"The Forgotten Village of Skillman Park" - May 15th - new Lecture Location, then Tour

“The Forgotten Village of Skillman Park” – May 15th – new Lecture Location, then Tour

Posted on May 11, 2016

NEW DATE & LOCATION ANNOUNCED!

When: Sunday, May 15, 2016.  Lectures at Memorial Hall from 1:00-4:00 PM. Optional semi-guided tour of the former Village from 3:30 to 5:00 PM.

Where:  Keynote speaker and panel discussions to be held at Blawenburg Reformed Church, Memorial Hall, 416 Rt. 518, Blawenburg (Montgomery), NJ 08504.

After the talks, weather permitting, those interested may join a semi-guided tour of the former NJ State Village for Epileptics/ New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute/ North Princeton Development Center on the grounds of Skillman Park. Directions and a map to docent-guided meeting spots will be available at the lecture at the church.  The park entrance is located around the corner from the church on Rt. 601, Skillman (Montgomery), NJ 08558, across from Montgomery High School (Main Boulevard).

What: Lecture and tour about the former State Village.  Keynote speaker will be Dr. Dan Pullen, who grew up at the Village.  There will be presentations and a panel discussion from a number of locals who lived and worked at the site.  Come learn about this once-bustling, self-sustaining farm and village with its own fire company, theater, hospital, powerhouse, and more on the grounds of Somerset County’s Skillman Park.  There will be a large exhibit of photographs and memorabilia at Blawenburg Church’s Memorial Hall. After the speakers, for those interested there will be semi-guided tours around the new park path system that will feature stops with photos and stories of the buildings, people and activities from when this site was vibrant. The event is free.  A keepsake booklet filled with interesting articles and maps will be available at the hall for a donation of $15.

Event Locator Map Link : https://goo.gl/maps/Ta6qMHP8S5u

Longer Event Description: History discussion about the former State Village by the Van Harlingen Historical Society followed by self-guided tour of current park grounds with map, signage and docents.  Many area residents have little idea of the history that played out on the grounds of Somerset County’s Skillman Park.  Come learn about the incredible former uses of this beautiful property! Presentations will be given at Memorial Hall, Blawenburg, about the former North Princeton Developmental Center and earlier Skillman Village for Epileptics by locals who lived and worked at the site plus a large exhibit of photographs and memorabilia from the Van Harlingen Historical Society’s archives.

“Today it is a beautiful passive park, but the State Village was once a very active place, built to sustain up to 2,000 people. Almost all evidence is gone, but we’ll share remembrances and have on exhibit all the photos, maps and memorabilia from our archives, so that the Village will come alive once again!” said Judy Peters, VHHS President.

Learn about the fascinating history of this once self-contained village – one of the earliest treatment centers for those with epilepsy in the United States.  With its own farm, power plant, ice house, fire dept., theater and over 100 other buildings – Skillman Village was a small town onto itself.  There will be semi-guided tours around the new park path system that will feature stops with docents and photos and stories of the buildings, people, and activities from when this site was vibrant.

Keynote speaker and moderator, Dr. Dan Pullen, is a well-known dentist in Hillsborough.  Dr. Pullen grew up at the Village until age 12. His father was the resident dentist. Other panel speakers include Mike Aarons, Reed Chapman, Kim Otis and Joan D’Ottavio.

The program is free.  A keepsake booklet filled with interesting articles and maps will be available for a donation of $15 at Memorial Hall.  There will also be a related display on Skillman Village by VHHS during May at the Mary Jacobs Library.

In its 37th year, May in Montgomery remains one of the main annual fundraisers supporting the Van Harlingen Historical Society.  For more information, go to www.vanharlingen.org or contact: President@vanharlingen.org.

Event Organizer Website:  www.vanharlingen.org

Further Info on Skillman Park on this Montgomery Twp. website: http://www.twp.montgomery.nj.us/departments/recreation/parks-pathways-maps/skillman-park/

 

Source: Van Harlingen Historical Society