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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Morristown in Morris County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Homestead Farm

Birthplace of the Telegraph

 

—Historic Speedwell —

 
The Homestead Farm Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 5, 2010
1. The Homestead Farm Marker
Inscription. Speedwell was an agricultural unit as well as an industrial one. Although Stephen Vail was a noted ironmaker, his world was firmly based on a centuries old agrarian lifestyle. The Homestead Farm had to be run with the same care and skill as the ironworks. Carefully managed, the farm provided for most of his family’s needs.

Stephen purchased the 45-acre Homestead Farm in 1830 from his son-in-law, Dayton I. Canfield, for $2,600 and added another 34 acres in 1836. Wheat, corn, and oats were grown on the farm and large vegetable gardens were laid out just east of the Carriage House. An orchard provided apples, peaches and cherries. Activity centered around the farmyard, where animals were kept and grain and hay stored. Farm and factory coexisted side-by-side and Stephen shared his energy between the two.

Today Historic Speedwell preserves the entire 7.5 acres of the Vail Estate. The farmland was sold to a development company in 1955 and the two barns burned in the 1960’s. The site of the Ironworks across the street at Speedwell Lake is a park. The farmyard is gone, replaced by the historic L’Hommedieu and Estey Houses moved from the center of Morristown. The Carriage House and Granary are the only reminders that this was once a working farm.

The Homestead Farm was the working center of the agricultural side of the Vail
Marker at Historic Speedwell image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 5, 2010
2. Marker at Historic Speedwell
The Granary can be seen in the photo beyond the marker. The L’Hommedieu House is the white structure on the right.
Estate. There was a cow barn, a stable for horses, and a hay barn to store fodder. A fence between the barns and the pond formed a small compound. Behind the buildings was a greenhouse and a large vegetable garden. The cured grains grown on the farm were stored in the Granary. Ice from the pond was stored for use in the summer and there was a shed to store firewood for the winter. Two carriage houses held the family’s vehicles.
 
Location. 40° 48.865′ N, 74° 28.814′ W. Marker is in Morristown, New Jersey, in Morris County. Marker can be reached from Speedwell Avenue (U.S. 202), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is located at Historic Speedwell. Marker is at or near this postal address: 333 Speedwell Avenue, Morristown NJ 07960, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Granary (a few steps from this marker); Wheel House (a few steps from this marker); Ford Cottage (a few steps from this marker); L’Hommedieu House (within shouting distance of this marker); Moses Estey House (within shouting distance of this marker); 1849 Carriage House (within shouting distance of this marker); The Factory (within shouting distance of this marker); Homestead Carriage House (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Morristown.
 
More about this marker.
The Homestead Farm image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 5, 2010
3. The Homestead Farm
The Wheelhouse used to produce electricity for the homestead is seen on the right of this photo. The yellow house on the left is the Ford Cottage, built in the early 18th century by Gabriel Ford Jr., grandson of Col. Jacob Ford, Sr. who owned the mansion where Gen. Washington made his headquarters duing the winter of 1779-80. The marker is visible on the extreme left of the photo.
The bottom portion of the marker contains an early 20th century photograph of the Homestead Farm, while a more recent photo is on the marker’s upper right. Two maps of showing the layout ofthe homestead today and in the past are also present on the marker.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a tour of the markers found at Historic Speedwell.
 
Also see . . .  Historic Speedwell - "Birthplace of the Telegraph". (Submitted on July 10, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Categories. Settlements & Settlers
 
Vail House image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 5, 2010
4. Vail House
The original portion of this house was built in the 1790's by Thomas Kinney. Stephen Vail bought it in the 1830's and renovated it in 1844. It is located within sight of the marker.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 480 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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