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“Four Historic Farms and Estates of Chatham Township” Lecture on February 21

by: Sue Adler Team
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Delve into Chatham history during a special program presented by the Historical Society of the Township of Chatham on February 21.

Pat Wells, Co-President of the Chatham Township Historical Society, will discuss four of the largest farms and estates in Chatham Township from 1870 to the mid 1900s. Ms. Wells will focus on farmers, some great employers, an early conservationist, an inventor and some interesting families. All are welcome, and admission is free.

This program will begin at 2 p.m., and will be held at Chatham Township Municipal Building at 58 Meyersville Road in Chatham.

The Historical Society of the Township of Chatham, a volunteer, not-for-profit organization founded in 1975, is dedicated to increasing knowledge, awareness and preservation of our town’s unique historical heritage. It maintains the Red Brick Schoolhouse Museum where they coordinate their educational programs, research, and preservation advocacy as well as manage the discovery, collection, and conservation of materials that illustrate the history of the area prior to and after European settlement.

The audience served by the Society’s programs includes members of the Society, residents, students and visitors to the community, scholars, the public in general as well as businesses and governmental agencies in the area.

The Society carries out a broad range of activities. It oversees the Red Brick Schoolhouse Museum and library; mounts permanent, temporary, and traveling exhibits; coordinates education programs with local schools; and sponsors a public lecture series.  In addition, the Society publishes pertinent materials related to local history; acquires, preserves and curates the Society’s collections and archival materials; and researches the history of the Township of Chatham and its environs.  Further, it allows access to the Society’s store of knowledge as far as may be feasible to all who wish to examine or study it; supports a historic marker program; cooperates with other local historical societies and organizations; and uses electronic media to awaken public interest.

The development of the museum and its collections is an ongoing project. The museum features a number of permanent displays, but also has rotating display space.  The Society hopes to sponsor special exhibits in the future. The Museum’s focus is on local history. They are interested in artifacts that were actually used in the Township or are representative of ones that would have been used here, such as household items, clothing, farming equipment, educational materials, maps, books on state and local history,  and materials related to the town’s industrial past.  Please contact us at 973-635-4911 about donating.

Ages ago Chatham Township was the southerly edge of a glacial field. A large, deep lake was located over what is now the Great Swamp. The same glacier gave the Township many of its distinguishing features  – the Passaic River that runs a long the entire southern border, the wooded ridge that runs parallel to the river, and the gentle rolling hills that offer an expansive view over and beyond the Great Swamp.

In 1959 the Port Authority focused on the Great Swamp as the ideal location for a major metropolitan airport. Through the efforts and financial donations of the residents of Chatham Township and neighboring municipalities, the Swamp was secured as a protected wilderness area.  This part of Chatham Township is now open space where joggers, hikers, and nature lovers can see the land as it once was. The Great Swamp wilderness together with its proximity to metropolitan New York makes Chatham Township an attractive place to live.

 

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