UNION, NJ – Presented by members of the Union Historic Society and sponsored by the Union Public Library, information on the Self Master Colony, known as Floyd’s Self Master Village, was presented to a crowd at the library last week.
As discussed by Historic Society member Tom Beisler with Tom Haggerty, the Self Master Colony, a residence for men in need of help, existed from 1908-1938. An economic downturn, without the benefit of social services such as unemployment payouts, caused homelessness and men found a sanctuary at the Self Master Colony. It was founded by Andress and Lilliam Floyd and financed by Charles H. Ingersoll who was famous for his Ingersoll Watch Company and his “Thomas Edisonesque” cement houses on Ingersoll Terrace.
The Colony consisted of a print shop, book bindery, cement block factory, and furniture and rug making. Some of the goods made at the Colony would be sold on Morris Avenue. Men at the Colony earned $.50 a week and room and board. While Andress Floyd spoke extensively about the successes at the Colony and the many thousands of men he helped, historic information appears to indicate that only several hundred men were residents of the Colony during the entire 30-year history of the sanctuary.
The colony consisted of about 50 acres located on Morris Avenue where the municipal building and Frieberger Park exist today. The only remaining building is the Girl Scout Field Center in Frieberger Park. Andress Floyd died in January, 1933. The Township bought the property for $58,000 in 1938.