2021 Year in Review

1946 Parade Lambertville, NJ

1946 Parade Lambertville, NJ

Marshall House Museum

Due to the Covid 19 crisis, the Marshall House Museum was closed for most of its normal operating season of weekends from April through October, 2021. For four October and November weekends, we presented an exhibition in the ground floor hallway of Anderson Photos – this marking our return to partial operation. The Board, our volunteers and the public continued to interact through electronic media, email, and social messaging. Meetings and presentations were conducted virtually.

Lambertville Historical Society

For 2021 the Lambertville Historical Society, a non-profit, had 4 Officers and 9 Trustees for 13 total voting. The Advisory Board (non-voting) has 7 members. We have a full slate of Trustees and Officers for the 2022 Board for election at our next Annual Membership Meeting of Jan. 16, 2022.

Paid memberships totals approximately 196. Since many memberships are couples, and some are family memberships, the actual count of total members is about 305 people.

For 2021 LHS received an operating support grant of $5,895 from the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission, with funds from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. LHS received a grant of $40,000 from the Hunterdon County Open Space and Historical Preservation Trust Program for the first phase of the restoration of the interior of Lambertville’s old Jail.

Community Programs and Services

At our 2021 Annual Membership Meeting on Jan. 17, the Board reviewed our accomplishments and plans. The Narducci Award was presented to celebrate historic preservation in Lambertville. The meeting featured a guest presentation by the Mercer Museum’s Olivia Brown: “Henry Chapman Mercer: A Legacy Built in Concrete.” Attendance was approximately 60.

On February 21, 2021, a presentation was made by Jon Case and Gary Cohen about the history and activities of St. John Terrell’s Lambertville Music Circus, which existed from 1949-1970. Members of the Zoom audience shared memories of working at and attending plays and concerts at the Music Circus.

On April 18, 2021, we hosted a Zoom event about two longstanding local institutions: The Kalmia Club and Masonic Lodge. Kalmia Club Historian Kate Breuning shared photos and documents through the years. Masonic Lodge Historian David Kois summarized the activities and legacy of the Lodge, and discussed the origin and architecture of its building on Bridge Street. LHS President Mike Menche added research materials.

On May 12 and 13, 2021, LHS President Mike Menche presented via Zoom “A Very Short History of Lambertville,” to the First and Third Grade classes of Lambertville Public School. The format was interactive and pictorial, and the students asked many excellent questions.

We normally conduct free town tours on 1st Sundays, April through November, and for Shadfest and the Winter Festival—the last two City events were canceled in 2021 due to the pandemic. With Covid, the walking tours were not possible as open attendance events and we tried to use pre-registration. Only a few people participated, with about 15 total for all the attempts.

We again awarded a $500 scholarship to a student from South Hunterdon Regional High School. We asked students to interview a Lambertville native about his/her first job and submit an article. The 2021 scholarship went to Paige Sirak, who described Roger Heinemann’s experience picking raspberries in 1962.

In October and November, we conducted an exhibit in Marshall House of photographs by John A. Anderson (1829-1917). Two years ago, an LHS team selected 58 images from the Collection of the Mercer Museum Library of the Bucks County Historical Society, which maintains an extensive archive of Anderson glass negative plates and prints. LHS received the images digitally, engaged two local photographers to restore them, and then secured and framed large size prints. LHS trustee Ed Hoag built the panel installation and mounted the photos, and Lauren Rosenthal-McManus created a Welcome graphics panel. The 2021 exhibit was a small sample: in 2022 we plan to display all the selected photographs, including high-resolution images of Lambertville, remarkable portraits, travel landscapes, and botanical images.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of LHS’s annual holiday music fundraiser, which showcases original and traditional holiday songs by local musicians. Instead of producing a CD as in past years, we assembled on a flash drive not just this year’s collection, but all 10 years of memorable holiday music–192 songs. We held two holiday concerts: on Dec. 5 at the Elks Lodge in Lambertville; and on Dec. 8 at Havana in New Hope. Total attendance was about 90.

On December 22, 2021, LHS and Roxey Ballet Company presented our first joint fundraiser event, a performance of dance to a selection of songs from LHS’s past holiday CDs. LHS donated our event proceeds back to Roxey Ballet to help its recovery from flooding by Tropical Storm Ida.

In 2021, LHS supervised the exterior restoration of Lambertville’s old Jail, circa 1840, a City-owned central landmark in Sheridan Park. This completed exterior work, which included masonry pointing, window and soffit repair, and the laying of an ADA-compliant ramp, was funded by a grant of $84,194 from the Hunterdon County Open Space and Historical Preservation Trust Program. In 2021, LHS was awarded a grant of $40,000 for the first phase of the interior restoration of the Jail. When completed, the building will be a flexible space for a variety of cultural programs.

For 2021, the total number of visitors, on-site, off-site, and virtual, including website and social media, was 37,710. We continue to be active on Facebook and our website was upgraded. Features include an interactive map, an active calendar and historical and membership information. To help local merchants during the pandemic we added links to resources throughout the area. The Marshall House Museum was converted to gas for heating and the oil furnace and tank were removed. In 2021 the City of Lambertville purchased the Closson Farmstead, home of the circa 1724 Holcombe House, known as Washington’s Headquarters, and its barn. When asked, LHS advises the City about aspects of the property.

Approximately 30 private requests were made for historical information or images. Topics included supplying: information on the history and family of James Marshall.  information on local homes or businesses and on local families. information on Saint John’s School, Goat Hill Quarry, Malloy Hall,  historic registry plaques were researched for purchase for 5 homeowners. A dozen historical D&R Canal Registry forms were supplied on request. Information on J.F. Boozer, a prominent Lambertville businessman after the Civil War, was supplied.  Information on the old Lambertville High School was supplied. Inquiries related to the town’s Historic Preservation Commission were addressed.

For 2021, four editions of the LHS newsletter were published and sent to members and friends with stories of local history, items regarding James Wilson Marshall and news of member events.

Michael Menche, President, Lambertville Historical Society, January 2021