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During the course of the year Hopewell Valley Historical Society sponsors numerous programs in the community on history. These programs are free and open to the public. On this page we'll feature articles and photographs about some of the programs we've sponsored.  Membership in the Society assures advance notice of these great  lectures.

Hopewell, the Sourlands & the Lindbergh Kidnapping

Presented by Jim Davidson and Mark Falzini

Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey, with many residents still without power, over one hundred people gathered at the Hopewell Elementary School for a program on the Lindbergh Kidnapping Case. The evening was also a launch of the latest book on the subject.

Hopewell Valley Historical Society was thrilled to sponsor this program presented by the two authors of the new book New Jersey's Lindbergh Kidnapping & Trial. Jim Davidson and Mark Falzini spent considerable time scouring archives and libraries up and down the east coast searching for little known photographs on the subject for their book. 

The audience was treated to a fascinating presentation by East Amwell resident and local historian Jim Davidson that focused entirely on how this event affected Hopewell Valley. Using some newly rediscovered images, the author recounted how the extensive search for the missing boy extended to nearly five hundred structures in the Sourlands and nearby Hopewell.

Residents new and old sat enthralled listening to the stories Jim had collected over many years from people who witnessed the event in 1932. It was hard for many to grasp the immense influx of law enforcement officials, journalists and the curious during the search. The quiet village of today was even more so at that time. Few around the country had ever even heard of Hopewell.

Suddenly everything changed. Mr. Davidson helped set the stage by explaining to the audience just how famous Col. Lindbergh and his wife Anne were at the time. He recounted how the couple had searched to find a secluded property where they could raise their family away from the prying eyes of the world. For many in the room this was a new subject. Some of the details Mr. Davidson had uncovered raised the eyebrows of even the most dedicated students of the case who were present.

The new book was available for the very first time that evening, and both authors signed copies for long lines of eager buyers, both before and after the presentation. After the slideshow co-author Mark Falzini, who works for the New Jersey State Police at their museum in West Trenton, answered questions from the crowd.
Hello London, Mercer is Speaking
The History Behind Mercer Meadows Pole Farm

On a quiet Sunday afternoon in October, Lawrence Township historian Dennis Waters, outlined the history of what's known locally as the Pole Farm (now part of Mercer County Park Northwest) before an audience of 70 people. The talk, given at at the Hopewell Branch of the Mercer County Library, was co-sponsored by the Lawrence Historical Society and Hopewell Valley Historical Society. 

Officially it was called "AT&T International Radio Telephone Transmission Station" at Lawrenceville, NJ. They opened their first trans-Atlantic communications line in 1927 connecting Europe with North America. The two decades after World War II were the facility’s golden age. It ultimately consisted of two transmission buildings and 2000 rhombic antennas. By the late 1960s, with the advent of satellite technology, the poles began to come down. The transmission facility was finally closed on December 31, 1975. In 1992, Lawrence Township began working with Mercer County to purchase the tract as open space. Lengthy negotiations led to a county purchase of the property for $8.6 million in 1995. Mr. Waters answered questions from the audience following the program.

