Gloucester Co NJ -  History & Genealogy  
 

G L A S S   &  G L A S S B O R O
 


History abstracted from several sources including:

1) Handout from Glassboro Heritage Glass Museum compiled by Dr. James M. Lynch, Jr. with the original information from "The Glassboro Story - 1779 to 1974 written by Dr. Robert D. Bole and Edward H. Walton Jr. and articles by Marilyn Campbell Plasket.
2) "Glassboro: A Town With Roots Made of Glass," by Loretta Jackson [article in Glassboro Community Guide 2003]


Glassboro's heritage is glass. The origin of this area began around September 23 1779 when Solomon Stanger and his family (having migrated from Dorhagen, Germany in 1768) established a "glass works in the woods" of Gloucester County, New Jersey through the initial purchase of 200 acres there. He was one of several brothers who were skilled glass blowers previously employed in Salem County.

The Stangers selected the area for their glass works because the quality of the sand found in the region (a necessary ingredient in glass manufacturing), the abundance of oak trees to fuel and glass furnaces, and the closeness to Philadelphia -- a prime area for commerce (in order to sell or ship their products to various ports including the East Coast and Europe).

Their glass products were sent by wagon to nearby Carpenter's Landing, then shipped along the Mantua Creek to the Delaware River and thence to Philadelphia and other places.

The Stanger's glass works venture did not last long -- when money devaluated during the American Revolutionary War in 1781, the Stangers were forced to sell their factory to pay creditors. (The devaluation reduced the worth of the paper dollar to a value of two cents).

In 1786 Stanger's glass works was purchased by Colonels Thomas Heston and Thomas Carpenter who started the Heston-Carpenter Glass Works.

Ebenezer Whitney was shipwrecked off Cape May in 1806. He was so seriously injured that he was sent to Philadelphia by stagecoach for medical care. The rigors of the journey caused him to lay over at the Heston House, a hostelry still standing in Glassboro. There he and Bathsheba Heston fell in love, married and had three sons, Thomas H., Samuel and Eben. These three brothers, (descendants of the Heston family) ran the Heston-Carpenter glassworks, later took it over and renamed it the Whitney Brothers Glassworks -- leading the glass industry in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The Whitney glass work's venture was succeeded by the Olive Works, the Harmony Glass Works, the Temperanceville Glass Works, Owens Bottle-Machine Co. and Owens-Illinois Glass Company. This last company still exists, although its products today are metal closures for bottles and jars rather than sand-based glass.

A building surge led to the erection of elegant homes such as Hollybush Mansion, built in 1847 by Thomas Whitney for his private use. The Italian villa is a stone-built structure, designed to last for centuries.

At the onset of the Depression in 1929, Owens-Illinois decided to shut down the bottle-works which only eleven years before had been opened as the modern machine-making successor of the old hand-blow glass bottle industry.

By the 1920's the glass industry began to fade. Ebenezer Whitney's grandson, George F. Whitney, died in 1915. This resulted in the sale of Hollybush Mansion to the State of New Jersey in 1920 for South Jersey's first Normal School and the demolition of 1922 of the Whitney Works. The New Jersey Normal School later became known as Glassboro State College, and is now known as Rowan University. The mansion has been used as a home for the president of the school.

On June 23 and 25, 1967, Hollybush was the site of the world famous President Lyndon Johnson -- Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin Summit Conference. Hollybush was chosen for the conference because it was of equal distance between New York and Washington where the two world leaders were staying. This summit was very important to future peace policies and there the two engaged in a face-to-face that greatly improved Soviet-American relations. Following that meeting, Glassboro is sometimes referred to as the "Summit City."

In 1971, the then president of the college decided that Hollybush would be put to better use as a conference center rather than the president's house. Since then, it has been in use almost every day by one or more groups for meetings, receptions, and formal functions. Hollybush became a historic site in 1973. The Holly Bush Mansion, located on the Rowan College campus, is listed in State and National Historic Registers. [Another Glassboro building listed in the historic register is St. Thomas Episcopal Church].

August 2003 - The Hollybush Mansion was in the midst of the first phase of a $2 million renovation which centers on strengthening the building's crumbling foundation, and should be completed by fall. A second phase, to restore most of the interior, has not been scheduled and its cost has not been determined.

June 2007 - Rowan University has kicked off a year of events marking the 40th anniversary of the Glassboro Summit with an open house (on Sunday, June 24) at Hollybush Mansion, on Whitney Avenue on the Glassboro campus. Additional open houses are planned. [SEE photographs taken at this open house below].

The Glassboro Heritage Glass Museum, Inc. organized with ten members on December 6, 1979. Through the museum, the people of Glassboro, in cooperation with residents of surrounding areas, are preserving and perpetuating the heritage of glass industries by acquiring through ownership or loan, collecting, preserving and displaying documents, photographs, records, tools, machinery, artifacts relating to the glass industries.

Through the efforts of the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Glassboro, a historic building was located on the downtown site of the Whitney Glassworks and was leased to the museum, for its exclusive use. The site of the museum was built in 1926 for the Glassboro Title and Mortgage Company. The bank failed on October 1, 1931 -- a victim of the Depression and never reopened as such. This building was later used by a local lumber company and then by the Public Library before ownership passed on to the museum.

