South Orange and Its Colorful History

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A Symposium in Honor of the 350th Anniversary of New Jersey
Presented by South Orange Historical and Preservation Society and the South Orange Public Library

Video Currently Under Repair

Schedule of Speakers

1:00 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.Welcome - Alex Torpey, Village President
Melissa Kopecky, Director, South Orange Public Library
Karen Marlowe, President, SOHPS
1:20 p.m. to 1:40 p.m.Lee Brodie
Video Project - Student History
1:40 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.Amy Dahn and Naoma Welk
History of South Orange and Montrose Park
2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.Abby Baker and Jared Loadholt
SOHPS Scholarship Winners
2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.Break - Refreshments will be served
2:45 p.m. to 3:05 p.m.Michael Gabrielle
Manufacturing Roadside Landmarks: The History of Diners in New Jersey
3:05 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.Ulysses Dietz, City to Suburb
How Newark Made South Orange Happen
3:25 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.Joe Kika
South Orange then and now, and a little of then again
3:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.Break
4:00 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.Dara Callender
Historic South Orange Train Station and the DL&W
4:20 p.m. to 4:40 p.m.John Kraft
The Lenape - First People of South Orange
4:40 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.John Overall
Special Topics on South Orange

Speaker Bios

Michael Gabriele
Manufacturing Roadside Landmarks: The History of Diners in New Jersey

Michael Gabriele is an author, historian and freelance journalist from Clifton, NJ. He has written two book on New Jersey history, both published by The History Press. He is a 1975 graduate of Montclair State University, and is a member of the executive board of the Nutley Historical Society, and the advisory board of the Clifton Arts Center.

His book, "The History of Diners in New Jersey," publish by the History Pres. New Jersey is universally proclaimed as the"diner capital of the world." Gabriele will highlight the origins and cultural significance of the Garden state's diner business, and will present information on the many noteworthy New Jersey diner builders that operated during the 20th century.

The silver Airstreams and neon signs of the classic American diner brighten New Jersey's highways and Main Streets. But the intrinsic role they have played in the state's culture and industry for more than one hundred years is much more than eggs-over-easy and coffee. Diners are the state's ultimate gathering places - at any moment, high school students, CEOs, construction workers and tourists might be found at a counter chatting with the waitresses and line cooks. Jerseyans yearn fro lost favorites like the Excellent Diner and Prout's Diner and still gather at beloved haunts like the Bendix and Tick Tock Diners. Although the industry is all but gone today, New Jersey was once the hub of diner manufacturing, making mobile eateries that fed hungry Americans as far away as the West Coast. Author Michael C. Gabriele offers this delicious history - collected from interviews with owners, patrons and experts - and indulges in many fond memories of New Jersey Diners.

Ulysses Dietz
City to Suburb: How Newark made South Orange Happen

Ulysses Grant Dietz has been the curator of the Decorative Arts at The Newark Museum since 1980. He received his BA from Yale and his MA from the University of Delaware's Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. He has lived in Maplewood since 1980.

The curator of over 100 exhibitions during his tenure, Mr. Dietz is particularly proud of his work on The Newark Museum's 1885 Ballantine House. In 1997 Mr. Dietz was the project director for The Glitter & The Gold: Fashioning America's Jewelry, the first-ever exhibition and book on Newark's once-vast jewelry industry. Mr. Dietz has published numerous articles on decorative arts, as well as books on the Museum's Studio Pottery, Art Pottery and nineteenth-century furniture collections.

John Kraft
The Lenape - First People of South Orange

This short slide-illustrated lecture will reconstruct the culture-history of the Lenape people by describing their everday life, spiritual beliefs, customs and traditions; and by recounting their interaction with European settlers to the area. The presentation will attempt to separate misinformation from historical fact.

John Kraft, director of Lenape Lifeways Educational Programs, Inc., is an archaeologist/educator who has presented hundreds of programs on the Lenape or Delaware Indians of New Jersey. He helped discover and excavate Lenape villages and artifacts. John has found trade goods given to the native people by the early Dutch and English settlers, and has added much new information about their family life, dwellings, diet, spiritual beliefs and technology. He published "The Indians of Lenapehoking", and educational unit on the Indians of New Jersey, and illustrated "The Lenape or Delaware Indians" and other books. John has been creating museum exhibits and lecturing for over 20 years. His goal is to share his enthusiasm and appreciation fro the remarkable people called the "Lenape."

Lifeways Educational Program, Inc. is a not-for-profict organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the prehistory of New Jersey and the surrounding region.

Lee Brodie
Video Project - Student History

Lee Brodie is Digital Producer for Mad Money with Jim Cramer. Past credits include "Trading Spaces" and "entertainment Tonight." He has also produced shows for History, MSNBC, NBC Productions, PBS and more. He received a 2007 Daytime Emmy award for the A&E documentary "A Questions of Life or Meth." Brodie also received an Emmy award for his coverage of the New York theater scene in "Life from Broadway with Pat Collins." His first job in media was also with NBC, as a page.

Dara Callender
History of the South Orange Train Station and the DL&W

Dara Callender will talk about the historic South Orange Train Station and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, and how they made South Orange a place to live. Dara is NJ Transit's liaison to the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office and is formally trained in both historic preservation and engineering.

Naoma Welk and Amy Dahn
History of South Orange and Montrose Park

Naoma Welk served as President of this historic district association. Their mission is to preserve and beautify the historic district for its residents. She has served on the Board since 2001 and was President from 2011 to 2013. MPHDA is a non-profit organization designed to preserve the historic character of the district. MPHDA hosts events, plants gardens, organizes custom banners announcing the district as well as organizing historic district street signs. Members need not live in the historic district to preserve it. Naoma is author of two books: Images of America: South Orange (Published by Arcadia 2002) and Images of America: South Orange Revisited (Published by Arcadia 2006)

Amy Dahn received the 2012 SOHPS Historic Preservation Award for her passionate work in preserving South Orange history since moving to South Orange in the early 90's. Amy served on the board of Montrose Park Historic District Association from 1994 through 2008; as its President for ten years. She chaired the Montrose in May house tour for many years. Amy was chair of the village's Ad Hoc Commission to study establishment of a historic preservation commission (2002 and 2003). She served on the Village's Smart Growth Strategic Plan Committee, as well as a second committee (2009) to study Historic Commissions. Amy currently serves as commissioner on the Village's Historic Preservation Commission and as a Trustee of the South Orange Maplewood Adult School. Professionally, Amy works as a School Psychologist helping to meet the varied social, emotional, adaptive, and educational needs of young students in public school.

Joe Kika
South Orange then and now, and a little of then again

Joe will tell stories of old South Orange, ones that your parents would remember, had they been born here. Joe is a master story teller and a very funny guy. Joe works as Advance Education and Training Specialist for Ricoh International, but his work only tells part of the Story. Joe was District Governor (District 16E) of the Lions Club for many years. He was named the South Orange Lions' Club Man of the Year in 2012. Currently, Joe currently serves as Treasurer of the Lions' Club. He serves on the South Orange Seton Hall Engagement Committee and is a member of the Savoia Society Club on Third Street.

John Overall A Little Bit about a Lot of South Orange

John is a South Orange Historical and Preservation Society Board member and is a local history expert. In his brief presentation, he will provide you with tales of a very old South Orange. Some you may know, others you may not. It's sure to be very enlightening.

Scholarship Winners

Abby Baker - Connett Place
Abby Baker is a senior at Columbia High School, where she is active in the literary magazine and Foreign Language in Elemntary School (FLES) program. She also works as a page in the Children's Room of the South Orange Public Library. Abby enjoys creative writing, history, eating, and gently teasing her siblings. Read her winning eassy here

Jared Loadholt - Duffield Drive
Jared Loadholt is a senior at Columbia High School. He runs track and cross country throughout the year and hopes to continue in college. His favorite subjects in school are history and math. Jared does a lot of work with the "Elementors" program at CHS, working with the elementary school kids. Photography is one of his hobbies. Jared is also an avid music listener. Read his winning essay here.