Dover Area Historical Society
Volume 45, Issue 4
Fall 2014
Did Moses Hurd Really Name Dover?

The true origins of the story of how Dover was named are obscure, but one of the earliest versions was published in "The History of Morris County," 1882, p. 291, by Rev. B. C. Megie, D. D.: "Moses Hurd, the ancestor of the Hurds of this township and vicinity, soon after came from Dover, New Hampshire, and worked in ... [John Jackson's] forge [founded in 1722]. Dover, N. J., was originally called Old Tye; when and how it obtained the name of Dover is uncertain, but in all probability Moses Hurd may have named it after his former place of residence in New Hampshire."

This version of the story, as far as it goes, is typically accepted, repeated and sometimes embellished uncritically in subsequent historical accounts, including in Charles Platt's seminal work, "Dover History," 1914, p. 484. Platt recounts on pages 367-368 his communication with James Lincoln Hurd, a rigorous genealogist of his family's paternal history from Josiah through Moses, Jacob and John Ward, who granted land for Hurd Park to Dover in 1911. The earliest Hurd settler of record was Josiah Hurd, who was born in 1736, 14 years after John Jackson established his forge. So, the Dover-naming story is already in trouble.

It was Josiah Hurd who first migrated to Dover but from Killingsworth, Connecticut, not Dover, N.H., in about 1756 and his son, Moses, was born in Hurdtown, New Jersey in 1771, 18 years after John Jackson had sold his forge in 1753 to Josiah Beaman (Platt, p. 459). So Moses could not have worked for John Jackson because he was born 18 years after Jackson sold out. However, Moses could have worked for Beaman as a young man of 21 before Beaman sold out to Canfield and Losey in 1792 (Platt, p. 459).

To have been the Moses Hurd in the Dover-naming story, however, he would have had to have been from Dover, New Hampshire and not from his birthplace of record, which was Hurdtown, New Jersey. Admittedly, for the Dover-naming story to be true, Moses Hurd could have moved to Dover, New Hampshire after his birth in Hurdtown and then returned to New Jersey to settle in and name what would become Dover, but there are no records yet found to support this theory.

This Dover-naming story is not the first or only one. An earlier story in the 'Iron Era' of 5/29/1875, p. 3, says Jacob Hurd, son of Moses and Dover's first tavern owner, named the town after Dover, New Hampshire where he was from, yet it, too, cites no evidence that he was from anywhere but Dover, New Jersey. This does not help our Dover-naming story, which requires Moses to have named it.

There is yet another Dover-naming story related by James Lincoln Hurd, which, like the one cited in the 'Era,' is an historical outlier (Platt, pp. 367-368). This naming story does not include Moses, but cites a popular Whittier poem as somehow having been the inspiration for the name of the town. So we see that Moses Hurd does not fit into the popular naming story and the story does not fit what is known of Moses Hurd. Who really named Dover still remains uncertain.

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Volume 45, Issue 4
Ye Olde Tye News
Page 5
penn avenue candle factory
170-172 Penn Ave, Charlene Leary, 2014
The Penn Avenue
Candle Factory

"Time was when a Candle factory on Penn avenue undertook to supply Dover with the means of household illumination. Previous to this the folks made their own tallow dips as a regular part of their household economy and hung the product on the "candle tree" (Platt's "Dover Dates," 1922, p. 211).

The first reference to the candle factory in Dover's 'Iron Era' newspaper was on 3/25/1882, p. 3, although that was probably towards the end of its business cycle due to the coming electric light era in 1889. It was mentioned when Marshall Kelly was called to break up a drunken Sunday brawl there in which some participants were severely injured and several workers were remanded to the county jail when they could not pay costs.

The factory eventually was repurposed and had to be movedfrom the top of what the 6/11/1897 Era called "candle factory hill [sic], the highest point in Dover" which is today the top of Penn Avenue.

According to Teresa Ryerson Moran, a lifelong resident of the house starting in 1950s, "My parents owned the house. We lived on one side part of the time, and at some points on both sides, with what became a family of 20, however by the time the family grew that large some of the older ones had moved out. Yes, my brother owns it now and rents out both sides.

It was built as a post and beam factory building, when my parents tore off all of the plaster and lathe to add sheetrock, they found all of the chestnut beams. The sheathing on the outside was 1 1/4 inch thick chestnut sheathing, all on 45 degree angles for strength, under the shingles. The chestnut sheathing is still under the siding. When they moved the building down the hill they covered the sheathing with asbestos siding when it was converted into a two family home. My brother removed the asbestos siding and replaced it with vinyl siding, it is very attractive now, all redone.

