As one of the original 13 colonies, NJ has one of the richest histories in America. Thanks to a diverse geological mix of mountains, forests and a coastal shoreline, there are plenty of sights to behold. With that in mind, mixing beautiful vistas with historical significance seems like a perfect fit for a Garden State series. That’s where Jersey Through History comes in. This Best of NJ original series takes viewers on a journey of NJ’s most historic sites.
We hope you enjoy this comprehensive presentation of New Jersey’s impressive history; from deserted villages and abandoned prisons to the invention of the telegraph and beyond. In truth, it’s impressive to think about how much can change in just a few short centuries. It makes us wonder what the future will hold. In any case, while we ponder the future, let’s also take a look into the past.
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Best of NJ Presents – Jersey Through History: The Complete Series
Jersey Through History: Season One
The Deserted Village of Feltville
Nearly 300 years have passed since the soil of the now deserted village of Feltville was first dug. Though it has been around for centuries, the village’s historical significance has not frayed with time. In fact, visitors still come to roam through the vacated village that was once flooded with people during its heyday. The first settler of the land was Peter Willcocks, an English businessman…
Historic Speedwell & Speedwell Ironworks
In the early 19th century, entrepreneur Stephen Vail and several business associates purchased a property in Speedwell, NJ. Though the building could already house a number of hydraulic forges, it would soon contain the tools to become something historic. What became known as Speedwell Ironworks is responsible for some of the most important advances; in not only the iron industry, but also in communications.
The Burlington County Parks System considers Historic Smithville its centerpiece. Though a Delaware Indian settlement predates it, the village itself actually dates back to the 17th century. In 1676, Burlington City resident Henry Stacy purchased the “West Jersey Province” property. After his death, the property changed hands several times. Eventually it was obtained by two New Jersey brothers, Jonathan and Samuel Shreve.
Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms
The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms (located in Morris Plains) celebrates the rich history of 19th century entrepreneur Gustav Stickley. Through his innovative design techniques, Stickley was able to build a renowned business right in the Garden State. While Craftsman Farms is situated in Morris Plains, it is actually owned by the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills…
Burlington County Prison
The 18th century gave birth to a number of brilliant minds. After the American Revolution, NJ was at the heart of the original thirteen colonies; as such, the Garden State found more than its fair share of innovation thanks to intellects and craftsmen. One such example is the Burlington County Prison, an architectural design that is rich with history. In this installment of Jersey Through History, we explore this landmark achievement.
Red Mill Museum Village
The Red Mill in Hunterdon County is one of NJ’s most photographed destinations. It has found itself on magazine covers, postcards, family photos and so much more. The building itself is a four-story grist mill found along the south branch of the Raritan River in Clinton. Beyond this, the Red Mill Museum Village includes the surrounding quarry buildings. The area’s rich backstory makes it another fine addition to our series.
Jersey Through History: Season Two
Rockingham Historic Site
On a warm day, there are few places more placid and pleasurable for history fans than Rockingham Historic Site. Found in Kingston, Franklin Township, Rockingham sits just off of Laurel Avenue. Although most know it as George Washington’s final wartime headquarters, the site’s history continues beyond that. In fact, construction for the Rockingham house began between 1702 and 1710.
The history of Whitesbog Village dates back to the 19th century, as the iron furnace industry was booming. Unfortunately, these furnaces had disastrous effects on areas like the Pine Barrens, where Whitesbog is found. Knowing this, local farmer James A. Fenwick bought ~500 acres of land in the Browns Mills section of Burlington County. Using this land, he began growing cranberries. Little did he know, his actions would be historic.
- Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Carly Weaver / Best of NJ
- Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
- Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