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Secrets of South Orange: Historical Society Program on 'Fun and Fascinating' Village Facts

Will you find arrowheads if you dig in your South Orange backyard? Are there bootlegger tunnels downtown? How did the Village grow from mountain resort playground to residential paradise?

If you thought you knew South Orange, your eyes will be opened this weekend, when the South Orange Historical and Preservation Society presents a fun and fascinating symposium, "South Orange and Its Colorful History."

As part of the celebration of New Jersey's 350th anniversary, the program of history and little-known trivia will deliver an afternoon of entertaining stories on Saturday, November 1, from 1 until 5 p.m. at the South Orange Middle School on 70 Ridgewood Road.

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Following remarks by Village president Alex Torpey will be presentations on nine different topics about the growth and development of the Village starting from the time that the Lenni Lenape Native Americans flourished.

In addition, winners of the Historical Society's annual scholarship contest, which features a high cash award, will be made during the afternoon.

Admission is by voluntary contribution.

Speaker Biographies

    Dara Callender manages NJ TRANSIT’s state and federal historic preservation program as a member of the Environmental Services Unit.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in civil (structural) engineering from Columbia University and a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation from Goucher College.  Previously working in the field of bridge design, inspection and evaluation, and historic bridge rehabilitation, Ms. Callender received her, and is licensed as a Professional Engineer.
    Amy G. Dahn  is a 19 year resident of South Orange who lives in a Stanford White home in South Orange. She has been involved extensively with the Montrose Park Historic District Association (MPHDA). She believes in the need to preserve and protect the architectural treasures within Montrose Park and the entire community of South Orange. She is a Commissioner on the South Orange Historic Preservation Commission.
    Naoma Welk is a business writer and author of Images of America South Orange and Images of America South Orange Revisited. For twenty years, Naoma and her husband lived in the Montrose Park Historic District of South Orange. She served as a Trustee in the Montrose Park Historic District Association and was President from 2010 – 2013.
    Michael Gabriele is an author, historian and freelance journalist from Clifton, NJ. He has written two books on New Jersey history. A 1975 graduate of Montclair State University, he is a member of the executive board of the Nutley Historical Society, and the advisory board of the Clifton Arts Center.
    Ulysses Dietz is the curator of over 100 exhibitions during his tenure at the Newark Museum, Mr. Dietz is particularly proud of his work on the museum's 1885 Ballantine House.  Mr. Dietz has published numerous articles on decorative arts, as well as books on the Museum’s Studio Pottery, Art Pottery and nineteenth-century furniture collections.
    John Overall serves on the Board of the South Orange Historical and Preservation Society and is renowned for his knowledge of everything South Orange. He is known as the Unofficial Official Village Historian. "Ask me anything," says John.
     South Orange and Its Colorful History - A Symposium In Honor Of The 350thAnniversary of New Jersey
    1:00-1:20         Welcome---Karen Marlowe, SOHPS president, Alex Torpey, Village president, and Melissa Kopecky, Library Director
    1:20-1:40         Speaker I  - Lee Brodie---Video Project on Student History
    1:40-2:00         Speaker II  - Amy Dahn and Naoma Welk---History of South Orange
    2:00-2:30         Speaker III – Announcement of SOHPS scholarship winners
    2:30-2:45         Break – Cookies and Beverages
    2:45-3:05         Speaker IV – Michael Gabrielle---History of Diners in S.O. and N.J.
    3:05-3:25         Speaker V –  Ulysses Dietz---City to Suburb: How Newark Made South Orange
    3:25-3:45         Speaker VI –  Joe Kika---South Orange Then and Now
    3:45-4:00         Break
    4:00-4:20         Speaker VII – Dara Callender---The Historic S.O. Train Station and the DL&W
    4:20-4:40         Speaker VIII – John Kraft---The Lenni Lenape, the first People in South Orange
    4:40-5:00         Speaker IX – John Overall---Fascinating Stories of S.O. from the Village's Unofficial Historian
    For further information, contact Historical Society board member Alan B. Delozier at  or(973) 275-2378.                                           


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