Six State Parks down and 49 to go! Yesterday, Friday Dec. 16, a friend and I drove to Allaire Village. Fortunately, the Parks Dept. there had more of the little Passports to Adventure booklets because a couple of other friends are now interested in collecting the stamps and visiting the parks. The booklets, at their best and most likely intended purpose, are an inspiration for places to go. When I have a feeling in a morning that I want to make an expedition somewhere, I look in the passport and find another place to visit. Then, I google it for directions and off we go. There are half a dozen friends of mine who have been visiting the parks now and everyone is getting more interested. If you want to give it a try, you'd better hurry, however, as most places are running out of the books and they are not being reprinted by the state!
Allaire Village is the restored Howell Iron Works Company. If you are interested in these early towns such as Batsto and Smithville, you'll enjoy Allaire. Aside from the interesting community aspect of these 19th century industrial villages, how people lived and worked in the 1800's, the founders are a fascinating breed.
Earlier, on a visit to Smithville, I mentioned a book written by Wm. Bolger on that town. It was obtainable off the internet, 2nd hand at amazon.com and it is a fascinating read. These early tycoons participated in the major developments of our nation from the Revolution through the Civil War war to the development of rail transportation.
It was the wish of the final owner of Allaire, Arthur Brisbane, newpaperman, that the village be conserved and made into a historical park which his wife saw to after his death.
The village was mostly closed on Friday. In winter, the buildings aren't open during the week but they are on the weekends. The general store was open however, with many charming items for those of you who are struggling to finish Christmas shopping and would like to combine a hike, a park visit and gift buying. I left my purse in the car, fortunately.
I love the parks in winter. You can really see the buildings in all their splendor under the blue winter sky.
I'm very interested in the lives of the workers and haven't found much on that subject yet. I've been buying books on mantua makers and seamstresses and would be interested if anyone knows of any books about the men who worked in the iron industry, the workers. A nice book I read yesterday evening was by William E. Garwood on the life of a rural farm boy in Salem County, also obtained secone hand off the internet.
As any of you who've read my blogs on my family history may be aware, Garwood is an old family name on my mother's side, they came from England in the early 1700's and migrated down through Burlington into Gloucester County
where William C. Garwood was a teacher in the Turner School and a minor official in a few local civil departments. The first William C. Garwood married Rachel Ann Cheesman, only surviviing daughter of Major Peter T. Cheesman, a mill owner along the Big Timber Creek and veteran of the War of 1812. The 2nd William C. Garwood, his grandson was in the Merchant Marines. Apparently the Garwoods continued their southward migration down to the Salem area, but I haven't finished sorting out which ones are related to me yet.
Enjoy your Christmans history tours and if you are looking for an interesting thing to do in a historic house, check out the Knight's-Collings House in Collingswood where each weekend, Christmas stories will be told in various rooms of the house. I'll be going tomorrow early evening, Sunday 17th. Call ahead to check on times and tickets 1-800-838-3006.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year fellow History Buffs