The municipality of Glassborough was created by an act of the New Jersey legislature in 1878, and was incorporated as the Borough of Glassboro in 1923.


Links:

The Glassboro Whitney Family [Archived]- of interest to genealogists/descendants of this Whitney Family.

South Jersey Glass

History of Glassboro [Archived version] - includes brief information about historic sites; published by the Glassboro Historic Preservation (in PDF format)

From Normal to Extraordinary
- the History of Rowan University (PDF)

The Spirit of Hollybush [Archived version] - from Rowan Magazine (PDF)

I Was A Boy - 1926 to 1932 - memories of Kenneth C. Anderson, with photographs (PDF)

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To see some remarkable examples of glass bottles, paperweights, marbles, flasks, carnival glass, dishware, glass collections, "whimsies," documents, toys, and many other artifacts, along with extensive information and displays of glass making tools and manufacturing, you should make the trip to the Heritage Glass Museum on the corner of High and Central Streets in Glassboro, New Jersey.

Their museum hours are Saturday, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and the fourth Sunday of each month from 1 PM to 4 PM. FREE ADMISSION. Telephone number: 856-881-7468.

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P H O T O G R A P H S
ALL of the photographs on this page are the personal property of
Janice Brown and may not be used for any purpose without
express written permission

Photographs by Janice Brown - August 2003
Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ
photo by J. Brown
Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ

Glassboro Title and Mortgage Company - now the Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ
photo by J. Brown
Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ
built in 1926 on the original property of the
Whitney Glassworks as the
Glassboro Title and Mortgage Company
inside view, Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ
photo by J. Brown
inside view, Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ
display at Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ
photo by J. Brown
display at Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ
glassworking tools and artifacts
photo by J. Brown
glassworking tools and artifacts
at Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ

gaffer finishing chair
photo by J. Brown
gaffer finishing chair
at Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ

free blown flask
photo by J. Brown
free blown flask
at Heritage Glass Museum, Glassboro NJ

Hollybush, Rowan University Campus, Glassboro NJ
photo by J. Brown
Hollybush, Rowan University Campus, Glassboro NJ
August 2003
back view, Hollybush, Rowan Univeristy Campus
photo by J. Brown
back view, Hollybush, Rowan Univeristy Campus,
Glassboro NJ
second side view, Hollybush, Rowan University Campus, Glassboro NJ
photo by J. Brown
second side view, Hollybush, Rowan University Campus, Glassboro NJ
close up, Hollybush, Rowan University Campus, Glassboro NJ
photo by J. Brown
close up, Hollybush, Rowan University Campus, Glassboro NJ

Photographs BELOW of Hollybush Open House taken June 2007

Click on the thumbnails to see larger versions. ALL were taken by Janice Brown and may not be used without her express written permission.
Hollybush Mansion #1
Hollybush Mansion #1
Hollybush Mansion #2
Hollybush Mansion #2
Welcome Sign - Hollybush Open House
Welcome Sign - Hollybush Open House
Painted Glass - entryway
Painted Glass, Entryway
Description - Hollybush Open House
Description - Hollybush Open House
Bathsheba Whitney Portrait
Bathsheba Whitney Portrait
Ebenezer Whitney Portrait
Ebenezer Whitney Portrait
Samuel Whitney Portrait
Samuel Whitney Portrait
Whitney Glass Bottles
Whitney Glass Bottles
Parlor Sign - Hollybush
Parlor Sign - Hollybush
Parlor Chandeliers - Hollybush
Parlor Chandeliers - Hollybush
Parlor Chandeliers #2- Hollybush
Parlor Chandeliers #2- Hollybush

Restoration Info #1- Hollybush

Restoration Info #2- Hollybush

Detail of moulding - Hollybush

Moulding and landscaping - Hollybush

Medallion Detail - Hollybush

Plants and Landscaping - Hollybush

Project Notes - Hollybush Renovations

Door - Hollybush

Looking out Front Door - Hollybush

Classic Statue, Front Hall - Hollybush

Dining Room Sign - Hollybush

Dining Room Ceiling Detail - Hollybush

Hall Wallpaper - Hollybush

Day One of Summit Described - Hollybush

Diary of Summit - Hollybush

Mirror in Dining Room - Hollybush

Behind the Scenes Summit - Hollybush

Securing the Campus & Summit - Hollybush

Life Magazine Cover, Summit Meeting - Hollybush

Time Magazine Cover, Summit Meeting - Hollybush

Old Newspapers covering Summit - Hollybush

Scrapbook - Hollybush

Ceiling Design, Summit Room - Hollybush

Chandelier, Summit Room - Hollybush

Photo: Waiting for Arrival of Presidents at Summit - Hollybush

Helicopter Arrives at Summit - Hollybush

Presidents Press Session, Summit at Hollybush

Memorabilia of Summit #1 - Hollybush

Memorabilia of Summit #2 - Hollybush

Memorabilia of Summit #3 - Hollybush

Memorabilia of Summit #3 - Hollybush

Guestbooks of Summit #1 - Hollybush

Guestbooks of Summit #2 - Hollybush

Presidential Thankyou to Rowan College - Hollybush

Thank yous to others involved in Summit at Hollybush

Looking out - Hollybush

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