An Italian mason contractor bought the candle factory when it was closed. He built a beautiful stone foundation and then they used horses to roll the house down on logs. That is what my family was told by Mrs. Romaine, the grandmother of the Romaine children we grew up with, everyone know her fondly as "Ba."" (From a private "YKYFDI" Facebook group conversation on 8/10/2014).

The old candle factory is now located at 170-172 Penn Avenue with only a few who now realize this structure's historical and sometimes colorful contributions to the illumination of Dover's homes in the pre-electric era.

Volume 45, Issue 4
Ye Olde Tye News
Page 6
Doctors’ Row Revisited
doctor's row
map doctor's row

Many of those acquainted with Dover's history will recognize the iconic photo of what has come to be known as "Doctors' Row" on the south side of Blackwell Street if only from the greatly enlarged copy hanging on an interior wall of the First Memorial Presbyterian Church.

According to the Library of Congress, the photo was taken in 1907 by J. Price. Peter Cutchis, long-time Dover resident and student of its history, recalls that this was probably John Price, owner of "Price's Studio" located on South Sussex Street during that time period.

The title of the photo, according to the library reference is "Blackwell Street, Dover, N.J." and not "Doctor's Row." It is likely that the latter title was informally attached to it due to the recollection that many of Dover's doctors lived there toward the end of the 19 th century. It did not seem to have had that name at the time of the photo as it was not referenced as such in either of Charles Platt's 1914 and 1922 books on Dover history.

According to Charles Platt's "Dover Dates," 1922, p. 159, when the Henry McFarlan era ceased with his death in 1882, the prized McFarlan Park was sold and soon all traces of the old gardens on both sides of Blackwell [S]treet gave way" to development, which included what became known as "Doctors' Row" on the south side of West Blackwell Street.

According to an 1890 Sanborn map of Dover, there then existed only four of the eight "Doctors' Row" dwellings visible in Price's photo, if the Dr. A. W. Condict house, built in that year, is included. (The 'Iron Era' of November 1st 1901 reported that he actually moved into it shortly before publication.) It was directly across Blackwell Street from the rest of the "Row," just west of where the Hoagland Memorial Church would be constructed in 1899.

According to the accompanying 1899 Robinson's Dover map, the remaining three dwellings built by 1890 were occupied by doctors Derry, Cook, and Crittendon, son of Dover's first doctor, by 1899. Dr. Hann also occupied the residence immediately east of Dr. Derry's, at the time the 1899 map was published. The rest of the residences were occupied by non-physicians at that time, although one of these was owned or occupied by Dr. Cook's wife (see map).

So, five of the eight "Doctors' Row" homes were actually occupied by physicians during the period between 1890 and 1901, which justifies that title for that block of homes. It is, of course, possible that not all of the doctors continuously occupied those homes for the entire 11-year period covered by the maps as was the case with Dr. Condict. Also, since Price's photo is dated in 1907, the names associated with the homes could have changed in the time between the latest map and the time of the photo.

It should be noted that three other iconic Dover buildings are visible in Price's panorama. The second building of Dover's First Presbyterian Church is to the west of the "Row." It housed the congregation immediately before the Hoagland Memorial was built in 1899 and had served as the Dover Free Public Library at about the time of the photo. At the east end of the panorama, the Dover Hotel (remodeled in 1901 in what had been the Park Hotel) and the Baker Opera House are visible.

As of 2013, the only dwellings that remain of the once-grand and accurately named "Doctors' Row" are Dr. Hann's and M. M. Searing's, the rest having been replaced by later development along Blackwell Street.

(Many thanks to Peter Cutchis for his contributions to this article).

Volume 45, Issue 4
Ye Olde Tye News
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Photo by Steve Roslan
But Did You Know This About
The Bowlbyville "Powerplant"?

For decades, the "Power Plant" dam has been a popular swimming, fishing, and skating area for the residents of Bowlbyville and beyond. To outsiders, and even to longtime residents of that section of Dover, it wasn't at all evident why the old water hole had that name. Almost no one remembered the plant that had once stood there.

It turns out that an electric power plant was opened in 1917 near the present Jersey Central Power & Light office at 13 Richboynton Road. Charles Platt, noted Dover historian, described it this way in "Dover Dates," 1922, p. 211. "A visit to the power plant at the base of that tall yellow chimney which towers up on the north of Dover reveals the miraculous change that Science has brought about in this department. Situated on the Rockaway River, across the stream from the slag dump of the Wharton Furnace, the new electric plant has the advantage of a water supply from the river and railroad connection from either railroad to bring in coal, of which it consumes about eight tons a week. Powerful furnaces with forced draft under control and huge boilers together with intricate modern electric machinery here collect the invisible current that is transmitted from this distributing center to furnish light and power for domestic and manufacturing uses ...".

