Saturday, Oct. 7: Poetry Event

by Tom Bivin on September 28, 2017 · 0 comments

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Saturday, Oct. 14: Annual Scarecrow Day

by Tom Bivin on September 16, 2017 · 0 comments

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On Saturday October 14 th , from 11 am-2 pm, the Meadowlands Museum will host its
annual Scarecrow Day, an event that is plenty of fun for families, scout troops, and all
those who are young at heart. Participants will make scarecrows using a combination of
hay, old clothes and imagination! The museum provides all the materials needed, but
guests are invited to bring items to make their scarecrows as unique as possible like
tiaras, hats or even a team t-shirt. Scarecrows will be available on a first come first serve
basis, unless otherwise reserved in advance. Given the limited number of scarecrows,
reserving your scarecrow in advance is strongly recommended.
Admission to the event is $20 per scarecrow, and it is recommended that no more than
six people work on each scarecrow. Light refreshments will be available.
The Museum (located at 91 Crane Avenue, Rutherford) is open to the public during the
event, and admission is free to see the exhibits for those participating in the scarecrow
building. For other visitors that day there is a recommended $5 per adult, $3 per child
Come join us for this fun fall event. For further information and registration please
contact Robin at 201-321- 2756.


Saturday, Sept. 23 – John McParland WWII Speaker

by Tom Bivin on September 16, 2017 · 0 comments


On Saturday September 23rd, the Meadowlands Museum will host a special event featuring guest speaker/historian John McParland who will be talking about WWII and the 81 men whose names appear on the World War II monument in Rutherford’s Lincoln Park.  The monument was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1951.


The talk is scheduled from 2-4 pm and will give all who attend an understanding about each of these Rutherford men who dies during the war.  McPartland has a keen interest in WWII and has researched the lives of each of these veterans.


John McParland is a long time resident of Rutherford who is employed by an international container shipping line.  He and his wife, Joanne, have four school aged children.



The Meadowlands Museum (located at 91 Crane Avenue, Rutherford) is a small, non-profit museum dedicated to interpreting the history of our area, the Meadowlands Museum relies on the ongoing support of the local community, through donations and memberships.  Each year, the Meadowlands Museum welcomes hundreds of children and adults, helping them connect to the historical and cultural sense of place that is the Meadowlands region.  Founded in 1961 to connect school children with their community, the Museum continues the work that began with that single inspiration.


In addition to this event, the Meadowlands Museum is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and is open to the public.  There is a recommended donation for visitors or $5 per adult, $3 per child.  The Museum office phone is 201-935-1175.



Robin Reenstra-Bryant

Secretary, Meadowlands Museum Board of Trustees




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Rutherford Labor Day Street Fair This Monday

by Tom Bivin on August 30, 2017 · 0 comments

Check out the Meadowlands Museum’s table this year at the Labor Day Street fair on Monday, Labor Day, August 4, 2017!

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You can find us next at our table shared with the Historic Preservation Committee on Lincoln Ave close to Park Ave by the memorial cannon.


We will have a variety of merchandise, including t-shirts, ornaments, and Rutherford 75th Anniversary commemorative plates, as well as historic items including teapots and teacups, date books with iconic photos of Rutherford, and town maps.


Visit this site for full details on Rutherford’s Street Fair:


Kearny, NJ Firehouse Visit

by Tom Bivin on August 29, 2017 · 0 comments

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Thanks to the Kearny Fire Department, and especially Fire Chief Robert Osborn, for giving us a great tour of their restored firehouse, which now serves as a museum and meeting hall! The photo on the left shows the mat that would catch people jumping out of burning buildings (though is now covered with patches), and the photo on the right shows the fire helmets of retired firemen and women, as well as hanging pictures of notable fires that were fought in Kearny. Below is a photo of some of the earliest fire helmets dating back to the late 1800s-early 20th century. Did you know that each man’s head is measure to create a helmet with an individualized precise fit?!

Thank you Kearny Fire Department for all you do for the community and preserving this wonderful part of Meadowlands history!


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August Days Summer Programs

by Tom Bivin on July 11, 2017 · 0 comments


AGES 8-12

Visit the Museum for either the Morning or Afternoon Session (10-12 noon or 1-3pm) on August 2,9, and, 16th

Learn about the Area’s History & Make Special Craft Projects (different craft projects will be offered each week)

$20 per child per week (includes costs for craft materials)

Please register by July 21st

I hereby grant permission for my child__________(please print name), age ____, to attend the Meadowlands Museum August Days program on August 2, August 9, August 16th during the morning (10-12 noon) or afternoon (1-3 pm) session (please circle one or more dates and preferred time of day). I have enclosed with this registration $20.00 (check made payable to The Meadowlands Museum) for each child for each week of attendance. For credit card payments please call 201-321-2756

Name of Parent_______________________________________________________________

Address ____________________________________________________________________



Signature of Parent_____________________________________________________________

Mail this form and payment to Meadowlands Museum, August Days, 91 Crane Avenue, Rutherford, NJ 07070 by July 21, 2017. You can print the above information or for a PDF version of this form by email, please contact us at or call 201-935-1175



by Tom Bivin on July 9, 2017 · 0 comments

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Have you heard about the latest way to automate your donations to the Meadowlands Museum?

