Although the records are not to be found, it seems there was an historical society in New Providence some time before the first World War. No other group, unfortunately, thought to gather and preserve the history and memorabilia of our past until 1966. Then, its formation spurred by the availability of the small old saltbox know as the Garrison/Dickinson/Genung house, the New Providence Historical Society was formed on August 6, 1966.
The House is a combination of two houses constructed at different times and in different places. The east half of the house (on the lest as you enter) was probably built early in the 19th century and moved to its site across from it present location in the mid-1800's by Augustus Garrison, sexton of the Presbyterian Church. The west, somewhat newer, side was moved from it original site and joined to the east half and the saltbox shape constructed. In 1967, the entire house was moved across Springfield Ave to its present location.
Each of the original houses probably contained a single downstairs room and a sleeping loft. Two rooms are furnished to indicate a simple home of the late 1700's. The fireplace (a recent reconstruction) with its bake oven and hearth utensils, served the cooking needs of the family. Chairs, one built around 1700, a drop-leaf table set with early pewter, a dry sink, and a pie safe may also be seen. The bedroom has a rope bed and our collection of children's clothes. Changing displays are on view in another room.
In the Mason Room at the public library, our history is being collected in the form of pictures, interviews, old newspapers, chrch minutes, store ledgers, clippngs, maps, brochures, and video tapes. The public is encouraged to visit and learn about the evolution of our town, its people, and its buildings.
Membership: Members of the society receive copies of Turkey Tracks, our publication issued approximately four times a year, and notification of regular meetings and special events. Make checks payable to New Providence Historical Society, Inc. and mail to the address listed below. Your dues are tax deductible.
The Museum is open to the public, free of charge, on the first and third Sundays of each month from 1-3 pm and Thursdays from 10am to Noon. Group tours can be arranged by appointment.
Mason Room hours are Tuesdays, 10am - Noon, Thursdays 10 am - Noon; 2 - 5pm, and by appointment. The room is located at the New Providence Memorial Library on Elkwood Avenue.
* Text on this page was written by Dorothy Mason and Kathryn Smith.
New Providence Historical Society
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