Arts & Entertainment

History Cards for Kids...And Yes, Maybe Their Parents, Too

Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen, Historical Society of Plainfield President Nancy Piwowar and Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski display the new History Trading Card depicting Caesar.
Charles Cornwallis.
Hannah Caldwell.
Virginia Apgar.
William Livingston.
Concert attendees had the opportunity to collect all of the history cards. Credits: Jennifer Popper
Credits: Jennifer Popper
Credits: Jennifer Popper

UNION COUNTY, NJ - So what do we tell the children?...about the past, that is.

After a successful pilot program at the Deserted Village last fall, Union County’s Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs is rolling out a History Trading Card series for youngsters to learn more about the history of the people and events that shaped Union County -- and the country --we know today.

“We live in a County that is so rich in history -- and I’m not talking just about the Revolution --I’m talking about a County whose residents played vital roles in every century since New Jersey was first settled in the 1600s,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen.

Sign Up for E-News

“And yes, sadly, much has been paved over and developed over our 400 years, but we should know the ground we walk on -- the incredible people who came before us,” Bergen said.


Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr studied at The Academy in old Elizabethtown, while George Washington directed the Battle of the Short Hills from the Drake House in Plainfield, noted Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski.

John Philip Holland, who designed the first submarine capable of running submerged for a considerable distance, would build the US Navy’s first submarines at the Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth. The famous scientist Nikola Tesla built his plant in Rahway while Marconi built his factory in Roselle Park, she said.

“And it was not all that long ago,” Kowalski said, “That in Linden, when America needed planes for World War II, when we were fighting totalitarian dictatorships, the General Motors Plant went from turning out cars to producing fighter planes.”

“When babies are born and they want to check to see if they’re okay,” Bergen said, “they administer the Apgar test. Dr. Virginia Apgar, who invented that test, lived in Westfield.”

One of the history cards features Caesar, a slave of Isaac Drake, who was freed in 1769.  During the Revolutionary War, he was a teamster who drove supply wagons to troops  stationed at the Blue Hills Fort and Camp in Plainfield in what is now Union County’s Green Brook Park.  

Nancy Piwowar, President of the Historical Society of Plainfield, said, "I appreciate the Union County Board of Freeholders and the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs for all of their efforts to remember Caesar who at the age of 78 risked his life to supply the Continental Army. Caesar was a hero, and his story will be known for future generations."

Last year, the Cultural & Heritage Affairs Office, part of the Union County Parks Department, developed the first cards in the Union County Across the Centuries series: Alexander Hamilton, William Livingston, Jonathan Dayton and Hannah Caldwell.  Youngsters at Four Centuries in a Weekend had so much fun collecting the cards that work continued, with 14 cards now in the series and more on the way.

Because the County was celebrating the 240th Anniversary of the Battle of the Short Hills in June with a reenactment of the battle at Oak Ridge Park, a lot of focus was put on the Revolutionary War era. But as the program rolls out, there will be cards from across Union County’s history.

The new cards were unveiled this week at the County’s Wednesday night free Summer Arts concert in Oak Ridge Park. They will be going out to historic sites across the county, with the goal of encouraging youngsters to visit the sites to collect specific cards.

To see some of the cards now available, go to:

For more information, contact Cultural & Heritage Affairs at 908-558-2550 or

For all Union County programs and services visit, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Berkeley Heights’ Women of the Week (WoW) Series features Beth Ferris Sale

March 18, 2018

In honor of the women who are driving change, blazing trails and nurturing society, the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council is pleased to announce an exciting initiative called, Women of the Week (WoW) Series. In the spirit of community, we wanted to honor the women right here in Berkeley Heights who are impacting the world in their own way for the remaining weeks of Women’s History ...

Faith Lutheran Church in New Providence Schedules Holy Week Services

March 21, 2018


Faith Lutheran Church in New Providence invites area residents to each of its liturgical services during Holy Week.

On Passion or Palm Sunday, March 25, two Eucharistic liturgies will be conducted, one at 8:30 a.m. and the other at 11 a.m. The title of the sermon at both liturgies will be “Servant of All.”  The music of each liturgy will be provided by the Sanctuary ...

