Posted Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

The Friends of Historic Speedwell annually honor a Morris County resident or group who has been dedicated to the preservation of Morris County’s vital historic past.

Friends of Historic Speedwell Present Preservation Award to Morristown Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Ken Miller
Ken Miller
(photo by Stan Freeny)

Ken Miller, chairman of the Morristown Historic Preservation Commission, is this year’s recipient of the “Friends of History Award,’’ to be presented on Sept. 17.

The award will be made during a Friends of Historic Speedwell fundraising event to be held at the Morris County Cultural Center, which is the headquarters of the Morris County Park Commission, located in Morris Township.

“We are thrilled to be honoring Ken Miller for his passion and dedication towards the preservation of Morristown’s historic past,” said Joen Ferrari, president of the Friends of Historic Speedwell.

“In particular, Mr. Miller lovingly preserved and restored Villa Fontana, the National Historic Landmark home of Thomas Nast, who is known for his 19th Century political cartoons and his iconic images of Santa Claus.”

Proceeds of the Sept. 17 fundraising event, which includes entertainment and a silent auction, will benefit the restoration and rehabilitation of the 1787 Moses Estey House at Historic Speedwell, which is a facility of the Morris County Park Commission.

The Estey House was moved to Historic Speedwell in 1968 from a nearby location in Morristown, to save it from demolition during the construction of Headquarters Plaza complex in Morristown. Captain Moses Estey was a chair maker by trade and a veteran of the American Revolution. His home originally was located at the corner of Spring and Water streets in Morristown. 

Friends of Historic Speedwell Present Preservation Award to Morristown Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Ken Miller
Estey House at Historic Speedwell

Historic Speedwell is a 7.5-acre National Historic Landmark site in Morristown that preserves the restored estate of Stephen Vail, proprietor of the Speedwell Iron Works from the early to mid-1800’s.

 A visit to Historic Speedwell can give you a feel of life during the mid-19th Century through guided tours, special events, programs, and exhibits at Historic Speedwell.

The Friends of Historic Speedwell is nonprofit organization that supports the educational programming and historic restoration at Historic Speedwell – the “Birthplace of the Telegraph” in Morristown. 

The National Historic Landmark Factory Building, located at Historic Speedwell was the site of the first successful demonstration of the telegraph in 1838, given by Samuel F.B. Morse and Alfred Vail.

 The cost of the Sept 17 event, which runs from 6:30-8 p.m., is $75 per person. Reservations can be made by contacting Mark Sutherland at the Morris County Park Commission at 973.285.6534 or [email protected].

For GPS: The Morris County Cultural Center is located at 300 Mendham Road, Morris Township.

For more information on Historic Speedwell, visit:

For more information on the event and more specific directions, visit: