What better way to celebrate New Jersey’s 350th anniversary than by steeping yourself in local history?
The Morris County Tourism Bureau is making that easy for you, by reprising some of its most popular walking tours this fall.
Here is the 2014 schedule from the bureau; note that pre-registration and pre-payment are necessary to reserve your space.
FROM THE MORRIS TOURISM BUREAU:
The Seeing Eye’s Guide Dog Training Program
Saturday, Sept. 20 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
North America’s first guide dog training school, The Seeing Eye® of Morris Township, was founded in 1929 by Morris Frank. During this tour you’ll learn about the history of The Seeing Eye, walk the streets where the dogs train and see how Seeing Eye dogs respond to their owners. As you walk from their in-town training center, you’ll pass sites important to the history of the organization and visit the J. Seward Johnson statue of Morris and Buddy for a photo op.
Jim and Ginger Kutsch will lead the tour. Jim is the president and CEO of The Seeing Eye. Ginger is a volunteer with the organization.
Tour begins at 14 Maple Ave., Morristown.
The Whippany Burying Ground and First Presbyterian Church
Saturday, Oct. 4 at 10 am
Take a tour of the earliest graveyard in Morris County, burying ground for the county’s first established church, the First Presbyterian Church of Whippany. Both were founded in 1718. The Burying Yard is on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. Guided by local historian Don Kiddoo, this is a rare opportunity to visit the graves and hear stories about Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers and the earliest Morris County settlers.
The tour begins in the Burying Yard on Route 10 East, just east of Troy Hills Road, and proceeds to the Church on Route 10 West. Free parking is available at JR Cigar at 301 Route 10 East. Limited walking.
The Trial of the (19th) Century: Antoine LeBlanc
Saturday, Oct. 11 at 10 am
Learn about Morristown’s most famous murder trial as you sit in the actual courtroom where Antoine LeBlanc was tried in 1833 for the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Sayre and their servant Phoebe. The triple murder shocked the entire state and resulted in LeBlanc’s execution by hanging on the Morristown Green.
The Honorable Kenneth C. MacKenzie, retired Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, historian and member of the Board of Trustees of Historic Speedwell, will share his legal insights into Morris County’s most notorious trial.
The program will be in lecture format with no walking involved. Check in at 6 Court St. for the program.
Bones and Stones: Who’s Buried at the Presbyterian Church?
Saturday, Oct. 18 at 3 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
Step back in time to 1733 and get to know Morristown’s founding families, many of whom are buried in the graveyard behind the area’s first church.
Learn about the history and architecture of the church and hear the stories of its early parishioners, including the Lindsleys, Fords, Kings and Vails. Plan to tread carefully through the wooded, sacred ground, resting place of 135 Revolutionary War soldiers.
The tours begin inside the church at 57 East Park Place, Morristown. Ghost-busting equipment strongly encouraged. The tours are led by Carol Barkin, docent with the Morris County Tourism Bureau, and member of the Morristown Historic Preservation Commission.
If you take the Sunday, Oct. 26th tours, plan to visit the Vail Mansion at 110 South St. at dusk for the fourth annual “Pumpkin Illumination” sponsored by Morris Arts. Artistically-carved pumpkins will be lit up by the reflective pool in front of the mansion as part of an annual community-wide Halloween celebration.
Book Early to Reserve Your Space!
These popular Fall Historic Tours sell out quickly. We suggest that you reserve and pay early. Except for the Trial of the Century lecture, the tour size is limited to 30 participants. Tours last approximately one hour. Tickets are $15 each. Please mail your pre-payment to MCTB, 6 Court St., Morristown, New Jersey 07960 to hold your reservation. Tours may also be booked and paid for online at morristourism.org/tours or by calling the office. The office is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call 973-631-5151 or visit morristourism.org/tours.