The museum planned to host a kickoff event this Saturday, March 25, at 4 p.m. at the Museum at 1301 Hudson St. Presenting illustrated introductions to the sites will by Allen Kratz, an instructor for Drew University's historic preservation program and a member of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Historic Trust, and Paul Somerville, a fifth-generation Hobokenite who serves on the Hoboken Historic Preservation Commission. According to museum officials, the first walking tour, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, will take participants through Hoboken Terminal, a functioning rail-ferry terminal that now is the site of renovation projects and redevelopment planning. The tour will start in the Main Waiting Room that NJ Transit recently restored to its original appearance when it opened in 1907.
Kratz said that the tour will visit the innovative smoke-dispersing train shed, the Immigrant Station that once received immigrants from Ellis Island as they embarked on Lackawanna Railroad trains for new lives in America, and other parts of the historic engineering and architectural landmark.
He added that they will escort participants to this rich mix of properties and explain the historical and architectural significance of each property.
Wherever possible, the tours will include the buildings' interiors Kratz said Tuesday that last year's successful tours, which coincided with the city's 150th Anniversary of incorporation, drew a wide range of visitors. He said there were longtime Hoboken residents who wanted to become reconnected with their hometown, and also many newcomers.
"Realtors really promoted this to the newcomers because [the tours] are a quick and easy way to become acquainted with the rich history of the city," Kratz said.
Future tours will include one of the nation's first examples of reusing a former factory as housing, several notable places of worship, and seven Hoboken firehouses.
One tour group will visit the Church of the Holy Innocents at Sixth Street and Willow Avenue. According to records supplied by the Hoboken Historical Museum, the church was completed in 1874 and dedicated to Julia Stevens, the daughter of Martha Bayard and Edwin Stevens, who died in Rome at age 7 from typhoid fever. Built to serve German and Irish immigrants, it did not charge the people a fee for a seat on a pew. Imposing a pew fee was a standard practice for churches at the time. Architect Edward Tuckerman Potter's banded arches emphasize the polychromatic exterior of brownstone and white and red sandstone. The choir was added in 1913, the baptistery in 1932. Though no longer in use, the exterior details of this Episcopal Church remain largely intact.
Another interesting stop on the May 21 tour will be the Keuffel & Esser Manufacturing Complex, at Third and Grand streets. According museum records, the factory made precision instruments for the architectural, engineering and drafting professions. Their products were used in planning the Brooklyn Bridge.
In 1891 their New Jersey factory produced the first slide rule manufactured in the United States. They supplied the Navy with periscopes in World War I, the Army with range-finders in World War II.
In 1975 the building was converted to moderate-income apartments, and, to this day, remains one of the city's best examples of adaptive reuse of an industrial building.
Another highlight of the tours will be the city's firehouses, which all display distinctive examples of 19th century architecture. In fact, six former and current firehouses in town are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
"Tours through Time" is sponsored by the Jefferson Restaurant, The Madison Bar & Grill, and Singleton Galmann Reality LLC.
Admission for the kickoff lecture is free. Tour tickets will be $10 for museum members and $15 for non-members. No advance registration is necessary. For information, contact the museum at (201) 656-2240.