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Showing posts with label Union Township.
Showing posts with label Union Township.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Route 278: the Expressway through my house

Readers of a certain age might remember the old Bugs Bunny where our hero wakes up in the morning to find an interstate highway being built around his rabbit hole. He spends the rest of the cartoon outwitting the construction workers to such an extent that they build the highway around his modest 七乐彩彩票app下载.

Bugs' victory became real to me many years ago when my mom told me the story of how Interstate 278 was almost built through our living room in the late '60s. Apparently, my parents had bought my childhood 七乐彩彩票app下载 in Union without knowing that the neighborhood was on a Department of Transportation map of the planned highway extension linking Staten Island with the then-yet-to-be-built Route 78 near the Union-Millburn border.

Earlier commercially-sold maps show a route that would have preserved our immediate neighborhood, but the impact on the town would have been immense with that route, too. Already criss-crossed by the Garden State Parkway and U.S. Route 22, Union would have changed dramatically, with an entire section of town cut off from the rest.

Plans for I-278 had been announced in the mid 1950s as part of a Federal government program to replace existing U.S. highways. According to a 1958 New York Times article, U.S. 1 would be replaced by Interstate 95, U.S. 46 replaced by 80, U.S. 22 replaced by 78, and so on. Planned as a secondary, or spur road, 278 would also be called the Union Freeway and was expected to divert Union County-bound traffic off Route 78 while relieving pressure on State Highway 28.

Protest letters are a little more convincing
these days.
As we know today, the interstates didn't replace the older New Jersey highways as much as they provided a less commercial, limited-access alternative that eventually got equally as congested as populations grew. And unlike a lot of the construction done in less populated areas of the country七乐彩彩票登录, parts of some of these highways would be built through thriving, densely built-up communities. The notorious urban planner Robert Moses had already pushed the construction of the New York portion of 278 in the 1960s by force of will, tearing up neighborhoods as it meandered through four of New York City's five boroughs.

Fortunately, New Jersey lacked a personality of Moses' stature to force the road through. That's where my family's story comes in. By the mid 1960s, Union, Roselle Park and Kenilworth residents living in the path of 278 were up in arms over the potential of losing their 七乐彩彩票app下载s to a six-lane expressway. The Committee to Eliminate Highway I-278 was formed to organize Union residents in protest to state and Federal elected officials. I haven't been able to find much yet about the committee but discovered a letter sent to residents with office holders' names and contact information. Organizers claimed that more than 550 七乐彩彩票app下载s and 24 commercial properties would be claimed by eminent domain, pulling as much as $15 million in rateables off the tax rolls.

Local outrage eventually prevailed, and all that was built of 278 in New Jersey was a stub of a highway that opened in 1969, linking Route 1 in Linden to the Goethals Bridge in Elizabeth. Once the rest was effectively killed, the allocated funding went toward the Central Jersey Expressway, now known as Interstate 195.

And, of course, my family and I were able to continue to enjoy our 七乐彩彩票app下载, unbothered by the inconvenience of being relocated by a six-lane interstate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hallowed ground: New Jersey's Revolutionary battlefields

Growing up in Union, I was acquainted very early with the story of one of the last Revolutionary War engagements fought in New Jersey: the June 1780 Battle of Connecticut Farms. Parts of the battle took place on the grounds of my grammar 七乐彩彩票平台, though my classmates and I weren't aware of that as we played kickball and hopscotch on the playground.

Considering that, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that the committee planning the city of Elizabeth's 350th anniversary was staging a weekend-long series of reenactments in both Springfield and Union. Both towns, along with the rest of Union County, were once part of Elizabeth, so it made sense to be part of the party.

We've featured the Battles of Connecticut Farms and Springfield in Hidden New Jersey before. They're essentially two halves of the same unsuccessful effort. The British, with the help of Hessian mercenaries, twice attempted to make their way through the communities to reach Hobart Gap and ultimately capture General George Washington at Morristown. In both cases, severely outnumbered Continental soldiers and local militia put up far more of a fight than the British and Hessians had anticipated. In the midst of the Connecticut Farms battle, Hannah Caldwell, wife of the "fighting parson" Rev. James Caldwell, was shot and killed, a martyr whose death brought greater sympathy to the American cause. Both towns were burned to the ground by the retreating invaders.

