The quaint, quiet town of Greenwich, New Jersey is set back in the country, not too far from the hustle and bustle of the city of Bridgeton. This historical country town, which is located in Cumberland County, is home to some rich history. The picturesque main street that runs through it, Ye Greate Street, is lined with significant historical sites and is home to many lovely Victorian and 18th century-era homes.
Tea Burners’ Monument and the Revolution in Greenwich
When one thinks of how our nation stood up to the King of England during the Revolution and fought to obtain our freedom from Britain, many think of the infamous Boston Tea Party or the political activity in Philadelphia, or infamous Revolutionary War battles. Many do not know of the protest and activism taking place in Greenwich, a small South Jersey town. One of the most important stories in this historical town is that of the Greenwich Tea Burning, which was inspired by news of the Boston Tea Party.
In 1774, an English sympathizer by the name of Daniel Bowen, a Greenwich citizen, aided a crew transporting a shipment of tea from the East India Tea Company. Mr. Bowen hid the stock in his basement, as he and the crew were hoping this would save them from paying a tax to New Jersey (if they were indeed able to avoid detection of this large shipment). However, Bowen and his new pals weren’t as sly as they had thought. The citizens of Greenwich had noticed them…and they were not happy.
Just before Christmas of 1774, on December 22nd, approximately 40 patriots dressed up as Native Americans to disguise themselves and they paid a visit to the Bowen residence. The 40 men broke into the basement, stole the tea, and took it to an open field nearby. They then burned the entire shipment of tea in protest of the tyrannical British rule.
To honor the men that stood up in protest for our nation’s independence, there is a beautiful monument (built in 1908) on Ye Greate Street in Greenwich, NJ that you may visit.
The Historical Gibbon House
My visit to the Gibbon House was excellent. The tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable and the house is filled with gorgeous antiques and on some weekends, live kitchen and hearth demonstrations! This lovely home was built in 1730 by Nicholas Gibbon. The Cumberland Historical Society has done an amazing job at keeping the décor true to how it would have been in the 1700’s and 1800’s. You will learn a wealth of information about the history of the Gibbon family, the home, the antiques housed there, and about life in general back in the olden days. The Gibbon House also frequently has exciting educational events, the next one being on Saturday August 18th (2018). The Cumberland County Historical Society will be hosting “Desserts Through Time”, where you will get to learn about and try desserts that were popular in the 1700’s to 1900’s. It sounds like it will be a great event. The Gibbon House is open for tours Tuesday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Located at 960 Ye Greate Street in Greenwich, NJ.
The Museum of Prehistory of Cumberland County
If you are in town, definitely make a stop at the Alan Ewing Carman Museum of Prehistory. You will see a ton of artifacts, all from the Native Americans who lived in the Delaware Valley area. There are arrow and spearheads, pottery, fossils, and more. Ask a volunteer for a demonstration of the Native American hunting tool, the atlatl! Museum is open March through December, on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 p.m. till 4 p.m. Located at 1461 Bridgeton Road in Greenwich, NJ.
The Infamous UFO House
No trip to Greenwich would be complete without a visit to the abandoned Futuro “UFO” House, now located in the Hancock Harbor Marina. You may recognize this unique structure from Weird NJ magazine. Apparently, Futuro houses were first created in the 60’s by European designer Matti Suuronen. Less than 100 were made, but this was certainly an interesting trend that sparked the interest of some collectors.
For more information and more historical sites to visit in Greenwich, visit the Cumberland County Historical Society’s website: https://cchistsoc.org/
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