An Intern’s Look into the Archives

An Intern’s Look into the Archives
By Jessica Ciano

James P. Allaire, founder and owner of The Howell Works, the site that is now The Historic Village at Allaire.

James P. Allaire, founder and owner of The Howell Works, the site that is now The Historic Village at Allaire.

Mr. Allaire once made a transaction with a man rumored to be a pirate who was later put to death! That is just one of the historical accounts of Mr. Allaire’s life that I have discovered while working on the digitization project as a volunteer for The Historic Village at Allaire.

As I type up Mr. Allaire’s original thoughts (after deciphering his handwriting!), I realize that I am reading and learning about some of the most private aspects and thoughts of his life. Not only am I helping to save previous memories of The Howell Works, but I am also reading documents that very people have had the opportunity to read. It’s an incredible experience!

The pieces I am digitizing include Mr. Allaire’s handwritten letters, Hal Allaire’s (Mr. Allaire’s youngest son) musings on the day-to-day life in the Howell Works, and some of Allaire’s notes found in his study. Upon completion of the digitization project, the documents will be safely preserved in digital format and accessible to those doing research on the Allaires.

Jessica Ciano is one of our dedicated interns who volunteer their time at The Historic Village at Allaire. Her article first appeared in The Village Star, issue no. 4 of the 2014 volume. For more information on the digitization project going on in the Allaire Village archives, or for more information on conducting research at Allaire, stay tuned for future blog posts or call us at 732-919-3500. 


A Look Back at Spring Events

Allaire Village is always bustling with historic events and programs! Now that Summer has begun, let’s look back at some of our Spring events!

“Bog Iron Boys Pitching the Past” 19th Century Baseball Reenactment

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Photo by Angela Squicciarini Photography

Photo by Angela Squicciarini Photography

Photo by Angela Squicciarini Photography

Photo by Angela Squicciarini Photography

Photo by Angela Squicciarini Photography

Photo by Angela Squicciarini Photography

Photo by Angela Squicciarini Photography

19th Century Spring Market Auction

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Annual Civil War Encampment

Photo by David Burnett

Photo by David Burnett

Photo by David Burnett

Photo by David Burnett

Photo by David Burnett

Photo by David Burnett

Photo by David Burnett

Photo by David Burnett

 

The Historic Wedding of Maria Allaire

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Thank you to everyone who visited and volunteered at our Spring events! Hope to see you out this Summer!


Guided Monthly Tours: Free for Members!

Beginning this month, the Historic Village at Allaire will be presenting guided, monthly tours through the Village homes and buildings every third Saturday of the month!

Monthly Tours jpeg

Click to enlarge for more info.

Step back into 1836 and retrace the footsteps of James P. Allaire as you learn about his industrial businesses, what life was like in the 1830′s, and the lagacy Allaire has left on New Jersey. The tour will begin at the Visitor’s Center and will continue on to the Chapel, Blacksmith and Carpentry Shops, Manager’s House, Bakery and General Store, Allaire Mansion, and more! The tour will last approximately three hours and includes a break at the Enameling Building. Each tour will be led by a knowledgeable costumed interpreter who will be more than happy to answer any questions you or your group might have.

These tours will be presented FREE to Members of the Historic Village at Allaire as a membership perk! For non-members, the price will be $10 per person. To reserve your space, or to become a Member, call our office at 732-919-3500 or fill out the application on our website.

The tour is limited to ten people so advanced purchase is a must! Call our office to book your spot!

Our guided, monthly tours are appropriate for children and adults of all ages. Please be advised that there is an extensive amount of walking on the tour.

Dates for our 2014 Tours are as follows:

  • Saturday, June 21st
  • Saturday, July 19th
  • Saturday, August 16th
  • Saturday, September 20th
  • Saturday, October 18th* (Date may change)
  • Saturday, November 15th
  • Saturday, December 20th* (Date may change)

 


Civil War Encampment at Allaire Village

The Civil War returns to Allaire Village this weekend!