The 2014 edition of the battle used some of the same roads as the original fight, though this time police were needed to block off traffic. Far fewer soldiers and militia were in force, though the proportion of Americans to British, Hessian and Loyalists appeared pretty accurate. And the mayor of Union was in attendance, perhaps to reassure the locals that their 七乐彩彩票app下载s would be safe from flames. A reenactor set the stage by relating the events that led up to the battle, then narrated the action with helpful insights on the various weapons, uniforms and troop movements.

As stirring as it was to see a historic battle reenacted where I'd spent so much of my childhood, the real impact came near the end of the program. In his closing statements, our narrator observed that we were standing on truly hallowed ground. Men had fought and died on that very land for the independence of the young United States of America. Some of the combatants are interred in the graveyard of the Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church across the street, including a number of Hessians whose mass grave had been unmarked for over 200 years. Perhaps they'd been buried where they fell. In its own way, that corner of Union was just as notable as any of our most celebrated battlefields. Blood had fallen there, lives had been lost, from people who wanted to be free from tyranny.

Most New Jerseyans don't think much about that, not because they don't want to, but because they're just not aware. Though some of our larger battlefields -- Princeton and Monmouth -- have been preserved to some extent, there are more that are lucky to get a small commemorative marker. Others were covered by roads or buildings or parking lots long ago.

As frustrating as it might be to see hallowed ground occupied by a Walgreen's, it's still out there for all of us to find and reflect on. This map gives you an idea of the potential for discovering the revolutionary past of your own community. Let us know what you discover!



Friday, June 20, 2014

Jersey Boys just off Route 22? The Four Seasons in Union

It's probably one of the most open "secrets" in North Jersey -- the legend that the singing group The Four Seasons got their name from a bowling alley on West Chestnut Street in Union. Depending on who tells the story, the quartet took the name either because their original one didn't sound as good, or because they wanted the alley's owner, who'd refused to hire them, to feel the sting of rejecting them when they hit it big.

七乐彩彩票app下载Jersey Boys, Four Seasons, Hidden New Jersey, Frankie Valli
The Four Seasons in 1971. Courtesy Union Township
Historical Society.
Though I grew up in Union and threw my share of gutter balls in the establishment in question, I was always a little skeptical of the story. Yeah, Frankie Valli grew up in Newark, a straight shot down Route 22, so he might have tried to book some gigs in Union, but really? Every town looks for a claim to fame, leading some residents to make dubious connections to famous people or events, and I figured some well-meaning Unionite had made a logical but probably false connection between the alley and the falsetto-singing quartet.

Shame on me: it turns out the story is true, according to Valli's own . His official bio states that in 1960 the band, then called the Four Lovers, "flunked an audition to play at the cocktail lounge of a bowling alley in Union, NJ, but they decided the lounge's name would make a classy moniker for a singing group: The Four Seasons."

As much as I'd like to invite you to meet me at the alley to bowl a few frames and sing a chorus of "Big Girls Don't Cry," I can't. It's not there anymore, having been torn down in 1998 to make room for a Costco. Yup, a Costco. Folks in the area may be grateful for a convenient place to score big bargains, but Union lost a very visible landmark of its incidental contribution to rock and roll history. That and a chance for a cameo role in the Jersey Boys movie.

It's not forgotten, though: in 2008 the Township of Union renamed a portion of West Chestnut Street "Four Seasons Lane" in honor of the group, complete with commemorative street signs. Given that none of the members of the group were actually from Union, I guess it's not surprising that more hasn't been done at the site to honor them, but a plaque would be nice. Maybe if Valli had scored a 300 game, things might have been different.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Perambulating poultry in Union

Okay ... confession time here: Ivan and I actually left New Jersey for a week. With tax season completed, he needed a break and who was I to deny that? And as he rationalized, we're always on the lookout for a little bit of New Jersey wherever we go. You never know what we'll find. The good thing is that now we'll have more time for exploration, birding and letting you in on what we discover.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a little story from about 20 years ago that combines exploration and birding of a sort.

Not the chicken that crossed the road in Union.
I've mentioned that I grew up in Union, which, like many New Jersey communities, was once host to many farms. By the time I was born, though, most were gone, with perhaps small farm stores left in their places. One was still in operation on Stuyvesant Avenue in the late 1980s, right across from my bank, selling shrubbery, plants, gardening supplies and perhaps some produce. A cranky old rooster walked the grounds, unimpeded, despite the fact there hadn't been an actual farm there for many, many years.

