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Morris County Parks


Fosterfields Living Historical Farm
where farming history comes alive

Forsterfields Living Historical Farm
73 Kahdena Road
Morristown, NJ 07960

"Good Manure Smell - You Can't Beat It"

So said Miss Caroline Foster at age 90 when asked about her memories of her farm. She lived at Fosterfields for 98 of her 102 years, dying in 1979. She wished to preserve her beloved home and to give future generations the chance to experience the sights, smells, and sounds of the rural life she had grown up with — "the good manure smell" as she called it. In 1974, she arranged to bequeath Fosterfields to the Morris County Park Commission to be preserved as a "living historical farm", the first in New Jersey. Fosterfields is not a replica — it has been a working farm since 1760 when Jonathan Ogden worked the farm. General Joseph Warren Revere, a grandson of Paul Revere, bought the Ogden farm and, in 1854, built the impressive three-story, wooden framed, Gothic Revival home he called "The Willows." His occupancy of the site began an era of "gentleman farming" that continued well into the 20th century. [excerpt taken from the Fosterfields & The Willows Tour Guide]

Cooper Gristmill

Cooper Mill
66 Route 24
Chester, New Jersey

Built in 1826, the Cooper Mill in Chester, New Jersey, served the local community faithfully through the 1800s. Wheat, corn and other grains were brought to the mill to be ground into flour or meal. The products were taken home by the farmers to be baked into breads, muffins, and cereals. Foods in the 1800s were not "microwave ready."

Families had to have flour prepared before they could use it at home. Coarsely ground grains were also used for animal feed. As a result, Cooper Mill was important to the local community. The property was purchased by the Morris County Park Commission in 1963 and after restoration the Cooper Mill was opened to the public in 1978.

Iron Mining in Morris County

Mt. Hope Programs
c/o Fosterfields
73 Kahdena Road
Morristown, NJ 07960

In 1772, the land that now comprises Mt. Hope Historical Park was part of a much larger, 6,271 acre property known as the Mount Hope Tract which had over 20 mining locations. Mining at Mount Hope had begun as early as 1710 making it one of the oldest iron mining areas in Colonial America. For the next 270 years, mines at Mount Hope and throughout Rockaway Township were worked almost continuously, with the last mine not closed until 1878. Throughout the years, a number of individuals tried to make their fortunes from Mount Hope iron. Some succeeded, others failed.

The three largest mines in Mt. Hope Historical park were called the Richard, the Allen and the Teabo. These mines extracted iron from three separate ore veins known as the Brennan (or Brannin) Vein, the Richard Vein, and the Mount Pleasant Vein. Over time, each mine was owned by one or more mining companies. Their history tells a complete tale of iron mining in Morris County. Remains of mines representative of Morris County's earliest commercial iron mining are found in the northeastern section of the park. Twentieth century iron mining remains are located in the southwestern section. In between is over 200 years of iron mining history.

Mt. Hope lies within the Highland Physiographic Province, a narrow band of very old rock with rich mineral deposits. The parallel valleys of the Highlands stretch from the northeast in Connecticut to the southwest in Pennsylvania. This is a rugged landscape shaped by glaciers. To the south of the last glacier's terminal moraine (along a line followed by Interstate 80) the land is easier to farm and better suited to agriculture. To the north, the land is rocky and steep with thin soils difficult to farm, but rich in iron. Due to this geology, many mines were established throughout the region. During the 19th century, the mines of Rockaway Township provided more than 50% of the iron ore extracted from all of New Jersey.

Morris County Parks Commission
P.O. Box 1295
Morristown, New Jersey 07962-1295

Copyright 1999-2017 by Brianne Kelly-Bly, all rights reserved.