The Pathways of History

Links to each other and to the past

8th Annual Tour of Historic Places
Saturday, October 7, 2017 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday, October 8, 2017 from Noon – 4:00 pm

The 2017 Pathways of History Tour of Historic Places in Morris County features 19 groups offering 20 landmark sites! This self-guided tour is a family-friendly, admission free event for visitors of all ages to experience and enjoy. The properties are independently operated, but for Pathways all locations will open their doors in simultaneous welcome on Saturday, October 7 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM and on Sunday, October 8 from Noon – 4:00 PM. 

Eight years ago five historical groups in the communities of Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Kinnelon and Montville created the Pathways of History as a way to encourage the public to visit their local museums and landmarks. Now a much anticipated annual event, the tour is enjoyed by an ever-growing number of visitors. Whatever your interest – it’s certain to be covered by this outstanding assemblage of small, admission free, and entirely volunteer-run historic groups. Represented this year are properties of significance in Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Denville, Dover, Florham Park, Jefferson Township, Kinnelon, Lake Hopatcong, Lincoln Park, Mine Hill, Township of Montville, Pequannock Township, Randolph, Roxbury Township and Washington Township.

Some sites along the way feature docents in period costumes; light refreshments for your enjoyment; special activities for children; and wonderful shops offering a selection of books, gifts and souvenirs. Pack a lunch and bring a blanket!  You’ll find lovely places suitable for picnicking at some of the venues along the route – the George Chamberlain House in Jefferson, the Oscar A. Kincaid Home of History in Boonton Township, the Ayres/Knuth Farm Foundation in Denville and the Drakesville Historic Park in Roxbury are just a few of many with picnic-friendly areas.

Highlights of the 2017 tour include: New Jersey’s original inhabitants, the Lenape people; Morris County’s pivotal role in the American Revolution; iron mines and forges during the American Revolution and in the years following.  Exhibits document how the Morris Canal, railways, industry, mining, commerce and agriculture have influenced, shaped and linked the Pathways communities through the years.   Join Boonton, Boonton Township and the Township of Montville as they celebrate their 150th anniversaries. Ring the school bell at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Florham Park in acknowledgement of this, its milestone 150th anniversary. The United States entered World War I on April 7, 1917.  Look for special centennial exhibits commemorating the “Great War” at many of the participating museums.

The buildings themselves represent an outstanding collection of architectural periods and styles; most are listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. Venerable 18th century structures, many predating the Revolutionary War, offer German folk-tradition and Dutch stone examples, as well as those of Georgian and ‘Saltbox’ construction. The 1758 Randolph Friends Meeting House is purported to be Morris County’s oldest hand-hewn building.  In 1991, Long Valley’s c. 1750 Obadiah LaTourette Mill was inspiration for the establishment of the Washington Township Land Trust to protect and preserve the community’s natural beauty, rural character and historic landmarks.  The condemned mill was saved and is now part of Mill Pond Park.

Designs of the 19th century are represented in buildings of varied uses and sizes including: an 1890’s brick Colonial Revival; a diminutive two-family iron miner’s dwelling which is included on the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail; two schoolhouses; two 19th century railway stations; a Morris Canal lock tender’s house; a general store; and several wonderful examples of vernacular farmhouses. Old graveyards are part of several sites and are open to respectful visitation by the public. 

The 1923 Lincoln Park History Museum, located in what was originally the borough’s first dedicated library building, represents early 20th century construction. Closed for five years, the Lincoln Park Historical Society held a grand reopening in 2016.

We welcome you to visit these historically significant properties and to learn about the fascinating local history they chronicle.  If your own community museum or heritage site is included in the Pathways group, may we suggest that you begin your tour there?  Perhaps a specific site which does not have regular hours of visitation would make the perfect starting point.  At each venue there will be detailed brochures and maps with helpful “Tours Within the Tour” to assist you in planning your history adventure. Whatever pathways you choose will lead you to a warm welcome and an enlightening historical journey.

We invite you to begin a preview tour today.  Click on the various menu items to the left and explore the new Pathways of History website.  It offers an abundance of downloadable information about this exceptional not-to-be missed event.

Be sure to reserve the dates on your calendar!

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