One day I was driving to the bank when I saw the rooster standing on the yellow line in the center of Stuyvesant Avenue, frantically looking back and forth, perplexed. Not a sight you see very often in Union.

Aloud, I asked myself, "Why is that chicken crossing the road?"

I started laughing so hard that I had to pull to the side of the road. Fortunately, I came nowhere near the bird.

This story is entirely true. I swear. I even sent it to the New York Times for publication in its old New Jersey Diary section of reader recollections. A few weeks later, they published it, along with an editor's note: "Why did the chicken cross the road? To open a chicking account."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The most hidden of New Jersey is the stuff that's not there anymore, brought to life by memories at particular times of year. Thanksgiving always brings me back to a very specific recollection from grade 七乐彩彩票平台: the annual visit to Haines Farms to see their gaggle of turkeys.

My mom tells the story of the first time my older sister brought 七乐彩彩票app下载 a permission slip for the trip. The idea provoked visions of little first graders taking a bus ride out of suburbia into New Jersey farm country七乐彩彩票登录, and learning all about turkeys from a farmer. While there were more farms in the state at that point than there are today, Union was already pretty well built out and certainly not host to any.

What Mom didn't realize was that the trip was to a farm stand just a couple of miles away from our grammar 七乐彩彩票平台. The Haines family ran a produce and poultry farm in Union for quite some time, but all I remember was their retail location on Chestnut Street. In November, they'd show a large contingent of live toms and hens in a big pen for local residents who preferred their turkeys extra fresh. The Haineses would welcome the 七乐彩彩票平台s to bring students by for what was probably the first time any of us had seen a live turkey. I don't know if they were just being nice, or if someone there realized what a good marketing opportunity it was. You know: the kids come 七乐彩彩票app下载, talk about their field trip, and the parents get the bright idea of where to get the holiday bird.

As kids, we didn't really follow the logic chain. We just liked seeing the huge birds clucking and strutting around their large enclosure. I can't remember there being much more to the trip than getting off the bus, watching the turkeys for a few minutes, and then getting back on the bus for the ride back to 七乐彩彩票平台. The whole thing couldn't have taken more than an hour, round trip.

Haines Farms went out of business years ago and is virtually non-existent on the internet, but a recent posting on the "Growing up in Union in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's" Facebook page offered a little more information. Word is that their greenhouse was part of an exhibit in the 1939 World's Fair and was donated to the Smithsonian after the business closed in the 1980s.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Was that a ghost I saw? The bogus haunting of Liberty Hall.

A few weeks ago, Ivan and I in Union, and before that, I also wrote about the town's . Not surprisingly, there's a link between the two: Hannah Caldwell and British soldiers. I heard the connection several years ago, when I first visited the house and before possession of the property had been transferred to Kean College七乐彩彩票平台. The tours were a little less polished and a little longer in the telling, with volunteers happy to share some of the more, shall we say, interesting parts of the history. 

The story goes like this: following the Battle of Connecticut Farms, British soldiers made their way back toward Elizabeth and Staten Island on the road that's now Morris Avenue. The battle had been tragic for the townspeople, with the torching of nearly every building in the community and the shooting death of Hannah Caldwell, wife of the Third New Jersey's chaplain, Rev. James Caldwell. When the Redcoats reached Liberty Hall, darkness had already fallen, and several stopped there to camp on the property for the night. Some especially bold soldiers decided they'd rather stay indoors since the weather was turning stormy. They knew that the house belonged to Governor William Livingston, and a reward was being offered for his capture, so certainly it was quite a coup to actually stay there, maybe even sleep in his bed. No doubt, some knew that the family had moved out for a few years, but they were unaware that Livingston's three daughters, Susanna, Sarah and Catherine, were back in the 七乐彩彩票app下载 they loved so much.

Susan was already in bed, but when she heard the soldiers noisily entering the house, she rose to investigate. Lighting a candle, she left her bedroom dressed in her flowing white nightgown. Just as she reached the landing on the staircase, the sky was illuminated with lightning, briefly flashing in the large window behind her. All the invading soldiers saw was a ghostly white figure descending, looking to some like the spectre of Hannah Caldwell. Frightened by the prospect of paying for their sins, the Redcoats quickly left the house, never to return. 

