FLORHAM PARK, NJ- The town of Florham Park did a lot of celebrating on Tuesday. Not only was it the Fourth of July, but it was the 60th anniversary of the parade and The Little Red Schoolhouse celebrated 150 years, which was the main reason it was the theme for the parade this year.
Florham Park, itself, is an old town. This reporter learned, while walking through the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum, that when Florham Park was founded back in the 1600 or 1700’s, it wasn’t called Florham Park. It was called Broomtown because it manufactured brooms. However, in 1899 Florence and Hamilton Twombly decided to secede from Madison (so they could stop paying them taxes) and created this town. They simply took the first couple of letters from their first names and combined them to create “Florham”.
Then came the Little Red Schoolhouse built in 1866. As the sign outside the school states, “[The] Present structure predates Florham Park Borough by 33 years,” as well as, “Classes [were] held here continuously until 1914”. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the school was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Now it is a museum that not only holds artifacts from when it was a school, but artifacts from around Florham Park. It includes all the machines that were used to manufacturer brooms when it was Broomtown. It also includes antique kitchenware like a coffeemill, hand-held toaster, and food grinder from the 1800 and 1900’s. You will also find the general delivery window from the post office from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. There is just so much fun and interesting antiquities there, including a rope that drops down into the school, which rings the old school bell.
Lastly, came the parade. Mayor Mark Taylor stated in a speech, “It’s been noted by many that Florham Park holds the longest, continuous Fourth of July parade in the state of New Jersey,” and it’s one of “the longest running parades in New Jersey that we know of.”
It first started in 1894, however it didn’t continue for very long. It wasn’t until 1957 when the Florham Park Fire Department decided to bring it back. Then in 1979, a committee was created to help organize and continue this great day. This year the Honorary Grand Marshals for the parade were Rocco and Joan Scanniello. They received an “Outstanding Service Award”, which said, “With sincere gratitude and admiration for over thirty years of volunteer service, leadership, and dedication to the Florham Park July 4th celebration. Your devotion and time-honored tradition has enabled Florham Park to demonstrate its commitment to patriotism, freedom, family, and community.”
General Chairman for the Fourth of July parade, Joe Guerin said, “I know from partial experience, today would not be the day it is without Joanie and Rocky and all their help for the last thirty years.”