ELIZABETH, NJ - If you haven’t gotten hooked yet, this is your weekend to go stamp crazy. At national parks, monuments and historic sites across the country, there are stamps visitors collect in passports to mark their visit. Visiting many of these sites can involve traveling long distances, but not this Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20, during Union County’s Four Centuries in a Weekend annual history event that includes a few stops in Elizabeth. 

During Four Centuries in a Weekend, historic sites across the County all agree to be open from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Nearly half of the 30 sites date back to the Revolutionary War and are part of the National Park Service’s Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area, which recognizes the role New Jersey played in the American Revolution.

Union County is part of the Passport to Your National Parks program where Parks enthusiasts have their passports stamped when they visit historic sites around the county. In 2017, when the county joined the program during the Four Centuries weekend, the number of passport stamp locations in New Jersey literally tripled overnight. Sites are in close proximity to each other, with each site having its own unique stamp recognizing its inclusion in the National Heritage Area.

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"Collecting the stamps can be fun," said Bette Jane Kowalski, Chair of the Union County Board of Freeholders. "As word has spread about our Four Centuries weekend, our historic sites have seen an increasing number of visitors coming from a distance to get all the stamps. We would love to have you join us and add to your stamp collection."

Several sites will have two stamps because of their location. For example, the Miller-Cory House in Westfield is a historic site in its own right and is also along the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail, which recognizes the contribution of the French in winning the Revolutionary War. Several battles in Union County were also memorialized with the stamps.

Union County offers a free passport to historic sites across the county which can also be used with the stamp program.

Stamps will be available at:

·         In Berkeley Heights, the Deserted Village of Feltville/Glenside Park.

·         In Clark, at the Dr. William Robinson Plantation-Museum.

·         In Elizabeth, at Boxwood Hall, First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth, Snyder Academy.

·         Nathaniel Bonnell Homestead & Belcher-Ogden Mansion, and St. John’s Parsonage.

·         In Hillside, at Woodruff House-Eaton Store Museum.

·         In Mountainside, at the Deacon Andrew Hetfield House.

·         In New Providence, at the Salt Box Museum.

·         In Plainfield, at the Drake House Museum and Plainfield Meeting House.

·         In Rahway, at Merchants & Drovers Tavern. There will also be a stamp recognizing the King’s Highway.

·         In Roselle, at the Abraham Clark Memorial House.

·         In Scotch Plains, at Elizabeth and Gershom Frazee House and Osborn Cannonball House.  And at Ashbrook Reservation, to mark the Battle of the Short Hills.

·         In Springfield, at the Cannon Ball House. There will also be a stamp for the Battle of Springfield.

·         In Summit, at the Carter House.

·         In Union, at Liberty Hall, Connecticut Farms Church and Caldwell Parsonage, where there will also be a stamp commemorating the Battle of Connecticut Farms

·         In Westfield, at the Miller-Cory House Museum, which will also have a stamp recognizing the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail.

·         Unfortunately, the Littell-Lord House in Berkeley Heights is closed for repairs and its stamp is not available this year.

While the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs will continue to offer free Union County Across the Centuries passports at all Union County historic sites, those interested in purchasing a national passport can go to eparks.com/store/category/30/278/Passport.

Launched by Eastern National in 1986, the Passport to Your National Parks program consists of a guidebook highlighting national parks. It provides space for dated ink “cancellation” stamps that enable visitors to commemorate their visit. More information on the program is available at easternnational.org/what-we-do/passport.

To learn more about the Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs visit ucnj.org/parks-recreation/cultural-heritage-affairs.

For more details on all Four Centuries sites, including addresses, visit ucnj.org/4C.

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