Dennis Waters, Lawrence Township historian begins his talk on the "pole farm" which once straddled the border of Hopewell and Lawrence Townships just off Rt. 546.
A large crowd attended this Sunday afternoon program at the Hopewell Branch of the Mercer County Library.
Aerial view of the "Pole Farm's" vast rhombic antenna arrays.
One of the transmission buildings on the property.
Inside view of one of the transmission buildings with its complex network of switches and relays.
Dennis Waters speaking with guests after the program.
East Amwell Township historian and book co-author Jim Davidson discusses details of the Lindbergh kidnapping with the audience.
Co-author Mark Falzini, who works for the New Jersey State Police fields questions from the audience.
Jim Davidson and Mark Falzini hold their new book, "New Jersey's Lindbergh Kidnapping & Trial".
Those in attendance who purchased the book were able to have the authors sign their copy.
The newly released book, "New Jersey's Lindbergh Kidnapping and Trial" was available at the program. This is the first "picture book" on the subject.
The infamous wooden ladder. found discarded nearby was propped up against the house to recreate the kidnapper's entrance into the nursery just after the crime.
Police and investigators searched the area near the home extensively. The effect of this search was the main theme of the presentation.
This photograph shows the chaotic scene at Gebhart's Hotel on East Broad Street in Hopewell in the aftermath of the kidnapping.
Dozens of law enforcement officials, detectives and policemen descended on the Lindbergh home just outside of Hopewell Borough immediately after the crime.
Countless cars rushed to this location on Carter Road just south of Hopewell Borough where a child's body was discovered in the woods.
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Author Peter Osborne celebrated the publishing of his book on the creation of Washington Crossing State Park with the crowd.
An early view of the proposed park showing a grand bridge to be built across the the river. This plan was never realized.
This early postcard view shows the original entrance to the state park.
The Johnson Ferry House, now part of the state park, stood near where Washington's Army crossed the Delaware in 1776.
Where Washington Once Led  
A History of New Jersey’s Washington Crossing State Park. 

The Hopewell Valley Historical Society, along with the Yardley Press and William Farkas, hosted a book launch party for Peter Osborne’s latest book Where Washington Once Led – A History of New Jersey’s Washington Crossing State Park.  

The festivities began at 3PM on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at the Titusville Presbyterian Church where guests filled the meeting room and heard from the author Peter Osborne, as well as, William Farkas who commissioned the book. 

During the program a brief overview of the book was given, many dedicated individuals who generously assisted with the project were thanked and the Digital Archival Collection, compiled during the creation of the book, was donated by Mr. Osborne to the HVHS along with a copy of the book.  

​The book is now available in hard cover ($33.00) or soft cover ($25.00) and may be purchased at any HVHS event or by emailing us at hvhist@aol.com.
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Hopewell Valley
Two Hundred Years of Education

Presented by Jack Koeppel

The Pennington Library and Hopewell Valley Historical Society sponsored a slide presentation entitled "Hopewell Valley - Two Hundred Years of Education" at Pennington Borough Hall on Friday evening, September 25. The speaker was local historian and life-long resident Jack Koeppel.

The earliest forms of education here were schools organized by the community's local religious congregations. The Presbyterians in Pennington, and the Baptists in Hopewell were at the forefront of this movement. Soon local crossroad communities around the township filled in the gap caused by the long distances and the difficulties they created for early families.

A good sized crowd attended this Friday evening program and many asked questions as the presentation progressed. Most of the old photographs and maps shown were taken from the historical society’s Archive of Hopewell Valley History.

Those in attendance learned that at one time in the late 19th century there were fourteen independent school districts within the township. Each was overseen by a board of trustees made-up of local residents. In 1894, state law required a more centralized administration and the first Hopewell Township Board of Education was formed. Mr. Koeppel explained that as the 20th century dawned it became clear that graded in-town schools were the wave of the future. The one room schoolhouses that had dotted the landscape were doomed. By the end of the 1930s all the country schools were closed, and the larger communities of Hopewell, Pennington and Titusville would see large modern brick schools constructed to replace them. Many of those old schoolhouses remain standing today.


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Local historian and life-long resident Jack Koeppel gave an interesting overview of education in Hopewell Valley.
An interested crowd attended the Friday evening program at Pennington Borough Hall.
This 1876 map shows the location of the fourteen schools (in red) that once dotted the landscape of Hopewell Township.
One of the earliest "common" schools in the township was located near today's Marshalls Corner. Recently, new owners have lovingly restored it and are reusing it as a guitar shop.
This late 19th century photo shows the Woosamonsa Schoolhouse with its teacher and students. This one-room schoolhouse, with its original interior, stands today as a testament to early education.
This early 20th century photo shows the Titusville School on River Drive with its "new" additions.
The program included many "Then & Now" photographs. Most of the old schools that remain were converted into residences long ago. This was the Hopewell Academy on West Broad Street.
These photos show "Evergreen Hall", originally built as a private female academy, in 1870 and 2008.  This large three story structure stands today on South Main Street in Pennington