Posted Monday, July 13th, 2015
The Morris County Tourism Bureau’s “Historic Walking Tours –Summer 2015’’ kicks off on Saturday, July 18, with a guided morning walk that will explore the behind-the-scenes history of probably the most iconic piece of greenery in Morris County, the Morristown Green, which is celebrating its 300th anniversary.
It is one of a series of on-the-ground explorations of county history planned by the Tourism Bureau this summer.
“These tours highlight the great history of our county, providing an entertaining and informative insight into our past for county residents and visitors, while helping to make Morris County a tourist attraction,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo.
The Morristown Green began appearing on maps of the area beginning in 1715. Considered Morristown’s “jewel,” the Green has been at the center of life in Morristown since its founding and throughout its history.
The tour will provide insight into activities that have taken place on the Green, the landscape’s features and its 2007 renovation.
Located at the center of the county seat, with 2.5 acres of attractive land, the Green has been the stage for many political, military, penal, cultural, celebratory, and public entertainment events through the years, according to author Richard C. Simon, in his book, “The Green, A History of the Morristown Green.’’
Of particular importance in the history of the Green is its role in various aspects of the American Revolutionary War period, linking local history to the history of the United States as a whole. General George Washington was headquartered at the Green in Arnold’s Tavern during his first encampment in Morristown (January – May, 1777), and was in town again during the winter of 1779-80. As a result, the Green was frequently the center for military and political activities related to the period, and was visited by many of the national military leaders, according to Simon.
In addition, the Green was the site of the Morris County Courthouse and jail for nearly 75 years (until 1827) and was the stage for many penal activities, including the incarceration of Tories and Hessian soldiers during the Revolutionary period.
The walking tour of The Green is scheduled for Saturday, July 18 at 10 a.m. Participants should meet in the center of the Green at the stone bench. Tour size is limited to 30, so reservations are strongly suggested. Metered parking available on streets and in downtown garages. This tour will be given once this year.
For more information contact the Morris County Tourism Bureau at 973-631-5151 or email [email protected]
Future tours planned by the Tourism Bureau on various Saturday mornings in July and August include a look at Morristown’s magnificent churches, an inside look at Historic Speedwell, a curator’s tour of the Morristown National Historical Park, and a look at the history of Morris Township at 275 years old.
Historic Speedwell Gets a Makeover
Visit Historic Speedwell, one of Morris County’s four national landmarks. A custom tour of the Vail Homestead will be given. A member of the staff will guide the group throughout the “mansion” to parts that are never seen by the public. On display will be the historic preservation plans and a 3D model of how the home, built in the early 1800s, will be restored for the 21st century.
Saturday, July 25 at 10 a.m. Meet at the Historic Speedwell Visitors Center, 333 Speedwell Avenue, Morristown. Tour size is limited to 25. Free parking available at Historic Speedwell. Expect a five minute walk to the Visitor Center. Cost: $15.
The tour price includes free admission to the site for the day. This tour will be given once this year.
Researching Local History and the Morris Township at 275 Exhibit
Morris Township was founded in 1740 and celebrates a special milestone this year. An exhibit at the library features highlights from its history, its significant institutions and residents.
After the exhibit, library staff will introduce you to the North Jersey History and Genealogy Center, the archive used to create the exhibit. There will also be a behind-the-scenes tour of the archives where you’ll learn about the resources available to the public: electronic genealogy websites, books, maps, photos, family files and more.
Saturday, August 1 at 10 a.m. Meet at the library, 1 Miller Road at South Street, Morristown. Group size is limited to 40. Metered on-street parking is available, and the library has a free parking lot. Cost: $15. This tour will be given once this year.
Morristown’s Sacred Spaces: The Church Architecture Tour
Saturday, August 8 at 10 a.m. Meet at the Tourism Bureau office located at 6 Court Street, Morristown. Tour size is limited to 30. Metered and free parking is available on and near Court Street and in downtown parking garages. Cost: $15.
Morristown National Historical Park’s Curator’s Tour
A rare opportunity for the public to explore the treasures of the National Park’s archives which span the years 15,000 B.C. to the 20th century and include 500,000 objects. A behind-the-ropes, curator-led tour of the archives has been created with a twist. If a tour participant has a particular interest, and lets the Tourism Bureau know by August 8, the curator will comb the archives to see if there’s something relevant which will be shown to the group.
Saturday, August 15 at 10 a.m. at Morristown National Historical Park, 30 Washington Place, Morristown. Meet in the foyer of the museum building. Tour size is limited to 30. Cost: $20 includes admission to the park for the day. Free parking is available in two parking lots adjacent to the Washington’s Headquarters Museum. This tour will be given once this year.
All tours begin at 10 a.m. and last 60 to 90 minutes. Tickets are $15 or $20 depending on the program length. You can register and pre-pay online at morristourism.org. For more information contact the Morris County Tourism Bureau at 973-631-5151 or email [email protected]