Morristown in Morris County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Homestead Farm
Birthplace of the Telegraph
— Historic Speedwell —
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 Homestead Farm was the working center of the agricultural side of the Vail 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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1830.
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. Marker is located at Historic Speedwell. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 333 Speedwell Avenue, Morristown NJ 07960, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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 House1849 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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Morristown.
More about this marker. 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". Morris County Park Commission website entry (Submitted on July 10, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 10, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 622 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 10, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.