The Meadowlands Museum is now enrolled in the Care2Share Investors Bank program. It makes donations to the Museum very easy (and it’s free to set up!) and helps us to remain a cornerstone of the community.


What is Care2Share?

When you bank at investors, you can link any personal checking or savings account to a non-profit organization (like the Meadowlands Museum) that is enrolled in the program. Investors Bank then calculates and sends quarterly contributions based upon the average monthly balances you maintain in your linked accounts.


How Does it Work?

When you link your eligible accounts to an enrolled non-profit, the organization will receive from Investors Bank .25% on the average monthly balance of your checking account or .15% on the average monthly balance of your savings account. Simply complete an Investors Care2Share Account Linking/Unlinking form. This is free and does not affect any of the features or benefits that come with your accounts. You can enroll your Investors Checking Account, Investors Savings Account (Statement, Passbook, Money Markets, and CDs), and Investors IRAs.



Help Support the Meadowlands today by contacting any Investors Branch or visiting




This tribute to the Rutherford Civil Rights Commission sponsored by the Meadowlands Museum on May 13, 2017, was in conjunction with the Preservation History Award received by the RCRC from the Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board. This article also features historic Rutherford homes and an interview with Museum & borough historian, Rod Leith. You can view the original article and accompanying video at: via @northjersey

The Rutherford Civil Rights Commission won a historic preservation award for the promotion of six buildings connected to the borough’s African-American and Puerto Rican history


RUTHERFORD — Long Branch has “Born to Run.” Rutherford has “The Red Wheelbarrow.”

In the early 20th Century, William Carlos Williams was a poet living in Rutherford. He was also a physician who often visited patients at their homes.

It was in this capacity that he met Thaddeus Lloyd Marshall, an African-American fruit and vegetable peddler who lived with his family at 11 Elm Street.

“Dr. Williams, who made house calls in his practice, had provided medical care to Marshall and his family,” said Rutherford’s historian, Rod Leith. “In the backyard of the Marshall residence were chicken coops and a garden. Nearby, chickens caroused around a red wheelbarrow.”

Williams admired the elder Marshall.

“In his backyard I saw the red wheelbarrow surrounded by the white chickens. I supposed my affection for the old man somehow got into the writing,” Williams wrote in a 1954 essay.

The Rutherford Civil Commission has recognized five houses and a church for their contributions to the borough’s Puerto Rican and African-American history. Kelly Nicholaides/ via Wochit

In 1923, Williams — inspired by Marshall and his home — published his now-famous poem, “The Red Wheelbarrow.”

Marshall’s Elm Street home is one of five houses and a church recognized by Rutherford’s Civil Rights Commission for their contributions to the borough’s African-American and Puerto Rican history. Other locations singled out are 153 Wheaton Place, 78 Woodland Avenue, 127 Donaldson Avenue, 93 Delafield Avenue and 27 Elm Street, the home of Rutherford’s first African-American church.

The commission was recently honored with a Bergen County Historic Preservation Award for its work highlighting the people who lived in and built these structures.

For Leith, promoting the homes and meeting places of Rutherford’s Puerto Rican and African-American citizens is an important part of celebrating their role in the community.

“The historic architecture helps to illustrate their development and culture,” he said.



The following article was published on on May 25, 2017, and written by the Museum’s own, and Borough Historian, Rod Leith. The article details the life and service of Rutherford resident, Mae Brinkerhoff (1880-1960). You can find the original article by following the link:



In the midst of World War I, a young woman from a prominent Rutherford family left her steady job with a highly respected bank and traveled overseas to help serve American military forces in Europe. She began service with the secretarial department of the Young Men’s Christian Association and quickly rose to a management post with the YMCA’s operations in Coblenz, Germany.

A long-time employee of Rutherford National Bank, the YMCA volunteer was Mae Brinkerhoff, daughter of Rutherford’s ninth mayor, Andrew Hopper Brinkerhoff. She went to London in July of 1918, having qualified for an overseas assignment. There she joined her cousin, Anna Keziah Alyea, the daughter of one of Rutherford’s earliest postmasters, Garrabrant R. Alyea. The two were employed on the headquarters staff of the YMCA’s regional headquarters in Germany; Anna was the auditor and Mae was her assistant as head bookkeeper.

The YMCA’s first six-month report on the progress of the Coblenz Area included the following accolade: “To the women first stationed in Coblenz must be given great credit for remarkable work in the early days.” Liberty and Victory “Huts” were “splendidly organized,” the report continued, referring to the refreshment facilities. In that region, American soldiers were offered their first opportunity for leave from duty, providing them with hotels, restaurants, cinema shows and Rhine River cruise trips. On Christmas Day 1918, the Coblenz YMCA group helped solders feel at home, serving them 10,000 cups of chocolate and 30,000 holiday cakes.