According to the "Electrical Record and Buyer's Reference, Volume 21," 1917, p. 66 , during its first year of operation in 1917, this power plant serviced Dover, Boonton, Morristown, Lake Hopatcong and other towns in that part of Morris County. In addition, the Willsbook Electric Lighting Company of Netcong bought electricity from the plant to furnish 24-hour electrical service to that town, something it had not had before. When that fact became known, Frederick E. Force, Netcong electrical contractor, wired 19 houses and signed contracts to wire 12 more.

This was the New Jersey Electric Light and Power Company's plant and its dam, which was "the powerplant" immortalized by name and repurposed for water recreation by the resourceful "Bowlbyville Boys" in the 1950s-1970s, long after the plant itself was gone and nearly forgotten. It is all overgrown now that the boys who cared for it have grown into old age. The property is posted with "No Trespassing" signs that prevent future Bowlbyville boys and girls from caring for their legacy. In the recollection of one long-time local resident, "The old power plant was [eventually] broken apart. I remember when I was in elementary school [in the early 1960s] huge piles of broken concrete eventually [were] hauled away [and] all that remained was the dam."

Bygone Days: Left: John Thriemer gets ready for the first day of school with his new school clothes, ca. 1910s. Right: Entrants in Dover’s 1910 Old Home Week Baby Parade. Photos come from the private collection of the Thriemer family and were submitted by Dale Thriemer-Burns, John’s grand-daughter.

Volume 45, Issue 4
Ye Olde Tye News
Page 8
The Mail Pouch Tobacco Sign: When Was it Painted?

The now brightly repainted iconic Mail Pouch Tobacco sign on the south side of the Baker Building on the southeast corner of Blackwell and N. Warren streets has become a familiar Dover landmark. There are two distinct advertisements on the over three-story sign: the larger bottom one is for Mail Pouch Tobacco and the smaller one is for W. H. Baker's Opera House and Store. When did they first appear there?

The Baker Building was constructed in 1886 and had commercial spaces, including Baker's store, on the first floor, office spaces on the second, and the Baker Opera House on the third, according to its 1981 National Register of Historic Places Inventory (NRHP) Nomination Form. Baker closed the opera house and store abruptly and sold the store's inventory at auction on May 28th 1904 (Iron Era, 5/27/1904, p. 4). The NRHP form states "There have been few significant changes to the exterior of the Baker Building. Two bays to the rear of the building containing equipment and dressing rooms were removed in the late 1940's. This section may have been built separately, as a 1901 Sanborn map shows a different roof shape and a firewall between the two sections. The reconstructed wall was decorated with a Mail Pouch sign that contributes to the character of the building" (Item 7).

Comparison of the 1890 and 1901 Sanborn Maps reveal that the dressing rooms were added some time between 1890 and 1901 and that the 1890 exterior south wall likely had become an interior firewall by 1901. This original south 1890 wall was the one upon which the advertisements were painted. The weathering of the sign, the age of the bricks and the subsequent wall structural modification suggest that the signs were already present when the wall was again exposed when the dressing rooms were removed in 1940s. Hence, the signs were painted some time between 1890 and 1901. A cross check of this observation is that W. H. Baker would not logically have advertised his store and opera house with an expensive painted sign after they both had closed in 1904 or after the wall had become an interior wall between 1890 and 1901.

We know that after the Bloch Brothers started their cigar business in 1879 and then began a chewing tobacco sideline, some painters made a career of painting Mail Pouch signs between 1880 and 1969 when that form of advertisement was discontinued by the parent company, which then was General Cigar and Tobacco Company. So it was possible that the Mail Pouch sign could have been painted on the south wall of the then Baker Opera House as early as the year it opened in 1886 and as late as 1901.

The date range for the sign may be narrowed more by further examination of the Sanborn maps available for the relevant time period. There was a vacant lot to the south of the Baker Opera House from 1886 until about 1896 after which the sign would have been partially obstructed by new construction on those lots had it been painted after then. It is doubtful that Mr. Baker would have spent money to have an obstructed sign painted. So, it is quite likely that the Mail Pouch sign made its debut in the ten year period between 1886 and 1896.

According to Bill Vint, Executive Director of Mail Pouch Barnstormers he frequently asked Stuart Bloch, who began his professional career in 1958 with the Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company, Helme Products and General Cigar, if he was aware of any history about some of these very old signs and he said he was not. He indicated that in those early years, Bloch Brothers hired commercial sign painters to create signs on many commercial buildings, but there does not appear to be any record of who those painters were or when the signs were actually painted. Mr. Vint, whose website provided the accompanying 1970s photo, indicated this is one of the largest Mail Pouch signs he has ever seen and that it is not at all rare to see them on brick structures other than the once ubiquitous wooden barns because the latter structures deteriorate and disappear at a faster rate.

