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Goodspeed Histories: November 2021

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November 6, 2021

Long-time readers may notice that I have trouble keeping my articles short. I try my best to be disciplined like my sons, Carl Zimmer and Ben Zimmer, both excellent journalists, but I do not have their discipline or an editor looking over my shoulder, and besides, it’s all so interesting!

After all, I could write a chain of title for the Union Hotel, listing the owners and the tavern keepers from 1800 to the time when Lambert Humphrey turned it into the building we know now, but is that interesting? Not very. We need to know what was going on when each of those people owned and/or ran the tavern.

Which is why this month I only managed to cover Neal Hart, from 1808 to 1828, his tenant from 1828 to 1832, and his son Mahlon C. Hart, from 1833 to 1850. What kept me from doing more was the question of when and why it got the name Union.  Check out today’s article to see the answer.

Speaking of the Union Hotel:
Recently, the Flemington Borough Council unanimously approved the amended hotel redevelopment plan. Mayor Betsey Driver noted that “This is part of the lawsuit settlement agreement with the Friends of Historic Flemington.” With this recently amended redevelopment plan, the front facades of both the historic Union Hotel on Main Street and the 90 Main Street building will be compliant with the approval issued by the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office (NJSHPO).

Mayor Driver thanked Andrew Brewer (redevelopment counsel) and Elizabeth McManus for their hard work. In the news article, she was quoted:  “I would like to thank everyone involved for their patience and willingness to compromise to get to this point where we are today. I know it’s been a very long journey, and this appears to be the final piece for Flemington to now move on with a project that I think the public and residents of the borough are excited by, and excited to see the compromises.”

This can come none too soon. Flemington’s Main Street, with so much history and so much potential, needs a lift. I sincerely hope this will fill the need. Better than returning to what it was 150 years ago. On July 16, 1874, this item appeared in the Hunterdon Republican : “Stephen Gano shot a mad dog in front of the Court House. It had bit dogs belonging to William E. Anderson and Andrew J . Bellis.” That was all that appeared in the article, as if seeing a mad dog on Main Street was not all that unusual.

Speaking of scary things:
Back in 2015, I published an article by Egbert T. Bush that is just right for the Halloween season, so it seemed like a good idea to share it again today: Much Mischief Was Blamed on a Witch.

Hope you enjoy both articles,