Posted Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

The Morris County Park Commission and Eclectic Architecture, LLC of Phillipsburg have received an award for excellence in historic preservation from the state for work done on preserving planning documents for the Vail House at Historic Speedwell in Morristown.

The award-winning project was one of eight recipients honored by the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office and the New Jersey Historic Sites Council.

The project includes the development of virtual 3-D models that demonstrate the unique evolution of the house over two centuries. The project also includes a wood block model built as a puzzle that could give visitors to Historic Speedwell a hands-on experience changing the structure from the Kinney House of the late 1700’s into the home of Judge Stephen Vail in the 1840’s.

According to Mark Texel, director of historic sites for the Morris County Park Commission, the innovative project could be incorporated into the museum’s educational programs.

“The 3-D virtual model is wonderful tool for explaining the evolutions of the Vail House to visitors and future funding sources for the reconstruction of the building,” Texel said. “The 1844 Vail House welcomes visitors to its handsomely restored interiors showcasing period furnishing and Vail portraits by Samuel F.B. Morse, who along with Alfred Vail perfected the telegraph.”

Historic Speedwell, known as the Birthplace of the Telegraph, is the site where the electromagnetic telegraph was first publicly demonstrated in The Factory, a National Historic Landmark. Attached to The Factory Building is the Wheelhouse with a restored 24-foot overshot water wheel used to power machines in The Factory.

Located on 7.5 acres, visitors can experience life during the mid-19th century through special events, programs, interactive museum, and tours.

For more information on programs and events at Historic Speedwell, visit