200 Years of History
By R. Richard Willis
In the past, Jefferson Township had little communities as Milton, Oak Ridge, Russia, Petersburg, Woodport, Espanong, Hurdtown (New Partners) Nolan's Point, Weldon (Well Done), Berkshire Valley, Longwood, and Lake Hopatcong. They were held together with mines, iron forges, stores, blacksmith shops, farms, churches, or transportation (boats, trains and canal boats). As far back as 1804, there has been an expression "them and us". But with the "Bicentennial Year" this separatism seemed to melt away. "We" have come together and become One.
FIRSTS IN JEFFERSON
- In January, Jefferson held its first ever, Bicentennial Costume Ball, held at the Jefferson House Restaurant, on Nolan's Point.
- Township Re-organization Meeting, with the town crier making the announcement of the Bicentennial year.
- Starlight Lounge Coffee House held at Camp Jefferson.
- In April the re-enactment of the First Township Meeting. It was held at the town hall, in the Council Chambers. Our current Township Council and some invited guests took part. They portrayed the parts of their original counterparts. Even though there were no women in that original council, women did play a part in 2004.
- Bicentennial Week in the school systems. With "Thomas Jefferson" appearing at White Rock and Briggs Schools and a Bicentennial Essay Contest.
- Arbor Day, planting of the Memorial Bicentennial Tree.
- The Music of Thomas Jefferson at the town hall.
- On June 6 th, the dedication of the Bicentennial/Memorial Park at the town hall complex.
- The opening of the Berkshire Valley County Golf Course.
- Old-time baseball was played at Lake Side Field Park on September 19, 2004
- The Civil War Re-enactment at Camp Jefferson was held in August.
- August 21 st, the first ever, Bicentennial Boat Parade at Lake Hopatcong.
- The first Bicentennial Home Tour was postponed from December 2003 because of snow. It was held in June 2004 and was a great success.
- The first time I wrote nineteen historical articles on the subject "Jefferson Township " history.
- The Vietnam Moving Wall arrived in Jefferson and was displayed at Lakeside Recreational Park. It was on display for a week.
- With the Moving Wall, people came together and volunteered from all over, not just from Jefferson.
- Camp Jefferson became an active Day Camp.
- The dedication of the State of the Art Playground at Camp Jefferson
- A Historical Tour of Jefferson is being created, as a self-guided tour.
- The Time Capsule is being prepared to be included in the Veteran's Memorial Park on November 13th.
- Veterans Day Observance at the Bicentennial Memorial/Veterans Park
- Brick pavers can be purchased in memory of our Veterans, which are being included in the Memorial Park.
- Our New Town Clock
- First ever Countdown Clock that was located in the town hall.
- Thomas Burns painted the Bicentennial Welcome Signs.
- The sculpting of the Bust of Thomas Jefferson by a young "84" year old Thomas Burns.
- Speakers' Bureau created.
- Logo Contest
- Photo contest/show
- The Bicentennial Quilt being made and displayed in Council Chambers
- The Old School Bell from Hurdtown School finds a permanent home in the wall of the Memorial Park.
- Scholarships given out to students by the Bicentennial Committee.
- Thomas Burns created many new signs for Camp Jefferson.
- Many Bicentennial Souvenirs were created such as:
||Base Ball Caps
||Burgees from the Bicentennial Boat
|Town Lapel Pin
||Limited Ink Wells and Quill Pens
- The Jefferson Township Bicentennial Web page. And great thanks to Alicia Punturieri our web master.
There will be more activities this year connected with the Bicentennial, but this year will be remembered for a long time. Some of my readers will be around in 2054 to see what we put into the time capsule and I truly hope they will remember our Bicentennial Year. I wish to thank my follow Bicentennial Members for all the help and support.