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Stop 11. The Thomas Nast House: Villa Fontana,
50 Macculloch Avenue
Thomas Nast, Morristown´s celebrated political cartoonist, created the popular images of Santa Claus, the Republican Elephant, the Democratic Party Donkey, Tammany Tiger, and Uncle Sam, among others. Shortly after Nast exposed the corruption of New York City´s government under "Boss" Tweed with the Tammany Tiger, he moved his family to Morristown. In 1872, he bought Villa Fontana (built 1866). For the next 20 years, Villa Fontana served as a common meeting ground for the artistic community in Morristown, and the Nasts hosted visitors including Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain. Now a National Historic landmark, the house is privately owned and restored.
Stop 12. The Catholic Church of the Assumption,
Maple Avenue at Madison Street
The Catholic Church of the Assumption was formed in 1845 by Irish immigrants. For many years, this church marked the heart of the "Little Dublin" neighborhood in Morristown. In 1872, the original church structure was replaced by the present, much larger, Ruskinian Gothic style church. This edifice is now the oldest church building in Morristown. Following a fire in the 1980s, the church has been largely restored, and the altar area has been modernized. The Catholic Church of the Assumption is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Stop 13. St. Peter´s Episcopal Church,
South Street at Miller Road Rear View - Old Cemetery
Peter´s Episcopal Church was founded on January 1, 1827. Services were first held in George Macculloch´s home. Within a year the congregation built a place of worship that was used until the late nineteenth century when the current larger structure was begun. The construction of the McKim, Mead and White design took 24 years to complete because the church specified that no stone would be put in place until it was paid for. Between the church and the parish house are two cemeteries. Many well known Morristown residents are buried there, including George and Louisa Macculloch, and members of the Ford, Miller, Vail, Ogden, Wood, and Foote families.
Stop 14. The Vail Mansion,
110 South Street
Built between 1916 and 1918, the Vail Mansion was designed to serve as both a residence and a museum for Theodore Vail. He was twice president of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and considered the chief architect of the Bell System. The first floor of this Italian Renaissance Palazzo style mansion was to house Mr. Vail´s collection of art and family inventions, while the second floor was to be his living quarters. The bronze front doors contain eight panels that depict scenes from local folklore. Unfortunately, Theodore Vail died soon after the completion of the building and never lived there. In 1922, the building was acquired by the Town of Morristown for municipal offices.
Stop 15. The Joint Free Public Library of
Morristown and Morris Township,
1 Miller Road
The Morristown/Township Library was constructed in 1917 after a devastating fire destroyed the original Library and Lyceum. Grinnell Willis, a local philanthropist, personally funded the construction of Edward L. Tilton´s Gothic Revival design, and donated the facility to the town. The cornerstone, put in place on August 5, 1916, contains a copper box which included photographs of Mr. Willis, coins, newspapers, and photos of Morristown. In 1986, the architectural firm of Shor and Ford was hired to build an additional wing to accommodate the needs of this growing library.
Stop 16. The Wood Farmhouse,
83 South Street
The Wood farmhouse is believed to have been built in the late 18th century and has been remodeled several times since. Over the years it was used as a residence by a number of families, including members of the prominent Wood family of Morristown. From 1922 to 1961, the house was home to the Women´s Work and Art Exchange, a non-profit organization that helped women in financial need by providing a commercial outlet for their hand-made goods. The house was then used for retail shops and in 1995, was bought by the Joint Free Public Library of Morristown and Morris Township.
Stop 17. The South Street Presbyterian Church,
65 South Street
The South Street Presbyterian Church was formed in 1840, after the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church on the Green was divided by internal strife. In 1878, after a fire destroyed the initial building, the present structure was erected on the same site, following Josiah Cleveland Cady´s Romanesque Revival design. This church was used until the South Street congregation was reunited with the First Presbyterian congregation in 1926. Today, the South Street Presbyterian Church serves as the Sunday School, offices, classrooms and meeting rooms for the Presbyterian Church in Morristown.