Fast forward to the 20th century, when Mary Alice Barney married into the Kean family. She quickly fell in love with Liberty Hall and its history and took substantial steps to preserve it and its contents for eventual use as a museum. That's not to say she didn't have a little fun along the way. Hearing the story of the supposed ghost of Hannah Caldwell and the frightened British soldiers, she commissioned a painting of the brave Susanna Livingston, descending a staircase, candle in hand, to investigate the noises below with the aid of a small black cat. The painting is obscured from view by a door, and apparently Mary Alice would use the arrangement to startle unsuspecting guests (I think she'd ask them to go upstairs to find something, and direct them to that door for the attic stairs.). Regardless of how she 'showed' the painting, I like to think it was one of the ways Mary Alice showed her kinship to the young woman who protected her house from damage and harm.

The last few times I've gone to Liberty Hall, the volunteers have neither shown the painting nor told the story. I have to believe it's still there, so if you do go to visit, ask about it. My recounting of the story is from memory and may be a little off from the legend, so it's well worth checking. Even if they show you the painting, it's likely they won't let you take a photo ... I'm still surprised I was given permission to take the one above.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Liberty Hall - the crossroads of American history

When I was growing up in Union, we all knew of a mysterious house on Morris Avenue across the street from Kean College七乐彩彩票平台. You couldn't see it because it was obscured by trees and shrubbery, but we knew that it was historically significant and that the woman who lived there was very important in Republican politics. Any time a Republican president came to town (and there were more than a few visits like that), there would be a private reception at the 七乐彩彩票app下载. The rest of us, however, were left to wonder what was back there, behind the greenery.

I was sure to tell Ivan that story before we visited the house, Liberty Hall, during Union County's Four Centuries Weekend. Vacant since the death of its last resident, Mary Alice Barney Kean, the 七乐彩彩票app下载 is now a museum and a fascinating look into the history of one of New Jersey's most influential families. For all but about a decade in the early 1800s, the house was owned by the Livingston/Kean family until it was taken over by the Liberty Hall foundation. I toured the house not long after it became a museum, and on that and subsequent visits, I enjoyed talking with docents about the house itself, the family and the belongings they left behind to represent almost two centuries of living there. Maybe it comes from that initial fascination I had as a kid, but I've always been drawn to learn more.

The Four Centuries tour gave us an abbreviated view of the 七乐彩彩票app下载 and the family's history, which is kind of like telling a wine connoisseur that she can sample just one bottle from an extensive cellar. Built in the 1770s by Governor William Livingston as a country七乐彩彩票登录 estate and family 七乐彩彩票app下载, the 七乐彩彩票app下载 was setting to quite a number of distinguished Americans. Yes, George Washington visited, and Alexander Hamilton roomed there when he was a student in Elizabethtown. Livingston's daughter Sarah married the first U.S. Chief Justice, John Jay in the 七乐彩彩票app下载. Other Livingston daughters married equally as well, cementing a family history that's sprinkled liberally with notables, even to current day. The Kean name, of course, is familiar to those who remember Governor Thomas Kean's two terms in the 1980's, but other Keans served in Congress and Trenton before him. The family also had controlling interest in the Elizabethtown Gas and Elizabethtown Water utility companies.

One of the many things I enjoy about a visit to Liberty Hall is seeing some of the less-grand family possessions. These people threw virtually nothing away, and since they occupied the house without any gaps from 1811 on, they didn't have the opportunity most of us do to cull out useless belongings before a move to another 七乐彩彩票app下载. As a result, a great deal of stuff accumulated over the years. For example, the dining room is currently decorated for a Halloween party, using authentic decorations and costumes found in the attic. Researchers have also found century-old receipts for coal deliveries. 

The rest of the grounds contain a lovely garden behind the house, as well as an orchard, carriage house and even a museum which holds a fire engine and firefighting memorabilia collected by one of the Keans. Much of the land adjacent to the Liberty Hall estate land has been developed as part of the Kean University campus, but you can still get a sense of what a lovely expanse it was when the family lived there.

