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Our History

12th Annual Christmas Antique Show

Tewksbury Historical Society

Join the Society

Tewksbury's Historic Resources

Mountainville Historic District

Oldwick Historic District

Pottersville Historic District

Historic Home Maintenance

Gift Items Available

12th Annual Christmas Antique Show

The Tewksbury Historical Society (THS) will hold its 12th annual Christmas Antique Show at the Old Turnpike School, Route 517, Fairmount, on Saturday, December 5th from 10:00AM-4:00PM and Sunday, December 6th from 11:00AM-3:00PM.  The show will be managed by Ellen Katona and Bob Lutz, who have much successful experience in staging antiques shows.

This year’s show, chaired by Lyn Rahenkamp, will have 55 high-quality dealers. The admission is $8 per person or $7 with a discount card available from the Society or an ad from the local newspaper.

Porters are needed to help antique dealers move some of their wares into the school. Moderate lifting is required. You will be paid by the dealer for your service. If you can lend a couple of hours please phone Lyn, at 908-236-2892.

The Society will again be having its own booth to sell antiques that have been donated. If you have any antiques you would like to donate please phone THS Headquarters, at 908-832-6734, and leave a message. They will reply and also provide a donation letter.

Tewksbury Historical Society

Formed in 1989 to preserve the history of the township, the Society has a membership of over one hundred families, including many descendants of our original settlers. There are also members from other towns who are fascinated with our local history.

The Society holds four or five general meetings a year which include a program covering some aspect of local history. Recent program topics have included the Morris Canal, the Rockaway Valley Railroad (which transported Tewksbury produce to market), local production of Apple Jack, and walking tours of Mountainville and Pottersville.

In addition to the programs at our meetings, we hold several annual fund raising events. The spring Flea Market always draws large crowds. In June, the Garden Tour is a great introduction to summer, as four township gardens of special interest are showcased. The gardens vary in design, and have included formal and informal flower gardens, herb gardens, and vegetable gardens. Fall is the time for the annual Art Show. The Art Show chairpersons work hard to organize all the details--including preparing the facility, staffing, handling of the artwork, judges, ribbons, and, of course, the preview reception--to enable the Show to provide an enjoyable experience for all involved.

Through all we do, our focus is on preserving and disseminating the history of Tewksbury Township. By collecting and displaying artifacts--as diverse as deeds, grocery store ledgers, signs, and band instruments--recording the memories of lifelong residents in the Oral History program, documenting disappearing buildings, bridges, and landscape features, and sponsoring presentations of general interest, we strive to maintain a connection with the past, with those who came before us and said "This is my community, this is my home, this is the place where I belong."

Tewksbury Historical Society

Join the Society

New people are always welcome to join the Society. Annual dues are $15 for a single membership, $25 for a family. To join, simply send a note and a check to:

Tewksbury Historical Society
PO Box 457
Oldwick, NJ 08858

For more information, e-mail the Society, or come talk to us at our next meeting.

Since 1999, meetings are held at our new headquarters in the historic Mountainville Academy, which served for years as the Tewksbury Township Municipal Building. We are delighted to finally have a place for out offices and archives, as well as a place to display artifacts of Tewksbury's past.

Tewksbury Historical Society

Tewksbury's Historic Resources

In 1997, the Historic Preservation Commission distributed its township-wide Historic Resources Survey. The two-volume set is a cataloguing of historic buildings, houses, and other sites throughtout the township. Copies of the Survey are available for public use at the Tewksbury Library and at the Township offices, 169 Old Turnpike Road.


Mountainville Historic District

Originally called "Bull's Head," the village of Mountainville grew up at the intersection of the Road to the Back Inhabitants (Rockaway Road), which originally crossed the Hill Mountain Road running from Cokesbury to Fox Hill Road (now Main Street and Sawmill Road) at the confluence of four streams on which three mills were built within the village area. Blacksmith shops, distilleries, a school (Mountainville Academy, 1832), and a few homes were early additions with the village's greatest growth in the mid-1800's when Daniel Potter moved the Bull's Head Tavern from his farm and attached it to an existing house, Joseph C. Farley built the General Store (now the Chelsea Kitchen), in 1869, and Jacob Apgar built the Carriage Factory (now the Kitchen Caboodle).


Oldwick Historic District

The first historic district in Tewksbury to be listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, Oldwick dates from the early 18th century, when it was founded by English settlers. From 1734 to 1753, the village was known as "Smithfield," named by Ralph Smith, a prominent resident. The beginnings of the village was at the four corners of Church, King, and Main Streets. By the mid-18th century, a large number of German and Dutch immigrants had relocated to Smithfield, and the name of the village was changed to "New Germantown" in 1753/4. It was in this period (in 1749) that the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was constructed--in the Gothic/Greek Revival style. The church served as a focal point for the now largely German/Lutheran community.

Most of the buildings were constructed in the early- to mid-19th century, the greatest period of growth the village experienced. Built in 1807, Barnet Hall Academy served as the village school until around 1950 when the Sawmill School was constructed and Mr. J. Seward Johnson, Sr. purchased Barnet Hall and donated it to the people of Oldwick for use as a community Center. Since 1969, the Community Center has housed the Tewksbury Township Public Library on the first floor; the second floor is used for classes, lectures, and various other community activities.

Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, the Oldwick United Methodist Church was erected in 1865. The steeple was originally higher than what we see today. After significant storm damage, it was thought best to make the replacement steeple of a more modest height, but it can still be seen from several miles distance. Ladders in the tower go to the top of the steeple to allow access for bell maintenance and exterior painting. The church was built with a slate roof, but after a century of service, it was replaced with asphalt shingles several years ago.

