Arts & Entertainment

Long Before There was a Ledgewood Mall

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Interior of the King Store Museum at Drakesville Historic Park Credits: M.A. Dudak
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King Store and Homestead at Drakesville Historic Park
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Local historian and Roxbury Historic Trust, Inc. Board Member Richard Cramond gives visitors a tour of the King Store Museum Credits: M.A. Dudak
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ROXBURY, NJ - More than 100 years ago, when residents of Ledgewood (then called Drakesville) wanted to shop for anything that they had not grown, made for themselves or acquired by bartering with a neighbor, they walked or rode over to the King Store on Main Street, alongside the Morris Canal basin.

While in the store, they could also pick up their mail. During local, state and federal elections they could cast their ballots for the candidates of their choice. And just like in today's mall, they would visit with friends and catch up on local news.

The King Store has been rehabilitated and restored, and is a designated historic site on both the New Jersey and Federal Registers of Historic Places. The nearby King House and the surrounding Drakesville Historic Park are also on the state and federal registers.

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On Sunday, Sept. 10, from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m., the King Store and King House Museums will be open to the public. They are located at 209-211 Main Street, Ledgewood, N.J.

Admission to both museums is free, and tours are available of both historic buildings.

People of all ages will appreciate the unusual items in the King Store which is one of the two surviving Morris Canal Stores and the only one with original preserved merchandise. Families may also enjoy seeing or being weighed on the fully restored wagon scale outside the store.

After their tour of the King Store Museum, visitors are encouraged to walk next door to the King House Museum to see "Miss Louise's School Room," a historically accurate representation of a one room school, with furniture, school books, pictures and other items that would have been found in a Roxbury school circa 1900.

Both museums are open on the second Sunday of the month from April through December. Admission is always free, and local docents provide tours of these historically significant buildings and share interesting facts and stories about them.

For more information, call 973-584-1457, or 973-927-7603, or visit http://roxburynewjersey.com/trust.htm or go the Facebook page, "Museums at Drakesville."

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