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American Labor Museum and the Pietro and Maria Botto House | Haledon, New Jersey

January 14, 2022

Strike meeting at the Botto House 1913 by Mike Conner.
 

Home of the American Labor Museum

 

New Jersey was the home of many silk mills during the last century. 

 

It is now the home of the American Labor Museum.

 

Thousands of people were employed in those silk mills, under deplorable conditions. 

 

Long hours doing difficult and back-breaking work was the norm. Pietro and Maria Botto, immigrants from northern Italy, were two of those workers. 

 

So was their daughter.

Pietro and Maria Botto house in Haledon, New Jersey. Home of the American Labor Museum.

In 1913, the workers decided to go on strike. 

 

Over 25,000 of them walked out, shutting down the silk industry. 

 

They wanted an eight-hour day, among other demands. 


Pietro and Maria Botto House in Haledon, New Jersey

 

The workers were forbidden to strike in Paterson, so they moved over the town line to neighboring Haledon. 

 

Pietro and Maria had a modest house in Haledon, but the front balcony was perfect for giving speeches. At the time, there was much free space and lawns for large crowds to gather in front of the house. 

 

Soon labor leaders from around the country descended upon this home. Upton Sinclair, the author of The Jungle, a famous and muckraking novel of conditions in factories and mills, was one of the speakers. 

 

The Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), better known as the “Wobblies”, also were there. They were considered the “outside agitators” of the strike. 

 

This is a wonderful and succinct video of the strikes: 

 

 

The Botto house is now an official National Historic Landmark and the American Labor Museum is located there.

  sign

Pietro and Maria Botto
bedroom
The Dining Room
kitchen
kitchen

 

More About the American Labor Movement

 To see how the other half lived, you can check out my photos from 2014:  Lambert Castle Parts 1 and 2  

To read more about the silk strikes of 1913: Paterson Silk Strikes of 1913

If you are interested in reading books about labor, please read my reviews of Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich, and Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee by Alex Frankel.  

 

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Grovers Mill, The War of the Worlds Broadcast, and a unique Coffee House | West Windsor, New Jersey

January 07, 2022

Grovers Mill

Mischief Night

 

It was on October 30th, 1938 – Halloween Eve, also known as Mischief Night.

 

Part of the regularly scheduled Mercury Theater of the Air, the radio program aired a modernized play version of the H.G. Wells’ classic science-fiction novel, The War of the Worlds

 

It was delivered as if it was a regular broadcast interrupted by news bulletins. It was interspersed with occasional comments about it being an adaptation of a literary work.

 

Was It Real?

 

Listeners were advised that a large object had fallen on a farm in Grovers Mill, New Jersey, not far from Princeton. 

 

Startled listeners heard that 7,000 soldiers had been killed fighting alien invaders.

 

There were reports of people shooting at the water towers in the park.

 

Panic grew – at least in the East Coast. How much hysteria was caused nationwide is still a subject for debate. Newspapers wrote of widespread hysteria. 

 

It even made from the top of the front page of The New York Times!

 

Today it is considered highly unlikely that thousands of people around the country were really that frightened. 

 

Snopes considers it doubtful. But there were some people who were genuinely frightened.

 

It Happened In New Jersey?

The invasion was supposedly occurring in Grovers Mill, New Jersey, then a very rural part of West Windsor, New Jersey. 


This area near and around Princeton is an affluent and well educated area, and has grown exponentially since then. It is sometimes called Princeton Junction.

 

Grover's Mill barn

 

Martian Landing Site Monument

It is located in lovely Van Nest Park. 

 

You can read about it in Roadside America and Atlas Obscura.

 

Grover's Mill
Van Nest Park, West Windsor, New Jersey. The marker of the landing site of the 1938 alien invasion.
Van Nest Park, West Windsor, New Jersey. A closer look at the marker for the 1938 alien invasion.

Grover's Mill Coffee Shop

 

There's also a fun coffee place nearby: Grover's Mill Coffee House.

 

Yes, they use the apostrophe in the name. Most references to the area do NOT use the apostrophe. I have no idea why.

 

The Coffee House was profiled in a NJ.com article in 2015.

 

It is a very inclusive place, including an "All Species Bathroom" which you can see in the last photo.


Coffee House
Coffee House painting
alien sign
signs
bathroom for aliens

 

It Is Part Of American Popular Culture

 

There have been several interesting documentaries about this event, including this one narrated by James Cameron:

 

 

You can also check out:

 

The Battle at Grover's Mill

Painting the Barn

War of the Worlds: When Martians Invaded New Jersey! 

Mars Attacks!  75 years ago, 'War of the Worlds' broadcast put nation in a panic

Historical Society of West Windsor

 

Check out these blog hops:


Friendship Friday on Create With Joy

Our World Tuesday:
Wordless Wednesday:

 Unlimited Link Party at Grammy's Grid:



Through My Lens



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Henry Doremus House | Montville, New Jersey

January 01, 2022

historic house

The Henry Doremus House in Montville, New Jersey is a historical house made of Dutch Stone. 

 

George Washington and Alexander Hamilton stayed there from June 25-27, 1780. This was in the aftermath of the Battle of Springfield.

 

sign

 historical house

sign
fields
historical house
historical house
historical house

 

To read more about this historic place, please visit Revolutionary War New Jersey.

 

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December Madness | Piscataway, New Jersey

December 20, 2021

 

basketball

This is one of the most delightful things ever seen in college basketball . . . unless you are a Purdue fan. 

 

Purdue was ranked #1.  

 

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, had never beaten a #1 team. 

 

It happened in New Jersey . . . 


A Day in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey

October 15, 2021

Pompton Lakes New Jersey Liberty Bell

 

On a lovely and very hot July day in 2019, my husband and I wandered around the cute town of Pompton Lakes. 

 

Pompton Lakes was founded in 1682 and incorporated in 1895.

 

They are proud of their heritage, with even a cute Liberty Bell of their very own

 

George Washington slept here at least twice.  



Pompton Lakes New Jersey sign

We then went to the Pompton Lakes Library to check out some books and DVDs. 

 

The Library has a long history

 

From their website: 

The Pompton Lakes Public Library began as a gift to the people of Pompton Lakes from Mrs. Emanuel Einstein in memory of her late husband, who passed in 1909.  Mr. and Mrs. Einstein were residents of New York City and spent their Summers in  Pompton Lakes.  Mrs. Einstein supplied the town with the plot, building, equipment, and a stock of books, which were all dedicated in April of 1912 when the library first opened to the public.  The building, an example of seventeenth century architecture and Tudor design, is described in its deed as facing “Wynockie Avenue”, sometimes called “Wanaque Avenue”.

Pompton Lakes NJ Library
Pompton Lakes NJ library

We eventually ended up at the old Pompton Lakes Train Station, which still has some old trains on display, to find out that in the old station someone had opened up a very nice used book and record store! 

 

I checked and they are still there! They made it through the pandemic! 

 

The store's name is Station 1 Books Vinyl and Vintage Shop.

 

Pompton Lakes New Jersey train

 Pompton Lakes New Jersey book and record shop



Pompton Lakes NJ book and record shop

You can read more about Pompton Lakes here: 

 

Pompton Lakes grapples with where to hold its history

 

Revolutionary War New Jersey - Pompton Lakes 

 

Thanks for visiting New Jersey Memories!