Liberty Hall is one of my favorite historical sites in New Jersey; I've only scratched the surface with this entry. Ivan and I will definitely be returning for the full tour, and I'll be sure to update you on more of what we learn.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Jersey was the crossroads of the American Revolution, with more battles fought here than anywhere else during the battle for independence. The last of those battles occurred 231 years ago this month in Union County, including my 七乐彩彩票app下载 town of Union. A few weeks ago, Ivan and I visited two sites key to that -- the Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church and the Caldwell Parsonage.

Here’s the story: in June 1780, General George Washington and his troops were still in Morristown after their second and most brutal winter encampment there. Many of the remaining troops were disenchanted with military life and on the brink of mutiny, having waited months for pay which hadn’t yet come. The British, having taken New York some time before, were stationed on Staten Island, within a reasonable rowing distance of Elizabeth. They’d made occasional forays into New Jersey and thought they’d capitalize on the discontent of the colonial forces to make a raid on Washington and his staff, plus their remaining supplies.

By this time, civilian New Jerseyans had mixed feelings about the rebellion against the crown. They’d endured several raids and battles, destruction of farms and theft of livestock, and the assumption was that they were too tired to put up much of a resistance to an incursion. With that in mind, the British, fortified by elite German Jaegers, planned to land in Elizabeth on June 7 and take the path of present day Morris Avenue (State Route 82) up to Hobart Gap and then on to Morristown.

What they didn’t count on was the effect of the colonists’ frustration, stirred to a frenzy by local Presbyterian minister James Caldwell. Known to the British as the High Priest of the Revolution, Caldwell was based at Elizabeth’s Presbyterian church but also preached before congregations in Springfield and Connecticut Farms (now known as Union). He was also chaplain for the Third New Jersey Regiment, better known as the Jersey Blues. Caldwell regularly used his pulpit to promote the cause of freedom and foment against the crown, making him a prized target for British forces and loyalists.

After landing in Elizabeth, over 5000 British and Hessian troops and their artillery began the advance westward, expecting little to get in their way. They were confronted by 800 Jerseymen and a host of angry local farmers, prepared to fight for their land. The patriots fought valiantly against the invaders, holding them back for three hours. Ultimately, the British forces pushed the locals west toward Springfield, but realized they faced much more resistance than they’d anticipated. Vowing to return another day, they finally retreated back to Staten Island, pillaging and burning the village of Connecticut Farms as they left. They’d make another foray on June 23, this time to Springfield, but that’s another blog entry.

The Battle of Connecticut Farms gave Union County what’s probably one of the most gruesome government seals in the country七乐彩彩票登录: an image of a woman being shot by a British soldier as she runs from a cabin. It’s meant to represent Reverend Caldwell’s wife, Hannah, who, according to legend, was killed by British gunfire as she fled the Presbyterian parsonage. In truth, she was sitting inside the house and was the victim of a stray bullet which might have even come from a colonist’s musket. Regardless of where the bullet originated, she was seen by many as a martyr to the cause, and her death brought a rallying cry for revolutionary forces eager to avenge her death.

The parsonage and church were torched as the British left, along with the rest of the village, but the congregation soon rebuilt both, and those ‘new’ buildings still stand today. As Union has grown more and more urban, places like these remind residents and visitors of the town’s rural colonial heritage. The high 七乐彩彩票平台’s sports teams aren’t known as the Fighting Farmers for nothing.

The Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church stands beside a busy intersection near Union Center, with a congregation proud of its colonial heritage. Its churchyard holds many Revolutionary-era headstones and a mass grave of Hessians killed in the battle; you can contact the 1 comments

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Chowing down at the Galloping Hill Inn

The Galloping Hill Inn in Union is a classic, founded in the '20's at a confluence of roads aptly called Five Points. It's the quintessential hot dog and beer kind of place, and when I was a kid, it looked like something you'd find on some rural road -- whitewashed exterior with ordering windows on both the street- and parking lot sides of the building, and a porch with picnic benches. The ordering process is not for the hesitant: customers crowd the broad (8-10 foot wide) window to shout out their orders as the counter guys randomly call "next." Often chaotic, but efficient. There's also a small dining room with waitress service. I can't really offer any commentary on it since I've never actually checked it out.

Like most road joints, atmosphere is half the experience at Galloping Hill. For years, the place was clad in whitewashed clapboard, eliciting the feel of a stand on a backwater thoroughfare. Sadly, they appear to be going for a diner look now, with enamel walls, chrome accents and faux-pressed tin ceilings above the porches. They've also totally enclosed the back-side counter area to create a quasi-interior seating area with benches and a dining counter for the walk-up clientele. That's a welcome addition in my book, as it gives you a quick option for those cold winter Galloping Hill visits.

