an adult, free for children 16 and younger are now on sale at:

The Hermitage on Wednesdays through Sundays 1 to 4,

 Mahwah Museum on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 4,

Abma’s Farm Market 700 Lawlins Road in Wyckoff  on Mondays through Saturdays 9:00 to 5:00,

and the Schoolhouse Museum on Thursdays and Saturdays from 1 to 3 and Sundays 2 to 4.

Tickets will also be on sale at each of the sites on History Day. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit our historic sites.

Be a part of History Day 2019 and learn about local history at these wonderful museums and historic homes.

For more information about the day call Sheila Brogan at 201-652-7354 or email

Lecture: Skylands and the NJ Botanical Gardens

Lecture: Skylands and the NJ Botanical Gardens

On Thursday May 9, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.  Join Maja Britton on a journey through the history and the gardens of the New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands! Part of the Mahwah Museum Lecture Series, the lecture will take place at Mahwah Museum, 201 Franklin Turnpike Mahwah, NJ 07430.  Admission is $5, free for museum members.  Contact for reservations or call 201-512-0099.  Refreshments will be served afterwards.

From the delicate shades of a tiny wildflower to the vibrant colors of massed annual plantings, the New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands is a place of beauty in any season. Here you can stroll amid the elegance of formal gardens, or wander along gentle paths winding through the woods.

The New Jersey State Botanical Garden includes 96 acres of specialty gardens surrounded by over 1000 acres of woodlands. NJBG is open daily from 8am to 8pm (6pm in winter), and Garden admission is always free.

Skylands is a safe haven for unusual plant species from around the world, and has one of the best plant collections in the state. The garden protects and preserves these plants as their natural habitats are changed forever by progress.

Join us for a journey through the history and the gardens of the New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands!

Maja Britton is public relations chair for NJBG, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and the official support group for the New Jersey State Botanical Garden. She owns Adastra West, LLC, a public relations and graphic design firm in Denville.

This lecture is hosted by the Mahwah Museum, located at 201 Franklin Turnpike Mahwah, NJ 07430.  The Museum is currently featuring the exhibits Kilmer: The Man Kilmer: The War Years, and WWI Part I and WWI Part II. 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 or call 201-512-0099 for information on events, membership and volunteering.



We are now open with these exhibits:

We are featuring four exhibits for the 2018-2019 season, “Kilmer, The Man, Kilmer, The War Years, The First World War Part I and the First World War Part II.

Mahwah Museum is located at 201 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah, NJ 07430.

Admission to the museum is $5, free for museum members.

Our first exhibit “The First World War Part I and the First World War Part II ” will document the role of the United States in the First World War.

This exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of the United States entering the war, at the end of which most European Empires, except Great Britain, ceased to exist, and the League of Nations was formed to prevent the repetition of such a conflict. Mahwah Museum wants to share these events with younger generations not familiar with the Great War, as well as with older generations whose family histories may have been impacted by the war.


Our second exhibit “Kilmer, The Man & Kilmer, The War Years” will focus on local Poet Joyce Kilmer. “A patriot and warrior, a poet and lecturer, a husband and a father, a sergeant in WWI.”


2018 is the 100th anniversary of the death of Joyce Kilmer- poet, journalist and lecturer who enlisted in 1917 to join the fighting and died in action in July, 1918 as a Sergeant with the Fighting 69th. This exhibit tells the story of this greatly-admired hero.

When the Museum is reopened for the 2018-2019 season we will be featuring, aside from our new exhibits, our permanent exhibits:

Les Paul in Mahwah and The Donald Cooper Model Railroad.

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 on WEEKENDS ONLY, and NOT open on Wednesday. For information about joining the train crew, please email or call 201-512-0099.

Please note: the DCMRR is not a free train display (admission is free only for members of the museum) and it is not a train ride.

Les Paul in Mahwah

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.


Mahwah Museum receives operating support from the New Jersey Historical Commission in the Department of State.

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.

Early Skylands

This article by Charles Anderson was first published in “The Old Station Timetable,” of January 1978.

The area in which Skylands is now located was a prime source of wood for the smelting operations at Ringwood during the 1700’s. Small farms were carved out of the stony hills where some level ground could be found. These were mostly along the Eagle Valley Road out of Sloatsburg (NY) and along the Wanaque Valley Road. The Ramapo Mountains were gradually cut up among small owners.

Around 1880, Stetson, a counsel for J.P. Morgan, with several associates bought up 1200 acres of these small holdings and established several large estates. Part of the Stetson property is now Skylands. His mansion was baronial and impressive. Sheep were grazed on the front lawn. A nine-hole golf course was laid out on land laboriously leveled. His wife was a paraplegic but could drive a buggy. Each year he cut additional miles of wood road through the estate so that she could travel about the property. Eventually, over 20 miles of road were cleared. Most of them are still available for hiking. They are easily distinguished from old wood roads used for lumbering by their easy grades, uniform width and solidly built stone bridges.

In the 1900’s Clarence Lewis bought property In Mahwah and lived here. He was a lawyer for the multi-million dollar firm owned by the Solomons of New York. Retiring a very wealthy man in 1933, aged 53, he was to live 30 years more. He owned a large piece of land east of the Birch property on the north side of the Ramapo River extending to a piece of Pierson property which extended west from the Glove and north to Pierson Ridge. Another large acreage owned by Lewis lay on both sides of the easterly third of Bear Swamp Pond, separated from the Stetson estate by a small piece of property owned by one Hines. When the Stetson property was up for sale, he bought it intending to join it with the Bear Swamp acreage. It is believed that Hines refused to sell, and he was not able to do this.

However, Skylands was his. He tore the house down. There are two stories giving a reason why, neither of which may be true. One states that his mother did not like the Stetson house, the other, that being a tallish man he bumped his head in several places while going through the house. At, any rate, the present building was put up in Jacobean style from stone quarried locally and embellished with interiors purchased from old castles in Europe. His mother died a year before the house was completed.

In the many years that he lived at Skylands, being an ardent horticulturist and well able to afford 60 gardeners, he developed an English style series of plantings complete with statuary and vistas, most of which are being restored today. Late in life he offered his estate to the New York Botanical Gardens. They insisted on a large endowment which he was unwilling to provide. The deal fell through. Later, he offered the property to Shelton College at a very reasonable price on condition that they follow his advice on management. They would not listen, he discontinued his help, and the college soon went bankrupt.

Developers were ready to purchase and carve the estate when Robert Roe purchased for the state 250 acres, the first acquisition of land under the Green Acres Program. House and grounds had been sadly neglected during the college ownership. Some restoration work was done on the house, and work was started In reclaiming the neglected gardens. However, with only ten gardeners, reclamation Is progressing slowly. The dedicated staff had made it possible for us to visualize the beauty of the gardens.’ Each year new discoveries of hidden beauties are made. Lewis’s dream of an estate extending from Skylands to the Ramapo has been realized. The boundaries of Ramapo Park have been extended past Bear Swamp Pond and now join with the wooded acreage of Skylands.