Civil War JPEG

Troops will be camping in the Historic Village and recreating an 1860′s School of the Soldier!

Activities throughout the weekend will include

  • Artillery and Cavalry unit demonstrations
  • Brass Band & musical performances
  • Presidential Debate
  • Visits from Abraham Lincoln
  • Military officer headquarters scenario
  • And more!

The event is presented by Allaire Village, Inc. and The New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association. For more info about this event, visit their website. 

Hope to see you there!

-Hannah

 

 


Old Skill Comes Hard

Old Skill Comes Hard
By Lauren Kelly

IMG_2110Joining Allaire Village in July 2013, I never realized how amazing people can be. They welcome new re-enactors with open arms and bright smiles. Over many regular and event days, I realized that I have made some lifelong friends and do not plan on leaving anytime soon!

With this in mind, I decided to put my creativity to work during the winter season and make my own historic dress. What’s better than staying inside a warm house when it’s barely 20 degrees outside? I told my mom about this unique winter project and we immediately went out in search of an elegant floral pattern. Within a few days we found a beautiful rose pattern and a guide to follow.

Let the sewing begin! In the guide there were many advanced hand-sewing styles to learn, so I took on the challenge and learned each stitch that was required. The dress took about 2 months, off and on, to complete and included a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. In the end, it was definitely worth it; the dress was a great success and I’ve learned many new sewing techniques that I definitely can use in the future.

To me, this dress represents not only how they wore clothing back in the 1800′s; it also reminds me of my joy of being involved with such amazing people…a member of the ‘Allaire Family’!

Lauren Kelly's new handmade dress.

Lauren Kelly’s new handmade dress.

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Lauren Kelly has been a dedicated volunteer at The Historic Village at Allaire since summer of 2013. Since beginning, Lauren has participated in every event with enthusiasm, maturity, and creativity! She can often be found in speaking roles at events, playing 19th century games, and giving tours of our historic buildings. Lauren’s article first appeared in the May/June 2014 issue of The Village Star, The Historic Village at Allaire’s newsletter which is published bimonthly. 


Creating a Sports Guild at Allaire Village (Part II)

Creating a Sports Guild at Allaire Village (Part II)

By Russ McIver

To read the first part of Russ’s article, visit our previous post. 

Things were slow the first day, but with a little recruiting help from fellow villagers it took off! From that point on, Townball has been a popular activity at the Village. Some of my happiest moments as a volunteer at Allaire come when I overhear visitors say “this is fun”, and younger volunteers telling their parents about it as they are picked up at the end of the day.

To my knowledge, visitors and Villagers participating in 1831 Philadelphia Townball at Allaire Village are involved in a unique experience not replicated anywhere else in the country! Most other historical site interpretations of Townball play the 1850′s Massachusetts-style Game. We play the game that Howell Works residents most likely would have known.

The Bog Iron Boys practicing for the big game!

The Bog Iron Boys practicing for the big game!

While playing Townball in the Village, we are also recognizing an overlooked episode in the history of Allaire Village: In early 1898, the baseball team that became the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, needed a place to train for the upcoming season. The new owner, Charles Ebbetts, arranged for the use of the Village and the area around it as a training location. That muddy spring saw Hal Allaire (son of James P. Allaire) fearing for the health of the players, “I’ve expected to see the whole lot laid up with pneumonia”, he told a correspondent for The Cincinnati Post, as he witnessed the players’ rigorous training routine. One of my ongoing works as an Allaire Volunteer is to add more to this story- stay tuned!

Charles H. Ebbets. Bain News Service/Library of Congress.

Charles H. Ebbets. Bain News Service/Library of Congress.

