NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - When New Providence Historical Society celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2066, local residents will have plenty of history to go through. New Providence Historical Society buried a time capsule on Monday, Aug. 15 to commemorate their 50th anniversary at the Salt Box Museum.
A steady flow of guests had the opportunity to catch up in an old fashioned style social and take a walk through time on a sizzling summer afternoon at the Salt Box Museum lawn. The 50th Anniversary Ice Cream Social took place on Sunday, Aug. 14 from 2-5 p.m. supplying free-of-charge ice cream cones, courtesy of Zita’s Homemade Ice Cream.
To escape the heat, tents were set up displaying artifacts and posters documenting the history of New Providence [or Turkey Town as it was known in the 1700s]. Historical Society President Linda Kale along with members were on hand to provide tours of the Salt Box Museum. (View photo gallery.)
New Providence Historical Society intern and incoming Pioneer freshman Kate Hearn created a poster comparing 1966 to 2016 -- showing the top Billboard hit records and favorite films at the Box Office, as well as interesting facts of the price of a movie ticket to grabbing a meal at McDonald’s. Did you know the price of a World Championship Football game ticket in 1966 was $12 compared to today’s $1,200 Super Bowl ticket price?
Historical Society members J. R. Bale and Rick Anderson led the effort to purchase the time capsule, gather materials and get it placed in the ground. The time capsule was on display for the guests to donate “current-era” artifacts and residents were asked to include a letter with a message they would like to share to those reading their document in 2066. People shared their thoughts about favorite inventions, what life was like in New Providence and their predictions for 2066.
Life long resident Mayor Al Morgan and his wife Christine were among the guests and contributors, donating artifacts and helped to gather donations from town officials that included patches from the Fire and Police Departments.
"Everyone has been looking forward to burying the time capsule as it will be an insight into life in 2016 when it is opened in 50 years’ time," said Mayor Morgan. "The pieces that were put together about their lives and papers relating to life in New Providence will be important historic documents when they are read in years to come.”
Bri Hearn, a 2012 New Providence High School graduate and Historical Society Scholarship Recipient, donated her iPhone4 to the time capsule. This phone was the phone she used while in high school. “All my personal information – my tests, my emails, my pictures, all the websites I visited, my apps – everything is still on there, untouched since high school,” said Hearn. “Maybe in 50 years, someone will be able to get into my phone and get a glimpse of what life was like for a New Providence teenager 50+ years ago.”
“My mom always told me to never text or email anything that I wouldn’t want printed in the New York Times… I hope I took her advise,” said Hearn.
While the Historical Society is celebrating 50 years, New Providence's history dates back to 1664 with the purchase of land from the Lenape Indians by James, Duke of York, brother to King Charles II., to the 1737 formation of the Presbyterian Church; 1750 the name “Turkey” changed to “New Providence"; in 1809 became New Providence Township and in 1899 New Providence Borough formed [New Providence township (now Berkeley Heights) separated].
The Historical Society was founded on August 15, 1966 when the Salt Box house on Springfield Avenue was moved from across the street to its current address at 1350 Springfield Ave. It is the original home to the ministers of the Presbyterian Church, said Kale.
The painting that sits in the entrance of the Salt Box Museum helps to tell the story of the center of New Providence in the 1800s and the docents will walk you through the rooms showing the artifacts that date back to the Revolutionary War. The museum is open the first Sunday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 908-655-1034.
Learn more about the New Providence Historical Society and the upcoming programs by visiting their website.