House History Program

The Dani McCulloch House History Program (formely known as the Adopt-A-House Program) provides guidance to residents who wish to learn how to research the history of their houses. The chairperson of Adopt-A-House is Helen Ann Rosenfeld. Many homeowners, after completing the required research, have worked with the Historical Society to create informative programs which have been presented to members of the Chatham Historical Society and the invited public. Helen Ann provides assistance and guidance to interested residents. 

Upon completion of the research as outlined in the Adopt-A-House packet, researchers receive a certificate indicating the Chatham Historical Society's appreciation and the significance of their contribution to recording the history of Chatham. Additionally, those who have completed their research will be given the option to purchase a recognition marker through the Historical Society, suitable for  displaying on, or in, their home. The Plaque Program was initiated in 2010 as a spin-off from the Adopt-A-House program. Click here for more information about the Plaque Program.

Click a link below to view a sampling of the information discovered about a few of our adopted houses.

The Brower House     The Collins House     The Roby House     The Harrower House

Contact Helen Ann Rosenfeld for more information about the Adopt-A-House program.

Home Plaque Program

The Chatham Historical Society offers a program to place date plaques on homes throughout the Borough of Chatham as a way of spreading word about Chatham's rich history, providing information about the houses of Chatham, and creating a sense of pride in our community. The Plaque Program is an easy and fun way to help make your home a part of Chatham's history. If you are interested in learning more about this program, you should contact the Plaque Program chair. A home owner who completes the requirements as outlined in the Adopt-A-House research packet will be given the option to purchase a recognition marker through the Historical Society, suitable for displaying on or in their home. The marker will indicate the date the home was built. Special recognition is available to homeowners whose houses are over 100 years old. Along with the completed research, homes over 100 years old will be evaluated by the Historical House Plaque committee according to criteria established by the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. If accepted, those homeowners will then be eligible to purchase a marker indication their house is 100 years old or older.

The Sights & The People of Fairmount Avenue

This wonderfully illustrated program features the history of the "Fifth Avenue" of Chatham. Renowned architects, noted builders and everyday citizens all contributed in the development of this distinctive avenue as well as the social and architectural fabric of the entire community. Hear unique stories about the early days of the fire department, the building of the "new" train station, the residents of the avenue including the "bumps the Bumps" man and much more! First shown at the May 2013 Annual Dinner & Meeting, this program was so well received it was reshown at the October Program where over 100 guests attended.

When Did That Happen? A Look at Chatham Through the Years.

Through colorful stories, archival illustrations and vintage photos, this program traces the unfolding of Chatham into the town it is today.Follow the growth and evolution of Chatham from overnight stage coach stop to an important regional mill town. See how the arrival of the railroad in 1837 led to more growth for local industry, while at the same time shifting the focus of the town away from the river. This program covers 300 years of history right up until the transition of Chatham into the much sought after suburban community it is today.

Along the Tracks...How a Railroad Changed a Town

This informative program about Chatham’s history includes many never heard before stories! Did you know a famous US president came to town on the train or there was a 100 year old business in town which almost went under in the early days because of litter? Do you know the connection between Reasoner Park and the famous artist Thomas Nast? Enjoy these stories and much more! To view this program, click here.

Chatham and the Great War

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the US entering WWI, this program tells the story of war-time Chatham. It chronicles the impact of the war on Chatham and the contributions and sacrifices made by military personal, volunteers and everyday citizens. The program was researched and developed by Jackie Pindak and Helen Ann Rosenfeld and dedicated to the five Chatham soldiers who lost lives in France: Eugene Hubbard, Van Horn Wolfe, Paul VanFleet, Fred Pihlman and Fredrick Parcells. The use of the Society’s vintage photos and documents from the era brought the war-related activities to life. 

Three Towns Pageant

Three Towns Pageant was the culmination of a week-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence which took place in Chatham from June 28th through July 5th, 1926. Chatham, Madison and Summit participated in the pageant. It was recorded on film and in 2011 the unedited film of the event was digitized. Our first screening of the digitized film was presented at our 2011 Annual Dinner. It was well received and we look forward to many more showings.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Initially presented at the Fishawack Festival on June 14, 2008, the program begins with photographs of buildings from the eastern end of Main Street and continues west to Lafayette Avenue. The photos are accompanied by text explaining some of the historically significant houses along the way. The presentation notes the number of demolished houses and considers what Main Street might have looked like today had they remained.

An Armchair Sunday Stroll Over Long Hill

This popular program tells the story of Long Hill Road or Fairmount Avenue as we know it today. From the Revolutionary War to World War II, its architecture, builders, owners, and folklore are explored. For many of us the avenue is a way to get from the Borough to the Township. The details presented in “Sunday Stroll”, however, help make the past part of our present. (Available in pamphlet form and may be purchased at The Library of the Chathams.)

Walking Through Chatham’s Past at the Fair Mount Cemetery

Walking Through Chatham’s Past at the Fair Mount Cemetery was presented in October 2003 and again in October 2010. Fair Mount Cemetery contains many fascinating clues to the history of the Chatham community and the lives of people who have lived in this town over the course of two centuries. Guests followed a guide through the cemetery encountering a few of the men and women - ministers, educators, farmers, doctors, shop keepers - whose lives and vision contributed to the unique development and character of the community. Chathamites, in costume, enacted the part of specific individuals near the site of their final resting places. Some of the participants were Ed Leithead as George Shepard Page and Jack Strangefeld as the Rev. Joseph Meeker Ogden.

Photo Collection, 2004

Chatham resident Jennifer Fischer's collection, "Current History Project," completed in 2004, is available to view at The Library of the Chathams. Please ask the reference librarian for access to the collection.  Fischer captures the "spirit" of the Borough of Chatham through photos of specific people, groups, events, and everyday life in 2004. The collection includes over 250 photographs.


News & Events

Post date: December 12, 2017

It’s time to celebrate the holidays and we kicked off the season in style. The annual holiday party was held December 10 at the home Karen and Mark Hoerrner of 194 Fairmount Avenue. They recently finished a major renovation restoring their home to its past splendor - inside and out.

Next Events:

Check here for other upcoming events pertaining to the Chatham Historical Society and Chatham's history