Mae Brinkerhoff is believed to have been the youngest of the Rutherford Brinkerhoff branch to attend a grand reunion of the family when it was held in Bergen County in 1885. Nearly 300 members of the Brinkerhoff  family, some from as far away as Columbus, Ohio, gathered  at what was called the “Old Homestead,” on the farm of Albert B. Christie in Ridgefield Park. The original farmstead, near Queen Anne Road, was purchased in 1685. Mae’s father, former Mayor Brinkerhoff, served on the reunion executive committee of the Bergen County Brinkerhoff Association.

Among those who expressed regrets they were unable to attend the Aug. 27, 1885, event, was David Brinkerhoff Ivison, whose mother, Sarah, was the daughter of David Brinkerhoff of Auburn, N.Y. David Ivison, who was born in Auburn in 1835, was the owner of Iviswold, a Romanesque Revival mansion now on the Felician University campus. The “Castle,” as it is commonly known, is on the National Register of Historic Places. “It is a pleasure to be even so remotely connected with so worthy a name and family,” Ivison stated in his letter.

Mae Brinkerhoff’s lineage can be traced through her grandfather, George Cornelius Brinkerhoff, to Hendrick Brinkerhoff, who owned land in Bergen Hill (now Jersey City) and a large farm on the Hackensack River in the late 17th century. About 140 acres of that farm land, which stretched through the meadows to Kingsland (Lyndhurst), was inherited by George Brinkerhoff. In a description of this Brinkerhoff farmstead in 1900, Richard Van Winkle described it as a “big stone and brick house on a large farm” off Polifly Road. George Brinkerhoff died in this farm house in 1879, a year before Mae Brinkerhoff was born there on May 12,1880.

Ultimately the farm passed on to Mae’s father, Andrew. In 1882, Andrew and his brother-in-law, Garrabrant R. Alyea, organized the Hillside Cemetery Association, respecting the wish of his father, George Brinkerhoff, and ultimately giving the Rutherford area its much venerated cemetery. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, Rutherford’s Memorial Day ceremonies would conclude at Hillside Cemetery to honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.

One of the important events for Rutherford came with the development of Lincoln Park during the administration of Andrew H. Brinkerhoff, who served as mayor from 1903 to 1908.The Town Improvement Association, which was an offshoot of the Woman’s Club, effectively established Lincoln Park. In 1905, the woman’s group persuaded Mayor Brinkerhoff and the Council to accept the triangular-shape parcel as a borough park. Mayor Brinkerhoff had long been public spirited, having helped organize Fire Engine Company #2 in 1886.

When she graduated from the old Park School in June of 1898, Mae Brinkerhoff wrote a prize-winning essay on the sinking of the USS Maine just months before the disaster on Feb. 15. Her moving essay might have been influenced solely by the tragic loss of 260 American crewmen, but it could have been the fact that Brinkerhoff family members were engaged in the fighting during the Spanish-American War. She had a proud heritage of family involvement in American wars. An ancestor was a colonel in the American Revolution. A Brinkerhoff fought in the War of 1812, and family patriarch, Jacob Brinkerhoff, had a brother, Lucas, who suffered as a British captive at the dreaded Sugar House prison in New York

During the period Andrew Brinkerhoff organized Hillside Cemetery, and in the time of his two terms as Rutherford mayor, right up to the time of Mae Brinkerhoff’s service in the YMCA; the Brinkerhoff family residence was a handsome Victorian house on Donaldson Avenue. Andrew Brinkerhoff died in this house on March 3,1909, and the funeral services for his widow Jennie were held there in 1917. Built in 1890, the house at 51 Donaldson was the household where the couple raised five children. Besides Mae, they included a second daughter, Keziah, and three sons: George C. (named for his grandfather) who was a store clerk in Jersey City; Harry A., an architect and builder; and James H., who was a bank clerk in New York.

After her sister married and her three brothers moved out, Mae Brinkerhoff stayed on in the Donaldson Avenue house, distinctive for its unique hipped roof and front bay tower. To defray costs of upkeep, she took in boarders, two of whom were on the board of directors of Mae’s long-time employer, Rutherford National Bank. Both Maxwell W. Becton and his partner, Fairleigh S. Dickinson, were boarders there before Mae joined the YMCA during World War I. The co-founders of Becton Dickinson Company, then in East Rutherford, subsequently settled into separate mansions on Ridge Road. Becton and Dickinson had been one another’s best man at weddings in 1913 and 1916, respectively.

“It was more than a friendship in the ordinary sense,” Mae Brinkerhoff, quoted in B-D Company archival records, said of her special tenants. “They were as close as Damon and Pythias,” she remarked, referring to the classic Greek ideal of friendship. Mae later sold the Donaldson house to Roy L. Reed, a New York rubber merchant, and then moved to the Addison Avenue home of her niece, Elsie Van Houven. She died, unmarried, on March 26, 1960, a short time after retiring from the bank.