BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) invites friends, neighbors, members, and current and former trustees to a long-planned event, the Community Celebration of the society's 90th anniversary from 2 to 5 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 at the Brick Academy parking lot in downtown Basking Ridge.

The outdoor celebration will include free food, giveaways, and live music from Basking Ridge’s own Café Racers, as well as plenty of birthday cake.

A rain date of Sunday, Sept. 16,  also from 2 to 5 p.m. is scheduled.

Sign Up for E-News

The Brick Academy _ the headquarters for THSSH _ is at 15 W. Oak St. in Basking Ridge. Plenty of free parking will be available just west of the Brick Academy at the Oak Street Elementary School.

Since 1928, the The society has researched and presented the history in the Somerset Hills towns of Bernardsville, Bernards Township, Bedminster, Peapack and Gladstone and Far Hills.

During the outdoor celebration, the Brick Academy will be open for self-guided tours that include exhibits representing the history of all of those Somerset Hills towns.

The “Collectors’ Cabinet” pop-up exhibits highlight Cruciverbalism: the History of Crossword Puzzles and 90 years of Historical Society history artifacts. The totally refurbished 1890s schoolroom on the 2nd floor of the academy will also be open. 

The historical society hosts many events throughout the year, including local history stories from "Elder Voices," and participation in each year's Charter Day celebration in Basking Ridge.

On September 23, 1928, a small group of Bernards Township residents met at the Maple Avenue Elementary School in Basking Ridge to discuss how they could preserve local history, according to information provided by THSSH. The group initially founded the Basking Ridge Historical Society to promote and preserve local history, thus becoming a spin-off of the Basking Ridge Literary Society, a group that had been founded in 1861.

In 1988, to broaden its scope of purpose and support surrounding communities, the society voted unanimously to change its name to The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills to encourage others who share concern for the preservation of the Somerset Hills' heritage.  As they say, the rest is history.

In 1975, the Bernards Township municipal offices, which were located at the Brick Academy in Basking Ridge, relocated to the current town hall Collyer Lane, and the Brick Academy became the new headquarters of the then-Basking Ridge Historical Society. The Society leased the landmark building from Bernards Township for $1 per year as long as the society maintained the property. It was that year that the Academy was also accepted to the NJ Register of Historic Places. In 1976, the property was entered into the National Register of Historic Places.

The society began restoration of the Brick Academy in the late 1970s, with the removal of the front porch and fire escape and discovery of the original fan light window over the front door. Later, all windows were replaced with 6/6 sash and others more suitable. The society's goal has been the complete restoration of the Academy, as close as possible to its original 1809 condition.

The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization including all five communities of the Somerset Hills region: Bedminster Township, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Far Hills, Peapack-Gladstone, which are all located in Somerset County, New Jersey.

The mission of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills (THSSH) is to acquire, conserve and share local artifacts and information on matters of local historic interest; cultivate interest in local history; encourage the preservation of local historic resources; facilitate historic research; and preserve, operate, and interpret the Brick Academy.

“THSSH is honored to have been part of the fabric of the local community for so long,” said Larry Terricone, Trustee of the Society. “We’re really looking forward to holding this free community event to give back to all those who’ve supported us over the years.” Mr. Terricone is one of the most devoted trustees serving the Society for the last 23 years.