Posts Tagged Historical Society

Meeting – November 22, 2016 – Model Railroading – “The world’s greatest hobby”

18 November 2016

Little model railroad car on tracks

Come on down to the Fanwood Train Station to learn or to reinforce why model railroading is “the world’s greatest hobby” at the November monthly meeting of the Historical Society of Scotch Plains & Fanwood. Jack de Rosset will be the “conductor” and Warren Michalewsky the “engineer” for our meeting. Jack is the owner of The Model Railroad Shop in nearby Piscataway.  Warren is one of the shop employees. The Model Railroad Shop is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, continuously operated model train specialty shop in the United States.  It was established by Howell Day on January 2, 1933 and continues through today. In the early days of the shop (and the infancy of the railroading hobby), Howell produced his own line of kits under the names of H.Owen & shop-Craft.  It was primarily a mail order business.  The next successive owners (1948 Leonard Lippman, 1950 Fred, 1997 Jack de Rosset & Rick Dunbar) expanded the business to include prototypical operations, Die cast models and promotions, handmade models, resin cast models, plastic models, special orders and advanced reservations on “limited runs”.  Additionally, there is a broad selection of model fire and rescue vehicles to purchase.

Jack and Warren will explain what the railroading hobby does, what it does not do and its present status with the changes brought about by the computer.  They can tell you the worth of collections and amaze the uninitiated with the various scale sizes of model trains, the types available by how made, etc.  Various models will be demonstrated.

Since we are meeting at the Fanwood Train Station where the Central New Jersey (CNJ) tracks run, the history of this “Big Little Railroad” will also be covered.  It was a short line running from Jersey City to White House Station but it carried a lot of immigrants from Ellis Island and contributed greatly to our NJ history.

The meeting is free and open to everyone. Refreshments and fellowship will follow the program.  The meeting starts at 8:00PM on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016.  This meeting is being held specially at the Fanwood Train Station located on North and Martine Avenues.  So come on down and hop aboard for the model trains through the years and a history of the CNJ tracks.

For more information about this event, contact Connie Klock, 908-232-9489.  For more information about The Model Railroad Shop visit their web:


Meeting – September 27, 2016 – From Corsets to Calling Cards; Dress and Decorum in Victorian America

26 September 2016

What was the most popular petticoat color in the 1860s?  How does a lady sit on a chair in a hoop skirt?  Which clothing color was highly poisonous to the wearer?  Come to the opening monthly meeting of the Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood on Tuesday evening September 27th to learn the answers.  Laurie MacDonnell-Gaulke, an actress/storyteller will explore the nuances of Victorian manners and changing fashions in a delightful romp through the Victorian era in America.  Laurie creates historical portrayals of real women with real stories to tell.  Using primary sources whenever possible, she strives to present each character in a historically, culturally and socially accurate manner.

Laurie has a Master’s degree in cultural anthropology; her research skills and her talent as an actress and storyteller bring historical figures to life in an entertaining and educational way.  Participation in WWI re-enacting and vintage dancing along with an avid interest in period etiquette and manners give her the knowledge to ensure that her portrayals are believable as well as entertaining.

Laurie’s credits include performances at William Paterson University, Caldwell College, Military Through the Ages in Williamsburg, Virginia; local chapters of the NJ DAR, Belvidere Victorian Days, the Morris Museum, Fosterfields Living History Farm, statewide historical societies and Women’s Clubs.  During 1996-1997 she was artist in residence at The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum in Springfield, MA.

Everyone is invited to attend this delightful meeting where you are whisked back in time to the Victorian era and participate in an “etiquette academy” run by Miss Charlotte. The meeting is free and open to everyone. Refreshments and fellowship will follow the program.

The meeting starts at 8:00PM on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. The meeting is held at the Scotch Hills Country Club located at Plainfield Avenue and Jerusalem Road in Scotch Plains.

For more information about this meeting please write to us.


Meeting – May 24, 2016 – The deserted village of Feltville

16 May 2016

Deserted HouseAbout 1736, Peter Willcocks built a sawmill along the Blue Brook to produce lumber needed by farmers as they settled this frontier area.  Hundreds of acres of forest were cleared by this sawmill operation.

In 1845 David Felt bought 760 acres of land and built a printing factory along the brook.  To support the mill operation, he built an entire town on the bluff above the brook.  He named it Feltville.  By 1850, 175 people were living here.  In 1860, Felt retired.  Other business ventures were tried but failed.  The town became deserted for a short time.

Warren Ackerman bought the property in 1882.  He converted the former mill town into a summer resort called Glenside Park.  Eventually the Jersey Short displaced the popularity of this mountain resort.  Glenside Park closed in 1916.

In 1921 the Union County Park System was formed and this area was incorporated into the Watchung Reservation.  Today ten historic building still remain on the grounds.  Some are still inhabited.

The Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood is thrilled to hold its monthly meeting at the Masker’s Barn of the Deserted Village.  Daniel Bernier, the resident caretaker of the Deserted Village since 1992, will tell us about the interesting history of Feltville.  For 30 years, Dan has supervised the restoration of the Deserted Village in Feltville.  He garnered 4 NJ historic preservation grants totaling $1.1 million that have helped the Board of Chosen Freeholders stabilize the 10 building in this historic mill town and summer resort.  Its Church/General Store Building and an 1885 carriage house known as Masker’s Barn have been restored.

Dan graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in Anthropology.  He did graduate work in Anthropology at New York University and earned a Certificate in Public Administration from Kean College.  Since 1982, Dan has been employed by the County of Union in its Parks Department.  For 3 years he was a Park Naturalist and Museum Curator at the Trailside Nature & Science Center.  He then became the County’s park planner.

Everyone is invited to this road trip meeting.  The meeting starts at 7:00 PM on Tuesday May 24th.  The GPS address is 13 Cataract Hollow Road, Berkeley Heights.  Drive past the Road Closed signs and continue slowly about ½ mile to Masker’s Barn at the end where there is parking. You can also try this link for a closer address to the site.

If you want to carpool or fallow in a caravan, be at the Scotch Plains Municipal Building parking lot by 6:45pm.  Refreshments and fellowship follow the meeting.

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