Allaire Village is celebrating its connection to the National Game with the May 17th event, “Bog Iron Boys Pitching the Past”: A 19th Century Baseball Reenactment, featuring Allaire Village’s own Bog Iron Boys! The company team of the Howell Works takes on the Hoboken 9, and with luck, the Elizabeth Resolutes. Both are members of the Mid Atlantic Vintage Baseball League. The Village will turn all things baseball, as the buildings will have baseball-themed exhibits, the games will be going on in the show field, and all the players will be available to meet afterwards!

Baseball Reenactment jpeg

Baseball isn’t the only activity the new Sports Guild will be pursuing. But it sure gives it a solid start! If you have any interest in baseball history or other forms of early 19th century recreation, feel free to join the Guild or contact Allaire. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Russ McIver is the Sports Guild Master at Allaire Village. He received one of two 2013 New Volunteer of the Year Awards at the Annual Banquet this past February. Russ’s research and devotion is at the heart of our May 17th Baseball Reenactment, where you will find him as the Bog Iron Boys’ Team Captain! Be sure to come out to our event to learn more!  


Creating a Sports Guild at Allaire Village (Part I)

Creating a Sports Guild at Allaire Village (Part I)

By Russ McIver

On a sunny weekend day, strolling through the park, you may notice five rather large stakes arranged in a square in the corral between the barn and the Carriage House. “What is that?”, you may ask. Is it our fine Park Rangers doing some surveying? Was some archeological treasure found, and being marked out? Are ghost hunters performing some bizarre test to contact J.P. and Hal Allaire?

But come by later, and you may see visitors of all ages playing what vaguely resembles baseball! In the middle of this activity, you may see me, Russ McIver, Sports Guild Master, instructing the visitors in the rules of 1831 Philadelphia Style Townball!

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Russ leading a crowd during our St. Patrick’s Day event.

I came to Allaire as a volunteer last Spring. You see, I have always had a passion for history. I received a degree in Economics in the 1980′s from Rutgers College, and have pursued my own business as a Computer Network Consultant almost entirely since that time. As I get older, I have thought about what I want to do in my later years, and after consulting with friends involved in the history professions, I re-discovered Allaire Village as a place to hone my passion for the subject.

As a newbie of the Village, I tried my hand at the Militia, the Blacksmith Shop, and even lining up queues of visitors for tours of the BIg House. I needed, and wanted, to find a niche! Then it came to me! One of the idle activities that other, albeit younger volunteers participated in were games! Stilts to graces, all kinds of things occupied the Villagers and visitors’ time between trips to the Blacksmith, Carpenter, Bakery, and Gift Shop. Why not a game all could play that was period appropriate? Being an avid baseball fan, it came to me…townball!

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Engraving of early American townball. MLB.com.

I checked with Hannah Tichansky, the Volunteer Coordinator, and got the OK to pursue it. It just so happened that in the middle of the Summer, I had planned to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York! I called the Hall of Fame Library, and made an appointment for a visit during Induction Weekend.

When I visited, Tim Wiles, the Director of Research at the Hall of Fame was glad to meet with me after I explained that I was an interpreter at Allaire, and wanted to start a Townball program. He gave me stacks of folders and books on the subject. While perusing them, I stumbled upon the Olympic Club of Philadelphia. They had set down rules for, and played their own version of Townball in the 1830′s! Perfect! I had a period activity that the villagers may have played in the 1830′s! (The Howell Works did a lot of business with the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley area, so it is plausible that villagers were aware of the game played seventy miles west!)

Further research helped me tease out the rules, layout, and equipment for the game. With the blessing and help of my fellow Allaire colleagues, I was ready to go!

Stay tuned for the second part of Russ’ story, where he discovers curious links between Allaire Village and the team that would become the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

Russ McIver is the Sports Guild Master at Allaire Village. He received one of two 2013 New Volunteer of the Year Awards at the Annual Banquet this past February. Russ’s research and devotion is at the heart of our May 17th Baseball Reenactment, where you will find him as the Bog Iron Boys’ Team Captain! Be sure to come out to our event to learn more, and stay tuned for his next installment in this blog. 


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