The Vernon Historical Society wants you to become a member

Vernon. The historical society boasts a long list of contributions to local schools and parks, scenic byways, and native American history, among its many and far-ranging achievements.

| 15 Jun 2021 | 10:56

June is membership renewal month at the Vernon Township Historical Society.

Membership goes from July 1 to June 30 and offers many discounts for society events and publications and from local merchants, said society president Jessi Paladini.

The nonprofit historical society was founded in 1970 by Dr. Elias Cole. In addition to the numerous grants and awards the society receives, it is also funded by benefactors and memberships. Funding has also been made available in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission through the County Historical Partnership Program, as administered by the Sussex County Art and Heritage Council.

The society was also instrumental in getting the Black Creek Indian Site in Maple Grange Park listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. As the recipient of one of only six grants given by The History Channel to organizations across America, the society partnered with Glen Meadow Middle School eighth-graders to create a districtwide curriculum titled “Bringing the Past to the Present: Teaching About the Lenape Indians Through the Black Creek Site.”

This comprehensive curriculum on New Jersey’s Indians is on file in every school library in the district for use by teachers and students. For this curriculum and for the preservation and restoration of the Black Creek Site, the students conducted a Phase II archaeological study of the site and extensively interviewed New Jersey-recognized Lenape tribes from Bridgeton and Ringwood.

The annual Hands-On-History weeklong summer camp is a tremendous success. Children in grades one through four learn about Vernon’s way of life in the 1800s, culminating with a visit to the one-room schoolhouse on Price’s Switch Road to see what schools were like at the turn of the 19th century and a closing day of fun and games. The society is the caretaker and steward of the schoolhouse, an intact living time capsule of education in Vernon for nearly a century. The society will open the schoolhouse for tours in October 2021 during Sussex County History Days.

The Society will be at the Vernon Farmers Market on June 26 and on other days throughout the summer.

For membership information, visit For other information about the society, call Paladini at 973-764-6545 or Nancy Adam at 973-650-7893.

The list of society accomplishments over the past 15 years is extensive:
Community gifts — The historical society has raised funds for numerous projects in town, such as historic markers, site preservation, scholarships, gifts, and awards for Vernon schools. It purchased a baby grand piano for the high school, artwork of historic events for the high school’s History Lab, and provided funding for the high school’s chamber orchestra, among other worthy causes.
New Jersey Scenic Byway — In 2015, the society was successful in getting the state government to designate Vernon a New Jersey Scenic Byway, making it eligible for state and federal funds. The society secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in state funding to create corridor management plan, written by a professional engineering firm, as well as a marketing plan. These plans are available for review at Vernon is one of eight scenic byways in New Jersey. The Western Highlands Scenic Byway is also showcased at
National Scenic Byway — Then in February 2021, the society succeeded in getting the federal government to designate Vernon Township as a National Scenic Byway. Vernon is now one of only 184 National Scenic Byways across the country.
Wawayanda State Park — The historical society is an Officially Recognized Friends Organization (ORFO) of Wawayanda State Park, an honor bestowed by the state. As the official ORFO, the society is the steward for the state park and its historic resources. The society recently paid for and erected a new marker for the historic iron furnace in Wawayanda State Park, as well as fencing and interpretive signage for the Black Creek Site.
Maple Grange Park — Through the historical society’s advocacy to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection/Green Acres, Vernon Township received nearly $1.8 million in state funds for the creation of Maple Grange Park more than a decade ago.
Prestigious honors — In 2016, the historical society was one of only five organizations across the country to receive a prestigious award from the Archaeological Institute of America for Best Practices in Site Preservation. Society members traveled to California at the expense of AIA to receive the coveted $5,000 award.
VFW Post 8441 — The historical society was also one of the first organizations in the township to raise funds to contribute to VFW Post 8441 for its sewer hookup fees.