GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The Glen Ridge Historical Society has extended, but only until this coming Saturday, March 9, a photography exhibit of lost buildings and their current replacements. The name of the show is “Glen Ridge Then and Now: Fire — Fashion — Finance” and it explores the changes to borough homes.
The changes are basically divided into three categories: changes as a result of destruction by fire, changes of ownership and personal taste or changes because of the influx of money. There is also a side exhibit of changes brought about by the simple force of progress.
The idea for the exhibit came from the society president and historian, Sally Meyer. The GRHS has a considerable collection of photographs of its buildings, past and present and a file is kept for house that no longer exist.
“This file grew and I thought it would make a good exhibit,” she said at the exhibit on Sunday, March 2. “The board thought it was a doable project. So, instead of a February lecture, we would have a February show.”
She said traditionally the society has had lectures, but in February 2018, the society had a fashion show.
This current photography show is popular with families bringing their children and “old timers.”
The people are coming to look at the past and, if they currently reside in the borough, look at the file on their own house.
The residential files are the bedrock of the GRHS. Collecting them began in 1977 when the borough was being surveyed in anticipation of applying to the state for historical district designations. The society was started the same year.
In the exhibit there are 170 photographs. Meyer said there were other houses that were destroyed or removed, but there was no photograph of them. Karin Robinson, the society vice-president, took the present-day pictures of the sites. Mills and factories are also not included in the exhibit.
“That’s a story for another time,” Meyer said.
Among the exhibited photographs are three related to Hurrell Field. One photograph shows a sizable factory running. It was along Belleville Avenue to Sherman Avenue and it manufactured bug-spray pumps.
There is also a drawing of a house that was on the grounds of the future field. This is the Henry King House and we are informed that Margaret King lived here. We also learn that she married her neighbor, Samuel Bensen. His house was also located on the future football site. The razing of the King House was not given a date, but Bensen’s house was destroyed in 1920 with the field being built in 1920. And at one time, King Street connected Bloomfield and Belleville Avenue.
But this is only three photographs and the exhibit has 167 others. The show is open for one more day only: March 9, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Terry S. Webster Museum, 222 Ridgewood Avenue. This is next door to the train station. Admission is free.