Noon luncheon meetings are held on the first two Tuesdays of each month, at Charlie Brown's Steakhouse in Chatham Township. Breakfast meetings are held at 8:00 AM on the last two or three Tuesdays of each month. Breakfast meetings are held at Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse in Chatham Township. Guests are always welcomed to attend our Tuesday meetings. COME JOIN US


Dr. Jude M. Pfister: “Not your Father's (or Mother's) Morristown National Historical Park."

On May 11, Dr. Jude M. Pfister (see blog posting for May 8, 2010 just below this one) gave an entertaining, comprehensive overview of the Morristown National Historical Park to the luncheon meeting of Kiwanis held at Broccolini’s restaurant in Madison, NJ. He described many little-known facts regarding the collections and plans for the Park and told interesting stories about the history and objects in the collection. Photo shows Dr. Pfister on left with Kiwanis President Rich Behling.

Improvements to the Park have been made over the years and the work continues. The Ford Mansion (Washington’s Headquarters) is getting a new roof and fire safety sprinkler system – the building will be closed until the work is finished. The museum is open to visitors with three galleries open, the most recent being the Military Gallery. The Park includes four general areas: Morristown, Fort Nonsense, Jockey Hollow and Cross Estate/New Jersey Brigade Encampment Area.

The history started with construction by Jacob Ford, Jr. of the Mansion in 1772. In 1779-80 the Mansion was George Washington’s headquarters while the Army wintered in Jockey Hollow. The Ford family owned the Mansion until 1873 when it was sold at auction by the estate of Henry A. Ford to the Washington Association of New Jersey (WANJ), an organization formed to own and manage the property (the organization still exists). In 1933 the WANJ transferred the property to the National Park Service and the Morristown Park became the first National Historical Park. Jockey Hollow was donated by Lloyd W. Smith and Fort Nonsense by Morristown (with the help of Mayor Clyde Potts). Famous architect John Russell Pope designed the museum and gardens behind the Mansion. Another wing was added to hold the huge collection of historical books and manuscripts contributed by Lloyd Smith.

The Park has an original Gilbert Stuart painting of Washington. In the 1920s the arms and face of a woman started appearing on the portrait. It seems that Stuart used the canvas from a prior painting of the wife of Rufus King, a Federalist from Massachusetts. The image of the woman is bleeding through the image of Washington.

Many interesting images were shown by Dr. Pfister during his talk. There was an active Q and A session. At the end, he described his book and members bought all the copies he brought. Funds from sale of the book go entirely to NPS. The members and all who read this blog are invited to visit the Park and see the many new improvements. Some links for more information:

Web Site for the Morristown National Historical Park (Be sure to look at the new blogs. Links to the blogs are posted on the Park home page.)

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