Stop 18. The Dr. Lewis Condict House,
51 South Street
(Women´s Club of Morristown)
Dr. Lewis Condict served Morristown as a doctor, patriot and public official. He built this house in 1797 after completing medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Condict is said to have introduced a new British vaccine against smallpox by publicly inoculating his two-year-old daughter on the front stoop. He was also one of the founders of the Morris and Essex Railroad. The first railroad station in Morristown stood on "Railroad Avenue" (Maple Avenue) behind his home. The Dr. Lewis Condict House is now owned by the Women´s Club of Morristown, which has maintained the home and provided a local meeting place for community organizations for more than 50 years.
Stop 19. The Church of the Redeemer,
26 South Street
The Church of the Redeemer was founded in 1852 by Lieutenant Christopher Raymond Perry Rodgers, William A. Duer, John Hone and 38 other Morristown residents. Originally members of St. Peter´s Episcopal Church, they broke away in order to start a new congregation less influenced by formal (Oxford) church doctrine. Their first church was constructed in 1853 on the corner of Morris and Pine Streets. In 1886 the original church was moved to its present South Street location. In 1917, a fire destroyed most of the original church, so the parish erected the Gothic Revival church which stands today
Stop 20. The Continental Storehouse
(Previously on the site of the east wing of Epstein´s department Store), South Street
The Continental Storehouse structure once stood across from the Park Place/South Street junction. The building served as a military warehouse for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. It would have contained army supplies such as tents, tools, weapons, food rations, and various other items. According to one account, barrels full of sand were rolled in and out of the building when army provisions ran low, in an attempt to deceive British spies.
Stop 21. The United Methodist Church,
50 Park Place
Technically, this is the fourth Methodist church structure built in Morristown. The congregation outgrew its first two churches. The cornerstone for the third church was placed here in 1866, and the church was dedicated in 1870. This Norman-style edifice was designed by S.D. Hatch and financed by a $100,000 donation from the Honorable George T. Cobb (first Mayor of Morristown, State Senator, and U.S. Congressman). In 1885, a parsonage was completed on the south side. Both buildings burned in an enormous fire in 1972, leaving only the tower and front wall. Subsequently, the church was rebuilt; the tower and front wall were reconstructed using stone from the third church. The present church was re-consecrated in 1974.
Stop 22. The First Presbyterian Church,
The First Presbyterian Church in Morristown is one of Morristown´s oldest and most influential establishments. Formed in 1733, the church was led for 52 years by the Rev Timothy Johnes, who was described as a towering figure in Morristown history. During the American Revolution, the church became a hospital for soldiers. George Washington reportedly worshipped and took communion here. The present (3rd ) church was constructed between 1893 and 1894. The burial ground dates to 1731. Soldiers from the American Revolution are buried here, as well as town founders. A portion of the steeple from the 2nd church structure (1791-1892) is at the rear of the burial ground
Stop 23. Arnold´s Tavern
Arnold´s Tavern once stood on the Western side of the Town green and served as General Washington´s headquarters during the winter encampment of 1777. It was here that Washington issued the proclamation requiring all people in America to swear allegiance to the United States. The tavern is believed to have been built by Samuel Arnold before 1764, and operated for approximately 100 years, until the first floor was converted to retail shops. During the 1880s the building was scheduled for demolition until a horrified Julia Keese Colles purchased and moved it to Mount Kemble Avenue. There it served first as a boarding house and later as All Souls Hospital until the structure burned in 1918.
Stop 24. The Town Green
During the 1700s, the Green was used as a pasture for animals, and as a training ground for the local militia. In 1755, a log cabin was constructed on the western corner of the Green to serve as the town´s courthouse and jail. A pillory and a scaffold were also located on the Green, and numerous executions took place here until 1833. The Civil War monument, which stands at the northnorteasteast corner of the Green, was erected in 1871. It is entitled "Soldier at Rest" and honors the men who lost their lives in the Civil War from 1861-1865. The Town Green has been the focal point of the community for more than 250 years.
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