Volume 45, Issue 4
Ye Olde Tye News
Page 9
Edison Sets up Temporary Headquarters in Jolley’s Hotel,
Experiments with Early Radio Astronomy Near Dover

As reported in the 11/29/1889 'Iron Era' on p. 3, Thomas Edison, the "Wizard of Menlo Park," visited Dover and set up a temporary headquarters in Jolley's Hotel. He was visiting local abandoned mines to see if they could be returned to profitability using a new magnetic ore separating process he had set up at the Ogden mine. According to the Edison.rutgers.edu website, "The Ogden Iron Co. (OIC), established in 1865, was purchased by Edison in September 1890 and remained under his control until its dissolution in June 1918. Incorporated in Dover, N.J., [an early director] of the OIC included ... George Richards who was active in the Morris County, N.J., iron industry and served as the OIC president during the period 1886-1891." Mr. Richards, of course, was also Dover's first mayor. "The Edison Ore-Milling Company set up by Thomas Edison provided a brief revival [for the Ogden mine] when he constructed his experimental ore concentration plant at the Ogden mines, but his operation closed in 1900. [The Ogden Mine] railroad carried materials and a modest amount of the concentrated ore, but ore production never reached high levels" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogden_Mine_Railroad).

Thomas Edison, in retrospect, probably would have just as soon forgotten his time in Ogdensburg, 16 miles from Dover. In addition to the ultimate failure of his mining and electromagnetic ore separation interests there, Edison conducted an early experiment in radio astronomy in Ogdensburg (then named Ogden), which was also doomed to fail. It was one of his only purely scientific projects which did not seem to have a core business interest and is not widely known in Edison's hagiography. The website, www.nrao.edu, reports that Edison seems to have been the first on record to have proposed an experiment to detect radio waves from the Sun once the possibility of receiving electromagnetic radiation from celestial objects was realized.

According to the 'Iron Era' of 8/29/1890, p. 2, "At Ogden, N. J. there is a mass of iron ore a mile long standing perpendicular and extending into the bowels of the earth to great but unknown depths, and said to contain several hundred million tons of magnetic material. As the violent storms and uprushes in the sun produce disturbances of the earth's magnetism which are recorded on the magnetometers at the Kew and other observatories, it has occurred to Mr. Edison that the strength of the solar disturbance, as exerted on our planet, could be 'increased enormously by utilizing a vein of magnetic iron ore, and running around the body of ore several miles of wire, forming an inductive circuit, into which powerful electric currents would be thrown by any disturbance of the earth's magnetism.' 'By the use of instruments every change,' he says, 'could be recorded and by use of the telephone all sounds produced on the sun would be heard on our planet.' He is, accordingly, erecting telegraph pole on each side of the Ogden ore hill and parallel with it, on which he is coiling an insulated wire many times around the whole area where the earth's magnetic lines leave the mountain and extend into space. The two ends of the long wire will be taken into his Observation Station and connected with the receiving telephone."

Again, according to www.nrao.edu, "There is no record that the experiment was actually carried out, but it could not have been a success. In hindsight, the proposed apparatus would be very insensitive, and could only detect very long wavelengths. The ionosphere would prevent such long waves from reaching the earth's surface." This fact was not known until 1902, twelve years after Edison first conceived his radio astronomy experiment.

As reported by www.metrotrails.org, in recognition of the great Thomas Edison's well-intentioned but finally futile efforts in Ogden, the town changed its name from "Ogden" to "Edison" as a goodwill gesture.

After Edison realized that his magnetic separation business had lost nearly $2 million, he said, "it's all gone, but we had a hell of a good time spending it" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edison_Ore-Milling_Company).

Volume 45, Issue 4
Ye Olde Tye News
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projectoscope
Projectoscope, Unknown Source
Edison’s Projectoscope to Come to Dover

The first Edison movies were scheduled to come to Dover's Baker Opera House on December 26th, as reported in the Iron Era of 12/18/1896 on page seven. The "Edisonia Projectoscope," as it was known, was the forerunner of modern movie projectors.

The demonstration of this cutting-edge movie technology was sponsored as an entertainment by Engine Company Number 1 in support of their uniform fund. The ‘Era' reports that animated pictures were to be shown of the Newark Fire Department going to a fire, a West Point cadet cavalry charge, "shooting the chutes" (presumably the popular Coney Island ride), Niagara Falls and other scenes. The entire presentation was to last two hours.