91 Young Musicians Work Together To Raise Nearly $14,000 for the New Jersey Youth Symphony

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ —91 young musicians in the New Jersey Youth Symphony’s Youth Orchestra (YO) ensemble have raised nearly $14,000 to date for the organization’s annual Playathon, a student-led fundraiser established by the New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) in 1985. The Playathon is the largest free concert of its kind and this Sunday over 450 students from 12 NJYS ensembles ...

UC Tech Student Volunteers Put Fun and Games to Work for Special Needs Learners

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Earlier this month, a group of 51 students in grades 9 to 11 from the Teacher Education Academy at UC TECH staged an indoor carnival for special needs learners. More than 140 participants from the community attended the event and enjoyed plinko, corn hole, dance revolution, hula hoop activities, a DJ, prizes and more.

UC TECH is part of the Union County ...

Soprano Anita Lyons Featured Soloist at Summit Symphony Concert March 25

The music of Grieg, Schumann ad Strauss will form the centerpiece of the next Summit Symphony Orchestra concert of the 2017-18 season, a performance which will take place March 25, beginning at 2 p.m., in the Summit High School Auditorium. Admission to all Summit Symphony concerts is free, with donations gratefully accepted. 

American Soprano Anita Lyons will ...

New Providence's Allen W. Roberts School Gets Security Walk Through by Police Department after Bomb Threat

March 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Police Department sent a letter to parents and guardians of students at Allen W. Roberts Elementary School after a non-specific bomb threat was reported on Monday afternoon.

It's the second threat  reported at a New Providence school in March. The first threat was reported on March 5th at New Providence High School.

Emergency ...

Driver Escapes Icy Waters After Car Goes Off Road Near Clark and Cranford Borders

March 21, 2018

CLARK, NJ –A car went off the road and into the river on the northbound Garden State Parkway between the Clark and Cranford exits during Wednesday night’s snowstorm.

According to Clark’s Chief of Police, Pedro Matos the car’s driver managed to escape the water.  Divers went in to the river and determined the car to be empty.  The sole occupant was ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

The Long march home: An American Soldier's Life ...

Education Other


Fri, March 23, 9:30 AM

Dunkin Donuts, Berkeley Heights

Let’s Meet Up to Clean Up! BH Walks, a New ...


Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Strollers Present John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt"

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Burent Middle School , Union

Union County Wide - March for Our Lives

Government Law & Justice

Sat, March 24, 11:00 AM

Home For Good Dog Rescue, Berkeley Heights

Dog Adoption Event


Sat, March 24, 2:00 PM

New Providence United Methodist Church, New Providence

New Providence United Methodist Church Easter Egg ...

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Religions And Spirituality

JCP&L Representative Describes Utility’s Actions During Storm Quinn, Answers Residents' Questions

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The format of this week’s  Berkeley Heights 'Here and Now' was turned on its head this week. Mayor Bob Woodruff reviewed what happened in the township following Storm Quinn and its predecessor Storm Riley, complete with statistics. He then asked a representative of JCP&L questions about the utility’s response, and how it was ...

Berkeley Heights, Here and Now: Redevelopment Updates

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Mayor's Round Table has been rebranded to "Berkeley Heights, Here and Now." This new format will continue to provide updates from Mayor Bob Woodruff, municipal offices and the Communications Committee want to hear from citizens, businesses and community organizations.

Included in this episode, Mayor Bob Woodruff addresses the status of the ...

Dear Susan: Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert, Spring Edition

SUSAN BARBAGLIA, owner of Skin Deep Salon and Spa in New Providence, offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a leader in the beauty industry. With over thirty years experience in skin care, Susan can answer your most challenging beauty questions. Email your ...

You Want a Check for How Much!

 My first admissions gig was working for a small liberal arts college with a pretty hefty price tag.  Picture me at a college fair: name tag in place, pile of brochures ready to go.  An eager family would walk up and we’d start a conversation.  One of the first questions I’d get from parents was about cost and the moment that $50,000-plus figure left my mouth I ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...