MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The weekend of October 20-21 marks Union County’s Four Centuries in a Weekend event. Each year, Union County celebrates its important place in history by featuring many historic sites throughout the County. The historic Hetfield House will be open for visitors on Saturday, Oct. 20 and Sunday, Oct. 21 from 12-5pm.
During Saturday and Sunday, back by popular demand, there will be a miniature simulation of a Revolutionary War Battle. This year, The Battle of Spanktown (Rahway) will be reenacted. Mountainside’s own, John Sileo, a member of the Tri-State Historical Education Simulations, Inc. will be present to engage in a lively discussion on the battle, fought nearby in January of 1777 in Spanktown, now Rahway. The discussions will be augmented by a diorama of the military actions with hundreds of hand-painted soldiers.
In addition, the Mountainside Restoration Committee will display a newly acquired collection of artifacts and memorabilia from the Fitz Randolph family who lived in the Hetfield House in the late 19th century. Sisters, Grace and Gertrude Fitz Randolph were second great granddaughters of Andrew Hetfield. The collection includes diaries, books, letters, magazines, photos and a guest book. The guest book shows Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks once visited the Dutch Oven Tea House in 1919.
Tours of the Hetfield House will be available throughout the weekend. The open house and activities are free to visitors and fans of Union County history. The exterior of the Hetfield House will be adorned by many scarecrows representing figures in history. These scarecrows are created by Mountainside Fifth Grade students from Deerfield School who visit the Hetfield House, on a field trip, the week prior to Four Centuries Weekend.
The Hetfield House will be participating in Union County’s History Trading Card program. Be sure to pick up MacKinlay Kantor and other cards from the Hetfield House and add to your collection from other Union County sites. Each card depicts a person, place or event in Union County history.
The Deacon Andrew Hetfield House is located at Constitution Plaza (Watchung Ave., off Birch Hill Rd.) adjacent to the Mountainside Library. The Mountainside Restoration Committee is a committee of volunteers whose purpose is to restore and maintain the Deacon Andrew Hetfield House and Levi Cory House and collect and save historic information and items from destruction. For further details, please call (908)789-9420; or, go to: www.mountainsidehistory.org
PHOTO CAPTION: John Sileo will present the Revolutionary War Battle of Spanktown reenactment, in a miniature diorama, during the Four Centuries in a Weekend Open House at Mountainside’s Hetfield House - Sat., Oct. 20 and Sun., Oct. 21 (12-5pm).