In 1918, anti-German sentiment during World War I prompted the residents to change the name of the village from New Germantown. After several town meetings, the name "Oldwick," meaning "old village, was chosen.

Pottersville Historic District

The village of Pottersville is located along both sides of the Lamington/Black River, just below the falls. This area along the river is where Tewksbury Township in Hunterdon County borders Washington and Chester Townships in Morris County, and Bedminster Township in Somerset County. This places portions of the village within four townships in three separate counties.

The first pioneer to the area, then known as "Lamington Falls," was William Willet, who arrived in the 1750's and erected the original mills that played such an important role in Pottersville's early development. Willet prospered throughout the Revolution, supplying grain to Washington's Army, but was bankrupted by the devaluation of Continental Currency. He sold his mills and property to Captain Samuel Potter, in 1782.

The Potter family, especially Captain Samuel's grandson, Serring, was responsible for much of the growth and development of the village. The town became known as "Potter's Mills," and was later officially named "Pottersville," in honor of the family.

In its heyday, Pottersville was a thriving and productive center of industry, agriculture, and commerce. At one time, the community could boast two mills, a manufacturing complex with company housing, two general stores, a blacksmith shop, a barber shop, a candy & ice cream shop, a railroad station, a hotel, and "The Glen," a park which was one of the area's most popular tourist destinations.

Today, the sleepy little village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It still retains its rural beauty, friendly small-town charm, and many of its landmark buildings, such as the Dutch Reformed Church and the old Wortman Mill.


Historic Home Maintenance

When you own an historic property—as many people in Tewksbury do—spring cleaning or fall maintenance can present you with difficult challenges, a long list of expenses, and opportunities to learn more about just how historic your home is. Fortunately, there are a number of places you can turn for help.

Knowing which features contribute to making your house historically significant can help when it's time to make a decision about repair and/or replacement of various components. The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) completed an Historic Resources Survey in 1997 that documented the township's historic resources. The information included in the survey can help you learn more about the history and physical development of your property, and assist you in making repair choices. The survey is available at the public library, local schools, and the Municipal Building. (In reviewing the survey, if you see information that needs updating or correcting, please let the Historic Preservation Commission know by contacting Shana Goodchild, Land Use Administrator, at Tewksbury's Municipal Building: 908-439-0022, x731.)

For property owners located within one of the township's National Register-listed historic districts (Oldwick, Mountainville, Pottersville, Fairmount, Cokesbury, or Taylor's Mill), each National Register nomination includes a brief discussion of individual properties. These nominations are also available at the public library and at the Municipal Building.

The National Park Service publishes documents called "Preservation Briefs," short articles intended to provide historic property owners with information about professional methods for preserving, improving, restoring, and maintaining their properties. Preservation Briefs cover a range of topics, including repointing mortar joints; roofing; conserving energy; repairing historic wooden windows; painting historic interiors; and repairing historic plaster walls and ceilings. The HPC maintains a file of Preservation Briefs that are available for use by the public.. Heritage Preservation and the National Park Service have recently published a book entitled Caring for Your Historic House that includes essays by 22 leading preservationists on such topics as roofs, exterior masonry, exterior woodwork, wooden windows, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, and wallpapers. At only $24.50 for paperback, it can be ordered through Heritage Preservation, by calling 202-634-1422.

Need to paint the house but want to know more about what colors might have originally graced your walls? Historic Colors of America is a paint chart depicting 149 colors utilized in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is available from the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA), 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114 for $3.

Finally, all meetings of the Tewksbury Historic Preservation Commission are open to the public and include time on the agenda for public participation. Meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month at 8:00PM in the Christie Hoffman Farmhouse. We welcome residents to stop by and bring us any questions about maintaining an historic property.
Historic Preservation Commission

Gift Items Available

POST CARDS

The Tewksbury Historical Society has post cards for sale which are reproductions of early 20 th Century picture post cards. The cards are sold in packs of eight different scenes for $2.00 per set (that's only 25 cents per card!) Post Cards are available at all Society meetings and events.

NOTE CARDS

There are two selections of note cards available, Past Art Show Winners, sold in packs of 10 for $20, and Tewksbury's Churches, sold in packs of 10 for $15. Both selections include reproductions of original artworks.

POEM BOOK

Another item rich in Tewksbury nostalgia is the Miller's Orchard book of poems. Available for $25, this lovely book evokes the atmosphere of our township.

AFGHANS

The Society still has a new supply of 100% cotton afghans for sale. The machine washable afghans are 50" x 65", with fringe on all four sides, and depict 16 historic buildings and structures from sites in Cokesbury, Mountainville, Oldwick, and Pottersville. They are available in Williamsburg Blue Hunter Green, or Christmas Red, each on a natural background, and cost $45 each. "These afghans make wonderful presents for anyone who loves Tewksbury," said the Society's past President Stephanie Koven.

PRINTS

There are also several copies of the popular limited-edition print by long-time Tewksbury resident Lib Ryman. Entitled "Tewksbury: A River Runs Through It," this lovely print is a hand-drawn map of the township superimposed over an evocative rendering of an historic stone bridge traversing the Rockaway Creek as it "runs through" Tewksbury. The (approximately) 18" x 24" print is available in an artist-signed version for $35, or unsigned for $25.

The afghans and prints are on sale at all of the Society's meetings, or you may e-mail a request, or leave a message on the answering machine at the Society's Headquarters: 908-832-6734. Please include your phone number, so we can make arrangements to get your afghans to you. The Society is unable to ship or send the afghans or prints. All proceeds go toward the Society's building fund. Thanks to everyone who has already purchased these great items!
Tewksbury Historical Society
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