Fortunately, the quality of my standard order hasn't changed a bit: a 'complete' hot dog (kraut and mustard) and cheese fries with a generous amount of the tasty yellow stuff. Yum. This is a classic tube steak -- nice snap when you bite into it, no gimmicks, though in my opinion, the roll is better suited to a cheesesteak or chicken parm than to a hot dog. Everything always tastes fresh, and given the traffic the place gets, nothing sits for long, anyway.

Five Points is a very busy intersection, so you can't really blame the Galloping Hill guys for moving the transactional part of the business to the back of the building for safety. When my sister and I first started going there in the mid-eighties, we'd eat our meals on the street-side porch and count the near-miss accidents. While we never actually saw a collision, we heard one once, first the screech of tires and crash of car against car, then the very loud string of obscenities expelled by one of the drivers. Jersey road food ambiance -- can't beat it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Masters of their domain: Union's Self Master Colony

Behind the Union Township Municipal Building is the last vestige of a collective of men working to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Used by the township's Girl Scouts as a gathering spot for over 40 years, this green house with the yellow shutters was originally built as part of the Self-Master Colony, an early 20th century attempt to rehabilitate men who once had achieved a measure of success but had fallen on hard times. I learned a smidgen of the story as one of those Girl Scouts, but until recently, I didn't know much about why the colony was there or who started it. Here's what I've been able to glean:

The Union Twp. Girl Scout House ...
once a Self Master cottage.
Having endured a business scandal of his own in 1904, former Wall Street brokerage executive Andress Floyd conceived of the colony as a place where 七乐彩彩票app下载less, destitute men could learn a new trade and rebuild their self-respect before returning to the world at large. While he appreciated religious missions and the work they did, he claimed that before a man could honestly find God, he had to find his own self-worth. He was also selective in who he admitted to the community. Those who came with recommendations were turned away because Floyd was only looking to help those without friends. He also eschewed hoboes, he said, because they claimed "a thousand 七乐彩彩票app下载s" and were unlikely to abandon the nomadic life for a steady job.

The colony opened in 1908, and the men lived with Floyd and his wife Lillian in the Hoyt Mansion, a large house donated to the cause by watch manufacturer Charles Ingersoll (the same Ingersoll, coincidentally, who constructed houses made from Edison Portland Cement, including nearly a dozen barely a mile away on Ingersoll Terrace). In return for room, board and a 50 cent per week salary, they were expected to work a seven hour day woodworking, weaving rugs or other crafts produced by the colony. Others helped run the household, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and odd jobs around the mansion and the surrounding 50 or so acres. It's said that more than 100,000 men stayed at the colony over its 20-plus year history, with a fair number of them ultimately finding new jobs outside Self Master once they rebuilt their dignity.

Eventually, the colony's success got greater acclaim through articles in the New York Times and other prominent publications of the day. Floyd himself went out on the speaking circuit to relate his rehabilitation philosophy, even appearing at New York's Carnegie Hall.

When his past business transgressions came to light, he responded candidly to a Times reporter, saying, "The suffering that was caused through that financial failure determined me to try to live a constructive rather than a destructive life, and finally how difficult it was for myself to get on my feet, I thought how much more difficult it must be for a man without business experience or friends to gain a footing ... I decided to surround myself with a few of these men who need encouragement and direction and to show them that I not only understood them because of my own sufferings but that it is not impossible for a man to restore himself to the confidence of good people by clean and unselfish living and by honest industry." His financial backers were well aware of his past and supported his efforts with the colony nonetheless.

According to the Union Township Library website, the Self Master Colony met its demise after the stock market crash of 1929, meaning it went out of business just when it was likely needed most. The 1939 WPA Guide to New Jersey notes that as late as 10 years later, the property still held a dilapidated print shop, two frame buildings, and a loom that was used by the last remaining resident, 69 year-old Michael Moore. The township bought the property in 1938 and sited the municipal building and main library there, along with a small park named for a former town clerk.

The Hoyt mansion is lost to history, and that little Girl Scout house is the only structure left, but the names Self Master, Andress, Lillian and Floyd are all memorialized in street names not far from the location of the original colony.